Playful gullible minions for all sides of the good-evil spectrum. They're not evil in the way orcs are.
Just very greedy, cowardly, but also childishly naive. Depending on who they work for and where they live they can be hygienic, well mannered, cookie bakers or the nasty cutthroat henchmen in the dungeons adventurers crawl in.
Goblins: Tricky little shitters that originate from the fae realm. They have vulgar names like Footfucker and Dipshit and are mostly annoying assholes, they're opportunistic but not outright evil, but they will probably shank you if they think they can get away with it. Their features vary wildly from individual to individual, some might have hammerheads, bright red skin, antlers, etc. They worship the dungeons they inhabit as gods, though only the really fanatic ones will bother to protect it or try to get other goblins to.
In the campaign the players have encountered a few groups of shanky goblins, and one called Footfucker who has helped them navigate the old buried city that was turned into a sewer system (sort of like what almost happened to parts of Rome).
Hobgoblins: They have a similar origin to the little dudes. They're bigger and pretty much the opposite of goblins except for the shanking part, though they generally have a better reason for wanting to do it. They like fighting, and most of them look pretty much the same: stocky, big ears, and lost of teeth. Their skin goes from blue to purple to red as they age.
They're actually pretty rare in the campaign and much more dangerous than an experienced human warrior, when they get wounded they grow extra bits that make them more killy (extra arms, horns, huge mouth, claws, scorpion tail, kangaroo legs, whatever). The players know of exactly two, one leads a mostly human mercenary company that they've had dealings with, and the other led a group of bandits they exterminated early in the campaign.
In case you're wondering, in this setting orcs were the creations of a blood sorcerer, but otherwise they're pretty much the orcs from the Orc Stain comics and they live far away. Bugbears are nightmare shadowbeast things.
little funny dudes who don't have any sense of self-preservation.
They can be crafty and sneaky, but usually stupid and brutal. Our players don't buy into the whole "this race is inherently evil and monstrous" bit and expect some sort of almost believable society or place in society unless demons.
For my setting i use a world where humans are constantly being summoned from another normal world in to a cliche fantasy setting. Some of the humans born in this new world were affected by magic in various ways and thus various humanoid races came to be (i.e. humans that had a deep bond to nature magics ended up having elven offspring, humans that were exposed to corrupt magic ended up having gobbos-who grow up within 2 days and orc kids). After some time the magic stopped having an effect on the human population which stabilized and along with elves and dwarves built various civilizations.
Goblins start tiny and can get huge given enough edible food, their nascent form is a blight/festerling, basically a goblin the size of a frog that squirms out the side of a brood mother, they go on to infest whatever food they can, coating it with digestive sections before becoming imps that are these adorable anklebiters that imprint on the first sentience that didn't try to kill them and learn real fast, they mature into goblins, than Orcs, hobgoblins/bugbears depending on their inclinations, later ogres/ogre mages and maybe giants if they live long enough, like one in ten million. Feral goblins that couldn't form relationships as imps end up as bitter trolls, their acidic sections returning and a great hunger falling over them.
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