"... we are not talking about one race, but two, even if their appearance barely differs. But their behaviour does. During the raid in which they abducted me, one of those "common orcs", as i call them, tore my amulet from my neck and stared at it with a gaze that can only be described as bewilderment. I still remember it clearly. There was no sign of appraisal when it hung from his leathery hand. He grunted in orcish some words which i couldn't understand at that time, and so can't remember. But i still remember the gaze with which he stared at my valued heirloom. There was nothing, not even vilification. As if a fish was staring at an anvil, the concept or purpose of this thing seemed barred to his mind.   He gave it to another orc, an orc woman, which i only recognized on my second take, as she proved to be just as brawny. She wore embellishments, wooden teeth strung to a cord around her neck, and an earring of sorts made of teeth that were pushed through her earlobes. Her gaze was different. Appraising, curious even, and definitely intrigued by the artistry. She looked at me and i knew that she was about to take it, and somehow my anxiety to lose the last thread which connected me to my mother must have shown. She stared at me, at the the amulet, and then at me again. Then she put it in my hand and folded my fingers about it. I was allowed to keep it. But she kept me. As a price i became slave in the gang of Oghma, the Orog"
— Silka Calenda recounting how she became first slave and later envoy of Oghma Bloodoath
Player Tip/Warning:
  The orc, or better orog is, of all races on Ardu, probably the most alien.   Just as humans understand the orcish society through the human lens, orogs see the human society through their own filter.   An example: Orogs don't understand the concept of servants, consider them as divided from the rest of humanity and are surprised when they display a self awareness on their own, something which they, time and time again forget and underestimate, and be it only on the emotional level and in situations of stress.   Not playing out these conflicts does the orog a disservice, so try to put yourself in his/her position and follow the thread where it leads.   One warning though: playing a common orc is not recomended, mainly because understanding the mindset of a common orc, who has no sense of self, can be considered all but impossible for any human. Players included.   Possible concepts:   An adventuring orog does not live this life of his own free will. He could be an orog who lost his mob / gang and is, for whatever reasons, now expelled from the orcish society. Or, probably he was caught during a raid, sold as a slave and now wishes to return home but doesn't know how.

Basic Information


Orcs are taller than humans, yet smaller than elves. Compared to both races they are quite brawny, females as well as male, albeit the males are truly hulking. Their bones are more stable and allow them to carry the amount of musclemass without inhibinting either speed or dexterity, also grantng them a better constitution compared to elves and humans.

Genetics and Reproduction

Even though Orcs have genitals just like humans, this misled many humans into thinking that the procreation works the same. Like more than half of the species on Ardu, orcs belong to the seedless genotype, and like all representatives of this genotype, males produce no fertile seed, and female no eggs, making the procreation a matter of the personal fae of the involved partners and their will to procreate. They yet also differ from other culturebuilding races of the seedless genotype like Elves or Gelf, insofar as the orc species is separated into two different exressions, which differ by presence or absence of one crucial ingredient for procreation via faebirth : The sense of self.   The common orc, albeit fiendishly intelligent at times, has no concept of self or individualism. Although they are very keen on the battlefield, rivaling humans even, and able to work in groups, this necessary ingredient for faebirth procreation is just beyond them. Groups of common orcs are thus not able to procreate on their own, and have to rely on orogs to further their kin, members of the orcish "leadership caste" which have developed a sense of self.  

Procreation via Faebirth

  During the act, if triggered by the will to procreate, the personal fae of both partners joins, samples genes of both partners and creates a new life in the female body. Unlike most other intelligent species on Ardu, for which the active will of both partners is a necessity to trigger the process, if not one particuarly strong will or magic is involved, the singular will of one orog partner suffices to procreate. Hence, where other races consider an unilaterally concieved child a crime, orcs do not share this sentiment, as long as one of the partners had been a common orc, or belongs to another race (Human, Elf, Gelf, Wolven).   Conceptions between orogs are a different story though. Male and female orogs consider their own will dominant, and won't tolerate a conception, if they were not consenting. This could very well end in a fight to the death between partners, if the will was not clearly stated beforehand. To prevent this, Orogs are very careful in that regard. While procreation between orogs and orcs is oftentimes just a factual matter to fill the ranks of the tribes with more orcs, and therefore short, and almost emotionless, relations between orogs are tender and characterized by the constant need of both partners to ensure that nothing they do is done without the partners consent.   Regardless if both parents were orogs or not, it lies in the nature of faebirth, that the child begins it's life as a common orc, and the youth and upbringing decides if it ever develops enough selfawareness to become an orog. Once during early life, usually around the tenth birthday, all orcs go through a state of "proto orogship", not unlike puberty, in which they develop some precursor of an ego and also rudimentary self awareness, which inevitably leads to conflict. Those orcs who prevail and dominate the others, nurture this self awareness, enabling its growth, until the orogs of the mob catch on and stabilize this development with their attention. Those unlucky ones who were dominated, stagnate, lose their ego over time and step into the background as common orcs in a tragic and heartbreaking process.   However, due to the nature of faebirth, this stabilization only happens if both male and female orogs were present to nurture the developing identity. Hence, aspiring adolescent orogs, who could only rely on one orog to raise them, devolve back into common orcs, justifying the mob, the orcish equivalent of a family, as a prerequisite for long term orc survival by creating new orogs.   As all soulbearing species create their own personal fae, halforcs and other orcish hybrids are a possibility, with their frequency of occurrence, at least around the ocean of grass or the orcish steppes, even heightened due to the orog ability to enforce a fertilization. In almost all cases they are the result of orcs mating with their non orcish slaves.   See  
Procreation and Halfbreeds
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Apr 10, 2020
  for further information on halfbreeds.   As a side effect of their faebirth ancestry, orc and orog women, just like elves and gelf, do not show a phase of heightened fertility every 30 days like humans or wolven do, and they also do not have a period.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Orcs are, just like all other conscious races on Ardu, omnivores. Albeit many orcs favor a protein rich diet, and thus hold hunting and cattle breeding in high regard, they can very well live of crop and know about the cultivation of grain, which is a traditional task for slaves or the female orcs, which happens under the leadership of the mobleaders and, if available, some Kruk.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Orc Society clearly developed along the psychological rift that characterizes this species: The lack (or presence) of a developed sense of self.   Where common orcs (orcs for short) lack it, their leadershipcaste, the orogs, have developed it to an extent that is comparable with humans. Due to the impact this difference has on behaviour and even procreation (see Genetics and Reproduction), it has led to a clear distribution of roles in the orcish society, and to a lot of misconceptions by humans who witnessed it and evaluated it under the influence of their own experience.   As orcs and orog are distinctively two different things, there is no comparison in ranking between both subspecies, just as an apple is not inherently better than a pear. Therefore an orc can, although rarely, still outrank an orog in value, at least in the perception of other orogs. It depends on the situation and metric.

