Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes (PFRPG)
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Blood and Brutality

Orcs are the scourge of civilization, the raiders who come in the night, slaughtering innocents for treasure and the simple joy of the kill. Their brutality extends even to their own kind, with tribes battling for supremacy and only the strongest individuals surviving to adulthood. Yet despite their fearsome image, orcs maintain a society of their own, having carved out the legendary Hold of Belkzen. Within this chaotic region, warlords vie for supremacy, adventurers plunder ruins long lost to orc barbarism, and those bold orcs who imagine a better life struggle for change.

Whether your players are treasure hunters stealing the riches of the past, soldiers seeking to end the orc threat once and for all, or orcs seeking to escape or rule their brethren, this book has everything you need to run a campaign in the war-torn Hold of Belkzen, including:

  • Detailed gazetteers of Belkzen’s settlements, from the surprisingly cosmopolitan capital of Urgir to the turbulent Blood Plains and the rare non-orc settlements such as Freedom Town and the hanging monastery of Sech Nevali.
  • Information on the terrifying orc gods, such as Dretha the Dark Mother and the Blood God, Nulgreth.
  • Overviews of the most prominent orc tribes, from the Empty Hand and the Broken Spine to the Ice Tooth and the Skull Eater.
  • Information on orc warfare, including their beast-powered war machines.
  • Tons of new adventure sites ripe for exploration, including the draconic Sleeper and the Flood Road, plus a detailed regional map ready to lead your player characters to riches—or a bloody death.
  • Nine new monsters, random encounter tables, and more!

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

Written by Tyler Beck, Jason Garrett, Alex Greenshields, and David Schwartz

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-710-9

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More than just orcs

4/5

I used this book for two different campaigns and I think it deserves it a better rating.

Map & gazetteer:

Spoiler:
The book starts off with a map that's stained in blood which is a nice effect. A lot of places are marked there - it would be quite challenging to prepare all of them, so maybe use only a fraction of the map for your campaign. Neighbouring countries and places are missing, which is unfortunate.

The gazetteer is good enough to give an impression on Belkzen. Flood Truce is an interesting concept that adds more depth to orcs. History is summarized within 2 1/2 pages - for me the rise from Underdark and the reign of the Whispering Tyrant were the most interesting parts.

Five areas get a four-page write-up: Blood Plains, Conquered Lands, Smokespur, Urgir and Whisperfall. While some of the content is typical for orcs, human settlements, undead menaces and even a hanging monastry are mentioned. Urgir as an orc metropolis should make a great place to visit for adventurers.

Adventuring:

Spoiler:
Eight gods are described on half a page each - pretty helpful if you want to add more depth and flavor to enemy divine spellcasters. The orc tribe list has some surprises like female chieftains, worship to Sarenrae and wyvern tamers. Conflicts between tribes get some room here, which could contribute to the story.

Orc war machines, siege engines and mounts show a few creative ideas which might add to flavor when battling orcs. The 14 pages of adventure sites are a wealth of starting points for adventures, but you will have to make up most maps and stat blocks for yourself. Only the map of a small human settlement is detailed enough to be used directly, imo.

Bestiary:

Spoiler:
There are 8 creatures and a template, but I found only a few of them to be actually helpful - which is not so different from regular bestiary books, but still a limitation. Ankhrav is a more powerful ankheg - nice if you want to add a boss to an ankheg encounter. The Burning Child is an unique flavorful creature which probably works better as a story element than as a straightforward encounter. Dahzagan is pretty cool if you want to augment an orc horde with an orc-related outsider.

So, overall this book gives you a good introduction into the area, but limited material that can be used directly. Orcs naturally get a lot of attention here, still it's not "Orcs of Golarion, Campaign Setting edition" - which is a blessing, given the high quality of the nonorc material. The book walks a fine line between the classic orc horde and surprising new takes on the greenskins - and succeeds in doing so. There are some decent adventure hooks, which might be the most interesting part.


