A Destructive History
Orcs are about as tall as the average human, but built naturally broader. Their skin color ranges from a muted green, to grey, to light red. Their faces look similar to humans, but their forehead tends to go further up, making their hairline start further back; their eyebrows tend to sit lower, accentuating their already larger foreheads; and their cheeks puff out a bit, forced aside by small tusks replacing their lower canines. For one reason or another, Orcs tend to live about a decade shorter than the average human.
The Orcs have a rough reputation among many of the other kith, at least the kith that don't deal with them often. The Orcs hold a (not entirely undeserved) reputation for bloodlust, going back to the early history of Qemt'Or when Mandaru took the united Orcish tribes and led them on a conquest, sacking many cities and taking the loot back to their capital. This reputation lingers into modern day, despite the last couple hundred years of civility on par with the rest of the nations.
A People of Many Passions
The Great Encyclopedia succinctly describes Orcs as "...like anyone else only more so". That is to say, anything you would expect from another kith, you can expect from an Orc at a higher level; although this observation only really applies to emotional matters. You see, the other kith have noticed that Orcs seem to have trouble controlling their emotions - all of them. When something tragic happens, they wail their lamentations; when something joyous happens, they cheer and clap their exultations; when their nation calls for patriotic men and women to join the army, the Orcs are the first in line, cheering on their cause and denouncing the other side.
They let their passions guide them, often foregoing a logical approach to follow their gut. This is not to say that Orcs are any less capable of logic than the other kith, but rather that it tends to get overpowered by their emotions. However, they don't see their emotions or general lack of inhibitions as a problem, and they wonder why other races and cultures are so prudish and withdrawn from their own feelings. They note that following their passions has led to great things - Orcish culture supports having hobbies and following your heart, something very rare in the rest of Morgrave.
The Horde from the Steppes
The Orcs were originally nomads from the eastern steppes in modern day Qemt'Or. Initially they were a tribal people, competing for land and resources both with each other and the plains Centaur, but in early history a chieftain named Zuabu began to unite the tribes. His successors continued his efforts, consolidating power and growing the tribal confederacy. Several generations after Zuabu began his task, Mandaru
, queen of kings, took up the role of chieftain of Qemt'Or.
Mandaru turned her people - skilled horsemen and hunters - into true warriors. She led them on campaign after campaign, leaving the steppes and pushing out far into the decadent west, where the Hobgoblins made their cities of gold. One by one she sacked the richest until, after a 15 month siege, she razed their capital, Bushaad. All that stayed standing of that once great city was the temples. Until about 125 years ago, the Qemti (becoming more and more multi-ethnic, but usually led by the Orcs) continued their warlike ways until they hit a barrier on all sides and began to consolidate.
Warriors in a Time of Peace
Qemt'Or still maintains a standing army, of course, but there has been little bloodshed between the nations since that time that Qemt'Or began to consolidate all its holdings. So what has Qemt'Or's proud warrior caste done in a time of peace? These once vicious warriors have become cosmopolitan in that time; some Orcs would say "soft". They joined a budding bureaucracy as the tribal confederacy reformed itself into a true nation. These warriors, once a high ranking caste in Qemti society, turned into the local ruling class, funneling the power away from the once largely autonomous states into the new central government.
But some Orcs couldn't handle this change from war to politics. A not insignificant population of Orcs turned to brigandry to sate their bloodlust, or else became mercenaries for other nations or adventurers. In fact, the Orcs were one of the first races to turn adventuring into a real profession, even setting up the first adventuring guilds in Morgrave. Before, guards and soldiers were used to deal with the monsters that haunted the periphery of civilized areas, but now there were brave, well-trained men and women who were eager to go face to face with the beasts from the untamed lands. And those that took none of these paths, often returned to the steppes...
The Call to the Steppes
A relatively small portion of Orcs never joined Qemt'Or officially, although Qemt'Or always claimed possession of the land they lived on. These nomadic Orcs, called "wild Orcs" by some, never abandoned their hunter-gatherer ways, living off the land far removed from the machinations of Qemt'Or. After the change from military conglomeration to political state, some Orcs felt that Qemt'Or had become antithesis to how "real" Orcs were supposed to live - they were made to plunder cities, not live in them, damnit! - and so they set off back to the steppes to join their estranged cousins.
This movement started off slow, but has picked up in speed. Each year more and more Orcs pick up their lives and go out to follow their dreams of living free on the Qemt'Or steppes. Still... this number is insignificant compared to the overall population of Qemt'Or. Overall, this movement underscores the purposeful choice on the part of the central Qemti government to about face from a life of war and pillaging to a life of peace and trade. When you halt a thousand years of momentum, it's no wonder some keep going the old route; these Orcs think, after all, that they were made for war...
Blessed by Ares and Aphrodite
According not only to the Orcs, but also many kith who know Orcish culture well, the Orcs are blessed both by Ares and Aphrodite, some going even so far as to suggest that they are the children of the two gods. Ares is the good of courage and fervor in warfare. Anyone who has faced an Orc in combat knows that they are overflowing with these two traits. The Orcs show great reverence to Ares, honoring him by spilling blood in his name and performing cthonic ceremonies over the fallen - both comrades and opponents.
Aphrodite is the goddess of love and the night. While it's not instantly clear to many kith why the Orcs are supposedly blessed by Aphrodite, the Orcs consider her to be their matron goddess, over even Ares. The Orcs are an extremely passionate people, including all aspects one would usually associate with the word 'passion'; Orcish birthrates are higher than any other kith and Orcish culture has looser concepts of relationships than the rest of Morgrave. In further evidence of this blessing, Orcs are the only race besides Dwarves with darksight.
Orcish names are short, usually 1 or 2 syllables. They don't traditionally use last names, but with a high population and a relatively limited supply of first names it sometimes becomes necessary to take use an epithet to differentiate Orcs of the same name. The epithets they choose or are given by others can be anything; it may relate to a personality trait, a physical feature, a past feat, or anything else.
Male Orc Names: Dench, Feng, Gell, Henk, Holg, Imsh, Keth, Krusk, Mhurren, Ront, Shump, Thokk
Female Orc Names: Baggi, Emen, Engong, Kansif, Myev, Neega, Ovak, Ownka, Shautha, Sutha, Vola, Volen, Yevelda
Location: Mostly Qemt'Or, but there are some in every nation
Recommended Stats: Strength, Constitution, Charisma
Common Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger
Age: Orcs can live until around 70. They are considered adults at 14.
Size: Orcs stand between 5 and 6 feet tall. They are broad shouldered and usually quite muscular. Your size is medium.
Speed: Your speed is 30 ft.
Powerful Build: You have advantage when making an athletics check to push, pull or lift something. You also gain an extra 2 slots. Homebrew: Slots
Weapon Training: The Orcs are a martial people. You start with 1 more weapon mastery than normal. Homebrew: Weapon Mastery
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Orcish.
Darksight: You can see in non-magical darkness as if it were dim light, you can see in dim light as if it were bright light.
Rough Reputation: You have proficiency in athletics and intimidation.
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.
Bloodlust: You may choose to double your movement speed, as long as the extra speed is used to move toward an enemy. You can use this up to (con mod) times. Resets on a long rest.