|Common Nicknames||Greenfolk, Brute Lords, Swamp Ogres, Green Menace|
|Naming Customs||Harsh sounding first names and surnames. First names are usually short while surnames are longer. Surnames are often translated from their occupation or some feat they have done, and may differ within the same family, they should never be just common words but rather something Orc sounding.|
|Distinctions||Broad and strong, war loving species with a brutal history|
|Maximum Age||90 years|
|Height||5’5” - 7'|
|Eye Colors||Gray sclera with brown or blue irises|
|Hair Colors||Raven Black, Dark Auburn, Ochre Brown, or Cherry Brown|
|Skin Tones||Varying based on clan descendance|
The fierce warrior culture of the Orcs is renowned and feared across the world, a reputation powered by their violent history and presence among the many state armies of modern Alorian states. Originally hailing from the savage continent of Guldar, the Orcs lived in a tribal, clan-like structure before their sail west during the Cataclysm. They made their grand entry on the world stage when the Elven Empire was already in a state of civil war, invading the remnants of the weakened Empire like a savage horde and crushing what little resistance was left after the Demonic invasions. The Orcs have, since these early days, shown a great skill in adaptation, rapidly developing as a quasi-civilized race with an uncanny ingenuity for weapons development with which to drive warfare. Orcs live and dream of combat at all times, so it should come as no surprise that many Orcs in modern times have become mercenaries and gladiators for hire, perfecting hand to hand combat and filling ranks as shock troopers that other less physically-capable races could not. With strong, broad physiques, and natural resilience to physical punishment, any Orc is a fearsome foe in single combat, matched only by the stoic Url, and outclassed only by the regal Cro-Allar as the strongest race in Aloria on average. Orcs remain scattered across the world, their political structure too unstable for unification or continuous rule, though this is perhaps for the better, as one would not even want to think of what might happen if the Orcs came together and set out to conquer the world.
Orcs are bulky and large humanoids that resemble a mixture between an Elf and an Ailor, who has spent far too much time performing strenuous physical exercise. However, Orcs rarely, if ever need to actually partake in any physical exercise, owing to a unique internal organ known as an Orvhil, which constantly develops a muscle-enhancing substance that allows Orcs to maintain an impressive musculature without working for it, by rapidly metabolizing the protein content of the meat they eat, which makes up around 90% of any Orc’s diet. Aside from their constant muscular state and lack of fat accumulation, standard Orcs are just a bit taller than regular Ailor. Their height ranges from 5’5 to 6’11, regardless of gender. Despite the height similarity of an Orc to the average Ailor, however, they are roughly 50% stronger, enabling them to carry 50% more in terms of weight, push 50% harder, and resist blunt-force trauma much better. An unarmed and unarmored Orc can easily defeat any other race in single combat, save for Url. In most cases, Orcs need to be taken on by two individuals, or, for the weaker Elves, groups of three or more.
Aside from their impressive musculature, Orcs don’t look very different from other humanoids. They have roughly the same bodily proportions as Ailor (though the males tend to have more body hair). They do have thicker arms proportionally, with bigger musculature, and a larger shoulder and neck frame, which often causes Orcs to be called bull-necked. Their heads look somewhat smaller in proportion as a result, and they are also not able to turn their heads further than 80 degrees in either direction because of the musculature constraining their movement. Orcish men and women appear very similar, resulting in them being labeled unattractive by most other races. This is doubly so for Orcish females, who are more often than not mistaken for males. Above the neck, Orc facial features set them apart especially from other races. Orcs have enlarged brow bones, causing their eyes to look smaller and sunken into their head, resulting in an almost permanent angry expression. They have strong, square jaws and an overall thick skull with strong cheekbones. Their nose is smaller than all other races, and higher up on their face, while often also pressed flat, or turned down. To accommodate an Orc’s tusks, Orcs have much larger mouths and prominent underbites to prevent damage to the face from their own teeth. Orc hair grows thick and long quickly, both on their facial hair and on top of their head, but most Orcs shave the hair on their head for combat reasons. Orc Hair colors range in the very dark spectrum, from raven black to very dark gray or red-tinted brown. Orc hair is suitable for straight growing, wild growing, or producing dreadlocks out of, but can never be curly.
