Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hobgoblin” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  314 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Hobgoblin by John Coyne is a 1981 book about Scott Gardiner, a teenaged boy who becomes obsessed with "Hobgoblin," a fantasy roleplaying game based on Irish mythology, as his life in the game & in reality slowly blend.
Like the contemporary Mazes & Monsters, this is a species of problem novel (altho not aimed at young adult readers) by an established writer, which
Paperback, 342 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hobgoblin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hobgoblin

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Grady Hendrix
Mar 13, 2015 Grady Hendrix rated it it was ok
Meet Scott Gardiner, exactly the kind of kid everyone warns us is vulnerable to the lurid lure of RPGs: brilliant, creative, socially awkward, and WITH A DEAD FATHER OMG NO THIS KID IS DOOMED. Scott is obsessed (OBSESSED I TELL YOU!) with a truly terrible RPG called Hobgoblin. One part RPG, one part Magic: The Gathering, it’s based on Celtic mythology so it’s full of unfortunate character names like “Boobach” and questionable spells like “fairy vision.” Players speak in fraught, reverent tones ( ...more
Vezlandia Day
Jan 03, 2010 Vezlandia Day rated it it was amazing
I first got this book in high school. It's about a kid who has this totally kick ass 'dungeons and dragons' character. He moves to a castle with his mom who does historical preservation work or something like that. You guessed it, weird things start happening. He has to battle the things that become real...or are they?
I will probably read this book 5 more time before I kick the bucket. There's just something about it...
Nov 08, 2007 Julian rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Imelda Marcos
Recommended to Julian by: I did, I'm a jackass.
I read this book when I was vaguely a teenager. At the time I was still in the throes of intensive Dungeon and Dragoning, and this book is about a roll playing game acted out in reality, which with spectacularly failed results my friends and I also attempted. I'd love to read this again, as at the time I found this book both scarey and sexy. The characters were real people (vs. Lolth, the wicked spider queen of the drow elves for example) and their actions were realistic to me. Despite a good 20 ...more
Jan 02, 2010 Vomithatsteve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gamers who've run out of Chick tracts
Recommended to Vomithatsteve by: Goodwill
This is a book about fantasy role-playing games from the early '80s. The question here isn't "is this a good book." The question is "is this book hilariously bad or not? The answer is, unfortunately, not particularly.

The main character is the standard cliche for this genre: a misunderstood teen who plays RPGs and has trouble distinguishing the game from reality. However, where other examples of this genre would usually make him likeable, Coyne doesn't bother. The character acts like a jerk (espe
Another book I read as a teenager. This was a schlock, sensational novel written back when Dungeons & Dragons (and the associated mania surrounding it) was just becoming a big thing. The protagonist is a teenager obsessed with a D&D-style roleplaying game, to the point that he over-identifies with his character. The plot is almost like Jack Chick's "Dark Dungeons," minus the Christianity... and the humor.

Despite that, I gave it 2 stars instead of the 1 it probably deserves because I do r
Jun 03, 2011 Travis rated it did not like it
Found a copy in a box of books that were going to the used bookstore. After I read this I realized why my extended family was so concerned that I played role playing games as a child. If this book was what they thought happened when you played role playing games, I probably would have been concerned too.

The unfortunate part of this book is the inconsistancy. Characters know information that has never come up prior to the scene they need the information and the information will stop being importa
Mar 21, 2009 Fred rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favs.( also one of only a few titles that I own multiple copies of.) If you're a RPG gamer I highly recommend this book. This book also set me on a quest to find out more about Brian Boru. As I write this I'm tempted to dig it out and re-read it.
Dec 04, 2008 Jimbo rated it liked it
story about a kid that is into playing a fantsay role playing game. he also is a misfit, and then bad stuff starts happening as his mother start digging away at the history of a castle. it was a bit creepy, but not scary. written pretty well, but got a little predictable towards the end. not a bad book at all.
Jul 13, 2007 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Legitimately creepy YA novel about a Dungeons and Dragons-esque role-playing game that comes to life. Written in the early eighties at the height of D&D's popularity and growing parental concern, this goes straight for the supernatural. Still holds up well in spite of some clunky prose and occasional melodrama. A preteen favorite of mine.
May 31, 2012 Keleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My number one fav book EVER! I would read this over and over, in fact, you'll have to excuse me, I'm going to go read it now.
Nov 21, 2008 Jeff rated it really liked it
A great book, and a wonerful character who makes you feel like you're not the only one who feeds off of your over-active imagination.
Jan 12, 2014 Scott rated it really liked it
I think you have to actually have been an 80s teen into role playing games to like this book. But I was and I did. It's a bit dated now, but so are we.
So after reading Mazes and Monsters, I struggled with this book. It deserves a 1/5 but it's not absolutely worthless. It's not crap, the characters have a small amount of depth, but the ending is weak, and the story fails. The motivation of the characters is poor, but at least there's motivation rather than "I rather sleep with X instead of Y and Y is ok with it".

The book starts with Scott Gardiner, a character already starting to show psychological problems (though he hides them from others). H
Apr 20, 2016 Marvin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A little historical perspective is needed to review Hobgoblin properly. Hobgoblin, which was written by established horror and supernatural writer John Coyne, was first published in 1981 as was a similar novel titled Mazes and Monsters by Rona Jaffe. What both novels had in common is that they were about the rising interest in fantasy role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. The other thing they had in common was a concern that these games may be harmful for troubled or neurotic teens who ...more
Dave/Maggie Bean
Aug 07, 2011 Dave/Maggie Bean rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Yeah, yeah. I know -- gamers are fun to pick on, and gaming is a target-rich environment. Be that as it may; if one chooses to belittle the field and its devotees (make no mistake; Hobgoblin does just that, by treating gamers as disordered personalities rather than eccentric hobbyists), one should do one's homework beforehand. Like the schmuck who penned _Mazes and Monsters_ (another exercise in geek-bashing), Coyne didn't bother. Thusly, the characters are two-dimensional, cliched paper-dolls ( ...more
Guillermo Hang
Uno de los libros que decidí releer, porque cuando lo leí al comienzo de mi adolescencia me había atrapado. De adulto no lo hizo tanto, pero reconozco los elementos que lo lograron en su momento. La trama es veloz, sencilla y con suspenso, pero el final es abrupto y el desarrollo de personajes débil. No obstante, igual lo recomendaría a un adolescente que apenas empieza a leer novelas de misterio.

