Hobgoblins


  • So in another thread hobgoblins got brought and I think they deserve there own thread.

    So lets start, now among the suggestions made where them Japanese (D&D style) or Mongolian (WFB), but why not combind elements both? Its morew fantasy and its not like combinding them has not been succesfully done before:

     

    We also didn't really bring up other options persay (I mentioned some Chinese weapons that seemed Hobgoblinly like the hook sword, but thats about it):



  • I dont really have a lot to add to this. I think mashing cultures is always interesting and would help people get a feel (imagined) for the culture of the Hobgoblins. Though I am sure there are some who probably dont know the difference between a mongol warrior and a Japanese one... I would definitely buy a box. 

    I know there was some discussion about whether making monster races inspired by real world cultures was "racism".. This was based on Peculiar companions use of cultures like Benin as goblin/orc armies. 

    Peculiar Companions Orcs/goblins

    I like then, and as I dont use orcs and goblis as inherently evil (in my Pathfinder game, some races may have a stereotype, but not all red dragons are evil, just like not all Gold dragons are good. So I dont see having Orcs be african, means associating african culture as evil. But... I guess if most places have them (or Hobgoblins) as the villains in the story I can see the argument that doing this is making Mongol, or Japanese as "the bad guys". 


  • Hobgoblins really do need some nice recurve horse bows, kris knives, and simitars. I do vibe with the Mongolian theme. One of the tics in my personal Fantasy lore is that Hobgoblins are the only Greenskins that can ride horses. Though they only ride black mares.

    Its cool how you can add small fantasy tics that can really justify material societal conditions. I always say that Orcs fear heavy horse and this goes a long way towards justifying human feudal social structures in fantasy settings. And always rember that a good counter to Drow night raids is Blood Hounds.

    Somone really needs to make a fat sack of 100 Kobalds (Yes I would literally buy them in a plastic sack like those old school plastic army men). I don't even care if they are monopose, all I care about with kobalds is volume. They are tinyer than a goblin and if 50 of them were armed with just short spears or clubs I wouldn't complain. There are so many legacy campaigns like Dragon Mountain that sause on the Kobalds and there has never really been the kind of volume in the minature lines to fill their main role of en masse attack. Additionally they are often one of the very first things players fight and I'm not sure I have ever seen more than 12 differnt sculpts of the dragon wannabes. I'm not married to either the lizard-faces or pug-faces but it would be nice to see some light trap making and mining equipment incorperated into the sculpts. 

    This has been one of the biggest holes I can think of in the fantasy minature community. Kobolds are almost exclusivly a D&D thing so thats why they are marginalized compared to goblins, even though they fill an important sub-role and make even better evil minions due to their mining & trap making skills. Lets not forget they are Lawful Evil so they will follow an evil plan. One of the best "My First Minions" helping to do tunnel expanshion and trap security in the lair of any sorcerer, black knight, or evil priest

     


  • I almost forgot! Don't forget those gnome looking helmets or hats with hobgoblins. Makes them look all threatening and phalic. 

    The Samari helms are cool but this gnome looking thing is still very centeral asian. Let not take ourseves too seriously because all green skins are just nomadic scavengers and/or squatters anyway, No matter how militant and well organized hobgoblins claim to be, most of their gear is just stolen kit. 

    Go crazy with the pointy ears and super long noses. Those flat faced bat looking mo-fo's in the 3rd edition monster manual just lack any character. Hobgoblins are wicked evil minons, make them look the part. And any additional brass masks would look even cooler with groteskly protruding long noses. Holy crap that would be sweet to swap out onto some cultists.

     

     


  • Wargames Atlantic already makes medium-sized goblinoids though. I'll be painting mine in orange-brown-yellow-something as hobgoblins for sure. Granted, D&D 3.x is less specific about the gear, so the generic tribal stuff actually suits me rather well.


  • @Eric Howanietz Oh, I think those are macedonian helmets, which are actually a Hellinist Western thing they exported everywhere. Also no offense but I am tired of stolen scrap gear goblinoids, besides this is a chance to do a semi-civilized evil race with a culture,  it shouldn't be wasted doing slightly taller goblins.

