Preview: Orcs in The Lost Kingdom of the Dwarves

Copyright Robert J Defendi for Final Redoubt Press, Art by Kevin Wasden © 2007

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"Orcish succession is quick, brutal, and usually final."

The following text is a preview of the third Echoes of Heaven product from Final Redoubt Press. Called The Lost Kingdom of the Dwarves, it covers the nation of Uzarâg, as well as Dwarves and Orcs in general. This preview deals with the Orcs.

ORCISH CULTURE

Orcish culture is an indistinct thing. Every tribe has its own traditions, and the traditions can change with startling rapidity. Still, there are common trends, especially among the Orcs of Uzarâg.

People

The Orcs are a violent, brutish people, deeply in touch with their demonic roots. The beastmen are the most . . . bestial, but that's more their animal natures than true personality. It's an even race between the Orcs and the Hobgoblins for which Cambionic race is the most cruel.

Orcs revel in violence. They love to watch it and take part in it. They love to gather together and boast about their exploits, telling stories of gore and slaughter. They love to punish the weak. They love to bask in the glory of violence. They are, in every aspect of their lives, monsters.

The Hobgoblins are more disciplined than the Orcs, but most people in Belkanâth don't know that. The Warlord is good at making a creature do things his way. While there are more Orcs outside Uzarâg than in, it's the Uzarâg Orcs that everyone hears about, and so people think of Orcs as forming armies and marching in step.

Orcish relationships focus around dominance displays. Superiors often strike their inferiors, usually casually and just to remind everyone who's in charge. These strikes don't even hurt that much, as Orcs would rate pain, but they brew discontent in the ranks, which festers until the next challenge or the next killing.

Orcs have it in them to be builders, they're half Dwarf after all. Unfortunately, they don't have the drive. While the occasional Orc craftsman rises to the top, they bang out anything they have to make and steal whenever possible.

Demographics

Orcs produce about twice as many males as females, but there's a high death rate among males. Usually there are far more females than males, and the most dominant males claim several mates, leaving those low in the pecking order without. Orcs breed quickly, producing a child or twins about every eight months.

Names

Orcish names have many of the same tonal elements as Dwarvish names. In fact, many Dwarven names, if spat as a curse, would sound Orcish. Some names are as follows:

Male: Adbarz, Ashub, Bag, Bagdú, Bagúl, Bamúl, Bashurul, Bazgúr, Bol, Borag, Borkúl, Borog, Bughar, Búmbar, Búrgak, Búrob, Burzonk, Dulag, Dulob, Dumurkúl, Gambak, Gatúl, Ghamúrz, Gharkúl, Ghashnag, Gholag, Gholúb, Ghorzug, Gol, Gor, Gúb, Gúl, Gúrakh, Gúruk, Kharol, Lagob, Lúrag, Lurgakh, Mag, Marbug, Markúb, Moghol, Morbul, Morzol, Múrzug, Mushar, Nag, Nákh, Naruf, Ogdurn, Orbúl, Orog, Orolg, Orzog, Roghak, Rolakh, Shag, Shakh, Shamob, Shazgú, Shuglat, Shuk, Shulog, Shumbor, Shurz, Snadbul, Snagdub, Snarub, Ugar, Ugrub, Umbúrz, Urgol, Urgúl, Yag, Yamog, Yamuf, Yar. Female: Ghama, Shelurn, Shulorn, Mugra, Busham, Ghorbúm, Ghoth, Glarash, Dughamph, Bugdú, Othmaga, Ragoth, Dulfim, Borkúm, Dughash, Boloth, Mash, Búrkúm, Mugha, Khashum, Burba, Múrga, Búlash.

Orcs don't usually take last names, though they often earn titles like, "One Eye" or "The Slasher."

Orcish Sexes

One can't properly refer to Orcs as "men" and "women" either. The generally accepted terms are "Orc" and "She-Orc." Sometimes the more scholarly refer to females as an "Orcess." More often, a male will refer to a female in a profane fashion. Orcs aren't very politically correct.

Languages

Orcs speak Cambionic. Many of them learn a local lingo as well, at least enough to shout profanities at their victims.

Cambionic is the language spoken by the Cambion races. It is older than the world, at least in its roots, and spoken heavily in all the nation-sized Ulcers.

The Spoken Word

There are few races that abuse, twist, and torment the spoken word more than the Orcs. Whereas some Cambions are just too ignorant to speak right, the Orcs learn the language well enough to torture it on purpose.

Swearing

Orcs love to swear, and swear eloquently and at great length. Although they often shout curses at victims in the victim's native tongue, they usually fall back on Cambionic, a language made for swearing. This is probably for the best as their curses would shock a sailor.

Vows

Orcs place no stock in vows. Even in the more-disciplined Uzarâg, an Orc will break any promise he can, assuming the promise is the least bit inconvenient.

Orcish Succession

Orcish succession is quick, brutal, and usually final. Often it involves a quick knife in the back or the judgment of a heavy club.

More formally, challenges take place in a large ring of Orcish spectators. The leader faces the challenger in combat to the death. There are no rules, but the audience rarely does more than throw the occasional rock. They know if they interfere too much it will turn from a spectator's sport into a free-for-all. The outcome is simple. If an Orc walks out alive, he either kept his position or gained the one of the Orc he bested. If he can walk out strong enough that one of the spectators doesn't challenge him, he'll hold it a few hours, at least.

The Communal Cup

Orcs violently guard their rights while tearing the rights away from those under them. This reveals in many different ways, but one prime example has risen in Uzarâg. The communal cup.

In Uzarâg taverns, only the highest ranking Orc is allowed to have his own cup. All other Orcs must drink from a large single cup of ale, often foul with bits of food and pus from open wounds. The Orcs chip in and buy the ale to fill the cup, then they pass it until it's empty.

This is a great affront to Orcish independence and the Orcs hate it. No Orc abolishes it when he's in charge, though. He enjoys watching those under him suffer.

Goblin Slaves

Orcs everywhere, and Uzarâg Orcs in particular, prefer to keep Goblin slaves. Perhaps half the population of Uzarâg is Goblin, many working on the surface and in the Dwarven mushroom farms to produce food for the Orcs. Goblin slaves are sometimes owned individually, but more often they belong to the group. They do whatever the nearest Orc tells them to and answer quickly to the slightest demand. Most Orcs know the ones producing food should be left to their work, so this is the favored duty of the slaves.

Often, Goblins will work for people in certain positions, like the Chieftains, and when the position changes over, the Goblins go to the new Orc.

HALF ORCS

If an Orc and a Dwarf mate, the result (if there is one), is a Half Orc. Half Orcs are unwelcome in the homes of both their parents. In Orcish homes they are brutalized for their Dwarven blood. In Dwarven homes their parent might love them, but no one else will.

Half Orcs have a reduced Infernal Taint, but it is strong enough to detect.

Half Orcs are the eternal outsiders and they often end in terrible and brutal professions. This only stands to reason as they have terrible and brutal lives.

Continued in The Lost Kingdom of the Dwarves.