|Subraces||Orc, Arak, Gorak, Nōthorc|
|Common Nicknames||Armor lords, Brute Lords, Wild Menace|
|Languages||Vashkularr, Vashnōlor (all Orcs gain access to both Languages)|
|Naming Customs||Harsh sounding first names and surnames. First names are usually short while surnames are longer. Sumerian Real-Life names are usable as lore compliant names.|
|Distinctions||Broad, strong, war-loving species with a brutal history.|
|Maximum Age||120 years.|
|Height||Varied depending on subrace.|
|Eye Colors||Gray sclera with brown, blue, green, or yellow iris.|
|Hair Colors||Raven Black, Dark Auburn, Ochre Brown, or Cherry Brown.|
|Skin Tones||Varied depending on subrace and Clans.|
Hailing from the fiercely independent and militaristic Pōlorc in the west of Daendroc, the Orcs are renowned and feared fighters across the world, with a reputation for combat brutality and efficiency that is barely equalled, even among the professional armies of the Regalian Empire. Much the same as the Altalar Princedoms that still exist in the wake of the Allorn Empire, the Orken Pōlorc, or Mound Cities, exert their influence over each other in a near-constant state of war and infighting. The Orcs are a relative newcomer Race to what is commonly seen as the main theatre of the world of Aloria, but have existed for many centuries prior on lands far away, which they were forced to leave due to ecological collapse. Following a relentless journey across the far western oceans, they landed on the Daendroc coasts, using their military efficiency and destructive warfare tactics to cause the hastened collapse of the Allorn Empire. Orc colonies arose far and wide, which eventually developed into the Pōlorc that continued to subjugate the other Races in the area to fuel their military structure. Orcs are frequently thought of by other Races as dirty, brutish, and savage, with no respect for spirituality or diplomacy, but this could not be farther from the truth. With an old culture and tradition steeped in the worship of the dead and training for the future, the Orcs quickly made their mark on the world, becoming some of the most sought after military mercenaries and warriors, with legendary tales of powerful Orcs spreading far and wide. Despite each Pōlorc only having a small region under its direct control, by the service of the Gornanc in Orc society, Ikōcnanc products produced in the wake of Orc conquest have become a staple in many households. Indeed, the Orc have rapidly raced to the forefront of Alorian politics, perhaps not as the savviest politicians, but certainly as the most effective and powerful tool to be the deciding factor in many wars.
Physical & Mental Characteristics
The Orc Race can be categorized between three major tribes, though these tribes are not what one would traditionally see as a tribe. In Orc society, a tribe refers to the original tribes that waged war on Guldar so many centuries ago, from which all the current populations descend. There are three main tribes called the Orcōn (what one would normally see as an Orc), the Arak (what Ailor incorrectly identify as Trolls) and the Gorak (which are similar to goblins). Additionally, Half-Orcs are also integrated into the Orc Race. This is what sets the Orc Race apart in terms of Half Race rules; Half-Orcs are actually integrated into the Orc Race and society completely as a subspecies (even if they technically aren’t one), referred to as Nōthorc. More common Orc traits like skin tones and eye colors are described further below in the common section.
The Orcōn are what one would consider the most standard Orc, and what other Races are most familiar with seeing on the battlefield or in their cities. Orcōn, however, are the least numerous type of Orc, but at the forefront of Orc society. Orcōn can best be described as taking what a very muscular Ailor looks like, giving them a green-ish skin-tone, bigger proportions, and tusks. Indeed, Orcōn look relatively comparable to Ailor in terms of their proportions, but their build is far more prone to strong muscular builds and wide shoulders. The Orcōn are naturally built for combat and warfare, with strong arms and legs, and an even stronger core and neck to afford them stamina and endurance. Their heads look equally imposing, with two large canine tusks sticking out of their bottom jaw, a smaller nose, deep-set eyes, and strong brow bones, rounded towards pointy ears. Most Orcōn have a stern or aggressive passive expression, which causes other Races to think they are always angry.
Orcōn (both the name of the class and subspecies) are the military caste of Orc society, and they think in much the same manner. They are disciplined when it comes to military conduct, finding honor in following orders from a superior, and spending most of their free time training for warfare. Orcōn enjoy warfare to the fullest, finding the adrenaline of combat itself intoxicating, but can also be pensive and slow to act outside of it as they carefully weigh their options against their morality and honor. Orcōn are capable of great intellect, but frequently choose to only push this into their military pursuits, as they have no need to cultivate knowledge on any other discipline. Orcōn are obsessed with the concept of Orken honor, which they derive from their Orc Code, passed down from generation to generation. However, they can still carouse and party if the setting is right and enough Orc alcohol has flowed (since Orcs are less sensitive to Ailor and Nelfin brews). The Orcōn are fanatically supportive of the way Orc society functions, mostly because they benefit greatly from it. Orcōn speak their mind and speak it very clearly, leaving very little open for interpretation. This means that any Orcōn that speaks in passive aggression or sarcasm has learned this from Ailor society, as they are natively incapable of understanding it. They have a temper, but it is rather slow to burst, given that they believe strongly that Orcōn should remain dignified and only unleash their rage on the battlefield.
Not all Orcōn who are born as a purebred Great Orc (as Orcōn are also sometimes called) become part of the Orcōn class. Orcōn engage in a great deal of racial eugenics where strong Orcs mate with strong Orcs to produce healthy and strong offspring. Effectively, undesirable traits were bred out many centuries ago, but occasionally Orcs might be born with less than desirable traits. This can sometimes be as mundane as having a slightly less imposing physique or being short. These traits are considered failures to the Orcōn ideal of masculine power, so these Lesser Orcs become Orcōngaar. Orcōngaar are the same as Orcōn in most senses, aside from their less imposing appearance. They have a special role to fulfill in Orc society, detailed further below.
The Ikōcanc (a class of Orc from the Arak subspecies) are what is usually incorrectly described as trolls. This mostly comes from incorrect oral tradition among Northland Ailor Cultures, who compare Arak and Troll features, finding similarity, and calling them the same. Unlike Trolls, Arak Orcs are intelligent, probably even more so than Orcōn, The Arak appear much like Orcōn, but are more hunched over, and are far less broad. Proportionally they look much the same, but slender, and with longer ears and a more elongated angular face. Their tusks are also thicker and larger than those of Orcōn, while they additionally also have sharp top-jaw canines much like Vampire teeth. Combined with strong jaw power, Arak actually have jaws strong enough to bite through most bone to break them.
Despite their physicality being much the same as Orcōn except much more slender, Arak have a very different mentality. Arak generally prefer to avoid combat (though many of them still serve as skirmishers and logisticians in armies due to their excellent eyesight and hand-eye coordination). Arak are soft-spoken, prefer tinkering with things and inventing things, rather than interacting with others, and are generally very organized and tidy people. They aren’t inherently anti-social, it’s just that they believe work is best done in silence and solitude, not while constantly being interrupted by outside distractions, meaning they are quite thrifty and dedicated to their work. Arak can however also be great party people, with a great ear for music (and ability to play it), and deep knowledge of Orc oral tradition and customs, which other Orcs love to hear about. Arak, as long as they aren’t working, like talking, and they like talking about things they know best, so that they can either teach others, or learn to understand it better by learning from others.
The Gornanc (a class of Orc from the Gorak subspecies) are what is usually described as goblins, from the Dwarven tales. While the existence of goblins has never been verified, there is actually no heritage link between Gorak and what the Dwarves describe and claim goblins are. What likely occurred is that the Dwarves developed a view of what corrupted and twisted Dwarves would look like, and then projected it outward onto the Gorak because they fit the bill. Indeed, the Gorak look like what would happen if one were to give Arak Dwarf-like proportions, while extending their ears and giving them an equally intolerable attitude and personality. Gorak are short, the shortest of the Orc species, and on a par with the Dwarves and sometimes even shorter yet. The Gorak are generally considered ugly, even among the Orcs themselves (although some very successful and popular Gorak bards have been known to be very successful with the ladies).