One of the books I decided to reread, because it caught me when I was a teenager. As an adult, it di
John Ulrich
Aug 02, 2011 John Ulrich rated it liked it
I liked this book especially realizing that it was written in 1981. With the recent explosion of games like World of Warcraft, Magic - The Gathering, and other Dungeons and Dragons type games, it's like Coyne wrote this last year. I'm not a big fan of those types of games, but I understand them and I understand the appeal some people have with them. I won't give away the secrets of the book, but it was a quick read and a nice break from the labored text I usually read. It's definitely creepy, wh ...more
Hugo Negron

Jumping on the bandwagon of the paranoia around fatnasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons back in the day, the story builds upon a lonely teenager and his obsession with a role playing game that uses Irish mythology as a backdrop.

The owner of a house that died has supposedly come back, and Scott Gardiner, our protagonist, starts to confuse fantasy with reality. Are creatures from his book actually coming to life around him? That would have been an interesting premise, but in the end,
Cristina (a book away from an episode of hoarders)
You know, I remember reading this book when I was a teenager. I don't remember getting any negative ideas about RPGs though. I just read it as a horror/suspense book.

I might get something different from it if I read it again.

By the way, I still play RPGs and its been probably 15 years since I read this book.

My memory of the book would give it 4 stars but I'll give it 3 since I wouldn't be willing to read it again.
Patricia Kaniasty
Oct 29, 2015 Patricia Kaniasty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am so disappointed. This book was more mystery then anything else. Sure there were a few boogeymen but big deal. Nothing to get a person scared. You could tell this was an old story based on the descriptions of the clothing and such. Maybe that was the problem. What they thought was scary back then just does not cut it anymore. Oh well.
Aaron Badgley
Aug 06, 2014 Aaron Badgley rated it liked it
An oldie but a moldie. I think I may have read this when I was in high school, as it seems very familiar to me (I read a great deal back then). I found this book in a used book store for a buck and read it. It chugs along as it should, lots of mystery, lots of death and even some steamy scenes. Overall a fun read, nothing earth shattering, but a nice book to read on a rainy Sunday.
Jan 21, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok
The characters in this book are awful. The dialogue is cheesy, the way they interact is dumb and the setup for their development is painful. I really hated them all. With that aside, the book was really good! It is thoroughly creepy and has a good mystery within it. I just wish the characters were better done.
Nov 03, 2012 Rebecca rated it did not like it
I think I know who John Coyne was, and it's evident that he has no business writing female characters. The plot was taking forever to get going, the women were insipid, the main character undeveloped, and then it just got so bizarre and infuriating that I put it down.

No congratulations.
Sean Grigsby
Jul 04, 2016 Sean Grigsby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to give this one 4 stars for keeping my interest and drawing me in. It didn't end how I thought it would, but I was still satisfied. And if the book was meant to warn away from fantasy RPG's, it had the opposite effect.
Liquid Frost
Sep 01, 2008 Liquid Frost rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really read until halfway through undergrad! I read this thick book a couple times - which must have meant something. I've put in on my amazon watch list when ever I get a bug up the six to revisit the "old days"
Jan 16, 2008 Doug rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, horror
Wish I still had a copy. This book was terrorfying on several levels. It is a mystery, a horror, and a fantasy all in one. Read it twice, would again.
Anthony Giordano
Jun 24, 2013 Anthony Giordano rated it it was amazing
My review of the excellent Hobgoblin here:
Jul 10, 2008 Owen rated it liked it
The perfect beach book for anyone who wouldn't be caught dead on a beach (or in direct sunlight at all)!
Aug 25, 2009 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast read; your run-of-the-mill pulp/horror novel with aspects of fanstasy. If you were an RPGer in th 1980s you will enjoy this. It's not Faulkner, but it's fun.
Mark Palmer
Oct 05, 2014 Mark Palmer rated it liked it
First novel I read that revolved around a D&D type game. Didn't have as much to do with the story as I was expecting.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cutting Edge
  • The Parasite
  • English: A Novel
  • Magic
  • Magic Time (Magic Time #1)
  • Are You My Mother?
  • The Figure in the Shadows (Lewis Barnavelt, #2)
  • Golden Country
  • In the Earth Abides the Flame (Fire of Heaven, #2)
  • Dragons Luck (Dragons, #2)
  • The Best of Robert E. Howard: Crimson Shadows (Volume 1)
  • The Killing Fields (The Capellan Solution, #2)
  • Grails: Quests of the Dawn
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
  • The Sword of Knowledge (Sword of Knowledge, #1-3)
  • The Deathlord of Ixia (Lone Wolf, #17)
  • Body of Truth (Stuart Haydon, #5)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to Stay Awake By
John Coyne (born 1937) is an American writer. He is the author of more than twenty-five nonfiction and fiction books, including a number of horror novels, while his short stories have been collected in "best of" anthologies such as Modern Masters of Horror and The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and a life-long lover of golf, Coyne has edited and written a number of ...more
More about John Coyne...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »