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Hobgoblin Bear-dog rider


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Today’s piece was brought to you by the creator of the game Khopesh! (…). He graciously gave me a free pass to create whatever it felt right on the subject of a Hobgoblin riding a beast of war.

The Hobgoblins of my own mythos live on the steppe leading a hunter-gatherer lifestyle where they ride their Bear-dogs (based on the extinct Andrewsarchus) following herds of Horses, Muskox, Mammoth, Bison and other large steppe animals all year round. 

Hobgoblins are an offshoot of the Goblin species, and it is believed they originally moved in to the steppe to escape the oppression of the larger Orcs and ended up adapting perfectly and thriving in their new environment.

The lack of overwhelming competition in the steppe plus an abundant supply of food, and the advantage of having tamed (to an extent) the ferocious beasts as steeds gave those Goblins such an upper hand in survival, that their kind was able to grow much larger and even smarter than the average Goblin. They became as large as a grown man and capable of better and more consistent manufacturing of weapons and equipment than their lesser kin and became capable of building stable and even prosperous societies.They adopted a lifestyle very similar to their own mounts, becoming a pack of nomadic predators, always on the move, never sleeping under a roof and owning only the indispensable possessions that they carry with them on sleds when moving from site to site.

Hobgoblins will live all heir lives together with their Bear-Dogs in a mutualistic relationship, and would sleep, eat, hunt  and fight together with their steeds. The size of one's "kennel" is the direct measure of power and status in a Hobgoblin society, but even the King himself will be often found grooming his favourite mount and eating all the lice and tics like everybody else.

The Hobgoblins numbers exploded with time and they became the scourge of many nations, gathering in large hordes from time to time and sweeping into Men's cities like a swarm of locusts, unstoppable and inexorable, leaving only rubble and corpses on their wake.

Even when not gathered on those huge hordes, the Hobgoblins are a constant threat to any of the unfortunate neighbours that share the steppe with them.

Raids are a constant plague since they are always after human's herds for food  (or even the tender human flesh itself, which is very appreciated among the whole Goblinoid family). They also enjoy the sheer violence and thrill of senseless murder and destruction, considering it a mix of sport, training and entertainment, in the same way as medieval lords enjoy their grand hunts.

Hobgoblins also engage in slave trade any time they have the need for goods that are not practical to acquire through plunder, and many are those who would engage in such terrible commerce with the evil tribes and profit hugely from human misery as it is so often the case.

The Hobgoblin tribes also deal very closely with the Ogre Khans, which they prefer to be allies with whenever possible, and they buy such allegiance through a tribute of herds of captured humans for slaughter and consumption.

Due to being the Ogre's favourite food and 
the finest of delicacies, human flesh gradually became  a currency of sorts between Hobgoblins and Ogres. Little Babies in particular were considered the finest culinary delight, and command the highest prices within their society, causing the abduction of babies to be a common sight in many places that have the misfortune of bordering with territories where Ogres dwell.

Such "diplomacy" between Hobgoblins and Ogres results in agreements that provide the tribes with a powerful ally in war, multiplying the horde's strength many times over and allowing them to threaten even the mightiest empires of men, or to subjugate other Orcs and Goblin tribes under their dominion at times.

The raider depicted here is wielding a double-limbed bow made of horn that is a very fearsome weapon capable of sending barbed and poisoned arrows far and hard with which they relentlessly wear down their prey with a series of hit and run attacks. Each rider works in coordination with the rest of the pack to surround and pursue an enemy to exhaustion, when a final and devastating charge finishes them off, usually between the gigantic jaws of the terrible Bear-dog. 

Much of that hunting strategy is carried on instinctively by the 
Bear-dog itself, which is (predictably) markedly different than a horse as a mount, being more independent, harder to control and obviously very capable as a fighter itself. For that reason, the rider basically "teams up" with the beast instead of commanding its every move all the time, and that creates a mix of a fighting platform and a mount in one, where the fearsome Hobgoblin archers can shoot at an enemy from their fast moving platforms as a skirmisher, as well as doubling as a terrific shock cavalry unit when charging into melee.

The cultures I had in mind when creating the material culture for them was mainly the Scythians and Huns. 

I hope you guys enjoy it.

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Saw this via The 9th Age! Looks perfect for T9A too, good stuff!