Disappointing

2/5

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes should have been an opportunity to add more depth to orcs in Pathfinder, and to be fair, it makes a couple tokens attempts to do so. However, on the whole, it misses out on the opportunity, instead focusing mostly on describing locations and adventure sites, many of which happen to have orcs in them. It does little to give the orcs any real character beyond violent killers or to differentiate one orc tribe from another. By the end of the book, orcs remain pretty much as faceless as they’ve always been, just fodder waiting for for the PCs to kill them.


Good but not great!

3/5

THE GOOD:
All major locations are mentioned and get a description.
Half of the inside art is great.
4 solid settlement stat blocks.
8 orc gods get half a page each.
24 orc tribes get a short write-up inclusive their leaders and their level.
The 4 orc warmachines are all solid.
The adventure site section is absolutely awesome - this is were the book shines! All 15 sites are great!
Half of the monsters in the bestiary are good.

THE BAD:
The inside-cover map of Belkzen is not very beautiful.
The timeline spans 10.000 years and is only one page.
3 settlements don´t get a stat block.
The city maps are not detailed enough.
Only 4 of 8 orc gods get pictures.
Not enough orc war-machines and the art for the 2 large ones that are shown is not very awe-inspiring.
Half of the monsters in the bestiary are lame.

THE UGLY:
Half of the inside art is too dark.

Worth it for the adventure site section alone!


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Congrats Mikaze!!!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I am of mixed opinions on this....

While I think Mikaze is a talented writer and looks forward to seeing what he does. And wishes him nothing but luck on this.

I am kinda of leery of good or even non-evil orc tribes in Belkzen. I am okay with good tribes of orcs and thing that break the traditional view on orcs or other humaniod races that are linked to being evil...like the drow.

However I just think we loose something by making Belkzen orcs...non traditional D&D orcs. In other area of Gloarion sure...but it takes something away from the feel of Lastwall and Trunau.

But than is anybody can 'sell' me on the idea it is Mikaze.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

My bet would be that there are no Good-aligned orc tribes, and probably not even any Neutral ones (though one or two of those seems very possible). Good or Neutral Orcish individuals, on the other hand, are another matter entirely...
.
.
.
And congrats again on this, Mikaze!


If I were to guess just from a cultural evolution standpoint truly evil orc tribes would be small in number. Actively evil societies either need to dominate an entire are or be nomadic in order to avoid others banding together to destroy them. Thus most tribes would be neutral and at least somewhat friendly to one another, but their needs put them at odds with humans and other traditional PC races.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Cthulhudrew wrote:
So, since Mikaze's a contributor, we can expect to see lots of orcs and humans living in harmony in Belkzen, right? ;D

Not lots, no. But we knew that we wanted there to be more in the book than just the same evil, murderous orc tribe repeated for 64 pages. Since that means we needed authors to think outside the box and give a fresh spin on a few of the tribes included, we looked outside our regular author pool. Jason had done good work for other publishers and in Wayfinder, and was the first fan that came to mind when we initially started figuring out what would be in the book. It seemed only fitting, then, that he get the chance to contribute a small amount to the book. That said, most of the orcs in the book will be more traditional orcs that can serve as enemies for PCs, following established canon we have on the race and the region in the Pathfinder campaign setting.


Congrats Mikaze.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Congratulations, indeed. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Hope this isn't too off topic, but where can I find more of Mikaze's work? I wasn't aware he'd been published.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd be alright with an orc AP I guess, but something tells me this is a companion for Daughters of Fury.

*Edit: You know what, I just lied to myself. I don't want an orc AP and I'm dreading that that is what this portends. Coming off of Iron Gods though, I think I will have enough good will to carry me through pretty much anything.


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Nate Z wrote:
Hope this isn't too off topic, but where can I find more of Mikaze's work? I wasn't aware he'd been published.