The Gorak are more populous than the Orcōn, but not more populous than the Arak. Being in the majority over the Orcōn that rule over them, it is only natural that the Gorak frequently seek to rebel against them (even if the yet more numerous Arak do not). Gorak are independently minded (but very cooperative with their own kind), intelligent, shrewd, and always up for some sort of plot, plan, or get-rich-quick scheme. Gorak are exceedingly good at playing the long game by focusing on their resources, extracting as much as they can out of a bad situation, and finding some sort of unseen factor to turn their favors around. They are quippy, offensive but generally speaking good-mannered albeit incredibly selfish. There is a saying among the Arak that a Gorak can be born in one of two ways, either as their best friend with one pickaxe in hand and a ledger in another, or as a natural born rebel with dagger and banner.
Half-Orcs and Crossbreeds
The Nōthorc are a curious bunch, as they have a racial lineage that does not really conform to any particular Race. Nōthorc can be in fact be Half-Orc, quarter-Orc or even one sixteenth-Orc, as long as their blood isn’t pure Orcōn. Nōthorc can also be half-breeds between the other Orc subspecies, which would then be referred to as a Nōthorcantac, though these are usually lumped together with the common Nōthorc population for ease of reference. Orc heritage is so strong in racial interbreeding, that Orc traits almost always persevere in terms of the child’s appearance. Nōthorc, regardless of what parent Race they come from, always appear like an Orcōn (Arak and Gorak are not compatible with other Races), but with far less exaggerated features. Generally speaking, this means half the size of the tusks, half the browbones, half the muscularity and half the size. What distinguishes them from other Orcōn however is that their skin is visibly far more related to their non-Orc ancestor or parent. For example, even a quarter-Orc Nōthorc will still have a skin-tone similar to their Ailor grandparent, even if all other grandparents were Orcōn. It takes 5 generations to properly breed Orc heritage out of a Half-Orc that joins Ailor society, while an Orc that has Nōthorc ancestry can never re-acquire pureblood Orcōn status.
Nōthorc suffer the same Orc Thrift as Orcōn do, and are in fact far more susceptible to it, thus being more prone to temper fits and violent outbursts. This is largely because the Nōthorc are naturally defensive and vain, while not handling stress very well in a manner that does not involve their fists or weapons or complete avoidance tactics. Nōthorc aren’t wholly unaccountable for their actions, and can, in fact, be quite clever, but many have a severe lack of empathy, while some are downright antisocial with their disregard for others wellbeing. This makes the Nōthorc expertly suitable to work as Nōthera Nōthorc, or the Orc secret police within their Mound Cities. The Nōthorc have an elevated civil status (strangely enough, even above the Arak and Gorak), being used by the Orcōn to ensure order and obedience, especially to the rebel prone Gorak. Not all Nōthorc are cruel vandals however, as some Nōthorc are deemed unsuitable for policing service. This involved either the more kind natured Nōthorc (which are rare of themselves), or what is called Nōthyo Nōthorc, or lesser Half-Orc. The Nōthyo Nōthorc fulfill roughly the same role as the Orcōngaar, in that they aren’t as big or mean as the other Nōthorc, and thus fulfill entirely different societal roles in a different caste explained further below.
Despite being somewhat distinct in appearance, the Orc species still have a number of things in common, like skin-tone, eye-color and hair-color. Skin-wise, all Orcs can be categorized by different clans. While tribes (not functioning like actual tribes) define their subspecies, clans (again, also not functioning like actual clans) cover their visual appearance. There exist four major skin-tones with some shade variance between them. The more commonly seen colors are teal and green, while the more rarer colors are brown, red and gray, the latter which is the rarest. In terms of hair-color, the Orc can have tones varying between dark-brown, auburn, and black, but never anything bright or blonde. Orcs are capable of having normal straight hair, curly, but a sizeable number of Orcs are in fact bald for no discernable reason. Orc eye-colors are either brown, green, blue or yellow. The yellow is the rarest color, and is more of a pale-yellow than anything that could be mistaken for gold or amber.
Orc Organs & Traits
Orcs have a number of physical traits and organs that aren’t found in other Races. Firstly, Orcs actually have a mild form of color-blindness that makes distinguishing slight shade differences impossible for them. A muted blue put next to a grey would appear as gray for example, while purple and blue look the same. This is why Orc households usually look excessively colored, because Orcs do appreciate color, but can only perceive a certain vibrant range of it. Furthermore, Orcs are also almost incapable of smelling things as their nose is small and incapable of perceiving subtle smells. This makes them terrible hunters, even if historically they picked fights with very large and dangerous but slow animals that were easy to track. Orcs also universally have the ability to resist poisons. Their stomach breaks down poisonous or toxic substances. This unfortunately also makes them immune to a variety of Ailor produced alcoholic beverages, requiring either the strongest of brews, or large quantities to feel any effect.
Orc blood is black in color, and mildly corrosive. It is not so corrosive that it would destroy or break down weapons that are used to fight them, but being exposed to Orc blood on bare skin is very unpleasant, and if not wiped or washed off will cause burn wounds and rashes. Orcs also have an Organ that produces a substance capable of growing muscle-tissue at a quick rate (which is not compatible with other Races). This is why most Orcs look muscular, or push the boundaries of what looks healthy in terms of body mass. Additionally, Orcs have a higher tolerance to pain. This doesn’t necessarily mean they can brave themselves through tougher fights, it does however mean that Orcs are incapable of passing out from shock or pain induced shock. In fact, it is commonly seen that it takes excessive head-trauma to knock out an Orc, as most alchemical substances meant to subdue also do not work on them. Most famous of all, Orcs have two hearts that pump in unison. They are the only race with two hearts, which causes their blood circulation to be much faster, and their body to give the sound to two heartbeats (or in the case of a pregnant Orc, four heart beats). Orcs who have one heart disabled through either injury or a heart attack can still survive off the second heart, though become more sluggish and lacking in energy as a result of the decreased circulation.
All Orcs of all subspecies experience an urge to fight that is cyclical and consistently monthly 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. Orc Thrift is actually something that is strongly looked down upon in Orc society, and it is even seen as something shameful. Orcs who succumb to the Orc Thrift and use excessive violence or break their discipline standards are seen as failures and unable to control themselves, leading to becoming an outcast who needs to regain their honor. Arak and Gorak suffer the Orc Thrift far less than Orcōn do, meaning they usually have no problem suppressing it, though Orcōn fare less well trying to do so.
Summary of Racial Abilities
|Orc Thrift||Racial Passive||
|Orc Senses||Racial Passive||
|Orc Metabolism||Racial Passive|
|Orc Brawn||Racial Passive||
|Orc Thickskull||Racial Passive||
Orc history can best be separated into three distinct eras. The first era is the Guldar Home period, the second period is the Great Leaving period, while the third period it the East Living period. The Guldar Home period is mostly shrouded in mystery because the Orcs actually do not have an effective form of historical recording. While some oral historians exist that make some footnotes to historical events, the vast majority of Orc history survives through word of mouth and legendary tales, and as such the actual evidence of Orc historical claims cannot be backed up with even reliable historical recordings. The Guldar Home period knows many tales of legendary Orcōn warriors that defeated scores of their own kind to become undefeated champions. It also speaks of a time before Orc society was a thing, when Orcs lived in tribal clans that constantly fought each other, and their great enemies the predatory birds of old called the Rakhvvar. Whether the Rakhvvar ever existed is still up to scholarly debate, but they supposedly influenced much in Orc culture ranging from their religion to odd distaste of birds. During their Guldar Home period, the Orcōn subrace subjugated the Arak (first) and then the Gorak (second), after which their society was founded. The Arak were very willing to enter this societal arrangement, as they were far less capable of defending themselves against the Rakhvvar, but the Gorak had to be forced into the fold, due to their subterranean housing being immune to Rakhvvar attacks, as Rakhvvar were absolutely massive, standing nine feet tall, and Gorak could comfortably live in crouching height living quarters. At some point in time, the Guldar Home period came to an end due to calamity in Orc society, or in the lands of Guldar. What exactly happened is unclear, but Orc history teaches their younglings of the land becoming poisonous to its people and nature turning against its tenders and inhabitants. Scholars in modern times have concluded some sort of ecological collapse must have occurred following a series of massive volcanic eruptions, but nothing has ever been proven.
