The Charge of the Lout Brigade
The Imperial Legions, their banners tattered after endless brutal months combing the mountains, had finally trapped their foes. The elusive mountain fighters of the Kobelyn goblin tribes quailed, their doom inevitable, when mounted figures suddenly appeared on the ridge above the enemy host! It was the Tahkhan Cavalry! Moans of fear were suddenly transformed into shouts of triumph!
Terkuss Tahkhan, the infamous Kobelyn war leader, rode forth on his midnight-black destrier (a magnificent beast, stolen especially for the occasion). Terkuss' holy banner fluttered madly in the stiff breeze, its brightly-colored silks clashing with eye-watering intensity. The mighty leader stood tall in the saddle, towering nearly four feet tall as his high-pitched voice squeaked piercingly across the battlefield.
"Today, the humans will pay for what they have done! The Kobelyns will seize the spoils of victory!" With that, Terkuss raised his awkward weapon, the Glaive of Scroungebald, high in the air and signaled the charge. The bladder-pipes of the Kobelyn pipers bleated forth thunderously as his troops spurred their horses forward!
Confusion reigned in the enemy ranks as the cavalry's charge arrowed straight at their baggage train! What WERE they doing? Some of the human force wheeled to defend their property, while others stood fast where they had planned to withstand the Kobelyns' strike. Some of the human troops maneuvered to engage them, but were too late to intercept the fast-moving cavalry.
A howl of fury rose from the ranks of the Kobelyns main force as they witnessed their cavalry's bald-faced attempt to loot the baggage train and leave the rest of them facing the Legions. As the Legionaries stumbled about in disorder, the enraged humanoids charged forward! Even as the cavalry looted the Legion's wagons, the remaining force overwhelmed the humans in an unexpected charge, driving the enemy from the field!
Historians studying the Kobelyn victory in years afterward never did understand their battle cry in that last charge against the human army: "Kill Terkuss!"
The Horse Hollerers
Goblins and their kin are known for many things. They are skilled at the art of ambush. They are capable of subtle pranks and tricks on those who anger them. They are famed for their delicious recipes for mushrooms. They forge alliances with a bewildering variety of creatures, either employing them as guards or submitting to them as their minions. They enjoy riding various animals, with legends placing them on everything from giant bats to voracious wolves.
They are not known as great horsemen.
Despite this weakness, many goblins and goblinkin love to ride horses. They don't like to take care of horses, they don't like to breed horses, they have absolutely no clue how to maintain horses in the underground lairs they prefer, and they tend to ride very ineptly, but they love doing it. Basically, Goblin cavalry are among the least competent of horsemen, but nobody ever faulted their enthusiasm. As they gallop along, hooting and hollering, any fool can see that they're having the time of their lives.
Terkuss, Tahkhan of the Kobelyn Riders, waddled heroically before his assembled Kobelyn troops. His inspection was thorough and savage, as always. Spotting barding that was missing several pieces, he directed a ferocious squint at the offending trooper. "Private Genlenn! he barked in his squeaky voice, Do you EXPECT to DEFEAT the humans with your barding looking like that? Well, DO YOU?"
"Nn..nn.nno, Tahkhan," stuttered the intimidated trooper.
"Then I expect that barding delivered to my cave immediately! You had better steal some new barding before morning; we move out at dawn!"
Don't Look a Stolen Horse in the Mouth
Its hard to miss the Kobelyn cavalry of Terkuss Tahkhan as they ride along, their barding and equipment clattering and bouncing like an earthquake in a smithy. Each of the goblin soldiers' mounts is thoroughly armored with some of the most creative improvised gear ever seen. While their armor and weapons may seem a bit irregular, appearing to be made of scrap iron, old pots and pans, and other odd items, this gear is actually made of scrap iron, old pots and pans, and anything else that wasn't closely tended by its original owner.
