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Author Topic: Orc's, Orks, and other green skinned folk  (Read 3284 times)
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« on: October 07, 2013, 08:21:22 PM »

So the Orcs, those green skinned folk (Or grey depending, maybe Brown?) Do a lot of people use them? If so how?

We all know of the Tolkien evil mooks, or the blizzard shamanistic kinda good kinda evil guys? But what else do people do with them? I've tentatively considered adding something Orcish to my campaign world and have only the vaguest of concepts.
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2013, 08:30:22 PM »

Tzi

So the Orcs, those green skinned folk (Or grey depending, maybe Brown?) Do a lot of people use them? If so how?

We all know of the Tolkien evil mooks, or the blizzard shamanistic kinda good kinda evil guys? But what else do people do with them? I've tentatively considered adding something Orcish to my campaign world and have only the vaguest of concepts.

I don't use trollish things in my campaigns usually, but I do really like how they're implemented in Eberron. Basically the Orc race waged war against an invading force of lovecraftian horrors, and now exist as a dwindling druid sect.
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 11:32:29 PM »

Da boyz iz da best! We rool da landz cuz da hoomies iz weak an' da boyz is strong.  Da hoomies are too stoopid to rool or day wood no we iz unbeatable.

For me, orks are always an embodiment of savage, deformed evil things to bash. Calling something else "orks" doesn't make them orks.  This is coming from someone that doesn't use nonhuman races, generally.  Ymmv.
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 02:16:20 AM »

Many years ago, in the time of AD&D 1e, I made a race of super orc as one of the key features of the campaign world call Arron Taulk (translated as "home stone").  

They were called garrison orcs, aka war orcs or mountain orcs.  While they did share ancestry with the common orc they were generally stronger and also had at least average int and wis.  Many cultural, religious, and philosophical factors were similar to the common orc.  They were excellent weapon and armor smiths as well as better tacticians than normal orcs.  But in general they were just as destructive, marauding, evil tempered, and smelly as normal orcs while being about a foot taller.  The rank and file garrison orc had 5d8 hit points and wore chainmail armor, lieutenants had 6d8 hp and wore field plate armor, while captains had 8d8 hp and wore full plate armor.   Their witchdoctors were fun, for me.

I used them as a more advanced mid-level adversary capable of complex tactics.  The additional advantage being that, as a custom monster, the players would have to get all knowledge of them in game.  Between garrison orcs and yuan ti levels 4 to 10 were a blast for that campaign.
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 05:09:19 AM »

There are lots of ways to spin them - I've frequently played orc or half-orc characters (depending on setting tropes, etc.) and find they present excellent foils to the so-called "good guys" - whether that refers to individuals or racial tropes. As to using them myself, I most certainly do, although not in the usual fashion. My setting has 2 divergent races:  Khurorkh (http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/index.php?title=Khurorkh) and Pahrorkh. The first are deeply spiritual ("good guys") defenders of nature against the perversions of Gaurashiage  (the soldiers in Mother Nature's army), while the latter are the result of such perversion through the work of her "daughter", Pahkreet (goddess of hatred, revenge, malice, pain, etc. i.e., your basic brutal psychotic bitch from hell). I

I wanted to see orcs more playable in settings and recalled a series of books (which I haven't read, they were promoted a lot in a Sci-fi/Fantasy bookclub in which an ex' was a member) based  on the premise that orcs are the (honourable) soldiers of the Fae realms (I'll have to find that - I'd like to read it sometime) and ran with it while still maintaining the more standard "bad guys" trope via Pahkreet and the Kith War (the when/where/how of their origin). It should be noted that the fall of the Pahrorkh was concurrent with that of the Druin (Drow).

As for using them (Pahrork) in play, I go back to a literal interpretation of the 2nd edition D&D MM entry (http://www.lomion.de/cmm/orc.php) in which they are Lawful evil and, as written, not dumb at all. Needless to say, they're not your average mook - the Pahrorkh are in many ways tougher than their Khurorkh cousins (evolution having been artificially advanced/accelerated- including intelligence). So, there are a lot of them and they're much smarter than one would think possible. They're still a common "stock-in-trade" encounter, but no one will be slash-happy-prance their way through them leaving behind a trail of dead bodies - they're very good at doing what they do and what they do is fight. A lot. Fight anyone/anything they perceive as a challenge and when that's done they start fighting each other.
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 01:47:12 PM »

I don't use orcs in my settings.