Common Orcs

Common orcs, also just called orcs, informed the picture humans have about orcs due to their sheer number: An orc mob consists of up to 50 orcs, controlled by only up to 6 orogs and probably present kruk, slaves not included.   It is thus understandable that the more cultured aspects of the orcish society (provided by the orogs) became blurred from a non-orcish perspective, until orcs were nothing more than simple uncultered primitives, who lack any sense or talent to create for themselves and therefore have to steal and imitate, plunder and pillage.   Also it doesn't help that the whole species is named after the orcs and not the orogs, which would actually be more sensible.   This misconception, mainly held by humans, has done a great disservice to them however, as it is not only wrong, but led to many misjudgements, culturally as well as strategically. Wolven, and elves who live east of the Dragon Stones, have adapted better, to a point where they hold a begruding respect, mainly because they had more time than the humans who are relative newcomers in the west. Nevertheless, they do not claim to understand them.   The first thing often disregarded are the orogs, an integral part of the orc culture, who are very well able to create new things and solve counterintuitive puzzles. But it is the second part of the misconception which is more severe, and even harder to overcome, as goes along with confusing a sense of self, of which humans and orogs have plenty, with general intelligence. Which is not the same.   With orcs, these things are separate. The self awareness of common orcs must, by all measures, be called underdeveloped, yet this in no way inhibits their ability for pattern recognition or solving logical puzzles, thinking tactically or working effectively in a group. Common orcs might have problems recognizing themselves in a mirror, or solving counterintuitive problems, and they do not value or even understand art or introspective, but they are very able to plan, build shelter, hunt and use and improve tools and weapons with the same quality as their more self reflective brethren. It's new things and abstract concepts which usually escape them.   They do understand the world quite well through the lense of practical applicability though, with minds which are fast and agile, yet imprisoned in a strange state of flow which makes orcs seemingly act purely on instinct, as if they were in a constant phase of reflex, motivated but barely aware, with the whole life being one flowing action.   What seems like an emotional disability at first, actually enables them to be the perfect unflinching fighters, which, albeit being somewhat predictable, show neither remorse nor overboarding zealousy on the battlefield.   To most other culturebuilding species on Ardu the minds of common orcs are thus truly alien, albeit not ineffective, wherein lies the danger of underestimating them.   "Common" sense as used by other races does not work on them, and even Gelf and Goblins have a hard time reading them.   Common orcs are also free of concepts like freedom or pride., as they constantly act on a simple cost/benefit calculation, making the number of orcs in a mob or gang a truly objective measure of it's success and ability.They do know love and loyalty up to a specific point however, although it is never platonic, but instinctualand evolved to prevent orcish gangs and mobs from and tribes from crumbling at the first sign of trouble. If an orcs needs are not met after a time however, they also fall "out of love" again, and leave their orogs, and there is nothing that can be done about it.   Orcs who lose contact to orogs do not turn into wild animals, but remain a force to be reckoned with, which will keep to secure tactical and strategical advantages. Within moments after the orog has fallen, the orcs in it's gang will agree on a new leader, be it another orog, or if such is not present, one of the orcs. Few misjudgements have killed more humans than the idea, that killing the head will make the rest of the gang harmless, or uncontrolled. If the orogs are gone, the remaining orcs are easier to trick however.   Once separated from their orogs, as soon as the situation allows it, the orcs will strive to reestablish contact, or, if this is not possible, begin to look for new orogs to follow. There is in theory no limit how many orcs would follow an orog, such that an orog, at least temporarily, can overtake leadership of a gang if another one falls, however this is always temporarily, and once the threat is gone, the cost / benefit thinking of the orcs will make them realize that one orog can impossibly fulfil their needs alone, so they disperse and seek out new orogs to follow.


