Birth and Childhood
Green is best, green is probably good to eat
Green is best, green is the colour of my feet
Green is mighty, green will squish you to a pulp.
Green is mighty, green will drinkyou in a gulp.
Green is strong,
Green is never wrong,
Green has had to sing too long.
Green crushes heads now to end this song.
Birthing among the Orcs is not given any real great importance, as Orcs are a very fertile species and childbirth almost a daily occurrence among Orc tribes. However, the harshness of Orcish life means that generally only one in three to four new borns will live beyond early childhood. Twins and triplets are relatively common among Orcs, again due to the high fertility. During the delivery, most involved generally start drinking the day before, and are extremely drunk by the time the baby is born. This includes the mother, as it dulls the pain in a society where healers and midwives are rare, and pain and fear are seen as signs of weakness. It is also considered a matter of pride for the mother to deliver her own child alone, and many Orcish mothers show with pride the scars of the mishaps during delivery.
After the birth, the placenta is eaten, and it is considered a great honour to be asked by the family to join in this ritual. The infant is now considered part of the family, and will be raised by the family as a whole, not just by its biological parents. In fact, in many cases the mother may not even know exactly who the biological father is. The infant will not be named, however, for several months, as Orcs, in their practical views of life, see no point in wasting effort on a name until it appears certain that the child is going to survive.
Once the child reaches an age of three to eight months, it will be named by its’ mother. The age greatly depends on the tribes activities at the time of birth. A child born during war times may have to wait much longer for a name, as the constant raiding makes their survival more tenuous, and the typical Orcish view is that there are more important things to do during a war than name an infant. In peaceful times, especially after a successful raiding season, when the tribe is well stocked and at leisure, the child may be named in as short a time as a few weeks, if it looks to be strong and healthy and likely to survive. Weak or sick infants are never even named, and often not cared for beyond the first few days after birth. In Orcish society, there is no room for the weak or sick, at any age.
Age of Adulthood
Orcs reach adulthood fast, as fits their harsh lives. Although there is no hard and fast rule, generally an Orc is considered an adult among the family after the first time they do something significant for the family. This can be the first time they accompany a raiding party, the first time they kill an invader to protect the family, or any other action the Chief deems appropriate. For the more intelligent Orc, destined to someday become an Advisor, this could also be the first time they successfully plan a raid, or perform first aid on the Chief to safe his life after a battle. However, the Chief determines the time they are to be considered an adult, and at that time gives them another second name. It is not uncommon for Orcish boys to reach adulthood as early as twelve, while for females it is usually closer to fifteen.
Love and Marriage
Orcs place a great importance on family, and mating is not something done lightly. Children born to the family outside of mated couples are common, and carry no less status among the family. However, once two Orcs become mates, they mate for life. Mating is more common in cases of two Orcs of different families, and in this case, the female then becomes a member of the male’s family. The ritual of mating varies from family to family, but almost always involves some sort of combat trial (often the male will have to best the father or brothers of the female to prove himself). However, since Orcs place little importance on sex, the female is not required to accept the male’s offer. In some tribes, the couple themselves will fight, and the victor decides the outcome of whether they should be mated or not.
As with most Orcish festivities, following the fight there is much eating and drinking. And, like many aspects of Orcish life, it is not uncommon for participants to die during the festivities.
Death and Burial
Although some say Orcs may live to be fifty, sixty, or even as old as eighty years of age, this has yet to be confirmed, as Orcs find it shameful to die of old age. Actual death and burial practices for Orcs vary greatly based on three factors: who it was, how they died, and what they did in life. An infant or young child who dies prior to even being named is granted no significance when they die, and it is as if they never even existed. A named child who has not yet reached adulthood who dies will either be granted a burial if they die in combat or simply ignored and left for scavengers if they die for other reasons (sickness, non combat injuries, etc). Once an Orc reaches adulthood, the way they are treated and remembered after death depends on how they die, and what they did up to that point. Any adult who dies in combat is granted a proper burial (at least by Orcish standards). This may be either being buried in a hole dug for the body or being buried under a pile of loose rocks. Adult orcs are always buried with their weapons and armour, as they will need them in the next world. After the burial, a feast is held for the dead Orc, in which their exploits are recounted and the family says their goodbyes. The scope of this feast varies depending on the status of the dead orc. Orc adults who die outside of combat are considered outcasts, and their names are not too be spoken again. They are stripped of all possessions and their bodies are left for scavengers. If they orc was an important or honoured member of the family (Chief, Advisor, War-band leader, Healer) rather than being buried, they will be burned on a funeral pyre with all their possessions. The only exception to this are the Wise Ones, who are expected to die of old age, and are always granted a funeral pyre, followed by days of feasting and celebration.