Occasionally, the Kobelyn troops will take the field with splendid new mounts and barding, especially when other cavalry in the area post inadequate pickets. While their riding skills are minimal, and their ability to care for horses is pathetic, the troops of Terkuss are all highly-skilled horse thieves. Working as teams, they will often devise several distractions to entertain horses' owners prior to actually "recruiting" the animals. A typical scheme might be for one of them to sneak into the enemy camp (or allied camp; they're not too picky) and weaken the lines the horses are tied to. Afterward, some sort of distraction such as a feigned attack keeps enemy sentries busy while burning pots of brimstone and foul-smelling herbs are hurled into the camp to panic the horses. As the frightened animals bolt from the camp, the Kobelyn troops are there, waiting to scoop them up.
Their Fearless Leader
An imposing figure, bowlegged and hideously ugly, Terkuss seldom goes anywhere without his elaborate armor, an ancient hauberk of mail so highly polished that it practically glows. While this battle harness is rather large for Terkuss' squat physique, it goes well with the other fine equipment that Terkuss has stolen over the years: The famous Glaive of Scroungebald, The Ointment Flask of Komodo, and his Holy War Banner. These items, each a relic of unusual magical power, have helped the Kobelyn war leader reach his lofty position.
Although most foes notice his impressive magical items first, Terkuss' other gear is equally elaborate. He is careful to only steal the finest of barding for his personal mounts, and wears clothing entirely covered with fancifully-embroidered patterns. Although he prefers to dress in black, as is common among his people, he tends to wear broad hats of bizarre complexity. These intricate chapeaus are loaded down with dozens of plumes and feathers, resembling some sort of badly-maintained stuffed bird more than a hat.
Terkuss is unusually unreliable and mercenary, even among his "ethically-flexible" people. He can often be bought off for little more than the cost of one of his fanciful hats, readily betraying anyone that he thinks won't come after him.
Terkuss enjoys intimidating his troops, so is careful not to accept any recruits that aren't easily cowed. While many military units might prefer to employ soldiers that are bold and enterprising, Terkuss' priority is to find troops cunning and agile enough to avoid getting killed. Terkuss operates on the theory that getting in fair fights might get his troops killed, and without troops, he wouldn't have anyone to intimidate.
Unlike most of the enthusiastic, but unskilled, riders in his unit, Terkuss is actually a skilled horseman. He ably guides his mount with his knees while he wields his massive glaive in battle. Accompanied by his standard-bearer and a bladder-piper, he charges boldly into the thick of battle, slapping his troops' mounts on the rump to ensure that he doesn't go there alone.
The Highly-Polished Byrnie of Gernie the Obsessive
This extremely shiny coat of mail is much lighter than it appears. A relic of centuries earlier, its original owner polished it daily with fanatic zeal. While his endless cleaning efforts eroded away much of the metal, the remaining steel is highly resilient to damage. Additionally, it radiates an aura of cleanliness so potent that its owner is completely resistant to rust and corrosion. So powerful is this effect that the wearer seldom needs to bathe, remaining clean and neat without any effort whatsoever.
The Glaive of Scroungebald
This razor-sharp weapon is as clumsy to wield as a weapon twice its heft, but strikes with potency that belies its wielder's small size. It causes wounds that are much more damaging and harder to heal than would be expected.
Sergeant Scroungebald, the original owner of the Glaive, was notorious for his creative procurement. It is unclear how the man originally acquired the Glaive, but its power only seems to function fully for one as larcenous as he was: If the wielder goes without stealing anything for an entire day, the weapon's magical powers fade and fail until he gives up his law-abiding ways.
The Holy War Banner of Terkuss
While this gaudy standard has no apparent magical virtue, its clumsy design and clashing colors can cause nausea and dizziness in any observers that spend too long looking at it. This effect does not extend to the Kobelyn troops carrying it, who are partially color-blind. The heraldic design depicted on the banner is subject to debate, as its clumsy execution could have been intended as a sort of eagle, but others suspect it was meant to be a running dog.