I know he did the Aequoreal Agathion (Bestiary) in Wayfinder #8, the Chiropteal Agathion (Bestiary) and "Fleshforging and Fleshwelding" article in Wayfinder #9, and the Ziphryn race in LRGG's Racial Guide 2.5: Halfbreeds & Hybrids, plus a ton of great stuff just posted on the boards.


Where the hell did orcs come from, any way? Tolkien probably has the most credit for codifying them in fantasy fiction, but I'm not sure where they first originated. The word Orc apparently meant as many things as corpse, young pig, or seal.

And Orcus. That too.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Axial wrote:

Where the hell did orcs come from, any way? Tolkien probably has the most credit for codifying them in fantasy fiction, but I'm not sure where they first originated. The word Orc apparently meant as many things as corpse, young pig, or seal.

And Orcus. That too.

I think you pretty much nailed everything right there. Orcs: what happens when a seal, a young pig, and a corpse love each other very much and share a special hug in Hell.

I don't claim to be a Tolkein scholar, but I believe they were original creations of his. Perhaps a slightly xenophobic outlet for the trauma he experienced during WW1. Which is to say, a horde of monsters ruining the planet with their mindless rage.


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Generic Villain wrote:


I think you pretty much nailed everything right there. Orcs: what happens when a seal, a young pig, and a corpse love each other very much and share a special hug in Hell.

I don't claim to be a Tolkein scholar, but I believe they were original creations of his. Perhaps a slightly xenophobic outlet for the trauma he experienced during WW1. Which is to say, a horde of monsters ruining the planet with their mindless rage.

Xenophobia is an unfair thing to say given the overall progressiveness in Tolkien's work. I think it was mainly in finding a villain that could be fought against in a guiltless fashion. Hence why when the hill tribes, Haradrim, or Easterings were depicted as enemies it was always a tragedy. They were humans and it was lies or coercion that drove them to evil. orcs on the other hand were essentially just a tool of evil doers.

Despite this characterization their moral status is somewhat more complex. Given that orcs were the result of twisted elves or humans depending on revision, it would follow that they should also have souls. Hence they should have free will, but how does one reconcile that with the pure evil depiction previously stated? When asked about whether orcs were born evil Tolkein said that they were not. He said that the abuse of orcish society was what twisted child orcs in a similar manner to how their ancestors were first changed, but that it was something he'd prefer not to dwell on. When further asked whether an orc could in theory be redeemed he said that they could, and that they would likely cease being an orc as a result. What ceasing to be an orc exactly meant was never elaborated on.

With this back round knowledge I think it is a fairly solid basis to say that orcish society in Tolkien's works is inherently evil rather than the species. The evil being the product of outside control and a cycle of abuse works much more smoothly than some creature just born evil, and fits more in with Tolkien's redemption centric Catholic beliefs. Their twisted form was a reflection of the evils perpetuated against them and through them. Thus orcs separated from the influence of a dark lord would have the same level of moral self determination as any other inhabitant of Middle Earth.

Without Sauron or a similar active evil "god" figure orcs shouldn't be inherently evil in Tolkien derived works. However if the evil orc gods presented in Inner Sea Gods have an active role in their society similar to Lolth in 3.5 with drow it would make perfect sense for their society to be inherently evil.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alex Smith 908 wrote:


Xenophobia is an unfair thing to say given the overall progressiveness in Tolkien's work. I think it was mainly in finding a villain that could be fought against in a guiltless fashion.

However if the evil orc gods presented in Inner Sea Gods have an active role in their society similar to Lolth in 3.5 with drow it would make perfect sense for their society to be inherently evil.

I suspect you know quite a bit more about the man than me. Xenophobia could well be the wrong word for it.

As for the orc gods, it's interesting to see how they originally appeared in Orcs of Golarion compared to Inner Sea Gods. In the former they seemed largely fictional - no proper names, suggestions that they are totems and ideas rather than individual beings, were in fact Demon Lords/Archdevils posing as orc deities, etc. That seems to have changed in Inner Sea Gods. Now there's little doubt they are unique individuals.


