|Common Nicknames||Greenfolk, Brute Lords, Swamp Ogres, Green Menace|
|Naming Customs||Harsh sounding first names and surnames often picked based on a skill or occupation|
|Distinctions||Broad and strong, menacing creatures with terrifying pasts in warfare|
|Maximum Age||90 years|
|Body Types||Muscular or Strongman, but never below Toned|
|Height||5’5” - 7’5”|
|Weight||200 - 400 lbs|
|Eye Colors||Dull gold irises with dark grey sclera|
|Hair Colors||Raven black hair that fades to grey|
|Skin Tones||Dark green, sometimes greyish in hue|
The fierce and barbaric race of the Orcs are renowned and often feared for their warlike and aggressive nature, both on and off the battlefield. Originating from their equally savage homeland called Guldar, the Orcs have - since the Cataclysm - spread out to the corners of the known world, causing mayhem and destruction wherever they have gone, particularly in the jungle lands of Daendroc. The Orcs can almost single-handedly be attributed to the destruction of the Elven Empire in its weakened state, though shortly after, their victory exploded into an orgy of violence and infighting among themselves. What remains now is a messily fractured race of brutes that often become mercenaries for various state armies, particularly Regalian, satiating their bloodlust in the many wars of Regalia to come. The Orcs are a sedentary race, often choosing to remain in one location and then ravage the land around it for generations until some major violent conflict forces them to move away or towards it. And yet, many Orcs look back to the west, their homeland of Guldar, with dreams of once retaking their homeland of whatever event ousted them three centuries ago during the Cataclysm. Many Orcs find themselves in the position of wondering whether they should continue to serve the various nations of the east or strike out their own mark on the world. It would certainly be a terrible thought to think the Orcs could once again unite and try to conquer the world.
Orcs are generally known to be the most intimidating race visually. In comparison to the softer appearances of the Ur, Orcs are the very epitome of monstrous hulks of muscle and anger. Even the females of the Orc race can often barely be distinguished from the males and can never be described as fragile, beautiful or elegant in Human eyes. By Orc standards, the more intimidating a female Orc is, the better, as often their feminine qualities like breasts and hips cannot be told apart from male pecs and obliques. Orcs develop a large musculature even early on in their teenage years due to intricately developed bodily functions. Orcs have a higher pain tolerance than most races, and often their wounds also heal twice as fast as long as the cut is not too deep. Their height is taller than that of most races, with exceptional Orcs reaching heights of 7 feet and 5 inches, though most Orcs remain within the ranges of 6 feet and 6 feet and 10 inches. That being said, pygmy Orcs have been known to exist, which grow no bigger than 5 feet and 5 inches. These Orcs are often prematurely killed by their kin, however, as they are considered weak. Proportion wise, Orcs have much larger hands and forearms than most other races, their arms reaching further. Their neck is much more bull-like in proportion with massive trapezius muscles that often makes it difficult for them to fully turn their neck more than eighty degrees either direction. Orcs can never quite develop a V shape chest either, as their core muscles are so large they simply resemble a rectangle of condensed ferocity. Orcs have the same pointy ears that Elves have, but the points are smaller, closer to the skull and the earlobes are more elongated. Practically all Orcs have an underbite with two large canine tusks sticking out of their mouth, often overlapping their upper lip. They often have small noses, giving them a bad sense of smell, with normal sized eyes. The white areas in their eyes are dark gray, while their irises are ranging from amber to golden, though they lack the brilliance of the Songaskia's eyes, seeming somewhat more dulled. Orc faces furthermore have enlarged foreheads which always lack eyebrows. Orc facial hair differs greatly, some Orcs can grow long beards and long hair on their head while some can't grow any at all. The same goes for their body hair in general; ranging from coarse and thick to smooth as silk. Despite the variety in hair growth, all Orcs have the same raven black hair color without exception,which may fade to gray as early as around their 40th year, though never quite turning white; patches of black still visible. Their skin is always a certain shade of green, though it can range from somewhat grayish-green to somewhat teal-green
What often sets Orcs further apart from the other races are their various redundant, or extra, internal organs. Orcs have three lungs instead of two, meaning they can breathe in more air and sustain rigorous physical activity for longer. Furthermore, they have two hearts, a lesser and a greater one which beat in unison. With higher blood pressure, Orcs are quick to anger, hastier to react to adrenaline in combat yet faster to bleed. Orcs have a differently shaped and colored stomach than most other races, which is known to produce certain anti-toxins during digestion. This means that Orcs can often get away with consuming poisonous substances without suffering any harm from them so long as the quantities do not overwhelm their bodily functions. Unfortunately, the drawback of this stomach is also that Orcs are unable to consume vegetation effectively, usually eating only raw meat. Orcs do need large quantities of meat to function on a daily basis. While they can go without food for several days, they will become lethargic if they have not consumed at least half a pig worth of meat within five days and can die on the tenth, unlike Ailor who remain functional up to a month without food. Additionally, they will become less drunk from the same amount of alcohol as an Ailor would, requiring much heavier concentrations to be satiated. Orc stomachs are also known to be extremely corrosive to bone calcium, meaning any small bone fragments that an Orc is able to swallow will usually simply dissolve in its stomach. Orcs are born relatively quickly, within the fourth month of being carried by their mother, the baby Orc will be born, but they are born very small and without teeth. Orc babies must often be closely protected in a bundle of furs for at least three more months before they can even be exposed to the ground. When they finally crawl, however, they grow up very quickly. Their childhood ends in their ninth year while they go through puberty between the ages of ten and fourteen. By their thirteenth do they often already develop the strong musculature of the Orcs, while fully maturing around the age of fifteen. Orcs can live up to ninety years old, but very rarely does any Orc actually make it beyond seventy due to their violent nature. Their body also deteriorates after their sixtieth, with heart problems being the major factor in Orc deaths beyond that age.