The only orcs I care much for nowadays are the ones of Middle-Earth, and that's with the interpretation of them originally being elves that were transformed into monsters by torture.
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 06:05:22 PM »

I have Orcs in a few of my settings.  In Avayevnon, there are different regional varieties.  The Xaoonoi Orcs are based on Sparta, and are very regimented, honor-minded, and strict.  The Northern Orcs, on the other hand, are pretty standard faceless savages, just REALLY hairy, and adapted for extreme cold.

In my kitchen-sink setting Camulus, the orks are either pirates, or something inspired by a combination of the Wildlings and the Iron Islands from ASoIaF.    They believe that they have a right to whatever they can take, and that their gods are trees that demand human(oid) sacrifices, and so their raids are driven by the urge to assuage their wrath.  They take tokens carved from the wood of these trees with them wherever they go, with the symbol of the eye and hand, so that their gods will always have an eye to see and a hand to act anywhere they are needed.

I do not have orcs in Cad Goleor.
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 03:09:35 PM »

I depict orcs/orks the same way criminals or mobsters are often depicted in movies. They're thuggish, crude, and sort of stupid; they're fun to interact with, having wacky accents, colloquialisms, and conventions, but being stupid thugs, nobody feels *too bad* about seeing bad things happen to them. After all, live by the sword, die by the sword, all that stuff. If they didn't want to catch an arrow to the neck, they'd have stayed home and farmed.

That said, I don't make them automatic "bad guys," I just make them a disenfranchised race that struggles against bigotry. If an elf walks into a town to sell his hand-crafted wares, he'll probably be welcome. If an ork tries the same thing, he might catch a crossbow bolt to the gut for his trouble. It's not very different from real-world racism. Most orcs, rather than supplicate and beg for acceptance from people who cruelly discriminate against them, would take the low road and become the tormentors rather than the victims. It's up to the players how they want to deal with that. As such, orcs and human bandits are often found in the same roles, although human bandits would rarely fraternize with the orcs; after all, they may be bandits and criminals, but they're not Savages!

Also see Shadowrun's portrayal of orcs; that's the game that most informed my outlook on the green-skinned menace.
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 06:01:07 PM »

I get more and more uncomfortable the more orcs are used to explore issues of racism.
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 06:13:02 PM »

Luminous Crayon

I get more and more uncomfortable the more orcs are used to explore issues of racism.
You gotta do what you feel comfortable with, for certain; but: http://badgods.com/view/orc/
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 07:15:14 PM »

Luminous Crayon

I get more and more uncomfortable the more orcs are used to explore issues of racism.
expand on this.   
i'm normally pleased to see issues raised; instead of making generic alignment-biased races.   i like to spin the culture vs race thing, as well,


hell, i did this a lot, and also used magic to try to intelligently bring up and address gender issues. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 07:16:55 PM »

I like my orcs craven, vicious and irredeemable. They are walking, raping, cannibalistic war-crimes.

If I want to explore real world issues I will use actual people thankyouverymuch.
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2013, 07:40:41 PM »

I don't really use orcs, or any Tolkien-staple race like hobbits, elves, and dwarves. Just saying the word "Dwarf" invokes images of dour, rough, bearded men who use axes and drink beer. While I think there's a certain convenient simplicity to being able to say "these are orcs, these are hobbits, and these are elves" and people just get it, I don't personally see the appeal.

The only time I really find orcs and other such common fantasy races interesting is when they're really pushed outside of their boundaries, and even then I find myself rarely calling them elves, orcs, or hobbits. Kind of a catch-22 for me there.
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2013, 07:48:42 PM »

Back when I GMed regularly, I seldom used orcs, because they were too much like humans.  On a mechanical level, there's little they can do that humans can't (at least in D&D, you've got darkvision and... darkvision), and on a thematic level, there's nothing I ever needed orcs for that I couldn't accomplish with cruel, malicious, or simply servile humans.
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2013, 08:06:30 PM »

oh, and the quick and dirty of the Ogrillite Races of Celtricia.  
I most certainly included them to be familiar, but ,moved them later down from their original purpose, to a time past that as culture was overtaking race as the primary determinant.  Also, orcs are one of the two most common and thus dominant races in Celtricia.   Not humans.  Hobyts and Orcash are inheriting the Waking Dream...
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