Hobgoblins: Blood, Iron, and Honor
There are a number of races of savage humanoids that populate the lower echelons of the challenge rating scale, each of which have their own small twist of flavor. Sadly, due to underdevelopment, most of these racial designs end up falling flat, a study in culture and story design with little in the way of crunch and game mechanics to back them up. The hobgoblins are no exception to this. As such the intent of this product is to give them the archetypes and design options required to make them mechanically distinct from other races and give them a characteristic feel that brings about racial recognition from a gameplay standpoint.
Proud and militaristic, hobgoblin society functions on the concept of obligation intermingled with fear. No hobgoblin truly trusts the other and knows that even his lowliest subordinate is likely harboring dreams of assassination and appropriation of privileges, but the race as a whole is hardwired to work faithfully for those of higher station even with such a menace in society's background. Given the absolute lowest of the low is the ranks of slaves taken by the hobgoblins as they raid and pillage, the system works simply because every hobgoblin always has somebody to vent on and a dead slave really isn't a big deal. There's always tomorrow's raid, after all. This raises the first point that has been worked into Hobgoblins: Blood, Iron, and Honor. Hobgoblins take slaves; as such, hobgoblins specialized in the acquisition and direction of slaves need to be present. The following archetypes fill the roles of slave acquisition and direction.
Ruthless Pursuer (Barbarian)
Given their proud military history, hobgoblins differentiate themselves from other races of savage humanoids by their focus on martial discipline and tactics rather than relying on brute strength alone (though they still have plenty of it!). Further, the hobgoblin race as a whole has little patience for those who are martially inept or incapable of quickly responding to tactical situations. As such, the following archetypes and sorcerer bloodline highlight the evolution of base classes within hobgoblin society to make them fast and flexible, more martially inclined, or both.
Expeditious Arcanist (Wizard)
Master Tactician (Fighter)
Singer of Triumphs Future (Bard)
Though such a martial bent stifles cultural advancement in hobgoblin society, a rich culture still exists in the realm of war. Great leaders, great battles, and elaborate war-like rituals are preserved within their society, clearly highlighting just how important the enterprise of bloodshed and conquest is to the hobgoblin race. The following archetypes reflect this one and only cultural strong point. Note how these archetypes are still readily capable of martial combat.
Heart's Blood Ritualist (Cleric)
Singer of Triumphs Past (Bard)
The specifics of how a tribe functions and its leadership is, of course, up to the Game Master. My hope is that this smattering of new and interesting mechanical options helps to stimulate the imagination and to produce a few sessions against the orangeskins that sticks out as unique, challenging, and entertaining in the midst of your existing setting.