The Great Leaving period covers a few decades during which the Orc Pōlons built massive city-boats that were all chained together and sailed a relatively short oceanic distance between Guldar and Daendroc sometime before the Cataclysm. Why the Orcs took so long to cross a distance that might take a normal fleet a few months was largely because the Orcs engaged in an extreme case of “strip and go” where they landed on islands, stripped literally every resource they could find down to the dirt and rock the island sat on, and hopped to the next island. It stands to reason that these massive ships needed lots of supplies, and that frequently a ship would be stranded for a few years while it was stocking up on supplies, with Orcs having to dig more coal out of the earth and letting their animal populations regrow by grazing on the natural grass of the islands. During the period of the Great Leaving, Orc society was led by the Great Rakhōn or Great King called Sargon. During this period, there were no Rakhōn or Pōlorc, as the Orcs believed that only the strongest of their kind could lead them successfully to a new homeland. It is believed in modern times that one day, a new Great King will be chosen from among the Rakhōn of the Pōlorcs, but that time is not yet nigh, as there is no great disaster befalling the Orcs yet. Sargon died shortly before the Orcs landed in Daendroc, following his last command to “go forth and conquer”. Their interactions with the Altalar resulted in just that; swift destruction of the Altalar armies and subjugation and slavery for many of their people, a point of cruel irony for the slavery prone Altalar themselves. When all Orc city ships properly disembarked on the western coast of Daendroc, the East Living period started.
The East Living period covers the years from the arrival of the Orcs in Daendroc, that is some months following the Cataclysm, to modern times. During these years, the Orcs mostly colonized the western coast and then started a rapid expansion into the heart of Daendroc, enslaving Altalar, Ailor, Cielothar and Avanthar alike and incorporating them into the Orc societies that sprung up in the wake of the Pōlorcs. The Orcs engaged in mass woodland destruction to make place for massive farms and cattle fields for grazing, contributing to the breakdown of many Altalar holy sites and groves, as well as natural Yanar habitats. For the longest amount of time, the Orcs were seen as a menace to the Ailor and Altalar, who in the wake of the Allorn Empire’s collapse had a tentative agreement to fight the Orcs whenever they tried to push for more territory. The Orcs however were not as organized as the Altalar and Ailor were at the time, and made little progress with such stiff competition. Orc populations grew quickly due to Orcs aging faster than all other Races, and Orcs also reproducing with greater frequency than other Races. Eventually, the relation between Ailor and Altalar broke down, and the political situation in the Regalian Empire started favoring the Orcs more due to increased diplomatic presence of Ailor among the Orc Pōlorcs. Eventually, a series of key treaties were made between the Orcs and the Regalian Empire following the Ranger Crisis that saw Regalia dismiss its alliance with the Altalar and join forces with the Orcs instead. The Orcs were given massive swathes of territory in Daendroc as their exclusive zone by the Ailor, and then started expanding rapidly into Altalar territory who could not stand against Orc and Ailor armies combined.
In present times, the Orcs have spread far and wide, however their territory is incredibly chaotic. The Pōlorcs frequently engage in infighting over cattle fields and wealth, as well as just for the pure fun of warfare for the Orcōn. Many Orcs find employment in the Regalian Empire also, thriving from the many wars it wages on other nations, and using the vast wealth found within the Empire for the various craftsmanships of the Orcs and their military talents. Many Orcōn, Nōthorc, Arak and Gorak come to Regalia seeking fame and fortune and honor for their kind, as well as themselves and the wealth that they are denied in more stifling circumstances in the Pōlorcs of Daendroc. They have recently unified more systematically to fight off the Dread Empire, but this has mostly been a border movement not felt by the Pōlorcs in the far north.
Orc society can roughly be split between three different spheres. The primary one is that of the Daendroc Pōlorc or Mound Cities. The Mound Cities are Orc cities built on hills or mounds that offer a radial view for all the buildings built on the slope and top. These Mound Cities usually have a larger building at the very top, lack streets, but have a variety of Orc buildings and statues spread out over the slope, finished with a fairly low wall at the bottom that isn’t actually meant as a defensive structure (since Orcs don’t do defensive sieges, they always come out and fight), but rather as a boundary definition between city and not-city. Beyond those walls lay the cattle and agricultural fields, sustaining the Pōlorc population, and also providing the basis for the Orcōn estates. The second sphere is that of the Regalian Pōlorc. The Regalian Pōlorc works differently in that it does not have the traditional structure of a Pōlorc and acts more like a revolving door hostel, where Orcs come and go and join this societal structure based on their needs, while they might still be a member of a Pōlorc back in Daendroc. The third sphere is that of the outcast Orcs, or Orcs simply born outside of Orc society. These Orcs won’t be covered on this page, but it is pertinent to touch upon their mentality below.
Outcast Orcs occur when either an Orc’s name has been cursed (the process of declaring an Orc an outcast by Orc leaders), or when an Orc was born entirely outside of Orc society (for example as a street urchin, or as a slave). Orcs not born within Orc society and foreign to the concept of Orc society are called “those left behind”. There is a certain level of melancholy and pity that the society based Orcs feel towards the Orcs that are not part of their structure, as they inherently perceive Orc society as the best way for an Orc to explore and develop themselves into the best version of what they could be. Some Orcs however might also look down on Orcs not part of Orc society (even the Half-Orcs) as lesser and inferior. It is possible for Orcs who were born outside of Orc society to be integrated (and for outcasts to be allowed back into the fold), but in order to do so, they must appeal to the Orc Gerōnek (the council of five), who will set a task for them to complete to restore their honor. There is a subclassification of those left behind called the “stolen ones”. This largely refers to Orcs or Half-Orcs born in slavery and servitude to other Races. Orcs within the societal structure feel very strongly about their kind enslaved by other Races, and go to extreme lengths to liberate an Orc or Half-Orc that is deemed a stolen one in another Race’s society. This often causes issues with Regalian authorities, since there are businesses and realms that engage in Orc slavery, particularly because Orcs are so useful for physical labor. Orcs born outside of Orc society often lack the discipline and control that Orcōn have within the structure. Their personality might be radically different from the standard that is set in the Pōlorc, but on the flipside, they are far more affected by Orc Thrift, resulting in bouts of anger and heightened stress that seem to imply being among Orcs, and having a secure place in Orc society, somehow limits the effects of the Thrift.
Orc culture is perhaps surprisingly vast and complex, even if other Races actively go out of their way to make it appear less than it is. For the Altalar, it benefits their political and societal needs to depict the Orcs as smelly, savage, and brutish fiends who only know destruction and engage in cannibalism, to demonize them and galvanize support against them. In present times, the Orcs still control most of what was once the Daendroc Altalar heartland, and while they do not actually live in the shells of ancient Altalar cities, they make re-settlement of these regions impossible, and cut down vast swathes of forests to fuel either their industry, or make way for new Pōlorc settlements. Within Pōlorc settlements however, strangers and foreigners could be amazed at the vibrant colors of the fabrics, the strong and bright smells of Orc cuisine, and the hustle and bustle of a micro-city at work. For all their brutal warfare on the field of battle, Orc society is surprisingly similar to Ailor or Altalar society in its day to day functioning, and in some parts it is even more sophisticated than either of those cultures.
Families and Romance
Orc families are somewhat crude as seen by outsiders. Women and men Orcōn rarely marry or form lasting relationships, and in most cases children are bred through eugenic selectiveness of parents. This means that while a child might have a fond relationship to both parents, those parents might not necessarily like each other. Families are rare in Orc society among the Orcōn as the children are recruited into the military at the age of 5, after which they rarely see their own family. Orcōn also do not marry often, but can do so if they wish (though they do engage in monogamous relations outside of marriage). Aside from the Orcōn however, the other Orc subraces and Half-Orcs do engage in marriages and do have traditional families. Non-Orcōn castes have far less repressive education standards and a lot more free time, meaning they can afford to maintain a traditional family as seen in Ailor society. Generally speaking, the less social and civil rights a person in Orc society has, the more close-knit and loving their family life is. This does not mean that Orcōn are devoid of expressing romance and love. It just means they are far more secluded about it and less public, as romance is seen as a personal weakness, allowing others to apply pressure to morale by hurting their lover. Orcs don’t see a difference between same-sex and opposite-sex relations in Orc society, and it actually happens with a far greater frequency than among any other Race. That being said, Orcōn men in same-sex relations may still engage in an occasional escapade with a female Orcōn if just for the sake of keeping up the Orcōn population. Indeed, the Orcōn are always in the minority when it comes to the societal castes of Orc society, and same-sex relations among Orcōn can sometimes cause population growth to stifle, which is dangerous when the military caste is not replentished with new births after a loss in battle.