Orc eyes are varying, though they follow the same color pattern. Their sclera are always gray (though not as dark as Kathar or possessed individuals) while their irises are either brown or blue, with more dull colors being the norm, though many shades for these two colors are possible. Their teeth seem darker than that of Ailor. Orc voices are always deep, even for the women, though a certain female quality can always be discerned from their voices. Orc ears are like those of Elves, but less elongated and more rounded; certainly still with the identifiable pointed tip, but are closer to the head, and with a larger earlobe. Finally, Orcs have a variety of skin tones which are highly dependent on the tribe they come from. Orc structure is varied, meaning Orcs from different tribes can intermingle in the same clan, so mixing of skin colors happens frequently. There are a handful of main colors:
- The Dark Ungwar have a dull gray skin color with a visible tint of green, though not as vibrant as the Green Baq Tribe. This skin tone is somewhat reminiscent of the Kathar, but so distinctly green still that it is not mistaken for Kathar.
- The Red Thorall Tribe has a reddish and ochre tinted brown skin tone. This skin tone is similar to that of the Qadir, but always has more of a reddish tone to it, similar to that of the Avanthar, but more vibrant.
- The Green Baq Tribe has a greenish and sometimes cyan-tinted green skin tone that is entirely alien when compared to the other races. This is the color that most Orcs have.
- The South Zurakk Wall Tribe has a somewhat olive-green, though bordering into tan yellow skin tone that is very reminiscent of Half-Orcs. For many, South Zurakk Wall Tribe Orcs are still on the spectrum of the Green Baq Tribe green, because their olive like skin is very close to the greens of said Tribe.
- Cross-breeding among the Tribes results in mixed colors, though usually only on first generations. For example, if a Red Thorall Tribe and Dark Ungwar Tribe member mate, their first borns will be of a very dulled ochre red-tint brown skin color. However, should this offspring then mate with a Green Baq Tribe member, their children will in all likelihood have the green tinted skin color. Mixed skin color Orcs are always recessive when it comes to passing on their skin color to children.
- Half-Orcs always have the skin tone of the non-Orc parent modified with a slightly more duller and green tinted hue. Why this occurs even when the Orc parent is from a non-Green skin colored tribe is likely related to the fact that the Green Baq tribe is the oldest historical source.
Orcs also have a number of genetic benefits that Half-Orcs (but not any further diluted offspring) have as well. Aside from the Orvhil Organ that gives them their innate muscular build, Orcs also have two hearts of the same size that help blood circulation. The fact that Orcs have two hearts means that they are capable of sustaining combat for much longer, as blood will continue to rush oxygen through their body at a high rate. Even if one heart stops, for example by means of a heart attack or poison, the other heart will continue to beat. That being said, if one of the two hearts stop, Orcs become far more sluggish and less strong. Additionally, Orcs have a small stomach attachment organ called the Utrond, which creates a specific enzyme that catalyzes weak alcohols and toxins, including poison, giving them an effective immunity to orally ingested poisons, as well as lesser alcoholic drinks. It is important to note, however, that Orcs are still vulnerable to poisons that are intravenously inflicted. Orcs only start feeling the alcoholic content when drinking Url Vodka or Anglian Blackbrew. Orcs also have their own high alcohol concentrated alcohol that is specifically distilled for their tastes. These enzymes also prevent Orcs from vomiting. Orcs are physically incapable of expelling their stomach contents and in most cases, in order to pass toxic chemicals, simply break them down in their intestines. Orcs are even able to break down small bone fragments and other smaller hard substances like shells or stems. They frequently consume raw meat and experience no negative side effects. Finally, Orc organs and blood are toxic to a number of invasive species and parasites. Notably, Oorl worms liquefy when trying to attach to an Orc as a host; Orcish resilience to parasitic species like fleas, lice, and ticks extends to Oorl worms, killing them upon entry. Due to this, parasitic organisms and insects are repelled from Orcs. As much as other races try to depict Orcs as dirty and grimy creatures, they are actually very clean because of this and disease rarely occurs among them.
