- 1 Introduction: Tribal Warriors
- 2 Orc tribes
- 3 Language
- 4 Characteristics
- 5 Orc society
- 6 Orc Sexuality
Introduction: Tribal Warriors
Among all of the races, orcs are, by some counts, the most noble and pure. They refuse to live in the filthy cities of the humans, yet they are not as afraid of showing themselves as the elves are. They don't hang onto the human race like the parasitic hobbits and goblins, and while they appreciate gold and silver, they don't expend every last ounce of their life acquiring such transitory things. Orcs are more concerned about the truly natural beauty of life. Not to be outdone by the other races, orcs, too, have thieves, yet they do not make it a virtual profession and lifelong study out of it like the less advanced humans, dwarves, elves, and halfling. When an orc is required to perform thieving tasks, it is generally conducted on his own time outside his traditional calling. Orcs do not have the wide variety of practiced thieving methods and techniques of the more experienced thieving races like humans, so when they must do a thieving action they are more straightforward and upfront.
Orcs rarely engage in magic or psionics, though among the elders there is always someone who knows the spells necessary for assisting the orcs in the struggles of everyday life. Most orcs are dedicated in their religious beliefs, and sometimes this causes heartwrenching conflicts with their otherwise peaceful demeanors towards other races. As orcs are more interested in the outdoors and in feats of physical prowess, they have, on average, excellent attributes of strength and health, though other attributes, most notably intelligence and willpower, are often derided by other races; the truth is that throughout orcish history there have been well over seven orcs of very above average intelligence. And the so-called low willpower of orcs is a disservice to the race; the many activities believed to be vices by other races are considered by orcs to be highly desired and respected traits, and it takes a good deal of fortitude and will to undertake the marathon imbibing of near poisonous quantities of beverages and herbal medications, the physically exhausting activities of procreation (often displaying their desire for racial harmony by allowing participation of other races in this behavior), and the constant tests of orchood through one-on-one recreational activities that true orcs must partake.
The Ashfoot Orcs use an upward pointing, triangular black and white checkerboard banner.
The Ashfoot orcs are the scourge of the Desert of Tyr. The blind valleys and hills southwest of Selernia serve as the home base for these marauders, but some of the smaller clans of this tribe raise tubers and other simple crops in the mud flats south of Selernia. The larger clans of the tribe live off tribute paid by the farmers of Falklow.
The young males of the Ashfoot tribe are sent out in small warbands as a rite of passage. These bands raid caravans, attack travelers, and sometimes even raid and pillage the smaller towns in the hinterlands. It is not uncommon to find these wandering bands as far south as Cambria; indeed, almost annually several of the warbands will link up (sometimes even with other orc tribes) for raids on Cambria.
Karoo ("Your enemies")
The Karoo Orc Band's banner is a tall rectangular shape, bearing a red skull pierced vertically with a silver sword, on a black background. The edges of the banner are typically ornamented with skulls of past victims.
History: The Karoo originated from lands far to the east of Dural, arriving here about 300 years ago as a wave of raiders. Displacing the Ashfoot Orcs, the Karoo settled in the Cambria/Sabar area, enslaving the local populus and making a living riding from village to village stealing and pillaging for a bit over twenty years, finally overthrown in a series of heroic battles that eventually forced them deep into the hills of the Dark Vale.
Pelgaf ("Pelga's Children")
The Pelgafaf banner is a square green field with a gold ring crossed with a '+'.
The Pelgaf Orcs reside in the mountains and foothills north of Draykin. Primarily cave-dwellers, the Pelgaf raise great wolves, or Worgs, which they ride on their great hunts across the steppes. Besides the wild game they hunt seasonally, their diet consists mostly of underground-grown fungi, coupled with fish and wild grains harvested in the fall from the fields and hills around their caves.
Being far from human settlements, attacks by the Pelgaf are extremely rare. Yet as one of the (reluctant) members of the Council of Sarnak, the Pelgafaf are occasionally pressed into service. While not as populus as the other orc tribes, the Pelgaf's harsh lifestyle, hunting talent, and vicious worgs makes them ideal shock troops.