    @William Redford

    Actually I don't think it's particularly racist in this case since the Asians seem to have a more "share friendly" culture with regards to thier myths, traditions, and media in general, if we were talking about making them Amerindian themed though it might be a whole different story for cultural reasons  (I do however think gunstock war clubs would be a cool fantasy race weapon by themselves, but I think they would work better with the gun totting lizardmen or wild elves).

    But anyways East Asian takes on fantasy monsters races from European folklore is kind of a thing in East Asia's own pop culture which is exported to  western markets. In fact I am willing to bet multipart Samurai hobgoblins, if done more in line with common yokai/oni myth motifs (add some horns on the bare heads, maybe play with the number of eyes) would probably be a big seller in Japan's hobby market since they love that sort of stuff. As to Mongolians, somehow I get the feeling they would view it as a back handed complement if they noticed and cared at all (they did have one of the largest empires the world ever saw).   

    Plus there is chance these guys would be viewed more as “mix with” opponents for either their historical counter parts or in the case of Japanese themes even a group done the road in that nations history (late Meiji/ early Tashio troops versus Hobgoblins standing in for last samurai style bandits/pirates might actually be a fun game setting). 

     


  • I think that any time you base a fantasy stereotype on a real-world culture, you practically open the door to those who are looking for a reason to be outraged by something.

    It doesn't help much that so much of the fantasy and sci-fi hobby, for better or worse, is a product of the golden age of pulp literature, which gleefully saddled itself with all sorts of "unfortunate implications" drawn from the anxieties and fears of the time, cultural stereotypes, and pseudosciences of the time. 

     

    I'm not even sure how many pulp writers genuinely believed in anything they put in print: based on some of their outside writing on how and why they wrote the way they did, it seems that pulp writers - paid a few cents per sentence to deliver a viable story on a short deadline during the Depression where money was hard to come by, the pulp writers seemed to rely heavily on shortcuts - such as plots that are written as westerns but can easily be rewritten as sci-fi adventures or as the adventures of a medieval warrior against savage Indi- er, I mean orcs, and so on, or, unfortunately, grabbing simple stereotypes and playing them as a sort of shorthand that the audience would recognize without needing any complicated exposition or cleverer writing to get to, when the audience doesn't really care WHY the orcs are on the warpath, they just want to see their favorite pulp hero get into some sort of suspenseful cliff-hanger, and then find an exciting way out of it, with some dangerous-sounding monsters, eerie locations, deadly pitfalls, and so on along the way to help give it all the right atmosphere.

    Not to say it's good and right, nor that there weren't people who also wanted to believe in the stereotypes and enjoyed those for whatever they were worth, but rather, I mean that for better or worse, the pulp era is the foundation of our fantasy tropes, and those tropes have a way of coming back to haunt us if we aren't careful.

    And in the case of D&D's hobgoblins, we've got a Lawful Evil, expansionist horde of people united under a diabolical purpose and organization, who are out to conquer the world... it doesn't seem bad at face value, until one remembers the old pulp-era Yellow Peril trope, and then realizes we're talking about a horde of warlike, conquering "monsters" with green, orange, or yellow skin, dressed in Samurai and Mongol outfits, for things to start getting more uncomfortable (especially since in the 1980s, to avoid some of the Yellow Peril criticisms, the evil hordes of Ming the Merciless and similar clones of clones of products of the "Yellow Peril" cliche were simply recolored with green skin, with nothing else really changing!  The D&D hobgoblins, whether by accident or purpose, seem to have been given a makeover in the '80s that simply gave them a "Yellow Peril" theme with a different colour....)

    I doubt that any of the fans of the Samurai armored hobgoblins are thinking of anything like that, of course - rather, the Samurai armor is a part of the hobgoblin tradition thanks to older illustrations, and, darn it, the Samurai armor and weapons look really cool together:  they were made by artists and craftsmen with access to a rather sophisticated industrial capability (seriously, the manufacturing processes for these weapons and armor are amazing), with an eye toward grace, harmony, and beauty that is difficult for an artist to simply ape as a similar-but-distinct clone that looks like a product of a different, original culture.  For that matter, Ming the Merciless and Fu-Manchu - products of the same stereotype - also look darned cool!

