The most common structure for Orc clans to take. These clans organise themselves under the combined (hopefully) leadership of the clan chief and the clan witch. They are nomadic by nature, raiding often for resources or moving to and from established orc settlements to conduct trade, seek shelter after a defeat in battle or raid. They observe the Seeding ritual and grow in numbers by integrating other orcs either following a victory against another clan or newly bloomed orcs. It is extremely rare for a clan to return to a place they've sown to integrate their own offspring. This stems from when they used to lead conflict away from their Breeding Mounds in hopes that potential enemies or predators would not look for it. However, since coming to Golarion's surface, Seed clans especially those with dwindling numbers (following a defeat or due to famine or disease) have taken to camping out by Breeding Mounds about to hatch in order to replenish their numbers by integrating the newborns. Seed orc clans are known for their ferocity in battle, with multiple orcs often exhibiting remarkable cohesion even during a chaotic melee which can rival even the most experienced of soldiers. Their life of near constant pressure of scarcity, raiding and battle as well as the close bonds they form within the clan means that what they may lack in technical skill or weaponry they can compensate for in sheer adaptability and instinct.
Seed orc clans aren't generational and as such don't observe family naming customs like humans but are identified in equal parts by three names:
- Clan Name: The name of the clan they belong to.
- Derivate Name: This name alludes to the person they are attached to and the nature of their bond. (Partner, lover, friend, admirer, etc...)
- Given Name: The name given to them by their fellow clan member, often a descriptor be it physical or of their behaviour.
Occasionally, a particularly famous or infamous orc will gain another name, given to them by other clans if they are notable. This name functions like a title and will often follow after their pre-existing clan-given name. By its nature, it is out of the control of the individual being named and might even spread to other clans without their knowledge. This is not a name that the individual will identify themselves or their clan identify them with, it is for other clans to refer to the same character. This name is a mark of notoriety and can function as both a mark of respect or a warning to other clans. Particularly treacherous orcs, especially if they lead a clan, may receive a title and that title will be passed to other clans as a warning not to ally themselves lest they run the risk to be stabbed in the back. Though this warning may be received as a challenge. Extremely rarely, such a title will be given to a non-orc individual. When this occurs, it is virtually always as a warning to orcish kind. Most notably, Belkzen was known as Belkzen Uelaz to the orc clans who united under him. And on the other end of the spectrum the Whispering Tyrant also received such a title to warn orc clans during his conquest of the Hold.
Example of naming traditions in use:For the following, all phrases have been translated from the original orcish into english.
IntroductionsAn orc introducing themselves may be structured like this:
I am Zug of the Blood Axe clan. "I am [Given Name] + [Clan Name]"Or they may introduce themselves as such:
I am Dooka'Urguz of the Blood Axe Clan. "I am (Name of Other Person) + ' + (Nature of their bond) + (Clan Name)"In both, examples, the same orc is introducing themselves to strangers using one of the two names they can choose between to do this with, either their given name or the derivate name. In the latter case, the derivate name "Dooka'Urguz" indicated the bond to another person whose given name is Dooka and the nature of that bond, "Urguz" meaning "lover". An orc introducing another will always be structured as such:
This is Zug of the Blood Axe Clan.
Notoriety titlesBetween two orcs of different seed clans referring to another famous or infamous character who is an outsider to both:
We will always remember Belkzen Uelaz. "We will always remember (Given Name) + (Notoriety Title).In which case, an orc declares that orcs will never forget Belkzen The Leader, as "Uelaz" means an important leader above average clan leaders. Even without Belkzen present, by using his given name which describes the character physically or by their actions and their notoriety title, the orc will have a fair amount of information to figure out who Belkzen is if and when they meet. However this is not fullproof.
Name Loss or ChangeAs a consequence to usually drastic circumstances a seed orc may lose identity markers. For instance the sole survivor of a clan cannot identify by the name of their clan which has been obliterated. However their given name still functions. In extremely rare cases, if an orc somehow doesn't have anyone to share a bond important enough that they'd identify by it they may lack a derivate name. However, most often orcs in this situation will default to using their bond to the clan leader as a derivate. And lastly if somehow an orc bloomed out of a Breeding Mound on their own without integrating into a passing clan they may lack all identity markers. These are all extreme edge cases which occur only very rarely. More likely, orcs names can change if they change clans, they find another person they want to indentify themselves in relation to or the clan decides on a new given name for them following a particularly notable event they were involved in or a change to their physique making the former name irrelevant or redundant. It is to be noted that notoriety titles are virtually impossible to change or lose within the typical lifetime of an average orc.