The Orcs speak two languages, the archaic Vashkularr and the more modern Vashnōlor. Vashkularr is a language that is incredibly difficult to learn, since it is both a verbal and physical language that uses body language as a means to change grammar and context to a sentence. A phrase uttered “I want to give you an apple” might for example with an offering gesture be a respectful gift, but lacking that gesture or a forceful hand shove, indicate that it should actually be “I want to shove this apple up your throat and make you suffocate on it”. This is why over time, the Orc developed Vashnōlor, which is sometimes also referred to as Nōlor or Black-speech. Nōlor is a simplified version of Vashkularr which also has a bunch of archaic grammatical rules removed as well as the whole body language need to provide a simpler basis. Both languages sound like the real-life sumerian. Orcs are surprisingly adept at learning Common, and can speak it with a great deal of skill even when learning it only for a few weeks. Orcs also barely have an accent in Common, the only real difference being their strong R’s and K’s that roll far more than a Dragenthaler speaking Common would. The inability to speak Common normally is usually an indicator of an Orc being a Yub-Yub, since mental deficiencies among Orcs first take hold on their ability to articulate properly. Orcs are actually very articulate beings with a great reliance and focus on properly enunciating words and sentences. Even if an Orc is upset or angry, their mastery over language remains consistent, and they would not be caught mispronouncing words.
Lifestyle and Leisure
Orcs in the Pōlorcs don’t enjoy much leisure (though many find their craft to be a form of leisure also), however in Regalia there is more time for self-exploration and free time. As such, Orcs in Regalia have developed a variety of leisurely activities and lifestyle expansions not frequently seen among the Orcs still in Daendroc, yet they can still have their basis in activities found in the Pōlorcs. The primary activity the Orcōn adore is what is referred to as the Kretōn, a sporting event during which the Orcs engage in hand to hand combat for submission with barely any rules. The only rules that exist in Kretōn are that an Orc may not touch the neck or genitals of the opponent, may not bite, or attack the eyes. Aside from this, any tactic to win can be used. Orc lifestyle is dominated by their occupation of craft. Orcōn spend large amounts of hours training their physical readiness and combat effectiveness, while Arak and Gorak spend a great deal of time tinkering in their own craft to become better and thus more sought after. Orcs sometimes host parties, though they appear more like quiet banquets where the members use lounging chairs to compare feats of honor and glory with one another, and consume fine foods served by slaves and servants, while Nōthorc might be playing music in the background. In Regalia in particular, the concept of Rak-Rak-Charōc has become popular, a case of post-exercise or training pub-crawling where the Orcs move from establishment to establishment, looking for someplace that will sell Orc brews, and then try to drink out the entire supply without passing out or making a fool of themselves. The challenge is not to become as drunk and foolish as possible, but to show the highest level of self-restraint by being unaffected by the copious amounts of alcohol they consume.
Orc clothing expresses their greatest physical attribute, being their imposing physical nature. Orcs frequently bare large amounts of skin to expose others to their fitness, both as a means of prideful expression, and intimidation. For Orcs however, it is entirely vulgar and disgusting to expose one’s leg skin in public, a practice that is only permitted for Orc courtesans and the lowest of outcasts. Orc clothing has very simple pattern weaves, but the colors are very vibrant due to the Orc’s natural color-muteness, and will often be draped over the shoulder in a half cape, while a firm belt ensures a set of pants is form-fitted onto their legs, completed with a form of cow-skin foot soles that wrap around the entire foot and expose no ankle-skin. Orcs traditionally wear no headgear, and will frequently also wear their armor even for leisurely activities. Most Orc armor is crafted to form-fit their appearance, and the act of making armor appear like the natural shapes of a muscular frame has been popularized among the Orcs, and even adopted to an extent by other groups like the Imperial Guard and other Ailor organizations. Orcs are frequently projected to wear tribal furs and ragged clothes with animal teeth, but this is far from the truth, as this aesthetic belongs to the Url. Orcs in fact do not enjoy wearing dirty tribal clothing and look down on those who do. Some Orcs have also started wearing Ailor clothing, particular styles set forward by the nobility, which is completely acceptable to Orc society. Particularly Etosian and Dressolini fashions have been received well by the Orcs, however, they look down on the promiscuity of Velheim and Daendroque fashions.
Orc Art is primarily expressed in the metal that they love the most when it comes to artistic expression which is Bronze. Orcs are expert Bronze casters and any Orc Pōlorc is littered with Bronze statues of great Orc warriors and leaders, while many Orcs wear Bronze jewelry. Bronze is also used in weapons from time to time, but due to its inferiority to Blacksteel, Orcs prefer to use Blacksteel for actual warfare, while Bronze is used for ceremonial activities. Orc statues are generally very similar to those from Imperial Culture, leading some to conclude Imperial sculpting actually adopted Orc statue themes for itself. These themes are usually dominated by Orcs in states of wrestling, fighting mythical and legendary creatures, or just generally victory posing on some fallen foe or rock. More rigid and guard-like statues in Orc armor are also used to line streets, hold up lanterns, or decorate doorways of buildings that are important to the Orcs. Each Pōlorc usually has one massive statue called the Protrōcnokhar, or the founder of the Pōlorc that became some sort of legendary ancestor to all Pōlorc members, even if they are still alive. Orc Art outside of the use of statues, however, is surprisingly nonexistent. While in some Orc homes weave patterns of their cloth separators could be considered art, they do not have any paintings, drawings, wood carvings, or tapestries.
It is a common misconception that Orcs only eat meat. It is true that Orcs adore meat, particularly a well-done piece of steak, but they frequently also consume vegetables. Their preferences lean more towards roasted vegetables with mushrooms. Orcs will however completely avoid poultry like the plague. In Orc beliefs, poultry is diseased meat that makes one weaker, and anyone who craves after poultry is a dirty and unclear person. Orc seasoning tends to be very strong, and there is a particular plant called a Stōor Root that is used to make food taste incredibly savory to Orcs, but for some reason, the substance tastes extremely bitter to other Races, to the point of being inedible. Orcs can however greatly appreciate fine dining as produced by Ailor, and it is not unusual for Orcs to hire Ailor chefs in Regalia to produce fine dining for their banquets and feasts in their Hold. One thing that sets Orc cuisine apart from others is their fruit art, where in cooking they love to have their fruits and vegetables presented with carvings of flowers or animals. For example, a watermelon might be cut in half, and with a knife have scored cuts in it to cause it to resemble a lily flower. This is an odd contrast to the Orcs actual dislike of actual flowers, though many have theorized that this is just because Orcs dislike how most flowers aren’t edible and end up treating them like weeds. Edible types of roses are however permitted to be cultivated inside Pōlorcs.
Architecture and Buildings
Orc Architecture is strangely elegant and yet familiar to outsiders. In many ways the Orcs have adopted the pillar-based structure of construction also seen in Altalar temples and Etosian construction, but made it their own and developed it entirely independently from these other cultures in Guldar. Long, temple-like structures are built in a rectangular shape on a raised slab of thick brick, which is called a Hold. There is no real staircase entry or even a slope, and to enter such a houseone 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. 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. 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.
