Orcs are a species of people who have been the subject of discrimination based on their nomadic lifestyles, though their hybrid kin are less driven by the need to be in constant travel. Across Soplas, Orcs are healers, scholars, warriors, smiths, crafters, nobles, criminals, merchants, priests, beauticians, poets, and historians.
Are you the Orc scholar finding cracks within the world?
  As a society, however, Orcs are a social species and do not have a species-unique culture. Most cultural traits assigned to the species are the result of other cultures or those cultures interpretation of Orc behaviors.

Anatomy & Morphology

General description
Most Orcs stand taller than Humans and Elves, and are typically buklier in build than Humans. Most orcs have a similar skintone range of Humans, except with a shift to gray stone-like colorization.   The average Orc could also be described as the Turvesdzint written character is literally translated - "Large Stone Human Person." While the myths and stories of Orc and Human origin conflict, there are some Turves who believe Orcs were Humans carved from stone.

Facial Characteristics & Features
The most common defining feature of an Orc, or someone with Orc blood, are tusks. Some Orcs have their tusks growing from their lower jaw, and others have tusks from the upper jaw, though very few have a "mis-matched" pair of tusks or have outward-facing tusks. Most languages have an "Orcish" dialect to replace sounds requiring a sealed-lips formation or other mouth-made-shapes hindered by the presence of the tusks.   While the general skintone range of Orcs is a stone-like parallel to Humans', Orcs eye coloration tends to be "more" of the color than most Human eyecolors. Very few Orcs could be described as having "faded" or eyes of an "indescernable" color.
"He's a half-orc. It's one thing for the Great-Cooks to adopt a Catfolk girl, but what's so endearing to anyone about a half-orc?" "I'm told it was my eyes. My first parents died in a storm rescuing a whaling crew, what did your parents do for the arling?"
— Arle Sten Stormwatch to gossips


Childhood   As children, Orcs do not have large tusks, and instead have a set of baby teeth that hold the space for the tusks to eventually grow. Orc healers will, however, install braces into the mouths of children if there are signs of narrow mouths or if there are risks of the tusks forcing out the other errupting adult teeth.   Teen Orcs often wear curve-correcting bands and headgear until their tusks are in alignment and the individual is no longer risking self-impalment. There are multiple stories of an embarassed pair (or more) teens who found themselves locked by their own braces or bands to another.
Adulthood   Orcs reach full maturation at about 25 years of age, though their tusks will generally grow for another decade. Some adults still wear curve-correcting bands, and others continue to wear braces for the rest of their lives.   As time marches on, most Orcs begin to develop "brittle bones" in their old age, and their vision typically worsens at a drastic pace. Arthritis is a common ailment by the time an Orc is considered "middle aged."
Diet and Culinary Traditions   Most Orcs are omnivorous, though very few will lift a chicken leg to their mouth and tear out a bite due to their tusks. Dishes are typically presented in cut form, and served with bread or crackers to absorb the remaining juices.


  Orcs have to combat old stereotypes of being described as "dirty" for their travels or "too lazy" to setting and build a society - stereotypes dating back to the Adrakian Empire. Despite the stereotypes, Orcs as a species are disgusted by a lack of cleanliness and identify cleanliness with good health and wealth.   Curiously, Orcs have metal crafting skills to rival the Dwarves. In the mountain Arlings of Theydim, and the regions of Tormyra where most Orc wanderers are found, there are medical schools and often those settlements with the schools are retreats for those who can afford the journey in order to receive treatment at the hands of skill Orc healers (or their students).   It is believed Orcs and Nomadic Elves both wander for some deity-given reason, and while the Nomadic elves can settle without the drive to travel, Orcs cannot. Some scholars - Orc and non-Orc - believe a deity had cursed the Orcs, though why is subject to heavy debate.

History of the Species

  As a species, the Orcs have been wanderers since the earliest Adrakian records. Among the the Turves, there are records of the explorers asking if Orcs had been carved from stone, and Humans molded from clay. The same records state the questions were met with confusion.   Most of the stereotypes date back to the Adrakian Era, where the "Orc bands" were never fully incorporated into the Empire due to a lack of their own settlements - they were never "conquered" like "civilized" people could be.   Since the fall of the Empire, the Orcs have been fighting the discrimination while several Orc scholars have been researching ancient ruins to try and uncover the history of their species.

Beauty Ideals

  Clear eyes of a strong coloring, often decorated by makeup, tattoos, or other forms of ornamentation.   Clean and well aligned teeth and ideally with a lack of cavities. Braces for straightening teeth are acceptable. While wear and damage can detract from beauty, cultural allowances are made as long as the tusks are cared for and show signs the Orc in particular did not acquire the wear and damage through neglect.   Muscular builds, calluses relating to occupation, and a lack of scars or signs of well treated scars.   In general, non-Orcs can describe Orcish beauty as generally being "Strong enough to work, patient enough to work hard, skilled enough to stay healthy or be healed well." The more specific forms of beauty are typically defined further by the individual's tastes and ethnicity.


