Friday, May 20, 2011

More Orcs

Okay, I haven't actually read Orcs of Golarion.  However, I was planning to do a sourcebook about the race -- consolidating all of my material on this blog -- when I realized that Paizo beat me to it.  With all the spells I was going to add from the WoW RPG (specifically More Magic and Mayhem and the Horde Player's Guide) and the introduction of the Shaman and Warlock base classes from WoW into a Pathfinder perspective.

However, the sourcebook was going to focus on the orc race in my world.  After all, that was what I was working on.  The sourcebook, however, is so incredibly niche that it's as niche as Orcs of Golarion except for one thing.

I had ideas last night about doing it too.

Anyway, Tables suck on Blogger.

But lets continue to put up material about orcs in my world on this blog, so that I can continue to build on the mythos of this race.


Orcs.  Orcs are beings in D&D that come whole cloth from Middle Earth.  Along with Elves, the Professor's body of work has affected D&D deeply with the stereotypes of Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, and Orcs.  Although pretty much you have the Disney Corporation weighing in their additions to the D&D cannon -- Tolkien really was the one that had the biggest impact.

Orcs, through the eighties and nineties, for me; lived lives that were nasty, brutish, and short.  Then, I played Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft.  Blizzard Entertainment had changed at least my perspective of Orcs altogether.  They weren't necessarily portrayed as super evil in the game, or even Always Chaotic Evil (except in the first two Warcraft games).

Blizzard's orcs:

  • Are a Proud Warrior Race with an extensive honor system.
  • Are generally more intelligent than "Tolkienian" orcs (although often still less intelligent than humans and other races, or at least they're viewed that way).
  • have an animist and/or shamanistic religious structure.
  • Are more likely to be omnivorous (but still usually hunter-gatherers).
  • Are more likely to have females on screen, gender equality or even matriarchal societies.
  • Are much, much more likely to have a more fully fleshed-out culture than "Tolkienian" orcs.
  • Green skin and tusks, and physically similar to (some) trolls from European folklore.
  • Will have simian features or porcine features or both.
  • Usually bigger than humans and almost always stronger.
 The orcs around Phoenicia, and in the horde lands, usually follows the above trope.  They are a warrior race, not necessarily proud, using an honor system.  I take inspiration from the Picts from Beyond the Wall and Mongols with yurts and so forth.

They are generally more intelligent than the usual D&D orc (although I always figured that the D&D orc was based on Neanderthals).   So, I set on making my orcs just as different.  I wanted mine to be varied, however.   We humans have a lot of cultures -- so why not make the orcs like that?  The only problem is, in fantasy, you tend to have extremes.

Humans are civilized, orcs are barbaric.  Elves are highly civilized, some other race are like in the stone age, etc etc.  This is basically to show off some tropes.  In the end, though, I can't break with all convention and I chose to make them barbaric.

At least they will talk to you before becoming a nuisance. :)


Anonymous said...

It always seemed to me that the later vision of orcs as a "proud warrior race" concerned with honor was based on the Klingons, from TNG onward. I can definitely understand wanting to break away from the standard orc trope, but WOW (for example) went too far into yet another stereotype. Glad you are seeking a little more originality.


Elton said...

I'm definitely thinking about using my resource (KAP Beyond the Wall) on the Picts for society and religion, but mixing in a little Mongol influence for politics.

Using this combination, I can definitely hit the middle of the road between Tolkien Orcs and WoW orcs, or even come up with something different.

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