This a great example on how to flesh out the culture of orcs... or any other fantasy race for that matter. Scras has hit on the essence of creating a realistic and multifaceted tribal culture, and debunking some old and tired fantasy cliches along the way. This sub is an easy 5.0. Go to Comment
I like that there is so much culture in this article. There's tons, really. It's very well developed. Just the same, this reads like more of a description of a savage culture, or like Marco Polo's descriptions of the Mongols or something. It doesn't really feel "orcish", since it is so plausible for a human culture.
It was quite a surprise to find they are much cleaner than we would suspect. Go to Comment
Axlerowes: You're right! I forgot to mention how awesome the narrator was. The whole article is very good, and very usable.
Scras: I'm not sure how to make 'em more orcish (i.e. non-human). I just think that orcs should be more than strong humans who fight a lot, and dwarves should be more than short humans who live underground. But you are exactly right about not making them too different. If they're too weird, they stop looking like orcs.
You could make them orcish through biology: maybe the women are just as strong as the men. So despite being crude and aggressive (and stereotypically just being big bags of bad traits) , orcs actually have a strength-based egalitarian society that isn't sexist. Maybe the only non-sexist society in the world. (Picture a man telling his wife: "If you don't want to do the dishes, why don't you go join the orcs?"). Or mention that orcish muscles have extra attachments, or orcish muscles are extremely dense (and orcs would sink like rocks if they weren't such strong swimmers). Or that certain (old?) orcs suffer from a unique sort of dementia that makes them constantly angry--and these orcs are honored rather than reviled. Maybe anger is held to be the greatest virtue, and orcs make shows of how angry they are when something displeases them.
Or make it cultural and based on something that humans would/could never do. Maybe the chieftain is only chieftain as long as he can push aside the huge boulder blocking the ancestral clanhall. Or maybe their favorite sport is a horserace where the racer has to carry the horse the last mile (that would actually be awesome!) Go to Comment
I love this. The writing style was great. It fleshed out this particular tribe of orc well. Everything about it was well written. The one thing that I think would improve it slightly would be orcish combat. After all, you can't have orcs without fighting, and you mention raiding in several places. Do they use ambushes, or just a mass charge? Yes, I understand that you polished off your old notes, but how about adding to them? Go to Comment
Actualy, it doesn't. The orcs could have evolved isolated from the other races, like behind a mountain range or across the ocean. Then their cultures and ethnicity would be wildly different. Go to Comment