Goblins are a force to be reckoned with in the world of Kings of War – just ask Guy Haley…
Goblins can be found in every corner of Mantica. They are a persistent nuisance, and sometimes a genuine threat, to all other creatures. Goblins are even more numerous than their Orcish cousins. For the most part, they are subservient to the larger Orcs, employed in every role in society that Orcs are too lazy to fill themselves (meaning most of them). They are deployed in war by their masters to wear down an enemy with sheer weight of numbers before the Orcs move in for the kill. Where they are not enslaved by Orcs, they form their own petty kingdoms and tribes. These are of a bewildering variety – Goblins dwell in swamps, jungle, deserts, forests, mountains, hills, caverns and even sewers. Thousands roam the mammoth steppe in huge federations of clans, riding a variety of fierce and malodorous beasts. Here they fight with savage humans and hunt the shaggy behemoths that live there.
That Goblins are related to Orcs is obvious. They share the same colour of skin, similar physiological quirks and an underlying sense of malice. A Goblin’s idea of heaven is finding something smaller and weaker than itself and tormenting it to death, although in reality they are so jumpy the source of their attentions has to be half-dead already. But whereas the creation of the Orcs is relatively well-understood, not one scholar has a clear idea how the goblins came about, and it has been opined that they are a kind of cosmic mistake, something cobbled together by lesser Abyssals while the dark gods were looking the other way. They are not entirely evil. Goblins can be traded with. As one finds the occasional truly evil man, it is possible to find the occasional truly good goblin, but such individuals are rarer than hen’s teeth, and are usually murdered by their compatriots. Goblins are certainly nowhere near as brave as Orcs, exhibiting a degree cowardice that verges on the comical. The only thing that Goblins have in great abundance, apart from each other, is self-preservation.
Most Goblins are far too weaselly for proper fighting, generally taking to the field in a large, poorly armed rabble that has to be kicked toward the enemy. Whereas Orcs are badly disciplined but bold, Goblins are just badly disciplined. Given the chance, they will flee from a fight at the slightest opportunity, and must be tightly controlled by their betters if they are to function as a useful force.
The greater strategists among Orc-kind recognise this and give allow their smaller cousins bows, provided the Goblins stand in front of the Orcs and point the weapons away from them. The bow is the preferred weapon of the Goblin in any case, as they generally feel safer when they can inflict harm on their enemies from a distance, and, should the opportunity arise, and they can get up the courage, it also affords them the opportunity for revenge on their oppressors…
Not all Goblins are quite so timid, and the larger ones will form into fighting units with some value. These Goblins commonly call themselves ‘Gutrenders’, although that is not how the Orcs tend to refer to them, instead derisively calling them ‘Sharpsticks’. For all their bragging, Sharpstick’s still exhibit some degree of Goblin fearfulness, and carry spears, the better to keep the enemy at arm’s length. Shields too are favoured, the larger the better. Naturally, these items are of little use in the caverns and close tunnels of overrun Dwarf citadels where many Goblins make their home, and a close second favourite is a curved knife, preferably wielded behind the backs of their enemies.
Goblins are more ingenious than Orcs and do most of the building and smithying in their lands. They are especially cunning when it comes to devising new weapons, although it has to be said that most of them are also laughably incompetent when it comes to building them. Nevertheless, some Goblin inventions become firm favourites on the battlefield, and it is common for warriors bearing nets, lassos, spring-powered harpoons, beehive-flingers and large, iron-toothed traps to fight alongside their spear-armed brethren.
Away from the Orcs, the goblin mind can shine. They have an affinity for wicked creatures, forming alliances with all kinds of sharp-toothed, stinking beasts and possess them in great multitudes. Many are employed as draft animals or mounts. Not only do the Goblins relish the ability to escape quickly, the animal they sit upon is usually the better fighter. Another favourite asset of Goblin ‘Biggits’ (their generals) are the ferocious but dumb Tolls and Giants. Shambling monsters many times the size of Goblins, they follow their little masters around, either in the hope of a free meal provided by the Goblins, or in the hope of a free meal provided by a Goblin.
Among the ‘free’ Goblins are those Goblins who exhibit true genius. There are the Goblin wizards, or ‘Wiz’, who are bright enough to remember spells and the ingredients to go with them provided they are not too complicated, and Goblin Engineers, brightest of all the greenskins. How these small and stupid creatures can produce inventors intelligent enough to dabble successfully in steam power and black powder weaponry is the source of much debate, among those who care about such things. There are even rumours of an entire ramshackle city of Goblins full of bizarre machines. This mythical place is said to be the home of the Engineer’s Guild, and they rule it with a (literally) iron fist. Supposedly it lies somewhere in the marshes beyond the northern border of Basilea, but few folk give this outlandish rumour much credence.
Goblins are now available to order from the Mantic Games website and all good hobby retailers. Pre-order the Mawbeast Pack and War-Trombone here – released in January. Grab the Goblin Spitters Horde as part of Santa’s Spring Clean at up to 50% here.