Notes on the Black Wurt weed found in Northern Gaia. Also known as: Orc Weed (Slang), Djudidench (Slavinian), Ggnurt (Northice Orcish) or G’nash (Orcish slang).
A tough scraggy plant found abundantly on rock faces in the colder regions of Northern Gaia. This resilient weed has thick moist leaves which, when crushed exude a powerful smelling black ichor, the stench of which is enough to turn the stomach of even the most iron-gutted horticultural enthusiast.
Although widely regarded as a weed in civilised (and barbarian) society, the plant seems to have acquired a special place in northern orcish (and some primitive clans) herb lore. The ichor exuded has the special property similar to the insulating property of oils and fats. Many northern orcs use the foul smelling ichor to protect themselves against the cold if caught outside in winter months, possibly being the “root” cause of the perceived noxious odour of the species. This cultural practice may be what has led to the speciest prejudice against foul smelling ‘orrible orcs.
Although the root has been used by orcish raiders as camouflage in the past, its properties as a concealing agent are (according to orcish legend) usually countered by it’s foul stench. (Leading to many a human joke of smelling the raiders way before you can see them).
Another interesting property of the oily ichor is its uses as a lubricant for weapons and armour maintenance. Although the oil protects and insulates against rust and weathering the ichor also has a slight acidic quality when dry, possibly leading to the unexplained disintegration (and perceived lower quality) of orcish arms and armour. Many a looter has been found gnashing their teeth (or being gnashed) when seemingly fine looted orcish armaments suddenly weaken and rust. For this reason the plant must be applied often and kept moist (or washed off in limewater) to remain effective.
“The Extended Tome of Applied Herbology” Orpheus, Scribe.
History: The alchemist Zintaer Lubar developed the bowl in simpler times, before the chaos wars. It is said that Zintaer had serious difficulty walking, after an accident with a horse cart in his 8th year. He made the bowl to make travelling easier.
Description: This is a one of a kind and very precious bowl. It not only has magical properties, but it is also made out of pure gold. The bowl is decorated with carvings which may be some sort of runic instruction, but in a little known alphabet/language.
Use: The alchemist must fill the bowl with exactly the right combination of chemicals / herbs /essential oils to be teleported from one location to another. The alchemist must then place his left hand under the bowl and right hand inside the bowl. He will then be teleported to the predefined location. If the recipe is not correct, the “caster” or “user” will appear in a random location, to be determined by the GM.
During the chaos wars Zintaer, at this time a man of some years, used the bowl to flee the Orcish army of the red bitch. Unfortunately in his haste, he mixed the wrong ingredients and the bowl and so the alchemist and the bowl have been lost ever since.
If the “user” puts water in the bowl and then drinks the water, he will be transported to Zintaer’s underground hideout.
Brimstone will teleport the user directly to the centre of Gaea (as in the centre of the earth). If Brimstone is placed in the bowl, the user does not have to place his right hand inside the bowl and left hand under the bowl to activate it, it will automatically transport him the moment the brimstone is placed in the bowl.
History: The skull once perched on the shoulders of a learned scholar who traveller far and wide in his quest for knowledge. His high intelligence and perfect memory led to his head being a great store of information, be it trivial, worthwhile, vague or arcane in nature. He became the man of the hour, sought after in court and petitioned by other seekers of knowledge, who would travel great distances to speak with him. As his fame grew, so did his ego. Eventually he believed himself to be of such importance that the world would be greatly disadvantaged were he to die. As a result of this belief, he met with sorcerers and alchemists of great power and made specific arrangements. The scholar lived to be quite eccentric in his old age, given to bouts of rambling. When the scholar was on his deathbed, these same enchanters gathered and performed a ghastly ritual, the details of which are too grim to repeat in this text. Suffice is to say that the result was the sages skull.
Description: The skull is encased in a thin layer of pewter, the entire surface of which is marked with runes and arcane symbols. Its eye sockets are plugged with jade and its jaw is hinged with copper joints, will allow it to speak. The skull contains all the information that the scholar once knew. Unfortunately the process of creating the skull also resulted in the scholars by then huge ego and very eccentric personality.
