The Hobgoblin Bakemonogatana was designed by Paul Southren and is made by the SBG house brand, Black Dragon Forge, who produce the SBG custom katana.
Hobgoblins are a brutal race of humanoids endemic to the Harmonious Isles, far to the east of Eletreus. For aeons, the existence of the isles remained known only to the people of Lhasa, for the islands had a terrible secret. The entire southern region of the island chain was overrun by a united and militant hobgoblin threat that arose when a rogue demon discovered the Isles during the war in heaven, and warped the native inhabitants into his own private army. While the Fallen one that created them was long since destroyed, his progeny thrive – and the war between humans and hobgoblins is a grinding and hideous stalemate.
Only their inability to master the seas gives the humans an advantage – for their thick and heavy bones make them poor swimmers and wary of bodies of water. But over the centuries, a few have used ships in an attempt to establish a foothold in new lands – with landings in Lhasa and even ancient Calibicia. And while they do not have a reputation for seamanship, in recent years they mustered an impressively sized fleet that achieved a feat of sailing that even the most experienced sailors would find a challenge. For setting sail from Jigoku several thousand Hobgoblins navigated thousands of miles along the coast of Eletreus all the way up past the Elven homelands and into the Badlands, where they settled, dominated and remain to this day..
The remarkable act of seamanship is just one example of the many surprises Hobgoblins have in store. Few would imagine that these sadistic creatures would have the patience or the steady hand needed – but almost every Hobgoblin is a natural born craftsman – and they produce unique weapons and armor of amazing quality and devastating effectiveness.
The most famous of all their weapons, and the one that each Hobgoblin warrior is required to carry, is the Bakemonogatana.
The very best Bakemonogatana are made in the Badlands from the finest ore alloys, blended to a secret formula known only to a handful of Hobgoblin sword smiths to create a specialized sword that truly comes alive in Hobgoblin hands.
For this slightly ‘s’ shaped single edged cutting sword sports a razor sharp edge – and each day Hobgoblins train in its use, employing a wide variety of complex techniques, spinning it around their body with the ergonomic handle, using the extra leverage of the extremely long handle, confusing and bewildering their opponents with unpredictable and deceptive attacks.
For example, when held in two hands, the left hand pulls on the handle like a lever and the shape of the sword does the rest – delivering a barrage of attacks without telegraphing or winding up and then changing the grip to deliver a full power body strike to finish their shredded opponent. They also use the extra reach by choking up or down the handle, changing between configurations rapidly and attacking without honor or mercy, for deception and dirty fighting is at the core of the Hobgoblin fighting systems, which are complex and require many hundreds of hours of training to master.
Outsiders are often surprised by the level of attention to detail on their swords, from the hide used to bind the handle to the lacquered and rattan wrapped and reinforced scabbards.
But perhaps most curiously, the detailed fittings – which are made from master molds and found on every sword, for each of their blades is identical and no variation is permitted, each one made exactly the same as the next. These fittings, as well as being practical as hand guards and used in the bind to lock in an opponents blade and deliver leveraged strikes over the top, also have special religious significance to them and is believed to be a stylized representation of their creation by their Fallen deity during the war in heaven.
However, what really defines these swords is the magic used to enchant them. For each blade is quenched in bath of fresh human blood – the dark magic imbuing the blade with the power to cause uncontrolled bleeding in human targets and if not resisted, will also cause the area wounded to turn black and become necrotic within minutes from even the slightest scratch..
This quenching also hardens the edge of the blade so that it cuts with the slightest pressure, yet is strong enough to slice through hardened leather armor. The process also leaves the blade with a rich red hue that subtly pulsates like a beating heart when drawn.
The swords themselves are worn on the back – and with the shorter blade and long hobgoblin arms allowing them to be rapidly drawn strike with a one handed surprise attack faster than most people can react. Often when an opponent is distracted or as a follow up to blinding powder thrown into the eyes of the opponent – for to a Hobgoblin killing an opponent via deception or trickery is a point of pride – and they use all manner of thrown weapons, ambush tactics and every possible dirty trick to win. The only exception is when two Hobgoblins enter into a formal duel – in these duels, victory must be achieved by raw skill, and any tricks will forfeit the fight and end with the violator of their strict code sliced into pieces in swift punishment.
The sword itself was designed by Paul Southren and is based on a Bujinkan Ninja style sword with a unique curvature to facilitate specialized cutting techniques. It is made from differentially hardened T10 tool steel with a red titanium infusion and in all other respects is made the same way as the SBG custom katana series swords. Bakemonoatana is Japanese for ‘goblin sword’.