Make a stand for Orcish rights in Golarion!


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Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Icyshadow wrote:
I just realized something that's on topic and kinda odd. Aasimar are a naturally Good race, right? Then how come Nualia was turned evil? Wouldn't that be as extremely insane an idea as an Orc who has turned good? As much as I like Nualia, I just realized she's more or less based on a double standard of sorts. Also, if I ever run a Rise of the Runelords campaign, I hope as a player to have a chance at redeeming her, and as a DM I WOULD give the players a chance at redeeming her (never said it's going to be easy, but I would let them have a fair chance and let them try) so yeah.

And that's why the whole adventure is about Nualia turning evil. That element's not an "oh yeah, also this, by the way" part of it. It's the fundamental lynchpin and primary cause of the adventure's plot. A similar adventure about an orc turned good could be interesting. We just haven't written such an adventure yet.


This was an interesting thread, even though it started out as a mere joke. Anyway, I think all that's been needed to say has been said, and there seem to be some things going wrong too (like some guy constantly telling people to "get over it" when there's nothing to get over), so I might as well go with the whole silly part of all this.

Leafar, let us take into consideration...what do we do with the rare few orcs that would actually be willing to co-operate and not cause wanton destruction?
Assuming any are left alive.


Friends, outsiders, humanoids, lend me your ears.

The problem here is not that orcs are always evil, not that goblins are always evil, not even that hobgoblins are always evil. Yes, they say you're evil. They say I'm evil, too. It's an excuse to dismiss us as villains, obstacles, monsters.

But who is the monster? The colonists who invade native lands, slaying all who oppose and enslaving all who surrender? Or the hoard who takes back what was stolen from them, frees the slaves, and exacts vengeance against the colonists in a show of strength to ensure such invasions are never again carried out? Is it the lone predator who stalks the weak and infirm to strengthen the herd? Or is it the tall human woman with the crimson cloak, with shiny armor and longsword who slays the parents in front of their children for crimes real and imagined?

'Good' is nothing more than an excuse. It's a word that the monster hides behind when raising her hallowed longsword to smite the hoard that swarms to protect their children, their futures. 'Evil' is what they call us. 'Monster' is what they call us. Well, I say they will hide behind their words no longer. I say they are monsters as surely as us! And I call upon any of their number to dispute that. Not with blades or spears, not with excuses, but with real words. Words with meaning. Actual dialogue between monsters for they are no less monstrous than any of us.

I say they are the greater evil here. Even greater than me.


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ANebulousMistress wrote:

Friends, outsiders, humanoids, lend me your ears.

The problem here is not that orcs are always evil, not that goblins are always evil, not even that hobgoblins are always evil. Yes, they say you're evil. They say I'm evil, too. It's an excuse to dismiss us as villains, obstacles, monsters.

But who is the monster? The colonists who invade native lands, slaying all who oppose and enslaving all who surrender? Or the hoard who takes back what was stolen from them, frees the slaves, and exacts vengeance against the colonists in a show of strength to ensure such invasions are never again carried out? Is it the lone predator who stalks the weak and infirm to strengthen the herd? Or is it the tall human woman with the crimson cloak, with shiny armor and longsword who slays the parents in front of their children for crimes real and imagined?

'Good' is nothing more than an excuse. It's a word that the monster hides behind when raising her hallowed longsword to smite the hoard that swarms to protect their children, their futures. 'Evil' is what they call us. 'Monster' is what they call us. Well, I say they will hide behind their words no longer. I say they are monsters as surely as us! And I call upon any of their number to dispute that. Not with blades or spears, not with excuses, but with real words. Words with meaning. Actual dialogue between monsters for they are no less monstrous than any of us.

I say they are the greater evil here. Even greater than me.

RAGELANCEPOUNCE.

FIFTY-TWO.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:

First point...

The word "orcish" doesn't exist in Pathfinder. The adjective form of "orc" is merely "orc."