Reproduction wise, Orcs are an oddity in that they are actually compatible with Ailor, Songaskia and Drow (and in some ways, Yanar) but no other race, not even other Gorr races unless they are a subrace of Orc. Orc males are incompatible with other race females for various unmentionable reasons, so a half-Orc must always be born from an Orc female and another race male. That being said, mix breeds are always hampered with inherited defects and are instantly rejected by Orc society as inferior, though strangely enough the parents are not rejected due to the cultural inclination of loyalty to the Chief Hold. Only pureblood Orcs have two hearts, meaning that whatever inherited benefits a half-breed has is hampered by the lack of a consistent blood pressure to support their bodily functions. Half-breeds often receive the intellect from the father while they take after the body build of the mother, but their musculature is their own enemy. Half-breed Orcs have exceptionally low stamina, wearing out of a constant heavy and rigorous physical activity like a fight or a sprint within a matter of fifteen minutes at the peril of having a cardiac arrest if their body is pushed beyond its limits. Their single heart is not able to fully power their body to what it needs, causing it to get overworked in trying to compensate for the lack of a second heart. Furthermore, at the age of forty-five or so, their only heart will deteriorate in its ability to keep up what is normally required in a passive stance, making them lethargic and slow for the remainder of their lives, meaning they age more aggressively than regular Orcs. They also lack the stronger stomach lining and acid, the extra purifying properties of the liver and the ability to produce greater quantities of adrenaline.
Orcs are generally seen as a dumb race by all other races, though this assumption or appearance is often deceiving. An Orc will never be caught performing complex math algorithms or playing the violin, but they are certainly not incapable of comprehending vast strategic logic or learning other languages. Orcs often want to decide fast, and while they have the capability to reason and debate, they instinctively become anxious or violently restless if a certain task requires too much concentration. Most of the Orc's perceived stupidity comes from their one-track mindset to self-preservation. Even an Orc raised in an intellectual Human family will still pursue its instinctual habits purely because Orcs have often only survived purely on instinct in their homeland. They can, however, conceptualize simple yet ingenious military tactics ranging from clever usage of siege engines (often made up on the spot and extremely effective, yet denounced as dumb luck by other races) to quickly deciding the route of the most resistance on the battlefield (which they often prefer over easy fights). Despite the fact that learning the Orc language is extremely difficult for anyone who is not an Orc, Orcs do have the ability to learn the Common tongue or Daendroque very quickly. They however always retain their gesture habits within the Orc language, meaning that while they speak in a Human language, they are still somewhat understandable in the Orc language purely off their gestures. Orcs are purpose driven and pursue what they want, even if new obstacles come into their way.
