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Author Topic: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!  (Read 1026 times)

SHARK

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UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« on: May 22, 2022, 05:44:58 PM »
Greetings!

I was organizing some campaign notes, going over campaign files and so forth, and I unexpectedly came upon--or was inspired even--by a somewhat disturbing dynamic. I have some tribes of barbarian Orcs that dwell amidst some northern and eastern regions of a major and central continent that is enormous. I have some human steppe barbarian tribes that live amongst the broad steppelands southwards from the mountains and forests where the aforementioned Orc tribes make their homes. Meanwhile, further to the East, there are powerful human steppe tribes that have united, and proceeded to launch huge invasions of several human kingdoms and empires. The Eastern human kingdoms and empires of the Eastern region are Asian-themed, with a large China-like Empire being very prominent.

Fast forward a bit, and the human steppe tribes have captured and enslaved millions of Chang Empire humans, with many being marched off and sold into slavery to other peoples and cultures. I assumed that the Orcs would be eager buyers of such slaves, and created the dynamics where the human Steppe barbarians essentially sold several million Chang Empire humans to the savage Orc tribes of the northern regions. This kind of lucrative trade relationship benefits everyone involved--the Steppe Barbarian Humans, and the savage Orcs alike. It of course is horrible and terrifying for the Chang humans, but that is what happens to conquered people.

Now, the Chang Empire is sophisticated, organized, disciplined, and highly advanced. The Chang Empire possesses high levels of education, the arts, medicine, technology, politics, philosophy, economics, and of course, magic.

Essentially, take a large group of Orc tribes, mix in 5 or 6 million Chang human slaves, and in two hundred, or five hundred years, what would you have?

What would the Orc societies then look like? I had nightmares of Chinese magic, Chinese science, medicine, and learning causing a total transformation of the Orc tribal culture. *laughing*

WHAT HAVE I DONE????

I refrained from crafting a wholly-transformed Orc society, but instead created three main cultural responses--some would embrace fully, another group would embrace new knowledge in a limited degree, and a third faction would be hyper-conservative, and reject the "Ways of the Foreigners!"

The potentials are very interesting, I think. What kind of elements and dynamics do you think would be good to establish?

Have you considered such enormous cultural transitions in your own campaigns? For Orcs in particular, but not necessarily limited to just Orcs. In other regions, I have other kinds of more or less traditional Orcs, along with some variations. This major cultural shifting dynamic is restricted to this particular region of Orcs in my campaign setting of Thandor.

What are your thoughts, my friends?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security b

HappyDaze

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2022, 05:55:21 PM »
Are your orcs capable of breeding with humans? This can make a big difference.

bromides

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2022, 01:43:02 PM »
I do like this concept in general.
It's a legitimate civilization-threatening type of event, when the Monster can take from the world of Men, and forge something newer and harder (especially in the face of Man's decadence).

If culture, as a concept, is critical to the game world, then coming up with threats to culture would be of primary importance. Fun games and concepts require this sort of thing, and the concept seems sound (especially in the historical record, like the Mongols taking experts from conquered peoples to help them to conquer others).

If culture is not to be a theme, then it's best not to cross the streams and defy expectations too much, I think.

IMO, Orcs are inherently "Chaotic Evil" (like the Drow, allegedly, or whatever they are today).

Having the foresight to organize the conquered into a useful tool is beyond the Orc, in that purist cultural strain view of things.
What is an Orc, after all? If they aren't the embodiment of a "failed society", are they even "Orc"?

Once you lose that part of the Orc, they cross over into something else... the Hobgoblin, I guess, in DnD terms.
Maybe that's just definitions, and I have too rigid a view of the Orc.

My favorite orc was in a murder hobo game, and the DM presented an orc captive who then proceeded to act like he was a victim/behaved in a civilized way around us/generally made us feel sorry for him.
Then, we woke up and all our shit was stolen (and the Orc was long gone).

Like, "YOU IDIOTS, YOU TRUSTED AN ORC".
(i.e. They aren't like us and don't act like us, so don't think of Orcs in a civilized way. That's why they're "Orc".)

jeff37923

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2022, 02:58:11 PM »
Greetings!

I was organizing some campaign notes, going over campaign files and so forth, and I unexpectedly came upon--or was inspired even--by a somewhat disturbing dynamic. I have some tribes of barbarian Orcs that dwell amidst some northern and eastern regions of a major and central continent that is enormous. I have some human steppe barbarian tribes that live amongst the broad steppelands southwards from the mountains and forests where the aforementioned Orc tribes make their homes. Meanwhile, further to the East, there are powerful human steppe tribes that have united, and proceeded to launch huge invasions of several human kingdoms and empires. The Eastern human kingdoms and empires of the Eastern region are Asian-themed, with a large China-like Empire being very prominent.

Fast forward a bit, and the human steppe tribes have captured and enslaved millions of Chang Empire humans, with many being marched off and sold into slavery to other peoples and cultures. I assumed that the Orcs would be eager buyers of such slaves, and created the dynamics where the human Steppe barbarians essentially sold several million Chang Empire humans to the savage Orc tribes of the northern regions. This kind of lucrative trade relationship benefits everyone involved--the Steppe Barbarian Humans, and the savage Orcs alike. It of course is horrible and terrifying for the Chang humans, but that is what happens to conquered people.

