Is there a specific location where hobgoblins live and where they train for magic?

If it’s secret, what might be an appropriate location for it (from a GM perspective)?

Volo’s Guide to Monsters (page 161) mentions that hobgoblins train at the Academy of Devastation:

Hobgoblins of the cruelest bent gain admittance to elite organizations that provide special training above and beyond what military service has to offer. [...] In hobgoblin society, the Academy of Devastation identifies hobgoblins with a talent for magic and puts them through a grueling training regimen that endows them with the ability to call down fireballs and other destructive magic on the host’s behalf.

I am interested as to its location in order to inform the background for a player character who has left the academy to go adventuring.


1 Answer 1


It’s good to remember that Volo is quite...opinionated. It seems to me that he tends to exaggerate and be quite melodramatic. From what I can find, it seems the Academy is first and foremost Dungeons and Dragons content, not necessarily canon FR (there’s a difference!) It also mentions in Volo’s Guide that it is hidden, and, as far as I can find, that is, underwhelmingly, that.

  I assume you’re a DM, though the following advice is still relevant. Remember that the DM always has the power to make up or even change, among other things, canon or non-canon locations. If you can’t find a location (whether or not there is one) just make an assumption. Find a place in whatever world you’re adventuring in that makes some sense and say that’s that, at least for this game, is where it is. According to Volo’s, Devastators tend to live in forests, hills, and plains biomes, so I would suggest that in a hidden place in one of those locations you create it. Being magical, you could say it’s magically hidden, which is why no one knows where it is. Due to its secretive nature, I would think that it wouldn't be in a particularly central/well-mapped/often-travelled location, which is why I didn't suggest a specific FR location above.

Another solution is to just assume that either the character doesn’t remember, or has been trained thoroughly to never divulge the location. Perhaps the Academy wipes the minds of all its initiates right as they are leaving for the last time. Or maybe they were never told in the first place, blindfolded when entering and exiting.

Whatever you decide, just keep in mind that the DM always has control over something like this. If you have your doubts about location, or it outright doesn’t tell you, just make it up—it doesn’t matter that much.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack and please take our tour to learn more about us! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 17:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ My comment is backed up by the preface and notes throughout Volo's guide. He clearly tells tall tales (i.e. claiming he uses magic to disguise himself as objects when it is made clear elsewhere he possesses no such magic) if not blatantly lying. I don't have a ton of space, so I'll end by clarifying that it's from the constant banter between Volo and Elminster that I get my information. \$\endgroup\$
    – Taylor S
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not unreasonable, but if we start treating the content as if it's from an unreliable narrator, we've got other issues with the book that are much greater than this. And this is assuming Elminster is trustworthy with respect to Volo. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is a fair point actually. I can't think of a perfect reason around this, I'm just expressing what I see in the way Volo expresses himself and his stories—I could very well be incorrect about my assumption. Take the way he says things as you will. I have since changed what I said to create a sense of it being my opinion, as opposed to fact. \$\endgroup\$
    – Taylor S
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 2:55
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I would add an extra possibility: The Academy of Devastation is stated to be an organisation. As such, it might not have a single centralised campus. They probably have schools wherever enough hobgoblins live. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 3:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .