It's arguable that the bloodiest and longest feud of the past millennium remained out of the eye of the public. A genocidal campaign, with an immeasurable amount of destruction of life, that was rarely discussed by the world's great nations. For the war waged below their perception, down beneath their feet. Down in the deep, swords and spears clashed inside rocky tunnels and sunless caverns. Goblins murdered gnomes. Gnomes slaughtered goblins. And prisoners were never taken.
Hatred, as pure as it could concentrate, was the corrupting hunger that feasted at every battle. Each death of the other was a celebration, and each drop of blood that was spilt was a treasure. Their's was not a war of soldiers, but rather a seemingly eternal attempt at extermination. Family preyed on family, and adult preyed on child. To live as the opposite race was the worst of crimes, and execution was the only perceived justice. Centuries of conflict at such a barbaric level left both sides in emotional tatters and never ending nightmares.
In the midst of all of that misery and contempt, an unpredictability occurred. One of the goblin tribes, with a chief whose name has been lost to history, finally decided to pull out of the cradle of violence. Her people would leave the Underdark, they would leave their homes. Those goblins dared to look up at the surface for hope, for peace. And in turn the surface world offered them its unclaimed and unwanted. Refuge came from the realm of the crocodile and the mosquito, where it smelled of brine and dead plants, and it was blanketed in fog from dusk till dawn. It was the Great Salt Marsh.
Nearly forty percent of the goblins perished within the first few years. Disease and starvation claimed many lives, but drowning claimed the most. Only the hardest folk survived, and the smartest ones adapted. They learned to fish, they learned what to gather, and they learned to blend into their environment. A village was eventually formed; then another, and another still. The immigrant goblins practiced trade, they cleared canoe routes through the marsh, and they passed on their knowledge with one another. Simply put, they prospered. The villages quickly united into an alliance with rules, and those alliances eventually grew into a republic with laws.
The scattered goblin towns of the Great Salt Marsh evolved into a legitimate nation, a Green Ear Nation. They developed a new culture, one of negotiation and compromise. Disputes between green ears would be settled nonviolently by third parties, and any goblin suspected of breaking the nation's laws would be given a fair trial. The goblins of Gen focused on parenting, nutrition, commerce, skill building, and science. The green ears had moved so far off their old roots that few traditional goblins would choose to settle with their cousins. The difference of values was just too great.
Change continued, with the newest (less than a century old) adjustment coming in the form of non-goblinoid settlers. Foreign merchants were seeing such great returns from doing business with GEN that some of them decided to set up permanent residence in the goblin city of Bighost. The green ear's largest city (Bighost) now has neighborhood of humanoid residents; a few of whom are elves and dwarves. And to the surprise of many outsiders, the non-goblins enjoy a trouble free stay. No goblin of GEN can lawfully act with aggression towards invited guests (traders), and truthfully no goblin wishes to. A massive sign is arched above the port of Bighost, and carved into its face, in many languages, are the words: "The Goblins of Bighost Welcome You
The present is a time of progress, but widespread tolerance from the many prejudiced nations across the world is still centuries away. To date a gnome has never stepped foot inside a green ear city. The feud's fire must still burns, but for how long? Last decade, after much debate, the goblins of Bighost made an addition to their welcome arch. They added the gnomish language...
Great Salt Marsh
The largest documented open- coast wetland in the world is the result of the powerful Mah Rill River discharging into the ocean. Here the terrestrial land marries with marine shallows to create a one of a kind ecosystem. Most of the marsh is under salt & brackish water, with only sparse outcroppings of hammocks (elevated areas of muck & earth) that can provide dry enough sanctuary. Notable plants include towering cypress tress, lily pads, cattails, sawgrass, and other aquatic varieties. Notable animals include crocodiles, piranha, squid, oysters, tarpon, and mosquitos.
The six capital cities of the Green ear nation were all founded on top of hamomcks, but they've long since overgrown those boundaries. Enormous boardwalk piers extend in every direction supporting goblin homes, markets, warehouses, taverns, and all manner of life. The pier wood is treated with a salt glaze, making it impervious to the normal decay from the jostling salty water. Bridges, some rope and some wood, connect various sections of Gen cities. But the capitals themselves are not linked by roads, there's simply not enough dry land between them. Instead the goblins have dug out canals for ship crossing, and there're dozens of winding canoe trails that will take them from one city to another. In the Great Salt Marsh, one is forced to travel by boat.
The Six Capitals of GEN
Although there are other goblin villages outside the borders of the capitals, they are largely insignificant due to their lack of political representation. The six cities of note, listed by population from greatest to smallest, are as follows: Bighost, Mudspray, Dragonfly, Saltpool, Foggymire, and Cattails. Each capital is governed by a Mogul, a position that is filled through a democratic process. And the six Moguls in turn answer to a Magnate, the ultimate executive position within the Green Ear Nation. The Magnate is appointed by a vote from the acting Moguls, and in the case of a tie, an open vote runoff takes place between the two candidates in every capital.
