Orc Species in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil


The brutal barbarians of the world's most uncivilized edges

Base Racial Trait

Ability Score Modifiers: (+4 Strength, +2 Constitution, –2 Intelligence, –2 Wisdom, and –2 Charisma) Orcs are incredibly brawny beings, but their history as beings who were never fully completed by their divine creator has left their mental faculties in disrepair.   Size: Orcs are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.   Type: Orcs are humanoids with the orc subtype.   Speed: Orcs have a base land speed of 30ft.   Vision: Orcs can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.   Languages: Orcs begin play speaking The Regional Language(See Languages of Zheng-Kitar) that reflects their origins(Ssarin for most orcs, with a dialect unique to the area or simple Orcish dialect Ssarin) and the language of their tribe's aligned element. Orcs with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: (Common, Orc, Ezdhûlian, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Gnomish, Halfling, and Necril).   Ferocity: Orcs possess the ferocity ability which allows them to remain conscious and continue fighting even if their hit point totals fall below 0. Orcs are still staggered at 0 hit points or lower and lose 1 hit point each round as normal.   Eternal Blood Rage: When the orcish creator deity was murdered, his death sparked a fury inside his incomplete children that shall never be quenched. Whenever they reduce an opponent that has a number of HD equal or greater than their HD - 4 to 0hp or below, they can choose to gain one of the following effects, listed below. They may use these abilities 4/day total, gaining one additional use for every 5HD you possess.  
  • Gain 2HP per HD they possessed. If full HP, serves as temp HP.
  • Gain a +1 luck bonus on melee attack and melee weapon damage rolls for 1 minute. Cumulative.
  • Gain DR 2/- and a +1 on strength checks and strength-based skill checks for 1 minute. Cumulative up to 3 times.
  • Gain a +2 morale bonus to strength for 1 minute. Cumulative up to 2 times.
  Curse of the Incomplete: If an orc goes more than 3 days without killing another intelligent (INT 3+) living or partially living creature, they must make a Will Save (DC 15 + 3 per day) each day afterwards they do not kill such a creature or fly into a rage as per the spell(CL equal to HD), attacking the nearest living or partially living creature(Prioritizing intelligent and/or larger creatures such as humanoids over insects, vermin, small animals, etc, GM Discretion) until the target dies or they die / fall unconscious.   Weapon Familiarity: Orcs are always proficient with greataxes, greatswords, and falchions, and treat any weapon with the word “orc” in its name as a martial weapon.

Basic Information


Orcish bodies are typified by their enormous amounts of muscle mass, two thick arms and two thick legs, and immensely powerful muscles and bones that give them much better physical abilities across the board. They are generally taller than the average humanoid, and are much more powerful.   In contrast, their mental faculties are generally less impressive than the average human as a result of their mythological origins as a race who was never completed by their creator deity, the Old God Yorun-Dahmu - his untimely death before they could be completed means they suffer mentally more than any other race.

Biological Traits

Powerfully built, orcs typically stand a few inches taller than most humans but have much greater muscle mass, their broad shoulders and thick, brawny hips often giving them a slightly lurching gait. They typically have dull green skin, coarse dark hair, beady red eyes, and protruding, tusk-like teeth. Orcs consider scars a mark of distinction and frequently use them as a form of body art.

Genetics and Reproduction

Orcs reproduce through sexual reproduction, whereupon females carry the children within their wombs for 2-4 months before the children are born. They are ravenously sexual beings and unlike the likes of Elves they are always fertile and capable of reproduction - only Humans narrowly beat them out in terms of fertility.   This high fertility rate is mainly to offset their high mortality rate - Orcs die so often in battle that they require vast amounts of children to keep up their numbers.

Growth Rate & Stages

Orcs grow incredibly quickly, and by the humble age of 12 they are fully grown adults, ready to begin breaking noses and asserting their place in the world. They often die of violent causes long before they grow old, but those of who live long enough typically enter middle age around age 26, become old around age 40, and become venerable at age 55, where they die not long afterwards.

Ecology and Habitats

Orcs are a brutal and hardy people, and are capable of surviving in most of the roughest conditions in the world. They can be found almost anywhere, but they tend to be found in wastelands or rolling plains, where they can set up camps and pillage nearby villages or cities easily enough. They tend to live near population centers of some kind or near traveled trade routes, where they can strike at and plunder those that journey nearby. They are almost always a brutal burden on the environment they live within, and brutalize and crush all threats nearby and enslave them(If they are living creatures) or use them up with reckless abandon until they dry up and wither away(in the case of resources).

Dietary Needs and Habits

Orcs have constantly been likened to garbage disposals in regards to their eating habits...so long as it is edible and available, they will consume it without much if any regard to themselves or their health. Thankfully, their bodies are capable of digesting just about anything it is made to consume, allowing them to eat the meats of animals they hunt and domesticate, the roots and crops their slaves sometimes tend to, or any other manner of food they consume.