Although Orcs will sometimes return from the dead, Tribes or families will never make specific efforts to raise a dead member, as they believe that life and death are the decisions of their patron Faerie, not theirs.
Orcs have a fierce loyalty to their brothers and sisters. It is common for different tribes to maintain a friendly rivalry. It is almost inevitable that fighting between tribes will break out as well. All of these ill-feelings would vanish, however, if multiple tribes were collectively threatened. Orcs are loyal to their family first, then their clan or tribe, then to the Orc Nation. It is considered an honour to die for one’s family or one’s cause. Orcs view outsiders with suspicion and general mistrust. They judge all those they meet in the same manner they judge other Orcs, by what they can do.
Of the other Fae, they associate most closely with the Dwarves, admiring the metal work, combat skills, and fondness of drinking these stout cousins of theirs posses. Many Orcs also work well with Kaern, again due to the common skills of hunting and fighting. Also, Orcs can understand the Kaern pride system (although they don’t understand why such importance is placed on sex) and the Dwarven Clans. They do not understand Elven houses, and the political scheming and intrigue that often occurs within them.
Chiefs and Advisors
Orc leaders are usually the strongest men of the group. Leadership conflicts are settled violently. It is rare that both candidates survive and it is not unheard of for them to both die. Although it is not impossible for females to become chiefs, it is rare. Orc Chiefs commonly take Advisors, who are generally weaker, smarter Orcs. Many advisors are female. Other positions of note within Orcish society include Warband leaders, Healers (which are rare among Orcs), and Wise Ones. Wise Ones are usually very old Orcs, and they are the extremely rare members of the race who learn Literacy, Magic, and Psychic abilities. In tribes with more than one member who shows these traits, noly the oldest and most powerful will be granted Wise One status, and the remainder are simply apprentices.
Crime and Punishment
Orcs tend not to punish violence if it is justified. Killing another in combat or as a result of vendetta or grudges is considered perfectly acceptable. Most disputes are settled by combat. Theft is not seen as a crime, since if you are not strong enough to keep your possessions; you do not deserve to have them. The greatest crime among the Orcs is the disturbing of a buried dead Orc. Orcs take death and burial very seriously, and any Orc caught looting the burial site of another Orc is immediately put to death and disgraced.
Work and Play
Many Orcs have literally carved out homes for themselves in the Rocklands and other areas of the world. Orc villages make use of the surrounding terrain in the most efficient way possible. Orcs who live in the mountains live in caves or other natural enclosures, Orcs who live in the swamps have made homes from mud and swamp-grass, and Orcs who live in the forests make the best use of hollowed-out trees and underground burrows. While these dwellings may lack in beauty, they are generally quite well built and sturdy.
Division Of Labour
In Orc society, men are usually the leaders, fighters, hunters, and builders. Women are usually the caretakers, artisans, traders, and nurses. In Orc society, you are measured by your actions and usefulness, not your sex, because all Orcs are tough and battle ready, regardless of their gender or role.
Play and leisure among the Orcs generally encourages activities which help train the young and keep the adults fit and ready. Wrestling, racing, target practice, sparring and hunting are all common pastimes. Orcish children are encouraged to learn these skills early, and practice them always. Other pastimes include gathering foods, making weapons and armour, and other things which will help serve the Orc later in life. Young Orcs take part in competitions in these things, to see who can make the better arrows, find the most food in a day, or other challenges amongst each other.
Throughout their history in fantasy literature, Orcs have gotten a pretty bad reputation. In the world of Epoch, Orcs are not the stereotypical villain any more than any other race or culture. While they are predisposed towards warfare, they are also loyal, strong, and brave, making powerful allies or enemies.