They pay no attention to finer communication concepts like Human body language, expressions beyond snarls and prefer to simply say outright what is on their mind in as little words as possible. To Orcs, language and thoughts are expressed through gestures and speech, nothing else. Orcs are often prone to fits of anger, violence is their preferred response to any problem they encounter and they inherently do not care for the opinions and thoughts of the other races. Instead, Orcs engage in a somewhat parasitic relation with the other races, knowing full well they could simply crush their employer and take their money. Most Orcs, however, choose to continue loyal work under for example Human employers, though, as this often removes the need of making a clean home, preparing food or gathering gold to spend at the local tavern. Service under the other races is often purely an arrangement of convenience for the Orcs. Orcs have an immense sense of pride -- this does not mean that they will fight anyone who challenges them; rather, Orcs will seek out those who actively look stronger or better than them or simply have a higher reputation or status than them and seek to challenge them to prove themselves. The best way an Orc knows to prove themselves to the world is by engaging in combat with a superior foe. In fact, Orcs love combat, not specifically because of combat in and of itself, but more so because they are almost addicted to the feeling of an adrenaline rush. They have a constant drive to prove themselves to the world, to their kin and their gods, thus one might often find an Orc seeking a foe near the military districts of Regalia. They will, however, avoid frail beings or other races that they clearly identify as inferior to them, which includes the vast majority of the population of the Regalian Empire save for some brutish Ailor. Their challenging nature should not be misunderstood though. Rarely will an Orc walk into a public establishment and start trying to pick a fight with anyone they see. Orcs go about it very honorably and with as much respect as possible for the other party. Orcs also don't accept fights from people who are aggressively trying to get into their faces for a fight. They expect the same respect in return as the respect they would give for any opponent by which they want to prove themselves.
Orcs generally do not require a lot of luxury to be happy and tend to be in a good mood in general unless something around them draws their ire, or they are being disrespected to their face. Most Orcs will be absolutely content with a somewhat cosy bed, adequate ale and gold, a sharp weapon and some action to spend the night. Technically speaking Orcs aren’t even that demanding in general when under employment, but they end up receiving large sums of money to ensure their loyalty and to prevent them from changing loyalty to another employer. They do however need to fight on occasion to control their bloodlust urges, though have developed cultural means to do so without upsetting the other races around them. This general dangerous, yet relatively low impacting way that Orcs carry themselves in any non-Orc communities means that they can often easily blend in. The only true fear Orcs instinctively share is the fear of Magic. Any magic casting near them can make them fearful, except when it concerns their own rare usage of Magic like Beast Magic or Lyre Magic, which is often misinterpreted within their own communities as not magic at all. An Orc sent into a fear daze by Magic usage near them (only effective with Magic that produces actual visual effects) will quickly abandon a fight and seek shelter somewhere as if a child frightened by lightning.
Orc history starts in the middle centuries of the Elven Empire when the Empire made its first landfall in Guldar. The Elven parties that were sent there were entirely eradicated, followed by the same fate being imparted on the second, third and fourth all the way up to the fourteenth expedition. Finally, the fifteenth expedition made the clever decision to use airships instead of sea vessels to scout over Guldar, powered by strong wind magic to keep a vessel afloat in the air. The Elves scouting over smaller portions of Guldar witnessed the Temple cities of the Avarr and their rituals from high in the sky as well as through the use of various other forms of magic to see and hear without being detected. An excerpt from an explorer:
- "They were tall white feathered creatures with owlish faces, pacing about their pyramid shaped rectangles of stone and vine entwined like mice in a maze. Yet these mice had claws and an intent to kill and twist. They seized frail skittish creatures from cages with tusks and skin like pea soup on a mid-summer evening. Almost an elegant dance of the Eläd'ellen Ëardorm'ranna, the owl faces pranced their next victim through the streets, and with a carnage of blood and gore did they sacrifice this fortunate being at their highest pyramid to some idolatrous goddess with six wings. The scholars took pity on the small gray-pale green creatures, though the captain set on as one of the cities was witnessed with pyramids topped in pure gold!"
Despite the fact that this airship managed to route back to the Elven Empire after taking several artifacts from the Avarr with them, the Avarr were considered too dangerous to interface with and too savage to enslave. Short thoughts were made to enslave the Orc ancestors, though this was eventually decided against as the Human slave trade had just started picking up; seizing them from their native Ceardia was often infinitely easier. Indeed, these grayish-green frail creatures were the early ancestors of the Orcs but were a far cry to how orcs are found in today's society. They lacked the musculature and were seen as skittish creatures always hiding away from their Avarr enslavers. What happened next is unclear. There is a gap without any actual history taking between about 900 BC up until 450 BC where no Elf had visited Guldar and lived to tell the tale. Later interactions with the Orcs also yielded no clear understanding of what had happened in those 450 years as the Orcs held no real records of their own. The next closest interaction the Elves had with the Orcs was in 443 BC, where an Elven ship was stranded on the coasts of Guldar while trying to explore the western current of Daendroc. The Orcs these Elves encountered were radically different from their skittish enslaved ancestors, being much larger and more savage, though not quite as large as the Orcs the world is familiar with in present times. The Orcs ate nearly all the crew members save for one which they permitted to leave on a raft to send word back to the Elven Empire as a means to warn the Elves never to return to Guldar. The Elves, once again, decided to simply leave Guldar be and mark it as a forbidden zone of no entry due to the dangers of the local animal populations. This is where official Elven record keeping ceases as the Elves made no further attempts to communicate with the Orcs until the Cataclysm event.