Alex Smith 908 wrote:
If I were to guess just from a cultural evolution standpoint truly evil orc tribes would be small in number. Actively evil societies either need to dominate an entire are or be nomadic in order to avoid others banding together to destroy them. Thus most tribes would be neutral and at least somewhat friendly to one another, but their needs put them at odds with humans and other traditional PC races.

From the little revealed about Belkzen that is exactly what it is...nomadic tribes battling/avioding each other taking what they need and moving on or orc tribes under strong enough leadership to dominate a area and control it.

Actually I would be more interested in orcs in Belkzen returning to their 1st Edition D&D roots and being depicted as Lawful Evil. Probably the ones who settled down...would be more lawful evil than chaotic evil anyway.


Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:


I think you pretty much nailed everything right there. Orcs: what happens when a seal, a young pig, and a corpse love each other very much and share a special hug in Hell.

I don't claim to be a Tolkein scholar, but I believe they were original creations of his. Perhaps a slightly xenophobic outlet for the trauma he experienced during WW1. Which is to say, a horde of monsters ruining the planet with their mindless rage.

Xenophobia is an unfair thing to say given the overall progressiveness in Tolkien's work. I think it was mainly in finding a villain that could be fought against in a guiltless fashion. Hence why when the hill tribes, Haradrim, or Easterings were depicted as enemies it was always a tragedy. They were humans and it was lies or coercion that drove them to evil. orcs on the other hand were essentially just a tool of evil doers.

Despite this characterization their moral status is somewhat more complex. Given that orcs were the result of twisted elves or humans depending on revision, it would follow that they should also have souls. Hence they should have free will, but how does one reconcile that with the pure evil depiction previously stated? When asked about whether orcs were born evil Tolkein said that they were not. He said that the abuse of orcish society was what twisted child orcs in a similar manner to how their ancestors were first changed, but that it was something he'd prefer not to dwell on. When further asked whether an orc could in theory be redeemed he said that they could, and that they would likely cease being an orc as a result. What ceasing to be an orc exactly meant was never elaborated on.

With this back round knowledge I think it is a fairly solid basis to say that orcish society in Tolkien's works is inherently evil rather than the species. The evil being the product of outside control and a cycle of abuse works much more smoothly than some creature just born evil, and fits more in with Tolkien's redemption centric...

Not to disagree with you...but I always took orcs was meant to represented the worst of humanity while elves were the best of humanity.


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Despite this characterization their moral status is somewhat more complex. Given that orcs were the result of twisted elves or humans depending on revision, it would follow that they should also have souls. Hence they should have free will, but how does one reconcile that with the pure evil depiction previously stated? When asked about whether orcs were born evil Tolkein said that they were not. He said that the abuse of orcish society was what twisted child orcs in a similar manner to how their ancestors were first changed, but that it was something he'd prefer not to dwell on. When further asked whether an orc could in theory be redeemed he said that they could, and that they would likely cease being an orc as a result. What ceasing to be an orc exactly meant was never elaborated on.

My Tolkien headcanon involves an extensive therapy ward in the Halls of Mandos devoted to ex-orc fëa, and Morgoth at the Dagor Dagorath wondering why the armies of the Valar number among them far more elves than, by his best calculations, can possibly have been born over the lifespan of the world... :)


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Congratulations Mikaze and Beck! Really looking forward to this. :)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Despite this characterization their moral status is somewhat more complex. Given that orcs were the result of twisted elves or humans depending on revision, it would follow that they should also have souls. Hence they should have free will, but how does one reconcile that with the pure evil depiction previously stated? When asked about whether orcs were born evil Tolkein said that they were not. He said that the abuse of orcish society was what twisted child orcs in a similar manner to how their ancestors were first changed, but that it was something he'd prefer not to dwell on. When further asked whether an orc could in theory be redeemed he said that they could, and that they would likely cease being an orc as a result. What ceasing to be an orc exactly meant was never elaborated on.
My Tolkien headcanon involves an extensive therapy ward in the Halls of Mandos devoted to ex-orc fëa, and Morgoth at the Dagor Dagorath wondering why the armies of the Valar number among them far more elves than, by his best calculations, can possibly have been born over the lifespan of the world... :)

