Orcs

From Tearsofblood

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Contents

Personality

The Orcs are a stoic people who value hard work and strength above all else. Upon first meeting an orc many people believe them to be standoffish or smug but in truth orcs simply don't trust strangers and keep them at arms length. It can take an orc years to cement a friendship but only minutes to ruin one. Orcs believe in helping one's self and rarely accept aid though if they do they will attempt to repay their 'debt' as soon as possible. Orcs are on the whole a devoutly religious race who often are shocked by the rather flippant ways the people they meet treat their deities. Orcs prefer the simple comforts of life and put little stock in luxuries. They prefer to be upfront, honest, and honorable in their dealings with others, deception and guile are rare amongst the orcs and universally detested by them.

Physical Description

Orcs are a hardy race that have lived in the jungles and mountains of their native continent for as long as they remember and this is reflected in their appearance. Orc males stand approximately six and a half feet tall on average and weigh about two hundred and eighty pounds; females tend to be only slightly smaller. Their hair is usually black or dark brown, although red is seen from time to time, it's springy and usually kept long. Both sexes commonly braid their hair and work in small trinkets, beads, or brightly colored feathers into the braids. Most orcs' noses are flat scrunched affairs though some go as far as to simply be two vertical slits in the middle of the orcs’ face. Orc eyes run the complete gamut of colors although dark greens, browns, and reds predominate and their ears have a lupine quality. Orcs are generally broad chested, thick legged, and have well muscled arms slightly longer in proportion to the rest of their bodies than would be normal for other races. Orc skin color ranges from green to gray with the greens predominant in the jungle dwelling races with more grayish skin tones in those from the mountains.

Orcs of all castes take pride in their appearances, paying visits to the local baths regularly and maintaining their clothing well. Orc work clothing is usually made from tough plant fibers and is designed to allow the most freedom of movement and durability. Shawls and loincloths are typical and serve only to protect the orc's modesty while they labor. Orc leisure clothing on the other hand is often made from animal skins or soft cloth all brightly decorated and colored. The jungles provide the orcs with many natural dyes that they take advantage of with bright primary colors like blue, red, and yellow predominating. Gold and jewel encrusted rings and necklaces are common to both sexes of orc and of all castes save the slaves. Regardless of the setting though, almost all orcs wear a sash, belt, or scarf with their patron god's colors and symbol on it.

Orc warriors have found creative ways to arm and armor themselves in an area devoid of large beasts or deposits of iron. Orc warriors usually wear thick padded armor made from plant fibers or lamed armor made from the scales of large reptiles. Their weapons, including their swords, are usually made of wood and edged with pieces of stone or even bone. Helmets, if worn, are typically the skulls of large birds. Only the highest-ranking members of the orc warrior caste are able to wear any metallic armor and carry metal edged weapons.

Orcs live up to seventy years.

Relations

The orcs have little trust in the other races, people they see as heathen barbarians not fit for sacrifice. The orc tradition of sentient sacrifice often puts them at odds with the other races who themselves see the practice as barbaric and it often discourages them from associating with orcs even though the orcs don't see them as viable sacrifices. The one exception to the rule is the orc relationship with the halflings, while the orcs tendency to expect honorable dealings leaves them ripe for price gouging and bad deals the halflings have proven time and again to deal fairly with the orcs, which the orcs respect, something many other races have not. A wise traveler in the orc empires will attempt to procure a halfling guide who can vouch for them, the presence of one will greatly smooth out any social interaction or business transaction.

Alignment

Orcs value stability and honesty along with respect for authority and they are most often lawful or neutral, even in the uncivilized tribes chaotic alignments are almost unheard of. The orc tradition of fending for yourself and their valuing of stability over all else pushes them towards neutral on the good vs. evil scale though tendencies one way or another are common.

Lands

<This section could include up to 25 lines outlining some fair important details of the domains of the race in question. Important sites and settlements, noteworthy border conflicts and so forth should also be included where appropriate.>

Culture

Orc society is organized into a rigid hierarchal caste structure and is broken up into four distinct nations. While the orc nations have easy access to precious metal and gem deposits they have discovered few sources of iron in profitable amounts. Consequently while gold and jeweled decorations are common even in the lower castes of orc culture it is rare to find iron. Most of the metal is used in weaponry for the elites of the warrior caste but the recent discovery of the halflings have opened trade routes for the metal and its alloys into the orc continent. Most of it is still used in weapons and armor but from time to time steel jewelry appears and when it does it is valued even more highly than gold.

The orc traditions of wizardry and sorcery are closely guarded secrets; the various orders and sects of arcane users seek to stifle any true knowledge of either their capabilities or techniques. This secrecy has led to an inbred unease with the arcane that permeates orc culture. In some areas the clergy makes use of this unease to further their power or bring the clergy of the magic god lower, in others the clergy embraces the arcane, using it to further their goals. Often especially gifted orc children are selected early in their lives for training in much the way the clergy recruits. Druids are a rare sect of the nature deity’s clergy and often serve as leaders of the wild orc tribes along with sorcerer shamans.

