A greasy sheen coats the scarred, rippling hide of this dog-shaped beast. Beady eyes, wide ears, and jagged teeth lend rodent-like qualities to the imposing war beast.
Hobbe Hound CR 2
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +6 (1d6+6 plus allergic reaction)
Special Attacks allergic reaction (DC 14), flammable
Allergic Reaction (Ex)
A hobbe hound’s saliva and skin produce highly irritating secretions that affect all creatures except those with the goblinoid subtype. A non-goblinoid creature that takes damage from a hobbe hound’s bite, deals damage to a hobbe hound with a natural weapon or unarmed attack, or otherwise comes into contact with a hobbe hound (including attempts to grapple or ride the creature) must succeed at a DC 14 Fortitude saving throw or break out in an itchy rash.
A creature affected by this rash takes a –2 penalty to Dexterity and Charisma for 24 hours (multiple allergic reactions do not stack). Remove disease or any form of magical healing removes the rash instantly. This is a disease effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.
The greasy, alchemical musk that constantly coats a hobbe hound’s body is highly flammable, and if ignited by an open flame or a spell that deals any amount of fire damage, it burns for 10 rounds.
While burning, the hobbe hound deals an additional 1d6 points of fire damage with its natural attacks, and creatures striking it with natural weapons or unarmed strikes, or attempting to grapple the hobbe hound, take 1d6 points of fire damage. The hobbe hound takes 1d6 points of fire damage each round it remains on fire, but its energy resistance applies normally. Extinguishing a hobbe hound requires the beast to either succeed at a DC 15 Reflex saving throw as a full-round action or complete immersion in water.
A hobbe hound that has been set on fire loses its allergic reaction special ability for 24 hours while its body replenishes the irritating oils that have been burned away.
Environment temperate hills or underground
Organization solitary, pair, pack (3–6), or warband (2–4 with 2–12 hobgoblins)
Standing 3 feet tall and weighing nearly 150 pounds each, hobbe hounds are disposable war dogs of hobgoblin armies. Cowed only by shows of violence, they are loathsome and miserable creatures that return savagery in kind. The thick, waxy musk that constantly oozes from their pockmarked skin reeks of death and urine, and is highly irritating to non-goblinoids. Far worse, their fetid coating bursts into flame with the slightest spark, and while most armies would find flammable shock troops to be a hindrance, efficient and cruel hobgoblins find burning, baying, savage beasts of war ideal for breaking enemy ranks and sowing chaos before their own regiments close to melee.
Hobbe hounds are the result of careful breeding and hobgoblin alchemical tinkering, and have little place in the natural world. Sharing many features with the more common goblin dogs—filthy, ratlike creatures that often dwell alongside goblins in their miserable villages— hobbe hounds boast much heavier frames and thicker hides at the expense of goblin dogs’ already limited mental faculties. Generations of inbreeding have given them a dense musculature and incredible resistance to pain, while mutagens further develop their bulky bodies.
This tinkering also exacerbates the species’ overactive sebaceous glands, resulting in a secretion even fouler than the irritating dander of their leaner cousins. This alchemically infused body oil burns readily, producing billows of black, greasy smoke. Thanks to these same oils, hobbe hounds are somewhat resistant to fire, and a cruel training regimen destroys any fear of flame they might have once had, resulting in vicious beasts that rush into battle oblivious to the flames searing their own flesh.
These glands often become infected due to heavy burn scars, and most hobbe hounds have repulsive patches of boils and blisters on their backs, necks, and heads.
Hobbe hounds have great difficulty mating. Females go into heat irregularly and are picky about which males they allow close when they do. Their aggressive rejections leave scars or even maim potential suitors. On the rare occasion a pregnancy takes, the mother becomes listless and lazy, drained by the large and aggressive brood growing inside her. Hobgoblins feed these dazed mothers a steady diet of stimulants and mutagens to overcome this malaise; in the wild, other members of the pack become increasingly protective, given that they may see only one or two pregnancies in a year. After 3 months, the mother gives birth to a half-dozen stillborn pups and another five to 10 alert young. Born ready to eat meat, a hobbe hound pup generally makes its first meal of the littermates that didn’t survive. Though hobgoblins produced a number of variations (see Variations below), only one “true” breed has proven resilient enough to survive and flourish in new packs and environs without constant oversight and alchemical supplements.
Habitat and Society
Unsurprisingly, given their origins, hobbe hounds are aggressive in the extreme, with wild packs claiming large swathes of territory and attacking almost anything that enters, even predators many times their own size. A band of hounds hunts together out of a shared hatred for outsiders, but they lack the tactics or cooperation of most pack hunters. Once the prey is felled, individual hobbe hounds turn on one another in a fight to claim the choicest morsels.
Those packs reared by hobgoblin tribes submit to goblinoid authority—partly from an inbred deference and partly from lifetimes of cruel beatings—and organize themselves at least marginally better than their feral kin. Tribes not actively campaigning sometimes use hobbe hounds as guards, but the willful beasts rarely stay in place unless chained to their posts. In active warfare, however, they shine, proving far more ferocious and resilient than mundane war beasts, and more obedient than worgs and similar allies of convenience.
Riddled as they are with alchemical mutagens, hobbe hounds produce a number of potent by-products. Their urine repels other canines and readily kills plant life, and their feces similarly destroy most fungi. Territories claimed by packs of hobbe hounds quickly become despoiled, marked by dead trees and chewed corpses that never fully decay. As food becomes scarce, packs turn to cannibalism to sate their hunger before finally moving on to fertile grounds.
Variations Born from mad experimentation and forced breeding, hobbe hounds are prone to mutations, and many variants have emerged. Because these variants are a result of alchemical tinkering, they almost always appear as domesticated animals, rather than in feral packs.
Bug Hound: These leaner hobbe hounds are identifiable by their dark, dappled flesh. They retain a deference to goblinoids, but shun their own kind, instead slinking in the shadows and hunting by ambush, making them suitable companions for bugbear scouts. Bug hounds gain a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks.
Hobbe Hulk: These tumor-riddled abominations are the result of overindulging hobbe hounds’ species-wide addiction to mutagens, which causes them to grow to the size of a small horse. Hobbe hulks gain the giant creature simple template.
Starting Statistics: Size Medium; Speed 40 ft.; AC +1 natural armor; Attack bite (1d4 plus allergic reaction); Ability Scores Str 12, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 7; Special Qualities allergic reaction, low-light vision, scent.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #119: Prisoner of the Blight © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Amanda Hamon Kunz, with Paris Crenshaw, Crystal Frasier, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, and Larry Wilhelm.