About Goblin Society
About Goblin Society
Goblin life tends to be, as the saying goes, nasty, brutish, and short. Less than a third of Goblins born make it to adulthood at age 12. And only about one out of ten will reach age 30 to be considered an elder. Most die of old age before their 40th birthday.
After reaching adulthood (and not uncommonly before in special circumstances), all goblins, male and female alike, begin taking part in the various raids which are the primary occupation of goblins. They raise no food on their own, and rarely hunt wild animals. (Most of the wild animals in the deep caverns where goblins tend to live are large, highly dangerous, intelligent, and inedible, even to a goblin.)
The chief almost never goes out on raids, and females do not go raiding within about two months or so before and after giving birth.
Goblins maintain a rich oral history of their own tribe, and of other nearby tribes. They do not keep written records as a rule, although some rare individuals have learned to read and write other languages. When they do write in their own language, they use the Dwarven alphabet.
It is very common for a member to leave one tribe and join another, either through exile or marriage or, more rarely, purely though wanderlust. It is a long tradition among goblins that the blood of the tribes is replenished this way, and newcomers are almost always welcomed into a new tribe, even if they have come over from a warring tribe. (Sometimes especially if they’ve come over from a warring tribe!)
Goblin children are raised by the tribe as a whole, and usually don’t know who their mothers are (though the mothers generally know, they don’t tend to make a big deal about it.) Almost none know who their male parents are, and they are often puzzled at other races who would consider such a thing as more important than someone’s tribe or individual deeds. Indeed the idea of pairing up and devoting yourself to only a single other person and raising only your own children would be considered the height of antisocialism to a Goblin, if they used words of that many syllables.
Goblin tribes tend to be quite nomadic, finding one area, settling down and raiding the locals. Eventually, they will use up the local resources, or be driven off by armed bands larger than they can defeat. When they are, they simply pick up the whole tribe and move to a new location. They cooperate frequently with hobgoblins, orcs, and gnolls, though only for brief periods of time. They war with these groups, as well as with other goblin tribes, as frequently as they cooperate with them. They are generally perpetually at war with Elves, and even more so with Dwarves, as they often vie for the same living spaces. Unlike Dwarves, though, Goblins do not mine or delve or expand the caverns they live in. They prefer to find either abandoned, or weakly defended cave systems and move in for a short time. They have been known also to live in ruined or abandoned buildings, and occasionally in deep forest encampments.