JRR Tolkein Could Have Written:

The hulking brute with grey skin, protruding tusks and mighty thews stepped into the tavern.
"We don't serve orcs here!" Yelled the tavern keeper. The brute growled, sat at a table and calmly placed his axe against the wall.
"I am no orc. Geddit?"
The bartender decided that while the man was indeed grey skinned, betusked, pointy eared and horrible looking, he could not in fact be an orc because no orc in the history of Middle Earth had calmly placed their axe anywhere that wasn't a humanoid skull.
"Ah very well then, what will it be Mr... uh?"
"Bloodax-... I mean, Underhill. One mead."
"Sure thing, one mead coming up for Mr Bloodaximeanunderhill."
Meanwhile in the corner, a stranger puffed away at a pipe and glared meaningfully.


John Kretzer wrote:
Not to disagree with you...but I always took orcs was meant to represented the worst of humanity while elves were the best of humanity.

I'd say from a thematic point of view you're completely right.

Sovereign Court

I was about to post that: you're both probably right.


John Kretzer wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:


I think you pretty much nailed everything right there. Orcs: what happens when a seal, a young pig, and a corpse love each other very much and share a special hug in Hell.

I don't claim to be a Tolkein scholar, but I believe they were original creations of his. Perhaps a slightly xenophobic outlet for the trauma he experienced during WW1. Which is to say, a horde of monsters ruining the planet with their mindless rage.

Xenophobia is an unfair thing to say given the overall progressiveness in Tolkien's work. I think it was mainly in finding a villain that could be fought against in a guiltless fashion. Hence why when the hill tribes, Haradrim, or Easterings were depicted as enemies it was always a tragedy. They were humans and it was lies or coercion that drove them to evil. orcs on the other hand were essentially just a tool of evil doers.

Despite this characterization their moral status is somewhat more complex. Given that orcs were the result of twisted elves or humans depending on revision, it would follow that they should also have souls. Hence they should have free will, but how does one reconcile that with the pure evil depiction previously stated? When asked about whether orcs were born evil Tolkein said that they were not. He said that the abuse of orcish society was what twisted child orcs in a similar manner to how their ancestors were first changed, but that it was something he'd prefer not to dwell on. When further asked whether an orc could in theory be redeemed he said that they could, and that they would likely cease being an orc as a result. What ceasing to be an orc exactly meant was never elaborated on.

With this back round knowledge I think it is a fairly solid basis to say that orcish society in Tolkien's works is inherently evil rather than the species. The evil being the product of outside control and a cycle of abuse works much more smoothly than some creature just born evil, and fits more in with

...
John Kretzer wrote:
Not to disagree with you...but I always took orcs was meant to represented the worst of humanity while elves were the best of humanity.

This is probably true, given that some sources identify the elves as being basically incarnate angels or unfallen humanity while the orcs are elves tortured into madness and savagery.

Tolkien also once told a young lady who asked him about his WW1 experiences that: "We all became Orcs in those trenches."

More on topic, while hordes of good orcs would probably be a bit much, I hope we get some neutral ones in Belkzen.


So that's the secret project you were working on Jason? Looks great! Proud of you my friend. Now, let's hope Ty doesn't murder us all next time we play.


Congrats to Mikaze and Carmanbeck. Very cool!

Is there any additional material planned for this release about Urgir? I would really love some detail about the place. Just curious.