    So anyway, I don't think anyone today means anything by the Samurai armor thing, and I don't even see it as a necessarily bad thing to start with a stereotype like the "Yellow Peril", and then play with the expectations a bit in ways that add a little nuance and comlexity to the stereotype.

     

    There's a lot of ways of doing that, but one might be to combine pleasing and cool elements of the Samurai armor with creatures that don't fit one of those old stereotypes (like dwarves or other good demihumans?  Skeletal warriors?  Ordinary human soldiers with a variety of motives beyond conquest and evil?)  You're basically rewriting the rules of the hobgoblins to something that distinctly different from the stereotype. 

    Or, design hobgoblin armor that borrows only loosely from Samurai or Mongol inspiration, but ends up looking like a distinct and alien culture with its own unique flavor quite different from anything suggestive of the stereotype.  (Basically, it's no longer Samurai armor....)

    Alternatively, you can design the world around the idea:  why are the lawful-evil expansionist horde in Samurai outfits?  Because everyone else is wearing he same outfits, in a world inspired by a carefully researched feudal Japan!  (Which is a bit difficult, if the othe fantasy creaures in the product line are inspired by western mythology.....)

    And then, there's the interesting possibility of drawing your Samurai monsters not from western fairy tales by way of pulp literature, but something a little different:  the hobgoblin is normally based roughly on a reinterpretation of the European Unseelie Court folklore and fairy tales, with some pulp cliches tacked on, but what if you looked instead to Japan's Yokai - the Japanese equivalent of fairies and goblins - for inspiration, to create a sort of monster army inspired by the same culture that inspired the Samurai armor and weapons?  For a few of many kinds of Yokai spirits you might draw from for inspiration, see:

    • Schichinin Misaki (an interesting Samurai-themed Yokai goblin with elements of ghoul, zombie, or vampire mixed in, as a spirit of vengeance and pestilence found near the water where it died - those who kill it are cursed to become a Schichinin Misaki themselves)
    • Ashura (a warlike "hobgoblin" from the Bhuddist tradition with multiple arms who are ruled by violent passions)
    • Yasha (warrior nature spirits tasked with guarding the treasures of the Earth - they aren't exactly evil, but they do have a taste for human flesh, and are fierce warriors, regarded in Japanese traditions as being similar to Oni devils)

     

    As an aside, strictly speaking, it seems from what I've been reading that most of the soldiers in a "Samurai" themed monster army kit wouldn't actually be Samurai in the sort of armor with the sort of weapons we might picture - such high-ranking Samurai warlords would, I take it, actually have been more like a "command sprue" leading an army of slave-conscripts or hired soldiers - Ashigaru - dressed in simpler armor and conical helmets, generally carrying pole-arms, guns, or - if they are especially well-armed - some basic swords of a lower quality than the elaborate status-symbols of a Samurai such as a Katana.


    Ashigaru - Rank-and-File footmen serving Samurai warlords....

     

    One's mileage may vary, of course, on how well it would scratch the right itch for a "Samurai hobgoblin" army kit, but I can't help thinking a boxed set of demonic corpse-like Ashigaru reanimated by their violent lust for war to serve a powerful Schichinin Misaki-inspired hobgoblin warlord in fearsome Samurai armor, driven to haunt the earth from beyond the grave because of an unquenchable quest for vengeance, sounds eerie, cool, undeniably on-theme for the Japanese armor and weapons, and I think (hope) it's quite a bit fresher and more interesting than the standard-isssue pulp-derived hobgoblins as depicted in D&D, without being completely dissimilar to the basic rule-of-cool Samurai hobgoblin concept!


    Schichinin Misaki: Japanese Goblin Samurai with some vampiric qualities...

    I get the impression it's absolutely in the right spirit of things to add hobgoblin-like fangs, horns, and claws to the template as you wish, as those would be quite in line with depictions of Oni (the Japanese word for "hobs", or devils....)

