The Orcs of Nevermore share much with standard Orcs: they value strength in combat, military conquest and are straightforward in their dealings with other races. However, they are unique in many ways.
One of the most striking aspects of Orcish society is that it is an Amazon culture, with the women holding more authority than the men. Women are the warriors and leaders of Orcish society. Men take care of such things as crafting equipment, tending the wounded and, in the extraordinarily rare case that an Orc tribe settles down, the farming.
They often keep Grikluths, an animal that appears to be some form of cross between a boar and a bear. They can grow to be big enough for a full grown orc to ride into battle. These beasts have a mostly carnivorous diet, though the Orcs have found that some plants can be mixed in with the meat to make less meat go further.
Orcish children are raised by the tribe as a whole, having very little connection to their birth parents, and vice versa. They are usually left to do as they will, which is generally engage in semi-mock combat, or wrestling with the Grikluth pups. Injuries abound among Orc children, but with their hardy build they usually recover. If a child is severely wounded by a Grikluth pup, such as losing part of a limb, it is seen as a sign and that child, if female, is then trained as a Grikluth rider. If male, the child learns to care for the beasts. Limbs are often crudely replaced, either with lengths of wood or actual weapons. Orc tribes are nomadic, staying in one place only until it becomes too devoid of goods to loot or plunder, or until they are driven out by a superior force.
Orcs generally inhabit warmer areas, a comfortable temperature for them is around 25 degrees Celsius. Their preferred terrain is scraggy fields and hills.
Orcs are a military culture almost as a rule. They raid settlements for most of their goods, which gives a kind of haphazard, strewn together feel for their own settlements. The recent locations of an Orcish tribe can often be discerned by studying what the predominant manufacture of the goods in their village are. Due to their rough society, objects generally don't last for very long.
One thing that the Orcs have become quite adept at creating for themselves is equipment for battle. Of this, they place a very heavy emphasis on weaponry. An Orcish blade will generally be quite large, very heavy, and bear highly detailed engravings along it's length. They try to use the best materials they can get their hands on, and as such an Orcish weapon is a thing to be proud of.
Their armor, however, falls short. If worn at all, it is generally just enough to cover a few vital areas. It too bares engravings, though less attention is usually put on armor as it is usually not worn.
In actuality, an Orc ready for battle wears virtually no clothing at all. If they have an interest in defense, they are more likely to carry a shield. Usually though, they happily charge into battle wielding whatever oversized weapon they favor. There are no regiments, no units of spearmen. If a particular Orc feels like using a spear, great. She will be charging along with the rest of the group, regardless of what they wield.
While raiding is a large aspect of Orcish culture, it is not something that needs to happen every week. Generally, an Orcish tribe gets along just fine raiding a given place once or twice a month. They occasionally take up short term residence in a town, the main goal being to use the local forge to repair their weaponry and forge new equipment. These occupations usually last around a week, with the Orcish weaponsmiths feverishly working around the clock while the rest of the tribe amuses itself by looting the town. The few Orc tribes that have settled in one place construct their own forges, often large enough for a number of smiths to be working at the same time.
Orcs, though they enjoy combat, can be reasoned with. They quite enjoy it when foes surrender, as it means they recognize them as the superior force. Flattery does wonders when dealing with Orcs, particularly of the craftsmanship of their weapons or their strength in battle. As a few traumatized bards can attest though, an Orcish woman seems to enjoy flattery of her appearance just as much as a human.
Perhaps the one sure-fire method of buttering up an Orc is to offer them a meal. A big, hearty meal with steak and the like, offering them delicate fare is quite insulting.
Orcs worship the Ghanni Lakhai, or in the common tongue, the "spirits of a Place". It would be an impossible task to try to catalog the Orcish gods, as there are simply too many. Depending on where a given Orc tribe is, it will pray to different gods, be it the Spirit of the Whitecrest Mountains or the God under the Rocks down in Terra Balena. Worthy of note is that some of the Orcish gods seem to coincide with legendary beasts of other cultures. For example, the Dwarves of Terra Balena claim that there is an ancient power under the mountains, though even they don't know what it is.
The Orcs have spellcasters, but they are different from the mages and priests of most civilizations. They have two types of magic users: one that uses totems crafted from animals to work magic similar to those of mainstream clerics, and the Warsingers, who enter battle with their warrior brethren howling a song of might and glory. Through their primal song, they can cause effects from striking terror into the hearts of foes to redoubling the vigor of an allied Orc. A raiding party with a Warsinger finds its offensive power greatly increased.
Finally, it should be noted that the Orcs, though powerful, seem to have no interest in merging tribes. Separate tribes aren't hostile when they meet, often actually staying together for a couple of days to trade plunder and introduce fresh blood to a tribe. They can never remain together for long though, as they would simply overtax any place to raid. As such, one of the things discussed when two tribes meet is which way they should split up in order to leave the most ground to both sides.
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? Responses (8)
A nice take on Amazonian Orcs, and gives a great feel for their culture for those new to using Orcs in their campaign, and can make a nice resource to flesh out the orcish background of a half-orc char.
Nice. It's good to see new takes on Orcs.
A new view on Orcs (not a new take, as they are traditional orcs with a different culture).
Edit note: if you could put an extra line between the paragraphs. It would make the submission easier to read.
In terms of content, I like it.
Carnivore mounts, okay.. fantasy trope.. I can deal with that.
I just have one issue.. metal forging and nomadic peoples. Even the West African metal workers were semi-nomadic, as having a forge and proper anvil requires a great deal of space/ weight/ and installation investment. Even the West African Metal Worlkers, who did beautiful work, tended to work small because of their equipment.
So you will need to flesh this out or find some way for them to move a true forge. (It is a large sled that they shlep with a team of these creaures?) Perhaps their magic users are metal smiths (harkening back to West Africans), thus using magic to make things with less material gear. Instead of the banging of a hammer, the sound of an odd vibration, like a didgeridoo, comes from the magi as he forges the Great War Sword
Updated: Moon pointed out a bit of a problem related to how they manage to make metal goods and yet are nomadic. I have fixed the problem.
Again quite ingenious.
And again i forgot to vote.
A great flavor of Orc. Just different enough to be interesting.
There could also be the occasional small tribe of orcs that specializes in forging with semi-permanent smithies.