Looking Like an Orc
Orcs are recognized In Game by their protruding tusks and greenish tinge to their skin. There are a lot of ways to achieve these effects- take a trip to any makeup or theatrical supply store and pick up some fangs and green face paint. Orcs take pride in the length and shape of their fangs. In Orc culture, those with the longest tusks have slightly higher status than those with short ones. Wear and tear (usually from close combat) is the number one danger to the size of one’s tusks.
Orcs are not entirely savage, but it is common for Orcs to wear skins and furs in combination with crudely made cloth garments. Many Orcs favour necklaces (or other accessories) made from the teeth and bones of their enemies. While not nearly as common, some Orcs in the employ of other races adopt a more sophisticated style of dress. It is not uncommon to find some Orcs (employed by other races as guards etc.) adorned in the more sophisticated styles of their employers. But even these Orcs will always have some remnants of their own taste blended in. Many Orcs have acquired articles of clothing or armour from other cultures through trading or warfare. Orcs won’t wear anything they consider “frail” and yet it would not be uncommon for them to jealously protect a flower or any other thing they consider “pretty”.
Thinking Like an Orc
Orcs tend to fall into the category of either “dimwitted” or “clever”. The majority of Orcs fall into the former. Orcs tend to act first, and think later. They are subject to confusion and temper tantrums more often than other races. They often turn to violence as a solution to a problem. They are prone to pointless bickering and arguing. Many Orcs have large egos, attitude problems, and/or too much pride. Like some Dwarfs, Orcs can be extremely stubborn. Most Orcs are concerned with the physical world- i.e. how much food they are going to eat, how much trading they might do, who they are going to beat on, when they are going to make some more babies. Far fewer Orcs are concerned with the spiritual world- i.e. where do they go when we die, is it bad to kill people, why can Humans use magic.
Acting Like an Orc
While this is entirely up to you, Orcs are probably one of the most physical races In Game. A great way to establish your Orc character’s presence is in the way you move and carry yourself. Do you lumber around slowly? Do you swing your arms like an ape when you walk? Do you stand as tall as possible to make an intimidating figure of yourself? Are you hunched over? Pick a fun way to move, and stick with it. This, in combination with your makeup and voice, will make for a very interesting character.
Naming your Orc
Orc names tend to reflect their culture and vary greatly from tribe to tribe. Although most orcs will have a given name and the name they receive from their Chief at adulthood, most use only the given name. Often names also refer to the orcs profession or past exploits as well, adding titles such as “Hunter” or “Elf killer”. If you cannot think of any other name for your orc you can always think about the sound your weapon will make as it hit your opponents.
Sounding Like an Orc
Most Orcs are a little on the slow side. This can be either because they are not as intelligent as some other races, or because their physical conditioning has taught them the value of actions, not words. In other words, they aren’t the best public speakers of all the Fae races. Orcs have a tendency to use improper grammar, and often make up completely new words to suit their purposes. For example, some Orcs call Dwarfs “Beards” and Halflings “Squirrels”. You might consider adopting a certain way of speaking when playing an Orc. A different voice could help make your character unique. Remember that sounding ‘dumb’ is not the same thing as ‘acting dumb’, and Orcs are not stupid, so sounding stupid does not make you sound like an Orc. This gives a lot of room for variety between individual Orcs. Also, if it hurts to speak a certain way DON’T speak that way. Safety first!
Though few orcs bother learning to read or write, the language of the orcs (like most of their life) is harsh sounding, simple, and to the point. Hard consonant sounds are common, such as dorgar (war party), adez (blood), ogsha (dagger), orgadak (Human), and shezag (sword). Most orcs adopt the language of those around them (usually human) and often will borrow or make up words to apply to things that they do not have a word for in their own language.
Quirks and Disadvantages
To add to your character, you could choose to take on some idiosyncrasies. Quirks common to Orcs are: a bad temper, ignorance, foolishness, poor communication. Some Orc tribes have rival tribes to dislike or envy. Some Orcs dislike other races. Possible character Disadvantages might be: Gullibility, Intolerance, or Blind Loyalty.