Originally the slaves of jungle trolls on the Isle of Kezan, goblins were forced to mine kaja’mite ore out of the volcanic bowels of Mount Kajaro. The trolls used this potent mineral for their voodoo rituals, but it had an unexpected effect on the slaves who were in constant contact with it: kaja’mite generated a startling new cunning and intelligence in the goblin race.
Crafting powerful artifacts of engineering and alchemy in secret, the goblins soon overthrew their oppressors and claimed Kezan for their homeland. The mines that had once been the goblins’ prison, their slave camp, and the base of their rebellion now became the city of Undermine. Weaving through the heart of the island in a dizzying network of tunnels, vaults, and lava tubes, Undermine epitomized the goblins’ complex, unpredictable mindset. It was there that they built the foundations of an empire, and the natural elements of craftiness (some would call it duplicity) inherent to the race were honed to a razor edge. The goblins’ inventions would help them rule the world—or at least own a profitable percentage of it.
To the goblins’ great dismay, the effects of the kaja’mite began to wear off, and their intelligence waned. Even worse, the ore itself became harder and harder to find. Supplies dwindled. Desperation ensued. The goblins’ once-brilliant inventions started to look haphazard and makeshift (a look that has become synonymous with the term “goblin-made”), and Kezan’s native swindlers soon realized that they would need to find other ways to supplement their avarice.
The goblins’ remaining craftiness (coupled with undiminished natural greed) soon lifted the race to preeminence as masters of mercantilism. Prominent trade princes rose to power during the First War as the cleverest goblins took advantage of the strife. Great fortunes were amassed, and the Isle of Kezan became a hub for fleets of goblin trading ships. One of the more ambitious trade princes agreed to lend his cartel’s services to the Horde in the Second War. Following the Horde’s defeat, the goblins learned from that trade prince’s failed example, realizing that their profits could double if they weren’t stuck in a restrictive relationship. By the end of the Third War, goblins were providing weaponry, vehicles, and devious services to both the Horde and the Alliance. But the gravy train wouldn’t last forever…
Recently, the Bilgewater Cartel—the goblin faction centered in Kezan—has found a new enemy in the Alliance. Unexpected and unprofitable encounters with the secretive SI:7 branch of King Varian’s forces have driven Trade Prince Gallywix from his comfortable neutrality. Reforging old pacts with their colleagues’ one-time allies, the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel have been welcomed into the Horde with open arms.