Aside from a Hold, the Orcs have another structure called a Qarhold. Qarholds are houses intended for servants, and as such don’t have as many fancy decorations, while having increased privacy. Qarholds are never made of stone, with their pillars instead being made of red-dyed wood, while their rooms and outsides are separated by wooden lattices that do allow someone to look out, but not in very clearly due to the lack of lighting. Qarholds tend to be a bit more disorganized, with various slaves and servants living together in the same quarters, sharing communal eating and washing rooms. Public buildings also exist in Pōlorcs, most notably a public bath, a public library, the military academies and the Nōthorc secret police headquarters. At the very top of a Pōlorc’s hill are the Great Hold, or the house of the two Rakhōn, and the Temple to Orc Religion, which are set at an equal height. Particularly the Orc public baths are extremely important, as Orcs wash daily (which is a far greater amount than the occasional times a week among Ailor), and all Orc subraces have their own dedicated (non-gender) segregated baths. Slaves and non-Orcs are not permitted into the bath houses. These locations are so important that the Pōlorc even stations Nōthorc guards in front of it to ensure a calm and orderly usage of public facilities. Each citizen of a Pōlorc pays a fee to the bathing house, even if they have their own, or don’t go to it in the case of slaves who wash in a nearby river. Pōlorcs, in general, are extremely clean, a breath of fresh air when being compared even to Regalia’s main boulevard which will have rotten food, animal feces, or even just litter lying about with nobody caring enough to pick it up and dispose of it properly. Disease and squalor is effectively nonexistent in Pōlorcs or areas with a great number of Orc inhabitants (who may use threats of violence to force Ailor around them to wash more).
Law and State
Firstly, to understand Orc culture, one must understand their societal and hierarchy structure. While individual class and caste terms have been used on this page already, a clear overview is required to fully understand the cultural interactions of the Orc subraces. Much like among the Allar, all subraces live harmoniously together in a single caste structure (though there are occasional rebellions, which is something that does not happen among the Allar). Orc society as a whole knows no greater nationhood. While it is true that at one point in time during the Great Leaving the Orcs were united under one great Rakhōn, that seat has remained vacant since, and Orcs generally do not believe anyone will ever take up that position again unless a catastrophic calamity befalls their Pōlorcs. Orc society is divided between various Pōlorcs, or Mound Cities, which usually have a population of a few hundred to a few thousand (never more than 30,000, meaning they always remain small in terms of cities), centered around structures on a hill or mound. These Pōlorc might engage in conflicts with other Pōlorcs or with other Races for the purpose of refilling their Helōcanc populations, or just wage war on the Altalar for the sake of honor in battle.
Each Pōlorc is ruled by a duo-kingship, these kings are called Rakhōn. The title of king in a Pōlorc is hereditary, meaning it must always remain within the family, but any member of the family can inherit, and some cases where a father inherited from a son who inherited from a cousin are not unheard of. Kingship in Orc cities is also exclusively held by Orcōn. In the manner of rule, these kings are fully equal and cannot overrule each other, meaning that if one makes a ruling on a crime, the other cannot undo it or change the punishment. In many cases, they rule together, where if a difference of opinion occurs, the Rakhōn engage in an honor duel to settle whose ideas and plans get set forward. Rakhōn usually end up being skilled generals as well, but even though they act as kings of Pōlorcs, they do not actually engage in much day to day ruling. Indeed, the Rakhōn are very active in the military structure of a Pōlorc, and will engage in military campaigns to bring glory and wealth to their city, but when it concerns the social needs of their people, these kings are often blind to them, and engage in banquets or tournaments instead.
The Rakhōn leave ruling the social needs of the people to the Gerōnek, or the Council of Five. The Gerōnek are five men or women chosen from the Pōlorc’s population on a yearly basis. That is to say, there is a yearly vote, and the top five voted individuals receive the esteemed title of being part of the Gerōnek, with the only rule being that a Gerōnek member may never be Orcōn, since they are too busy fighting wars and already hold the seat of Rakhōn. In terms of hierarchical power, the Gerōnek is second only to the kings, but decide upon concerns and social issues such as taxes, fees for the Orc barracks and the laws of each Pōlorc without Rakhōn input. Being part of the Gerōnek can however be mildly unpleasant, if only just for the Nōthera (Nōthorc in the Pōlorc’s secret service).
Calling the Nōthera secret service however, might be a disservice to the professionalism of the Regalian secret service. The Nōthera function in much the same way where there exist enforcers and informants, but they perform their act in a very public and shameless manner. Nōthera will for example publicly beat a convicted rebel Gorak to death, or engage in public vandalism and brutality to set an example. The Nōthera continually breathe down the necks of the Gerōnek, demanding them to be efficient, and free of corruption. It is not so severe that the Nōthera actually control the Gerōnek, but they are always in sight and appear intimidating or threatening, causing an atmosphere of fear among the Gerōnek. Nōthorc who are physically capable and have the right violent attitude are usually recruited into the Nōthera, while Nōthorc who are not become the Nōthyto. For ease of reference, here follows a detailed list of all the social castes and their functions:
- At the top, the Orcōn Rakhōn are the duo-kings of the Pōlorcs. They double as generals and military leaders, but are usually more self-leisured in their day to day activities.
- Below the Rakhōn is the annually elected Gerōnek made up of non-Orcōn. The Gerōnek deals with the bureaucratic and civilian needs of Orc Society.
- Below the Gerōnek are the Orcōn (both the name for the subrace and caste) which are the warriors and soldiers. Each Orcōn (if physically suitable) is recruited into the Orc military for life. Upon graduating at the age of 14, they are given an estate (details further below) to sustain them and provide for an income. Orcōn are the only caste along with the above and Orcōngaar who have full citizenship rights in a Pōlorc.
- Below the Orcōn are the Orcōngaar. The Orcōngaar are Orcs who are not as physically imposing or capable as Orcōn, usually by birth of some defect or simply not being broad/tall enough by birth. These become the primary caretakers and house-masters of the Orcōn estates, tending to the servants and slaves in the absence of the Orcōn. Most Orcōn are assigned an Orcōngaar for life, but changing them is also possible, and they usually become good friends.
- Below the Orcōngaar are the Nōthorc, which is curious, because this means that Half-Orcs actually have higher citizenship rights than Arak or Gorek Orcs do. Indeed, the Half-Orcs are empowered for the sake of exchanging that societal control (which feeds neatly into their ego) by recruiting only Nōthorc into the Nōthera, or secret service. Nōthorc however have less social rights than Orcōn, who are the only ones permitted to own estates and vast wealth in Orc Society.
- Below the Nōthorc are the Nōthyto, or the unsuitable Half-Orcs. These remain unsuitable for secret service duty, and as such become the more entertainment and espionage caste of Orc society, bringing forth dancers, musicians, courtesans, spies and saboteurs. Nōthyto have the same rights as Nōthorc, but are sometimes looked down upon by the Orcōn as less than valuable.
- Below both types of Half-Orc exist the Ikōcanc, the worker class, comprised of Arak. The Ikōcanc have half-citizenship, meaning they have the right to some property and a personal home, but not to judicial protections and lessened punishments for disobedience. The Arak fulfill the roles of the craftsmen and the skilled caretakers, the farmers, scribes, builders, architects and weavers.
- Below the Ikōcanc are the Gornanc, or the Gorak Orc. These have less rights than the Ikōcanc in that they are not permitted personal property in terms of housing, and live together with other Gorak in so called Gorak Barracks, usually in underground catacombs. The Gornanc fulfill the lower rung jobs of miners, harvesters, lumberjacks, but curiously enough also the traders, diplomats and black powder experts.
- Below the Gornanc are the Helōcanc, who have not been covered much on this page. Helōcanc refers to the conquered or willingly subjugated non-Orc populations, meaning any person of any other Race. This sets a peculiar notion for Orc society that Orcs actually accept non-Orc readily in their midst, but only as slaves. They are permitted a little bit of property in terms of personal possessions that can fit in a backpack, but are not permitted personal wealth beyond what is saved up in service. Helōcanc perform the jobs that the Gornanc feel too good for, like trash collection, cooking, tending to animals and menial labour. Living as a Helōcanc in Orc society is not as brutal as being an Altalar slave, but misbehaving usually results in broken bones since Orcōn can be very violent with their slave property. The Helōcanc are usually the slave population that joins the Gornanc in their rebellions when they occur, meaning they are also the harshest repressed by the Nōthorc.
- There is an unspoken rank of Orc society that is equal to the Helōcanc, which are the so-called Yub-Yubs. Yub-Yubs are Orc who are deemed mentally deficient by Orc society, who speak like they have speech impediments and can only think about food and fighting. Orc are somewhat kinder on their kin with mental disabilities than Regalians (who just lock them up), by keeping them around as idle entertainment. Yub-Yubs however don’t get any honor or opportunity to exist in Orc high-society, and are usually kept at arm’s length by the Orcōn for the shame they bring on their kind, feeding into the Orc stereotypes of other Races.