Usage: The skull can be used once a week. It has a 85% chance of knowing the answer of any question asked of it. It has no senses so will be unable to, for example: identify a potion by taste, name an animal by sight or give directions by the position of the stars. A detailed description of anything to be identified in this manner may work, depending in the describer’s ability to draw a picture with words. (A speak own language check should suffice, although GM’s discretion may be exercised here). It understands most major languages. (Once again, the GM should identify whether a characters language is in much use).
The scholars eccentric personality and ego will shine through at every opportunity. It can take offence at certain questions and give vague answers. It can ramble on and provide information, which is of no practical use. It cannot lie and must answer questions posed to it. If it does not know the answer, it will tell a similar story and very rarely, will state that it hasn’t a clue. A favourite game it plays is to ignore any questions posed to it unless they are addressed in a certain manner (GM’s discretion, maybe something like “O most sage skull, what…”)
As mentioned above, the skull can be asked a question once per week. If no question is asked the skull will suddenly volunteer some sort of information on its own, once a week has passed since it last spoke. This could have al sorts of consequences.
Thus, although the skull has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. Its caustic personality usually means that it does not stay in one persons possession for long. Some of the more proficient owners of the skull have mastered the are of asking questions with a simple yes/no answer.
This article was first published on XIII August MMII
Wergild Worries is a hack and slash adventure based on the Island of Valrones, west of Gaia. It should be easy enough to retrofit with most campaigns.
This fast and nasty is in PDF Format. This is the first “module” I ever wrote. Previous feedback received have noted it as being somewhat linear. I do appreciate your comments and feedback as through this mechanism future adventures should improve.
The module is self contained but ownership of the Monster Coliseum would be an added bonus.
It is geared towards characters with some fighting sills and could be useful as an introductory adventure for new players to cut their teeth on.
Wergild Worries is a Hack and Slash. If you are looking for a fast action adventure with lost of combat – download it now.
An unique object of great power. See also The Rod Of Oration and The Crook of Ruling.
Extremely rare – One of a kind. POW 30 AP 17
History: The Staff of Kings comes in two parts (a Rod and a Crook), which fit into each other – see Rod of Oration and Crock of Ruling. Legend states that the staff belonged to a king of a long forgotten civilisation. During his rule, he conquered many nations. He is said to have remained invulnerable to attack as long as the staff was in his possession. The king eventually died of old age without naming an heir to his empire. A civil was ensued in which the staffs two pieces were separated and subsequently lost.
The bottom half of the staff (The Rod of Oration) has appeared from time to time. Most recently, scholars have speculated that it is in the possession of a powerful orcish warlord. The top half of the staff (The Crook of Ruling) has never been traced. Scholars are in two schools. Some say it was destroyed while others state that it still exists, but is well hidden.
Some legends state that the staff was created by the kinds court wizards. In reality, the king feared sorcery but was very devout. The staff was a reward from his gods, for building temples in all the lands he conquered and thereby spreading their worship.
Further legends tell of how the staff is the key to finding the ancient empire whence it came.
Description: The staff is 1.2 metres in length and resembles a shepherds crook. It is made of bronze and is covered in raised hieroglyphs. The hieroglyphs are in an ancient, forgotten language. Should the two halves ever be reunited, the result will be no more than a fancy walking stick, unless the activation word of power is spoken. This word is coded into the hieroglyphs and would take considerable study and hands on knowledge of a language, which has been dead for millennia.
Should the activation word ever be deciphered and spoken while the staff is whole, the following will result:
Anyone holding the staff will become invulnerable to all but the most powerful of magical attacks. (The staff will boost their POW with its own POW.) Weapons, which have been magically enhanced, will only be able to do their normal damage, non-magical damage.
•The holder of the staff will also be covered in a faint bronze aura, which for game play, can be considered as an additional 2 AP in each hit location.
These effects will depart as soon as the staff is released. A further word of power is required to separate the staff back into its two halves. This word can also be deciphered from the hieroglyphs upon the staff in the same way as the activation word.