The Orcs, however, started forming very rudimentary tribes around this time, also initiating their first record keeping by means of word of mouth. The historical accuracy of these tales is often debated, but it is generally assumed that these are true as Orcs inherently do not lie due to their prideful nature. The exact circumstances under which the Avarr fell from their dominant position in Guldar is unknown, but it is said among the Orcs that some major event of the hunt took place and destroyed the Avarr cities. The remaining Avarr were unable to deal with the jungle environment as they had grown lazy in the cities, thus only the Orcs remained. The Orcs supposedly then continued to be eaten and killed by the local fauna and flora until something triggered a development in the Orc population, introducing physical adaptation to their figures. The Orcs have always announced this as the birth of their religion and the great hunt, though scholars often assume it had something to do with the Orc diet or some mineral they found in Guldar. Over the next two hundred years, the Orcs would continue to grow stronger and stronger. In many of their tales, they speak of gargantuan beasts which they hunted in packs, plants that tried to strangle them in their sleep and ancient horrors that guarded over the abandoned Avarr temples. Certainly, Guldar was a land of death where everything had developed with an intent to kill and maim anything alive as a means of survival. It was a constant cycle of one murderous creature or plant trumping another, and eventually, the Orcs came out on top. They mastered the jungles but then turned on themselves. The latter five decades of Orc history mostly record Orc horde infighting with various strong Warchiefs going to war with one another over little more than bloodsport.
The greatest pivotal moment in Orc history was the Cataclysm, or rather the events that followed immediately before or after it. The exact dating is not certain since many scholars disagree on whether the Orcs took months or full years to sail from Guldar to Daendroc, though what is certain is that some massive event must have taken place that triggered a whole race's migration. Most Orc tales speak of the land turning against them. This had often been erroneously assumed to mean the jungle turned hostile and the plants became more toxic than the Orcs could handle, but recent evidence has shown that it was more likely that some major magical event was triggered that scared the Orcs so much they fled their native lands to the west (which they knew the Elves came from based on nautical charts left behind by the Elves). The Orcs generally believe the fleeing from Guldar is a very touchy subject, and anyone interpreting the event to have been done out of sheer panic will be quick to draw the ire of any violent Orc, as they are too proud to admit that they did truly flee. The next series of travels is generally called the Great Pillage by the Orcs, though there was very little actual pillaging. Supposedly, the Orc fleet was absolutely massive, mostly made out of a great number of oversized rowboats, but the actual population numbers were probably relatively small. Modern modest estimates range around 50,000 Orcs with the highest estimate being 100,000. The migration fleet fractured several times along the way. The first fracture came when then notable Warchief Borgok disagreed with the course set by the other Warchiefs, arguing that they should set sail to further northlands as the Elves they were fleeing to, were frequent magic ("Wumu", Orc hate-filled term for Magic) casters. Warchief Borgok eventually broke away with his part of the Orc horde and his ships made it all the way past Jorrhildr,eventually landing in the High Trollar lands where they would - ironically enough - eventually become the Magic casting Orc subrace, Garr.
The second fracture occurred on the Sunshield Isles (almost on the same nautical line as the Sunspear Isles, but on the opposite side of the Daendroc landmass) where various tribes decided to stay on this relatively small archipelago. Some fights broke out between the main Orc host and this breakaway population, resulting in the deaths of many Orcs that had decided to stay. Eventually, the other Warchiefs decided that their fleet should fracture no more and they agreed to an honor fight between all of them in the ring. The exceptionally large war chief, Ukharr, won the great honor tournament and was made Chief of Chiefs, a title only he held throughout Orc history. He eventually decided to leave a few hundred Orcs behind on the archipelago who would later become the Orc subrace of Jurr, developing a close connection to the ocean. The main fleet moved on, losing a few ships every now and then to rough weather, but eventually landing in Daendroc in the middle of the Elven civil war between the recently deceased Elven Emperor's sons. The Orcs then proceeded to completely destroy the Elven Empire with the intent of usurping their landmass for their own use. Over the years, the Orcs wiped out Elven army after Elven army. The Elves had used Mages in their armies for centuries, but the Cataclysm wiped out all forms of magic and their potency, thus the Elven armies mostly just comprised of horse lancers and shield guards who were frail and untrained. Orcs could easily out charge an Elven lancer and kill both horse and horseman with a few blows of their savage weapons.
