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Orcish races are one of the rarer peoples on Jaern and Cahyali, making up only a minority of most places they inhabit. A long history of oppression exists against them in many places, still alive and well at some locales and dying out in favor of equality in others. Most orcs have large, pointed ears, tusks coming from their bottom row of teeth, and strong builds.

Orcish is a language with many subtleties and is highly contextual, and many phrases and words take on different meanings when spoken with different tones and body language. The same phrase can be either a compliment or an insult depending on how one says it, and what they do with their hands while saying it. Sarcasm, in-jokes, and subtext are the meat of speaking Orcish.

To compliment an orc, for example, one could say “you are the filthiest, most sickening piece of horse manure I’ve seen ever to come out the rear passages of a lizard” but should use heavy eye contact and open palms with a lowered voice - on the other hand, the same sentence spoken louder with closed fists would most likely start a brawl. Orcish has no single written script, as different orc tribes tend to be isolated and many develop their own scripts with very few similarities, even if the spoken word is mutually intelligible.

Scholarly studies into orc biology have revealed an interesting part of their physiology: orcs show an uncanny ability to physically adapt and evolve to their environments. After moving to somewhere new, the next generation of orc children can look completely different from even their parents or grandparents. At this moment, it's thought that orcs have the ability to pick up genetic material from other mammal species surrounding them and adapt accordingly. For example, orcs living in cities around humanoids often develop a more human- or elf-like appearance, while orcs living in forests may begin to resemble wild beasts or boars.


As the most common of all orcish races, Orcs proper are a stout race and generally have a muscular build. They average at six feet in height. Their skin tone ranges from those that one might expect on a human to all sorts of green shades. For a long time, orcs were thought to only live 30-50 years; however, this has been discovered to instead be immense statistical error on scholars' part. Due to a cycle of oppression, disease, hunger, and violence, many orcs died young in decades past; in truth, an orc living in peace and health has only a slightly shorter lifespan than a human.

The origin of orcs is mysterious, but a common Orcish creation myth states they were creations of the natural gods, Osiris and Neptune, who fashioned them out of clay, animal bone, and tree leaves. Desiring to create a race who could live in true harmony with the rest of nature, these gods commanded the newly created orcs to live within and protect the wild. This does indeed match with the lifestyle of many orcs, who live in tribal societies in untamed areas of the world, acting as stalwart guardians of nature. They are known to either collaborate or clash with elvish communities in the same areas, standing together against anything that would threaten their homes or warring over those same tracts of wilderness.

Each tribe has its own distinct culture, but a commonality in most are values of strength, valor, and courage. Orcs are famous for being stellar warriors, unstoppable in battle, loyal to their comrades, and stubborn to a fault.

Additionally, Orcs consider weapons handcrafted from bones and ivory to be items of great artistic value (even if they may not be as effective in combat). These weapons are displayed or used in rituals or sporting events as a symbol of cultural heritage. Many of these weapons have carvings along their hafts as a way to memorialize events in a village's or town's history, and are an ongoing work of record keeping. Older Orc cities may even have dozens of these scrimshaw weapons as a historical timeline all the way from the very founding of the city.


  • Lifespan: 60-70 years
  • Jaernian Populations: Worldwide, small groups
  • Cahyalian Populations: Ley'Ork

Goblinoid is the general term for a group of different orcish races, including goblins, bugbears, and kobolds among others. Despite notable differences between these, all goblinoids are rather short, ranging from three to five feet tall. They are very agile folk, able to slip into cramped spaces and escape bindings others could not.

The origins of goblinoids are as diverse as goblinoids themselves; some are believed to be magical. Bugbears and kobolds, for example, are thought to have arisen from the Dreaming and from draconic influence, respectively, while goblins are believed to have simply evolved from orcs, having spent a long period in isolation. Some draw the comparison: “goblin is to orc as halfling is to human”.

Common among goblinoids is their ability to work together in large groups, every individual assisting the whole towards a goal that is more than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, due to this, goblinoids have fallen victim time and time again to abuse and exploitation by those who would take this ability and use it for their own ends. Evil wizards, corrupt rulers, and malevolent dragons are included among these. Many goblinoids who adventure do it in hopes of escaping these overlords, and perhaps one day returning to their families to free them as well.


  • Lifespan: 70-80 years
  • Jaernian Populations: Worldwide, small groups
  • Cahyalian Populations: Ley'Ork, Vervand, Arenti

Beasthides are beings covered in hair or fur, usually taking after an animal in anthropomorphic form. Usually found in small hunting groups, there are many varieties of Beasthides, as plentiful as there are environments to suit them. Out of all the various Orcish races, beasthides are perhaps the most diverse. Many different types of Beasthides exist, each with their own distinct cultures.

Many Beasthides believe they were blessed by Osiris in days past, giving them their animalistic appearance and distinguishing them from other orcs. Other myths state that they are enlightened animals, raised to intelligence and personhood by the gods. Below are examples of the most common Beasthide types, though many others exist.

Felidans: Catlike in appearance, Felidans are rather more independent than other Beasthides. Many simply assimilate into other societies, though many enjoy lives of adventure. An old wives' tale persists that Felidans despise water, but this is generally untrue, and one can find many Felidans on the high seas of Jaern. Felidans can resemble domestic cats or big cats.

Bovians: Also known as minotaurs, Bovians resemble cows and bulls. Seeking glory and excitement, many Bovians are found as martial arts performers in cities or take up adventuring. Many Bovians live in extended family groups known as herds.

Leporans: Resembling rabbits and hares, Leporans are one of the more populous Beasthide types. They often settle down in small agrarian villages on the edges of metropolitan areas. Leporans have a tumultuous history, often kicked and pushed around by other peoples, and so greatly value simple, uneventful times and peace.

Lupians: The Lupians are wolf-like people, and live in extended family groups which they refer to as packs. These groups are incredibly tight-knit, and some also participate in polite society while others prefer an isolated life in the wilderness. Loyalty and devotion are important values in Lupian culture. Some Lupians also resemble dogs.

Vulpians: Resembling foxes, the Vulpians are often found in forested or tundra locales. They take pleasure in art and song, and many live in nomadic rondos, though it is tradition for a young Vulpian to strike out on their own for a time to find themselves and their true calling.

Ursians: These rare Beasthides resemble bears. It is uncommon to see an Ursian in a village or town, or even to see more than one. Strong and fiercely independent to a fault, most Ursians carve out rough lives in the wilderness, only coming to town when something is sorely needed. Despite this, many are noble folk, raised to defend their territory in nature and to protect the weak.


  • Lifespan: Up to 200 years
  • Jaernian Populations: Worldwide, small groups
  • Cahyalian Populations: Worldwide, small groups

Distantly related to the towering folk that are giants, the giantkin are one of the tallest races of all, averaging about 8 feet in height. Their skin tones range from all those possible for humans to shades of gray. Many giantkin are heavily tattooed: these are signs of their clan affiliations and marks of maturity.

In the distant past, when the dragons ruled over the skies and land of Jaern, the then prolific giant-folk of the world attempted to seize control, but were devastated by dragon attacks and reduced to only the few giant species seen today. The giantkin still hold an intense fear of dragons and their kin, as legends of the brutality and danger dragons pose are still widely told to this day.

Giantkin societies are small, with the largest clans only having a few constituent families. Many wander the lands alone, ranging plains and mountains. Once a year, many clans and individuals in a region will come together to meet, feast, and share stories. This event is known as the Heorot (HEY-oh-roat), and normally occurs on a solstice or equinox.

lore/races/orcish.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/30 02:29 by quiddlesticks