The Seed of Greatness Today was terrifying because of several reasons. One of the terrifying things was the loud ‘thump’ sound followed by the splash of bright red blood across your face as a humanoid shape plummeted to the ground. You scurried forward, hoping for something easily edible or lootable, and when you draw close, you realize it’s still moving if just barely. Human, dark brown hair, pale blue eyes, angular features, and… muscles. Oh so many muscles. Instead of the normal weird cloth coverings the terrifying humans tend to wear, he was covered in some sort of gleaming metal shell and he had one of those long shiny metal claws they carried lying next to him. You immediately move to grasp the handle and drag it away from the weakly moving thing. Then you scramble close to assess the edibility. Life was also confusing recently. As a goblin, this isn’t a particularly shocking state of affairs. You are OFTEN confused about the world around you. As chief of your tribe, you tend to be a little less confused than most, but that’s mostly by virtue of knowing that if you tell the others what to do, they’ll do it, and if you do well enough? You’ll probably get more delicious food. This though… this didn’t really fit into your paradigm. You see, you’d been out hunting with members of your tribe. This is often a high risk venture. If it’s particularly big prey like a carnigoat, or very aggressive like a mountain badger, you can usually expect to lose one or two. That’s fine though. Goblins breed faster than rabbits, and they don’t take long to grow into minimally useful members of the tribe (about a year). Then you saw the dragon. Over a kilometer in length, clad in glittering black scales, eyes lit bright red… It flew away like some departing nightmare, a winged lizard in the distance. You don’t get a GREAT look at it, but your ‘nope organ’ begins working overtime the moment you see it. You don’t think about whether or not it’s shameful to hide. You assume that every goblin that saw it did the exact same immediately (which is probably all of them, since the thing was huge). That wasn’t so confusing. Just one more really terrifying facet of your life. The human looks up at you with tired eyes. Its shaking hand, covered in its own blood, reaches out to you, fingers trembling and you dodge to the side, heart pounding like a drum. The man laughs softly, sadly. “Beg the God of Duty for a miracle, find out he has a sense of humor.” A rattling escapes his throat as he hacks and coughs. “Come here, little one. I must give you a gift, lest I risk it passing from this world forever.” Wonder of wonders, you understand a few of these words, despite the fact that the few things that have a language in this part of the world CERTAINLY don’t speak the human tongue, Lysendi. Mostly you understand the word ‘gift’. Free stuff! And without the need to loot! You greedily scramble forward. There is literally only one thing you can think of that is better than looting free stuff from something that’s already dead… And that’s having people just GIVE it to you. You don’t even have to look through the body to figure out what’s there! So when the man holds out his hand, gesturing you closer, you move that last, tiny bit of distance, and peer down into his hand... Which promptly turns and closes over your face in a lightning-fast movement. Which of course leads to regret as you realize that now the mangled-looking human is going to kill you. Trickery! It’s exactly what you would’ve done. A fairer person wouldn’t have held it against him since it’s what you would’ve done. However, you are NOT a fair person. You’re a goblin! As the light from his palm grows brighter, you reflect a little on your life. On the things that brought you to the heights of goblin achievement (which inevitably end in a horrible creative death, now that you think about it). You rose to the position of chief because of an advantage afforded you by your early life. Like any charismatic, intelligent, strong, shining example of valor, you had your very own origin story! Choose one: [ ] – The Necromancer - You were raised as the slave of the Necrovult, Graad. Day in and day out, you watched him work the mysterious, poisonous magic known as Dolor, speaking with the spirits of those who had passed on and raising the dead in an infinitely complex menagerie to serve as his armies in his eventual assault upon the Witch Moors. You’ve always had a better memory than most of your fellow goblins, so after a while of watching him, you managed to learn the basics of bending Dolor to your will. The first time you raised a zombie rat to go steal food, your master was FASCINATED. He struck off your chains, ushered you to your own room, and informed you that you were to be his apprentice, and heir, and even showed you the grimoire containing all his necromantic knowledge. You were so impressed. So proud. No one had ever trusted you this much. As a result, that very night, you stole the grimoire and everything else you could stuff into a bag and ran away. You support your tribe by ensuring that the dead rise again as undying cannon fodder for your hunts. [ ] – The Psion – You were