Now, the Chang Empire is sophisticated, organized, disciplined, and highly advanced. The Chang Empire possesses high levels of education, the arts, medicine, technology, politics, philosophy, economics, and of course, magic.

Essentially, take a large group of Orc tribes, mix in 5 or 6 million Chang human slaves, and in two hundred, or five hundred years, what would you have?

What would the Orc societies then look like? I had nightmares of Chinese magic, Chinese science, medicine, and learning causing a total transformation of the Orc tribal culture. *laughing*

WHAT HAVE I DONE????

I refrained from crafting a wholly-transformed Orc society, but instead created three main cultural responses--some would embrace fully, another group would embrace new knowledge in a limited degree, and a third faction would be hyper-conservative, and reject the "Ways of the Foreigners!"

The potentials are very interesting, I think. What kind of elements and dynamics do you think would be good to establish?

Have you considered such enormous cultural transitions in your own campaigns? For Orcs in particular, but not necessarily limited to just Orcs. In other regions, I have other kinds of more or less traditional Orcs, along with some variations. This major cultural shifting dynamic is restricted to this particular region of Orcs in my campaign setting of Thandor.

What are your thoughts, my friends?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

It sounds like you would have Klingons.
"I do not want to create a story, I want to create a stage. The player characters will perform on that stage and interact with the setting. When the players talk to their friends about what their characters did, then there will be a story."

VisionStorm

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2022, 04:50:10 PM »
Are your orcs capable of breeding with humans? This can make a big difference.

That's what I thought as well. Another question would be: are these Orcs smart enough to even understand or make use of this advanced knowledge? If not this entire thing might be a moot point, since they might be too dumb to even appreciate to intellectual treasure trove that has been handed to them.

But if they can interbreed with humans and make up the difference in brain power that way, that opens up some possibilities for a new breed of intellectual half-orc and an advanced orc-blooded civilization. Mixing the brutality of the orc with human genius.

jhkim

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2022, 06:38:17 PM »
I refrained from crafting a wholly-transformed Orc society, but instead created three main cultural responses--some would embrace fully, another group would embrace new knowledge in a limited degree, and a third faction would be hyper-conservative, and reject the "Ways of the Foreigners!"

The potentials are very interesting, I think. What kind of elements and dynamics do you think would be good to establish?

Have you considered such enormous cultural transitions in your own campaigns? For Orcs in particular, but not necessarily limited to just Orcs. In other regions, I have other kinds of more or less traditional Orcs, along with some variations. This major cultural shifting dynamic is restricted to this particular region of Orcs in my campaign setting of Thandor.

I've been developing out the northern reaches of the Solar Empire in the setting I'm helping create, Land of New Horizons, which is inspired by the Incans and surrounding civilizations. Cultural transition is a major aspect of my current campaign.

In the setting, the Solar Empire has different mixes of races in different quarters, just as ethnic Incas were only a fraction of the population of the Incan empire. I've explained that orcs have been integrated into the mix of races. In the north, there were a bunch of scattered kingdoms - the Dragon Lords were a set of dragonborn feudal-ish kings, and the empire has started to unite them. Orcs have been incorporated into the empire as the most militant faction.

I haven't detailed much about orcs in the empire yet. Maybe I'll try to bring some into the next adventure. As I picture, they would be classically barbaric and gung-ho about fighting, but the ones inducted into the empire are generally loyal. On the other hand, there are still plenty of orcs outside the empire who hate the ones who joined.

SHARK

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2022, 10:13:41 PM »
Are your orcs capable of breeding with humans? This can make a big difference.

That's what I thought as well. Another question would be: are these Orcs smart enough to even understand or make use of this advanced knowledge? If not this entire thing might be a moot point, since they might be too dumb to even appreciate to intellectual treasure trove that has been handed to them.

But if they can interbreed with humans and make up the difference in brain power that way, that opens up some possibilities for a new breed of intellectual half-orc and an advanced orc-blooded civilization. Mixing the brutality of the orc with human genius.

Greetings!

Yes, my friend. In the world of Thandor, Orcs can breed with humans, thereby creating Half-Orcs.

An advanced Orc-blooded civilization. Yeah, it is a scary proposition! *laughing*

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
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SHARK

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2022, 10:37:16 PM »
I do like this concept in general.
It's a legitimate civilization-threatening type of event, when the Monster can take from the world of Men, and forge something newer and harder (especially in the face of Man's decadence).

If culture, as a concept, is critical to the game world, then coming up with threats to culture would be of primary importance. Fun games and concepts require this sort of thing, and the concept seems sound (especially in the historical record, like the Mongols taking experts from conquered peoples to help them to conquer others).

If culture is not to be a theme, then it's best not to cross the streams and defy expectations too much, I think.

IMO, Orcs are inherently "Chaotic Evil" (like the Drow, allegedly, or whatever they are today).

Having the foresight to organize the conquered into a useful tool is beyond the Orc, in that purist cultural strain view of things.
What is an Orc, after all? If they aren't the embodiment of a "failed society", are they even "Orc"?

