The Orcs of Panzoasia
The Orcs of Panzoasia’s Ultimate West are best known for their obsession with mass production, and flagrant wastefulness. Their culture places no value on workmanship or artistry, valuing quantity over quality. Orcs go into battle with wagons filled with large quantities of cheap iron throwing axes, and other disposable weapons. Orcish clothing is mass-produced, and poorly made – but the average Orc has piles of it. Orcs live in (and underneath) stark, boxlike factory-forts of plain brick (which are usually in disrepair), surrounded by enormous mounds of garbage – and thick clouds of smoke. Sometimes the garbage mounds around a factory-fort become so large that they become essentially defensive walls – complete with gates. Above all, Orcs never repair what they can just replace. When an environment gets too polluted even for them, they simply move on to a new one.
The Appearance and Costume of Orcs
A typical male Orc resembles a human in overall body shape, but with a boar’s head, and skin covered in bristly, dark hair everywhere except the belly (which can be quite pronounced in older and high-status Orcs). Female Orcs, on the other hand, are nearly hairless, with sow-like heads, and bodies that are otherwise practically identical to Human women in every respect.
Basic clothing for a male Orc consists of a leather bib apron with pockets, and leather pants (preferably Human hide). Orcish females, on the other hand, wear sleeveless smock dresses of printed cloth. Orcish women are not allowed to wear footwear of any kind when indoors. All Orcish clothing and armor noticeably features the sign of the factory-fort where it was produced. As with everything else they own, Orcs never clean or repair their clothing, but throw it on the garbage pile when it becomes unwearable.
Orcish females are expected to wear heavy facial makeup that looks quite garish to Human eyes, and as much cheap, showy jewelry as they possibly can. The mates of high-status Orcs may actually wear real gold and jewels stolen from the Five Peoples (or purchased from the Hobgoblins), but lower status Orcish women usually just have mass-produced items of ceramic or lead, painted gold or silver, and accented by glass “gems”.
Male Orcs are socially expected to wear as many weapons as they can carry – most of which are purely for show, or so cheaply made as to almost useless. Their leather boots tend to fall apart quickly – like everything else that comes out of Orcish factories.
Every Orc has several brands on their body. Soon after their birth, an Orc is branded with the sign of their clan, the sign of their factory-fortress, and sign designating their social class. Once they reach adulthood, male Orcs are branded with the sign of their profession. Female Orcs are further branded with the sign of their father, and later, the sign of their mate.
Orcish Culture and Society
Orcs conduct constant raids for raw materials, and to waste weapons and armor (so more will have to be made). Most of all, the Orcs wage war to take slaves. Halfling slaves are particularly desired for their nimble fingers. Orcish practice is to work their factory slaves until they die, and replace them with new ones. Orcs also operate mines – particularly coal and iron – for which they also prefer to use bound labor. The garbage dumps around the Orcish fortress-factories are another source of slaves, since Halflings (and also Kobolds) find them irresistibly rich sources of repurposable objects.
Orcish society is extremely patriarchal and hierarchical. Orcish women are regarded as the property of males, and any male feels free to treat his “sows” in any manner he pleases. Naturally, Orcish males practice polygyny, and will purchase as many wives as they can afford. While Orcish mothers sometimes show real love for their children, their mates believe that the more whippings an “orclet’ suffers, the better adult they’ll make. Lower class Orcs are routinely abused by their “Bosses”, who are in turn subservient to the “Barons” and “Captains” who own the factory-forts. The Orcish Engineers who know how to build and maintain the factory machinery form a separate, hereditary caste.
All male Orcs are considered employees of their factory-fort, and are paid in worthless wooden tokens that can only be spent at the factory store. Theoretically, an Orc could redeem their tokens for actual coins from the treasury, but in practice any Orc that tries to do so will be taken behind the factory-fort and beaten by the owner’s personal bodyguard of goons. The only actual coins a low-status Orc will own is what they have stolen in raids, and managed to keep hidden from their Boss. The economic ideal of Orcs is Autarky, where every factory-fort is completely self-sufficient (one day making ceramic pots, another other forging axes), and Orcs have no trade outside their strictly-controlled borders.
Orcish dwellings are extremely cluttered inside, crammed with factory-made objects, and some better-quality items stolen in raids. Unlike Dragons, however, Orcs do not attach any real sentimental value to these objects, and regularly dispose of them to make room for new ones. Art objects made by other races are hoarded by high-status Orcs, but are regarded purely as status symbols.
Until they reach the age of maturity at nine, an Orc’s name is just a number designating their birth order and father’s name. For example, a young Orc might be named “Seventh of Skullhammer”. An adult Orc uses a name conferred on them by the owner of their factory-fort. Orcs of high-status or well-like fathers may be given names like “Brightsteel” or “Wolfblood”. The children of low-status or disliked fathers will be saddled with names like “Scumbucket” or “Rottenmouth”. Rebel Orcs who have fled the factory-forts, on the other hand, often eschew speaking Orcish, and might adopt new names in Western Common.
Orcish cuisine consist of two dishes – Slop and Barbeque. Orcish Slop, which is always prepared by females, consist of all the flesh, bones, entrails, vegetables, and seasonings on hand, hacked up, thrown into a big iron pot, and boiled. Orcish Barbeque, always cooked (and only consumed) by males, consists of whatever animals or people the Orcs captured on a raid, slow cooked (possibly alive) by a smokey fire. They especially love to roast Human babies on spits.