So, you'd have an orc longsword, an orc bloodline, or problems with orc racism... but never an orcish longsword, an orcish bloodline, or problems with orcish racism. This isn't anti-orc propaganda, of course, but a style we chose for almost ALL of our races. "Ish" never gets added to any race in Pathfinder.

That's a useful style tip. I noticed in the Gnome book that 'gnomish' wasn't used, although the Dwarf and Elf books still used 'dwarven' and 'elven' instead of 'dwarf' or 'elf.'

Silver Crusade

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Anyone interest should seek out a copy of the Queen of the Orcs trilogy by Morgan Howell. It poses an interesting reversal - a land where orcs are assumed to be evil, but as the story unfolds, you start to question who the good guys and the bad guys really are.

I'm pretty sure they can be found on Amazon and elsewhere.


Icyshadow wrote:

This was an interesting thread, even though it started out as a mere joke. Anyway, I think all that's been needed to say has been said, and there seem to be some things going wrong too (like some guy constantly telling people to "get over it" when there's nothing to get over), so I might as well go with the whole silly part of all this.

Leafar, let us take into consideration...what do we do with the rare few orcs that would actually be willing to co-operate and not cause wanton destruction?
Assuming any are left alive.

The rare and very few Orcs that are "civilized" cannot makeup for the vast majority of Orcs who are savages. They would have to be put to sleep too. Even if you find a "good" Orc, he or she would have family members hanging around who are "evil", so it doesn't do the other good races any good to have them living in the same world.


AM BARBARIAN wrote:
ANebulousMistress wrote:
speech

RAGELANCEPOUNCE.

FIFTY-TWO.

...Never before have I been so grateful for high DR.

ow... Where are those minions...

A Nebulous Mistress runs serpentine and casts Greater Invisibility then Nondetection. And reads your thoughts.

Who's thinking about tacos?

Grand Lodge

ANebulousMistress wrote:
Who's thinking about tacos?

I was just in the process of baking some enchiladas. Does that count?

EDIT: And on-topic, I happen to have adventured with a particular half-orc a couple of times and even taught him how to bake. I can get along with the green guys just fine. Cupcakes bring people together.


Cledwyn wrote:
ANebulousMistress wrote:
Who's thinking about tacos?
I was just in the process of baking some enchiladas. Does that count?

Smells good. Could use a little bit more cheese.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Leafar the Lost wrote:
The rare and very few Orcs that are "civilized" cannot makeup for the vast majority of Orcs who are savages. They would have to be put to sleep too. Even if you find a "good" Orc, he or she would have family members hanging around who are "evil", so it doesn't do the other good races any good to have them living in the same world.

With that statement sirrah, you have just guaranteed that there will NEVER be peace between the noble green-skin & the mewling, pathetic pink-skin.

Very well, if the 'Civilized' peoples give us no recourse save war, death, & defilement.

Let us give it to them.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Set wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

First point...

The word "orcish" doesn't exist in Pathfinder. The adjective form of "orc" is merely "orc."

So, you'd have an orc longsword, an orc bloodline, or problems with orc racism... but never an orcish longsword, an orcish bloodline, or problems with orcish racism. This isn't anti-orc propaganda, of course, but a style we chose for almost ALL of our races. "Ish" never gets added to any race in Pathfinder.

That's a useful style tip. I noticed in the Gnome book that 'gnomish' wasn't used, although the Dwarf and Elf books still used 'dwarven' and 'elven' instead of 'dwarf' or 'elf.'

Yup; dwarven and elven are pretty much the only exceptions to the rule that an adjective version of a race is the race's name.


James Jacobs wrote:


If you're not playing in Golarion, then my arguments and opinions on orcs are pretty much irrelevant. It's only if you're using Golarion, or looking to modify Golarion, or want to build a world LIKE Golarion that my arguments matter... and even then, I present them as nothing more than my philosophies so that folks can see why things are the way they are in Golarion, and so that they can make informed decisions about any changes they might want to make.