Finally, Orc mating follows a number of special exceptions. Orc Males have a voracious appetite for it, but are physically incompatible with females of all other species for proportional reasons. If a Half-Orc is to be conceived, it is always from an Orc mother and never from an Orc father, whose races can instead be Ailor, Songaskian, or Avanthar, though no other race. As for Orc males and females however, impregnation follows a strange process. Orc females are highly fertile, and become pregnant on the first try; however, an Orcish woman may consciously close an internal muscle, preventing pregnancy in all attempts. Luckily for the rest of the world, Orcs have a number of cultural reasons why they would choose not to constantly reproduce (consult culture below). The carrying period for an Orc child is a mere four months, after which the child is born. Newborn Orcs are however extremely fragile. While an Ailor baby could survive in the open air for quite long, an Orc child is (by Ailor standards) born too soon, and needs to be kept warm and protected from the environment for several months. After three months of being sheltered however, an Orc child will rapidly grow up. They transition into puberty at the age of eight, when they are already the size of an Ailor 18 year old, and are barely indistinguishable from adult Orcs at the age of 14 when their musculature has grown exponentially, though their mind only becomes fully developed at age 18. Orcs can live up to 90 years of age, but rarely do so because of their violent nature and the fragility of old age. Orc women also continue to be fertile into advanced age, far beyond any normal Ailor.
For Half-Orcs, consult the Half-Races Page.
Valuur Orcs are in many ways identical to regular Orcs, but slightly different in some ways. Valuur Orcs are considered by some Orcs to be weaker born Orcs, but this isn’t strictly speaking true. It is correct that Valuur Orcs aren’t as strong as natural Orcs, who have a 50% strength increase to Ailor, while Orc Valuur only have a 10%, 20% at most increase, though they do possess other strength factors that regular Orcs do not have. Orc Valuur are rare, being born once every 50 births, though have a set of consistent physical and mental traits outlined below:
- Valuur Orcs have the same facial proportions as regular Orcs, though look ever so slightly less savage. Their tusks are the same size, as are their eyes, though their brows are slightly smaller, and their jawline less squared.
- Valuur Orcs largest notable difference is their bodily proportion. While they still have the same Orc frame, their musculature is always slightly more defined than Ripped, lacking the classic Muscular or Strongman build, and appearing as a more slender Orc.
- All Valuur Orc organs and internal functioning are exactly the same as regular Orcs, though they are not allowed to participate in the Orc Hierarchy through challenge. They can attain all the ranks up to Wargod, but only by convincing Orcs to let them lead them, not by challenging them.
- Valuur Orcs do not fear Magic, they lack the instinctive fear that is natural to other Orcs, but they also do not have the regular Orc Proficiencies. An Orc gains +10 Improvised Weapons +10 Smithing and +10 Gunpowder.
- Instead, Valuur Orcs gain +10 Unarmed Combat Skill, +10 Siege Combat Skill and +10 Metallurgy Arts.
- Despite the fact that Valuur Orcs are essentially less physically capable and more intellectually oriented Orcs, they still experience the same Orken Thrift and all other aspects not summarized above remain exactly the same.
Orcs are generally seen as a intellectually inferior to and by all other races, however, this assumption is a deception and pure racism. Many outsiders and non Orcs think of Orcs as ape-like brutes that run around hitting things and yelling “Ug-Glub-Wub-Nub me crush Humie!” but these are mere outliers to the race. In fact, Orcs who speak this way (not understanding proper grammatical structure and talking like a 2 year old) are called “Yub Yubs” by Orcs, which is a term used by Orcs to discriminate against those in their society who were born with a brain defect that makes them mentally challenged. Mentally challenged Orcs who act like savage apes are ridiculed by the other Orcs.
Orcs are communal creatures who love the presence of other Orcs, not only because they are great comrades, but also because they are steeped in a culture of honor that is often hard to find among the other races. Orcs have a complex set of societal codes that make them very respectful towards one another (save for Yub Yubs) but also to acknowledge the fairness of inequality in the world. They perceive the strength of those who are more powerful than themselves, and might become envious, but always are deferential to it, and will choose the right and fair ways to challenge it, instead of undermine or sabotage it. Orcs abhor the idea of fighting dirty and using underhanded tactics. They are blunt and straightforward, and almost always honest. It is extremely hard to find an Orc that goes out of their way to lie, and even when they do, it is usually done to protect the honor of another Orc. Inversely, Orcs can be the cruelest of creatures to those they deem without honor, turning them in ways into an untouchable caste in their society. Dishonorable Orcs are avoided and cannot be touched, spoken to, or even looked at, until they regain their honor through a great feat of bravery. Orcs are passionate lovers and dedicated parents, with an immense sense of pride in themselves but also in their mates and offspring. They always seek to improve their standing in Orc society and hierarchy, or that of their clan, or even their tribe. Orcs can rattle on about honor to the point where other races might think it starts becoming irritating, but the whole concept does determine their daily lives in so many ways that it has become entwined with their history and religion. An Orc will never challenge something that is physically inferior to itself to a fight, or seek to punish some lesser race for crossing it with violence. An Orc can always recognize that a young Ailor guard recruit is no fair match for a battle hardened Orc and refrain from using this advantage as leverage over them, but willing to jump into a challenge against a greatly renowned Knight of many wars as soon as possible.