The final act that destroyed the Elven Empire for good was the destruction of the Elven capital by means of the Great Bomba, a massive explosive device created by the Orcs from stolen supplies which the Elves had traded with the Dwarves for decades. Unfortunately for the Orcs, they severely underestimated the blast radius of this bomb also wiping out nearly all Orc war chiefs and severely diminishing their population numbers in the process. With Chief of Chiefs Ukharr dead, and nearly every Orc tribe in open revolt to declare open competition for the next ruler of their own hold, Orc unity completely shattered. For the next century, Orcs struggled to find their place in the chaotic lands that was Daendroc at the time, with the Avanthar fighting a guerrilla war against them, and the Altalar redeveloping their magical capabilities. Orcs luckily, reproduce quickly and their numbers quickly climbed beyond that of even the Elves. Still, infighting became frequent, and civil war between the various tribes was common every five years or so. Eventually, when the leadership situation settled down around 205 AC, two distinct unions of tribes had been founded: the southern, more aggressive Red Blood Tribes, and the northern, more pragmatic Black Iron Tribes. The Black Iron Tribes first made contact with Humans around the same time, and while they did not at first understand the difference between a Human and an Elf, they greatly appreciated the ferocity and courage that even the frailest of Humans showed when the Orcs pillaged their lumbering camps and farms. Despite all that courage, however, they always ended up dying, so rather than seeing the Humans as a target to kill, the Black Iron Tribes saw them as valid competition. The Red Blood Tribes continued waging war with the Elves in the south and continued to contribute very little to Orc history throughout the remainder of the century, so the majority of the historical narrative is formed by the Black Iron Tribes from that point onwards. It is also at around this time that the Orcs grew to their current size and their skin tone really settled into the current hues of green.
The Black Iron Tribes had various skirmishes with the Daendroc settlers that became more complicated as the Regalian Empire started annexing these colonial lands. With the import of heavier siege weaponry and proper casting methods among the Humans, Human resistance against the Orcs intensified. Additionally, Avanthar and Cielothar tribes migrated into the Black Iron Tribe Lands, complicating the three-way struggle for the Orcs (The Shendar from the Shadow Isles were a constant threat to anyone living in the Daendroc landmass). The Orcs actually adopted their forging techniques from captured Humans, reforming their old tactics, which revolved around using salvaged equipment from both Avarr and Elves alike. In 296 AC, the Ranger Crisis commenced in Daendroc, which would be the final great opening event that put the Orcs on the world's stage instead of just being the scourge of Daendroc. With the Ranger Crisis, a three-way war occurred between the Regalian Empire defending its colonial interests, the Avanthar and Altalar tentatively allied in trying to retake the central plains, and the Orcs defending their new homeland and raided Human settlements. The conflict dragged on for five full years where whole Human armies went toe-to-toe with Orc warbands and in a way, bred Orc respect for the war machine that was the Regalian Empire, which they lovingly refer to as ‘Roogharr Burkhar’, which can be roughly translated to "The war-making pig with many blades". Despite the choice of words, it was not meant as an insult and rather a compliment. Through the work of various brave Regalian diplomats and some innovative Orc thinking (relatively speaking), the Humans and Orcs came to a truce agreement while also toppling the old Human-Elven military agreement. For decades, Regalia had silently supported the Elves but only in word and the Elves had grown tired and stopped supporting the arrangement. The Humans thus simply traded one ally for another and decided to contract the Orcs to fight in their armies in exchange for gold and comforts.
With the Orcs now becoming part of Regalia's mercenary forces, Orcs started going out in the world more. Certainly, Orcs had traveled beyond Daendroc before, but never in such large numbers as they started doing at the turn of the century. The Common tongue was quickly adopted by many Orcs and the vast host of them moved to the capital of the Regalian Empire where the local authorities had difficulties adapting to the sudden influx of violently unstable killing machines. Orcs would become the go-to shock troops of the various mercenary armies across the world. Even in far-flung nations like Arlora and Torse did the Orcs find employment, and they would be seen as far as Farahdeen, raiding the Songaskia pearl cities in the Regalian-Songaskian war of 303 AC. The Orcs, nowadays, mostly live comfortable but sometimes strenuous lives within the Regalian Empire and beyond, being both feared and respected by their employers. Even within the Empire they have the unique citizen status of second-rank citizen, meaning they enjoy certain liberties. That is not to say that Orcs aren't being abused by criminals or immoral government workers, however. Many Orcs end up abused and in servitude in work camps, while others are secretly being used by slave drivers to breed much desired half-orc servants. Orcs continue to be an independent force that takes and gives where it wants and generally leaves a strong smell of urine, alcohol, and death wherever it goes.
More on Orc History.
