Friday, October 14, 2011

Orcs of Lingusia Part Two: The Pathfinder Warlords Era Orcs

To provide equal time to Pathfinder, I offer up the Orcs of the Warlords Era of Lingusia! This material is from the same source as the earlier work, but modified to reflect the different game system (Pathfinder) and timeline (Warlords era 3,500 aw). I will be publishing more Warlords Era content soon, to offer a better frame of reference for this particular time of adventure, which is also the definitive default campaign for all of my Lingusia tales these days.

Orcs of Lingusia: Warlords Era (Pathfinder Statistics)
   As in most other eras, the orcs in the Warlords Era are vast in number and strength, but lack unity or direction. Vast hordes occupy the ever-expanding Halale Wilderness and Mitra's Forest, fighting regularly with the people of Octzel and Pheralin. Mercenary remains an honorable profession for most orcs who wish to interact with other races, or to make a name for themselves. Among cities of the Middle Kingdoms, only Golmadras and Saberhaven allow orcs as regular citizens who intermix with the common human population, although there are orcish barrios in Malas, Saddikar, and Hyrendan as well. The grey orcs have a strong enclave in the city of Saberhaven in the Halale Wilderness of Octzel's unclaimed wilderland, as well, and maintain a strong alliance with the humans of the region.
   Orcs come in a variety of “flavors” or “colors” in Lingusia, with the tone of their skin and nature of their character defining their tribal and racial relations. Despite 1,800 years of interbreeding and intermarriage among the orcs with their own kind and other demihumans, the predilection of the race toward homogeneity that some scholars once suspected in the Old Empire of Hyrkania has not come to pass, and if anything the many breeds and looks of the orcs have gotten even more diverse. However, the era of the Plague of Unarak led to a decimation of certain orcish populations; the deo’dell orcs of the Great Plains, for example, were believed wiped out during that time. Today, most orcs are known to belong to the traditional clans of the blue orcs (blyskanyu), grey orcs (glythanyu), red orcs (thyzakkoni), white orcs (fell manorg) or green orcs (amenanyu). “Anyu” is the orcish word for their own kind, although it’s literal translation means the pieces, a reference to their mythical belief that the mad idiot god Baragnagor assembled their kin together from the parts of other beasts. The word orc itself is ancient elvish for the betrayers, though none no longer know why this appellation is used by the fey to refer to the orcs, not even the elves.
Personality and Appearance: Orcs are universally bestial, with pronounced alligator or pig-like snouts, flaring nostrils, jagged teeth, beady black eyes, and smooth, leathery skin. The many different colorations of the orcish sub races reflect the tint or hue of skin, and while most orcs have some stubbly hair growth, only Fell Manorg have full fur coats. Most orcs average around 5 and a half feet to 6 feet in height, but Black Orcs stand at around 7 feet.
Half Orcs: Half orcs are an unfortunate byproduct of orcish raids against humans, and human and elvish women are often secured when they are short of their own females (indeed, there is usually one female orc for every four male orcs born). Because of this shortage, lesser orcs often take slaves of women from other demihuman groups and produce children from them. These children are usually regarded as orcs, albeit with more distinctly humanoid features, but if they look close enough to human or elf (by orc standards) they are usually cast out as being too pure of fair blood. These castoffs are what most people regard as half orcs.
Relations: Orcs are generally reviled in most lands, but are considered acceptable neighbors and citizens by the Southern Hyrkanian city states. The Ashtarth see orcs and goblinoids as useful fodder, while the orcs pride themselves on their mercenary talents. Octzellans see orcs as a threat in the Wilderness of Halale and find allies only in the more civilized grey orcs of Saberhaven. Fell Manorg orcs in the north are considered the mortal enemies of the Autrengardians. Amenanyu dwell in remote islands throughout the Sea of Amech, and war regularly with the humans of the region.
Religion: Orcs worship many gods and beings. All orcs revere Baragnagor as the creator god.  Baragnagor, the idiot beast god, was said to have tried to mimic the other creator gods by forming his own mortal creation, but all he could do was create formless lumps of inert clay. Instead, Baragnagor took the animals and beings of the world and mashed them together, creating the many chaoskin. Orcs claim to have the heads or aggressive crocodiles and swine, the bodies of powerful apes, and the cunning minds of wolves. This animal totemism is carried to an extreme by the Blyskanyu tribes, for which each clan takes on a specific animal as a spirit guide.
   The Gray Orcs are an exception to the rule of worship, as millennia ago there was a conversion of the glythanyu tribes to the benevolent agrarian god Seth, although this dedication has since moved on to the demiurge Nymrador, who was once the champion-avatar of Seth, and who ascended to godhood (it is said) after he took revenge upon teh Shadow Pantheon of Unarak for the murder of Seth. Likewise, the Thyzakkoni orcs are said to have forsaken other gods for Set, the deceiver, who granted them mastery of dark magic in exchange for eternal worship. All red orcs are thus marked with unusual serpentine characteristics and eyes.
Language: All orcs know their native tongue, and some know others (see below). Orcs have fairly easy access to other chaos-kin tongues, sometimes called the Vandal tongues, as well as other racial languages of the Underworld.
 Names: Orcs like names that exemplify their skill and prowess in battle, and terrify their enemies and rivals. The native form of their tongue sounds guttural, beastly, and is hard for humans to pronounce. They will often go for a translated name when among humans to ensure they know what the name means. The native and translated forms are both suggested below. Female orcs, rarely encountered outside of their highly patriarchal and misogynistic tribes, speak a different feminine dialect and prefer to name themselves after their own heritage, and things in nature. Finally, all orcs find their tribal name to be important, and attach it at the end of their title.
Tribal Names: Bloody Hands, Poison Claws, Chaos Spirits, Demon Wolves, Harrowers.
Translated Names: Killer of Halflings, Eater of the Dead, Wolf Runner, Elf Slayer, Smashingskulls, Spinning Spear, Rending Guts.
Gutteral Translation: Okai, Agrabud, Gazkath, Vyghoar, Raghach, Megroath, Gobban.
Female Names: Syba, Trythabin, Shemi, Vryllats, Meerkas, Chem.
Adventurers: There are some orcish professions which allow orcs to interact with men and not find themselves constantly in conflict. Orcish mercenary companies are an unpleasant but accepted norm in the Octzellan lands, and are greatly valued in Southern Sendral and Golmadras. Indeed, orcs are considered acceptable citizens in Golmadras, which also recruit from the chaos-kin for cheap shock troops. Orcs move freely amongst the societies of the Underworld, as well, and can always find a safe haven in their controlled territories, which include the Halale Wilderness and Mira’s Forest, the Silver Mountains, some tracks along the  Greyspire Mountains, and large expanses in the north in Enarrion. There are several islands in the Sea of Amech controlled entirely by orcs, as well.
Orcish Characters
   Half-orcs and orcs can be played in Pathfinder using the standard racial rules as given in both the Core Rules and the Bestiary; apply the following modifiers by racial subtype if desired.
Glythanyu, Gray Orcs                             
   The surface dwelling gray orcs are the most acculturated with humanity, and are the likeliest source of half orc cross breeds brought about by voluntary relations (yes, amazingly). They are remarkably agreeable being as orcs go, with a culture dominated by a sense of pride and a belief that though they were, indeed born of an idiot god’s confusion that they can aspire to be much more.
   In the Warlords Era of Lingusia Gray Orcs are found in the westerlands of the Middle Kingdoms as mercenaries and soldiers by trade, dwelling in small forest and mountain communities that center on the preservation of their kind. The gray orcs are dedicated to the demiurge Nymrador, a paladin chosen by the old god Seth who all gray orcs believed touched their species with a singularly unique pair of gifts: honor and conscience. Grey orcs are the principle race and rulers of the city fo Saberhaven, located along the eastern tip of the Dragonspine Mountains in the Halale Wilderness. They are ostensibly a client state that holds fealty to the northern king of Octzel, but in truth they are the masters of their own dominion and the only reason that any overland trade survives in the Halale Wilderness between northern Octzel and southern Pheralin.
   Gray orcs are distinguished by their more humanoid looking features, with the shortest snouts of their kind amongst the men. Female gray orcs rarely have distinct snouts at all, but pronounced tusk-like incisors instead. They have dusky gray skin and patchy hair, usually gray or white. 
Dedicated: Gray Orcs may become paladins as servants of Nymrador; in fact, only gray orcs may revere Nymrador (and receive benefits of any kind). 
Surface Dwellers: Gray orcs have lived on the surface for so long that they have lost their light sensitivity.