Orogs, unlike orcs, have a developed a sense of self, and are thus very well able to evaluate the achievements of culture. Albeit "slower" on the battlefield than orcs, due to their mental"baggage", they yet must be considered their leaders.   They achieve this position by two benefits only they can provide: First they are the ones which enable procreation, which gives them a huge amount of power in the orcish society. Second, and of more tactical relevance, they are much more inclined to think strategically, counterintuitively and less prone to fall for traps than their orcish brethren, because they can at least emphathize with non orc opponents and foresee their strategies beyond what has been encountered already.   Due to the rate in which orcs become self aware and thus turn into orogs (see Genetics & Reproduction) they are much rarer than orcs, yet even at that rate, the structure of orcish mobs induce a competition for the leadership of common orcs. The number of orcs who follow the orog, their general "quality", as well as the number of non orcish slaves determine the status of the respective orog in the orcish society.   Orogs have three kinds of personal status: gangleader (orog), single without orcs (kruk) and being part of a mob: The word orog in the orcish language actually means gangleader, emphasizing that orcs consider this the natural role for an orog to take, while being without following orcs is considered a shameful state called "kruk". Orogs also might be part of a mob, which is the orcish equivalent of being married. These orogs, regardless if orcs are following them or not, keep their state as orog, as they can "always make more" and are not considered "kruk".  
Kruk (/krʊk/) Orogs without gang and mob.
  Orogs without gang, so called Kruk, which is orcish for "unworthy" , are the lowest class of orog in the orcish society, and a valuable orc or slave can, in the perception of other orogs, very well outrank them in value.   Kruk cannot own slaves until they leave this state. They can do so either by earning their first orcs, be it through challenging other orogs for their orcs, and convincing them to stay, by assignment through the mobleader or chieftain of the tribe or by gaining the respect of common orcs up to the point that they follow. Or they could found or join a mob.  
Kruk in orcish society
  Orogs outside a mob, who lost all orcs of their gang, be it through war, illness or challenge by other orogs, fall back into the rank of Kruk. Orogs as part a mob are in a different dynamic which reminds more of members of a traditional family with humans. They stand together, and therefore become kruk only if they lose their partners.   Most if not all Kruk are male, due to the structure of orcish mobs, which allow for one male orog to have several female orog "wives", leaving the competition for mob partners almost entirely on the male side, as the over number of orog males compared to orog females is about balanced. The "inferior" males thus never even get the chance to be in a mob in the first place. A female kruk on the other hand rarely stays such for long, as joining or founding a mob is a way to be accepted as a proper orog in the orcish society.   Kruk woften work as slave overseers for another mob or, if the mob has too few slaves to begin with, perform the menial tasks themselves. Another role able Kruk often take is the role of scouts for the wargangs (Mosh-var), a task for which they are better qualified than orcs due to their ability to think counterintuitively and therefore understand the thinking patterns of elves, humans, wolven and gelf. As they were dominant enough to prevail against the other orcs of their litter when growing up, they are usually physically just as qualified as the orcs of a gang.   Another opportunity for (male) Kruk to be useful is to present a way for the children of female gangleaders, who are not part of a mob yet, to evolve into orogs, although said Kruk not technically forms a new mob with the gangleader (see: Molag-var gang). This is frowned upon by the orcish society, yet some freeminded orog females make use of it instead of "bowing" to the social pressure to find a mate and join a mob, as they can "very well look out for themselves, thank you...".   During peacetime the kruk often serve those mobs they like best, but the tribe chieftain determines which Kruk serves which mob during wartime.


Halforcs, Worgen, or other orcish halfbreeds are not an uncommon sight in orcish tribes, due to the unique orcish ability to enforce a conception via faebirth through the singular will of an orog, instead of requiring the partners consent and active act of will while mating.   Although the Halfbreeds are raised by their non orcish parents, the upbringing happens under the close surveillance and control of orcs and orogs, and, if present, a kruk who often already served as overseer over the non orcish parent.   Like this, orcs integrate halfbreeds early on and form them into fully functioning members of the orcish society such that they can harness the specific traits, which the half-orcs bring to the table.   Halfbreeds, due to their mixed heritage, are not able to enforce a conception when mating, and thus remain unable to breed true with orcs (albeit not with orogs), leaving them from orcish point of view in somewhat of a limbo state between orc and orog.   Unable to ever lead a gang or mob, they hence remain kruk for the rest of their life with no chance to escape this state.

The Gang

There is never just "one" orc
— attributed to legendary rimmersgardian chieftain Verren Two-Blade
"...happy we made it out in one piece. Shit, after that wolven spoke, i thought we were goners..."   "Why? what did he say?"   "He said to them: Go f**k yourself"   "Well... thats something that doesn't register to those orcish bastards as an insult... but i bet it made him feel better."
— Scene in a tavern in Audelver
  The gang is the central social structure connecting orcs and orogs. It is such a central part of orcish society that the word orog itself means basically nothing but gangleader, or, more precisely, orcleader. In the perception of the orcs, orogs are not distinguished from the orcs they lead, even talking specifically about the orog as a singular person necessitates a special case in the orcish language. The gang also serves as some form of proto-family, and a part of the attractiveness an orog exudes to orogs of the opposite sex is actually the strength of the gang he or she leads.   The orcs of a gang follow the orog out of their own volition, and cannot really be forced. They do however, up to a certain point, follow certain orcish protocol if their orogs do. Therefore the Chief of the tribe or the mobleader can "assign" the orcs to specific other orogs and be sure they follow them. They can also be "won" by challenge, albeit only kept if the respective orog manages to satisfy their needs. If a leader proves unable in the eyes of his orcs, either as a warrior or to provide for their needs, they will leave, and even the chieftain can't order them to stay.   There are basically four kinds of orcish gangs: At first there are the Kalag-var and Molag-var, two different kinds of "independent" gangs, where the gangleader is not part of a mob yet, but either a male (kalag) or female (molag) orog. There are also two kinds of gang in the context of a mob: Mosh-var, the "wargangs" led by the female orogs and Kush-var, the "supplygang" led by the male mobleader.  