  To break off another Orc's tusk is to declare a life feud which will not end until one or the other is dead.   To describe an individual as "dirty" is one of the strongest insults, second only to "lazy," and stems from a long history where academics would describe the wandering Orcs as dirty for their constant wandering (despite Nomadic Elves also wandering at a near constant pacing) or too lazy to build a culture or society.   While not a taboo, Orcs and Orc-bloods, tend to struggle with staying in any one place for longer than a handful of years. Those with orcish heritage who have professions or responsibilities allowing for, or requiring, travel do not have the struggle as much as their non-hybrid Orc relatives. The closest to a permanent settlement would be migratory routes intersecting where other peoples have already live.
~ 120 years
Average Height
Male - 6.4'-7.2'
Female - 6'-6.5'
Average Weight
200 lbs - 300 lbs
Related Ethnicities

Articles under Orc

Cover image: by Lyraine, MidJourney


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2 Dec, 2022 03:10

Good job overall, near the end in the beauty ideals section "patient enough to work hard" seems to be an odd phrase to me. Perhaps "motivated enough to work hard" or "patient enough to master their craft" would work better?   I like they have acquired different skills, like metal crafting and healing, that would be beneficial to a nomadic people.   Possibly another thing to consider for either the orcs or the Nomadic Elves, could one or both of them have a permanent "settlement" (or have had one in the past) that they meet at every "x" years if they are able, for a large celebratory gathering before dispersing back to the corners of the world? I'm thinking something like the hardly ever mentioned Dothraki city in the first book of Game of Thrones. Just an thought

Feel free to stop by my Adventure April article and use any encounters in your own games as needed.  
A Favor for the Fae Queen
Plot | May 6, 2023
2 Dec, 2022 14:14

I'm glad the article was enjoyable - I was surprised when I only wrote in three sections and hit my non-BBCode word minimum and still had more stuff to write. xD   The Nomadic Elves have settlements they move to and from, but because of unrecorded world history, the Orcs do not have a settlement of their own (culturally), but meetings would likely be a huge deal when they occur with or without a settlement. I have some inspiration from Elder Scrolls Orcs where Orsinium never seems to quite stick, but I also took, in my mind, the Strongholds and made them more mobile. How does a forge move? Very slowly. xD   The medical and metalworking skills came out of a fragment from a campaign session, and me sitting and trying to decide if Tusk Carving would be a thing. (Decided not to, because of cavities, soo the Orcs get dentistry and medicine)   I found the phrasing in Ideals awkward too, and the ideals section is in that hybrid of a list and description while I try and mentally mull things over. Might be a thing for after WorldEmber if it takes a while. xD

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
3 Dec, 2022 00:33

I love the idea of the braces for their tusks and the fact you talk about how tusks make eating difficult. That's such a nice little touch.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
3 Dec, 2022 00:52

It actually came up in my mind while talking about trying to develop some beauty standards and then engraving one's tusks before going "ew, cavities though" and then going ham with "Yeah, Orcs have braces and dentists because healthy teeth is a good thing"   The eating was another example of me sticking pens into my mouth and make funny sounds or trying to mime doing things, and it dawned on me - sabertooth tigers used their fangs to bleed out their prey more than for taking big bites based on fossils and people testing with model skulls, and elephants don't seem to use their tusks to uproot large chunks of plant matter, so there might be issues with eating for orcs.   And then I was like "soup is great, how can I get soup into those mouths?" actually... straws might be handy and neat to have, but soup bread and crackers also work!

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
6 Dec, 2022 10:22

Great read! The subversion of the typical "Orcs = barbaric" trope is a breath of fresh air so I love that you've given them a focus on good hygiene and health. The dental hygiene part in particular, with the use of braces and bands for their tusks, is something I'd never thought about before but it makes so much sense!

~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
7 Dec, 2022 03:02

I liked being able to subvert it in-world as it's a common in-world stereotype as well as the expectation in literature. I'm glad you found this article to be a good read as well. =D   A lot of the inspiration for having a species-cultural focus on hygiene and health is based on their compulsive nomadic lifestyle - healing while traveling all the time can be rough. I also took the dental health aspect with some inspiration of all the times I was in a dentist office and reading the posters about how the health of one's mouth can indicate if other parts of the body were also in good health.   I did a google search for images of an Orc wearing braces, and found very few images, so I was like "No, my Orcs get to have braces and straightened teeth!" I too was surprised once I started thinking about it, on how much reasonable sense it made for there to be a focus on dental health, and then braces and bands. XD

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
30 Dec, 2022 10:53

This was a neat take on a species usually done dirty. My favourite bit was the belief by some people that orcs were humans carved from stone! The life feud for breaking someone else's tusk was also great though, and I can imagine great roleplaying opportunities stemming from that detail alone.

30 Dec, 2022 20:54

I'm really glad that I did a neat take because Orcs tend to be done dirty (likely from their origins as negative racial stereotype analogs), and I was like "no! I refuse that Fantasy Trope and will find ways to twist it all up to the best of my ability!"   Considering that tusks are (specific) teeth, I was like "Break someone's tusk, you're intentionally threatening their health in a way that most injuries cannot quickly heal up with." I might have overly fixated my orcs to have the hat of Teeth And Dentistry, but that will be something for post-WorldEmber-2022 Lyraine to resolve.

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive