[Oearra] Archive: Facebook Conversations

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Angel Tarragon
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[Oearra] Archive: Facebook Conversations

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:29 pm

Okay, gang. I am working on one of my settings today. I'd be curious to know which of you might be interested in a world where Orcs are not crude, savage beasts but rather have heightened mental attributes in addition to their great strength.

My reasoning for this would be because they have muscularly wide bodies, why shouldn't they, as young race, have the capacity to be better intellectually; making them more perceptive, knowledgeable and wise of the world around them?

I know this turns the trope of Orcs on its head, but my reasoning is that the world is young and the Orc and Elven deities have not yet clashed causing a fall of divine grace among Orckind, which closes them off to a higher perception and familiarity with nature making themselves believe to be better than it.

Replies
  • [Person #1]
    Personally, I like it. Will the orcs breed as fast as they normally do in most fantasy games? If they do, this makes them a significant threat to humanity and elves. One in which humans and elves may have to form an alliance and and enact a genocide.
  • [Person #2]
    I like it. In many of my fantasy homebrews orks actually have a very Advanced culture comparable two ancient Greece and Mongolia
  • [Person #3]
    How about this? Have a proto-elven race, which branched, and currently exists in three creeds:
    1. High Elves
    2. Wood Elves
    3. "Orcen Elves"

    They all have very similar appearance. Tall, lean, intelligent, long lived, etc. These powers are granted by their divine connection to their elven deities.

    At some time, a civil war caused a schism, which beset the High Elves against the Orcen Elves. The High Elves commit a "cultural genocide" and destroy the Orcen temples above ground. The Orcen elves seek refuge underground, and build their temples there.

    They begin to selectively breed to strengthen their sub-race so as to defend themselves against the High Elves.
  • [Person #4]
    I have used a the idea of organised and disciplined Orc before. In my setting they were a gathering of outcast removed from savage tribes.

    They were gathered together by a knight Ranger who furthered there development and education, decades later the took up arms against the savage tribes
  • [Person #1]
    That would be a nifty twist; a layer of "orc nobility" that was a remnant of orcs before the decline of their civilization. Now you open up all manner of options (imagine noble orc spell casters that can cause elves to be put to sleep or charmed).
    • [Person #3]
      Yeah, and maybe, the term "Orc" is a derogatory term put on by the elves. Their real name could be:

      Au-ruk-enistani..... Aurukenistani. ....
      .....
      "Bloody Orks!"
  • Angel R Tarragon
    Something I am considering here is replacing Ferocity with Toughness as a racial static bonus feat.
    • [Person #3]
      What do you have envisaged about their appearance (comeliness)?
    • Angel R Tarragon
      Not sure yet. I've never been a fan of associating a Charisma bonus with enhanced looks, so regardless I will have to fluff that out to be relevant.
    • [Person #1]
      Perhaps it's a hereditary curse by the elves? in a last ditch effort, the elves and humans used powerful magics to bring the power of the sun to fight the orcs (radiation and genetic damage anyone?). The orc nobility still living in high castles might still be untouched and surprisingly beautiful people. This would only enrage the common orc more b/c they would be reminded of what the filthy elves and cruel humans did to their people.
    • [Person #3]
      Yeah, I think that Orcs are often thought of has hybrid of men and swine.

      Dark Elves were lucky. :)

      I think that a more sophisticated design might be to base them off of Gamora, from Guardians of the Galaxy.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamora
    • Angel R Tarragon
      The orcs and the elves of the setting have not yet clashed though. That would be something to develop as an adventure path.
    • Angel R Tarragon
      The orcs of this setting gain a +2 bonus to all "mental" ability scores; Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. The bonus to Charisma has more to do with their ties to nature.
    • [Person #3]
      "The Minds Eye" is a powerful thing. If you're going to redefine orcs so radically, I think you benefit if you didn't use the term "Orcs" until, perhaps, the end of the Adventure Path.
    • Angel R Tarragon
      Well, I would like to try to publish this setting. The racial term Orc is necessary for that regard, but I will more than likely add some info in the racial write-up as to their racial name that they have for themselves, with the racial name of "Orc" being derogatory slang widely accepted and used by the other races.
    • [Person #1]
      I'd suggest making the pre-cataclysmic orcs a cross of sub-Saharan African and Asian cultures (you suggested Greece and Mongol). You get the bravery of warriors (Zulu warriors were extremely brave and ferocious), the connection with natural world and the Asian influence of creative subtlety and intellectual philosophy. Now these are by far only the broadest strokes of the brush, obviously, but imagine ruthless and honorable, topped with creative and philosophical.
    • [Person #3]
      ^ Samurai Orcs!
    • Angel R Tarragon
      [Person #2] mentioned those cultures, not me.
    • Angel R Tarragon
      But I might run with that, [Person #1]. Thanks!
    • Angel R Tarragon
      Question, how to take the Sahara and put a forest/jungle twist on it?
    • [Person #2]
      Easy some deserts actualy do border dense jungle and forests
    • [Person #3]
      Make it full of canyons, and rocky formations?
      Or, make the forests subterranean?
      Cactus forests?
    • Angel R Tarragon
      Love that [Person #3], definitely befits me giving them Climb as a racial trait.
    • [Person #2]
      What system ate you using.
    • Angel R Tarragon
      Pathfinder.
    • [Person #2]
      Ah cool.
  • [Person #4]
    I generally write from the perspective that a people's behavior should vary, informed by their biological capability rather than determined by it.