Independent gangs

Kalag-var, a gang led by a male orog
  Structure of a Kalag-var
Gang (male).png
  The life of a male orog gangleader is, at best, twofold. There is the time before becoming a mobleader, and there is the time after. Before becoming a mobleader male orogs are well advised to be successful gangleaders first, as they compete for the attention and affection of female orogs, which they need to raise orog offsprings.   As one orog can have up to four "wives" the competition is extremely hard, and the key to getting noticed are physical fitness, leadership skills and virility. Single male orogs therefore often try to outdo each other during raids or other chances to prove their worth to the tribe and are usually terrible braggarts. The need for courtship to convince a partner therefore almost entirely falls onto the male side of the equation too.   Because of their structure, Kalag-var naturally have more orc children than the female led Molag-var gangs. Firstly, because a male orog could have all orcish females of his gang be with child at the same time, while a female led gang has to be content with basically one fertile female "at a time". Secondly male orogs don't waste opportunities to prove that they can "deliver" in the role which they will take on after becoming a mob leader, which is more akin to that of a Pasha and administrator rather than a warrior or leader of warriors, which is the female task.   Because the gang lacks the presence of an orog of the female sex, who could support stabilizing the sense of self of the children (see Genetics and Procreation), the orcish children in a Kalag-var are doomed to devolve into orcs after their puberty.  
Molag-var, a gang led by a female Orog
MS. Orc Queen by Bayard Wu
Ms. Orc Queen by Bayard Wu
  Structure of a Molag-var
Gang (female).png
  If they really put their mind on it, Female orogs rarely fail to find a mobleader unwilling to take them into their mob, except if he has too many wives already. The competition of male orogs for females is just too harsh, because every mobleader can have multiple wives, usually maxing out at about four to, in rare cases, five.   This is due to each female bringing the orcs of her own gang into the mob, which come with their own requirements to the mobleader, such that at a certain limit no proper amount of control or satisfaction of the orcs can be guaranteed anymore. This is when the Mob is considered "full". Up to that point though, orcish males are always eager to "add" another female however.   Females though are looking for quality, and thus are not free of competition either, as they compete for the best males. Because they would become the hunters, caretakers and officers of a mob, their gangs and they themself are mainly judged by their success in war and on the hunt. A female gangleader will not automatically strive to become part of any mob with any male orog, she has to be earned. Up to that point, she will groom a successful gang to be of interest to "the cream of the crop".   Molag-var with Kruk   There are too few female kruk for male mobleaders to employ the same tactic, if any, but female gangleaders can, instead of just joining a mob, sometimes employ male kruk to help populate her gang through mating with "her" orc females. In return for this favor, the Kruk are expected to help raise the dominant children of the gangleader into Orogs.   Kruk who do this are usually able indviduals, who just stroke a run of bad luck, or show potential for becoming promising gangleaders one day.This allows the Orog gangleader to groom them into future partners. Also, having them be too "shabby" could risk making the female orcs reconsider their choice of leader and make them leave.   The orog part of the orcish society looks down onto this practise though and many a cautionary orcish tale tells how a kruk exchanged the babies of a female gangleader for his, to trick her into favouring his offsprings instead, should they prevail through puberty.   It is also not uncommon, that other orogs, females as well as males, deride those "rebellious" females and the kruk that served them, when they finally decide to found a mob together.   A common accusation, usually told with some derisive satisfaction at least, is that the kruk has "stolen" his way into the heart of the overtly picky female, thus leaving her now off with a sub par mob partner, instead of the superior ones, whose proposals she never chose to accept.  

The Mob (Horok)