An Orc will never be caught performing complex math algorithms or playing the violin (at least in public), but they are certainly not incapable of comprehending vast strategic logic or learning other languages, having their own uncanny creativity for destruction and death that far exceeds the other races. The Orc language for example is considered the world’s most complex language forming a mixture between the spoken word and nonverbal communication that is both nuanced and rich in meaning and context. The written language alone contains 50,000 written characters that far exceed the Elven or Sihai Alphabets in complexity. Orcs often want to decide fast, and while they have the capability to reason and debate, they instinctively become time pressed when the discussion is going too slow for their liking. Most of the Orc's perceived stupidity comes from their one-track mindset to excitement and action. Even an Orc raised in an intellectual Human family will still pursue its instinctual habits on intervals purely because Orcs are habitual creatures. Orcs are in effect intelligent beings, but are (much like the Url) occasionally enslaved by their instinctual habits. While the Url have the urge to hunt, Orcs have the urge to fight (more on this below). Orcs are also terrified of Magic (except for the Valuur Orcs), and are in themselves incapable of casting Magic of any form for unknown reasons.
This urge to fight is similar to an Ailor female’s monthly cycle (and for Orc females, in fact coincides with that cycle) in which they enter a state that is called the Orken Thrift. While in Orken Thrift, Orcs become far more aggressive and testy. This is the time of month they would seek to challenge their superiors, where they would pick fights with authority and siblings, and where they are generally a nuisance to be around for the other races. These Orken Thrift periods are considered the accumulation of stagnancy and accumulation of pent up anger and urge to fight all poured out in a period of a week every month, before they return back to normalcy. While in this Thrift period, they aren’t any more stupid, just far more likely to quickly devolve a disagreement into a fight, be far braver than they would normally be, or challenge Orcs much bigger than them to prove themselves. This Thrift can be experienced while challenging humanoids for combat, but it can also be expressed in hunting activities, or other forms of reckless physical behavior towards objects.
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 red feathered creatures with hawkish 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 hawk 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 interact 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, who 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, forming a variety of other tribes that diverged both structurally and physically, resulting in the wide spectrum of Orcish skin colors.
The fleet suffered casualties along the way, supposedly losing half the population that left Guldar, though eventually landing in Daendroc in the middle of the Elven civil war between the recently deceased Elven Emperor's sons. Normally, Orc Honor should have dictated that the Elves were not a worthy foe, but the Orcs had no clue what the scale of destruction in the Elven Empire was like, and were still facing Elven armies twice their size. 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, with minimal casualties of their own. 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 warchiefs and severely diminishing their population numbers in the process, to a mere few thousand. 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 decades, 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 even at the losses inflicted by the Elves and Orcs themselves. Around the second generation born in Daendroc, being rougly at 70 AC, the Orcs suddenly developed a rapidly formed civilization. Scholars have always held the notion that this is when the Valuur Orcs were starting to be born, who had greater interest (not necessarily intellect) to revive the old knowledge of the Elven Empire and use it to better the lives of the Orcs. They rapidly developed a manner of writing, advanced themselves in the manners of construction and architecture, and started developing their own clothing styles, music and artistic expressions, though to understand the finer arts of their culture was difficult for outsiders.
This quick development of a culture also resulted in a period of relative peace, the word relative is used here, because even in times of peace many Orcs continue to fight each other. From a historical standpoint, the fighting in Orc society was constant, but at a certain point it could start tipping over because of overpopulation, which would result in societal instability and cracking of loyalties. As such, many of the tribes instituted a 3 child per parent pair policy, which was roughly adhered to, and for a time it showed great promise to limit too much chaos in Orc society. Around 140 AC the Orcs flared up in their conflicts with the Elves again which would continue uninterrupted until the first major conflict in 296 AC, before which little to no contact was made between Orcs and Ailor. In 296 AC, Orcs started aggressively encroaching on the equally encroaching Ailor woodcutters with the Elves caught in the middle defending their territory from both sides. The Ailor and Orc goals aligned, but were in no way cooperating, often clashing with each other as well as with the Nelfin.