     

    Regarding the question of why one couldn't combine some Samurai and Mongol influences, I don't see any reason why not, aside from the pan-Asian conspiracy angle from the Yellow Peril stereotype.  The Samurai were around for a long time, but really saw their first big success and rise to power when they helped repel a Mongol invasion, which, though a superior fighting force when the invasion of Japan was launched, was decimated by the original Kamikazi - a divine wind that swamped the Mongol navy, drowning many of the Mongol warriors, leaving the Samurai to finish the job of saving the country from the rest of the invasion!  So, the two cultures did meet in warfare, and one might imagine a fantasy version of the story in which a Japanese Yokai hobgoblin army might have inherited a mix of the armor and weapons of both cultures.  Not strictly necessary to blend them, but I can see a backstory where it works!

     

    By the way, thanks for this discussion, this was a fun subject to research!  Though familiar with it as a pulp literature fan, I didn't know a lot about the Yellow Peril cliche or its evolution, or about D&D and Warhammer hobgoblins, or Yokai (beyond the occasional Japanese horror or fantasy movie), or Samurai and Ashigaru and their amor and weapons, history, and armies before now! 

    Bear in mind that I'm not an expert on any of these subjects, and the subtleties of Bhuddist, Hindu and Japanese pagan philosophy in particular are going to be lost on me (I could tell they were a running theme through a whole lot of what I was reading, especially the Yokai, but I can't claim to understand anything but the shallowest take on  them);  I included links wherever possible to more detailed articles for anyone interested in making any corrections, or building on the Yokai hobgoblin concept. 


  • I see you discovered Yokai.com, there are other sites and wikis as it is a popular subject among western anime fans, but that one does seem to be the most well researched.

    Actually to my knowledge orcs only really gained Amerindian influences  in a big way (at least here in America) in the 2000's with the RTS Warcraft 3 reign of chaos where they were actually more "humanized" if you well and Herioc (ie they were the good guys). Before then, art work wise at least it seemed like they were mostly Normans and Germans with horned and pucklebell Helmets, curved swords, and rusty chainmail (ie Germans should be the ones most offend by Depression to 80’s orcs) and when that wasn’t the case, they were Connanish culture types (which frankly don’t strike me as being real offense to anyone, particularly in context).

    Plus when orcs that were borrowing from exotic real world cultures (like the vaguely Turkish/Indian themed Blackbloods in chornopia) show up they tended to be more complex than the classic orcs and I think it’s actually pretty clear in those cases it had to do with everyone (including mini sculptors and writers) being a bit bored of rusty/black armor wearing man eating Norman/Viking orcs as opposed to stereo typing human cultures (ie they didn’t want stereotypical orcs). 

    Goblins are a mildly different story (Thank you GW) and Hobgoblins (again GW with TSR) though to be honest I don’t think the 1st ed AD&D Hobgoblins are that offensive or even that Japanese since most of the armor they are wearing:

    Was actually eastern European, the only thing samurai about them was the crescent moon decoration on the helemts (to be honest I am half surprised people didn’t think Arabian or Moorish):

     

    Anyway I think they could actually just focus on the samurai if they wanted to, same deal with mongols, and actually just add them without any real worry about setting issues since:

    A: this is a fantasy line with a setting that has awesome sauce jungle dwelling percussion cap rifle wielding lizardmen in it, that’s about as far away from the traditional European fantasy setting as you can get simply becuase of the "Jungle dewlling"  thing (frankly they seem more like critters from a Lovecraft story set in 19th century South East Asia or South America). Clearly there is a vast would to explore and conquer or more likely fight off (because in Fantasy land the frontier invades you).

    B: I can see the Goblins working as dungeon fodder for anyone outside of Europe who has weapon grade metallurgy at least, from the Ancient Egyptians to the Boxers or even the early 20th century Japanese and working as long as you go easy on the dark age style nasal helmets. Plus when I did a search on “goblins in mythology” this image attached to this article about Korean goblins greeted me first (gobliniods are not just European monsters and have near identical counterparts everywhere in Asia and possibly the rest of world, more on that later):

    C: Japanese Myth Already has giant spiders called Tsuchigumo (maybe our Hobgoblins will spend most of their time fighting them).

