- "The sun took us to deep valley...below the sea of clouds...
- The world looked small...We would take it and ate it all...
- Little ones came from Hills, Green of Skin and useful...
- They were too stringy to eat, so we put them to work..."
- —The Saga of the Ogres, as interpreted by Yohan the Honest (declared eaten)[1a]
Gnoblars are a distinct sub-species of mountain or hill-dwelling Goblins that inhabits the mountains and hills of the Ogre Kingdoms and the lowlands of Gnoblar Country to its southern borders. They are similar to their Goblin cousins in many way's such as their cowardice, evil-minded nature, cunning, and their familiar appearance. Just like their Goblin cousins, they are also the "slave" force of the Ogre race, acting as servants, cannon fodder, ammunition or even food, however Ogres tend to not eat Gnoblars for they think of them as too "stringy".[1a]
These highly unpleasant creatures are possessed of a malicious but limited cunning that entirely fails to make up for their lack of physical strength. Their gnarled bodies are topped with large, bulbous heads, and they have scrawny arms that end in wide and dextrous hands. Despite their slender frames, Gnoblars have a disproportionate amount of strength in their legs and backs, having been selectively bred for load-bearing by their masters' tendency to tread on those who fail to prove themselves useful.[1a]
The most remarkable feature of a Gnoblar is probably his nose, a massive protuberant lump that can smell an approaching predator before it has a chance to pounce. This is complemented by an acute pair of ears; large, triangular appendages that swivel independently at the slightest sound. A Gnoblar down on his luck will have them perked up expectantly, perhaps to make himself larger and more threatening. However, the Gnoblars found out a long time ago that the best way to make themselves look larger and more threatening is simply to stand between the legs of a well-fed Ogre.[1a]
Despite the fact there is very little meat on a Gnoblar, they are preyed upon by all and sundry. They are often enslaved by Chaos Dwarf raiders, of whom they are deathly afraid, and not without good reason. The most important step in Gnoblar evolution was the realisation that the Ogres dwelling in the Mountains of Mourn found them of more use as slaves than sustenance. Before long, a mass exodus of Gnoblars leaving their homelands in the foothills saw the Ogre Kingdoms infested, with shanty towns springing up in every available nook and cranny. Since that day, the Gnoblars have performed the menial tasks demanded of them by their Ogre masters, and in return, the Ogres ensure that only a comparatively small percentage of Gnoblars meet a grisly and unfortunate death.[1a]
When a Gnoblar is claimed by an Ogre, perhaps after offering a tankard of beer or a dead sibling to a prospective master at exactly the right time, that Gnoblar is then earmarked. This involves biting off a portion of the Gnoblar's ear so that the Ogre's distinctive bite-mark is left as a permanent sign of ownership - far quicker and simpler than branding. An earmarked Gnoblar is theoretically above the constant bickering and in-fighting that typifies this species. The fortunate few dress in cast-off pieces of clothing taken from the corpses of the Ogre's victims, and even accompany their masters to the field of battle, either at their side or in bickering mobs that pelt their enemies with anything sharp that they can lay their light-fingered hands on.[1a]
There is an old Ogre expression; "I wouldn't trust a Gnoblar save as far as I could throw him", which has its roots in the traditional Ogre practice of hurling a potential Gnoblar servant to check his worth. Varying quite dramatically in size, the larger Gnoblars tend to be independent, even rebellious at times, and they cannot be thrown nearly as far should the Ogre wish to participate in a Gnoblar-hurling contest. Small Gnoblars are prized not only because they tend to be more subservient, but also because they can be strapped to a stout branch and passed over the shoulder, scratching those hard-to-reach places with sharp, scrabbling claws. It is common for an Ogre to develop a twisted affection for a prized Gnoblar servant, boasting to his tribe-mates that his Gnoblar is a good little runner with a healthy green hide and a particularly droopy nose. Unfortunately, the more often a pet Gnoblar is around his master, the higher the chance he will be eaten or simply crushed by accident. Almost every Ogre has a Gnoblar to call his own, and they often echo the characteristics of their master - a Gnoblar belonging to a Tyrant will likely be a bullying little tyke with an ill-fitting helmet, whereas one belonging to a Leadbelcher might have soot-blackened features and a rag in each earhole. It is possible to tell a lot about an Ogre by the Gnoblars he keeps.[1a]
- Luck-Gnoblars - Ogres often come to the point where they believe certain long-lived pet Gnoblars are lucky charms. Occasionally, this proves to be true; after all, it can be considered lucky when a foe's blade opens up a pet Gnoblar's skull rather than the Ogre's throat.[1b]
- Sword-Gnoblars - The most influential Ogres of each tribe, such as Bruisers, often manage to secure themselves a Gnoblar or two worth more than the dung on their oversized boots. These Gnoblars hide between the legs of their master, poking sharp implements into the flesh of whoever is occupying his attention during the battle.[1c]
- Tooth-Gnoblars - Ogre Butchers usually surround themselves with bloodstained menials that do the Butcher's bidding and, one way or another, provide ingredients for his shamanic magicks. These Gnoblars tread a thin tightrope between usefulness and palatability.[1d]
- Lookout-Gnoblars - Gnoblars are often bullied into makeshift crow's-nests at the top of the Ogre banners. If an enemy is targeting the Ogres below, the Gnoblar can either give advance warning of the threat, or fall to his death.[1e]
- Gnoblar Fighters - The larger members of Gnoblar society have a tendency towards independence. These Gnoblars forsake their baggage-carrying brethren and band together into loose but numerous groups that take to the battlefield in the hope of stealing some particularly choice shiny things before the Corpse-Harvest.[1f]
- Gnoblar Trappers - These outgoing but vindictive Gnoblars are the largest and most intrepid of their kind, and delight in catching and torturing the small ferocious mammals that populate the foothills of the Mountains of Mourn. Once they have finished 'playing' with these animals (usually jabbing them with sharp sticks), they either devour them there and then or take them back as an offering to their Ogre masters as a light snack.[1g]
- Gnoblar Scrappers (or Magpies) - These are a lightfingered, mean-spirited culture of Gnoblars that usually swarm Old Worlder caravans crossing the Ogre Kingdoms and make off with anything they can carry for their own tiny imitation scrap-caravans. They're also responsible for the creation and operation of the Scraplaunchers.[1h][1i]
- Name-Gnoblars - Some Ogres have almost comically long and overcomplicated names, but these mighty individuals invariably have enough status to keep a Name-Gnoblar or two around to remember the Ogre's title.[1j]
- Scalp-Gnoblars - These Gnoblars help Butchers create Skullmantles out of the skin and hair from the boiled heads of defeated enemies.[1k]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Ogre Kingdoms (6th Edition)