History: The Crook of Ruling is part of a two piece set. (See Rod of Oration). In ancient times, the Crook belonged to a king from a long since disappeared kingdom. The king was a military genius who conquered all his kingdom’s neighbours and launched successful campaigns against powerful nations from across the sea.
Description: The Crook is made of bronze and resembles the traditional Egyptian Pharaohs crook in most ways. It measures 70 centimetres in a straight line from base to tip, the curved part taking up one third of its entire length. It has a diameter of 5 centimetres, which narrows to 4 centimetres at the base, as if the Crook were to be fitted into something. The Crook is covered in raised hieroglyphs and is surprisingly light for its size.
The Crook is more a symbol of rulership than anything else. It is magical though and bestows a calm upon the holder, allowing them to clear their thoughts and concentrate on a task at hand. Treat as a 5% bonus on all intelligence based skill rolls.
History: The Rod of Oration is part of a two piece set. (See Crook of Ruling). In ancient times, the Rod belonged to a king from a long since disappeared kingdom. The king was a military genius who conquered all his kingdom’s neighbours and launched successful campaigns against powerful nations from across the sea. His armies became so vast that he was unable to address them all at one time. In exasperation, he turned to his court wizards to create something to help him address his people. Their reply was the Rod or Oration.
Description: The Rod is made of bronze and is 50 centimetres long, with a diameter of 5 centimetres. It has raised hieroglyphs all over its surface. These hieroglyphs spell out command words in a lost language. For its size, it is surprisingly light. One end is hollow, as if something was meant to fit into it. The Rod has two charges, which are replenished daily, but do not accumulate – thus it can be used up to 2 times a day.
Should someone hold the rod when making an orate roll, their base chance of success will increase by 15%. Thus if a character with an Orate of 10% holds the rod when making an orate roll, he will have to roll less than or equal to 25 (10 +15) on D100 to succeed. Orate rolls made with the assistance of the Rod do not allow the character to make a mark in their Orate check box.
The Rod has other drawbacks. Characters who use it regularly (more than once a week) will become addicted to it over time. They will try to orate (with the Rods help) whenever there is an opportunity. Glib loudmouths are not always welcome everywhere and interesting events could result. Its second major drawback is that as much as it helps a character orate, it will also make their fumble so much worse if they fumble. Fumbles are on the characters normal Orate %, not on the rod-adjusted %. EG: A character who fumbles a normal Orate may get booed, but a character who fumbles while using the Rod may get stoned.
Secret: The real secret of the Rod is in the hieroglyphs. If the activation word can ever be deciphered and spoken, it will immediately boost the speakers Orate by 70% and will allow the speakers words to be heard for a radius of 2.215 kilometres (1 Roman League). The speakers words will be heard as they are spoken – a whisper will be a whisper and a shout a shout.
RuneQuest rules for the monster briefly described in that Hugh Cook’s Chronicles of an Age of darkness Book 1 – The Wizards and the Warriors.
The Lopsloss is derived from Hugh Cook’s book: The Wizards and the Warriors Chapters 13 & 19. In the book it is described as an amorphous creature that lives under Castle Vaunting.
For RuneQuest purposes the lopsloss is distantly related to the head hanger. In its natural state it lives in darkened gulleys and caves, where it can feed on creatures that may fall to their deaths, or stumble within close reach. It can move slowly, but if food is in close proximity, can display a burst of rapid movement to snag its prey. It has an amorphous gelatinous form and is usually greyish in colour. Some specimens have been known to evidence pinpricks of bio luminescence, perhaps to lure [prey to within reach.
The Lopsloss is not a magical creature like its distant relation and feeds on flesh. It does however have similarities, with a tendency to retain the non digestible bits of its prey, such as armour , coin etc. It will feed by enveloping its prey within its gelatinous form and then excreting strong digestive enzymes to break down flesh and bone into a base fluid which it will absorb. These enzymes have the ability to immobilize prey swiftly, but while the prey is still mobile, the Lopsloss will move to suck the prey deeper into its mass to prevent escape. Given enough time, it will digest all organic parts of its prey, including bone, claws etc.