Religion

Orcs worship the same five gods that all sentient creatures do though all the nations emphasize different gods and aspects of them. The clergy are the primary source of divine intervention, the rank and file orc, even the nobility, cannot make their own sacrifices or commune with the gods. They all require a priest to intercede on their behalf. Regardless of which god each nation holds in highest regard every orc city contains temples to all of them though the most important god to each nation typically has the most grandiose temple and controls the entire caste. Sacrifices are an integral part of orc culture and not one that's taken lightly. Sacrifices are usually captured warriors of other nations and they are treated well, disrespecting a sacrifice to the gods is the same as disrespecting the gods themselves. Most sacrifices are captured in battle but occasionally an orc will volunteer to be sacrificed and these individuals are highly honored, their families often receiving gifts from the community and their sacrifice being conducted almost as a celebration. Usually one to two sacrifices are made a month and at special occasions like harvest but occasionally the priests see fit to conduct an extra sacrifice. These sacrifices are public and usually take place on top of a temple though the temple of XXX (travel god) tends to conduct theirs at ground level. If possible orcs are sacrificed to their own god but given the religious differences between the nations this is not always possible. A sacrifice is expected to go to their fate with dignity and typically they do, those who conduct themselves unworthily aren't sacrificed but are made slaves. It is rare for an unworthy sacrifice to survive even a few months as a slave.

Plague Casualties

When the plague first struck the orcs it struck them hard with great numbers of citizens struck down within the first days of the first appearance. The initial reaction to the plague was to increase the number of sacrifices and for a time this seemed to work; but no matter how often sacrifices were made it never cured the plague. During normal times only one to two sacrifices were made a month but as the plague wore on that became one to two a week, then daily, and in some places even hourly. In some places the spread of the plague was slowed by the practice of sealing a plague victim's house with the victim inside along with whoever was unlucky enough to be there at the time and then burning it. Thick stonewalls and high strong roofs combined to turn a burning house into a blast furnace. After the plague all the nations and their component city-states found themselves in a dangerous place. The increased pace of the sacrifices had depleted their regular armies and ravaged their borders; most who would volunteer for the duty of a sacrifice had already been sacrificed. The orcs find themselves confronted with a choice, more wars to capture more sacrifices but possibly ruin themselves physically or fewer wars, fewer sacrifices and jeopardize their souls. The split in opinions between the clergy and the nobility on this matter is echoed throughout their society.

The casualties the orcs suffered varied from empire to empire and in relation to their proximity to the coast and the halflings. The Tolmecs suffered from their location on the coast, upwards of twenty five percent of the population was lost in some cities. The Aztecs suffered almost twenty percent casualties due to their heavy trade with the halflings but because of their size they had little difficulty in maintaining their borders. The Incan's highly regimented culture allowed them to compartmentalize and control the plague very effectively minimizing the impact of their fifteen percent casualties. By far the worst casualties were suffered by the Mayans, nearly thirty five percent of their population died from the plague but the true damage was far worse, with their lack of decent roads, centralized decision making, and general coherence as a people entire cities were lost and others suffered tremendously even if only a few casualties occurred. If a city's farming population was hit hard it was unlikely that they could obtain aid from another city.

The plague-touched are a revered group amongst the orcs, seen as people who have been tested by the gods and proven themselves strong. They are often sought out for council and advice by everyone from the lowest commoner to the Kings of the empires.

Language

The spoken orc language has often been compared to the sound of gravel and flutes being ground up. A slurred growl of consonants broken up by the occasional high-pitched vowel. The written language is an extremely complicated mixture of hieroglyphs, which often express entire concepts or words, and traditional glyphs for phonetic spelling, which can be assembled into conglomerate pictograms of several hieroglyphs and glyphs which stand for words, concepts, even entire sentences in a single pictogram. As many as eighteen individual hieroglyphs and glyphs can form a single pictogram. Finally these pictograms are arranged into matrices that can cover entire walls without any apparent punctuation or line breaks. The final complication of the writing system is that much artistic license can be taken with the actual symbols, complicating the deciphering as many symbols appear similar at first glance.

Names

Male Names: <Around 15 (give or take one or two) names should be listed in order. If translations are important to note for cultural reasons, they should be put in brackets () after the name. Seperate names with commas, and end the list with a full stop.>

Female Names: <This should be done in the same way as the male names above. Please ensure that the number of female names matches the number of male names.>

<Surnames, earned names, private names, or whatever may or may not follow this, but they should be represented with the same format. However, if a race has a large number of additional names, try to limit the numbers given in each list to save space.>

Adventurers

Orcs take up adventuring for many reasons, curiosity being quite common but also a desire to spread their religion often occurs. The most notable however is the desire to bring honor to themselves. While nationalism has improved the lives of the orc populace as a whole it has also reduced the opportunities for members of the Warrior caste to prove themselves in battle.

Racial Traits

  • +2 Strength, -2 Charisma Orcs are <...>, but <...>.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, orcs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Orc base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: An Orc can see twice as far as a Human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Orcs may treat orcish double axes and studded wooden swords as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.
  • Orcs recieve the Run feat for free at first level. Orcs are tough and long-legged. They are renown for their sprinting ability.
  • +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks. Orcs' reputations make them intimidating opponents.
  • +2 racial bonus Knowledge (religion) checks.
  • -2 penalty to Gather Information checks.
  • -2 penalty to Bluff checks made against "civilized" races. Common races are generally distrusting of orcs.
  • Automatic Languages: Orc and Feldarin.
  • Bonus Languages: Goblin, Halfling. <...>
  • Favoured Class: Cleric. A multiclass Orc's cleric class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
Races
Dwarves - Elves - Feldarin - Giantkin - Gnomes - Halflings - Humans - Orcs
Acquired Templates and Bloodlines
Fleshwrought - Plaguetouched
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