    In other words, a race's behavior should be based more on environmental resources, and physical capability rather than some kind of "physical/mental nature" as D&D tends to present. Did they develope in a very harsh territory with sparse resources? Then they are likely to be more selfish, and aggressive regardless of intellect. This is especially likely if there are other competing species around that don't view them as equal, or mind hurting them to take what they have, such as the way elves and men tend to treat orcs. That kind of internal and external competition tends to breed a fierce culture.

    But what if they come from an area that is different? Let's say this young race evolved in a lush, rich land with little competition, and no other species that engaged then in competitive warfare. Even a naturally aggressive species will likely develop a culture with a relatively cooperative social structure in such an environ. Adding to that interaction with an older race, or perhaps simply a more sympathetic one that is more interested in freindly trade than resource conquest, and you have a recipe for a society of gentle orcs who've no particular inclination towards warfare.

    Those are two extreme situations but they illustrate how I like to look at world building. I prefer to approach social infrastructure from the perspective of the Guns, Germs and Steel perspective of social evolution by environmental influence rather than the "this is the nature of a people because the destination retroactively determines the journey" philosophy of Tolkenian racism.

    Tho I have to admit, Tolkenian Racism is way, way faster and easier. There's a reason D&D used blanket templates to separate races early on, and why the writing style became a design trope. It is simple to write and easier on the player.
  • [Person #1]
    [Person #4], that's excellent. An issue i have always faced when world building is the internal struggle of how rich or in depth to make the world. Will my players want to know the varied nuances of a races history/culture and more importantly, will it play a pivotal role in the campaign(s) or will they be satisfied with spending a few hours on the weekend drinking, socializing, bashing some things and care less about the time, energy and effort gone into making a world (holy run-on sentence).
    • [Person #4]
      That is an absolutely fair concern! I guess it amounts to whether or not it feels worth it to the designer. A player base who have fun in a way that will never notice such detail could be frustrating to whomever put in that extra effort. That's a good point and another good reason why the old Tolkien Template has been so popular.
  • [Person #5]
    In my Planescape games i don't make my orcs with great intellects, but i do allow them a deep wisdom which gives them access to a lot of divine knowledge and spellcasting. also, they are much more civilized than the rumors of orcs generally would have people believe. they're based on the Bedouins -- ferocious enemies, lots of infighting among the interpretations of divine law (hence their aggressive reputation), while at the same time having a reputation for being some of the most hospitable and generous people in the worlds.
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Angel Tarragon
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Re: [Oearra] Archive: Facebook Conversations

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:34 pm

Okay, gang. I am working on one of my settings today. I'd be curious to know which of you might be interested in a world where Orcs are not crude, savage beasts but rather have heightened mental attributes in addition to their great strength.

My reasoning for this would be because they have muscularly wide bodies, why shouldn't they as young race, have the capacity to be better intellectually; making them more perceptive, knowledgeable and wise of the world around them?

I know this turns the trope of Orcs on its head, but my reasoning is that the world is young and the Orc and Elven deities have not yet clashed causing a fall of divine grace among Orckind, which closes them off to a higher perception and familiarity with nature making themselves believe to be better than it.

Replies
  • [Person #1]
    Or you could make it an alternate world where the Orcs never "fall." I'm curious: just what would your iteration of Orcs look like? What would their civilizations be like? Are they like shamanistic druids if you go with the Nature theme? Or are they like the Irda from Dragon Lance: that magically advanced race of Ogres that worshipped a god of the Good alignment?
  • Angel R Tarragon
    So far what I have is making them desert dwellers and putting a twist on their region that makes it seemingly forest and jungle like (Cacti forest) and making them dwellers of the underdark of the region, with lots of canyons and rocky formations, with the underdark being host to more lush flora where water is surprisingly abundant.
    • [Person #1]
      Interesting. So these subterranean grottos and the occasional surface oases would be very sacred areas to their kind.
    • Angel R Tarragon
      I am think less surface oases, and areas where a version of cacti grow as tall as redwoods, with their roots extending far into the underdark where the water is abundant. This would allow for a couple of cities that are Orc dominated on the surface, but with the majority of their species dwelling in a vast subterranean metropolis.

      There would be some normal oases though so that there is still a feel of realism to the setting.
    • [Person #1]
      Cool. So what are these Orcs capable of doing?
    • Angel R Tarragon
      It has been suggested making these orcs a cross of sub-Saharan African and Asian cultures (you suggested Greece and Mongol); you get the bravery of warriors (Zulu warriors were extremely brave and ferocious), the connection with natural world and the Asian influence of creative subtlety and intellectual philosophy. Now these are by far only the broadest strokes of the brush, obviously, but imagine ruthless and honorable, topped with creative and philosophical.

      Definitely something I want to run with, I am going to have to do some research.
    • [Person #1]
      The stereotype of the "noble savage" combined with sone unique real world traits that deconstruct the idea of Orcs for your players. That is really cool.
  • [Person #2]
    You want hobgoblin
    • Angel R Tarragon
      Actually what I want is a new twist on an old trope.
  • [Person #3]
    I don't have any gripes about it, it's your setting, do what you like with and good luck to you - but if you change most of the characteristics we generally associate with orcs then what still makes them orcs?
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