A great deal of legend surrounds Karr’Tahl the Controller and his Book of the Law. People tend to think so little of goblins, that most reasonable scholars believe Karr’Tahl was probably a hobgoblin, orc, or human who dominated a goblin tribe. Nothing could be further from the truth!
To understand Karr’Tahl, one must understand goblin psychology. Goblins tend to have low force of personality and churlish dispositions (Charisma -2). Most people generally believe them to be weak-willed as well (those encountered tend to have Wisdom 9). So, generally goblins are the go-to whipping boys for all evil humanoids, goblinoids, beholders, dragons, fiends… Well, everybody, really! And when good adventurers aren’t picking on kobolds, they are kicking goblins!
So, it’s easy to see why goblins tend to be unruly, gruff, and foul tempered creatures. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, goblins are surly and rowdy, people start beating on them. Goblins get angry and nasty, people beat on them more. Couple that with their short gestation period (3 ½ months) and often (70%) multiple births, and goblins can quickly overrun a “civilized” area. This, along with many scholars assertions that goblins are not sentient, and has led many to treat the goblin species much like rats, and they often hire adventurers to exterminate them. Therefore, goblins tend to be opportunistic, and self-serving, and generally don’t even get along with each other. Thus, before Karr’Tahl the concept of goblin “culture” was almost laughable. Basically, goblins only ganged up when led by some stronger willed, cult of personality.
Karr’Tahl was neither weak-willed (Wisdom of 16) nor did he have a low force of personality (Charisma of 16), and, really, was better organized than most goblins (Lawful Evil).
As a young goblinling, Karr’Tahl was taken into the service, read slavery, of a well-known fence and crime boss, named Julian Gray, who was in love with an orc maid, probably to spit in the face of his elven father. When Julian was young, his father had given him an elven blade named Aelimilitahl, or blade of a knight’s promise. He never saw his father again. Gray had the blade re-forged into a sword cane.
So the young goblinling was named Karr’Tahl. Karr after the orcish word for lord or noble, and Tahl after the elven word for blade. And it was not lost on Gray out the word was very similar to cartel. The sword cane was given to Karr’Tahl.
Gray, who believe the rhetoric of goblins sentience treated Karr’Tahl like he was a pet, and though he had him trained as a pickpocket, cutpurse, and killer he never thought of him as dangerous to Gray himself.
Karr’Tahl on the other hand, was tired of being kicked around by Gray’s lackeys, along with the other goblins, and began to organize them. At first, nobody noticed, the goblins just hung around together. Then, they started ganging up! Soon, it wasn’t possible to take advantage of the goblins in Gray’s cartel.
When Gray finally considered the problem of the organized goblins it was too late. When he forbade Karr’Tahl from organizing the goblins any further, his response was to immediately run him through with the sword cane that he’d been given and declare himself leader of the cartel. Karr’Tahl then found a beautiful goblin maiden held captive in the private chambers of his former boss. Sharisoha, as she was called, turned out to be a powerful sorceress, and firm supporter of her new mate. She, unlike he, was also literate.
Karr’Tahl dictated his ideas of goblin organization to his mate, who added her own ideas, and thus formed the Book of the Law. In general, groundling goblins were, by this point in their evolution, far too hateful to get along with each other anymore than one powerful individual could force them to. However, among the goblins of Wildspace, who were somewhat more organized by necessity (ships’ crews require it), the Book of the Law saw some wide appeal. They saw that if they could get along, or at least tolerate one another, and everybody followed the rules, or at least did not get caught breaking them, that they could become gestalt and a force to be reckoned with, or at least taken seriously.
The Book of the Law has rules in it for almost every aspect of goblin life. From business dealings, to marriage, to child rearing, to negotiating contracts with other races, there is a rule for it. Without these rules goblins would revert to their uncivilized behavior.
Karr’Tahl adored his mate, and gave unprecedented privilege to females of the goblin species. It was pointed out to him, and recognized when it was, that only females have any idea who the father of the child was. Thus, if parentage is important, the female must be placated. While Karr’Tahl could agree with the idea of appeasing his mate, and could agree that it was important that she bed with him, Karr’Tahl never knew his parents and couldn’t understand why such matters as parentage were so important.
When Sharisoha claimed a noble lineage, Karr’Tahl almost laughed that her, the idea of noble goblins was humorous. She then revealed that she had fiendish parentage, and that her mother, an Erinyes was a baroness in the Nine Hells.
She feared that Karr’Tahl would abandon her, cast her out, or possibly even kill her but none of that happened. Karr’Tahl assured her that he actually loved her, and agreed to write rules about parentage. Hence, the matrilineal line of goblin succession where a dad is more important than a father.
Karr’Tahl and Sharisoha had one child, a son, who they named Durga who not only became a great leader of the goblin people in space, but is perhaps the most famous ghost in goblin history.
Now, it is some 200 years later, and perhaps 10 generations and the idea of goblin cartels is so widespread as to be almost the normal within the Scro Empire. Though large and powerful cartels are unusual, they are not unheard of.