Half-orcs

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Overview

Fatcow-arrow-divide.png This article is about the half-orc race. For articles about specific half-orcs, see Category:Half-Orcs.


Rare compared with other humanoid races, due to the unlikely and often violent nature of their creation, half-orcs are stigmatized wherever they wander across the world. They are the slave children of their orc "parents" and their captive consorts, or they are born to serve their orcish chieftains with their cunning, but they are almost never free to roam of their own accord. Even the life of a free half-orc is hard, physically and emotionally, as they are invariably met with scorn, gawking curiosity, fearful persecution, or wrathful vengeance for the barbarism of their monstrous ancestors.

As such, most free half-orcs are loners, emotionally scarred by lifetimes of hardship, sullen and anti-social. Some find companionship among barbarian tribes, or foreign legions, or even in urban areas as hired muscle.

Physical Description

Adult half-orcs of Caraonis stand between 6'0" and 7'6" on average, and easily weigh in excess of 200 pounds, with a wide variety skin tones from pink, to pale orange, brown, gray, or olive green. They naturally build muscle easily, and choose to do so early and often. Even those who look closest to their "other" race have some tell-tale sign (besides the possibly uncommon skin color) of their orcish heritage — a porcine aspect to the nose, an aggressive underbiting jaw, protruding tusklike teeth, or coarse, widespread body hair, to name only a few.

Half-orcs are often scarred with signs of physical abuse, even those who are elevated to the status of a captive advisor to an orc chieftain. The orcish delight in torturing their slaves is not reserved for non-orcs only; they will cheerfully torment or even abandon their illegitimate offspring, or train them as entertainment for the fighting pits.

Half-orcs age more quickly than their "other" race because of the short life cycle of their orcish parents. A half-orc-half-human would be physically mature by age 10 and already showing signs of old age by 35. Even half-orc-half-elves who are somehow allowed to live out their natural lives rarely see a century.

Society

Half-orcs still in orcish societies are generally doomed to one of three servile existences. The best such a half-orc slave could hope for is a higher-than average tactical wit that makes him valuable as a chieftain's servant-advisor. Otherwise they might be trained as gladiators for the amusement of the orcish leadership, or be left to live or die with their enslaved "other-parents". Some use their intelligence to escape from their situation and find their way into civilized society, but at least as many perish in the attempt.

Those who find their freedom are quickly disillusioned of any notion that civilization will adopt them with open arms. In most nations, a random man on the street would rather hurl a rotten tomato at a half-orc's head than give him the time of day. They are forced to keep to themselves, working whatever job will earn enough to keep them alive, and finding what few friends they can among the hostile inhabitants of whatever city or town where they eventually settle.

Relations

Half-orcs have an especially hard time in nations where orc attacks have been the fiercest and most costly — namely, in Solaria and the northern, mountainous regions of Arlyrion. By extension the races that the orcs view as most attractive for enslavement — humans and elves — are resentful of half-orcs' very existence, as the half-orcs are viewed as reminders of the violence that orcs regularly unleash on those races. Dwarves, too, distrust half-orcs, not only because of their tall stature, but also remembering the ancient wars fought between dwarves and orcs for control of the cave systems throughout Caraonis's mountain ranges. Others, on the other hand, are ambivalent toward half-orcs, as interactions between them are rare.

Homelands

There is no half-orc homeland, as there is no coherent half-orc society. Half-orcs come from where orcs come from — the mountain ranges in central Senestria, Ferytia, Tyrillia, and Takharas all contain enclaves of orcish society. Half-orcs found and liberated by the barbarian tribes of Narcia will often be adopted into those tribes, however, and find homes among their warriors, though even then they are still never quite fully assimilated.

Alignment

Half-orcs rarely mature in lawful environments, and are thus generally chaotic in philosophy, but have no natural tendency toward either good or evil. Some who become elevated within orc society will adopt its ideals; those who are freed or adopted may take up the cause of good in the form of fighting back against the orcish hordes.

Religion

There is no patron deity of half-orcs, nor of orcs for that matter. Those allowed to participate in orcish cultures may take up worship of one of the evil deities such as Fezarkheddin or Gryndahl; female half-orcs may even worship Odiala as they view themselves as somehow "corrupted" in origin. Half-orcs who escape to human society sometimes turn to Benjezzar, as his war-riddled history appeals at a basic level to the half-orc's inborn nature.

Naming

Given names for half-orcs are all over the map. Some are given by the orc parent, some by the "other"; a few are even given new names by adoptive parents or members of whatever society takes them in. As orcs have no family name, half-orcs generally use a single name even in civilized society unless given a familiar signifier by someone else.

Adventurers

Free half-orcs turn toward adventuring careers more readily than other races, as often a party of wandering adventurers are the only groups willing to tolerate the presence of a half-orc on a daily basis, and their natural strength and size make them valuable allies in combat situations. Any half-orc seeking employment as hired muscle — with skills as a barbarian, fighter, or even monk — shouldn't have to look long, assuming he can find employers or companions willing to put up with the social burden of associating with them.