Hobgoblin (novel)

Author John Coyne
Country United States
Language English
Genre Horror
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

Hobgoblin by John Coyne is a 1981 horror novel 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 and in reality slowly blend.


Like the contemporaneously-published Mazes and Monsters by Rona Jaffe, this is a species of problem novel (although not aimed at young adult readers) by an established writer, which treats the playing of roleplaying games as indicative of deep neurotic needs. In both books, the protagonist is (or at least appears to be) suffering from schizophrenia (or some analogous condition); in both books, the attainment of mature adulthood is accompanied by the abandonment of role-playing games.[1]

Like the Jaffe book, Hobgoblin was published at the height of Dungeons and Dragons' popularity and soon after the intense media coverage of the Egbert steam tunnel incident (urban myths wherein roleplaying gamers enacting live action role-playing games perish, often in the utility tunnels below their university campuses).


  1. Lowrey, Michael J. (as "Mike Lowery"). "Tales stranger than fantasy" Dragon magazine #75, p. 74 - a review of the novel and of Mazes and Monsters

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