It was in this year that the Ranger Crisis started, a five year long, three-way struggle between the Orcs, the Regalian Empire and the Elves. The Ailor, which the Orcs called “Roogharr Burkhar”, which can be roughly translated to "The war-making pig with many blades", were a formidable foe with their skilled equipment and forging mechanics that the Orcs lacked, often having to use makeshift weapons and leftovers from the Elves. After the Ranger conflict, the Orcs made deals with the Ailor, causing the Ailor to abandon their decade long support of the Elves which was only in name only. The years of relatively (relative, since raids on Ailor still happen) peaceful relations between Orcs and Ailor have seen them rapidly become more accepted in Ailor society. Particularly by the doing of the Noble House Kade in Regalia, Orcs were accepted quickly in their local armies as shock troopers, and hired in the thousands to support them as mercenaries. Rights and exact positions in Regalia have fluctuated over the years for Orcs, but generally speaking, as much as Ailor hate non-Ailor, most of them have some form of respect for Orc strength. At the very least, even the most racist Ailor can acknowledge that an Orc fighting for gold on the frontlines saves the lives of at least five Ailor soldiers doing the same work.
Despite their somewhat positive position, many Orcs also still face abuse. Orc work camps are the most notable slave labor employed by the Regalian law enforcement to punish Orcs who break the law and force them to work. Alternatively, rumors are abound of Orc women who are captured by the slavers of Thessalonikon in Etolia, chained in the castles of the south and used to breed a population of captive half-Orc slaves. And yet, at the same time, a Half Orc is a noble lord in the Empire, and controls a vast army of Orcs and Half Orcs alike that fight for the Empire. Indeed, Orc fortunes vary greatly from Orc to Orc, but this has always been beauty of Orc life, a never ending cycle of change, excitement and fortunes or misfortunes that are least expected, and the Orcs wouldn’t have it any other way.
Orc society is both tragically chaotic and yet structurally rigid. The chaotic element specifically comes into play with regards to how disorganized successions of power are, and how much members within a caste hierarchy fluctuate between ranks. It is not uncommon for the position of Wargod Orc to switch almost ten times during the span of a full year, and Warchief positions fluctuate numerous times a year also. Orc society does however have numerous layers with specifically identified hierarchies which all layer over each other in a complex manner. These are as followed:
- At the top, Orcs have allegiance to a Tribe. This is more a racial connection than anything, because it is entirely based on skin color. Tribes have no official formal hierarchy, but act more as a safety net for Orcs who are down on their luck. Orcs belonging to the same Tribe are often more positively inclined to one another. It is more often that one would see two members of the same Tribe forming a mating bond, than two members of opposing Tribes. Similarly, Orcs are more inclined to help other Orcs of the same Tribe, sometimes even when they are untouchables.
- Beneath Tribes are the Clans. Clans are loose collections of Orcs who belong to the same rough statehood. Clans all have a ruling family which is very similar to Nobility, but this family is generally supported by consensus of the other Orcs inside the clan. A ruling family must always act with honor and dignity to the Orcs within the clan, and specialize in their role to support and give identity to the clan. For example, the Mak-Zolthar family of the Mak clan specializes in the raising of wolves as pets, which in turn helps the clan identify as a beastly clan with a cultural preference for wolves and all aspects associated with them. The ruling families usually have a single member act as the great leader of the Clan, this used to the called the Warchief, but in more modern times this is called the Tol. A Tol can be unseated by a relative of the same family through an honor duel, or be outproven in skill for the service they provide to the clan and then be voted to replace the previous Tol with popular support. If a family is deemed dishonorable to lead the Clan, the other Orcs will vote a new family in office as Tol holder. Beneath the Tol are the Thirq, which are kind of like the lesser nobles of the Clan. A Tol will appoint a Thirq to manage a specific thing, such as the Thirq of the Hunt, the Thirq of Knowledge, the Thirq of Finance, etc. These all act as ministers to the Clan much like they would to any regular state.
