Orcs are a brutish, violent race of humanoid that originated in the broken Kingdom of Thane, but due to their fast rate of reproduction and tendencies to seek out new places to plunder, while still concentrated in Thane, can be found throughout most regions of Eletreus.
Orcs have few, if any, redeeming features. They are foul tempered, sadistic,. highly aggressive – but also lazy and cowardly at heart – and make unruly foot-soldiers that need to be kept in line with brute force and threats of violence. Orcs love fighting, though only when they are winning, and when not at war with other races, fight among themselves, either tribe against tribe or in random outbreaks of violence within their own ranks. As sentries or when given a repetitive task, they are more likely to get drunk and wander off and their leaders must keep them in line with an iron hand lest they descend into anarchy.
Orcs are typically a head taller than humans, but due their tendency to hunch their backs and shoulders, usually stand eye to eye with humans. Their skin is a olive green hue, with pointed ears, ugly chisel like teeth, black clawed finger tips and jet black eyes with no discernible pupils.
They have a natural heavy musculature, sweat easily and are considerably stronger than the average human, but undisciplined in combat, relying on brute strength, intimidation and aggression to crush their opponents into submission. Orcs delight in all forms of brutality, and if they are winning a fight, will often prolong the suffering of their opponent for their own twisted pleasure. Frequently drunk on a foul smelling brew of their own creation, they are always hungry and will eat almost anything, including other dead orcs.
Despite this, they have considerable reserves of stamina and can march or jog for about twice as long as a human, but must be forced to do so as they would much rather sit around drinking, eating and gambling. Orcs have a reputation for cowardice and while they will fight and kill happily enough if they are winning, it does not take much to temporarily break their morale, but they will quickly regroup and attack again.
While most orcs are, to put it bluntly, rather stupid and can bungle or misinterpret what would otherwise be a simple order, some of their number (great orcs) have more human blood in them than most and are distinguishable by their mane of black or grey/white hair and tend to be in positions of leadership within their ranks.
While most Orcs within the Kingdom of Thane are organized along rough tribal allegiances, others hire themselves out as cheap mercenaries and are commonly used as battle fodder or disposable shock troops. Orcs take great pride in their Thanish heritage and consider themselves to be the rightful heirs to the broken Kingdom..
Their society is patriarchal and the chiefs and leaders keep a harem of female orcs and slaves while the average orc needs to rise up the ranks to earn the right to breed. Female orcs, who have 6 breasts, give birth to 4-6 offspring and the gestation period is 5 months, so can rapidly replace their numbers and approx 75% of all births are male – higher in times of prolonged conflicts (up to 95%). Females are not aggressive and tend to be obese, while with their high metabolism male Orcs are almost always lean regardless of what they shove into their ugly mouths.
Orcs speak a pidgin version of ancient Thanish and are usually too stupid to learn anything but a smattering of insults and vulgarities from another language. The more intelligent leaders and half orcs are able to learn other languages as needed for trade and mercenary employment, but prefer to fight and kill than talk.
Orc females typically give birth to 4-6 ‘whelps’ however around 1 in 100 pregnancies result in a single offspring of humongous proportions and limited intellect – the fearsome Orc Berserker variant.
Standing a full head and shoulders above the largest common Orc, and weighing almost twice as much, Orc Berserkers are easily dominated by much smaller Orcs and seem to have no real will of their own, but come alive on the battlefield, whereupon they enter a murderous rage. As such, they are typically used by other Orcs as front line Shock troops, a role they fulfill perfectly as they are too stupid to know fear or when to retreat, and once they have started fighting – unlike common Orcs who have a reputation for cowardice, will always fight to the bitter end unless called off by their superiors (typically using a whistle).
When not fighting, Berserker Orcs are lazy and spend their time eating, drinking or sleeping (often in that order) and are ill disciplined, so tend to be left alone by common Orcs as they are both unreliable and too stupid to understand any orders other than to kill. Because of their savage natures, they tend to concentrate their attacks on a single opponent, often spending time hacking them into pieces before turning to the next target unless engaged directly, and know no tactics other than to charge in and attack with their formidable strength.
A Orcish subspecies that was created by the dark magic of the Shadow Elves, Shadow Orcs are bred for one purpose, as battle fodder and to serve as expendable shock troops by their dark souled creators.
Exactly how they were created is not known, but it is believed that they are actually the result of selective breeding of Orcs, possibly with some Shadow Elf blood mixed in, and bound with evil magics.
Physically they are slightly smaller and weaker than a common Orc, but make up for this with higher intelligence and fanatical devotion to their dark masters. They will obey any order given to them by the most senior ranking Shadow Elf, though ignore the males (and curiously, every Shadow Orc is male and appear to be identical – even their uniforms show no variation).
Bred to have no desires or true will of their own, they make ideal servants for the Shadow Elves, who often mistreat them as cruelly as their slaves and are both fearless and utterly ruthless on the battlefield.