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3.20  ·  Rating details ·  429 ratings  ·  63 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 treats
Paperback, 342 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1981)
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Average rating 3.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  429 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Grady Hendrix
Mar 13, 2015 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
Nov 08, 2007 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
Vezlandia Day
Jan 03, 2010 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...
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_2019, own, horror
What happens when fantasy role playing tabletop games become real? Hobgoblin! That's what!

Written at the height of the role playing 80's scare which had just as much talking-head commentary as rap music in the 90's for it's influence (supposedly) to corrupt young and impressionable minds, Hobgoblin takes the fantasy element and infuses it with horror to form a nicely written c-grade novel which blurs the lines between reality and fiction - at least in the minds of the characters.

Scotty Gardiner
May 31, 2012 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. ...more
Jan 02, 2010 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
Andrew Horton
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. ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I want to preface this review by saying I knew exactly what to expect, when I saw this book at a book sale for my local library: a completely overblown cautionary tale about how "evil role-playing games" are corrupting our nation's youth, while completely ignoring the other, unrelated factors that might be screwing up these kids' lives. So, a ripoff, print version of the old Tom Hanks movie, Mazes & Monsters in other words. And that's what we get...for the most part. There's also a heaping helpi ...more
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
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 remember
Jun 03, 2011 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 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. ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
A book full of stupid people doing stupid things.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.
This book was a pleasant surprise, especially seeing as I didn't think The Legacy by John Coyne was all that great. This one is much better on all fronts: better plot, better characters, better writing, better plot twists.
I don't feel like doing the RDCV of the plot tonight, so here's what works and what doesn't. First of all, the plot was a damn good one, and it kept you guessing. Quite often, the people (or are they?) that are living in the woods and causing trouble, it was really an unkno
Dec 04, 2008 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.
Sean Grigsby
Jul 04, 2016 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. ...more
Jul 10, 2008 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)! ...more
Nov 21, 2008 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. ...more
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Came out at a time that folks were worried about kids getting too caught up in fantasy games. This one worked pretty well, I thought.
Jan 12, 2014 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. ...more
Mar 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
review forthcoming. unfortunately.
Dre Mosley
Nov 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I've read a book where I didn't like a single character in it. No one, not the protagonist, not his clingy female friend, not his mother, not her lame almost boyfriend, . . .NO ONE.

In this book, the main character is a teen named Scott. In the beginning Scott is away at a preppy boarding school where he and other preppies spend their time playing a game called, "Hobgoblin", a card based Fantasy Role Playing game(I'm guessing something like "D&D" or "Magic: The Gatheri
Tom Byron
Terrible...... no stars !!! Let me count the ways.I suppose I was expecting a horror story.From what I understand the author was inspired by the true 1980 case of the ''steam tunnel '' incident involving Dallas Edgbert.Edgbert was an MSU student with an IQ of 190 who as the media hype went, disappeared while playing Dungeons & Dragons in the tunnels beneath the buildings of MSU. Unfortunately this novel is no where near as interesting as that true case.In this book there is a Role playing game c ...more
Dennis Logan
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book in the late '80's as a teenager. Some say this book is trying to make Dungeons and Dragons look bad. As a fan of D & D and Irish lore I found this book to be so much fun. It tells the story of a teenager from the big city who has a nervous breakdown when his role playing game character dies and moves to a small town. There he starts seeing creatures from the game in our world that turn out to be delusions from his mental instability. Even then the story is so interesting I read ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
What I thought was going to be a nice bit of early 80's horror, turned into more of a coming of age, teenage drama with just hints of terror splashed here and there. A lot of this book is game play narration of Hobgoblin, the D&D type game this book is about. The other parts drag on with teenage angst. The ending is a thrill ride with a live action Hobgoblin game at the grounds of a castle from Ireland, where most of the action takes place. This was fun, but by the time you get here, most of the ...more
Paul Destefano
Dec 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Tom Hanks did it better in Mazes and Monsters.

This is about a kid who get's quite lost in his tabletop RPG and bad breaks in his reality happen in a somewhat horrific tone.

I just wish the writer had ANY CLUE how tabletop RPGs work. Any details of the game are contradictory and nonsensical. Even the way they total dice doesn't work given the info we know of this game.

And our lead is the most stereotyped D&D player with a ruined home life finds solace with his first real girlfriend.

A plus - it is
A mixture of coming of age, Irish mythology, Dungeons and Dragons, and the strange past of a old castle. Has some creepy moments, but the descriptions of the game Hobgoblin became a bit boring to me. The back story about the history of the castle was the best part of the novel. This is a typical 80s book, which came out in the boom of the horror craze. (books,films). If you enjoy teen angst, some mystery, creepy castle and folklore, grab it.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Inspired obviously by the D&D craze of the early 80s, Hobgoblin is a hot mess throughout, so much so JAt you can’t stop reading despite it all. Coyne’s main character is a despicable mentally unbalanced hothead who earns no sympathy. And the cover implies a supernatural fantasy combo that never turns up.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chase Bouzigard
Jun 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is awful, it is meandering. The plot thinks it is way more clever than it is.
The authors grasp of palyers RPGs is weak and judgemental.
The protagonist is someone you can never root for.
I allways wanted to read it becuse of the negative view of D&D of the 80s, but Damn this is a mess.
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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

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