Origins: Each tribe has their own different story for the origins of orcs but it is generally believed that Maylar and Nami created orcs together after the godly equivalent of a wild night on the town.   Early History: Orcs are a creature of the Third Age. The first orcs were either created shortly before or shortly after the creation of the first humans. Early histories of both orcs and humans includes the other group as already being present.   Orcs originated on the largest northern continent whereas humans emerged on every major landmass. Where they coexisted, orcs and humans usually fought. Sometimes they traded and cooperated peacefully but these times were exceptions that proved the rule.   A half-orc sorcerer and warrior of legendary power named Mordock used charisma, diplomacy, and naked force to unify the various northern barbarian tribes of humans and orcs as well as a halcoalition including a small number of young dragons, Giants, and other monsters raided the Dwarf nation of Meckelorn and the infant human nations conquering a lot of land and establishing their capital in the captured Dwarf capital based around the Great Stone.   Much to the consternation of all dwarves, Mordock died peacefully in sleep at an old age and not by their vengeful axes. Mordock’s grand coalition did not survive his death. Fighting broke out between several factions, especially humans and orcs. Most of the humans left Mordock’s infant nation and returned to their nomadic ways, as did many orcs. A succession of orc warlords with very short reigns managed the fledgling orc nation for about a century before all semblance of civilized of an orc civilization finally collapsed.   Recent History and Distribution: Nearly all orcs today are nomadic or pastoWest Colassia but during the orcs’ brief experiment with running a nation. Many orcs bought or commandeered ships and some tribes began settling in distant lands though these scattered enclaves of orcs remain relatively small. In their traditional northern homelands, orc barbarians have been gradually overtaking the human barbarian tribes there. It is estimated that orcs outnumber nomadic humans by at least two-to-one.   Orcs have been a nuisance if a not a menace to other humanoids but they have not reached the threat level of Mordock’s time in centuries.   Life Cycle and Society: Most orcs travel in nomadic bands typically numbering between thirty and a thousand members, normally about a quarter of which are children. The more available food is in an area, the larger the orc bands tend to be. Nomadic bands usually share tribal ties with nearby bands. Most orc tribes number between three and thirty thousand members. Customs and practices vary from tribe to tribe considerably. Tribes merge, split, and redefine themselves often, making it hard to keep track of orc practices.   Religious Practices: Orc religious practices vary from individual to individual and tribe to tribe. Most orcs view Maylar or Nami as their main patron or worship both. Korus is the distant third deity most worshiped. Mera, Greymoria, Hallisan, and Phidas usually get token observances, if even that. Khemra is almost never even acknowledged.   There are not many orc divine spell-casters. The vast majority of these are empowered by Nami or Maylar. Any other divine spell-casters are probably oddball favored souls.
Orc Character Creation Rules   In most games, you need special permission from the game master to play a full orc.   Orcs have the same 1 to five attribute spread that humans have in every attribute except Strength. Orcs have the following additional traits.   Very Strong: Orcs have a minimum Strength of 2 rather than 1. They have a maximum Strength of 6 rather than 5. On top of this, orcs get -1 all non-magical Strength rolls, including inflicting damage. They get a -1 bonus on Willpower rolls when making feat of Strength checks.   Tough: Orcs receive an extra Bruised level.       Ill-tempered: +1 difficulty penalty all non-magical Charisma and Manipulation rolls when dealing with non-orcs (half-orcs count as orcs for this purpose).   Somewhat dim: Orcs receive a +1 difficulty on all non-magical Intelligence rolls.

Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake


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