There are a couple of things still worth noting. The status of one’s parents in the social caste structure is not indicative of the child’s social rank. For example, if an Orcōn warrior has several Ailor slaves, and sires a child with one of them, that child becomes a Nōthorc, despite the fact that its mother was a slave. This Nōthorc is then ripped from the mother and taught to work in the secret service. This sometimes creates situations where a Nōthorc child is taught to hate its non-Orcōn parent, and repress their social caste from being able to climb up the ranks. Additionally, Helōcanc aren’t permanently tied to service. It is possible for a Helōcanc to be freed of service by its owner, or earn its freedom through 20 years of consecutive service. Even after earning this however, Helōcanc remain in service to the Orcōn. For some Daendroque and Altalar who survive Orcōn military campaigns, service in Pōlorcs isn’t all that bad, as Orcōn certainly provide the strongest defense from brigands and outsiders, and Orc society is very clean and healthy overall, a stark difference from the political intrigue at home, and the squalid conditions of Daendroquin human cities. While to an outsider Orc society may be exceedingly repressive of even its own sub-Races (something that does not happen in any other Race), it is a structure built on the security afforded by the Orcōn and their semi-benevolent (if sometimes violent) rule, while also factoring in the fear caused by the secret police. Slave rebellions that occur are usually caused by Gornanc fostering ill feelings among the Helōcanc and then pressing forward to extract some advantage of their own, usually over the dead bodies of the people they convinced to rebel.
Orc law is as one might expect, incredibly militarily oriented and brutal. Orc don’t actually have any laws against theft, because the concept of theft is practically impossible in Orc society. Orcōn can just take things from other social castes when they feel like it, and even from each other if the other lacks the strength to keep it. It is impossible for other castes to take things from others, as the laws only allow them a certain quantity of possessions, while the rest is taken by the Pōlorc’s bureaucratic structure. To steal is to gain more than is allowed in possessions, meaning it usually confiscated by the city. Murder, blasphemy and disobedience however are some of the worst crimes in Orc society. Orcs deal with these type of crimes with heavy public beatings, lashings and humiliations, but never execution. Orcs believe that executing criminals for their crimes is pointless, and a broken and subjugated repentant criminal is always better than a dead one. This makes Orc society the only culture that is very much against capital punishment, and actively even goes out of its way to encourage other societies to abandon the capital punishment in favor of forced slavery, asking instead for their punishments to be commuted into life service as Helōcanc for an Orcōn.
Orcōn own Estates that aren’t quite the same as a Regalian Estate. Estates in Orc society refer to the property owned by an Orcōn when they enter the military structure. Usually when a recruit joins the military, a new Hold (house) will be built, along with a plot of land assigned to that Hold. When the recruit graduates, an additional Qarhold is made, which acts as the outhouse for the servants, slaves and workers. As such, an Estate is traditionally seen as a single building acting as the main residence for the Orcōn and their personal retinues, with an outhouse next to it that contains all the servants and slaves, and a certain amount of land outside of the Pōlorc walls that belongs to said Estate for cultivation. Orcōn who own estates are rarely at their own Estate, every Orcōn in Regalia owns one somewhere in a Pōlorc in Daendroc, but rarely visits it. It is maintained by their steward and manned by the servants, producing either food or other plantation resources for sale. The money that an Estate makes is then used to pay upkeep fees within the military, membership fees to the barracks, as well as personal living expenses. Despite being financially taken care of, Orcōn aren’t usually that wealthy, since most of the money made is immediately spent on bills. Orcs are not so wasteful that they simply allow Orcōn to become wealthy doing nothing, the Estates exist to give the Orcōn the freedom to focus on the military with all their free time and mind, and not have to worry about making enough money for bread at the end of the day. When an Orcōn dies, the estate can be given to any other Orcōn. While Orcōn spend very little time in Estates, they do think fondly back on what little time they spend there, as it is their home and only private place in existence. Orcōn sleep in communal quarters in barracks and have very little personal private space.
Orcs in Regalia exist in one of two areas, either in the inner Pōlorc which is a walled district of Regalia with open housing for even non-Orcs, or the more traditional outside Pōlorc. The Outside Pōlorc is only for Orcs who actually want to maintain their Estates in Regalia as opposed to Daendroc, which is allowed through a transfer mechanism. Orcōn in Regalia act as mercenaries or warriors for hire usually, while non-Orcōn can either work on Orcōn Estates in Regalia, or find other employment around the city. Orcs in Regalia tend to stick together a lot, which can sometimes be complicated. An Orcōn might for example still try to enforce the Orc society standard of possession limitations on an Arak Orc, who under Regalian law is actually allowed to own a lot more. A lot of conflict there is caused by the Regalian law superseding Orc customs and culture, sometimes resulting in violent encounters between the guards and Orcs, as well as Orcōn and other Orc castes not behaving like they ought to in Regalia, in the eyes of the Orcōn. Estate ownership in Regalia requires approval by the Gerōnerk of Regalia (as the Regalian Pōlorc does not have Rakhōns), after which an Estate is usually built and maintained on the external Pōlorc. It is however expected that any Orcōn owning an Estate on the external Pōlorc maintains it with servants and slaves also, as an Estate without them it doomed to go bankrupt.
Education and Childhood
Orc society childhood can sometimes be called brutal, or even child-unfriendly. Among the Orcōn, children are recruited into the military at age 5, after which they are put through a brutal training regiment to ensure their discipline, obedience and effectiveness in a military structure. They are given armor and weapons, and subsist on food provided by the barracks where they also sleep in communal halls with other recruits. Ineffective and weak recruits are punished severely by the whip, and there is little room for kindness. Children of non-Orcōn classes tend to have a far more traditional childhood, but actual education institutions do not exist. There exist only the Orcōn military academies, and the Nōthorc secret service schools, which are equally harsh on their recruits to ensure they fulfill the necessary mindset required for their work. As such, Orcōn and Nōthorc childhoods are usually considered harsh, which to a point also adds into some of their latent resentment to the childhood of Arak and Gorak children. This can also invert itself and become disdain for those who have mild childhoods with caring homes, referring to them as weak and ineffective at teaching children good conduct and habits. Even among the Arak and Gorak however, there exist some communal teaching through so-called Utenōn, where an Arak or Gorak hosts public fitness classes and lessons on a square somewhere in the Pōlorc for children (even of the slave caste). In Orc society, physical fitness is incredibly important and seen as a must. Those who become overweight or lose physical fitness are usually forced into gruelling regiments to catch them back up to the Orc ideal. This is why most Arak and Gorak are actually also physically fit, even if their day to day job does not involve anything but docile and sedentary work.
Orcōn Honor Code
In Orcōn culture, honor is everything. Orcōn despise cowards who fight from a distance, and they uphold the honor value of an Orcōn fighting another opponent. Even on the battlefield, you will not quickly find an Orcōn coming between another Orcōn and their opponent, unless the Orcōn 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. Orcōn 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 Orcōn actively try not to upset the local populations) or in a Goor Arena. A Ghoormakh is essentially a test of brawl strength where two Orcōn 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-Orcōn. Orcōn 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. The Orcōn Code can also be expressed in a few clear core points:
- Honor is the most important core value of the Code. Honor in life means upholding a good moral standard (by Orc standard anyway) as well as being dignified and having self-respect.
- Courage is the second most important core value of the Code. Courage demands strength in the face of adversity, but also strongly denounced desertion, retreat and fleeing from battle.
- Respect is the third most important core value of the Code. Respect is needed to be obedient and subservient to superiors, but also to respect the value of lesser beings as having a role in life.
- Integrity is the fourth most important core value of the Code. Integrity is needed to be consistent and honorable to one’s own beliefs, and to not change one’s mind or step back on earlier commitments.
- Loyalty is the fifth most important core value of the Code. Loyalty demands that all Orcs fight the sake of their kind in their Pōlorc, or at least for the sake of Orcs when repressed or attacked by other Races.
- Self-Control is the sixth most important core value of the Code. Self-control meaning to restrain from the Thrift, to remain in control of one’s own actions, and to not become a savage being.