Once you lose that part of the Orc, they cross over into something else... the Hobgoblin, I guess, in DnD terms.
Maybe that's just definitions, and I have too rigid a view of the Orc.

My favorite orc was in a murder hobo game, and the DM presented an orc captive who then proceeded to act like he was a victim/behaved in a civilized way around us/generally made us feel sorry for him.
Then, we woke up and all our shit was stolen (and the Orc was long gone).

Like, "YOU IDIOTS, YOU TRUSTED AN ORC".
(i.e. They aren't like us and don't act like us, so don't think of Orcs in a civilized way. That's why they're "Orc".)

Greetings!

Hello, Bromides!

Indeed, the deeper cultural implications are pretty profound. On one hand, even if it assumed that the Orcs would remain dominant racially, the infusion of so many Chang Humans through such constant interbreeding would no doubt have a significant impact. Then, as more and more Orc children would exhibit even a modest increase in intellectual capacity, as a whole, the dividends would increase. Chang Human slaves, specialist craftsmen, scholars, all would contribute a vast legacy of language, knowledge, and skills. Such developments, I think, would likely transform the tribal Orc society at least into a fairly well-organized Kingdom. Then, once a functioning government and leadership is secured, a more sophisticated and functioning economy and agriculture industry would no doubt develop quickly. At that point, with the diffusion of knowledge, technology, traditions, and skills, yeah, things get very interesting!

Just imagine what advanced agriculture processes would contribute? A huge increase in the population, as well as general health and longevity.

Perhaps an official "scholar class" may develop. More advanced armour, weaponry, and military organization in general. An increased efficiency in economy and trade, generating an increase in wealth and overall prosperity.

Martial Arts traditions, horsemanship, organizing and building more improved villages, towns, and even cities. I think that their skills in fortifications and supply maintenance would also likely improve.

So many angles and details to consider! ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security b

Persimmon

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2022, 01:28:11 AM »
And the evil genius behind it all is essentially Saruman crossed with Ming the Merciless, right?

Someone earlier said orcs were chaotic evil, but that's not the case, at least in AD&D.  They were lawful evil, so organization would be natural, as would survival of the fittest within a defined hierarchy.  And there are plenty of superior orcs and hybrids in various versions of D&D already to draw further inspiration from.  Hackmaster 4e has several.

Slipshot762

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2022, 05:17:36 AM »
Frightens me, makes me fear for my map, i'm sorry the orcs must die, a rock falls from the high heavens and...now i have to update the map for the crater...dammit...

Shasarak

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2022, 05:11:28 PM »
Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire

Maybe they would end up something like the Scro?
Who da Drow?  U da drow! - hedgehobbit

There will be poor always,
pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

Spinachcat

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2022, 05:21:22 PM »
Are orcs in your campaign even capable of much learning?

Pre-WokeWotC, even half-orcs took a severe INT penalty which means full orcs should have a double INT penalty. If the average human INT is 9-11, the half-orc average INT would be 7-9, and the full orc average should be INT 5-7 with the extremely rare INT 14 "genius" orc.

If a race has Low INT (5-7 average), how much could they learn from their slaves and would they even see human slaves as more than meat?

Even if your orcs are super-rapey, are those half-orc babies going to be honored, outcasts or just snacks?

Also, what's the view of the orc gods? Do they want orc blood mingling with human blood? Do they want orcs learning human ways? What are the spiritual implications for the orc race in the eyes of their pantheon?




jhkim

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2022, 06:41:14 PM »
Are orcs in your campaign even capable of much learning?

Pre-WokeWotC, even half-orcs took a severe INT penalty which means full orcs should have a double INT penalty. If the average human INT is 9-11, the half-orc average INT would be 7-9, and the full orc average should be INT 5-7 with the extremely rare INT 14 "genius" orc.

In AD&D1, half-orcs had no INT penalty, only a -2 CHA penalty. In AD&D2 and 4E, half-orcs were cut as part of sanitizing. In 3rd edition, they had both -2 INT and -2 CHA. However, full orcs in the 3rd ed Monster Manual still have average INT 9, so they're just as smart as 3E half-orcs. In 5E like AD&D1, there is no INT penalty for half-orcs. The average 5E orc is dumber with INT 7, but the orc war chief has INT 11 and Orogs have INT 12.

In all the editions, orcs seem capable of the same basics of technology as other races. They can build forts, mine iron, and forge steel weapons - and they have their own script for writing. That part roughly matches Tolkien. Orcs were uncivilized, but they were equivalent in technology.

In my campaign, I have that orcs are of similar intelligence, but the main difference is their violent tendencies and poor impulse control.

Pat

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2022, 08:29:41 PM »
Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire

Maybe they would end up something like the Scro?
More like the Gnos.

Shasarak

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Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire!
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2022, 10:29:47 PM »
Re: UPGRADING ORCS! Mixing Orc Tribes with the Song Empire

Maybe they would end up something like the Scro?
More like the Gnos.

The Easterlings.
Who da Drow?  U da drow! - hedgehobbit

There will be poor always,
pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus