I have ideas and plans to continue the Borderlands analysis, and expand it to others 'B' modules. But, I currently lacks the time I need to do it quietly, because of my involvement in the preparative of strike. As you know,
is the country of strikes. It could be discussed as a reality, as the France working-class movement is impressive in its own way, but French' strikes turned to be like a cliché. So, as tomorrow will be a national day of strike, I want to speak of something D&D and communism have in common: Hobgoblins. US
Few people would link hobgoblins to communism. Let me explain. The first English translation of Karl Marx's famous Communist Manifesto, published in the chartist paper The Red Republican, by Miss Helen Macfarlane, started by this phrase: "A frightful hobgoblin is stalking
Europe". Later, the frightful hobgoblin was replaced by a spectre, closer to the German version. But the word Hobgoblin is still a part of the Communist heritage, and The Hobgoblin is today the title of the paper published by The International Marxist-Humanist Organization.
I wonder why Helen Macfarlane choose Hobgoblin as a translation. It seems, when she write it in the middle of the 19th century, it was an accurate word for a ghost, but later translators apparently didn't find it self-evident, as they replaced it. The German word Gespenst, choose by Marx in the original version, probably had something to do with Hegel's concept of Gheist, which is both a mind, a spirit and a ghost. This is an interesting clue, as the word Hobgoblin is not so common: Helen McFarlane's hobgoblin is more or less an undead. Trolls, in Norse sagas, are undead as well, as are most dark creatures. The border between living creatures and undead is not so clear in Norse and German mythology than in modern role-playing games. As I'v been a long time Vampire player, I can't avoid to note that Miss Macfarlane identity is barely known and nobody knows where and when she died. But that's another matter...
Studying the genealogy of the gnoll to write the Gnoll's article for Wikipedia, I noted that gnolls and hobgoblins have strong links, and both of them are also linked with undead. In the lbb's, gnolls and hogbolins are closely associated, several times, and the thoul - even if it could first have been a typo - is noted between gnoll and ghouls. Then in Molday's D&D, Thoul is described like being between troll, ghoul and hobgoblin, often mistaken with the later. Last, Yeenoghu as links with gnolls and ghouls (interestingly, arabian tales describes ghouls as being able to change to hyenas). So, all these creatures are linked, I should say chained, with ghouls, an undead creature.
Chaos in OD&D is strongly tied to death and darkness, and hobgoblins are part of Chaos. I don't know what
had in mind, and how his thoughts evolved on that point, but he's well known for his love for German mythology. Hobgoblins are closer to their mythological sources and far much more impressive when they're some mysterious creatures bewteen life and unlife, than just a tribe among others. So, let's Frightful Hobgoblins stalks your campaigns! Gary