Blyskanyu, Blue Orcs                              
   The barbarian tribes of the blue orcs are strongest within the Halale Wilderness and Mitra’s Woods, and they have a long, sordid history as rising to the occasion for any chaotic armies that need assembly in the name of evil. Blue orcs are the most tribal and violent of all the orcish tribes, though a few noted individuals in history have outgrown their violent heritage. Blue orcs are mostly barbarians, although they have many shamanic clerics dedicated to various demon gods and Baragnagor especially. Long ago the blue orcs worshipped the dread god called the Kraken, located in deep caverns beneath Old Chegga, but in the centuries since the Long Darkness after the fall of the Hyrkanian Empire the Kraken began to move, winding its way through the caverns for an unknowable purpose, a protean somnambulist of evil, until it at last found its way to the open waters of the Inner Sea. The loss of the Kraken affected many orcs, who sought other entities of darkness to worship and gain power from, and it  is said that these shamans of the bue tribes turned to a dark power dwelling beneath the central plateau lands of southern Octzel, a being they call the Blighted One.
   Blue orcs are the most bestial in appearance of their kind, often with great guts and massive craws hanging beneath their long pig-like chins. Their women are just as notoriously disgusting, although occasional tales abound of valorous gray orcs “liberating” female blue orcs who are actuall comely (by gray orc standards) from their blue orc clansmen who deserve, according to the gray orcs, only the most porcine and protuberant female kin in their bed skins.
·         Blue orcs receive a +2 racial modifier to Knowledge-Nature skill checks related to or in their native lands of Mitra’s Forest and the greater Halale Wilderness.
Thyzakkoni, Red Orcs                             
   The Red orcs are a distant off-shoot of orcs that are dedicated to Set, the god of evil, and they are the most magically gifted of their kind. The Red orcs have the smallest overall population, being conservative in their breeding efforts, though ironically they are the only orcs who have a proper balance of males to females, as well. These orcs are spread among many tribes, and seek power in the control of their lesser kin, rather than the consolidation of their tribes in to concentrated power groups. Some believe their magical talents have a side effect of making it difficult for red orcs to produce offspring, but others more rightly suspect that the dilution of the blood with their lesser kin is the real result of so few of their kind.
   Red orcs are the least bestial of their kind, with more ape-like faces and bodies than other orcs. Red orcs are the only scaled orcs in the world, and they have noted featues such as forked tongues and serpentine eyes as well, due to their prolonged worship of Set andinteraction with serpent men, it is believed. They are exceptionally gifted with magic, and few of their kind are unable to perform at least a few simple spells.
·         Red Orcs are treated somewhat differently than normal orcs, and have normal average intelligence (do not apply any penalty at character creation).
·         They get a +2 racial modifier to the bluff and intimidation skills; though they tend to be no more charismatic than other orcs, red orcs are known for their skill at lying and manipulation.
·         Red orcs are commonly gifted with arcane or divine talent. Regardless of starting class, a red orc character must choose wizard, sorcerer, cleric or some other spell-casting class as his favored class provided his minimum stats allow for spell casting. Red orcs that are incapable of spellcasting are outcasts and usually condemned for their lack of talent, seen as an affront to Baragnagor or the demon gods.

