Gobwin
(aka Erfworld Goblin, Erf Goblin)
Twoglodytam balder
Family: Humanoid
Classification: Para-sapient
Manifestation: Corporeal
Pronunciation: GOB-win

Gobwins are small (about 3 feet tall, standing erect), horned, bipedal humanoids. Their skin is a uniform green, similar to the darker edge of a slice of avocado. They typically wear simple black coverings resembling togas or loincloths. They have no outward characteristics to distinguish gender, and it is not known if gobwins have distinct sexes (see biology). They are often armed with metal weapons or tools, and are capable melee fighters, even against much larger creatures.

Highly social creatures, gobwins organize themselves into tribes, which are defined magically and are centered around one or more chiefs. Gobwins are fully sapient, and have their own language, which contains some striking cognates with human language and culture, such as "sudoku," "tamagotchi," and "ikea." A few individuals can speak an uncanny version of English, indistinguishable from a Midwestern American dialect, which they refer to as "Language."

Gobwins are sometimes known as "Erf Goblins" or "Erfworld Goblins," because they have identified their place of origin as "Erfworld." It is not known if this represents a larger subterranean realm, an alien planet, or perhaps even another plane of existence.

There is no such thing as a juvenile gobwin. The collective noun for a small group of gobwins is a stack.

Habitat

The known Gobwins of North America are entirely subterranean dwellers, found mostly in Western Montana within Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park, and more recently in the Canadian Rockies near Banff. They inhabit abandoned (or occasionally active) mines, natural caves, and tunnels of their own making. Given their biomagical need for gems, it should not be surprising that gobwins are driven to dig. Their primary magical power is to bore through solid rock, eliminating the spoil magically and leaving structurally stable tunnels supported by wooden beams (which they either materialize or transmogrify from the waste rock).

Biology

The most unusual aspect of gobwin nature is their means of sustenance and reproduction, which is entirely magical. They are able to convert gemstones into a form of magical energy (or possibly current, or currency) which they call "shmuckers." This energy is used to materialize (or "pop") either physical items of food, which they then consume normally, or whole new gobwins which seem to be born into maturity and fully clothed.

When a tribe cannot acquire enough shmuckers to sustain itself for a given day, some of the gobwins may dematerialize and be permanently lost ("de-pop").

Gobwins do have internal organs although it is difficult to analyze and understand their use. A dead gobwin will only last until sunrise and then it- and all organs harvested from it- "de-pop" and vanish completely. One other odd note about gobwins is that, while they do have a circulatory system, they do not bleed when cut.

Diet

Besides their consumption of gems for magical energy, gobwins can survive on the surface and consume food of various types normal for humanoid species. They have been known to hunt deer and fowl, as well as to gather insects and certain edible plants and fungi. Foraged or hunted food may reduce their need for schmuckers, but probably does not eliminate it entirely.

Magical Uses

If you can prove to the gobwins' satisfaction that you represent a "side," then you can trade with them; they will trade gemstones that they have mined for other gemstones, but find no other trade goods to be of value. Gobwins are not considered a protected species, so it is legal to harvest them for spell components, but there are many Wizards that consider the harvesting of spell components from a para-sapient species to be unethical. Regardless, because components harvested from a gobwin only last for a short time after the gobwin "de-pops," they are of limited magical use.

Defense

Gobwins are fiece, but non-magical fighters. They depend on numbers and trickery to overwhelm an opponent. If challenged, they will fall back to a defensible position, almost always in a cave or tunnel.

If engaged in subterranean combat against gobwins, you should consider the danger of being flanked through solid rock or of having the ground dug out from beneath you. They may also lay traps to trigger a pit, a fall, or a tunnel collapse against their pursuers. Ambush tactics are also a favorite of gobwin fighters. Evidence suggests it is also possible that they can employ crude chemical weapons such as chlorine or phosgene gas in their traps.

According to all observations, gobwins seemingly never move at night. In theory, identifying their location before nightfall may allow a successful action against them.

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