Orc society can generally be seen as the most chaotic and fluctuating society because individual clan loyalties are often not set in stone. Where an Orc is born is hardly ever where an Orc decides to stay and make a home for himself. Orcs are formally split into Chief Holds called Harrkh, though any Orc at any time is able to decide to break away from his or her tribe and form their own. A Harrkh can be of any size: ranging from three members (including Warchief) up to hundreds of members. These Chief Holds remain bonded together even if the group physically splits up, meaning Orcs in Regalia could well belong to a Chief Hold in Daendroc, or a local one. It is not uncommon for a Warchief to enter his entire Harrkh into the service of a single person as mercenary forces, encouraging the Chief Hold to stay together in their employment. This often results in Orcs living together in enclaves wherever they go. While they are a much-seen occurrence in many Human settlements now, they never fully integrate and hold very strong to their traditions and old culture from Guldar. Their adherence to their own culture is more so founded in the sentiment of their pride towards their ancestors and themselves, wishing not to submit to the cultural inclinations of the other races than actual religious pressure. Aside from their nomadic pursuit of employment, however, Orcs are a fairly stagnant race. Their society actively chooses not to engage in intellectual pursuit or innovation, content to revel in violence and alcohol until the end of times.
Orcs politics are true to their race's reputation: brutal, but just and fair, at least in the eyes of the Orcs. There are two major Tribe communes that unite various Chief Holds together: the Red Blood Tribe Lands and the Black Iron Tribe Lands. Both Tribe communes have a Great Chief which is simultaneously also a Warchief himself over his own Harrkh, usually the largest within the Tribe communes. The Great Chief differs from the Chief of Chiefs in that the latter rank has only ever been bestowed onto one Orc who managed to unite all the clans, which has never again happened. This title has since passed into semi-divinity, meaning Orcs are not quick to invoke, or have ambition to this rank. As a general rule of thumb, the meanest and largest Orc is usually the Warchief of a Harrkh, while the meanest and largest Warchief is usually the Great Chief of a commune. There is no real election contest, rather any member of a Harrkh can at any time challenge their Warchief to usurp his place, after which a ritual duel called Bookh-Charr will take place; a hand to hand combat in a ring. This duel is not always to the death but often becomes one purely because neither Orc will suffer the embarrassment of defeat and live in the sorrow that follows. Most Orcs will accept the honor bound Bookh-Charr, though they will all witness it making sure both parties fight fairly -- without magic, without poison, and without hidden weapons. Any Orcs that disagree with the outcome of the Bookh-Charr will often split away from the Harrkh and found their own Chief Hold. Among the Warchiefs, the biggest and meanest Orc is elected as Grand Chief, though no actual physical duel takes place to determine this. While theoretically, a Bookh-Charr could take place for a Warchief to challenge the Grand Chief, in practice, the vast majority of the sitting Grand Chiefs have always also been the leader of the largest Harrkh within the boundaries of the commune. As such, most Warchiefs simply choose not to challenge a more powerful Warchief to avoid an open conflict among the commune Harrkhs, which is still very frequent. Orc-holds, even the ones united in the same commune, will often wage war on each other for simple property rights or territorial control. Even mercenary groups within Regalian employ can occasionally clash for the honor of being the best Orc mercenary group. Within the Harrkhs, the hierarchy is very flat, meaning there is only the Warchief and then all other Orcs. In practice, much like with the Rashaq, the Warchief appoints various unofficial ranks among his closest Orc allies and brethren, though family bonds don't mean all that much when Orcs become adults. Even brothers can frequently separate to join different Harrkhs, as Orcs are constantly in search of being part of a more honorable Warchief's army with more loot and plunder and a war in tow. There is no distinction between genders when it comes to the Orc hierarchy. While the average population of female Warchiefs is about one to four males, female Warchiefs do exist and hold various prestigious ranks within the Harrkhs. The only common trend is that the political leaders tend to be younger, benefitting from their prime age between fifteen and thirty years old, where Orcs are at the peak of their strength to enforce their rule.
Orc culture, despite the assumptions and prejudice of the other races, is much less brutal internally than how they present and behave towards the other peoples of Aloria. Orc family units (purely Husband-Wife-Infant) are fiercely loyal to one another. An Orc will often choose a mate early on and then remain with that mate for life, with the exception of Warchiefs which are expected to cater to a larger host of brood mothers. That being said, even Warchiefs have a primary wife that they are utmost loyal to and tend to mostly out of their harem. Orcs do not violate the sanctity of the opposite gender (or indeed any other race), despite rumor and accusations from various other races who have been at the receiving end of their war machine. Orcs belief in the divine sacredness of a woman's ability to bear a child and thus never force themselves onto the situation. Orc relationships are equally founded in a deep level of respect and admiration for one another, where Orcs are usually romantically interested in mates when they are impressed by their physical feats. Same-sex relations among Orcs are not very common, but they do occur, while their societal reaction to them is always very mixed. It often strongly depends on how the Warchief personally feels about the need for Orcs to expand and procreate whether same-sex Orc couples are permitted. Warchiefs often hold the last word when it comes to permitting two Orcs to bond (marriage does not formally take place in Orc society, they just make vows to one another).
