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Author Topic: 5e: Half-Orc or Orc?  (Read 1734 times)

HappyDaze

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« on: April 16, 2018, 07:36:10 PM »
I'm crafting a D&D5e world, and I want to have playable orc PCs but half-orcs will not exist (orcs can not interbreed with humans in this setting). I have both the PHB and VGtM (which features a PC orc race). I'm wondering if I should use the PHB Half-Orc as the the orcs of my world, or if I should use the Orc stats from VGtM? I know that I want to pick one and stick with it exclusively, but I'm not sure which one to go with, so I'm here asking if anyone has any opinions on one vs the other?

Robyo

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 07:50:43 PM »
My first response is just go with orc. Not for any reason other than that's what it says on the tin.

If you prefer the mechanics of half orc, maybe there's two breeds of orcs running around your world? Mordor orcs and uruk hai, or something.

Krimson

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 08:44:35 PM »
I've thought of this and personally I would go with the orc and do away with the half races. For mixed offspring my rule of thumb is to pick one race, and then swap out a trait from the other.
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Doom

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 08:44:53 PM »
Just call 'em orcs, not like it matters that much.

I'm running a campaign in Minaria...there are no orcs. So my players are half-goblins, but functionally I could have just called them goblins and called it a day.
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S'mon

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 02:39:35 AM »
I'd use the PC half orc stats for PC orcs.

Warboss Squee

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 05:24:30 AM »
Quote from: S'mon;1034671
I'd use the PC half orc stats for PC orcs.

This. The Orc stats are...underwhelming to say the least.

Still unclear why orcs and kobolds got the short end of the stick in that regard.

David Johansen

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 09:43:47 AM »
One of these days I'll run proper half orcs: 1/2 HD, MV 15, AC 3, but they'll all have one arm, one leg, one eye.

There used to be a joke figure of an orc cut in half...

I also halved the stats, which, if AC goes down gives them a much needed boost.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 02:40:05 PM by David Johansen »
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Skarg

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 11:42:33 AM »
Quote from: David Johansen;1034690
One of these days I'll run proper half orcs: 1/2 HD, MV 15, AC 3, but they'll all have one arm, one leg, one eye.

Yep, just collect all the requests for players who want to play half-whatevers, tell them to wait, then when you have enough for a group, run a session and during the intro you tell them they all get to be veterans... who lost half their limbs, and are begging for alms to get by. Could be a really interesting campaign... if the half-elf and half-dragon wanting players could get over the shift from human-plus to human-divided.

Willie the Duck

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 02:32:13 PM »
Quote from: Warboss Squee;1034677
This. The Orc stats are...underwhelming to say the least.

Still unclear why orcs and kobolds got the short end of the stick in that regard.

Hobgoblins being only good at being wizards and Goblins being good for everything except rogues also stand out as notably suboptimal. Yuan-ti having a really good defensive ability, and lizardfolk rocking for a gritty survivalism campaign seem to be small exceptions to a general trend that the Volo's races are a tick or two worse than most of the PHB. It's entirely possible that this was intentional (to focus on PHB races or simply out of fear of the same runaway 'each splat ups the power level' issue previous editions had).

I would say run whichever you think would make your players (the ones that care about mechanics, at least) consider playing an 'orc' if that's what you want from your campaign.

Headless

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2018, 05:06:54 PM »
Strong, mean, can see in the dark, eats anything.  Very ugly.

There done.

HappyDaze

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2018, 09:19:29 PM »
Quote from: Warboss Squee;1034677
This. The Orc stats are...underwhelming to say the least.

Still unclear why orcs and kobolds got the short end of the stick in that regard.

Other than the Intelligence penalty, is there something about the Orc stats that make them clearly inferior?
I am currently leaning toward using the Half-Orc stats if no other reason than they are in the PHB which all of the players own (only I have Volo).

Willie the Duck

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 07:50:50 AM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1034997
Other than the Intelligence penalty, is there something about the Orc stats that make them clearly inferior?
I am currently leaning toward using the Half-Orc stats if no other reason than they are in the PHB which all of the players own (only I have Volo).

I'm not Squee, but I'll take a crack at it.

Other than the same stats (minus the full orc's Int penalty, which can be rendered mostly irrelevant unless playing a wizard), same skill bonus, same dark vision, same languages, and same speed, orcs and half-orcs have a few things--half-orcs have a bonus damage on crits and an ability to ignore the first 'drop due to 0 hp' that occurs to them in a day, while orcs have powerful build and a bonus-action move. The half-orcs are fairly all-around useful for any combat-seeking role (the crit bonus benefits crit-fisher builds like reckless attacking barbarians or champion fighters, but anyone who is attacking will see the benefit, and the second effect is all-around useful). The orcs abilities are both pretty situational (powerful build effects encumbrance on a race that already has a strength bonus, and the second ability is like a rogues dash... except that it doesn't negate OAs, and you can only advance with it).

Skarg

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 11:46:28 AM »
So half-orcs (human/orc mix) get two advantages (crit damage thing and don't collapse from 0hp once/day) that neither orcs nor (I assume?) humans have?

Willie the Duck

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2018, 12:15:31 PM »
Quote from: Skarg;1035062
So half-orcs (human/orc mix) get two advantages (crit damage thing and don't collapse from 0hp once/day) that neither orcs nor (I assume?) humans have?

Well, caveat--we are only talking about PC orcs, humans, and half-orcs. Non-PCs work under different rules (mostly 'see the monster manual'), which I'm sure drives and non-D&D player batty.

But yes, PC half-orcs have abilities that neither their orc nor human parents posses. This is not without precedence. They are scrappy half-breeds that are often hated or distrusted by both their parental cultures, and as such are not merely a little from column A and a little from column B. Half-elves too, get bonuses neither parental side has, in that case theoretically revolving around them being cultural diplomats (but in reality making them good Charisma-based caster classes). However, in general I think the concept is mostly just 'why create two player options which are mostly identical?'

Skarg

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5e: Half-Orc or Orc?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2018, 02:46:13 PM »
I can see cultural situations tending to lead to some social skills. Maybe those half-orc combat abilities are supposed to be something like that, along the lines of ''A Boy Named Sue''?