Close examination of the banner reveals it to be woven of shredded silken stockings, none of which matches any of the others. The banner is rather tattered, and has several holes in it.
The Ointment Flask of Komodo
This jar of healing ointment never seems to run out of foul-smelling herbal goop with alleged healing properties. If rubbed on wounds or sore muscles, the ointment inside gives the victim a strong burning and itching sensation on the affected area.
While application of the potent ointment does not appear to actually heal wounds, the threat of applying the stuff has encouraged many a trooper to decide he wasn't really injured after all.
The Kobelyn People: Doltish Dandies of the Darkness
Most humans neither understand nor care about the different cultures and subgroups of goblins. Despite the wildly varied tribes of this unpredictable race, they barely know enough to tell them from orcs. This is unfortunate, as some goblins are more truthful and reasonable than humans, while others spread trouble wherever they go. The Kobelyn are definitely part of the latter number.
One of the more aggressive Goblin tribal groups, the obnoxious and foppish Kobelyn are a particularly grotesque and vengeful people. Preferring to dwell underground, these creatures are infamous for their nocturnal raids against anyone dwelling nearby. Most take perverse pride in elaborate pranks and cunning revenge schemes against those who insult or embarrass them; they can be expected to retaliate against anyone who harms them, no matter how well-deserved. They find it amusing to play cruel jokes and tricks, such as stealing vital tools or feeding farm animals strange herbs that make their milk or meat taste vile and inedible. Many Kobelyns are enthusiastic thieves, competing against their peers to see who can complete the most brazen thefts.
These noxious creatures often have an exaggerated sense of pride and personal honor. Despite the fact that they look hideously ugly to most other races, Kobelyn take great pride in their appearance, keeping scrupulously clean and neat.
Kobelyn are well-known for their elaborate clothing: Although they often dress entirely in black, they prefer strangely slashed garments of leather and cloth, wearing several layers, one over the next. Small glimpses of the creatures' tunics and doublets peek through the perforated outer garments, with the cloth carefully arranged to show off as many layers as possible. Strangely, the partially color-blind Kobelyn folk seem to see these shades of black as different colors, suggesting that their vision senses a different color palette than other races.
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? Responses (18)-18
HA! The best goblin sub ever! Such detail, such authentic goblinry!
Thank you! I do have to disagree, though: The best goblin sub ever is Scras' infamous Knocker's Dirty Clothes Place!
With all do respect to Scras' forerunner of a goblin sub, I like Terkuss' Kobelyn Calvary better.
Yes. A work of disfigured yet glorius art! Well done!!
5/5 for this very unorthodox miltary unit.
Heheh. This comes actually close to a New Take On - you have explained and showed the kobolds in a new light. Well done!
I was struck by an image of self-important, foppishly dressed goblins, and decided that they should resemble goblin Landsknechts.
The name 'Kobelyn' was chosen after seeing the Wikipedia entry on the origins of the word goblin: '...according to 'The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English' the name is probably derived from the Anglo-French gobelin (medieval Latin gobelinus), which is probably a diminutive of Gobel, a name related to the word kobold.'
Ah, 'tis the fate, the gobbo will ever be funnier than the orc!
Yay for goblins, the most basic of adventurer food, for without them, we'd rarely make it to level 2 :D
Yes, the pablum of the Adventurer's world...
I swear I had already voted on this submission, I mean I remember reading it!
heh, Goblin Landsknechts! I echo Dozus' 'authentic goblinry' comment!
well put together, and of course...funny.
My dream is to write a Hitchhiker's Guide in a fantasy vein, and this set would be an awesome addition to it!
You've got to agree that any goblin warlord who rallies his people to victory by making them try to kill him- and who did this all on accident- must be a wonderful character. Bravo!
vivid, humerous, informational, useful and well written. All the necessary components of a good sub (and humor doesn't hurt.) 5/5
Well worth the read.
4.5/5 + HoH
An HoH bump for this classic goblin sub.