Orcs are often called the primordial scourge of all civilization. Birthed in the midst of a people driven to the outskirts of society, orcs are raised to believe that constant conflict is the only true test of a species' worth, and they glare at the soft civilizations all around them with envious, hateful eyes.
The daily life of a typical orc is a fierce struggle for survival. Living on the fringes of civilization, driven there for their rapacious ways, orcs that are not actively engaged in battle are constantly training for battle, planning for battle, and preparing themselves for the next raid. What other races might see as obsession the orcs see as good sense, as they consider the world that surrounds them to be actively hostile towards them. And, in most cases, they are right! Since orcs believe that they must conquer as much territory as they can in order to survive, this sets all other intelligent races against them, except for those that seek to use the orcs' eagerness for battle for their own purposes.
Despite their overt declarations of revering strength and combat prowess, many orcs, like all bullies, are actually cowardly at heart. Because of this, they prefer not to act without a tribe behind them and some drinks in their bellies, or when they think they can achieve an easy victory. Survival is considered slightly more important than valor, and most sensible orcs would rather retreat and fight again another day than be slaughtered in a battle that has turned against them. This means that orcs are not above using any dirty tricks available to them, and are seldom concerned with honor, so long as they achieve victory where it counts. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule, however, and some orcs are noted for being highly honorable. A few are even almost noble, and these rare orcs often earn the respect of their foes, provided that they also have the cunning and toughness needed to outdo any of the many other orcs who might interpret their nobility for weakness or foolishness.
The stereotypical orc has black hair, red eyes, and facial features that are somewhere between that of a human, a boar, and a wolf. This race usually stands a little over six feet in height, and may have skin that is coal black, dark green, or a leathery tan. Orcs tend to be fond of wearing colors such as blood red, mustard yellow, yellow-green, and deep purple, among other colors that many other races find unappealing.
Generally, orcs are accepted in small numbers when they travel outside their homelands, so long as they stay out of territory controlled by dwarves or elves, who have a long history of conflict with orcs and a great deal of bad blood. Orcs in large numbers are a raiding party, and are not tolerated by anybody.
Lone orcs sometimes leave their home tribes in order to prove themselves, though this is a rare occurrence, only undertaken by the bravest or most foolish of orcs, who generally prefer to stick together in the true fashion of bullies.
- +4 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Orcs are immensely strong through intense selective breeding, but they are noted for being fairly dim-witted, and for their almost complete lack of social skills.
- Medium: Orcs are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Normal Speed: Orcs have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Darkvision: Orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
- Weapon Familiarity: Orcs are proficient with Greataxes and Falchions and treat any weapon with the word “Orc” in its name as a martial weapon.
- Intimidating: Orcs receive a +2 racial bonus on Intimidate skill checks due to their fearsome reputation.
- Light Sensitivity: Orcs suffer a -1 circumstance penalty to attack rolls, saves, and checks in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
- Languages: Orcs begin play speaking Common and Wildlander. Orcs with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Carnivon, Draconic, Giant, and Goblin.
Special Racial Feat
Some creatures, especially beings that normally live in the Underdark, have a hard time dealing with the raw, merciless light of the surface world. Other creatures, most notably undead, actually take damage from such exposure, and from related effects. However, it is possible for many of these creatures to overcome their weakness to light through careful, steady doses of exposure. While these methods of gradual exposure can be grueling, and even potentially deadly in some instances, those who make it through the training process are hardened against what was once a great danger.
Prerequisites: Light-related weakness.
Benefit: Creatures with light sensitivity (such as orcs) are able to function in sunlight without any penalties. Creatures that are actually damaged by sunlight (such as vampires) suffer only half the effects, or are able to last twice as long if there is a time duration of survival listed rather than a damage amount, and do not suffer any movement penalties for exposure.
Also see this text for some additional information on orcs in other worlds, some of which also applies to Therafim. While the deities listed in this document do exist and are worshiped by orcs, they are demigods. Gruumsh is still the primary deity of worship among orcs, though clerics of Gruumsh might also be clerics of one of these lesser orcish deities.