In terms of movement and propagation, it is similar to the amoeba, using pseudo pods to assist with movement and splitting via binary fission. Even so, it is a very rare creature to come across as it does not like daylight and any offspring would have to live within the same cave complex as they would not be able to migrate across land for any distance that may expose them to light.
Small lopsloss have been known to be captured and transplanted to other locales, such as crypts, to guard against grave robbers. In certain instances, goblins have been known to have a symbiotic relationship with lopsloss, whereby in exchange for food and protection, the lopsloss gestates goblin offspring within its mass.
A Lopsloss will vary in SIZ depending on the size of the area it inhabits, age and food availability.
this article was initially published on IX January 2010
4D6 + 6
Hit Points 18
1D6 + 8 to 6D6 + 20
6 – 7
2D6 + 6
* Determine how many pseudo pods before combat (1D12) and list each as a hit location. # The difference between 20 and number of pseudo pods.
40 + 3
2D8 knockdown / entangle
70 + 10
1D6 per round
Notes: The Lopsloss will use its pseudo pods to try and knock down or entangle its prey in an attempt to immobilise. If more than one pseudo pod manages to hit the same hit location, the prey will be considered entangled. It will then try to envelop its prey at the end of the round. Enveloped prey must match STR against the Lopsloss STR on the resistance table to escape. The Lopsloss does not like heat and will retreat from an open flame or similar, which can be used to force it to disgorge recently enveloped prey. Being enveloped will restrict movement and stop prey from cutting themselves free unless a critical success is rolled or the prey has freed their arms by matching STR on the resistance table. Prey enveloped for more than 2 rounds must try to survive asphyxiation as per standard asphyxiation rules.
“The path of the Gecko ” – A guide to the Jahmori Gecko clan inhabiting a remote jungle basin in south central Vasniss.
The Jahmori Gecko clan inhabits an extremely rich and fertile jungle basin known as “the crater of plenty” which is near the source of the Ssaliktor River, overlooked by the peaks of Sas-Ketah. The jungle basin itself is a source of many tropical fauna and flora as well as jade and many other gemstone deposits.
The Jahmori have inhabited this area for as long as any race can remember and their existence in this area is a mystery to most races as the human populations on this continent are made up of only immigrants. The Jahmori have explained this in their myths which revolve around their primary deity – Llahgorah (The divine lizard – a god of temperance and fertility). The myths are passed down by word of mouth through generations and start with Llahgorah carrying his people away on his back from a great cataclysm across the sea. The elders say that Llahgorah swam across the great ocean and up to the source of the great Ssaliktor River to deposit his people where they would be safe – always. He guided them to settle in the Crater of Plenty and the Jahmori have flourished ever since. The clan now numbers upwards of 500 members.
The people of the Jahmori Gecko clan lead a secluded, highly traditional lifestyle based stringently on what they call ” The path of the Gecko “. This revolves mainly around how chieftains are selected. When the current chieftain is nearing the end of his 100 moon rulership period all young men must leave the tribe for a full 20 moons and quest to find any knowledge and resources to help the clan prosper. Upon returning to the clan the candidates gather the following spring and are judged by the elders of the clan according the gifts they bring back, this is viewed as a rite of passage and also serves to determine future status in the clan. Only the best candidates are then selected to face Llahgorah’s challenge :- The candidates must head into the dark heart of the crater and find the egg of the Gorah lizard (An extremely rare species of lizard only living in the crater about the size of the komodo dragon, many Jahmori believe this creature to be the incarnation of Llahgorah). This is an extremely dangerous quest as the dark heart of the crater is inhabited by many species of poisonous reptile as well as many much feared mutant lizard men.
Once an egg has been found it must be taken back to the clan and preparations for the Great Gorah’aan festival begin. The festival is the conclusion of the current chieftainship, the beginning of a new clan leadership era and fertility ceremony all in one, and is the most holy festival of all for the Jahmori.
