Monday, August 1, 2016

Goblinoid Races and Language

As you may recall, I have been using hobgoblins as my go-to bad guys in this current campaign. One of the ways I made things a bit easier on my players was to state that if they spoke orc, goblin, or bugbear, they could understand what the hobgoblins are saying after listening for a bit. I don't know if this has ever been laid out officially, but below is a quick write-up I did to add some background for this in my world.

The "Goblinoid" language

We have determined that if one can speak orc or goblin, one can, with a bit of practice, understand hobgoblin. This is believed to be because all of them derive from a single root language.

According to scholars, in ancient times there was a single "goblinoid" race. None know what they called themselves, and each subrace that has developed has their own legend which depicts themselves as the root. However, through centuries of warfare, diasporas, and wandering, portions of this master race spread far and wide across the world, developing their own words and manners of speech, and even distinct cultures, based on what and who they encountered.

Today, there are four distinct branches; orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears. Each of these subraces are thought to be the result of goblinoids meeting and interbreeding with other races.

Orcs are the result of breeding with humans, and are believed to originate in the southern portion of Ameron, near the dense jungles of The Shades. Those who remained in the south have taken on a green cast to their skin, lending credence to the notion that goblinoids may have had some chameleon-like abilities, and changed colors to match the dominant hues of their surroundings. This is further supported by the orcs of the plains and foothills being brown, and those in the high mountains being gray.

Goblins are believed to be the result of breeding with either gnomes or halflings. However, it is also believed possible that they are simply the descendants of outcasts who were deemed too small and weak to survive.

Hobgoblins, it is believed, were created from interactions with fiends and other outsiders. Their blood-red skin tone, and the fact that there are higher numbers of sorcerers among them indicate they may share this heritage with tieflings.

Bugbears are conjectured by some to possibly be the result of breeding with ogres. However, others believe that bugbears may be the closest to the master race, and are simply those surviving members of this lost race who have fallen into savage barbarism.

The fact that the languages of each of these races is actually just a dialect of the same language lends further evidence to the belief that they all share a common ancestor race.

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