born of the crèches of the Order of the Boundless, that strange, small group of men and women who manipulate the strange energy of the mind they call ‘Potential’. Vast breeding pens on the floating glacier-island of Solanaceae held the fruit of their breeding programs. Somewhere along the way, one of the Boundless discovered a seed of active Potential in a goblin while perusing a market in a far away city. Through careful searches and tracking of bloodlines, they managed to learn much of how ‘Potential’ propagates through lineages. They continued to breed them as fodder to practice psychic combat without risk of injuring their own students. You were a one-in-a-million result. A genetic aberration they simply call a ‘Grey’. Possessed of dense psionic Potential, the common method of dealing with your bloodline was to give a private feast and let you drift off to sleep in the night from the poison, never to awaken. What they didn’t know was that you had another genetic mutation that JUST SO HAPPENED to make you immune to that poison. You finished the feast, stole one of their training manuals, and then road off on an ice float, leaving them behind. Slightly taller than the average goblin, your big head, long limbs, and ‘great’ height convinced the tribe you ended up with to fear you. They find your grey skin very strange, but using some of the techniques you learned from their manual, you’ve managed to ensure that they are unswervingly, slavishly loyal to you. [ ] – The Healer – They’re called The Broken. They’re an order of healers. When they find you with your leg twisted in the forest, they picked you up, they took you to their abbey. They fed you, cared for you, and though none among this Abbey possessed sufficient command of their arts to fix your leg, they healed you as best they could. In fact, they freely taught you everything they knew of the process called Suspiration, the process by which one manipulates the life energy known as Breath. Through them, you discovered an inner peace that you think no other goblin has ever managed to achieve. You even took the oath of their goddess Neranyar to never personally bring harm to another. Still, in time you grew lonely for your own kind, and stole away in the night. You also stole all the herbs and medical tools you could lay hands on… You have just as much difficulty looking to the future as any goblin, but you often reflect on the past. You aren’t entirely certain that they didn’t just ‘let’ you go ahead to spread their arts to those who need them. Your presence brought the goblins health, and a lower mortality rate than most tribes could ever dream of. The previous chief ABDICATED, which is virtually unheard of. You’re still unable to bring yourself to do direct violence, but let’s be honest, you’re still a goblin. If you need a skull caved in or a back stabbed, you’re just fine with ordering your tribesmen to do it. [ ] – The Monk – In a range of mountains not too far from here, there lies a monastery. In that monastery, there is an order of men. They shave their heads, they wore clothes just as simple and unadorned as your own. They ate simple food in the smallest amounts that would sustain them and drank only water. They meditated. They eschewed wealth. They fought. Oh, did they fight. Flowing, dance-like moves. Such grace as arose a murderous rage in your heart. You were left with them as payment for succor they had given a traveler, a man who had owned you. Their order, unnamed, looked down on slavery, and they demanded you in payment. Upon receiving you, they informed you that you were now a free being, and also that you couldn’t leave until you’d worked to repay them. Still, they trained you in the basic forms and movements of their fighting style. The proper way to meditate on these forms and techniques to advance your understanding of the art. How to begin your journey down the ascetic’s path. Eventually, you got sick of all the hard work, and snuck away. You did nominally search the place, trying to steal everything valuable that wasn’t nailed down, but other than some weird old scroll, they had literally nothing worth stealing. You grumbled about it all the way back to your current home, until you met your new tribe. You promptly used your basic understanding of the unarmed fighting arts to beat the former chief in hand to hand combat. Now your whole tribe trains in the Dragon’s Fang Style, at least, as far as you know it, and show more discipline and patience than most would ever attribute to a tribe of goblins. You’re still fodder for adventurers, but against another tribe, one of your goblins is worth two of theirs, and your people don’t eat much! [ ] – The Rogue - La Société Tenebrous. One of the few organizations goblins have ever been welcomed in openly. You were a miserable street urchin, lurking mostly in the alleys and sewers of Grestin, the capitol city of Lysendi. You mostly worked as a pick pocket, or pretended to be a horribly burned child while begging until one of the more important members of the guild noticed you knifing a noble to death from behind and lifting several pouches of gold. After he beat you severely, he then