Orcs have a single sport – Faceball. Every factory-fort also has a Faceball team. A Faceball field is one hundred paces in length, and at either end is a prisoner tied to a post. A ball made from a skinned and stuffed Human, Elven, or Dwarven head is place in the middle of the field. Each team of nine Orcs runs from their own end of the field to acquire the ball. The goal is to hit the other team’s prisoner in the face with the ball (which scores 3 points), or else hit their body (scoring one point). The ball can be kicked, thrown, or carried. Any and all means, short of murder, may be used to acquire the ball from the opposing team. Once a goal is scored, the ball is placed again the center of the field, and the process is repeated twenty or more times until one team is the clear winner. Disputes about scoring are settled by each team appointing a “Puncher”. The two Punchers trade blows to the face, and the decision goes to the team whose Puncher endures the longest. Faceball games regularly devolve into deadly brawls involving both players and spectators,
Dead Orcs are disposed of in whatever way is convenient at the time. Often, they are simply thrown into one of the piles of garbage around the factory-fort (where all other kinds of waste are also flung). Eating the dead is not out of the question, particularly during hard times.
Contrary to popular stories, Orc males find the thought of touching a “flat-faced”, non-Orcish woman disgusting. Female Orcs, on the other hand, are often attracted to sufficiently strong and hairsute men of Human and Dwarven descent.
Many young Orcs rebel against their brutal society, and Orcish females in particular resent the abuse they suffer from their mates. There are said to be entire settlements of these runaway and rebel Orcs, who have acclimated themselves to the bright light of day. Rumors persist that the women in these settlements have somehow acquired potions allowing them to assume Human form, and have children by Human or Dwarven fathers. It is further said that many of rebel Orcs have even embraced the Chaotic and Good Alignments, and plan to one day reform all of Orcish society along egalitarian lines.
Orcs at War
Typical Orcish armor consist of a battle apron of leather riveted with metal plates, studded leather gauntlets, and stiff leather boots. They use square shields of metal-bound wood, that frequently splinter and break. Leaders will occasionally have better armor of Hobgoblin make. Orcs generally prefer hacking weapons, such as axes, falchions, and bardiches, or else two-handed mauls resembling sledgehammers. Their favorite weapon of all is a large cleaver similar to a carcass splitter.
Orcs tend to attack in massive frontal assaults intended to overwhelm enemies with relentless brutality.
Animals and Allies of the Orcs
Orcs employ Giant Boars as battle steeds, and are the only race that manage them. They also raise slobbering, pug-faced Orcdogs for use in war, and as guards. Other animals are raised (under inhumane, factory-like conditions) by the Orcs’ slaves. Orcs may also hoard animals that other races consider valuable. Orcs often purchase the services of Ogre and Troll guards, and the factory owners sometimes bring in Hobgoblins as military trainers (despite the fact that Hobgoblins despise Orcs). Orcs sometimes ally with Devil Swine, and the most brutal Wereboars. Boreynes often choose to dwell near Orcs, and may run along with them on raids. The Boreynes may even decide to attack invaders obviously intended to harm “their” Orcs.
The Orcish Language
Orcish is an extremely vulgar language, and Orcs speaking other languages will always pepper their speech with obscenities. There is actually no way to be polite in Orcish – the only tones possible are groveling submission or contemptuous disregard. Orcish is written with exactly the same Runes used for Dwarven. Dwarves tend to get offended and very angry when confronted with this fact.
The Alignment and Religion of Orcs
The Gnomish sages claim that in the days when the Wasteland was still green, Orcs were predominantly Neutral worshipers of Life and fertility who lived in forest caves. Then, their culture became increasingly Lawful, as they discovered mass-production. In fact, many Orcs are actually still Lawful, and only support their twisted culture because it is “The Traditional Orcish Way” (even though it wasn’t always). Evil, however, has infected every aspect of modern Orcish life. The average Orc will usually repay mercy with brutality, and kindness with sadistic cruelty. There may still be some hope for Orcish society, it is distant and faint.
Like most Bogeymen, “pure” Orcs cannot cast Spells, or perform Miracles. However, every Orcish factory-fort includes a chapel to the powers of Darkness, staffed by one or more Human (or Half-Orc) Depradators. Keeping the Orcs devoted to Evil is said to be a top priority for the Antichurch of Darkness, and having served in a mission among the Orcs is fast-track to the upper echelons of leadership among the Clerics of Evil. Besides worshiping the Lord and Lady of Darkness, Orcs often pay homage to the Evil Immortal Ishannakael, who led them into the lands of modern Maeland during the Reign of the Monsters.
The Half-Orcs sometimes born to Orcish mothers resemble either thickly built Humans with narrow eyes and large mouths, or else tall Dwarves. Males will have prolific body hair. Their skin color is the same as their Human or Dwarven father. They usually have a “piggish” noses, large teeth, and slightly pointed ears, although about 1 in 10 could pass for a “pure” Human or Dwarf upon casual observation.
Half Orcs can follow the same Character Classes as Humans or Dwarves. If they follow a Human Class, one of their Class’s Special Abilities will be replaced by “Infravision”. As mentioned above, they often become Depradator priests and priestesses. They are also sometimes found among the ranks of Thieves in the largest cities. If they are not Evil, they tend to be Chaotic – since the Friends of Chance are the only other religious community that freely welcomes them.
The most well-known Half-Orc of all was Strax Meat, the famous Beserker who was actually son of a Human Ranger and the runaway daughter of an Orcish Captain. While feared for his incredible strength, and the ruthless skill with which he wielded his famous cleaver, he also had a playful side – and was also known for his kindness towards children.