    D: As mentioned before Japan is exporting media with stuff like this and by the way these guys are humansized ogres in Japnese outfits and most everyone else in setting is more “westernish fantasy types” (seriously just add horns to the hobgoblins bare heads, it would even make them stand out more from the goblins but more on that):

     

    E: Given that since at least D&D 3.5 onwards Samurai, ninja, Asian style sword Sages, not mention kung fu monks along with asian themed spell casters are actually treated as non-setting attached classes, again Asian  hobogoblins at least would very likely be viewed even by the Asian geek community as just filling in as more thematic opponents for D&D to keep things interesting.  

    F: In the case of Mongolian  hobgoblins, the actual Mongolian empire influenced Europe quite a bit, particularly eastern Europe, and is generally viewed (rightly or wrongly) as the group that introduced gunpowder to the west as they tried to invade it. And they pretty much invaded everyone they could and had an empire second in size only to the British empire at its height, and even went on naval expeditions, meaning they would not be out of place in most fantasy settings as adventurers or invaders anyways.

     

     In all honesty I don’t think “Fitting in the setting” or “cultural misappropriation” are really problems on that front (and if WA is worried about the later they can just make them neutral mercenaries setting wise or even just add the words “considered honorable opponents to high Queen on the world stage”).


  • @Yronimos Whateley

    I have been hobby researching samurai on the battlefield and Yokai in Japanese myth for over a decade now (would not consider myself to be a qualified expert on either but I could write some good college class level research essays on them).

    While it is true that Ashigaru and Peasant conscripts would be the bulk of the feudal sengoku era Japanese lord’s troops, the actual core of such armies up until matchlocks became the big thing in Japanese warfare was like most of the rest of Non-European world at that time: armored noble horse archers and spear cavalry (ie in this case samurai).

    Likewise, by the end of sengoku period the average ashigura were professional soldiers on par with their European counterparts (pike and shot troops) and in some of prefectures considered the lowest ranked samurai up until the Meji restoration (and yes there are different ranks of samurai).

    In either case the big differences appearance wise beyond weapons would be shoulder armor and helmet decorations at most. While conical helmet is often thought of as being only for foot soldiers and the “darth vader helm” as being samurai, both actually wore both helmets sometimes depending on the situation, its particularly noticeable in the Edo period.

    As to weapons, if the WA goes with a strictly Japanese theme, its probably wiser to just look at samurai because everyone used poll arms (naginata, Yari, etc.) and in the turbulent periods everyone used guns. the big weapon the Ashigaru used was pikes, there is no good reason to add those space wasters to a fantasy set thats probably going .

    Maybe go with some 19th century options (ie percussion caps as opposed to just matchlocks) as well as the sengoku as a model for what options to add.

    Now as for Yokai heads while those are interesting picks from a story telling perspective,  for standard plastic humanoids the ghost one can be done better as a ghostly paint job to Japanese human minis and the others seem a bit more east Indian to me (as they should since that is where they came from originally).  

    My top picks for “folkloric Japanese Hobgoblins and yokai” head swaps, would be:

     Oni: while oni does translate as ogre and demon and are stereotypically depicted as big ogre sized brutes with horns, they actually come in a lot of sizes with several different variants, in fact I think they would be the smart way to do samurai Hobgoblins in general. Basically all that’s needed for this is horns on the heads:  

    Namahage: Pretty much oni or an oni variant but more human sized in folklore, also they are actually kind of the good guys as they are generally sent by the gods to guide people away from commiting acts wickedness, usually by scaring the living daylights out of them. Again various horned heads with fangs could cover these guys.(see why I think giving the majority of the samurai hobgoblins horns would be a good idea).

    Nopperabō: nopperabo are bald faceless pranksters and one of the more well-known yokai outside of Japan, basically I would think of him as being a single head swap to get that “night parade of 100 demons” vibe going for people who like mixed monster race warbands/armies.

    A bald one eyed headswap: again just a single head option to spice up the sprue, there are good number of one eyed yokai in Japanese such as Ao Bozu, Shunobon, and Hitotsume nyūdō

    Nurarihyon: yet another prankster regular of the night parades that gets alot of silk screen protrait time, again not a full set of heads for them just one would work.

