The Urac-Ar - a new look at goblinoids
A misunderstood and much maligned race, goblinoids are a much more complex and sophisticated people than any human has ever given them credit for.
The Urac-Ar, which translates (very loosely) as the People, are amongst the most misunderstood of all the sentient races. Often considered brutish, barbaric, or inherently evil (if such a thing is even possible), the Urac-Ar are in fact highly evolved social creatures with a complex moral code ingrained into their very psyche.
In fact it is only that their psyche, and therefore the thought processes derived from it, is so fundamentally alien to the human mindset that causes much of the conflict between the two races. Simply put, neither species truly understands the other, which makes peaceful coexistence problematical at best.
Urac-Ar have two arms, two legs and one head, but there any resemblance to the humanoid races ends.
The skin has a rough scaly look and varies in colour from yellow to dark green, with a range of shades in between. Contrary to popular belief these colour variations do not denote separate sub-species, although they are regional in nature with yellows being more prominent in mountain clans and greens being more common amongst the forest tribes.
The head has a decidedly reptilian look, with a short blunt snout and vertical slit eyes. In addition the Oro-Ca have bony ridges over the tops of the heads where the skull plates meet.
The feet have only three toes although they are capable of gripping, lacking only an opposing digit, while the hands have three fingers and an opposing thumb.
Society and Culture
The Urac-Ar are colony creatures, similar to bees or ants, but with much smaller family groups (typically about 20-30 individuals). However, like all culture forming sentient species, they also have extended clan and tribal relationships beyond the immediate family group. Normally, although by no means exclusively, based around close family ties (mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, etc) between Or-oo.
The structure of Urac-Ar society is in fact fairly close to the human extended family concept but with one or two fundamental differences, which go a long way to explaining some of their apparently more bizarre behaviour patterns.
Firstly Urac-Ar society is actually matriarchal, being led by the Or-oo mother-queens and not the larger and more aggressive Oro-Ca as human observers often assume.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, the Urac-Ar have something of a hive mentality. To them the individual (with the one exception of the Or-oo) is less important than the family group, which goes a long way to explaining some of their unpredictability.
(mother or thinker - these two concepts are virtually interchangeable to the Urac-Ar)
Rarely seen outside the clan home Or-oo are virtually unknown to the hominid races, which goes a long way to explaining why humans so misunderstand the Urac-Ar.
A clan will only ever have one Or-oo who is, quite literally, mother as well as leader to them all, although there may also be infant Or-oo who have not yet reached adolescence.
An average Or-oo stands around 5Â½ feet tall and is generally somewhat rotund (to the Urac-Ar the mark of female beauty is a good layer of fat).
Or-oo are highly intelligent (by no means god-like, but certainly at the upper end of the normal human range), something most humans do not expect (this is one of the main reason humans fair so badly when raiding Urac-Ar strongholds).
(literally 'mother who is male')
A clan will normally have between one and three Oro-Ca who are husband-consorts to the Or-oo as will as clan defenders, although again there may also be infant Oro-Ca who have not yet reached maturity.
The average Oro-Ca stands over 6 feet tall, with the kind of heavy bone structure and bulging muscles that would make a body builder proud.
Although certainly sentient, the Or-oo are not particularly clever (to the low end of human range at best, and usually somewhat lower) so they tend to rely more on emotion and instinct rather than planning and intelligence.
Basically pre-programmed as fighters, Oro-Ca display a kind of animal cunning in combat that makes them very dangerous.
Outside of combat Oro-Ca can perform only the simplest of tasks, such as heavy lifting or carrying things, but are virtually useless for anything more complex. The one exception being hunting, which they are extremely good at.
(worker or daughter - again these two concepts are more or less interchangeable)
A clan will typically have between 20 and 25 Go-ob-Lyn, all of whom are the progeny of the Or-oo. All are genetically female but lack reproductive organs of any kind.
Standing about 4 feet tall with relatively weak bone and muscle structures the Go-ob-Lyn are not suited to combat, which perhaps explains their tendency to run from all but the weakest of foes.