- Beneath the Clans are the Toloq or the Family Unit. Family Units are fairly flat in terms of hierarchy and ruled by a council of elders which each represent their own pillar. For example, three brothers all having a different wife and a number of children of their own form a Toloq. They do not share the same surname, but are family-wise so close to each other that they form their own Toloq. The Elder council dictates policies and decisions within the Toloq, but more as an advisory body than an actual executive force. A person can be a member of multiple Toloqs, but will always identify one of the Toloq as their preference. While the Clans are technically the highest bureaucratic level, the Toloqs are usually more responsible for the day to day runnings of the clan. Each Toloq tracks its own Offerings (an Orc version of Taxation) and involvement in the Clan wide state, appointing a single Humak (not to be confused with Human) who may or may not be an Elder and is responsible for tax collection and record keeping at the end of the day. Most Orcs are literate in the Orc written form, as education in simple Orc knowledge is very important in Orc society. Humak are trained specifically to understand mathematics as well however.
- Finally at the bottom, Orc Hierarchy is dictated by the Goor Hierarchy. The Goor Hierarchy is 80% of Orc society usually, however, as the Goor Hierarchy works on a local level. The other layers of Orc society only go into effect when one is near them, and Orcs like to travel around the world a lot. A Grunt Orc in Regalia might for example be a member of the Red Thorall Tribe, be a member of the Mak Clan, and be a member of two different Toloqs, yet only really pay attention to the Goor Hierarchy in Regalia, because it is the first hierarchy they deal with. Any additional layer of Orc society merely dictates how they position themselves in behavior towards other Orcs inside or outside their respective hierarchies. Generally speaking Red Thorall Tribesmen are not fond of all other tribes. Dark Ungwar Tribesmen have a problem with Green Baq Tribesmen, and Green Baq have a problem with South Zurakk Wall Tribesmen, and some of these dislikes are mutual.
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 and asks for help. They value courage in the face of adversity and respect those who stand up against their foes, 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 Clan or Toloq. Orcs have a means to quench their natural need for violence and fighting (particularly during the Orken Thrift) 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) or in a Goor Arena. A Ghoormakh is essentially a test of brawl strength where two Orcs engage in fight that can both be described 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 Architecture is strangely elegant and strange to outsiders. In many ways, the Orcs have adopted the pillar-based structure of construction, but made it their own. Individual family houses in the clans do not exist. Instead, long, temple-like structures are built in a rectangular shape on a raised slab of thick brick. There is no real staircase entry or even a slope, rather, to enter such a house, one must climb on top of the stone slab which is often six feet off the ground. The rectangle is surrounded by pillars which are expertly carved in the image of either some wild creature, or an Orc holding up the roof. The roof itself is a beam support section without nails or fastening, an ingenious construction of interlocking wooden panels that are both flexible and yet retain their sturdy positioning. It is said that because of these wooden panels, that Orc buildings are the only buildings completely immune to earthquake and tremor damage, and because of their height, suffer little to no flooding damage either. These buildings do not have any walls, windows or doors, rather, the various rooms are separated by dyed cloth suspended from metal wires spanning between the pillars. Each room has a specific color with a specific purpose, and because these buildings are so large, it is not uncommon for five Toloq’s or the entire government of a Clan to inhabit the same building. Orcs have little sense of privacy, food is shared communally and what little privacy is maintained is usually done during intimacy between two Orcs which happens in the specifically red colored Pharesh room, where extra folds of red carpet and cloth muffles the sound. Orc buildings are primitive in the Regalian sense without plumbing or running water, yet extremely homely and well lived-in. These places are kept extremely clean and tidy, even if Orcs are less caring about the roads connecting these buildings. Ailor often come to expect mounted skulls and animal remains scattered all around the personal abodes of Orcs, but are shocked to find not a drop of blood. It is in fact sacrilege to spill blood in the home, so if Orcs encounter a conflict, they quickly leave the building by jumping off the raised platform on the side, and beginning their fight when they hit the ground.