Crafts and Industry
A topic that isn't often touched in other societies is the hidden industrial potential of Orcs. While they are primarily a somewhat ascetic culture, they have been known to be able to cultivate great industry for the sake of mass armor and weapon production. Orc bronze casters are some of the most skilled and renown across the world, and their ability to produce brilliant bronze statues is unrivaled. Among the Arak, weaving is an encouraged craft, along with papyrus weaving. This might sound like a redundant craft since the Orcs do not write much in terms of historical narration, however papyrus paper holds an incredible value in Orc society, as the civilian apparatus of their communities relies on paper records to keep track of all fees and taxations within the Mound Cities. Orcs that maintain the Estates for the Orcōn require a great deal of algebra and mathematical skill, meaning they are also excellent mathematicians and bureaucrats. The Gorak are excellent at black powder, particularly cultivated to help them with blast mining (and sometimes blast fishing). Their explosive and black powder weapons have eventually been adopted by the Orcōn in military tactics, as Orcōn numbers do not replenish fast enough to validate a full frontal assault on an enemy defensive position, even if it is glorious or honorable. As such, Gorak black powder is used in a first volley of siege fire, after which the Orcōn rush in under the cover of smoke and confusion. Arak are known to produce some of the most beautiful ceremonial armor also, using horse hairs that are dyed in rich colors to produce fantastic outfits that both showcase the physical raw power of the person wearing it, as well as their wealth with a great polish and gold and silver finish. Orc armor smiths are considered on-par with Dwarven smiths, and Orc smiths actually work very well together with Dwarven smiths, having produced specialized siege equipment like the Dwarven powdered and Orc muscle pushed land-beetle, a completely metal-clad structure that is pushed and rolled around by Orcs inside of it, using black powder and explosives to do damage to the enemy. Orcs in most cases desperately avoid naval combat because their size is actually a disadvantage there, but they do produce the best knots and ropes known on Aloria, having developed a great deal of rope tying techniques that are even in use in the Regalian Navy, without any Ailor really knowing about it.
This list of notable Pōlorc is provided for players to use in their backstory. It is allowed to be a member of any of these Pōlorc for the sake of backstory, as long as your character did not have a high ruling position in it. Additionally, any player is also permitted to claim they still own an Estate in these Pōlorc, if the are Orcōn, but you may also make up a Pōlorc of your own in your backstory.
- Cōron: Cōron is a Pōlorc with a very large entertainment culture. Among the other Pōlorcs, it is known for producing the best entertainers and courtesans, specifically called the Hōrontan
- Lykōn: Lykōn is a Pōlorc that is known to produce the most battle hardened soldiers, with (even for Orc standards) a brutal education and raising regime for their younglings.
- Dappark: Dappark is a Pōlorc that is known for having not one but several temple structures across the Mound City. Additionally, it has no city walls, but is treated by Orcs as a pilgrimage site for contemplation.
- Axos: Axos is a Pōlorc that is known for being excessively massive. While most Pōlorc have only up to 30,000 people living in it, this Pōlorc has 120,000, all of which live on a single massive hill.
- Kōntōn: Kōntōn is a Pōlorc that is known as the center of knowing for Orc. Many Orcs travel there if there is ever something they need to know or information to buy, due to its central trade location.
- Frōnt: Frōnt is a Pōlorc that is known for sitting on some of the largest coal and sulfur deposits, and as such, is incredibly wealthy for its black powder trade, while all houses are also painted black.
- Herōn: Herōn is a Pōlorc that is known for suffering routine slave uprisings in an almost bi-yearly manner. The Orcōn barely hold onto authority in this Pōlorc.
- Nikōn: Nikōn is a Pōlorc that is known as a place where rebellion succeeded, however by Half-Orcs. Here, the Rakhōn are Half-Orcs, while Orcōn aren't seen in this Pōlorc.
- Nethōn: Nethōn is a Pōlorc that is known for having a strong female rule and preference. It is sometimes also called Amzōn, with the term Amazon becoming typical for strong-willed and physically powerful women.
- Nimtrōn: Nimtrōn is a Pōlorc that is known for having a purely Orcōn population. This Pōlorc is provided for by smaller Pōlorcs around it that it conquered.
- Hercō: Hercō is a Pōlorc known for having the largest statue in the world, a bronze cast statue of the Orc Great King that is taller than the nearby mountains and can be seen from miles away.
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. They are hunted because Vakgar and Makosh are the last survivors of an epic battle that caused the creation of all things between the Orc gods and Yazgar, who is the destroyer of all things. 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 future generations. 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, juxtaposed to Yazgar who swoops over them.
Vakgar teaches the Orcs to believe in the constant need to self-train and to become better at what they do, as well as defending themselves. 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 battle, 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 one of the central themes is the chase of a monster and the fight to conquer it, Orcs end up seeing the great hunt for a beast to slay as a religious form of dedication to their gods. They will often hire outsiders to do the actual hunting as Orcs are absolutely terrible at tracking wild animals, but will fight with the creature themselves to try and test their strength and mettle and become legendary warriors who have taken down great beasts. 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 avian Race of Guldar. 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, and sometimes Orcs can even convert to Unionism and upkeep their old Orc faith beliefs as they do not conflict with Unionist tenets.
Regarding Orc Tribes
While much on this page alludes to the non-existence of tribal communities of Orcs, they do actually exist, though very much on the fringes of Orc society, or even completely outside of it. Orcs who are outcasts and have their names cursed, or Orcs who pursue a life in brigandry usually end up forming warbands under warlords, and on independent territory away from the Pōlorcs. These tribal communities of Orcs work very different, in that they have broken down the caste structure and all subraces of Orcs are equal, but there is also no room for half-Orcs or non-Orc slaves. The tribes are brutal, giving into their Thrift and using it to empower their combat, while abandoning many of the things that make Orcs sophisticated by wearing dirty animal pelts, absconding personal hygiene, and living in tents and ignoring cultural pursuits. Orc tribes are usually exactly what Altalar project them to be, bloodthirsty and cruel even to their own kind, only accepting Orcs who were outcast and strong enough to survive on their own, and killing others who they deem too weak to survive and stealing the food they need to survive. These camps are generally strongly avoided by all other races because these Orcs survive in ways that are bordering on beastly. Some occasionally go to Regalia where they are sadly underestimated by non-Orcs as just being Yub-Yubs. It should come as no surprise that the Orcōn have a strong dislike of the tribal Orc populations, and any Pōlorc that is aware of such camps existing in its lands, sends forth army regiments in an attempt to purge them and rid their lands of potential chaos and crime. Very rarely, peaceful Orc tribes might also exist. These tribes are more melancholic and self-defacing in nature, meaning that the Orcs living among them are at the end of their ropes and ready to give up on never entering Orc society ever again. These camps are usually filled with alcoholics and deserters too cowardly to face punishment or responsibility for their crime. Pōlorcs usually actually do nothing about these camps, and even send them food supplies, even if that is considered an insult in Orc culture. This is because the leaders of Pōlorcs believe that a peaceful tribal camp is usually better than a rogue one, and that them sending food and said food being accepted is an expression of their military and social superiority, validating their belief that these Orcs are not suitable for Orc society and that their cursing and outcast status was justice.
Interactions and Customs
Orc Interactions and Customs provide an easily accessible list of small behavioral quirks that fall outside of the norm of Ailor behavior, and set Orcs apart from others. This list is not strictly speaking mandatory to observe, but can add extra immersion to Orc roleplay.
- Orcōn look down on other Orcs who engage in childish, whimsical or “random” behavior in public. Childish behavior is called Yattōb, and while these kind of Orcs aren’t necessarily excluded from Orc society, they are kept away from more important and serious matters pertaining to battle and military planning.
- Orcs have a greater tolerance for pain, but this does not mean that their pain is felt any less. Equally, their skin is softer than one might expect, and in nearly all cases devoid of any dry or rashy patches. Indeed, Orc skin is generally very elastic and well cared for in their bathhouses, and thus Orcs do not develop wrinkles until at a very advanced age. Orc bare skin on skin touching in a non-combat scenario is seen as extremely personal. Touching an Orc on bare skin without approval or permission is a quick way to draw one into a brawl.
