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Shadow of Yesterday's World of Near index

Beasts of Hunger: Goblins

Most would call goblins debased: sick, twisted, addicted things with little morality. Goblins call this fun. Pure hedonists, goblins hunger for pleasure, trouble, and excitement.

Appearance and Personality

Goblins are infinitely adaptable beings; their "natural" bodies, if you can call them that, manage to resemble demons, dogs, and men at the same time. They are mottled brown, black, green, and grey, and their hair grows randomly, in shape and color. Their bodies have an ability that cannot be explained by many: they evolve to match their environment even as they continue to age, and their offspring carry these same characteristic. Even strong magic and torture can warp their bodies, as many evil wizards have found, creating the dread ur-goblins, bugbears, and Violators from goblin stock. Most goblins are smaller and stouter than humans, although they can come in just about any size.

Goblins' curiosity drives them into all the forgotten places of the earth, and makes them decent apprentices for just about any job: they catch on quickly, but tend to cause as many accidents as they do help. They're easy to keep loyal, though: all goblins have an addiction, which if fed regularly, will make one your best friend. This addiction need not be to a drug: they can be addicted to a certain act, food, drink, or, well, drug. (A tale has been told of goblin divers on the shores of Maldor. These beasts were amazing pearl-finders, and were addicted to the rush of adrenaline they got when their human handler threw them off the cliff-side.)

Goblin society, family, and morality

Left alone, goblin societies resemble anarchy to any outsider, although they tend to grow an alpha goblin among any tribe. Any goblin tribe of more than about two dozen of the animals tends to fall apart without an outside master, usually human. Goblins are actually rather good at organizing to make sure everyone's needs get met, but when they start to threaten each other's resources, tribes quickly split into rivals.

Goblin families are very loose-knit. All goblins are poly-sexual, and any mating between them, whether male-male, male-female, or female-female, can generate offspring. With a month-long gestation period, this doesn't really get in the way of their curious relations. The offspring are born as small, but capable goblins, emerging as little flesh-balls about a foot in diameter. Within an hour of their birth, they grow feet, hands, eyes, and a mouth. Young goblins pick another goblin in the tribe as their parent, randomly, and if that goblin doesn't push them away, they usually learn the same addictions and behaviors.

Goblins do not understand the human concept of love. It's an alien concept to them. They do understand mutual pleasure, of both the sexual and non-sexual form, and do actively work with each other. The greatest sins in goblin society are not wanting to trade - one goblin's poison is another's pudding - and betraying someone you're working with.

A few goblins have been observed in a bizarre state that resembles love, however. When a goblin is struck with this, known only as "the Affliction" in their rough language, they leave their tribe and travel, their only goals to prove their love or die. (They seem confused by their own emotions, and usually cannot express clearly what they are doing.) A goblin has never been observed in love with another goblin, however; they always choose a member of another species as their object of affection.

Crunchy Bits

Goblin Species Abilities

Innate Ability - Adaptability (Vigor) 
The goblin can change its body structure and even mental capabilities on a fairly frequent basis. This ability can stand in for any other ability on the goblin's character sheet, under the circumstances described in the Secret of Adaptability.

Goblin Species Secrets

Secret of the Addiction 
Your character is addicted to a substance or behavior. You cannot refresh any pools if it has been longer than a day since your character took part in this addiction. In addition, your character can never refresh Vigor normally: instead, he only refreshes Vigor through taking part in this addiction. This refreshment can only happen once per day, but there is a boon. Your character can take part in the addiction, however, as often you like, and one point of Vigor is returned each time after the first refreshment of the day. You can break this addiction if you have the Key of the Affliction. The character must abstain from the substance or behavior. At the end of each day doing so, make a Resist roll. If the roll is successful for five straight days, the addiction is broken and you can refresh Vigor normally. If any roll is failed, start over. The secret is kept and if the character ever takes part in the addiction again, it returns. This secret is mandatory for goblin characters.
Secret of Adaptability 
Whenever Vigor is refreshed, instead of actually refreshing the pool, the player can switch his character's Adaptability score with the score for a different ability. This is a permanent switch.
Secret of Body Weaponry 
Your goblin has innate weapons and armor. This Secret works like the Secret of Imbuement and may be taken multiple times in order to gain more potent or extra weapons and armor. If you have the Secret of Adaptability, these weapons and armor can be changed under the same circumstances: when Vigor is refreshed, but no pool refreshment is taken.
Secret of the Chameleon 
Your character's skin can change color, and instinctively does. You always have a bonus die to hide against brown, black, grey, or dark green: basically, natural colors and rough stone.

Goblin Species Keys

Key of the Affliction 
Your goblin has succumbed to the Affliction - he has learned to love. This means he is becoming human. With this Key, a goblin character may also take the human Species Key, Key of Unrequited Love. Gain 1 XP every time your character is insulted or ostracized by other goblins for the Affliction. Gain 3 XP every time this reaction causes great difficulty for your character. Buyoff: Become fully human. To do this, the character must have the Key of Unrequited Love. If your character either breaks his addiction or wins the love of his target, he becomes human. All goblin Species Secrets except Secret of the Addiction are lost, as is the Adaptability ability.

Non-Canonical Information

Shadow of Yesterday's World of Near index