Orcs are a race of fierce and zealous warriors. Their honor system, built on glory attained through battle, often leaves them in opposition to other races.
Orcs are physically bigger and stronger than other mortal races. They have a variety of skin tones, including green, grey, and black, and have wild and bushy hair that comes in many shades. Orcs have no more innate magical talent than humans… but, contrary to popular belief, they also have no less innate magical talent than humans.
CultureOrc culture is based on glory attained through battle. Orcs attain honor and prestige through incredible feats of combat or related skills, such as military tactics, innovation, and creation of armor and weapons. The biggest orc towns are built over mines, where they extract the ores necessary to forge their weapons of war—as well as monuments to the honorable fallen. Orcs have a very flexible concept of borders, as they can change in a matter of moments, and rarely write things down. Orc belief holds that only final and absolute and literal truths should be written, and so legends and customs are passed down by mouth, and only ‘facts’ are written on paper. Their libraries have only recipes, instructions, spells, and maps.
Orcs are devoted to Nuada and the Morrigan, the war goddesses of the Celtic Pantheon. Orc priests pray to the goddesses for glory and success; after the battle, they remove the enemies’ eyes and present them to the Morrigan’s carrion birds. Because both of their goddesses are female, orcs believe that women are the most powerful warriors, and most orc chiefs and other leaders are women. However, orc men are also recognized as strong fighters, and often pray to Gruumsh One-Eye to smile on them.
Orcs were created as a collaboration between Nuada and the Morrigan, in an attempt to bridge the gap between different members of the pantheon—an olive branch for the Morrigan. Nuada would create the life forms that would become orcs, and then she and the Morrigan would shape them and their culture together.
The Morrigan was thrilled at the offer, and for the first time it seemed that the two most different and vocal members the pantheon might be able to unite over something. Nuada threw herself into the work of shaping new life—a process that took many years and much of her strength.
But when the moment came to bring the orcs into the world as a new and unique people, Nuada was betrayed. The Morrigan took Nuada’s sword and with it her arm and her eyes. Casting the sword aside, the Morrigan used what life was left in the pieces of the fallen she had taken to create a race strong enough to rival any beast it encountered.
Orcs of Nuada
These Orcs—fully devoted to Nuada, and having turned away from the ways of the Morrigan, are often found either in their own tribes, or trying to integrate into human society—their ideals and culture are more similar to humans than those still devoted to the Morrigan.
Orc priests and clerics of Nuada have existed for a long time, and shrines in her honor have been erected by orcs for ages, but The modern “Orcs of Nuada” exist more as a political faction than a religious belief.
Their goal is to re-unite the Miklagardian Orc empire with a different set of Ideals than it once had. They believe in justice over retribution, and the distinction of the helpless from the cowardly.
Relations with other races
The orc system of honor is not exclusive to orcs. Orcs have a great deal of respect for all mortals who fight well in battle. They will even accept humans, tieflings, and other skilled fighters into their ranks, considering them honorary orcs.
The orc system of honor is incompatible with most other races. Humans, high elves, and dwarves consider orcs a dangerous menace, constantly ruining their creations. Orcs, for their part, think the other races are cowardly and dishonorable. If the humans or dwarves spent more time honing their battle skills, maybe the orcs wouldn’t lay waste to their villages quite so often, hmm?
Orcs have a certain respect for wood elves, who fight with all the fury and ferocity of wild animals. This doesn’t stop the orcs from conquering the wood elves’ territories when necessary, but they appreciate it when the local tribe puts up a good fight.
Orcs make no distinctions between humans and tieflings. Since orcs regularly summon demons into battle, and have been known to make “Birth Pacts” with some regularity, they aren’t fazed by the tieflings’ infernal heritage.
In MiklagardThe Landmass which is now Miklagard was once home to a vast Orc empire, devoted to the Morrigan and to Battle. These orcs had no papers or titles with which to claim their land, but the cities and towns and forts of their people made it clear.
Siegourd and aslaug (SPELLING), with the help of the borderlanders, many of whom had orc heritage, overtook the lands and, accrding to legend, drove the orcs into the sea.
In reality, many orcs still live in the lands, roaming and pillaging what was once theirs.
Some Orcs look back on those days, and miss the full-throated devotion to the Morrigan their people once had. Others look back on the defeat as a lesson, and believe that it is time for Orcs to return to the arms of Nuada from which they came.
Bianckk Garashiin and her supporters are currently working to re-unite the orc empire with new ideals and, one day, with some part of their old lands.