Bighost Ė With its sprawling open ports in every direction, the city of Bighost is the official trade hub of GEN. Itís the place where lost foreign sailors are politely directed towards, and itís the only goblin city that permits a humanoid residential district (though itís still very small). In Bighost green ear merchant guilds cooperate and compete with one another other in order to turn the most coin; and their most prominent guilds have guild halls that tower up into the canopy of the surrounding cypress trees. It is also the only capital that contains a Diplomat Embassy-which is essentially a smartly dressed apartment building with various foreign flags hanging from its lobbyís ceiling. Compared to the other capitals, this GEN city is the furthest out to sea. This was a conscious choice made by the green ear developers in order to help outside merchants not have to travel deep into the Great Salt Marsh in order to conduct their business.
Dragonfly Ė In the rare instances where a foreign ship approaches a GEN capital other than Bighost, itís usually gently redirected with instructions on how to navigate its way to the trade city. Most of the goblins are very understanding of the simple mistake. Dragonfly is not as understanding. Itís the city that harbors the majority of the Green Ear Nation navy, and itís also the base of the Redcap goblins. The capital has a Mogul, but in reality, at best, that position is second in its authority of Dragonfly; the Admiral is supreme. Dragonfly is where the navy is recruited, drilled, sworn in, and eventually baptized in combat. The Green Ear Nation has been fortunate enough to remain outside of kingdom versus kingdom wars, but trouble has still managed to find the marsh goblins. Pirates have poured into nearby waters: They lurk, strike, and then hope to run away with their riches. The bandits mostly prey on the humanoid traders who often sail into GEN with ships full of coin, and so the responsibility has fallen onto the green ear navy to rid the sea of its predators.
Official GEN policy is to accept the surrender of any suspected pirate vessel, whereby its crew will be taken into Bighost to stand trial for their crimes. A guilty verdict could be severe (up to execution), but it could also be as lenient as working off a multiyear sentence in one of the goblinís marsh labor camps. Hundreds of Gen ships serve their nation with regular pirate patrols, most respecting their foes pleas of surrender. But in contrast to GEN policy the Redcap feet (the dozen personal galleons of Admiral Madfire) has never returned with prisoners; instead they bring trophies- pirate sails, ship wheels, and all other manner of nautical mementos. The numbers of those trophies have been so great that they have constructed a shine of their triumphs. If one should sail directly from Bighost to Dragonfly, then one would cross through a stretch of water called Enemy Creek. There the cypress trees have hundreds of captured pirate flags hanging pitifully from their branches. There the anchors of once infamous bandit ships have been stuck into the flanking trunks so deep and for so long that the wood has grown over and around the iron. There ship wheels dangle like wind chimes overhead, and massive battle scarred top sails flap like forgotten laundry from the overarching cypress branches. There, in Enemy Creek, is the evidence of the Redcap fleetís wrath.
Exports by Importance
- caviar - the number one profit generating good coming out of GEN is its caviar, having recently surpassed pottery as the nation's chief export. The surrounding salt marsh has such an abundance of fish and such a variety of species that no other region is comparable in terms of harvesting the delicacy. The marsh is a fish spawning hotbed, and the caviar is picked and packed and shipped out daily. Traders sail in from every corner of the globe because the demand coming from their wealthy customers is so high. The caviar supplies sell out nearly as soon as they arrive at auction, and the profits coming into GEN are at record highs. A few city states, angrered by their prejudice of goblinoids, have outlawed the selling and carrying of caviar all together. In their eyes this was a necessary step, since so much of the global caviar is in circulation it would be impossible to separate the GEN delicacy from a humanoid product. But this act has had the effect that all prohibition invariably does, it increased the cost of the caviar (by restricting the supply to the black market), and it failed to have any effect on the Green Ear Nation's sales.
- pottery - the "official" industry of GEN is its pottery trade. There are several goblin guilds whose livelyhoods revolve solely around clay mining and ceremic good production. The combination of the nearby rich clay deposits and the subsidies that the Green Ear government hands out makes the goblin's clay goods as cheap as can be found. GEN is basically the Walmart of pottery, with "always low prices". Vases, pots, jars, bowls, and plates leave the goblin lands by the shipload.
- ships & boats - Shipeyards are necessary for civilization in the salt marsh, and the goblins have responded appropriately. Their centuries of sea travel combined with their advanced scientific study has lead to industrial scale ship and boat production. The vessels produced in GEN are flat bottomed and excel at shallow water navigation; while still maintaining the ability for prolonged oceanic crossing. The small boats and canoes are made completely out of ceremic and they're sealed up with salt glazes. That produces crafts who can glide through marshes, swamps, and rivers without equal in terms of speed.
- peat - this dead and decaying plant matter is coming onto the export scene with steady growth. The ovens of GEN use this materials as fuel, and so the pottery industry relies on it. But foreigners purchase the excess harvests for insulation material. It's a growing market in the overseas construction trade, and Many claim that salt marsh peat is the best insulation for your coin that you can buy.
- sea salt - while the salt trade is still profitable, it's also very competitive globally. Salt fetches a fair price at auction but many of the goblin salt traders have since moved into the more profitable caviar business.
- fish, shellfish, & squid - lots of seafood is pulled out of the marsh waters, but it's mostly gobbled up by the locals. Traders who have ways of preserving the fish do find great bargains at the GEN auctions, but many of the merchants aren't equipped to get the food back before it spoils.
- pearls - the local pearl beds are a wonderful source of commerce. The marsh waters give the pearls a highly sought after pinkish hue, and more than a few goblins have made their fortunes selling those treasures.
Imports by Importance
-metal tools & machinery
-weapons & armor