The following text is Open Game Content: the Alignment, Language, Racial Traits, and Errata sections of this article.
- Orcs -
Orcs are a race of fierce humanoids found across the wild places
of the world. They are violent, quick-tempered, and belligerent, and
hold an ancient hatred for the races of elves and dwarves. Although
orcs are disorganized and prone to infighting, warbands under a
strong leader can cut bloody inroads into the boundaries where
civilization meets wilderness.
As the old dwarf joke goes: Orcs are every bit as ugly and foul-tempered
as wild boars, but only half as smart. Very little has been written on the
subject of orcs that does not dwell on their short temper, greed, and
seemingly endless capacity for cruelty. Their stupidity is another favorite
subject, one well documented by bards and wags, as well as by first-hand
reports. One orc chieftain with the unlikely name of Gragnig Picknose
was tricked into fatally investigating his own bellybutton with a dagger,
when the rogue hed encountered convinced him that it contained gold.
Unfortunately these stories are not exaggerated in the least: orcs are
among the most unpleasant, antisocial, destructive, thick-headed, and
vile creatures ever found, and show signs that, on the whole, they are
actually becoming less civilized over time.
Among their least-appealing features is a tendency towards rape,
which male orcs practice with gusto and abandon whenever the
opportunity presents itself. This horrid custom has led to the
proliferation of half-orcs in every land where orcs lair, and adds to
the orcs fearsome reputation.
Orcs stand between 5 and 6 feet in height, but a tendency to stoop
makes them appear shorter, on average, than humans. Both males
and females are powerfully built, with stout bones barrelled in hoops
of muscle. Orc hair ranges from filthy gray to black. The hair of
males lightens as they age, eventually reaching the dirty white of
a mature "silverback". Their grayish-green skin is thick and waxy,
and scars to a creamy white that lends a ghastly appearance to old
warriors. Orcs age almost twice as fast as humans, reaching sexual
maturity at age 8 and rarely living past the age of 50.
The orc face has been described as porcine and skull-like, but its
prognathous jaws and gaping nostils are utterly unique. Coupled
with their animal-like ears and streaming red eyes, these creatures are
unmistakeable even at a distance.
Orcs get along best with goblins, ogres, and other creatures they
can easily dominate or enslave. Among the civilized races, they
sometimes cooperate with evil humans and evil dwarves (duergar),
but have nothing but scorn for societies of good and law, and for the
small races. Orc culture is deeply rooted in hatred for the elves, who
they believe forced them underground uncounted ages ago. Long
centuries in competition with dwarves have also given them reason
to hate and resent this proud race. Orcs attack elves (including halfelves)
and dwarves on sight, unless badly outnumbered. If given the
choice, they attack their blood-enemies to the exclusion of all others.
Orcs are usually chaotic and evil. Orc adventurers are as likely to
be good or neutral as evil, but most orcs find it hard to shake their
innate drive towards freedom and chaos.
Orc holdings are rarely legitimate, and almost always in a state of flux.
They make their homes in the caverns and rifts of wretched mountains,
sometimes deep underground but more often near the surface, where
neither dwarves nor elves can easily attack them. When warbands grow
large enough, they spill down into neighboring settlements to rape,
murder, raid, and pillage. Under the leadership of a silverback male,
these bands can take on the proportions of a large town or small city,
and roll across the countryside leaving burning wreckage in their wake.
These orc "kingdoms" are short lived. The races genius for battle does
not extend itself to statecraft, and their conquests inevitably collapse
under a struggle for power between rival leaders.
Orcs in human lands are seldom seen except at the head of a
marauding force. The few who make their homes alongside humans
sometimes serve as slavers, gaolers, assassins, and thugs. Orc
mercenaries have a deserved reputation for ferocity, but their loyalty
seldom lasts beyond their fi rst taste of blood and gold.
The chief deity of the orcs is He-Who-Watches, the master of the
orc pantheon and father of the race. He teaches that everything the
orcs once had was stolen by the elves and dwarves, and urges his
progeny on to ever-greater acts of violence and revenge.
Orcs speak the rough and unflattering Orc tongue, which has no
alphabet of its own. Orc culture and history is passed along in an oral
tradition that is remarkable for its bloody single-mindedness, and its
consistency across diverse tribes. The written form of Orc is seldom
seen outside of scrolls and runes. It uses the runic alphabet of Dwarven.
An orcs name is given to him by his father, in consultation with the
bands spiritual leader. Names have little significance in orc society,
and the names of even great heroes are seldom remembered more
than a generation or two. An orcs name is a functional handle, no
more important than his boots or the color of his shirt, and far less
important than the number and quality of his battle scars, children
and wives, and loot.
Male Names: Carg, Durg, Gaz, Grak, Kurtz, Nazdrug, and Vigup.
Female Names: Chigs, Firke, Korsk, Kroik, Muln, Pims, and Ziggs.
Tribe Names: Blood Eye, Death Moon, Crack Bone, Rot Hand, and Black Axe.
Orc adventurers are rare, and are usually motivated to leave their
tribe by an ethical conflict (such as a tendency toward good or
neutrality), the desire to further their education in arcane or scholarly
matters, or the need to escape a rival. Many orc adventurers are
simply exiles, driven out after losing a leadership battle.
Orc Racial Traits
- +4 Strength, 2 Intelligence, 2 Wisdom, 2 Charisma: Orcs
are strong but stupid and unobservant, and lack even the most
basic social skills.
- Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, orcs have no special
bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Orc base speed is 30 feet.
- Darkvision: Orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Dark vision
is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight,
and orcs can function just fi ne with no light at all.
- Light Sensitivity: Orcs suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls when
in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
- Automatic Languages: Orc. Bonus Languages: Common,
Giant, Goblin, and Undercommon. Orcs take a dim view of
the complexities of civilized speech, but they often learn the
languages of their allies.
- Favored Class: Barbarian. A multiclass orcs barbarian class
does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP
penalty for multiclassing. Orc culture is deeply rooted in the
lore of the raging warrior, and many orcs fi nd that the class
comes naturally to them.
- Errata -
The following is official errata for Wrath & Rage:
Page 5: The correct ECL for orcs is 0.
Page 15: The Gullet feat should state, "You can swallow up to 1
cubic inch of material per point of your Constitution
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