Campaign of the Month: January 2013
DANgerous Kalamar 4
The Rankki are the most insecure of the hobgoblin subraces. They lack an organized empire or kingdom, have not conquered any significant amount of territory, have few victories, few slaves, and few demonstrations of their dominance. As a result, they overcompensate by becoming outspoken and boastful.
If they see their neighboring races make preparations for bad weather, they defy the weather to show their strength. If the Rankki can conquer the weather, and the weather conquers their enemies, then the Rankki have, in a way, conquered their enemies. They also place great importance on the type of creature they hunt and kill, since more dangerous creatures indicating greater strength.
Similarly, the Rankki have several additional ways to gain honor. They take great pride in outliving or outlasting their neighbors, demonstrating the Rankki fitness to survive where lesser creatures fall. They also view physical trials, such as living without food for three days, as ways to gain honor. In addition, when a Rankki swears his allegiance, he boasts of how he will demonstrate his loyalty and increase the honor of the one to whom he swears allegiance. Once he has made that boast, honor binds him to fulfill it whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The Rankki have adapted to their colder surroundings over the many years. They have generally gray coloring, with skin colors ranging from light to dark gray, and hair colors ranging from gray to black, with the occasional individual having all white hair. Rankki height matches that of most other hobgoblins, but generally weigh 10 to 20 pounds more. They have the roundest faces of any hobgoblin subrace, and their ears are somewhat elf-like, but are a little fatter throughout. Rankki have the largest beards of any other hobgoblin subrace, and they very rarely ever cut or shave. The Rankki also have a good amount of body hair. Individuals most often have blue or gray eyes, but known eye colors include yellows, reds, and browns.
Females closely resemble their male counterparts, but are slightly shorter, and tend to be somewhat slighter. They possess less body hair, and have only a little facial hair along the jaw line or above the upper lip.
Male 5'2" +2d12 (inches) 165 lbs x (2d4) lbs
Female 5' +2d12 (inches) 155 lbs x (2d4) lbs
Adulthood: Middle Age: Old: Venerable: Maximum:
27 yrs 70 yrs 100 yrs 140 yrs +3d20 yrs
Although the Rankki dwell in isolated locations, they do have contact with the outside world. Of the major races, the Rankki encounter only the humans and orcs with any regularity, and then in violent confrontations. They maintain their racial hatred of dwarves and elves, but have only limited interaction with these races. The hobgoblins drove most of the elves out of the Khorren Woods when they moved into the area, and the remaining settlements are small and isolated. The dwarves of the Byth Mountains are similarly scarce, and they have little reason to venture into the woods. The Rankki encounter other races randomly, and no particular race with any regularity.
The Rankki see little point in trading, since simply taking what they want in a raid can be equally effective. Convincing them that a trade could be more profitable than a successful raid is almost futile. Thus, the Rankki only trade occasionally, and never establish long term trading agreements, even with other Rankki tribes.
Today, the Rankki live in scattered tribes throughout the Khorren Woods and the western edges of the plains of Torakk. Though their numbers have declined drastically from the height of their power, they still have a flourishing civilization. They speak the Hobgoblin language and at least one other. Most know some Fhokki, Kalamaran, or some dialect of Dejy, in addition to Orcish, Giant, or Goblin. They have little trouble learning other languages, but do have trouble speaking in more hushed tones.
The Rankki do recognize the Blacksoul as their creator, and most place him in a place of reverence above the other gods. They also believe in the standard creation myth, including the notion that the hobgoblins once ruled of the world. However, the Rankki as a whole do not favor one god. A Rankki prays to the god that influences the particular domain in which he currently seeks assistance. For military matters, the Rankki pray to The Old Man, the second most commonly worshipped god. The Storm Lord has become the third most popular deity because the Rankki believe he can offer them protection from the winter storms.
All of the lawful evil gods have some presence among the Rankki, though they have few, if any, full time worshippers. Of them, The Flaymaster is the most popular, because he can protect against the cold. In addition, the Locust Lord and The Bear receive some form of homage (the Locust Lord in times of famine, and The Bear when traveling in the wilderness).
With a small population, each Rankki must fulfill many roles. As such, each tribe includes almost all of the standard classes, but only a small number of hobgoblins have only one class. The average Rankki has two or three classes, and some have as many as five. The bard, fighter, and shaman classes are the most prevalent, with barbarians, clerics, druids, infiltrators, rangers and rogues being less so. Brigands, gladiators, monks, sorcerers and wizards are few, and Basiran dancers, paladins and spellsingers are unheard of among the Rankki.