Orc cuisine, unlike their architecture, is barely sophisticated. They consume mostly meat (with a few roots and nuts) and do very little to prepare this food. Sometimes an Orc who has lived among Ailor will grow used to the taste of grilled or fried meat and like it, but most Orcs will continue to consume raw meat if they can. Their art on the other hand, is a bit more sophisticated, if a “hate it or love it” mentality. Orcs produce art purely out of Tin (discounting the carving works of art that are the pillars that support the roofs of their buildings). They use raw strength with their hands covered in thick leathery gloves to bend the tin into shape after heating it. Most depictions of such tin Orc art is crude, with burn marks and sharp edges, and their subject matter is often primitive. Sword arrangements are frequent, but also displays of the hunt or just veneration of Orc ancestors are frequent themes. Orc pieces of Art have become more popular in the Regalian Empire as of recent, particularly among the military inclined families for their intrinsically war-themed value.
Orc folklore is rich in tales of great Orc hunters who slew massive and dangerous beasts with great valor, bravery and honor. They have tales of battles of the ages, and how outnumbered Orcs protected their families from large marauding masses of Elves wishing to annihilate their outnumbered foe. These tales aren’t always entirely based on truth, but that is hardly ever the point. Ork Folklore exists to teach the young ones the concept of honor, and adherence to it, and what happens to those who bring dishonor on themselves and their Toloq. Their language, in all its extreme complexities is perfect to support the very visual storytelling Orcs do, with grandiose use of body language and non verbal communication to get events across.
Romance and love in Orc society is wild and free, but somewhat publicly restrained. Orcs, like the Allar, don’t inherently see a difference between same sex and opposite sex relationships, though this can vary from Toloq to Toloq. Sometimes an elder may object to same sex relations because of the need of procreation, but will relent if love is the only thing that matters. What this means, is that Orcs do not wish to get in the way of true love, no matter how much they disapprove, unless that love were to undermine the concepts of honor or loyalty to one’s family or the Toloq. In rare cases, courtships between Orcs is denied by the elders because a partner is untouchable, or because they have done dishonorable things, or because the courtship itself came into being because of dishonor. What remains to be said about the relationships themselves is that Orcs are fiercely loyal to their partner and offspring, very restrained to show it in public, yet very wild and passionate about it in private. Orcs however engage in a strange cultural belief called “Gra”, in which it is fine for Orcs to maintain even intimate relations with others outside of Orc society as long as they are any race other than Orc. These are rare, but they do occur, and are an essential form of culturally accepted adultery to ensure that the Orc in question remains more loyal to their Orc mate, for an Orc to bond with a non-Orc is unspeakable. Orcs do not formally marry after receiving permission. They simply make bond vows in the presence of their family, who will hold them both to uphold the honor of the bond they made.
Orc Law is probably the most developed form of law in the world besides the Regalian Judicial system, and uses a very different approach. Instead of a guilty party proving their innocence to a judge who wishes to see them judged guilty, in Orc society, the accusing party has to prove the guilt of the accused and their dishonor in crime to a jury of any Orcs who wish to partake in the trial. Generally speaking anything that Regalia considers unlawful is unlawful to Orcs too. Entry into one’s house without permission, to take without an item being owned or owed, and to murder or beat without honorable duel consent are considered crimes against honor. The jury’s job is to find the accused guilty or innocent, and if guilty, the accusing party may decide the punishment based on what is appropriate for the crime, not the jury, and they may also be the ones to exact the punishment. More often than not however is an Orc forced to do a walk of shame and a kneeled atonement in which they walk the length of the Orc settlement to experience what it is like to be untouchable, before kneeling at the end to beg for forgiveness for their crime. If the crime wasn’t as bad as dishonorable murder, the accusing party will usually forgive the crime and the accused and defender will grow closer, unless the Orc shows utterly no remorse, in which case an honor vendetta is declared, which usually leads to more killing for honor.