Holy crap this is so awesome you have no idea. Better do Orcs justice, man! Also, I want to see the politics of the region come to life! Not just Orcs and Giants that live in Belkzen, but Dragons, intelligent Ankhegs, and probably something quite voracious and terrifying in the Dirt Sea.
Gotta do it: Orks is made ta fight an' win!

Despite all that, the fact that this is coming out in December makes me incredibly sad. Still, love the art, even if it's a placeholder. I believe that was used in the Orcs of Golarion book.

Can we expect more infamous/famous warlords to be statted out properly? Hundux Half-Mann (an ambitious alleged son of Halgra of the Blackened Blades), Grask Uldeth (one of the more intelligent and cultured of his kind), Kring the Beautiful (a terrifying warrior woman who leads her tribe on nomadic slaughter looking for a mate that is worthy, i.e. one who can actually beat her).

Also, what about those fighting schools hinted at in Inner Sea Combat? In Urgir and other major settlements, can we expect to see those warrior cults in more detail?

Also, maybe which tribes are devoted to the Orc gods vs Gorum and Rovagug? I would think that the more cultured tribes would have greater devotion to Rovagug, with Gorum making strong headway, while the more savage tribes would still revere the old gods of the orc cult.

God this is just soooo awesome!

Maybe we'll also see more information on those Orc oracles that live in that volcano, looking into the ash that gives them such visions, and the Steel Eaters of the Foundry. I wonder if there is a red dragon that lives in that great volcano in Belkzen. Wouldn't surprise me, and I think it would be quite fitting.

God, I hope we can also expect more Orc designated exotic weapons than simply the Orc Double Axe. I wanna see some sort of monstrous sword that requires a minimum strength to wield properly, as though it were a large bastard sword. BAM!

I dunno what I'm more pumped about, this or Numeria, but g+%@@@n this is awesome news!!!!!!!!!

Also, to the authors, you better do it right man. Who knows, maybe even the steel eaters have weapons of all sorts that they haven't even unleashed yet because nobody as of late has been stupid enough to try and attack them. They keep the best stuff for themselves.

Cavaliers from the Wingripper Clan that ride atop the backs of terrible wyverns, half-breed warriors from the Murdered Child Clan that ride atop raptors and allosaurs thanks to their proximity to the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, huge ships and small skiffs that ply the dirt sea, hoping to either fight off our outright avoid the terrible things that dwell beneath. G%+ d@$n the possibilities are amazing. Especially for that one tribe devoted to Zon-Kuthon. Other Orcs are just terrified of them.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

@Major_Blackheart: I'm so glad you're super excited for the book, but I do want to point out that we (the authors) have already turned in our text for this, so unfortunately we can't take your really excellent suggestions to heart for the book. BUT, I do hope that much of what you just asked for is in there!


Major_Blackhart wrote:
Also, maybe which tribes are devoted to the Orc gods vs Gorum and Rovagug? I would think that the more cultured tribes would have greater devotion to Rovagug, with Gorum making strong headway, while the more savage tribes would still revere the old gods of the orc cult.

Rovagug may be one of the "core twenty" of the Inner Sea, but that's because of his power and range, not because of any higher "culture." The Rough Beast is the god of the immediate and violent destruction of everything, and his worshipers are enjoined to destroy everything they can and to create as little as they can possibly manage -- they ruin their own equipment until it's only barely functional! Any tribe that truly worships Rovagug is going to be significantly worse off, culturally and materially, than any tribe that doesn't.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I dunno. Swords vs orcs certainly sounds like a "return to the traditional", and between Daughters of Fury and this, it certainly does seem like we're angling for a traditional orc AP after Iron Gods.

But I can't help but feel such an AP would feel...generic. After Earth, Mythic, Egypt and Barrier Peaks, I...well. I hope the next AP has a gimmick of *some* kind to make me interested.

Having said that, all the good feels in this thread are certainly making me consider taking a look at the Campaign Setting and that's the first step to accepting a traditional orc AP.