Structure of a Mob
Orc Mob.png
To most members of other species, those who do not know or understand the orcish mindset that is, the orcish mob is a military unit, some structure invented to organize the military strength of the orcs. What these people do not understand, is that it actually is, oddly enough, a bond of love. Admittedly, due to the sheer size of almost 50 souls, which the largest mobs achieve, the thought of it being some form of company or military unit seems not so far fetched. Yet although to some extent it is exactly that, it is also something else: a family.
Foundation of a mob
...A famous orcish folktale also known to the humans of Weyland tells of an orog, who, for the promise of freedom from human imprisonment, helped an oafish human mayor with the letters and poems he wrote to his love interest, until she agreed to become his spouse.   So good was the poetry, that, as the mayor was asked to keep his part of the bargain and refused, instead threatening to have the orog killed by sunrise, the orog seduced the female guard whom the mayor had left to guard him, escaped with her, crashed the wedding, revealed the truth, and escaped with the mayors love interest and the female guard.   Weylandian Propaganda has him ditch them and enslave them. But the more saucy orcish version, which has them join his gang and become his secondary wives, has oddly found more resonance with at least part of the human audience, despite, or probably because, only being sold beneath the counter...
— section of the book "Other cultures, other fables" stored in the library of Dunkaiir
  Despite some human propaganda that orcs don't know love at all, this is actually far from true, even for common orcs, who only have an underdeveloped sense of self. Common orcs have been seen mourning for their gangleader, for the females of their mob, and for their mobleader, and they even have a concept of "falling" in love with an orog. They can also fall out of it though which happens when their needs are not heeded by him or her.   What holds for orcs in regard of love is even more true for orogs of course. Female and male orogs who are attracted to each other can very well fall in love, and regardless of the propaganda, the orcish language even has has a word for it. Orog courtship is highly ritualistic and almost entirely performed by the male part, until the female "heeds" him. This, together with the imense competition for the females, has led to a culture a primal form or courtly love, which is direct and elaborated at the same time, which speaks to the soul and some human bards have even made a career by retranslating (and redacting) orog lovesongs into their own language.   Once the female orog has agreed to form a new mob with the male, or to join his already existent as another wife, the orcs of her gang join the orcs he is already leading.   The title mobleader for the male (albeit it being a direct translation from the orcish tongue) is misleading due to the warlike nature of orcs. He is not the military leader of his mob: With access to a plethora of fertile females (orcs and orogs), and being the only virile male in the mob (as common male orcs are infertile), his life soon degenerates into that of a pasha, administrator and spiritual leader, who has to make sure that the mob thrives and propagates.   The amount and quality of the orc males, which a mobleader is able to lead as a gangleader, directly translates into social status and enhances his probabilities of finding an orog female willing to found a mob with him in the first place. This is because, once an orog female joins or founds a mob, her female common orcs and most of her slaves are given to the mobleader, while he, in return, distributes the male orcs of the mob to all of the orog females. The reason for this is, that in orcish society, at least within the confines of a mob, orog females and the orc males they lead become warriors and hunters. The Orog males and orc females on the other hand are set to become the craftspersons, healers and gatherers.   Assigning all slaves to the mobleader is a social norm however, and some female orogs keep a personal slave, usually a male. If she happens to have enough leverage however, for example if she and her mob are well reknown and otherwise "of good stock", she can also keep a female slave despite objection of her mobleader.   All of this leads to the formation of two new kinds of gang which only exist in the context of a mob though: The Supply Gang (Kush-var), led by the mobleader, which is the backbone and supply of the mob, and the Hunter-warrior gangs (Mosh-var) which are led by his orog wives.  
The Supplygang (Kush-var)
The Supplygang cares for all tasks which do not directly include fighting or hunting, like gathering, parenting, reparations, farming, crafting etc...   It consists of the mobleader and all orc females of the mob, the slaves of the mob (those at least, from whom the orog females were ready to part) and the Kruk who work as their overseers. Most of the parenting of the orc children, regardless who the parents were, are raised by the orc females. Only once the orc children show potential to turn into an orog, the orog females and the mobleader start spend time to further this development by training. Orcish Younglings, even when they were born from an Orog mother, therfore rarely see her again, until they develop a proto sense of self and start to establish themselves against the other orcs of their litter.   Halfbreeds in contrast, because of their developed sense of self from birth on, are cared for by their non-orcish parents, yet under the tutelage and oversight of either the mobleader or Kruk that work as their overseers.  
The Hunter-Warrior gangs (Mosh-var)
"Orcs are alot like lions, father. It is their females who are the fiercest and have the strongest teeth. Most of their battlegroups are even led by them.   All while their males sit at home like Pasha's, doing all the housework.... tentwork...cavework... wherever Orcs live.   So why can't we be a little bit like them? Like lions... Why can't I ride, and swing a sword?"   "First of...little lady.... you are not an Orc. That's almost an insult towards your mother. Second, and more important, there is another animal one can compare the orcs to. Locusts. Once every generation their own lifestock does not suffice to feed them anymore, and so they decide to invade our lands, and burn and pillage.   But we are not like that. We are here to stay.   So while i agree that you have to learn how to swing a sword, and do all the other stuff, that still doesn't absolve you from your tasks. Climb down from your horse and head inside. When all your work is done, we can talk riding...   ...sigh...   ...aaaand swinging the sword."
— Weylandian father and daughter at Storm's End, discussing her upbringing
Hunter Warrior gangs (Mosh-var) are the backbone of orcish military might, supported by the Molag- and Kalag-var of younger female and male orog who haven't found a partner yet.   While the Kush-var forms a singular entity under one leadership, the Mosh-var remain in a constant competition for the attention and well meaning of the mobleader. This is because the mobleader determines mating rights for all who are part of his mob, orcs and orog alike.   A hierarchy amongst the wives, with a favourite, a second favourite and so on, crystalizes soon, usually based on the merits of their Mosh-var in battle. This hierachy also informs the hierarchy between their leaders in military questions, such that decisions of military importance regarding the entire mob are left to the favourite wife of the mobleader, the so called matriarch.  
Power inside a Mob
  Given the competition of female orogs for the position of the matriarch, one might wonder if it is not the mobleader who holds all the power in a mob, but this diminishes the power which females, due to their scarcity, hold in the first place.   The mobleader, although officially the one who decides mating rights and disputes between orogs (and also orcs) of his mob, has to balance the interests of all his females against each other, in order not to lose one or more of them, when they decide that other orog partners might serve them better.A lot of power thus also resides on the shoulders of the matriarch, who additionally controls most of the mobs military force.   This has led, and still leads, to mobs, which, while officially being ruled by their mobleaders, are in fact being ruled by a matriarch or, worse for the mobleader even, by a group of buddy-female warrior queens. No mobleader would officially acknowledge this, but... yeah...  

