The orc rager is a brutal, fast and deadly orc whose only purpose in life is to kill foes. Orc ragers become restless quickly and when not in battle are usually found breeding, picking fights with other ragers, or drinking the strongest, most vile ale they can find.
Ragers are usually the core troops of any orc clan. Ragers are very effective in combat and are typically very loyal to their clan. They lack general intellectual skills thereby requiring them to rely on a strong leader to make their decisions for them. If an orc leader issues orders that continually confuse the ragers, then the ragers will usually look to someone else in the clan for leadership, or abandon the clan to seek a new one. Such orders that might confuse ragers are any sort of multi-stage battle tactics: (i.e. "we will sneak around the side and flank them", or, "wait to attack the enemy until they reach us while our archers shoot them as they charge").
Ragers are not totally void of thought and do understand basic covert tactics such as hiding in a spot to wait to ambush their foes. Beyond that, the rager's battle tactics are pretty simple -- charge and attack. Ragers have little to no use for mounts.
The orc rager class should only be used for NPC orcs for orc player characters in an orc campaign. The orc rager is inherently a pack hunter and prefers to stay with other ragers. Taking an orc rager into a civilized area such as a town or city is simply a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Orc ragers are a replacement for the barbarian class for an orc NPC or player character. While the barbarian class is well suited for nomadic human hunters and brutes who are somewhat attuned to the wilds in which they raised, the Rager knows little to nothing of the land in which he lives within. The rager knows only fighting.
Characteristics: The rager's two main abilities are raging and speed. The rager enjoys fighting in an enraged state, and is usually quick to invoke this ability regardless of the anticipated outcome of a skirmish. The rager would unlikely invoke this ability to kill a single kobold, but would certainly enter a rage when seeing a half dozen or more. If there are other orc ragers or warriors around, then the number of worthless foes would have to be greater before the rager would likely enter a rage.
Many ragers fight with two weapons, with their preference being for axes. Those that do fight with two weapons prefer the mobility and opportunity that their dual weapons allow. There are several orc ragers who have become equally deadly fighting with axe and shield. A few orc ragers use a two-handed greataxe as their weapon of choice, but most ragers dislike the idea of tying up two of their hands on just one weapon. (Note: the Orc Double Axe does appear in the Player's Handbook however its origin and use as an orc weapon are skeptical at best. DM's use your own discretion regarding the inclusion of this weapon.)
Alignment: Very similar to barbarians, ragers are never lawful. Most ragers are chaotic, preferring and enjoying acting on a whim rather than rational thought.
Religion: Rager's will follow the theology of the clan in which they were raised. A rager has little use of the worship of a deity, but will follow the clan's beliefs and rituals. Some ragers may say a quick prayer or shout a quick war cry to their god before battle if they believe it will enhance their ability to kill their foes. Gruumsh is their preferred deity.
Background: Ragers are typically the most 'hard-done-by' orcs during their youth. They are the orcs that usually got beat on the most, fed the least, normally ignored, and/or were just the most neglected by the elders assigned to look after them. They have learned to use their spiteful emotions to their benefit by raging.
Races: Although only orcs are known to be ragers, it is rumored that a few half-orcs have developed rager abilities as well. Few half orc ragers survive long in orc clans. The few that do survive either leave the clan or become so formidable within the clan that they are rarely challenged.
Other Classes: The ragers know only fighting and respect those that are equally adept with a weapon. Ragers will commonly view Orc Warriors (Fighters) and Orc Brawlers (Fighter/Monk) as equals, although they fail to understand why the orc brutes do not use weapons despite their lethalness with their fists. Orc Scouts (Ranger/Rogue) are also given some respect as their unique talents and contributions in combat are also well acknowledged. Divine magic is not feared, but is not fully trusted. Ragers do not understand divine magic and its relation to the deities and spirits, and for that reason they do not cause any grief to Orc Shamans (Clerics) or Orc Spirit Talkers (Cleric/Druid). Although the magic of the Orc Bangers (Bards) is not understood, the Ragers often enjoy the beats of the banger's war drums and enjoy their rhythmic and magical effects they emanate. Orc Casters (Sorcerers) are feared, as their magical abilities are not understood. Ragers stay away from casters. Any beneficial spell a caster casts upon a rager is often deemed an attack. Wizards of any race are also feared. Orc ragers will either completely avoid a wizard, or will charge straight to them in the hopes of killing them before they have a chance to cast a spell at the rager.
Game Rule Information
Orc ragers have the following game statistics:
Abilities: Strength and Dexterity are the most important abilities for a rager. Much of their training is speed and agility based. A high Constitution is also helpful as if will give the rager more hit points and allow him to rage longer.
Alignment: any non-lawful
Hit Die: d12
Aside from combat skills ragers learn few other skills. The rager's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Str or Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Swim (Str).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class skills of the rager:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A rager is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor and shields.
Illiteracy: Similar to most orc classes, ragers lack the knowledge to read and write his spoken languages. This hindrance can be eliminated by the cost of 2 skill points.
At 5th level and higher, the rager gains the damage reduction benefits when wearing no armor, light armor or medium armor, and the Rager's class level no longer has to be the dominant class of the character to retain this benefit.
Revised: November 11, 2002 - Corrected additional skill points at each level to show a gain of (2). Revised the damage reduction ability to reducing only physical damage and not magical damage, and removed reference to it being an agility based ability. (Orcs are big, solid beasts not typically known for their agility).