    Tengu: Tengu actually are considered  Japan's goblins by a lot of translators. they are master of the sword and wind magic. There are two main variants, and while neither is my top choice, I would go with the longnosed humaniod Daitengu for Hobgoblins.

     

     

     


  • Just to address the Benin Orcs thing, for me the issue is less that they are a stereotype and more that they are the only troops available in Benin armor.  There are no human miniatures in the same armor, with the same gear.  Similarly, for a very long time there were only Mesoamerican lizards and no mesoamerican humans (outside of a very small niche in the market).

     

    There are already plastic mongols and Samurai, with more in development, so I expect there to be less of a backlash to Samurai-Mongol goblinoids.  Of course, if their faces are as ...dated as the Fireforge Mongols', that could be unpleasant.


  • @Yronimos Whateley I don't think anyone should base creative decisions on who might be outraged by what.  Given your example about making dwarves, instead of hobgoblins, samurai-esque, the outrage crowd could easily say something about "Asian height stereotypes."  The outrage crowd is the "outrage crowd," because they only want to be outraged, not appeased. Trying to satisfy them only ever seems to lead to more and more knee-bending and never to increased sales.

    That's not to say companies should only stick to tradition; variety is the spice of life, after all! Just don't worry about whether or not someone might think your product could be offensive, because the answer to that these days is "Yes, someone can and almost assuredly will, so why sweat it?"


  • I find it less than helpful to spin a fictional outrage crowd story to avoid ever having to think about what one is creating and how it might be perceived.  You will clearly dismiss people with genuine points as part of the outrage crowd so that you never need to reflect on any bad decisions.  That's not great for business.


  • @BS Kitbasher 1) if you think the "outrage crowd/culture" is fictional, I don't know what to tell you.  It's utterly pervasive and it's wrecking pop culture, and culture in general.

    2) My point was there is literally nothing any company can do these days that cannot be looked at by the wrong crowd as "problematic," so trying to please these trolls simply isn't worth the hassle. While no one needs to make overtly racist or otherwise offensive stuff (I don't think anyone is, nor is the market looking for that anyway), there is a very vocal group of people out there who have made it their life's mission to find offence at anything and everything, no matter how earnestly companies try to be inclusive or inoffensive.  It's the old "If you give a mouse a cookie, he'll want a glass of milk..." problem.

    That being said, I think "goblinoid" creatures tend to translate across various mythologies/cultures fairly easily, because they're generic enough as a creature: squat, fairly ugly little humanoids, and different cultures seem to have their own versions of this type of creature.

    I'll admit that I tend to view more specific fantasy/mythological creatures as pretty locked-in to their respective culture, and have a hard time separating them from those origins/cultures; that is, to me, I pretty much only want Scottish/Viking Dwarves, or I want my Oni and Tengu to be Japanese.  I don't think I'd buy a Samurai Dwarf or a Viking Tengu miniature, but that's just me, your mileage may vary.


  • @BS Kitbasher Actually I figure by the time they get to this there already will be 19th century Japanese humans either in the works or on the table. And of course given this is WA, if Hobgobs are done that way, they will actually listen to people asking for humans. Also I figure these guys are going to get anorchism up (ie sengaku base armor with  guns and Mongol invasion shoulder pads), if they are just done as Japanese themed hobgoblins.

    Also what would you buy historical Benin for game wise? I am just curious, cause I think they might be a good idea for a history set but not sure where to place them.

    @Benjamin Hayward    I would buy a samurai dwarf, I wouldn't buy Viking Tengu, but I have seen both in metal.

    Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Ogres though can pretty much be sold as anything and often are.  I am actually pretty sure the first thing some people will do is use these guys is use them proxy "lazy Asian themed goblin army X" for some samurai games.


  • @Brian Van De Walker I would use them for skirmish games.  Maybe Frostgrave, maybe some one page rules game.  My hobby is more about the minis than the game, and I would like to be able to cover more historical places and periods, or fantasy versions of them.  I'd love to imagine the great empires in Africa or the Americas in a fantasy context, as well as Europe and Asia's.   Besides, the Benin armor is so distinctive compared to usual historical/fantasy armor.