The Tribe

The emergence of the tribe is not a new development brought upon by the appearance of external threats like human, elven or wolven settlers competing for the same ressources as the orcs. For posing a threat to orcish mobs, other orcish mobs can do just fine. Given the rapid pace at which orcish mobs procreate, it was only a matter of rather short time, before they were at each others throat, competing for ressources to bolster their ever growing numbers.   After that, it most likely didn't take long for the orcs, or rather their orogs, to understand, that the only way to counter the numbers of their rivals was by fielding even bigger numbers. This was when the orcs learned the value of a temporary peace, of common interest and, what inevitably comes with it: backstabbing.
Structure and power in an orcish tribe
  Given how the gang and mob already have an internal "bottom up" hierarchy from the get go, it is only natural that this structure is represented in the tribe. Because a tribe is, basically, just a collection of mobs, those who rose to power in the mob, specifically the Mobleader and his matriarch, naturally become its representative and candidates for the role of shaman and chieftain.   A mobleader, due to his preoccupation with the stability and general functioning of his mob, by virtue of his Kush-var gang, represents the spiritual and "practical" leadership, and can rise to become the tribes shaman, whereas, when he does, his wife automatically becomes chieftain, which is the military leader of the tribe.   Yet, as the "true" power in a mob does not automatically lie in the hands of its mobleader, but probably his matriarch instead, not a few shamans rose to power due to a coup to replace the old chieftain. This is when, truly, his matriarch holds all cards and becomes the tribes de facto leader.   Be it as it may, an attempt to replace the old shaman or the chieftain, none of these changes happens without conflict.   The Shaman   Orogs do not know differentiation between spiritual and mundane leadership, even the concept is alien to them. Therefore, the shaman is the most important role in a tribe. Albeit he has no say in military matters, which is left to the chieftain, every spiritual question goes through him and he can, in kind of a proto-feudalism, assign land and property to certain mobleaders, and thus, their mobs. He also determines the beliefs which the tribe has to follow, usually the beliefs he established in his own mob, which are most advantageous to him and his mob, a practice which doesn't help the matter.   Orcish religion is therefore something highly unstable. What orcs "knew" under one shaman, could be total humbug when the next comes to power, and it usually is. Which kind of shaman would accept the teachings of the predecessor he just overthrew? Something like an overarching "orc religion" therefore simply does not exist. No shaman would accept to have his word questioned, when he needs something done although "the religion" forbids it. Thus the shaman becomes much more of a political figure than a truly spiritual ona.   The chieftain   In orcish society the chieftain is always female and the matriarch of the current shaman. Whereas the shaman holds the power over all non military matters, everything military falls into the responsibility of the chieftain. She can be overruled only by the shaman, yet only if her orders threaten the peace within the tribe, or touch on matters of ressource and land distribution. This is when she and her mobleader have to decide together. In times of war she has the undivided authority over all strategical and tactical questions, while her task in peace is to see to it that the fighting force is in good shape and the tribe is well defended.   "Officially" subordinated to the mobleader, in reality there are enough chieftains out there who are the de facto leaders of their tribes, and because she and her mobleader form a unit, she can't be challenged or removed without also removing the shaman. A coup to "replace the shaman" could therefore in fact truly be a coup to get rid of the chieftain.   Coups   Whereas Wolven have the rite of challenge, which somehow codifies the transition of power, and even limits it to times, when wolven are not at war, orcs do not care for such niceties. The normal way power is transfered is by coup and it can happen anytime. Therefore a shaman in power, be it now real or as a proxy for his chieftain wife, does well in keeping the other mobleaders and their wives satified, to prevent an uprising which could very well lead to his removal and, usually, death.   Such coups usually happen at times when the tribe has been beaten severely or has fallen on a strain of bad luck. They are usually followed by times of relative peace in which the new shaman and chieftain stabilize their power, while the tribe licks it wounds and grows again, until a new wave of orcs washes over the countryside and has to be repelled, be it by other tribes, or by the humans, wolvens or elven.

Facial characteristics

Orcs have a broad straight nose, prominent supraorbital ridges and eyes which are usually larger than humans, but smaller then elven eyes. They also have pointed ears. Their faces are square jawed, the female faces slightly less than those of males, although many female orcish face could very well pass as a male human one. Orcs don't grow beards.   All orcs show prominent tusks, two pairs of them, growing from the lower jaw. The outer pair is always bigger than the inner pair of tusks.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Orcs live quite central in the western parts of Ardu, in the Orc Plains, the Ocean Of Grass, the Wolven Forests but also the foothills of the Dragon Stones, The Black Crowns and the Hammer of Ice.   They haven't spread as far as the goblins, and are rarely found in other parts of the world. They are known in Cityleague of Eridu , Soth and The Bandit Kingdoms, where they are often part of warbands, robbers and pirategroups , yet although people in Caldaven and The Emerald Coast might have heard fairy tales of them, the probability is low that they ever saw one face to face. Yet if they did, they probably misinterpreted him as some form of Plaguebeast.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Orcs before their tenth birthday have no name, and only when they start their journey into proto- orogship (see Genetics and Reproduction) do they get one.This name however is bound to change during life. Orogs rarely keep the names given to them during this phase, but rather choose a better, more sutiatble one for themsleves later. Orcs on the other hand can be renamed by the orogs they follow, and often are, sometimes even on a whim.   Orcish and orog names often have a crude and alien sound to it, and other races have problems pronouncing them, with Gelf , for some unknown reason, being the notable exception.   Naming of an orc comes down to finding some distinctive feature of the orc, good or bad, and calling him that. This is because orcs, unlike orog, do not really care for their names. To them it is a just moniker that allows others to directly address them. The orc, due to its nature without a developed self, neither feels pride nor shame about it. The name is then extended by the name of the Orog who leads the gang of which the orc is part, and then the name of the orog who leads the mob (if that does not happen to be the same orog).   Orogs take an entirely different stance. Each Orog name is a "larger than life badass boast", made up of a rather imposing first name, followed by an extensive, unabridged list of deeds, which the orog has done (or claims to have done). So, while there might very well be unfortunate names for orcs, which doesn't matter, as they don't have the self awareness to care, an unfortunate, non imposing orog name simply can't be found. In every day life, an orog name is usually shortened to the first name for practicality, but in "official" business, like meetings of the mobleaders, orogs insist on being adressed fully and correctly.  
Typical Orc Names (male and female)
  Gushgub (Great-Tooth), Grishnog (Grey-Eye), Voshtak (Swift-Run), Drogkul (Black-Back), Rimkrush (Dumb-Head), Sharnog (Clear-Eye), Rimkurd (Little-Hand), Thrumkrish (Reliable Guard).   Full orcish name (example):
  • Grishnog un Oghma kor Thrumrook: Grishnog from Oghmas gang in Thrumroks mob.
  • Rimkurd unkor Orgrimm: Rimkurd from Orgrimms (gang and) mob.
Typical Orog Names (male)
Voshgorok (Swift Striker), Orgrimm (Orc Rage), Thrumrok (Reliable Hammer), Sherkragh (Morning Kill), Harshrog (Great Leader)  
Typical Orog Names (female)
Kragh-teni-kuluk (Kills many humans), Oghma (She-Warrior, actually warrior, warrior in orcish is female), Garokragh (Wolven-Death), Voshkaal (Swift Blade), Grukaal (Bloody Blade)   Full orog name (example):
  • Oghma Garoworgh kerish dushgum kal Caerenrock kyuk teni Kuluk bosh : Oghma Wolvenstrangler (Garoworgh) who ensured (kerish) victory (dushgum) at (kal) Caerenrock and brought (kyuk) many (teni) human (kuluk) slaves (bosh).