When an Orc child becomes an adult fully around the age of fifteen, they set out into the world, often leaving their native Chief Hold behind them. Sometimes they remain in contact with their parents, but more often than not do they eventually become a member of another Harrkh (or even found their own). It is not unheard of for children to fight their parents when they become members of rivaling Harrkhs, but sometimes parents also leave their own Harrkh and join whichever hold their child joined to keep the family together. Either way, it is important in Orc culture for Orc children to prove themselves as opposed to enjoying the protection or reputation of a strong parent. This also works both ways, in that the parents wish for the child to prove itself worthy of being their son or daughter or face cold rejection. Orc diets entirely consist of raw meat, though fried meat sometimes is consumed as well in Human communities. They frequently drink ale and water, but some Orcs have also been known to drink purely blood. Aside from this short list of items, Orc cuisine doesn't effectively exist. Orcs don't care for the taste of food or for the quantity, they often simply eat because they are hungry and consider food fuel regardless of the quality.
Orc sense of fashion is effectively non-existent, but Orcs are known to have a sense of aesthetic when it comes to appearance. Orcs who cultivate hair often braid it into long thick braids with various metal or bone objects interwoven between the hairs. Their tusks, ears, lips and neck are often subject to piercings, rings, and studs. Their face can often also be found wearing warpaint or various spiky tattoos, which often extend down to their chest and arms. Most, if not all, Orcs will walk around bare chested. This is not particularly because they are a barbaric race, but because Orcs are proud of their musculature and use it to frighten the other races. They can, however, wear pelts and furs on their shoulders and adorn their neck with various chains either of precious metals or trophies of kills. Orcs often wear leather pants and a heavy belt around their waist with a pelvic plate adorned with various teeth and studs. Over this leather pants, they wear various smaller pelts or cloth belts with some satchels attached for storage. The more sophisticated Orcs choose to abandon the more tribal clothing and adorn themselves purely with silver, copper or golden chains and braces. Some are also known to wear various assorted pieces of cloth on their arms, shoulders and around their waist, but nearly all Orcs walk around with their chest exposed. The only exception to this is the female Orc, who will wear a leather chest shield to make up for the softer tissue that they have as opposed to a male Orc so the genders are more on even terms when it comes to a duel.
In Orc culture, honor is everything. Orcs despise cowards who fight from a far distance, and they uphold the honor value of an Orc fighting another opponent. Even on the battlefield you will not quickly find an Orc coming between another Orc and their opponent, unless the Orc is badly losing. They value courage in the face of adversity and respect those who stand up against them, even if they fail. Some Orc clans have been known to accept non-Orcs into their holds but only under very special circumstances when the newcomer brought something valuable to their Harrkh. Orc art has always been denounced as macabre, various arrangements of skulls, crude paintings with red paint and leather hides stretched like canvasses can often be seen. Orcs can adapt to living in a Regalian home, but will often choose to fill it with animal hides, make sure there is no glass anywhere, and collect various smaller objects like drums, weapons, shields and large jars and mugs for decoration. Generally speaking, Orcs want their homes to look messy as opposed to organized.
Orcs have a means to quench their natural need for violence and fighting with a duel called the Ghoormakh. A Ghoormakh is usually held outside of a populated area (as the Orcs actively try not to upset the local populations) on some dirt patch or grassy field. A Ghoormakh is essentially a test of brawl strength where two Orcs engage in fight that can both be describes as wrestling as well as fist fighting. The first step is to test actual raw strength while pushing into each other, after which the first person who gets pushed back may commence punching the other. When the first punches are hit, the opponent may strike back and after that it simply becomes a fight until both parties agree that their need for violence has been adequate satiated. Ghoormakhs can, curiously enough, also be held with non-Orcs. Orcs often treat Ghoormakh’s as bonding experiences for their friends as well as family, as it is also a great way for a father or mother to teach their son how to fight.