The Gorah’aan festival is a ten day long festival where the gorah egg is slowly heated over a fire in the great chamber for the duration of the celebrations until the climax when the gorah hatches. All prospective chieftains line the walls of the great chamber waiting for the hatching and may not move until the newly hatched gorah lizard has touched one of them, who then becomes the next chieftain. This symbolises the “shedding of skin” for the tribe and is believed amongst the Jahmori that this ceremony is how Llahgorah selects the next king.
The old chieftain must then take the hatchling back to the dark heart. Llahgorah then passes judgement on the ex-chieftain through his gorah lizards – if the chieftain has ruled justly they leave him alone (possibly only marking him as blessed) or if his reign was unjust or evil they will devour him to punish him for his actions. This symbolises the tribe “losing its tail” and serves as a deterrent to unjust rule. This is the path of the gecko and is how it has always been.
The tribes people live according to rules governed by the path and have many smaller cultural traditions all linked to the “divine lizard”. The gorah lizards seem to have a mutualistic relationship with the Jahmori as its eggs require fire to hatch and due to its rarity and very prolonged mating rituals and gestation periods this leads to a small sustainable population of gorahs in the crater. (Coming soon stats for the gorah and mutant lizardmen of the crater of plenty).
As to the history and politics of the Jahmori nation, the Jahmori are a peaceful nation who have had only minor contact to the outside world and only ever clashed with the snake-people of Vasniss. The coming of the Onyx Empire to Vasniss found the Jahmori in a perfect place to trade with the Giss and due to their bias towards all things lizardly the Jahmori immediately made peace and accepted protection from the Onyx Empire. With the lucrative gemstones, jade and medicinal herbs trade heading up-river into the empire, Jahmori – Onyx relations are on an all time high and the Jahmori have of late experienced a huge boom in technology and knowledge. They are up to date the only human population to have herds of war trained land dragons and now even have an elite unit of mounted warriors working within the emperors legions.
This article was initially published XX November MMII
Why do elves all look the same? Are they just long living pointy eared humans? This article should explain some of the mysteries around elves.
Warning: Some of the themes in this article may be considered as having mature content. If you do not think you can handle such content, do not read further.
Like 99% of Fantasy Role Players, I have read Lord of the Rings. While I appreciate Tolkien’s take on elves and by extension goblins and orcs, I do not believe that can be the only view. Simply put, it is a concern that so many people adhere to the elfin canon created by Tolkien.
You know which one: “Elves are pure, beautiful, long lived etc, while orcs are evil and base creatures.” Then there is the ultimate insult: “Orcs are a degenerate form of elf!”
This treatise describes an alternate take on the canonical picture of elves. It is based on the authors own ideas and dislike of the elves that the classic FRP gamer loves so much.
It does not reflect the views of other members of RuneQuest.orc. I do however hope that it is of some use, even as a discussion point for other players out there. Furthermore, its main focus is that of elfin physiology and as such this cannot be viewed as an exhaustive document of elfin culture.
Elves in Context
What the orcs say: Elves are females! Have you ever seen a male elf? They all carry bows, so they must all be female.
It could be a case of cultures clashing, because only orc females use bows. It is thought of as a feminine weapon by orcs, even being seen to touch one could cause a male orc to be shamed and lose status among his peers.
But there is some merit in what the orcs say. Elves all look the same. Long hair, slim, soft features, sexually ambiguous. Are they hippies, or is there a deeper mystery about them? Has anyone seen one naked?
Note: Where comparisons are made below, unless otherwise specified, such comparisons are based on a human benchmark.
Elves are part of the animal kingdom. They tend to have symbiotic relationships with various plant species which has at times caused some to confuse them as being a vegetable based species. They can be divided into various sub species, but generally the views expressed are those of the common or “wood” elf.
While exceptions to the norm do exist, most elves reflect the following traits to various degrees:
Unique class of animal (i.e. not mammals, reptiles etc.)
The symbiosis they share with their host plants is usually so close that lifespan is tied in with a host plant. Thus if the host plant dies, generally the elves tied to it die as well. This may explain why elves tend to be super protective of the woodlands and forests they live in. It may also serve to explain the longevity of sup species who share mutualistic or commensalistic relationships with long lived tree species. By extension it is thus assumed that a parasitic relationship will be less likely to exist, although such a concept should not be entirely ruled out.