Most often, Pelgaf orcs are encountered as lone wanderers exiled from their tribes for various crimes, often hiring onto mercenary units or brigand bands. Exiled orcs are generally unwelcome in any of the tribes of Sarnak, and so frequently are found in the Denar area. Some join up with the Ashfoot orcs, others continue south into Falklow and Cambria.
History: The Pelgaf originated in the lands east of Dural, migrating to the steppes 500 years ago. They are distinctly different in culture from the other tribes of Sarnak, bearing more similarity in dialect, dress, and religion to the Karoo. Yet their culture is focused more intently on the Hunt than on war party raids. Some have noted that the preparatory practices done by the Pelgaf prior to undertaking their hunts are virtually identical to those conducted by the Karoo prior to setting forth on raids and wars. Pelgaf differ from Karoo in their strong religious faith and unswerving dedication to their morals and beliefs.
Leadership: The Pelgafaf government is a loose-knit tribal theocracy. Collections of nearby families are ruled by the most powerful local shaman, who determines when small-scale hunts should begin and how long they should last, and arbitrates disputes among the tribemembers at the behest of the spirits and the gods. The most powerful shaman in a larger region, in turn, presides over the lesser shaman, and so on, up to the Tsabbuk, who is the most powerful shaman in the tribe and whose responsibility it is to represent the Pelgafaf to the Council of Sarnak and call for Great Hunts.
The determination of which of two shamans is the most powerful is a profound and integral part of Pelgafaf culture. Because the primary purpose of a shaman, in the minds of the Pelgafaf populace, is to keep angry or capricious spirits at bay, he is only as powerful as his people are confident in him. For this reason, Pelgafaf culture behaves in some ways like a democracy. When two shaman contest over who is the most powerful (and therefore the most qualified to rule), they must debate before the public, and whichever contestant impresses the public most with his displays of power, and therefore garners the most support, is the victor. The loser is culturally obliged to concede.
Because shamans are too valuable to the tribe (without them, we would all be decimated by vengeful spirits) to attack each other in such contests, the contests usually consist of nonviolent displays of power, such as magical effects (either authentic or chicanery), or displays of logic or strength. Given the orcish propensity to get liquored up for these contests, a shaman's logic or magic does not usually have to be very sophisticated. It must simply be showy and impressive. For this reason, contests between powerful rival shaman become the backbone of the Pelgafaf cultural history, much like holidays or festivals for other cultures.
Current State: The past twenty years have been a prosperous time for the Pelgaf orcs. Plentiful rainfall helped swell the herds of bison and sheep on the plains. Discoveries of certain magicks have also helped grow the tribe to incredible size. But over the past few years things have grown more difficult. The hunts have been less and less fruitful; indeed increasing numbers are returning empty handed. The underground fungal farms have been overharvested, forcing the orcs to seek deeper into the ground for more blooms; this in turn has awakened great, deep evils that has subsequently caused many orc holds to become uninhabitable. Consequentially, the orcs have been forced to seek new lands to settle.
This comes at a time when the other tribes of Sarnak are turning their eyes towards Moraf. But rather than spoil the surprise, the Council organizes cruisader bands, formed largely of Pelgaf tribe members, to land in Sabar, join the Karoo, and engage in raids on Cambria.
Purpul (Hoapurlpa, or "Looped Tree People")
The Hoapurlpa, known to humans as the Purpul Orcs, use a rectangular banner of green bearing a pair of interlinked black circles.
The Purpul Orcs reside in the GlitterDark Forest, and in other forests and caves throughout Moraf.
Rockpa (Wathrockpa, or "People of the Weeping Rock")
The Rockpa Orcs use a square banner with a light blue background, in the center of which is a large black disc.
The Rockpa, together with the Split Tooth, Pelgaf, and Purpul, form the Council of Sarnak. The Rockpa is actually a tight federation of four lesser tribes, known today as the Wolf, Bear, Eagle, and Snake tribes.
Current State: The Council of Sarnak has long wanted to unite with the Ashfoot Orcs and the Karoo, and in talks with these two tribes they've agreed to participate in a series of strikes against the Cambrians. Their hope is that after crushing the Cambrians, the Ashfoot and Karoo will assist in a war against Moraf.