  • @BS Kitbasher Well I see you are man of culture. After looking the Benin up and going down a rabbit hole, I am guessing either the Renissiance or the 19th century for history gaming (probably the later).

    Anyways back on topic while I am kinda of leaning more on the Japanese camp for hobgoblins (because if done with the headswaps I suggest they would be awesome), mixing the mongols themes seems like it would actually be very easy:

    Perhaps too easy:

     

     


  • @Brian Van De Walker if you want a civilized monster architype then you should probably just go with a Mongolian or Samuri infantry kit and then provide Hobgoblin heads. Of course then you encounter all the uncomfortable cultural implications that have already been discussed at length in this thread. 

    The problem with culturally seating any fantasy race is that it dramatically silos the kit to that theme. When we do this there is just as much reason to with Macedonian, Persian, or Arab themed Hobgoblins. 

    All fantasy monster races perpetuate the problomatic idea of the "other." Early Hobgoblin interpretations in gaming fell heavily on this idea. From a Western pespective the most extreem historical example of this was often the ravaging hoards of the Huns, Turks, and Mongolians. If you want to create a unified cultural theme for Hobgoblins then East Asia is about as unified culturally as the "other" could get from a medeval fantasy archtype. 

    Where this also has problems is in the scale. A unified culture like this would express itself as a massive hoard. I don't think a kit of 34 minatures is going to be able to express the scale that such a foe would present. Maybe a whole line of minatures could take a crack at it, but then you are back to the issue of design siloing and the larger your minature line gets them more the issue of culturally sensitivity becomes an increasing problem.  You could get around it and provide whole lines of Persian, Macedonian, and Monglian Hobgoblins in an attempt try to defuse the cultural insensitivty and give players more options.... but for real?

    Lets be real here, if I wanted a theme of culturally unified savages, I could just as easily put Hobgoblin heads on Waffin SS minatures... Now that the cat is out of the bag someone could do this with the Aztec minatures, the Goths, the Afghans, or the Boxers. Curtually unique Hobgblin kits seem like a dead end. And whether we want to admit it or not make for some pretty uncomfortable situations.

    Thats why there isn't a lot of issues with just making them culturally mixed scavangers. If they are going to be in proximity to low level characters, they probably wont be a cultrally unified threat anyway. If they are a hoard then that would be the focus of a whole campaign where the army of others invades.

    The easy answer here is just provide people with a range of Hobgoblin heads that can be attached to any culturally themed models.


  • worth noting that part of the reason that japanese, chinese, and mongolian armor and weapons have so much visual simularities is because the japanese and mongolian gear is largely influenced by older chinese gear, copied by new users and then adapted over time.

    one way to give them an asian style without being immediately recognizable as any particular culture, just use somestyles of armor and weapons that most people wouldn't be as familair with.

    like these samurai from Jomon era Japan:

    or these chinese soldiers from the Zhou period

     

    of course, if you want something that feels exotic without using asian gear ("asia = exotic" is its own racist trope, albeit one that is not as common today as it was a century ago) you could go back too the bronze age and some of the less well known groups there, like the sea peoples:

    (this particular depiction is based from egyptian artwork and descriptions.. and seems to have been showing the particular group of sea peoples that would eventually become the philistines of the bible.)


  • If WA can be accomidating enough to make a $6 Death Fields Weapons Upgrade Sprue 001, that provides the heads and equipment you need to go full Death Core. They could easily make a Hobgoblin Upgrade Sprue with a varitity of heads that could be fitted to any number of their kits.

    This seems like a much better solution than a whole Hobgoblin box that is just one cultural archtype.


  • @Eric Howanietz Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I see upgrade/accessory sprues solving a lot of "Wouldn't it be great if we had [X]?" problems.

    Want robot/cyborg/possessed/alien/beastmen guardsmen or soldiers?  Buy the base kit, then grab an upgrade sprue or two.

    Need female knights or sci-fi troopers? Upgrade sprue.

    There are some cases where a simple head-swap won't cut it, but for units wearing bulkier, figure-concealing gear it'd work fine; there are plenty of examples on the internet to show it.

    Goblins could become hobgoblins, and maybe even kobolds, just by changing a few details.

