The Art of the Orcish War Drum
Long ago orcs had developed the art of war drumming, an almost mystical training was required for these war drummers to raise the morale and unite orcs in a single cause. The culture of the orcs has long been lost through their servitude of greater beings using them as fodder in their schemes and mad plots.
The forgotten art of the drum is found every now and then, discovered almost by accident through the dedication to drum circles that orcs still pass their free time in. These drum circles are brutal circles where drummers beat their hide covered drums driving the orcs within the circle to mad dances of violence and bloodshed. These drum circles are now usually only performed during coming of age ceremonies and rites. This was not always so.
The war drum was once part of the orcish war machine, driving them into frenzies and causing their will to solidify; lending a fearless aspect to orc kind. This art has been rediscovered by an orc called Gromek of the Gripfang clan. The mountains that these orcs come from are once again crawling out of their dark holes to follow the war banner of the Gripfang clan once again.
Through magic that is very similar to the bardic magic of elves and man, the orc drummer is able to inspire all the orcs that can here the 'doom' 'doom' of his war drum. The orc blood thickens and the blood rage comes. The orcs that have learned just the beginnings of this nearly lost art are able to drive orcs into a frenzied blood rage. There is more to the drum though, a more physical art. This mastery of the art belongs only to the Gripfang clan now.
With their drums, the Orcish War Drummer can cause concussive blows to fall from the sky; these controlled blows can be focused on an area or even on an individual. These strange magical effects are very powerful and have turned a once bothersome thorn into a fearsome enemy.
Only Gromek has truly mastered the art of the war drum, but he now has many followers and even has commanders atop their giant dire boars beating on their drums, learning the way of 'doom'.
The War Drum itself is a tool, the true power comes from the drummer. This arcane magic can form many effects. Among them; inspiration, concussion waves and blasts, earthquake like effects, and even concussive barriers.
Inspiration: The drummer can inspire the orcs around him. This inspiration drives the orcs into a frenzy. They are immune to pain and fear. A master of the drum can also make individual orcs stronger.
Concussion Wave: Producing this effect sounds like a drum roll, it creates waves of force that slow enemies as if they were moving through molasses if they move toward the drummer. Moving away from the drummer, orcs and their foes find themselves aided in their movement as if being pushed from behind.
Concussion Blast: This effect targets a single opponent dropping powerful waves of force down onto them with every beat. These waves are painful and in the hands of a master will kill quickly.
Concussion Burst: Only masters can usually create the concussion burst, it is an area effect that is targeted somewhere on the ground. The blast wave will send everyone in it flying away from the epicenter, hurting those that are too close. This ability is used to break enemy formations.
Concussive Barrier: Creating this wall of force is something only a master can do. This wall of force reflects arrows, flying objects and even those trying to approach will be met by a solid wall of force. Even masters cannot create this effect to far away from themselves.
LEARNING THE ART
Only through drum meditation and natural arcane ability will a drummer ever learn this lost art. It has been found again, but only in the hands of the Gripfang clan. It takes a great deal of time to master and requires drums so large that one needs to be mounted - usually on a large dire boar or wolf - to be used efficiently, otherwise the are immobile.
Orcs must spend months of practice before they are even able to produce any effect, but once a drummer achieves the slightest effect they will begin to learn quickly.
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? Responses (16)-16
-1 for being a perhaps a little overpowered.
+1 for being orginal.
+1 for taking time and trouble over it.
+1 for the drum's effects
+1 for the culture of the orcs.
You gave me '+1 for taking time and trouble' it came out in less than 20 mins, I never even reread it yet. Thanks though.
Interesting! Might want to avoid D&D Specific creatures like Dire Boars - otherwise some might ask what is a dire boar.
Am concerned about new abilites being easy once the basics are mastered - generally it gets harder to obtain new and powerful abilities.
