Sunday, July 5, 2009


Orcs are a violent, chaotic, and fecund race of brutes that livein great cavern complexes, periodically spilling forth in massive hordes to threaten nearby lands.

Mountain orcs, or high orcs, are the more feared and more dangerous orc species. They dwell in great communities under the mountain roots, places that make the most vile slums of the surface look clean and safe. Here they fight and brawl and breed, until the population pressure grows too great and they find themselves compelled to go to war. Occasionally an orc warlord or king arises and forges a great horde; thankfully these times are few and far between. A few races use mountain orcs as shock troops, but it is rarely worth the effort and difficulty, as the orcs will turn on their allies or each other at the slightest provocation. Mountain orcs also continue to grow throughout their lives; most adult high orcs are no more than human-height, but an exceptionally powerful and lucky orc might become as powerful as an ogre, assuming he survives to the advanced age of thirty or so years. Mountain orcs cooperate with other races only under threat of extreme force; they may keep slaves for a short time, but these invariably are eaten before long. Despite their appetite for flesh, mountain orcs almost never resort to cannibalism - this, perhaps more than anything, accounts for their ability to rapidly expand their numbers in the harsh environments they inhabit.

Common orcs, also called hill orcs or pig-faced orcs, while still violent and brutish, are far more civilized than their mountain cousins. They can live with other races, and often cooperate or serve ogres, hobgoblins, goblins, and amoral humans. They are often found as soldiers, guards, or soldiers, as they relish fighting and will work for less than a human soldier or fighter. They are slightly shorter than humans, but stockier. Common orcs are also a fecund breed, but not nearly as much so mountain orcs, and like most races they do not grow after adulthood. Their appetites are also broader than high orcs, and they will eat virtually anything, including each other, without hestitation or without ill-effect.

Half-orcs are the result of unions between orcs and other races, usually humans, but occasionally ogres or other monstrous races. The child of a mountain orc and a human is known as an orog; they are as intelligent as a human, but as powerful as a mountain orc - and accepted by them as well. Many high orc warlords were actually orogs. Ogrillons are the offspring of orcs and ogres. They are stronger and more powerful than orogs, but far less intelligent.

Mountain orcs are common in the mountains of Sarn and the Kameurhorns. Pig-faced orcs are found throughout the Shadowend, but are most common in the Scarlet Peaks and the Stormhall Peaks. They are employed throughout the Hundred Kingdoms, in Blackgate, and in lesser numbers by nobles in Larenyss and Arramor. They are less accepted in regions that have experienced orc hordes, and generally killed on sight in Dore, Keldru, and Kameurgard.

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