Average Technological Level

Orcs have ttained a level of thechnology somewhat comparable to the wolven. Just like the wolven they very much appreciate the security of a fortified settlement, albeita their art of masonry does not measure up to that of the humans, leaving them with fortified wooden or half wooden forts. Here the orogs and their orcs live in large round wooden huts, each gang in it's own, while the Mosh- and Kush- var of a mob have huts next to each other, which are often even connected.   Just like the wolven, especially in the ocean of grass, not all orcish tribes settle permanently though, but rather live a nomadic lifestyle. While the settled orcs often have the possibility to create a form of steel, a technic the orcs acquired from their human slaves, nomadic tribes lack these ressources and steel is a sought after commodity, usually aqcuired through raids. The homes of these nomadic tribes are usually large tents, similarly organized as the huts in the more fortified setllements, with the tents of the Mosh- and Kush-var of the same mob standing together.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Orcs have few laws, even fewer than the wolven, because might makes right in the orcish mindset, but those laws they have ar adamant.  
Challenging for orcs
  Not a grab for power, albeit it can be temporarily misused, is the rule that orogs can be challenged for their orcs. The orcs have their own mind and rarely stay for long with a challenger after being "won", but for the actual purpose of this practice, that is to say the control of the Plague, this time horizon suffices.   A Plague infestation, at least with orogs, is not a singular incident. Whenever an orog is afflicted by the plague and thus threatens to turn into a hobgoblin, all orcs who follow him (or her) also fall for the plague sooner or later and turn into bugbears. All orogs are thus on guard for the first telltale signs of a plague affliction with any other orog, and ready to challenge him (or her) for his orcs.   Because hobgoblins, like most plaguebeasts, are adverse to light, one of the stranger result of this is the orcish "mid-day sunstaring" contests, which oftentimes precedes a challenge.


Orcs have a rudimentary rune scripture and number system, although they do not use paper but rather write on skins and leather. Despite this, they do not have have a written history, at least over longer periods of time. This is because orog shamans very well recognize the perks of having a record of their "deeds", be they now true or false, yet their "records" rarely survive the next coup, and if so, they become twisted and rewritten by their usurpers, usually into something equally imlausible, which makes them utterly useless for those seeking to understand orcish history.   Just like the goliaths however, the lack of a written history on their own does not mean that there is no history written about the orcs. Yet, because these are usualy human sources, they lack the understanding for the orcish mindset or even social structure, and often are nothing else but a series of accounts of generations in which certain tribes attacked certain human settlements, are repelled, just to come back a few years later.   The very first record of orcs dates back to the time of the second expanse however, when humans made their first steps to widen their influence over the parts west of the Dragon Stones   The second Expanse and the dark times
The time when humans first encountered the orcs was during the second expanse, after they had started an ill informed crusade against the Wolven, which at that time were dominant in the Ocean Of Grass.   The war had left Weyland and the wolven weakened, which gave the orcs the opportunity to spread out of the The Orc Plains and into the region. Up to today they hold this territory, and in order to just hold their ground against the orcs, the humans of Weyland had to form an alliance with their former enemy, the wolven.   The feud between the orcs and Weyland and the former human colony of Reach, waged until the great Scourge, which triggered the dark times. At this point the records fail and we are left to oral records.   Some weylandian legends tell that the orcs allied themselves with the Dragons and the Doombringer to become an army of darkness to conquer all human lands, yet the claim is contested by the people of Reach, who argue that the orcs hate the plaguebeasts just as much as any other race does. The people of Reach even have a legend which tells that there had been an orcish tribe which allied itself with Rimmersgard to fight back a Plaguedragon during the dark times.   As both legends were spread merely by oral tradition for hundreds if not thouands of years, before the sages of Haven wrote them down, their validity remains as questionable as orcish records however.
Orcs during the sixth Age
Orc incursions in Weyland Before the remainders of the ring empire were able to contact Weyland again, even the existence of humans beyond the Dark Crests and the Dragon Stones had faded into legend, and Weyland was basically facing the threats of the Lizard people and orcs on its own. Being threatened by Lamaria, a Yuan-ti satellite state on its south eastern Border, and the Orcs in the North west, there were times when the whole north western region, including Fargaze, Wayrest, Deephaven and Storm's End was under control of the Orcs. The times of Orc occupation left its traces in the heart of the people though, and even today, after several centruires of recapturing, the people living there hold a deep hatred, but also a healthy respect for the "leatherskinned bastards".   Because only an alliance with the Wolven of the Ocean of Grass finally allowed the recapturing of the cities and the reestablishemt of Weylandian borders as they are today, Wolven have become a more common and even somewhat respected sight in these parts of Weyland.   Orc incursions in Reach The people of Reach have lived and defended themselves now for several centruries against orcs, elves and wolven alike, with the wolven, due to the proximity of the The Wolven Forests much more prominent here than in the south.   Orc incursions in Reach are also much more rare, because it is not only the humans with whom the orcs have to keep up with, but the very same wolven and elves that the humans face too. To a Reacher (as the people of Reach refer to themself, an orc is thus just one of many threats, and not met with the same vitirous hatred that a north-western weylandian might feel. To a Reacher, orcs are a force of nature and the Reachers wither through them.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Orcs and Goblins   Orcs have few allies, yet the Goblins of the West, the so called Western raiders, are definitley among them. Goblin tribes west of the Dragon Stones often lack the numbers to pose a threat to the heavily fortified cities of Weyland and Rimmersgard, but their guile and their insight is something that many orcish leaders (usually female orog) can put to good use. A common sight in fortified orcish settlements is a small part of the settlement being dedicated to be used by the goblins. Once the orcs had tried to enslave the goblins, but their physical frailness compared to the humans and their diminuitive size make them useless for most tasks a slave could be used for, whereas, on the battlefield, and especially due to their specialisation in guerilla warfare, Goblins are of use to the orcs. Thus a partnership was formed.   Today many human sources in Weyland consider the Goblins to even be an orcish subgroup, a belief supported by the greenish skin of many representatives of both races. They are wrong however, goblins are more closely related to the Gelf, but that nevertheless didn't stop the weylandians from considering orcs and goblins alike as being part of the group of "goblinoids".
80 Years
Average Height
1,70 to 2.05
Average Weight
70 to 120 kg
Average Physique
  The physique of an orc is brawny, regardless if male or female. Used to the harsh living circumstances of a nomadic life, the orcs of Ardu have evolved into a race that puts a lot of focus on physical fitness. There is no grave hereditary physical difference between orogs and common orcs, yet, because they had to excel above other orcs of their generation in order to turn into orogs (see Genetics and reproduction) they are usually exceptional specimens of orcs anyway.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
The leathery ork skin shows dark green, brown or black tone. Whereas about all Orog wear tribal tattoos, embellishments and sometimes even facepaint denoting their tribe, comon orcs never wear any of these, oftentimes not even understanding the concept of these ornaments.