I can name 4 systems that are non-d20 that use Dire Boars; Original Warhammer FRPG, Quest of the Ancients (Black Unicorn Publications; no longer in business), I believe Rolemaster (might be MERP though) has one in the older big book Monsters and Treasures (not sure on that). The Dire Boar from the d20 system is actually open content, you cannot copyright it either. Oh yeah, the new Tunnels and Trolls has a dire boar too, I believe or monstrous boar or something.
Comment Withdrawn! :) Especially in light of Dire Swine.
In any case, it did not affect my vote - I was just commenting on it.
You and I are apparently in accord on this matter: The Drums of the Spirits describes Orcish beliefs and customs about the crafting and use of their drums, but what good is an excellent drum, if you don't play it properly?
It sounds like those Orcish drummers just get louder every year...
A well described piece, with good volume and a beat you can dance to.
We should get together on this and actually form a solid foundation for the Orc and what they really are. I mean I think we both have a great feel for what they should be.
Not bad, orcs generally get a bad wrap most of the time as being brutish and without any sort of art. While the brutish part tends to hold true, the second is patently false. I like the idea of the drummers being the orcish equivalent of 'bards', though I particularly disliked the drummers producing artillery and sonic shields with their drums.
what Scras said.
So a battlefield instrument designed to enhance and channel the musician's magical abilities and thereby aid to the orcish armies
Nice idea and well presented 4/5
BTW: This is somewhat reminiscent of my own Carnyx, although this is not specifically an orcish instrument. Clearly you and I think in similar ways.
Just wanted to comment that I think it's amusing that there is an orc clan with my name out there.
I know this account is new, but my use of the name is 8 years old.
So I just had to come on here and give a cyber chuckle. hee-hee-ha-ha...
Ok.. I'm done.. wandering off now...
We are happy to give folks a chuckle now and then. :)
Drums go so well with whips. Actually in this case, they surplant the whip.
You know what would work well with this? Hammers. Not pansy Dwarven hammers, but massive, two handed, war hammers. Like an iron tailing 25 lb sledge hammer. Not for the drumming, but for an Orcish culture that has magical war drums.
The horses begin to get skittish. Some of the green recruits look around. Something is wrong, but they don't know what it is. As it progresses, even some of the regulars are unnerved. Thereil, the old vetran, puts his hands to the ground. "Yep, they are comming. Thunderers. I make it about a hundred count before they clear the rise."
As the count of 25, You began to hear them. Just when the old man said, they crested the rise. The front rank (and every other rank) steped fowards into a kneel. As they dropped to one knee, their hammer came down... pounding the ground. Boom. Like the echo of distance thunder. Like an earth tremor. In cadence, the next rank (and every even rank) stepped forward, slammed their hammers down as they knelt. Then the first ranks. Then the seconds. You can not imagine the sound. You didn't hear it. You felt it. In your feet. In your bones. And in your heart. These massive thundering orcs, were comming. Nothing but a force of nature would seemed to stop them."
Now these Thunder Hammerers might have their own "magics" to go with their hammers. This would add to their legend. They destroy human lands and everything in their passing shakes and sometimes tumbles. They create their own paths, a flattened swath of destruction.. earth pounded to death... roads of death.
creating a new orc road in their passing, destroying human lands
Oops forgot to vote, but you get the idea.
does it give bonuses to your Tauren troops as well?
well this has a little more video game style and wargame style than RPG style...but that is a matter of taste I supposes
I agree though this an extremely powerful item, it would need to be countered with an equally powerful item. Pretty soon your armies will just be throwing vases for the god like generals on either side.
The PC have to find a way to counter the war drum so the human lands will not fall
The PCs have to make there way through a valley filled with Orcish war drummer's in order to sue for peace.
The Gods have had it with those Orcs and their constant drumming. A holy war is declared to get those kids to shuddup. All drums in the land are destroyed save one, cursed by the dying shaman of the Gripfang clan to bring ruin to the humans and their gods.
The undead attack and the human, orcs and (night) elves need to unite to defeat them. Of course the wardrums are the only way it can be done, but they have been lost. The PCs must seek out first a callow Orcish slave boy with hella rythem and then take him to a special band camp in the waste lands.