Travel of any large distance from the host plant can be difficult, sometimes impossible for species with very tight symbiotic bonds. This can be alleviated thought certain rituals and matrices which allow for communion with the host via the spirit plain.
Elves tend to have a natural affinity with spirit magic which is usually ritual in nature. Most rituals are communal. Certain spirit spells ane however readily available to elves who have reached maturity. These spells are usually of an earthy or pastoral nature.
Sorcery is not unknown among elves, but the rules to study and master their sorcerous arts are the same for elf and human. Elves do however have much more time to learn sorcery and build up reserves of magic. Simply put – beware the aging elfin sorcerer!
Elves do not perform divine magic.
Some consider elves to be magic creatures due to their affinity with the spirit plane. This may be true to some degree. It would also mean that while elves may access the spirit world with relative ease, vice versa would also apply. Thus issues that may stem from the spirit plane could be exasperated among elfin kind. Simply put, their sensitivity to the spirit world can make them strong, but it can also cause them to be affected to a greater degree by events on the plane, be the consequences beneficial or dire. See goblins further in this document.
The big question! Why are elves so difficult to tell apart? The answer is simple. One cannot differentiate as they are hermaphrodites. Elves are true hermaphrodites (as opposed to so called human hermaphrodites.) When sexually mature, they are able to breed with any other sexually mature member of their own or similar sub species.
Elves take many years to reach sexual maturity, another aspect that may be linked to their host plant. Once maturity is reached, they undergo periodic fertile cycles. These cycles differ from species to species, but are thought to generally occur every five years. As such it is imperative that members of the same tribe become fertile at the same time. Should a member of another tribe wish to breed for the sake of strengthening the gene pool, it would be imperative that they live among the tribe they wish to breed with for a sufficient period that their fertility cycles may align. (This may also possibly be facilitated via magical means.)
Due to the timing necessary to ensure successful breeding, mating has become highly ritualised. It would appear that emotions (assuming elves experience such) have no place in the mating ritual, but rather that partners are selected in terms of best genetic parings, to strengthen the overall tribal gene pool.
Physical coupling requires some hours to complete. It is thus essential that elves who have coupled are not disturbed, which also speaks to the structure of the mating ritual. The reason that coupling takes so long is that they do not deposit their sperm into each other, like a mammal may. Instead, one elf transfers its egg to its partner. This is done via means of an ovipositor, which enters the others birth canal where it passes over male organs which excrete sperm cells. The sperm must make their way into the opening at the end of the ovipositor and fertilise the egg that by this time would already be making its slow way down the ovipositor. The ovipositor then makes its way further down the birth canal to the womb, where the now fertilised egg is deposited to take root. The ovipositor is subsequently retracted back into its owner.
The ovipositor and birth canal are separate organs and thus allow both coupling elves to deposit eggs into each other during the same coupling if they so choose. Single sided couplings do occur, mostly among sub species with shorter fertility cycles.
When not mating, genitals look like two holes next to each other, the birth canal being the larger. Curious humans have been known to confuse the birth canal with a human vagina and either overlooked the retracted ovipositor or thought it to be a urethral opening. (In fact elves do not have a urethra or kidneys. Their blood waste is excreted via their colon.) Gestation period once again differs among sub species, but is generally accepted to be between 340 and 410 days. Birth occurs via the birth canal and in this way is probably the closest in similarity to that of humans.
Infants are not nursed by their “mother”. Elves do not have mammary glands. They receive sustenance from their sub species host plant. Depending on the sub species, this may be in the form of fruits, leaf sap, or even special sap excreted specifically for the purpose of the plants symbiotic partner. It is at this time that the young elf bonds with its host plant.
Though physically elves may appear to look similar to humans, such similarities are purely superficial. Interbreeding between the two species would not only be impossible at a chromosomal level, but would also be physically impossible. One could appear to put the right bits in the right places, but would indeed not be doing so.
Thus, the reader is asked to cast the idea of a half elf from their mind. They cannot exist by any natural means. If a half elf character is so deeply desired, one would suggest playing a game like Dungeons and Dragons that does not pay attention to the concept of species and chromosomes.