Biological Cycle

Like all humanoids, Orcs become more and more infirm as they age, and the more savage among them are often beaten to death by their own tribesmen long before they die of old age. Their skin grows paler and paler as they age, and their hair begins to wither away and turn white, signifying the weakening of age.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Traditionally, Orcs usually have lived amid squalor and constant mayhem, and intimidation and brutal violence are the glue that holds orc culture together. They settle disputes by making increasingly grisly threats until, when a rival fails to back down, the conflict escalates into actual bloodshed. Orcs who win these ferocious brawls not only feel free to take whatever they want from the loser, but also frequently indulge in humiliating physical violation, casual mutilation, and even outright murder. Orcs rarely spend much time improving their homes or belongings since doing so merely encourages a stronger orc to seize them. In fact, whenever possible, they prefer to occupy buildings and communities originally built by other races.   This behavior can vary from tribe to tribe, but should be considered the norm for most standard orcs.

Facial characteristics

Orcish faces are defined by brutal, sharp, and jagged edges and features, and are often brutish and smashed together as if hit by a heavy weight.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Orcs tend to be located in hills, plains, and wastelands, and are often found nearby frequently used roads or trade routes as well as nearby population centers such as villages, towns, and cities.

Average Intelligence

Orcs are a crude and barbaric people, and their minds are simpler compared to other races, though depending on their tribe of ancestry, they are not totally without skill or specialized tasks.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Orcish eyes are adapted and well-suited to the dark, and they are capable of seeing perfectly in the pitch dark out to sixty feet.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Orcs, despite their varied tribal natures, have names in line with what most typically expect of Orcs in fantasy. They have sharp, guttural sounding names that jut sharply off the tongue like a dagger, but, it is not uncommon for an Orc's name to be influenced slightly but the tribe it came from.   Male: Arkus, Carrug, Felzak, Murdut, Prabur, Flametooth, Icemaw, Torv, Gork, Mork, Titus, etc…   Female: Durra, Grillgiss, Ilyat, Krugga, Leffit, Olbin, Trisgrak, Helgri, etc…

Beauty Ideals

Although they are advancing in many ways as a people, most Orcs still find beauty in strength and strength alone. To appreciate aesthetic and art is antithesis to most of their ilk, and they rarely care to give profound thought to things beyond strength or convenience.

Gender Ideals

Orcs do not distinguish between genders for their gender ideals. There is simply an ideal 'Orc' that all Orcs strive to be, who is often a simple thing considered mighty enough to flatten every enemy he faces, lead his subordinates and/or slaves into greatness, and one who has a vast amount of servants and land to rule as his own.

Courtship Ideals

Traditionally, Orcs have had no courtship ideals beyond brutally beating and ravaging those they wished to mate with, but in recent years as they have begun to grow as a people, and now many Orcs consider a proper 'Courting' session to be one where both prospective candidates engage in rough and brutal melee to determine the stronger of the two. Both enjoy this act, and it is considered a now enjoyable part of finding a suitable mate, to find one capable of giving them a proper challenge. They often measure success in these courtship rituals by the difficulty of the melee and the amount of enjoyment they got from it.   Though many have abandoned the ways of brutalizing any viable females to reproduce with in favor of courting and claiming 'victory' over strong females considered 'worthy' of bearing their children, it is not a completely abandoned one...now, more commonly, females are often treated like valuables by the tribes who take or possess them.

Relationship Ideals

Orcs, though they may have grown, have incredibly simplistic ideas of what a proper 'Relationship' should entail. The only facets of a relationship they consider ideal are that both partners must be strong and worthy of each other, both must produce healthy and strong children, and that both are much more deadly and skilled in the art of slaughter together than they were alone. Orcs consider these things simple and fundamental truths of relationships, and almost never consider anything else worthwhile to pursue in them.

Common Etiquette Rules

'Etiquette' is not a word many orcs even know or understand, much less something any of them know about.

Common Dress Code

Orcs dress pragmatically and for battle, as their lives are ones full of brutal combat and survival at every turn. They dress in protective leathers and metals, and rarely wear anything for show or that has no purpose on their bodies aside from talismans or idols of their faiths or gods.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