Go-ob-Lyn are more intelligent than Oro-Ca but not by much. However, although they lack the intelligence to be inventive, they are ably to learn relatively complex tasks and carry them out with a reasonable level of competence. As such Go-ob-Lyn form the basic workforce for Urac-Ar society (farming, mining, building, manufacturing, etc).
(literally 'clever worker')
Around 15%-20% of Go-ob-Lyn are hatched with near human intelligence level, so most clans will have three or four such individuals.
These Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn are normally trained either as crafters or as leaders for their less intelligent sisters. Apart from the increased intelligence they are identical to normal Go-ob-Lyn.
Urac-Ar Life Cycle
To the Urac-Ar procreation is quite a complex subject, not least because there are two distinctly separate processes involved, one for producing Or-oo and Oro-Ca offspring and another for producing Go-ob-Lyn and Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn daughters.
Go-ob-Lyn and Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn
Each year, in early spring, an Or-oo lays a clutch of 2-4 eggs, about 4 inches long with tough leathery shells (much like lizard eggs), which will hatch about 4-5 weeks later. She does not have to have mated to produce these eggs.
The young Go-ob-Lyn develop remarkably quickly. They can walk within a week, speak within a month (although the language is, and will always remain, rudimentary), and reach full maturity in six months. However they also age quickly, typically living for only five or six years.
Occasionally a young Go-ob-Lyn will develop much more slowly. These are the Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn. Initial growth is the same (walking in a week and rudimentary speech within a month), but then physical development slows down considerable in favour of intelligence. The young Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn takes about two years to mature fully and can expect to live for around fifteen years.
Or-oo and Oro-Ca
In late spring an Or-oo may also fall pregnant, for which she must have mated. This happens only about one year in four, mainly because Oro-Ca fertility is quite low (one of the reasons an Or-oo normally keeps two or three Oro-Ca around). The pregnancy lasts for about six months resulting in a single live birth in mid to late autumn, although about one in ten will miscarry before that.
About one in six of these infants are female (Or-oo) and the remainder are male (Oro-Ca). In either case the infant takes ten years to reach maturity and can expect to live for around fifty years.
Loners and Small Groups
When an Or-oo reaches maturity she will seek two or three good strong Oro-Ca with which to set up a home of her own, normally with the help and advice of her mother. During this period she will generally stay as a guest in her mother's home.
She will venture out only to look for potential mates, usually with her father (somewhat surprising Oro-Ca seem able to identify their own progeny, how they can do this is unclear) and normally with two or three Go-ob-Lyn (who are or course her sisters) as protectors. As a result lone Or-oo are extremely rare indeed and almost never encountered.
In general she will seek the lowest number of mates she can since Oro-Ca are always difficult to control. If she can get away with one really good one she will, and this is the norm in more settled areas where she has little need of protection. In more dangerous areas (such as close to hostile human territory) two or three is more common.
It is important to note here that even in the most dangerous areas no Or-oo has ever been known to take more than three mates, they are simple far too much trouble for that. Since five Oro-Ca are born for every Or-oo this provokes considerable competition amongst the bachelor males. It is not entirely clear how she makes her choice, although the Oro-Ca certainly believe that combat prowess plays a part (which explains the increase in Oro-Ca raiding activity whenever an Or-oo is known to be seeking mates).
When Oro-Ca reach physical (and more to the point sexual) maturity they become far to disruptive to remain within their mothers' home and are therefore expected to leave and find their own way in the world. These bachelor males tend to congregate into small gangs, partially for survival but mostly because they are, like all Urac-Ar, basically social creatures who need the company of their own kind.
Oro-Ca gangs can be extremely dangerous if provoked but, despite their brutish reputation, will rarely attack without cause. In fact, apart from raiding farms for easy meat (domesticated sheep are just too easy to catch) they rarely come into contact with human settlements at all.
The one exception to this is when an adolescent Or-oo is seeking a couple of lads to take as her consorts. During such times bachelor Oro-Ca take to raiding for trophies as a way of impressing her with their combat prowess, and therefore their ability to protect her and her progeny.
