Thieves & Kings
The wide dell to the southwest of Thornkeep is filled with a particularly large and tough variety of thorny briar known as Goblin Brambles, that grow in the danker parts of the Echo Wood. According to legend, the goblinbrambles are the work of the hobgoblin adepts from the old goblin Kingdom of Zog. Whether the tale is true or not, goblinbramble is wicked stuff, that grows quickly, choking natural trees and covering the ground in a nearly impenetrable underbrush 10’-15’ high. The area, known as the Briarwarren, is home to a small tribe of goblins known as the Brambleclaws who have lurked on the edge of the community of Thornkeep for generations. Small, twisting, tunnel-like paths wind through this tangled mess of thorns, concealing entrances to underground dens and nests.
Typical warrior of the Brambleclaws
By scavenging other folks’ refuse and taking on jobs that others don’t want, the goblins of the Briarwarren are reasonably useful to Thornkeep. The Briarwarren has become something of a dumping ground for debris, refuse and unwanted objects. For the goblin’s part, regular trade with the humans of Thornkeep has made the Brambleclaws rich and comfortable – for goblins – and most of the tribe seek to keep things that way. In point of fact, the local Brambleclaws are seen by other local goblin tribes as great traders, and their warriors travel widely and frequently in search of profit and trade.
However, every now and then, a drunk doesn’t come home, some livestock vanish, or a shed not properly secured gets looted during the night – goblins will be goblins, after all. And sometimes small bands from the Brambleclaws mount raids or ambushes when they learn of easy pickings, or discover unprotected timber camps in the woods.
Goblin warriors are usually equipped with simple leather armor, crude small wooden shields, and their ever-present swords and bows. While most goblin tribes employ flint weapons, Goblinbramble short swords are typically “Mankars”, traded from bugbears and hobgoblins who have access to real smithies. The mankar are short chopping blades that are common trophies of goblin-hunters and popular among bandits.
The Brambleclaws often use bows made from the wood of Goblinbrambles, and Thorn Arrows which are both a popular trade good among the local tribes, and a particularly annoying aspect of their raids. Roughly one in three use these arrows, and are typically better-armed and equipped goblin “commandos”, who also use better armor (studded leather) and are especially fond of stealth and ambushes, before fading back into the brush.
The Great Mogur Graalsk
The leader of the Brambleclaws is the Great Mogur Graalsk, a fat, pompous, conniving schemer who toadies up to whomever shows interest in his people, and lords over everyone weaker. Graalsk seems well informed about events in town, because he has goblin eyes everywhere. He is known to gladly sell this information, especially if it might spell difficulties among the factions in town. Graalsk has shown he is especially interested in finding “The Sword of Zog”, a goblin trophy thought to be hidden somewhere within the bounds of Thornkeep. At present, he is known to have his servants scurrying everywhere in search of the object.
A “Mogur” is a term used by goblin leaders meaning “Goblin Boss”, and the term “Kumar” (Goblin : “Champion”) which is reserved for veteran leaders who have attracted at least one other tribe under their banner. “Katar” is a term that identifies a “Goblin King”, or a warrior of great prowess who has gathered at least three or more tribes under his banner. Should a goblin ever achieve the title of Katar, it represents years of careful manipulation and plotting, successful raiding, and at least one outright war against a rival tribe. It is considered the highest achievement among goblin-kind. Few ever accomplish the deed.