proceeded to TEACH you the ways of stealing, of slipping a knife in from behind your enemy PROPERLY. Of poisons, and mis-directions and picking locks. Then he began using you to create distractions, to act as part of the ploy to con or scare his enemies or marks into giving him more money. He came to trust you, even let you sleep by his hearth when it came time to rest. He fed you. Well. Until you stabbed him to death in his sleep and took everything in his house that wasn’t nailed down. Really, he should’ve known better. He was a murderer and a thief. When you got back to your ancestral lands, you promptly walked up behind the chief, stabbed him SEVERAL times, and then made it clear to everyone that you were in charge. Everyone was very impressed as this was LITERALLY the most goblin thing they had ever seen. All goblins are sneaky. You were basically a living shadow by their standards. When you taught them to make traps, they were over the moon. Finally, a way to kill that did not involve direct combat! [ ] – The Warrior – Jǫtunnblut. That’s the word for you. Either your mother or your father was slept with one of the shapeshifting giants of legend. You’ve met neither of them, but you know you are… different. You’re young, but almost from the moment of your birth, you were strangling rabbits for your food, killing other goblins in your tribe when they angered you. You grew up in these mountains, and at only a year old, you’re already the tallest, most muscular goblin in your tribe. Upon reaching relative adulthood, you rammed the chief’s skull against a nearby wall repeatedly until it caved in, then declared yourself ‘boss’. No one argued because they’re all terrified of you. You immediately exiled all your competition for mates. As a result, the goblins of your tribe are all a little bigger, a little stronger, and a little less fearful than most standard goblins… though by human standards, they’re still utter cowards and bullies. Every now and then, one of your issue is born as the stately, human-sized Hobgoblin, vicious and powerful, and possessed of a terrible cunning. Given time, they might supplant the goblin population totally. And you? Well, everyone knows your kind never stop growing. Both in size, and in bloodthirst. [ ] – The Mutant – You were born on the Witch Moors. Like many people who move to the Moors without permission from its sovereign witches, your bloodline was cursed by the hex-slinging mistresses. The Corruption, the result of the witches twisting of the Moor’s natural Dolor has infested your lineage. As a result, goblins of your line often develop strange and unusual mutations as they grow into adulthood. The curse is particularly condensed in you though. Your genes fester with Corruption. Every year or so brings some new changed to your body and biology. Goblins care about little this sort of thing, though. The villagers near the giant tree you were born in were not so sanguine. After the whole pitchfork and torch debacle? You decided it was better to move on. It’s like they found the face that your fifth eye fired beams of energy offensive. Or was it that barbed scorpion tail? Who knows. What you DO know is, once you met the leader of the local tribe, a heavy-handed idiot, you shot him in the face with your laser beam and then stabbed his twitching-corpse multiple times with your tail until it stopped. That was, as far as the tribe was concerned, a pretty solid argument for why you should lead. Birth defects and other things seem to have become more common among the tribe lately. Hopefully they don’t blame you! [ ] – The Diabolist – The Lysendi Empire contains many secrets. Perhaps none so dark as the Cabal of Kept Secrets. Diabolists. The very word sends shudders of terror down the backs of most civilized men and women. Not even the elves of Kraakena Forest generated half so much fear and loathing from the civilized people of the world. Demon summoners. Without access to the Collegia Magos or the shamanic magics of the elves, those in the world at large have little recourse but to make truck with demons. It’s relatively easy, if one gets ahold of a tome, a surprisingly generous diabolist, or a free imp, to learn to summon any number of demons of varying prizes. Wise men summon the weakest of demons to start. The wisest never get involved, period. At any rate, you were a member of a Horde, a monstrous army in the service of Prince Gettford, the pre-eminent diabolist of your time. He ordered those in his service who had even a speck of magical power to be gathered up and walked through the process of binding a minor imp. You were one such. Following proud goblin tradition, the moment you were assigned to guard something important, in a daring display of stupidity, you stole The Book of the Legion of Names and absconded. When you high-tailed it as far away as you could, you immediately used your connection with your imp servant to burn every goblin that challenged you to ash. As your people had no real taboo against cavorting with demons, you were a lock for tribal chief. For that matter are you a: [ ] – Chieftain Or [ ] – Chieftess And what even IS your name, anyway? [ ] – Write in.