D&D 5e Stats


Ability Score Increase +2 Str, +1 Agi, +1Con
Size Medium
Speed 30ft

Size: 5,5-6,7 ft (1,70 - 2,05 m)

Orc Traits:

  • Darkvision: You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Primal Charme: You are proficient in the Persuasion skill, when trying to influence the opposite sex.
  • Menacing: You are proficient in the Intimidation skill.
  • Aggressive. As a bonus action, you can move up to your speed toward an enemy of your choice that you can see or hear. You must end this move closer to the enemy than you started.
  • Powerful Build: You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
  • Relentless Endurance When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You can’t use this feature again until you finish a long rest.


Languages. You can speak, read and write Orcish and Common.

Pathfinder 2e Stats

See also the Feats at the Bottom of the page

Hit Points
Ability Boosts
Ability Flaw
Additional languages equal to your Intelligence modifier (if it’s positive). Choose from any other languages to which you have access (such as the languages prevalent in your region)

You can see in darkness and dim light just as well as you can see in bright light, though your vision in darkness is in black and white.

Iron Will
As much as you are able to impose your will upon the Fae (and thus sire Faeborn Children with the single will of one parent), the Fae has less effect on you. You gain a +2 Bonus on your Will saves.

Orc Heritages:

Badlands Orc
You grew up in the dusty, hot and oftentimes barren orc plains, where long legs and an ability to withstand the elements helped you thrive. You can Hustle twice as long while exploring before you have to stop, and you treat environmental heat effects as if they were one step less extreme (incredible heat becomes extreme, extreme heat becomes severe, and so on)

Deep Orc
Your calloused hands and red eyes speak to a life spent in the deep darkness of mountain caverns, be it in the Dragonstones, the Bloodpeak or the black Crowns. You learned to battle on rocky cliffs and survive with minimal resources. You gain the Terrain Expertise skill feat for underground terrain and the Combat Climber skill feat.

Hold-Scarred Orc
You are part of an orc community that was exceptionally warlike and sturdy. The marks and scars on your skin show your exceptional hardiness and vitality. You gain 12 Hit Points from your ancestry instead of 10. You also gain the Diehard feat.

Forest Orc
You were born in the large forests with only tangles of trees providing protection from torrential rainstorms and flash floods. You’ve learned to move adeptly through forest terrain and resist the various ailments common in humid environments. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus to Athletics checks to Climb or Swim and a +1 circumstance bonus to saving throws against diseases

Orc Ancestry Feats:

At 1st level, you gain one ancestry feat, and you gain an additional ancestry feat every 4 levels thereafter (at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels). As an Orc, you select from among the ancestry feats as described here or in the Core Rulebook (p.59 found under Half-Orc) or Advanced Players Guide(pg. 19).
A comprehensive lists of Human Feats can be found here:
Orc Feats
if picking from that list, choose only those which come from the Core Rulebook (p.59 found under Half-Orc) or the Advanced Players Guide. (pg. 19)

Level 5

Defy Death - - Feat 5 -

Requirements Orc Ferocity
Description You're exceptionally difficult to kill. The DC of your recovery checks is equal to 9 + your dying value, or 8 + your dying value if you have the Toughness general feat. In addition, whenever someone returns you to life using magic that would normally leave you debilitated for a week (such as raise dead or the resurrect ritual), you don't suffer that condition.

Scar-Thick Skin - - Feat 5 -

Description Glorious, storied scars cover and protect much of your body. Your DC on flat checks to end persistent bleed damage is reduced from 15 to 10, or from 10 to 5 after receiving especially appropriate assistance.

Level 13

Lifebloods Call - - Feat 13 -

Description The impulse to survive and continue fighting resonates deep within you. You gain a circumstance bonus to damage rolls on your melee Strikes equal to twice the sum of your wounded and doomed conditions (to a maximum of a +8 circumstance bonus to damage) whenever you have one or both conditions.


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12 May, 2020 07:28

Lots of great Orc detail!

Featured Articles in the Shadow War across Creation by Graylion

16 May, 2020 11:47

Thanks. They were the race i struggled most with. Also my players don't play any so i had to finish their races (Goblins, Goliaths) and religion (Cleric of the Starfaith) first.   I wanted the orcs to have an alien feel, and not just be a tribe of noble or not so noble barbarian people. With the wolven i have those already. Hence the orc orog diffrentiation.

13 May, 2020 20:48

Really interesting read and excellent level of detail.