I'll keep an ear out, certainly.


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The Gimmick for the next AP is that a follower of Zon-Kuthon has been forcibly turned into a Lich and his Nipple Ring made his Phylactery. But he has been cursed so that he may not touch, harm, or even locate his Nipple Ring himself. Whenever he is destroyed, shortly after he forgets his Nipple Rings location and can't recall where he reformed at.

He wishes to destroy his Phylactery so he can recover his flesh and once again feel the glorious pain that is Zon-Kuthon's blessing.

So he has decided to force some upstart Adventurers to do the job for him. He's gathered together the Orcs of Belkzen and made them begin ransacking and pillaging the nearby kingdoms. He hopes to cause enough trouble that some would-be Heroes will discover he is behind the plot (he has to hide himself or the Adventurers would get suspicious), discover he is a Lich, then seek out and destroy his Phylactery for him.

Fortunately, they discover the Nipple Ring easily enough (I guess some Fat Gnome with a Hookah that had previously gone on a journey with Svirfneblin to the Lake of Mists and Veils and encountered a Red Dragon had it). So now they must travel East! Over the Hungry Mountains, past the shining city of Starfall, through the swamps of the River Kingdom and then north across the Lake of Mists and Veils where it can be unmade in the frozen wastelands of the Crown of the World, by dropping it into Unnaturally Cold Mouth of an Ice Volcano that will crush and shatter the Nipple Ring!

Yeah... that's what's going to happen.

Edit] Also... totally not a ripoff of Lord of the Rings.


Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Major_Blackhart wrote:
Also, maybe which tribes are devoted to the Orc gods vs Gorum and Rovagug? I would think that the more cultured tribes would have greater devotion to Rovagug, with Gorum making strong headway, while the more savage tribes would still revere the old gods of the orc cult.
Rovagug may be one of the "core twenty" of the Inner Sea, but that's because of his power and range, not because of any higher "culture." The Rough Beast is the god of the immediate and violent destruction of everything, and his worshipers are enjoined to destroy everything they can and to create as little as they can possibly manage -- they ruin their own equipment until it's only barely functional! Any tribe that truly worships Rovagug is going to be significantly worse off, culturally and materially, than any tribe that doesn't.

Instead of cultured I should have said mainstream. The more traditional, perhaps even savage or isolated orcs would be more likely to worship the Orc deities.


"Mainstream" does work better, yes.


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Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
"Mainstream" does work better, yes.

Oh god, now I'm imagining Orc hipsters.


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Have quick question, before we pillage farm you make sure only use organic methods yes?.

Sovereign Court

Could this be for use with the upcomming RPG Superstar Module which was alla bout orcs.


yeah. Now that I think about it, this probably is more for the module than any AP.

I would be very surprised if they did a orc module around the same time as as AP. Seems like the modules usually have a different theme than the AP they are released against, so if customers hate the AP idea they might still pick up the module


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

They did do a dragon related setting book and player's guide when Dragon's Demand came out so that is a distinct possibility.


cartmanbeck wrote:
@Major_Blackheart: I'm so glad you're super excited for the book, but I do want to point out that we (the authors) have already turned in our text for this, so unfortunately we can't take your really excellent suggestions to heart for the book. BUT, I do hope that much of what you just asked for is in there!

Dude, you're killing me! You should have asked me first.

I am the Orkiest guy here after all.

Then again, Orcs don't like e-mail.

Grand Lodge Contributor

This is quite an awesome confluence of the strands of fate right here. The next campaign I intend to run after our current campaign concludes (sometime around December, I estimate) is going to be in Belkzen, based out of Trunau.

How did THAT happen?

YAY!


Juggerloathe.

So many directions that name could be taken.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This slot in the Campaign Setting line for quite a while has been the book where the next AP starts, with the following month being the Map Folio. So unless they are messing with the schedule the next AP will start in Belkzen. However that doesn't mean it will be an Orc AP.