What about the tree?
If elves are so closely bonded with a host plant and gain so much benefit from the plant, what does the plant get in return? It depends on the form of symbiotic relationship that exists between the sub species and the plant:
Mutualism – Both parties benefit each other. This is probably the most common form of symbiosis employed. The tree will in turn for providing shelter, sustenance and a physiological bond receive protection, sustenance (compost) and propagation. In extreme cases, the tree may be unable to survive or propagate without its elfin partner.
Commensalism – One party benefits, the other party is not harmed. The elf receives the same as per mutualism, but does not give anything substantial back to the host plant. Less common, but leads to a looser bond with the host, allowing the elf to travel from its host, or even change hosts.
Parasitism – One party benefits to the detriment of the other. Very unlikely and as such longevity associated with the tree would not be possible and would indeed be detrimental to the elf’s lifespan should a elf/tree bond exist. Alternately, if no such bond existed, associated elfin lifespan would be intermediate, probably similar to that of a human.
Orcs are in no way related to elves. Case closed! If you wish to insult an orc, insinuate that he has elf blood. You will succeed, you will also likely die shortly thereafter. If anything, orcs are probably closest likened to humans, but share a very dissimilar ancestral tree and do not derive from simians. They are however mammalian in a very broad sense. And no, you do not get half orcs.
Goblins on the other hand are distantly related to elves, although one will never hear an elf confirm this. When reference is made to “a degenerate form of el” it is with goblins in mind. How these base creatures came to be is debatable, but various hypothesises have them as being the result of, inter alia, some bizarre failed experiment, inbreeding of an isolated elf community, corrupted and warped by diabolic spirit magics, cursed by the gods etc. Some people believe they exist as a result of some or all of the above!
Goblins are small, scrawny creatures with a tendency to steal anything they can carry or lead away. They are not very bright having intellect similar to that of a rat insofar they have a capacity to learn, but can also pass on some crude learning’s to their family. Family is used here in a broad sense, as a goblin tribe is usually very much related.
Why goblins are considered dangerous and highly undesirable is not through individual encounters, which are bad enough as they carry disease and are generally a nuisance. The main problem with goblins is that they breed fast and profusely and if they are allowed to establish a nest, a few nuisance goblins will become a menacing, ravenous hoard in the space of a season. What they lack in individual strength and stature, they make up for in numbers.
Goblins are fortunately the opposite of their elfin ancestors in terms of longevity, leading short, violent lives. Those that do survive to old age may count perhaps four years before their body wears itself out. Their scrawny bodies are barely sufficient to sustain themselves, let alone offspring. In terms of reproduction they have taken a symbiotic leaf from their ancestors book.
Within a goblin nest (usually a warren of caves), a large chamber is excavated. Within this chamber is a creature called a Lopsloss. The Lopsloss is related to a head hanger, but has long since lost the ability to move. It relies on its symbiotic goblin partners for sustenance, protection and propagation:
Sustenance is provided by the goblins in terms of any flesh they can feed the Lopsloss, flesh or carrion, it digests it all.
Protection is provided deep within the goblin warren, were the goblins will fight to the death to protect their Lopsloss.
When groups of goblins split off to establish new colonies, they take a portion of Lopsloss with. As the Lopsloss propagates by binary fission a new one will soon grow in the new colony.
In return, the goblins receive a valuable service from the lopsloss. It gestates their offspring. Goblins become fertile often, every season it is thought. When they mate, they follow a similar procedure to elves, but are no longer in possession of wombs (which have become superfluous and desiccated ove many generations of non use.) Instead, the egg, once fertilised, is deposited into the lopsloss.
The fertilised egg is somehow recognised by the lopsloss and in return for sustenance, it converts proteins and secretes nourishing fluids that help the goblin embryo grow. If however the lopsloss begins to starve, it will digest the embryos. This is why as a last resort, goblins will immolate themselves to feed the lopsloss and save their offspring, if such an event comes to pass.
Due to their nature and the way they are sustained as embryos, goblins are carnivorous.