Orc religion is called "The call of Vakgar" -- very central to their existence and philosophy in life. The central deity in life for the Orcs is Vakgar, accompanied by the haunting terror bird Yazgar. In the religious beliefs of the Orcs, Vakgar is hunted his entire life by Yazgar, the hunting bird as large as a mountain that eats Orc hearts. Orcs believe they must fight to bring glory to Vakgar, thus lending their strength to him, allowing him to outsmart or defeat the terror bird in combat. Orcs also believe that if they do not engage in this act of borrowing their power, Vakgar will be killed and his hearts will be eaten, resulting in the end of the Orc race. Despite the fact that Yazgar is depicted as a terror bird that brings about the apocalypse to the Orcs, she is also revered as a symbol of fertility, wealth, and the future generations. It is said Yazgar hunts Vakgar because Orc hearts are the only food its children will eat to survive, bringing about the idea that the hunt on the Orcs is more of a struggle to survive than pleasure or substance. This creates a complex system of hunter and prey, the roles being not always obvious and often reversing depending on the situation. It results in Orcs generally being bloodthirsty for battle, and more notably, consuming the hearts of their own dead. Either fallen in battle, killed by disease, or old age, Orc hearts are consumed by the tribe to bring appeasement to Yazgar. Orcs do not have a centralized priesthood, any places of worship or any shrines or temples. Their understanding and adherence to the religion of The Call of Vakgar is a very personal one; something intertwined with their own sense of pride and honor. You will never find an Orc praying, but Orcs can sometimes be heard praising either deity during a hunt, fight or when celebrating a victory. Because of the central importance of hunting, Orcs love hunting, especially if the prey is a mean beast that is much larger than them. Hunting to them is both a religious spectacle as well as a test of strength, as the Orc religion encourages the idea that every day in life, Orcs should try to prove themselves to the world and each other to become stronger. In the eyes of other religions, the call of Vakgar is more of a life philosophy than an actual religion, which is why most Orcs can get away with not converting to Unionism in Regalia. There are certain parallels to be drawn between the religion and the mysterious history of the Orcs when they were still under the firm control of the Avarr. As such, most scholars consider Orc religion more of a historical narrative than an actually enforced religion. It should come as no surprise that there is no real way to anger the Orc gods or commit heresy. The religion lacks any rulesets aside from the appraisal of both deities in various situations which just comes naturally to the Orcs.
Combat and Warfare
Orcs often function as the shock troops of many Human armies, particularly those of Regalia. Orcs find much employ in mercenary armies, as Humans often rely on them to soften up the enemy and limit the casualties of their own, a practice that has made some Orc mercenary companies quite famous and immensely rich. Orcs often rely on blunt or crushing force, large weapons like axes, clubs, and hammers are frequent favorites. Orcs also use little to no armor, neither fearing death or injury due to their body’s natural resistance to it. Orcs don’t formally wage war on anyone, instead, they simply raid whomever or whatever they feel they can raid, in some cases even their allies. Yet still, their alliances and connections persist, as it would be worse to be their enemies. Orcs are most feared for their use of ingenious and terrifying war machines in combat. They build massive catapults capable of shooting huge rocks far into enemy lines, while also using a variety of cleverly put together gunpowder contraptions and battering rams. It is often said that the most dangerous fighting unit in existence is an Orc army fueled by Dwarven technology, though their single greatest weakness remains Magic, as any magic usage is adequate in causing extreme fear among Orcs, in bad situations even causing an entire army to route off the field.
Economy and Technology
Orc Economy doesn’t formally exist. An Orc owns as much as he carries on him, and he holds no value for what he cannot carry with him or store in his local home or tent. What little bartering Orcs do often relies on their physical labor of fighting in exchange for fleeting goods such as fine meats, ales, and in some cases, the comfort of courtesans. Due to the Orc's mental capacity for short, quick decisions and their dislike for long term planning and testing, there is effectively no technological progress among the Orcs. They often annex ideas and constructions from other races when it suits their warlike needs, but they do not innovate in and of themselves unless it concerns war machines. Even knowledge gained from these war machines often dies with a specific Harrkh, as Orcs are also protective over their own war capabilities and don't want to share their secret weapon with anyone. Orcs, by all means, still live in the tribal stages that the Humans once were in before they formed complex aristocratic societies based on bureaucracy.
- Orcs are actually unable to vomit due to their enzyme production in their throat, paralyzing their stomach whenever they consume something toxic or expired. Their stomach itself is extremely corrosive, even being able to break down smaller bones, and in some rare cases, even weaker metals.
- Despite an Orc’s bony appearance and muscular frame, their navel is often their weak point. It presents an area that is relatively soft and undefined, with a lot of internal organs beneath. It often results in Orcs wearing stomach belts to accommodate this.
- Most Orcs don't die old, instead wandering out into the wilderness to find a death in battle. There is both a religious reason for this as well as a pride reason. When an Orc reaches a certain age where they are no longer capable of fighting effectively, their pride demands they see a good end to themselves or find some other means of being of use to their Harrkh.