It is interesting to note here that the type, or indeed intrinsic value, of such trophies is of little importance, only that they are difficult to obtain. Thus a love-struck Oro-Ca is just as likely to steal a child's teddy bear as a valuable painting since, from his viewpoint, both are just as valuable (you have to fight loads of humans just to get close enough). Similarly a freshly severed wyvern head or a couple of velociraptor eggs is just as impressive as a magic sword stolen from the temple armoury.
When an Or-oo dies the first thing her Go-ob-Lyn and Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn daughters do is drive any Oro-Ca from the family home since, without an Or-oo consort to control them, they are simply too dangerous to have around.
The orphaned Go-ob-Lyn will then continue living their lives as before until they all eventually die of old age since no other Or-oo will take them in, although sister or daughter Or-oo of their mother may well provide some assistance.
The expelled Oro-Ca typically revert to bachelor status.
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? Responses (13)
Very well described-a new take on the Orcs and Goblins.
Interesting take on the old goblin theme. Pretty well covered, too, from social life, up to their interaction with other races.
Oh, and the Oro-Ca, warriors of the animalistic bent, clearly recognize their offspring by smell, which they will have well-developed for hunting, in addition to other instincts.
Nice play on language, in addition to what manfred said! Its certainly a new take, but with a warm and fuzzy old-fashiony feel to it.
I agree with the others on this one. Good job!
Their reptilian aspect reminds me of my old New Take on Orcs (the Urwhor)
I like it, though generally, I'm a bit bored of the whole 'ohmagod they're a hive mind' thing. Good
You're so jaded CP :p
I like the serious tone this piece uses with what could easily be turned into something comical. It took a bit to get into the naming structure but after that has figured out, the post read smoothly. Nicely done.
New Takes are always a good thing. This one does not disappoint.
I do like the group orrientation. Orcenti on Arth do the exact same thing, with their being a central den dug in for the Mother Queen.
In the spirit of New Takes past, do you want us to work with you to expand upon it? (make it a scroll if you do). So I have two points:
1) Various colonies of Urac-Ar are going to be in the same general area competing for the same general resources. While there might be slight alliances for related queens, most of the time, the Colonies will probably clash. This is bad for the Urac-Ar and good for the Other sentients, as this thins their numbers.
2) Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn: These critters are going to have the hardest time of things. In the average violent Urac-Ar, there is not going to be a lot of elders to teach these beings. Given their intelligence and some what independence, they are going to be sent on 'missions' for the Colony.
These are the 'makers' and 'scientists' and 'superior crafters' of their Colony. Being insular, tied to their group, they will constantly have to 'remake the wheel'. They simply will not have the cultural continuity that other groups take for granted. So much of their time will be spent learning what had been done before.
Each Colony will have its own distinct solutions for things such as weapons, clothing, carrying devices, etc. So one colony will use stolen item, while another will use obsidian lined clubs, while another will have a long spear staff. Some will have ceramics, others will have leather loose pouches, while others still will actualy have cloth of somekind. So while colonies might learn a little from the items taken in conflict, they will be doing their own technology as things go on.
Interesting idea Moon
Personally I was thinking more in terms of a larger, more organised, society based around familial ties between Or-oo (I hinted at this but did not expand on it). This would provide the colony with a kind of support structure, something akin to the clan or extended family concept.
Over that you could envisage either a tribal or feudal structure of some form developing, effectively producing an Urac-Ar kingdom. Such a kingdom could conceivable have educational institutions where young Or-oo, and young Hobb-Go-ob-Lyn, might go to learn crafts, sciences, magic, or other advanced skills.
Remember these are intelligent (well their leaders are at least) and social creatures, in some ways not dissimilar to humans, and such creatures will naturally cooperate with others of their own kind.
Having said all that, if any GMs want a race of stone-age primitives in their game-world they could certainly use the Urac-Ar, taking on your suggestions, for this purpose.
A good take on goblins, much better than to generic 'goblin-monster' that you usually find.
A creative new take on goblinoids. 4/5
i really enjoyed it, made me want to write up bachelor and orphan Urac-Ar characters