2021-08-23, 12:10 AM (ISO 8601)
Barbarian in the Playground
The wild region beyond the Dragonspine Mountains, and home to the Orcish peoples. Renown as the only race that never succumbed to Giant rule, and respected by all races as the source of the Rise. The lands are savage, filled with dire animals and enormous reptilian beasts.
Beyond the realm of the dwarves, beyond the Dragonspine Mountains that act as a natural barrier, there is a massive region of tropical forests and savannahs, free of settlements and civilization. These wild lands, filled with beasts most men can't comprehend, are what the Orcs think of as their home, Orclundi.
Though all orcs have a Stone Age level of technology and lifestyle, trade from other races has gradually introduced refined, more modern goods, usually weapons and armor. They recognize the value of these tools, but have yet to learn how to craft them on their own.
In late pregnancy, orcish women struggle to hunt alongside the rest of their tribal bands. Although the extended family freely offers food and protection as is the cultural norm, they often become frustrated with the sensation of being a burden to others. It is fairly common for a new mother to neglect her parental role for the first few weeks of her child's life, fulfilling a primal need to reclaim her independence and honor.
While many tribal cultures have a leader such as a chieftain, orcish bands are unusual in that all adults have equal authority, though they will differ to experience and wisdom. This includes the rearing of children, with all functioning as parents or teachers. Females even share the role of nursing the young if able, and all children think of each other as siblings. There is a surprising amount of consensus and shared responsibility in a band, with all adults participating in the hunting, and the elders taking turns teaching tribal skills.
But there is never an obligation to a band. If an individual or smaller group cannot agree with the band, they are free to leave. Children always stay with the larger group, as it gives them a better chance to survive.
The purely nocturnal orcs, the Urrok, dwell in cave systems during the day. These caves are tribal holdings for bands of approximately 30, and are the base that limits their hunting territory. Here, young orc are taught by elders to rear and train young dire bats, which will eventually become mounts for the tribe. Learning to ride beneath them, to hunt under their wings, is especially difficult.
The more numerous Orrak are cathemeral, active at various points during the day or night as dictated by their current food source. The bands of 50 migrate with various herds, or where prey animals will be at different times of the year. The young are taught about the terrain and seasons, and how to track from a distance. Those that use mounts, whether reptilian or dire beasts, learn how to train these animals.
Orcish have a natural, instinctive defiance and a fierce sense of competitiveness, which creates unique child rearing challenges when compared to other races. Elders have passed down techniques structured as competitions, of athletics and stealth, which can reward individual achievements but more often encourages cooperative behavior. This not only teaches important survival skills, but also the benefits of working alongside and recognizing the strengths of others, that there are many paths for glory and honor.
Adulthood is recognized when the tusks of an orc begin to protrude from the mouth, even if they would be considered adolescents in other cultures. From that point forward, they participate in the hunting and contribute as equals, and are driven to prove their worth. As all orcs are primarily carnivores, they must constantly stay on the hunt to maintain their strength and prevent starvation. Some plant material may be gathered for texture or flavor the meat, but an orc can't survive on a vegetarian diet.
They eat together, sharing tales during the feast. Tales of the hunt, tales of battle. Tales of their own deeds, tales of others, tales of the fallen. The world is both a plentiful and cruel place, and needs to be remembered at all times.
Because of the migratory nature of the Orrak, bands often cross paths. When Orrak meet other Orrak, the bands may intermingle and cooperate for a time, though eventually they will split apart due to their own unique patterns. However, young males may take an interest in females of the other band, and switch to that group instead of staying with their family. There may be emotional partings, but overall this strengthens bonds between bands.
When the Orrak meet the Urrok, the events can be violent. The nocturnal race is fiercely protective of their territory, allowing travel but not hunting. Though their numbers are fewer, their sudden aerial assaults can take a band completely by surprise. Conversely, the Orrak recognize no ownership of prey animals, and will defend their right to hunt where they will.
Orcs recognize that various divine beings exist, but they play no role in orcish life. If they were to pray to a benign power, it would lessen their own accomplishments. Similarly, if they were to try and appease a dark power, it would deny them an obstacle that they would prefer to overcome. They will not bend a knee, they will not serve another power. The only obligation a true Orc can accept is to themselves, and by extension their chosen family.
They have no belief in an afterlife, no belief in an eternal soul. When they die, it is the end. There is no funeral, no ceremony. That which was theirs is allocated as needed to the rest of the band. What remains is left behind, or delivered to the darkest depth of the cave.
This does not mean they lack a spiritual element to their lives. They revere and honor the animals they hunt, or the warriors they face, for the challenge that gives them sustenance and purpose, which they will return when it is their time to die. They waste nothing from those they kill, crafting tools, taking trophies, and feasting on their flesh.
And the tales they tell during a feast, they are not just entertainment. They are sacred in their own way, a chance to leave an eternal mark on the world and inspire others. A fallen friend, an ancient hero, or a worthy foe whose deeds are great should be remembered. Their death is an inevitability, but their life will be honored.
Orrak: The term for the more numerous, migratory orcs. Using Half-Orc statistics, they are considered a true orcish race, rather than the result of crossbreeding.
Urrok: The nocturnal hunters that dwell in caves. They use standard Orc statistics, and are visually distinguished by larger eyes and heavier builds.
Last edited by Adamantrue; 2021-08-23 at 06:02 PM.