Gul’Hlath, Black Orcs                              
   Amongst the many species of orcs are occasionally born anomalous greater orcs, the Gul’Hlath, called black orcs for their blackish tar-colored skin. These are chaos infused beasts, great in strength, and they are coveted for a military prowess that seems inherent.
   Black orcs are born of other orcish stock, and when this happens, they are almost always seen as a gift from Baragnagor. Only a few orcish chieftains will kill such babies outright, usually in fear, and only if they can get away with it. Usually, the child is immediately taken from the parents and put in to a warrior’s fraternity, such as the Bloody Hands or the Screaming Skulls, and they become powerful warriors in short order, destined to rule the tribe as a warlord in the future.
   Black orcs have been very rare since the era of the Cataclysm, and amongst those few eccentric scholars who study orcish culture, it is suspected that their perverse kind may have been a product of infusion with an unborn orcish child and a demonic soul for unknown purposes.
   The following benefits apply to Pathfinder only:
·         Black orcs have normal Intelligence and Charisma (no penalties) unlike normal orcs.
·         +2 natural armor bonus
·         +2 racial modifier to intimdation and diplomacy

Fell Manorgs, White Orcs                     
   The northern orcs are a plague amongst the Autrengardian northern kingdoms, and are much like the Blyskanyu except for their more primitive tribal societies. Fell Manorgs are best described as being somewhat yeti-like, hairy white-furred beast men with beady black eyes and white-gray leathery skin underneath. They molt in the Summer and travelers in the north look for signs of their shed fur as a warning. Fell manorg are in all respects like normal orcs otherwise.
·         Fell Manorg receive a +2 racial bonus to stealth checks in a snowy environment.
·         Fell Manorg are an isolated and xenophobic lot, and receive a -2 modifier to all diplomacy skill checks when dealing with other demi-humans.
·         Fell Manorg may never start with another language other than orcish, goblin, minotaur, giantish or draconic.
·         All Fell Manorg start off illiterate (which precludes them from starting at 1st level as a wizard), and must spend skill ranks in Linguistics to buy this off, at the cost of one rank per spoken language.
·         Fell Manorg who choose to be Rangers usually take humans as their favored enemy. Such rangers are known as a special order of warriors among the white orcs called the Thro’Skaldar, and they revere Wolfon, lord of the hunt.

Amenanyu, Green Orcs                         
   The goblinoid green orcs of the Sea of Amech are savage primitives, dwelling both above and beneath the surface of their remote islands, warring unceasingly upon man. They are degenerate throwbacks, but considered by some the closest to the progenitor god Baragnagor. Amenanyu are almost always barbarians when choosing a class. It is common in the this era for green orcs to seek out the worship of the dead god Belphegor, whom they seek to restore to life; their shamans are said to commune with the spirit of this dead immortal demon-turned-god.
   Amenanyu are so crocodilian in their facial features that they are sometimes mistaken for short lizardmen. Their lack of scales and excessive body hair usually gives away their true natures, however.
·         Green Orcs are natural experts at jungle camouflage and survival, and receive a +2 racial modifier to all Nature, Stealth and Perception rolls in a jungle environment.
·         Green Orcs are very disagreeable with other demi-humans, and receive a -2 Diplomacy skill modifier with all normal demihumans and humans (but not other orcs and monsters).

Art by Jang Keung Chul

All text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, All Rights Reserved

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