Friday, 28 February 2014

Hobgobla-Khan, Terror of the Steppes


As the sneering honor guard of Hobgoblins led him at spear point through the camp, Cathayan Ambassador Eg-Shen and his aide De-Ling could only marvel at the army around him. As far as he could clearly see and gathering into muddled shadows even further from his vision was the army of Hobgobla-Khan. Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the Hobgoblin encampment covered several square miles of the Western Plains.

All around Shen was the pungent odor of Hobgoblin and wolf, the two races living in mutual harmony. Here and there tooth and clawed battles broke out between gathered wolves, fighting for bones, pups or mating privileges. Beyond the fighting lupines were the Hobgoblins themselves. From the depths of hooded cloaks or sheltered yurts, the Hobgoblins paused as the Ambassador walked past, glaring at him with both hatred and a morbid sense of menace. The needle sharp teeth in their heads were clearly visible as they grinned long and menacingly at the Cathayan visitor. Eg-Shen shook inwardly, being surrounded by the army of unscrupulous monsters and their unclean beasts. Huge bonfires lit up the afternoon sky as the small army of camp cooks set about feeding the horde of monsters. As was the case of late, rations were getting smaller and the menu far less varied. As the famine form the south threatened the human populace of Cathay, so too had famine and disease come to the army of Hobgobla-Khan. It came as no surprise to Shen when he saw a small Hobgoblin child wander too close to a pack of starving wolves that the beasts tore into the greenskin child, ripping out its throat before it could even call for help, then dragging the corpse back into the shadows of the tent city to be devoured. The sight of such carnage was hardly something new to the jaded ambassador to the Hobgoblin nations, but Shen was still shocked to see that none of the nearby Hobgoblins gave the loss a second glance, instead worrying about their own rations while keeping a wary eye on their mates!

As the ambassador approached the living quarters of Hobgobla-Khan, he could not help but to draw in a breath and hold it, fearful that to let it out it would be his last. Before the astonished Cathayan stood the tent compound of the Hobgobla-Khan, Terror of the Steppes and Warlord of the Hobgoblin Nation. Trying to remember all he had learned about the Hobgoblins, Hobgobla-Khan and their numerous traditions Eg could only think of one thing right now, the overwhelming desire to flee for his life! Ranks of armored Hobgoblins stood guard around their Lord’s mighty yurt, cruel pikes and swords in their clutches. From beneath polished helms of metal and goatskin trim started blazing red eyes, seeming to bore right through Eg’s flesh and into his heart. A savage pack of giant black furred wolves paced about the tent flaps, snarling at their masters and fighting for scraps of food. The size of the yurt itself was imposing, raising fully twenty feet into the fading light, the black wolves’ tail banner of Hobgobla-Khan snapping in the breeze. Motioning with the point of a spear, the ambassador and his aide moved toward the opening in the yurt. Already Shen could smell roasting meat and potent spirits permeating his nostrils, the great feast inside the yurt already underway. Stopping to remove his sandals, Shen stepped across the threshold into the smoky tent beyond. Before the ambassador sat Hobgobla-khan and his generals, bedecked in blood-soaked armor and cruel metal rimmed helmets. A feast had been in progress before Shen had entered but now all sounds of celebration and drinking stopped as the Hobgoblins turned their unscrupulous eyes towards the visibly sweating human.

“Shen, ya mangy git! Where have ye been? I sent fer yose some time ago. The time for war is almost upon us and we have plans to attend to.”

“My Lord Hobgobla-khan, I was unavoidably detained. Messages have arrived from the Emperor and I was vexed to finish reading their contents before hurrying to your side. Please forgive this most unworthy one.” answered Shen, prostrating himself before the Khan. A violent hacking cough erupted from Shen's throat, covered quickly by a silk handkerchief. He did not see the Khan stare at him in terror before resuming his seat.

“Fink nuffin of it git. Come and join us as we cast da bones, read da omens and consult wif da Shamans on our coming victories!” roared Hobgobla-khan as he downed a skin full of curdled bitches milk.

As Shen rose, De Ling stepped on through the tent flap, her bare feet brushing across the yurt’s threshold and breaking on one the most sacred traditions of the greenskined marauders. At once, Hobgobla-khan spewed forth a spray of bitches milk, his face twisted with rage and eyes bulging. At the same instant one of the Hobgoblin guards drew forth a wickedly curved scimitar and took off the girls head! As the pretty, shocked face of De Ling toppled into the dirt, the Khan rushed over to the Ambassador and dragged him to his feet by his collar, his beady red eyes looming large before the frightened face of the gibbering Cathayan.

“It seems dat da omens are not so good fer yose, skumgrod...!”

As warmth of escaping blood spread down his side, Eg found his eyes drawn to a map of the Bastion, to a series of Glyphs outlining weak points and Hobgoblin troop strengths more than five times the number Nan-Gau had reported. As the darkness closed over him he suddenly realized that Hobgobla was far, far more dangerous than anyone had realized.


Little is known of the early years of Hobgobla-khan but suffice to say his rise to power was swift and brutal, a number of assassinations and mysterious accidents removing potential obstacles from is path of accenstion. A natural born thinker, something unusual in the race of Orcs & Goblins, Hobgobla-khan learned tactics, speech, politics and backstabbing, the defining trait of the race of Hobgoblins! As he grew in reputation, scores of the scattered Hobgoblin tribes flocked the black wolf tail banner, seeking glory with the greatest of their kind. Tribes that did not join his growing army were conquered and offered a chance to join once more, their tribe’s traditions being added to the army as a whole. Any who refused were burned alive on pyres of oil soaked wood. For the first time in recorded Cathayan history, since the Hobgoblins keep only a verbal record, the scattered tribes have been united under a single leader.

Realizing the need to understand the Cathayans before he could conquer them, Hobgobla-khan sent his trusted general Ghazak-Khan to study in the West, to garner knowledge on the fighting men of the Grand Army of Cathay. That Ghazak betrayed him and failed to come back came as no surprise to Hobgobla-Khan, for among a race known for backstabbing and treachery, Ghazak was without peer! While Ghazak-Khan makes his own destiny in the West, Hobgobla-khan is focused on the East. His desire to breach the Great Bastion and invade Cathay shapes his every thought. Yet he sits beyond the Great Bastion with possibly the biggest army in the coming conflict and waits. For you see, like most Hobgoblins, even the mighty Hobgobla-khan is afraid...

He is fearful of entering Cathay as his spies tell him the land is under siege by famine and disease. Horrid stories of wasting sicknesses, bleeding eyes, tar-blotched skin and other maladies reach his crooked ears and he is fearful. While cowardness is a defining characteristic of Hobgoblins, the Khan does not fear a mortal enemy, but he does fear the ravages brought on by disease. It weakens one to the point where one cannot defend themselves. As is testimony to his will to live, the Khans back-hump is riddled with scars from assassin's blades. While he has never been slain, the prospect of being weakened by plague chills the Khan to his dark soul, and he will broke no disease to lay him low. And so he waits for the plague to runs its course, and for the factions battling in Cathay to exhaust themselves before he orders his troops into the south, where he can finally forge his destiny and burn Cathay to the ground


  1. Thanks Chico, These posts have sent sorting through my own horde of Hobgoblins again.

    1. Heh no problem, if you have any spares then send them my way.. I given myself the Hobbo bug lol


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