Major language groups and dialects
Most seed orcs will use Higher Orcish which is mutually intelligible with Wet Orcish and Lower Orcish speakers.
Average technological level
Most seed orc clans are capable of maintaining themselves and their equipment. They can repair their armour and refit looted armour to fit them. Depending on circumstances and the resources available to them, they can even make decent quality leather wares and craft their own bone armour. However, they will often rely on trading with legacy clans to receive higher-quality or complex goods as well as arms and armour. As legacy clans remain in one place and often dedicate themselves to a specific trade in order to strike non-agression deals with the seed clans around them or in The Hold as a whole.
Common Etiquette rules
To greet one another, seed orcs will often signify non-aggressive intent by either sheathing their weapon if drawn or sliding a portion of it out of its sheath and letting it slide back down. Approaching seed orcs with drawn weaponry may not be perceived as a sign of agression, however it will be seen as a sign of distrust or disrespect. In the case of pole or some missile weapons, simply pointing them upwards or downwards is equivalent. Other than that, seed clans have little in terms of formalities which could be extended to fit all seed clans. However they take signs of disrespect seriously and will make it clear if they feel an affront has been made to them so the situations may be resolved without bloodshed.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
RaidingSeed orcs raid constantly. They will raid for resources which they cannot produce or for resources to trade with in established settlements after the raid. Prior to a raid the clan will set up a camp within scouting distance of their target. Ideally, they will remain there for days in order to decide on whether to raid or not. If they decide the odds of a successful raid are too small, they simply move to another area. If they decide to raid, a minority of orcs will stay on the camp, these orcs never partake in raids and while they may be able to fight, they have greater value as they can set up, maintain and dismantle a camp quickly. In case they succeed, they return to the same camp and remain there for another week or so, then move to another more secure location to set camp for long enough to maintain themselves, craft what supplies they need, etc... In case of a partial defeat in which some of the clan survives the raid, they will retreat to the camp long enough to gather essentials and abandon their camp if given chase to. And in case of a total defeat, meaning all raiders were killed during the raid, the few remaining orcs at the camp will attempt to salvage what they can and leave for safer grounds and hopefully integrate into another clan. Of course, this is all an ideal case scenario. Orcs can be driven to desperation by scarcity and raid a settlement even with odds against them or prepare less optimally for a raid.
The SeedingSeed clans observe the Seeding ritual in order to breed new generations of orcs. It should be noted that while this is their primary forms of reproduction, it is decently common for two seed orcs to still mate and conceive in-utero. In this case, a pregnant orc may still partake in raiding though most will remain non-combatant during the last few months of gestation and the few months following giving birth.
Common Myths and Legends
Seed orcs, like most orcs on Golarion believe in the Orc creation myth of the First Seed and most still revere Belkzen Uelaz.
Seed orcs value physicality. They respect the time taken to hone physical skills, be that in dance, battle, music, play or sex. Though not particularly interested in crafting artistic pieces, orcs will often turn their bodies into works of orcish art with body paint, tattoos, piercings and other such aesthetically motivated body modifications.
Orcs are fairly easy to enter an intimate relationship with. They are fairly blunt about the nature of their feelings between them, other orcs and prospective partners and expect similar honesty in return. An orc cannot be drawn into an exclusively monogamous relationship though they may have increased chemistry with a particular partner over others, in fact this partner is often the person after which an orc will identify themselves. It is similarly easy to leave a relationship as it is to enter one. Orcs will remain stoic however and respect their ex-partner's wishes while enduring whatever individual emotional pain they may experience in silence.
Seed orcs naturally organise themselves in polycules. Meaning any individual orc will often form a stronger bond, romanic or otherwise, to multiple other members of a seed clan often coming up to 20 orcs. These sub-units of the clan become very apparent during the Seeding as they will often enter the Breeding Mound to seed together and amongst themselves. The other place this becomes apparent is on battlefields as their bond is illustrated in their incredible cohesion in battle even with very little communication. Orcs are respectful of their partners' boundaries and can often come to instinctively enforce them in their stead if these boundaries are disrespected. Though orcs have a harder time forming this kind of instinctive bond with non-orc partners, their battle-trained attentiveness and alertness can often replace this instinct.