The Rockpa currently have a number of scouting parties, allegedly conducting trade with the Cambrians but in actuality they are appraising military capabilities and testing defenses.
The SplitTooth Orcs use a round banner bearing a red field, with a white, downward pointing triangle centered on it.
The Gnarpixal orcs are the oldest and largest tribe in Dural. Their territory extends from the mountains north of Ardmore across southern Moraf. Several clans in the tribe practice fishing from the many small islands of the Silver Sea.
Orcs are about the same size as a human, perhaps a tad shorter, but are much more muscular. Their armor is typically made of heavily modified human-made armor, decorated with bone, beads, feathers, and other natural materials. Painting of one's armor is a highly developed art, and face and body painting is common. Their skin is naturally yellow colored, but most orcs permanently dye their skin brilliant green, red, or white. Skin coloration tends to be used as a tribal identifier, as well as a symbol of caste or position. Tribe shamans, for instance, will tend to use white pigmentation regardless of the tribe's natural color scheme, whereas witch doctors adopt red or black colorings very often. Tatoos are common among orcs, and especially so with witch doctors.
Not known for their intelligence, casting all orcs as stupid is a dangerous exercise in stereotyping. Experience and cunning is often well shown by orcs during battle, and history chronicles the exploits of many brilliant orcish tacticians over the last few centuries.
Orcish society is one based strongly about the tribe and family. Orcs revere their tribe's elders and their ancestral spirits, but are ruled by passions. They follow strict codes of conduct, which none-the-less seem barbaric and evil to humans.
All orc tribes are fundamentally nomadic. Often they will settle in a particular area (sometimes for very long times) if they can make an easy life there. Orcs are, at times, too passionate to have much patience for monotonous, boring endeavors such as farming or mining. The tribe as a whole goes through periods of intense energy, when their spirits are flushed with lusty violence, and periods of extreme legarthy, when alcohol, food, and sleep are their prime concerns. Whether this is biological in nature, or a function of their leadership, is unknown, but it certainly seems to be tied to the season, and the needs of the group.
Humans consider orcs to be vicious thieves, but understanding of their culture reveals that orcs simply follow a different notion of ownership than humans. Orcs believe that you possess only what you can hold onto, either through strength, fear, or respect. Inside the tribe, they believe that distribution of wealth (including women) should go to the most powerful, since this will mean more powerful children and thus benefit the tribe as a whole. Orcs _never_ steal within their family, and theft from other tribe members is rare, mostly occuring against the weaker members of the tribe.
The larger the tribe becomes, the more it factionalizes. Families within the tribe grow and compete. Competition for the leading positions within the tribe grows and assassinations and sometimes even outright fighting crops up. The chieftain of the band must be *very* strong, and his family very loyal, powerful, and supportive, or else the tribe will inevitably break up into smaller tribes.
Orc men and women, or orcak and orya, more appropriately, differ not only in biology but also in personality. The human notion of women as the "delicate" sex, oor the "peaceful" sort is far from applicable to orcya. While considered the weaker gender, and often subjugated and abused by their male family members, it is the women who are the real power in the tribes.
While the orcak's follow a definite mood cycle between energy and lethargy, women are much more even spirited, often being thought of as dispassionate and emotionless. Orcyas tend to be more forward thinking and long range planning than their male counterparts. Where the male orcs tend to gossip about fighting abilities, the women are more likely to be hyperfocused on their work. Where men spend much time painting each other's faces and wearing gaudily decorated clothing, the women are more subtly attired, dressing more for comfort than display.
Because orcya are fertile only at particular times of the year, they typically are the ones who initiate sexual activity. Sex is often used as a means of control; orcya only permit intercourse when they desire it - due to the nature of their physiology mating is extremely difficult (and dangerous for the male) when they are not ready. Rape is strongly linked with battle, and often substitutes for it. Women who survive being raped are treated with the same honor and respect as a warrior who has been wounded in combat; orcya who die due to rape are buried in dignity. On the other hand, orcak who commit rape of orc women are ridiculed and treated as unredeemable evil-doers, usually maimed and cast out of the tribe. On the other hand, rape of non-tribe members - or those of other species - is considered simply another aspect of warfare.