Hobgoblin’s have been a part of D&D since the beginning. Their appearance has not changed much over the editions either, nor has their attitude. They are lager more wicked and menacing goblins. Another thing that has remained a constant since their introduction war. Hobgoblin’s are constantly at war with any other race. And they view all other races on the battlefield as inferior to themselves. Gladly even residing as officers over other races as leaders on the battle field.
One of the biggest fears that you can face when combating Hobgoblin’s is that they attract other more powerful races to their causes. Trolls, Ogres, Hill Giants and Barghast’s can and have all been seen with Hobgoblin’s on the field of battle. This gives Hobgoblin’s tremendous flexibility on the battlefield to use unorthodox tactics as they wage war.
As a Lawful Evil society they have a strict military code. Among Hobgoblins nothing goes to waste. Captured enemy’s are sold for better equipment. Captured Equipment is used to replace lesser valued gear. Everything about the Hobgoblin exist for war. Their villages are built as castles with tower and high walls. Their family units are born and raised for war. They strive for a state total fearlessness and lack of emotion in combat. All the lands that they control are forfeit for their engine of war as well.
In short Hobgoblin’s when found should be down right Scary ! But often I feel this race is often overlooked as a big well armored goblin. And they are so much more than that. They Take great care and pride in their weapons. As military leaders they can be powerful NPC Villains. And if used well in a game as a recurring villain they can threaten to grow an entire army to support them. With the fact that Hobgoblins also can and do attract more and more powerful creatures to their ranks. As the party levels up So can your NPC. Maybe after a defeat the Hobgoblin rally’s his allies and returns to a group of Ogres and Trolls next time he faces off with the players.
Hobgoblin’s In 5E.. are no less as scary in ability as they are in description. They have the ability when fighting in rank and file with their Allies to level brutal blows on their opponents. You will see them early enough in the game with a CR of 1/2 and a cool ability called “Martial Advantage” This allows them to gain an extra whopping 2D6 Damage on their attacks on targets within 5 Feet of their ally’s.
Hobgoblin Captain add’s to this Leadership. A recharging ability that add a D4 to an attack or saving throw. Lastly the Hobgoblin warlord is a wrecking machine. With Martial advantage, Leadership, Multi Attack and Shield Bash ! And a hefty CR of 6 !
These are baddies you can have your players face off against for a very long time and be a Solid threat !
That being said I personally like that very much. Your game can progress but you can remain fighting what use to be perceived as low-level monsters for long periods of time in the leveling process. Instead of decelerating the XP crawl. The monsters can rise to meet the challenge. and become stronger and stronger encounters.