The most ancient and greatest of all Orcish traditions is that of destruction and conquest. Strength is everything to them, and ranging out from their villages to conquer and take from the weak and those nearby is the greatest and most commonly observed custom and tradition they follow as a people. Besides that, the other most common tradition of their people is the 'Champion's Challenge', a ritualistic journey where an Orc Warrior from one of the Orcish Tribes who desires the seat of Grand High Chieftain must travel to each of the other tribes, facing their most mighty champion in single combat and killing them. Once they have slain the champions of all tribes this way, they duel and kill the current Grand High Chieftain for the right to take the seat of Grand High Chieftain from them. If successful, they become the new ruler of the entire Orcish people.   However, this tradition has not had a successful warrior pass its rigors for millennia, due to the spread out natures of the Orcish tribes and the varying cultures and traditions each holds. To find and reach each tribe alone would be a herculean task - and to beat their strongest warrior, even more so.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Orcs admire strength above all things. Even members of enemy races can sometimes win an orc’s grudging respect, or at least tolerance, if they break his nose enough times.   Historically, orcs regarded dwarves and elves with an odd mix of fierce hatred, sullen resentment, and a trace of wariness. They respect power, and, on some level, understand that these two races have kept them at bay for countless ages. Though they never miss a chance to torment a dwarf or elf who falls into their clutches, they tend to proceed cautiously unless certain of victory. Orcs dismiss halflings and gnomes as weaklings barely worth the trouble of enslaving. They often regard half-elves, who appear less threatening than full-blooded elves but have many elven features, as particularly appealing targets. Orcs view humans as race of sheep with a few wolves living in their midst. They freely kill or oppress humans too weak to fend them off but always keep one eye on the nearest exit in case they run into a formidable human.   Orcs generally look upon half-orcs with a strange mixture of contempt, envy, and pride. Though weaker than typical orcs, these half-breeds are also usually smarter, more cunning, and better leaders. Tribes led, or at least advised, by half-orcs are often more successful than those led by pure-blooded orcs. On a more fundamental level, orcs believe each half-orc also represents an orc exerting dominance over a weaker race.   Some tribes are exceptions to this, however - some tribes such as the Gleamguard have mostly abandoned these cultural hatreds to live lives of peaceful asceticism as monks.
Genetic Descendants
55 Years
Conservation Status
Orcs are a plentiful people, and are numerous and widespread. They can be found most everywhere.
Average Height
6.2ft - 7.8ft (1.9 - 2.4 Meters). Can grow as tall as 18.3ft(5.6 Meters)
Average Weight
209lbs - 320lbs (95kg - 145kg)
Average Physique
Orcs are brutally strong and unnaturally durable, and their bodies are capable of dealing and taking much more destruction than other humanoids. They are incredibly tall, strong, and muscular almost universally, with males and females having almost the same rippling physique honed for brutality and violence.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Orcish bodies often have a green coloration to them, and many tribes take pride in the amount of ritualistic scars and tribal tattoos they can decorate their bodies with.   Hair and eye color can vary from tribe to tribe, as can skin color to a more mild degree.
Related Ethnicities
Related Materials

A race unfinished

Though they were once the favored children of the Old God Yorun-Dahmu and praised as the next and greatest form of life, an improvement on baseline humanity designed to represent the next evoluationary step for the continent's life - unfortunately, all of the hopes vested in the Orcish people died off with the untimely death of their creator deity, who was murdered by the Yema before he could finish his children. Though he had finished sculpting their chiseled physiques, he had yet to finish their mental faculties and thus, with his demise, they were left a cursed and broken people - one whose original plan as a race that would perpetually seek betterment through the crucible of strife and challenge was perverted by their incompletion and mutated into a rampant, maddening desire for death and slaughter.   Now, with bodies that scream for carnage, Orcs of the modern day have split themselves evenly along the lines of The Elements, forming tribes that each have bonded and/or grown close to a certain element and evolved various characteristics and cultures around those elements - and while many traditional orcish tribes exist, they are as varied as the stars in the sky thanks to these unique tribes and the strange abilities they grant to orcs - and some orcs, such as those of the Gleamguard Tribe, strive to better themselves and find a better way of existing despite their curse.

The Great Orcish Tragedy

The orcish people are not a people who kill out of some race-wide villainy or other cut and dried reason - they kill because they are intelligent enough to understand the tragedy of their people. They know of the tragedy of their race, of how they are incomplete and unfinished, and how that affected their mental faculties - and the notion of all that which they can never have because their beloved creator god was slain at the hands of the Yema - the foreign gods, enemies of Zheng-Kitar - enrages them beyond measure. They rage because they could have had so much more - and thinking of the walled cities, the technology, the culture and progress that the orcish people could have had if they had not been cursed to be killers enrages them beyond belief - and is the source of their zealous lust for blood. And though many Orcs know this but care little beyond their next kill, having embraced their curse, many do not - and strive for more.   To be an Orc, though many would doubt the claim, is tragedy - even those orcs who want a better life, the rare few who grow up wanting to better themselves or their people, to escape the bloodshed and the hate - are prevented from doing so because of their curse. To strike out on one's own is almost always tantamount of suicide - both due to racial biases others have against orcs and the simple logic of their curse: to stay with a tribe makes killing intelligent life easier, and ensures their own sanity. This makes tribes such as the Gleamguard Tribe such a wondrous rarity - for their strict, borderline masochistic asceticism and tribal legacy of self-discipline and their tenacity with which they strive to overcome their own curse has inspired generations of Orcs to seek out a way to live another life - that it isn't impossible for them to find happiness in a world that has done everything to deny them of it.


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