Didn't Reign of Winter start in Taldor, but they did an Irrisen Campaign setting book?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kairos Dawnfury wrote:
Didn't Reign of Winter start in Taldor, but they did an Irrisen Campaign setting book?

Whoops, forgot about that one, but you still made it to Irrisen in the first book of the AP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

+1 on the congratulations to both Mikaze and Cartmanbeck!

And to Branding Opportunity and David Schwartz too. :)

While orcs are normally not my favourite race, I am looking forward to seeing how these four authors/contributors deal with them.


I friggin love Orcs so much.

Grand Lodge Contributor

I'm not sure that we're going to get the Lastwall vs. Belkzen AP some people are theorising. I doubt that Paizo would do that so soon after Wrath of the Righteous - crusaders and knights have had their spotlight fairly recently.

I think it's more likely to be support for the Daughters of Fury module due for release in November.


As much as I'd probably enjoy running/playing an Orc, I'm not sure one would actually work well.

Mainly because in an AP where Orcs are the primary antagonists, you're going to be fighting a lot of Orcs who are, naturally, going to be PC classed. This means is going to, usually, be locked into a certain role with very little in the way of options they can use in combat.

I mean, the Orc has a penalty to Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma, so if you used the standard stat array for NPCs of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, then their highest starting casting stat would be 13. Even if they put their worst stat, an 8, into Strength, they'd end up with a 12 strength, nearly as high as their casting stat.

The exception would be the Scarred Witch Doctor, which is basically the only viable casting class with their standard array. You could circumvent this by playing non-casters, but then every encounter with Orcs ends up being full-attack spam.

For the most point, at high levels monsters come with a variety of abilities they can use in combat. From spells, to supernatural to spell-like abilities, they can do more than just 'full-attack' every round. They might not be able to do it often, but they can.

High level Orcs, however, aren't going to be much different than a PC. If they're a martial Orc, it's just full attack every round (with a smattering of maneuvers), if they're a caster Orc (highly unlikely), then it's just going to be cast every round.

The only way I could see an Orc AP actually work, is if it capped out at level 10 or so. A 1-15 AP with Orcs as the primary enemy? That'd be difficult to see taking place. Unless the Orcs had a lot of special abilities that came about during the AP, like templates or Wish powers or something.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Orcs could have monstrous allies, could have an alliance with a casty race, could have dangerous waaugh machines, or beasts of burden, could have half-orcs, half-trolls and half-dragons.

Fighting the horde could work, especially if they has Dragon pals.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Orcs could have monstrous allies, could have an alliance with a casty race, could have dangerous waaugh machines, or beasts of burden, could have half-orcs, half-trolls and half-dragons.

Fighting the horde could work, especially if they has Dragon pals.

Yes, but then Orcs aren't the real threat, it's the power behind the Orcs that is the threat.

It becomes an issue where the Orcs are threats in the first two AP issues, and the first half of the third book, but from that point on more dangerous allies become the threats (giants, ogres, dragons, demons etc).

To be fair, it's probably as traditional an AP as one could get.


The next AP could be set in a location which already has a campaign setting book (like Land of the Linnorm Kings, or a Varisian city).

I'm really looking forward to the Belkzen book. Though I hope it doesn't go overboard with the good orc tribes idea as that would undermine the whole raison d'etre for Lastwall. Belkzen is supposed to be a constant threat with hordes constantly pushing back the border.


Good orc tribes? The only good Orc is a dead Orc, according to the people of Lastwall.

And it's always the people behind the Orcs that are a threat. Out of the three big leaders the Orcs have had that unified them, only one was an Orc. The others were big bads that were so badass they can't be killed by normal means and are continually threatening to come back.

Orcs are too chaotic, too domination and violence prone to willingly follow another. Every Orc is in it for himself, not something bigger. The only few Orcs that CAN unify the tribes are at each others throats for the most part.

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