With all of the standard races done, we’ll move on to the first of the expansion races, Orcs. They are part of the “Dark Pack” along with Goblins, Lizardfolk, and Goblins. Though Orcs are often viewed as monsters, Mind Weave Orcs are intended to have society, family, and sentience and, though usually evil, they are among the races that will behave much like player characters do, and will be willing to negotiate, work together, or even follow the PCs, if those options are more appealing to them than fighting.
Orcs are a violent and blood-thirsty race. Though they are hard working and well adapted to survive in the wilderness, their infighting and lack of organization often leave them as nomads and wanderers on the outskirts of civilization. Orcs that seek to enter the civilized world are often badly received due to the violent past of their kin. Because of this reputation for bloodshed, Orcs rarily have much interaction with neighboring races, but to attack them. They are often looking for new territory, and are happy to go to war with weaker communities in order to take their land and pillage their wealth.
Orc societies are generally tribal, with the chief being determined often by combat, but sometimes by divine will. A standing chief must be careful to maintain his reputation for strength among his fickle followers or risk being challenged for leadership in the clan. These contests are to the death, and so chiefs are often among the shortest lived members of an Orc tribe unless they have magic or deistic favor. On rare occasions, an Orc charismatic enough, or enough favored by his deity, will be able to organize his tribe enough to build permanent dwellings, perhaps even attracting other tribes to build a city and make himself a king. These instances are rare, and other races often react against them.
Orcs are taller even than humans and very large, muscular, and stout with +5 Strength and +3 Constitution. Though often cunning, they can often be foolhardy (with -2 Wisdom) and are frank and socially awkward (with -2 Charisma). Like Humans and Elves, Orcs have a racial speed of 24. Orcs have tusks and an under bite, making them look brutish to non-Orcs. Their tough composition is ideal for their warrior lives and their tribes are feared universally by those who live near them.
All Orcs receive ‘training’ with weapons as part of their passage to adulthood. Often their rite of passage will involve a hunt or a fight of some sort. In particularly militant societies all of the members will have a Weapon Mastery of the crude weapon they favor.
Orcs are brutal, but their selfishness can often press them to other pursuits. Their magic is wild and rare, considered a gift from their deity.
Brawler-It is common for Orcs to learn fighting before they ever touch a weapon. Even into adulthood, Orcs will often wrestle and fight amongst themselves. Though proficient with a weapon, a brawling Orc will often revert to his strengths and grapple or throw opponents. More powerful Orc Brawlers will grow into their weapon use and become Berserkers.
Druid-Orc religion centers on the worship of nature and war deities. Often their religious leaders will be shamanistic Druids. These Druids will sometimes learn magic with which to support their followers and will often take an Animal Form resembling the symbol of their deity.
Fighter-Most Orcs are Fighters, or at least soldiers. Their attribute bonuses to Strength and Constitution make it easy for them to attain this class and due to their violent lives, they will often advance as Fighters. Orc fighting styles are usually focused on attack, using abilities like Blade Dance and Rush to defeat enemies quickly.
Thief-Orcs that are weak or fragile find life in the Orc tribe difficult. These will sometimes learn to steal to make their way in the tribe. Orc thieves are capable of the same finesse and cunning as human thieves, but they are larger, often having trouble with stealth and hiding.
Assassin-Though large Orc Thieves are somewhat ill-suited to picking pockets unnoticed, with their strength and resilience, they are well on their way to being Assassins. Assassins are not particularly common in tribal Orc groups. However, Orc Kings will often have them trained for his use to defend his throne. It is also common for Orcs among civilized society to find themselves among the dregs of society where they take up the Assassin’s trade.
Berserker-Given their anger and brutality, it is a natural transition for Orcs to become Berserkers. It often occurs quite early in life, just as they are becoming proficient in a weapon. In Orc tribes without a strong religious center, the chieftain will almost always be a Berserker.
Priest-Particularly religious Orc tribes will sometimes see the rise of a priest caste. The more powerful Druids will take on priestly roles and bring to bear the power of their deity within the tribe. In these cases, the Priests will often work in tandem with the Chief or Warlord, but sometimes a religious coup occurs and the Priests take full control. With their magic and the favor of their god, theses Priest-Chiefs are hard to unseat.
Ranger-Hunting is a major part of survival for Orc tribes in the wilderness. Orc hunters will often advance to higher levels and become Rangers. While an Orc Ranger’s primary work continues to be hunting, they will often be called upon to track, to scout, and to support Orc units with their archery.
Orcs are primal in nature and live mostly to survive, though they take delight in combat and love to pillage their neighbors. Orcs live short, brutal lives, but they make the most of it in raucous living and passionate rage.
Powerful, angry Orcs, mighty to a man, er, orc. They make a good choice for a Fighter or Berserker. Would you play one for these or another reason? How would you deal with an Orc society you’ve wandered into? Or that wandered into you? Would you throw one at your players? Let us know in the comments below!