Orc Music is, just like their art, a love it or hate it situation. Orcs have mastered the art of throat chanting at very low baritone levels, and can do so while accompanied with a collection of drums and other percussion instruments. Orc musical instruments are usually not very sophisticated and most singing occurs just before battle to rouse the spirits of the soldiers. That being said, in more recent times, the Valuur Orcs have become more popular as regular singers because their voices aren’t always as ragged and deep as that of the regular Orcs. Clothing among the Orcs is a touchy subject. An Orc naturally loves to be as “au naturel” as possible, but the concept of civilized modesty is not alien to them, and many have even embraced it. The time of Orcs walking around as nature made them is long past, and even the more uncivilized Clans have adopted at least the most basic of clothing scheme. For Orcs, to show one’s skin on the legs, particularly anywhere below the knees is vulgar and offensive. To Ailor, it would be like showing off one’s behind in disrespect. Nearly all Orcs wear a tight belt at their waist, with a leather underpants that wraps all the way down to their ankles, where their feet are usually bound in with cloth, and covered with sandals. These underpants are usually decorated with loose strips of leather on the side, and covered either with a battle skirt made of wool, dyed in the colors of the Toloq, or a toga-like cloth covering one shoulder down to the waist and draped down both sides. Formally, women’s breasts are not covered in Orc society, but when in Ailor society, they take the precaution of covering their breasts from public sight with cloth bindings. Some Orcs, however, have developed a keen fashion sense that compliments their history. Clothing patterns with expertly woven animal or bone-like themes are common, and sometimes even shirts are produced for Orcs, not only by Ailor weavers, but even Orc tailors. At home, an Orc will prefer to walk around shirtless, though in public, an Orc will choose to be more modest, especially around strangers. Orcs in Regalia have particularly adapted well to Imperial Fashion, which suits their personal color preferences as well as stylistic choices. Sometimes bones are used as embellishments or buttons to keep clothes in one piece, but Orcs (especially those who dress) make an effort not to look like a savage when they take the effort to wear expensive cloth, which in itself is a sign of their wealth and pride in success, even if they will give some form of homage to their old tribal cultural heritage. Pelts and personal decorations (such as bone necklaces) that call back to previous hunts and glorious feats are common around the neck. An Orc may also choose to use a variety of facial decorations. War paint on the face and body is common, as are tattoos, piercings, studs, even in lips, brows and curiously enough even in their tusks. They braid their hair in thick braids which are bound together by either strips of leather or silver plating if they can afford it. Orcs do not particularly seem like the kind of people who would care much for fashion, and inherently they do not. After all, when they go to battle, they often wear as little as possible to avoid constraining themselves, but Orcs have developed a keen sense of being able to show themselves off and being able to stand out in society for other reasons than being Orc. Orcs love compliments, so they seek public approval in public, even if at home they will be far more prone to show bare skin and bare emotion.
Orc religion is called "The Call of Vakgar and Makosh" -- 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 and Makosh are hunted their 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. They also believe that they must be honorable and stand together, remain loyal to each other, and support each other, thus lending their support to Makosh who helps Vakgar. Orcs also believe that if they do not engage in these acts of borrowing their power and support, Vakgar and Makosh will be killed and their 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 and Makosh 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. Furthermore, the relation between Vakgar and Makosh can also vary and have layers of complexion. Sometimes they are depicted as brothers in arms, sometimes as siblings, sometimes as twins, and sometimes as lovers. Makosh and Vakgar are non-gendered names, meaning that their genders can also vary. Vakgar is usually depicted as having "a mohawk that is more black than red" wielding a burning torch and an axe, while Makosh is depicted as having "a mohawk that is more red than black" wielding a shield and a spear. When depicted, they are usually opposite each other or next to each other, juxtaposted to Yazgar who swoops over them.
The results of these complex beliefs is that Orcs generally are bloodthirsty for battle, and more notably, consume 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. In the same vein however, they believe in the constant need to self-train and to become better at what they do, as well as defending themselves. Finally, Makosh teaches them solidarity and that every Orc no matter how hard they have fallen can be redeemed by their own strength. Orcs do not have a centralized priesthood, but do have some places of worship or any shrines or temples, though mostly for token presence and display. 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. One will never find an Orc praying, but Orcs can sometimes be heard praising either deity during a hunt, fight or when celebrating a victory, and Orcs can sometimes also return to temples and shrines for personal contemplation about important decisions in life and internal struggles.
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.
- The concept of Warchiefs was done away with a long time ago, but the belief that Warchiefs have a harem of women to make offspring is still very prevalent among non Orcs. Orcs consider this a call to their more tribal being and brute ways, which they consider an insult.
- Orc women are generally considered ugly among other races, but have a sort of exotic reputation among the men of the Ailor race in particular for being the wildest, free-est and most skilled lovers of all races.
- Orc children have not yet fully developed a sense of self restraint during their Orc Thrift-off periods (which only happen after their 10th year anyway). Instead, Orc infants and young frequently brawl with each other, and this is also a good way for them to learn each other’s limits and their own strengths.