    For larger characters, I know WGA has the landsknecht ogryns coming, but a big, beefy kinda-generic body could be an ogre, a cyclops, a cave troll, or a few other large creatures; just include the heads on the sprue.


  • @Eric Howanietz @Mithril2098

    Given that the Japanese themselves heavily use the trope of “gobliniod monsters in Samurai armor” both in their folklore, literature  and current media I don’t think "uncomfortable culture implications” is a real argument here, even more so since Asia has NOT been “other” as you call it since the late 70’s but a part of the discussion group with regards to fantasy (a number of the people asking for samurai hobgoblins on the Facebook group did not have Euro sphere names and every GW box has Japanese kanji on it for most if not all of my lifetime which is 34 years). 

    (not to mention we have these as emoji options:👹👺).

     Frankly the "uncomfortable culture implications” arguments seems relegated to this thread and it’s the first time I have heard all this silliness over making Asian themed monsters 🤣 (and yes its silliness, particularly since majority of the people who brought it up also added some pretty good counterpoints to those arguments).

    Likewise most if not all these "uncomfortable culture implications” arguments seem to be used in conjunction with something along the lines of “I really don’t want the trolls to be Scandinavian even though that’s where they came from first mythological because I want them the same unthemed brutes as seen in the Peter Jackson movies, so shut up Brian🤣” argument which frankly is a better argument and seems to be more at the heart of the matter😉. (pfft knew should I have added a poll for these 👺🙄)

    @Benjamin Hayward No you really don't want upgrade sprues to be the end all for everything fantasy related, particularly new ideas (female knights would be a newish idea for kits and should be played with design wise), though multi-species/subject set if done with some thought and care might be a good idea (cultist+spellcaster,etc.).


  • @Brian Van De Walker oh, for sure, upgrade sprues aren't the answer for everything, but they can be good enough for quite a few applications.  In a perfect world, there would be a miniature for every single wild idea I come up with, but absent that, head-swaps and accessories can help cover some of that.


  • @Benjamin Hayward True it would work for a lot of Elf, beastmen and orcs options that people want. I do think female knights, Kolbolds and Hobgoblins should have their own sets though.

    In fact that is one of the reasons I pushed hard on the Japanese oni and other youkai as source of inspiration at least for the heads is that they would be different and make the hobgoblins stand out from the goblins and orcs sets out there (something I found severely lacking with GW’s interpretation), and they do fit the hobgoblin mold left by TTRPGs probably better than the Western folklore hobgoblin which was yet another mischievous house sprite.


  • While there are concerns abous stereotyping east and central asian peoples I think a lot more people would focus on how cool it is to have a culture represented or be grateful that their culture gets represented in the first place. On the topic of the Benin orcs mentioned at the beginning I understand how it can be seen as derogitory to some, but im just grateful that we have african representation of any kind that isnt zulu or egyptian. 

    On a more personal note, as a mexican american I wanted aztec/other mesoamerican sets for so long, and while they didnt really come out (in plastic) until WGA made a box, I loved lizardmen. The expansion on some of the coolest and best traits of mesoamerican cultures (the seemingly mysterious nature of their societies, the martial traditions, the suprisingly complex systems of bureaucracy that existed in those civilizations) was something that meant a lot to me and let me enjoy them more.

    I have a good friend who is a transfer student from mongolia, and she talks about Genghis Kahn all the time. That aspect of history and her people is something really cool to her and something to be proud of in her and many other mongolian peoples eyes.

    I think at the end of the day what im trying to say is. Steppe nomads are sick and dont really have much representation in fantasy settings (short of ogre kingdoms) and I think that making hobgoblin mongols would be a good way to fill a gap in the market while also finding a way for WGA to use the existing Horse sprues they put out 


  • @Ethan Gilbert I have been thinking about it maybe the best way to do them is  wokou style for infantry and fantasy Silkroad bandit style  for the cavalry (which would be mongols anyways), considering the compliants seem more directed at the idea of civilized gobliniods underneath it all.

    @Mithril2098 While Sea people are exotic, they feel more like an orc or chaos warrior thing as opposed to hobgoblins if we are talking fantasy at least to me.  


Please login to reply this topic!