- Orc culture strictly worships the concept of “bigger Orc is better Orc”, and as such, size is always a strong factor in their relations to one another. The strength of an Orc is usually an indicator of how well they should be respected, but some variance does exist. Orcōn are not always the most respected, some lower castes who have skills that make them invaluable can still be respected more than the military Orcōn who are just soldiers with a number.
- Orcs show deference with a right hand flat to the left side of their chest, while a normal greeting is a balled fist to the left side of the chest. The first stands for a willingness to back up greeting with strength, while an open hand indicates vulnerability and openness towards a person, or submission.
- Orcs don’t necessarily see submission as a relation of one person who is stronger being able to defeat another person who is weaker. Submission sometimes also takes the form of one Orc submitting that another one is more intelligent, or submitting to their affection.
- Gorak are unsurprisingly completely devoid of any gestures of respect and deference, but the other Orc species also don’t come to expect any of them. Gorak use their language to indicate submission, though are often not believed because of how artificial it comes across.
- Orcs engage in much the same romantic gestures and intimate gestures as Ailor, but abhor the idea of doing this in public. Something that sets them apart from other Races however, is how Orcs see leg skin as inviting, and neck skin as very erotic to touch. Usually an Orc who is seeking intimacy with another Orc will progressively start baring leg-skin until the act is performed, while Orcs touching necks is considered an act of sexual intimacy. As such, Orcs always avoid necks in combat, and when among other Races, try very hard not to be touched on the neck.
- Friendships across Castes of Orcs are not unusual. There is a hidden form of deference and respect in all castes (except the Gorak) for the work of the others (though the Nōthorc might see it more as a respect for obedience and loyalty). Orcōn are often very close with their Orcōngaar steward of their Estate. In fact, many Orcōn and their Orcōngaar end up being lovers due to their domestic proximity.
- Helōcanc are not treated as poorly as other Race slaves are. They have basic protections in place that prevent extreme abuse, and it is actually possible for a Helōcanc to appeal to the Rakhōn for a new master, if their previous master can be proven to use excessive violence on them. That being said, excessive violence for some races can mean death, as Orcōn are permitted to use heavy beating and whipping to discipline their slaves.
- Charity and giving things for free is almost not-done among Orcs, and can be seen as a form of insult. For someone to give things to an Orc who does not belong to the Orcōn caste, the insult is found in how they cannot keep what they got, as they have limited possession rights. For the Orcōn it’s a sign of saying that the gifter believes the receiver is unable to sustain themselves off their own Estate, which is either an insult to their own martial prowess, or their Orcōngaar’s steward skills.
- Orcs can get very defensive about their Estate, even the servant Arak and Gorak. It is akin to a football team support club. Fights breaking out between servants of two different Estates while their owners are away on a military mission are not uncommon, and sometimes found in the lowest rings of Pōlorcs.
- Orcs actually love the act of laughing, and anything to make them laugh is greatly appreciated. Orcs in general are disciplined and serious people, but need a certain amount of depressurization to avoid becoming completely devoid of personality. While technically entertainers are looked down upon for not being physically imposing enough to join proper castes, they are still appreciated for what they do to keep Orcōn grounded among their peers.
- Orcs, like Allar, actually engage in the act of growling when they grow irritated. They are the only non-animal race that engages in the act of growling, which is usually audible through a low-gutteral reverberation in the back of their throat, producing a low pitched growling sound.
- Orcs do not actually have sweat glands like other Races, and instead produce a very temperature sensitive oily substance on their skin when they become overheated. This oily substance is actually seen as something that exemplifies an Orc’s physical fitness and peak condition, and is seen as something aesthetic on an Orc’s skin. An Orc will never permit their skin to be touched when it has been applied however, as this would ruin the consistent appearance of it, unless this was done by someone they wanted to be touched by.
- Orcs like body tattooing, but completely avoid tattoos on the neck or legs, as these are considered intimate areas that must remain clean and untouched at all times by those who are not invited to do so.
- Orcs can sometimes in a fit of anger at each other engage in the act of forehead bashing and tusk locking. This can sometimes be misunderstood by Ailor, as the proximity of the lips of the Orcs can almost be as close as kissing, but actually they try to use their tusks to joust against each other, pushing the other back by the merit of their neck muscles and jaw strength.
- Orcs use shorthand names for the castes. Orctakc are just called Orc, Orcōngaar are called Orgaar, Helōcanc are called Helloc, Nōthorc are called Nōth, Nōthyto are called Tyt, Ikōcanc are called Ikōn, Gornanc are called Gord and Yub-Yubs are just called that.
- Offending a Rakhōn in passing while they are not present to defend themselves is extreme taboo in Orc culture, and liable to get an Orc to attack the offender to defend the honor of a Rakhōn, even if it is not the Rakhōn of the Pōlorc that the Orc belongs to.
- Orcs who are seeking violent confrontation with someone continually fist and unclench their hands over and over. Orcs who are seeking intellectual debate with someone pat themselves on the shoulder, usually with their right arm on their left shoulder. Orcs who are seeking entertainment and are bored repeatedly line a finger down the middle of their chest. Orcs who are seeking intimacy from another Orc will start rubbing their hands over their own neck, while a request for intimacy is to rub the neck of another Orc.
- Orcs look down in general on romantic relationships between Orcs and non-Orcs. While it is perfectly fine for an Orc to have a lover of a different Race, for an Orc to admit being in love with a non-Orc (which does not include Half-Orcs) is taboo.
- Orcs never point their fingers at anyone, as pointing is considered vulgar and disgusting. Instead, when referring or trying to point at someone, they will raise an open hand with the palm pointed upwards, and all fingers extended flatly towards the person they want to point at. Equally, spitting is seen as something intensely insulting in Orc culture. Even people who spit passively in the presence of an Orc while not even conserving with them will see their spitting seen as an insult to the Orcs present.
- Orcs have very strong possessive attitudes about their friends and romantic partner(s). It is quite normal for an Orc to be very controlling of who their significant other or friends hang out with, and what they do with others. This is largely because Orc possessions are so controlled in Orc society, that people are the only thing not controlled in quantity by the state, and Orcs become desperate to hold onto what they have.
- Orc racism is strong, but a little less pronounced than it may be in other races. Orcs do not go out of their way to be vocally racist to other races, but excessively acknowledge the physical shortcomings of other races, and only truly appreciate the Url as being in their league in terms of physicality. That being said, even the Url are distinguished as uncivilized due to their rather tribal and borderline barbaric appearance at times, something the Orcs consider themselves as having lived past.
- Communal bathing among Orcs is a frequently used way of fraternizing between soldiers, but also as a means to consider each other equal. As a general rule, Orcs keep their politics and social issues outside the door, and allow themselves to simply enjoy a bathing environment for what it is. In Regalia, bathing separation between Orc subspecies does not occur, so there, fraternization doubles as a way to get into a more laid-back contact with other orc species.
- Orcs can become Mages, but not Sorcerers, and can also be Silven. That being said, Orcs do not look kindly upon children who showcase magical heritage or skills, and as such are known to actually smother Silven children in their crib, or mercykill children who show magical abilities at a young age. Orc society has the smallest population of magically inclined individuals, who either hide, or flee Orc society altogether.
- Ranged weapons are considered dishonorable among the Orcōn, though Arak are allowed to use them due to their military necessity. Black powder weapons are an exception to the norm however, which the Orc call thunder weapons. Magic is also considered dishonorable, and any type of Ability that is used on an Orc is referred to as Uōjoron, or “Woojoo”, a short-hand name for “evil”. Orcs genuinely think that those who use Abilities are possessed by evil spirits that hate the living.
- Orcs once existed in great tribes with warchiefs and clans, however this tribal form of living has long since disappeared and was replaced with civilized communal living.
- 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.
- Orcs age much faster than other Races. Most Orcs are physically mature at the age of 12 years old, even if their mind is still that of a teenager, until they are 15 years old, and become the mental equivalent of a 20 year old Ailor.
- Orcs can surprisingly grow gray at a very young age, graying at around age 20. While some Orcs have been known to keep their hair color well into their sixties, some Orc have also been seen completely gray at the age of 30.