Goblins are a relatively new addition to the plains of Ig, having only appeared in numbers within the last few centuries. They are smaller than dwarves, rarely growing higher than three feet. Their skin ranges in color from a jaundiced yellow to noisome purple. No two goblins look exactly the same, as if their creator formed them from cast-off parts. According to goblin tales, if anyone were listening, their people came from a land deep below the surface. It was a land of endless tunnels crawling with vermin of all kinds, more or less heaven. They lived peacefully there until a great enemy rose up and enslaved them. Goblin-kind toiled in miserable squalor for long ages before the coming of the great vision. Each of the goblin elders had a dream of a land where they could be free, high above on a surface they couldn't imagine. Uniting as one for the first and final time they cast off their shackles and fled to the land above. They followed a trail of golden centipedes through tunnels never traveled. After years of wandering, and a few decades confronting their racial agoraphobia, they reached the surface. Beneath open sky the race splintered in separate tribes, each group finding a singular niche in which thrive.
Goblins form loose tribes focused on a single species of monstrous insects, always social breed. These insects become their totem animal and soon form a symbiotic partnership. The insects gain cleaning crew and a more sophisticated network of internal defenses, the goblins a natural deterrent from larger monsters and food scavenged from the insect's hive. This relationship is not perfect, the goblins must be careful not to vex the hive. Should they disrupt the hive too much the insects will drive them out fearlessly. This is why they go unnoticed by most of the other humanoids in Ig, they live among creatures the rest of the land avoids. The largest groups in Ig are the Smoke, Gravel, Paper, and Mud tribes, although each band also has specific family name.
Smoke goblins live among giant bees, they are named for the smudge sticks they carry to maintain calm when they work within a hive. Most hives are found in hollow hills, but any protected interior space such as a cave or ruin could host the social insects. The reliable stores of honey they glean keep them well-fed throughout the year. Smoke goblins also use worker bees as steeds, small bands of the insect riders act as fast cavalry and aerial scouts. The goblins bind sharpened bamboo lances to the stingers of these insects, allowing them to attack without fear of losing their mount when a stinger pulls free.
Gravel goblins cohabitate with giant ants inside their nests. While not as large as giant bees and unsuitable as mounts these ants make fearless protectors. Because of this gravel tribes are rarely threatened by wild monsters. They do live in fear of smarter prey, as giant ants proclivity for finding seams of ore and precious stones make them a target for greedy bandits. To counteract this goblins funnel the ants tunneling instinct into creating complex mazes that loop and twist to disorient intruders.
Paper and mud goblins live among two classes of social wasps, paper wasps and mud daubers. Like the insects with which they live, these goblins are aggressive and particularly fearless. They're far more likely make war against the other people of Ig, including other goblin tribes. Warriors riding giant wasps are a relatively common threat to isolated villages.
Henceforth, anyone rolling up halfling character in my campaign will in fact be rolling up a goblin. Roll on the table below to determine what sort of tribe your character came from!
Goblin Tribe (1d6)