My problem isn´t that orcs aren´t good guys or bad guys, my problem with Golarion orcs is that they are kind of bland. Goblins got a nice redesign, elfs and drows too, but the orcs of Golarion brought no deepth. Where are the great orc shamans traditions or war-machines ? Where are the great orc warlords that shove fear in the armies of Lastwall ? Ok, the orcs of golarion are bad guys, but they aren´t villains, they are just low level thugs. I guess that after Red Hand of Doom mister Jacobs has been saving the spot of the great adversaries of humanity for the hobgoblins when they make their appearance in Golarion, but if they don´t give us legendary orc heros, they could at least let some infamous orc really bad guys slip by so we could relate to them.

Please, more love to Belkzen, Orcs of Golarion wasn´t inspired enought.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Draco Bahamut wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


If you're not playing in Golarion, then my arguments and opinions on orcs are pretty much irrelevant. It's only if you're using Golarion, or looking to modify Golarion, or want to build a world LIKE Golarion that my arguments matter... and even then, I present them as nothing more than my philosophies so that folks can see why things are the way they are in Golarion, and so that they can make informed decisions about any changes they might want to make.

My problem isn´t that orcs aren´t good guys or bad guys, my problem with Golarion orcs is that they are kind of bland. Goblins got a nice redesign, elfs and drows too, but the orcs of Golarion brought no deepth. Where are the great orc shamans traditions or war-machines ? Where are the great orc warlords that shove fear in the armies of Lastwall ? Ok, the orcs of golarion are bad guys, but they aren´t villains, they are just low level thugs. I guess that after Red Hand of Doom mister Jacobs has been saving the spot of the great adversaries of humanity for the hobgoblins when they make their appearance in Golarion, but if they don´t give us legendary orc heros, they could at least let some infamous orc really bad guys slip by so we could relate to them.

Please, more love to Belkzen, Orcs of Golarion wasn´t inspired enought.

Fair enough. It's certainly true that we haven't done much at all with orcs.

Yet.

That will change soon enough.


James Jacobs wrote:

Fair enough. It's certainly true that we haven't done much at all with orcs.

Yet.

That will change soon enough.

DUN DUN DUN.

Liberty's Edge

seekerofshadowlight wrote:

No one in this thread advocated killing children or defenseless. However those are not the ones you encounter most often and yes even those often will try and kill you and if they catch you will happy torture you to death with childlike chants and joy.

Heck goblin children are more like rabid animals then thinking creatures.

And human babies are somehow better? Obviously you haven't seen what they do to small animals . . . and small children. And goblins. And, really, anything smaller than them.

I'm sorry if the only goblin children you've encountered are starved and vicious because they come from "Evil" tribes. But most goblins don't treat their children that way. Tribes who that neglect their children are often forced do so BECAUSE of war with humans. War, I might add, that tends to be incited by anti-goblin vigilantes.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I removed a post. Let's leave our real-world politics away from orcs, ey?


Gark the Goblin wrote:

I'm sorry if the only goblin children you've encountered are starved and vicious because they come from "Evil" tribes. But most goblins don't treat their children that way. Tribes who that neglect their children are often forced do so BECAUSE of war with humans. War, I might add, that tends to be incited by anti-goblin vigilantes.

This isn't true for golarion. Tribes raise the children in cages and treat them more as pets. When they are old enough ( normally when they have murdered most of the others and can hold their own) they are let out to join the tribe. Lone goblins in theory would raise the children but do not do so in a normal goblin tribe.

It isn't humans who do this, the goblins do with or without other races. A goblin child is far more likely to attack and try to eat you or run away as it is stop to look at a pretty rock.

If you get the goblin young enough before it is mentally damaged by this treatment you may be able to save it. Otherwise, even with the best of care its a damaged child who is likely to burn down your house, kill the family pets and murder folks who upset it.


Ross Byers wrote:
I removed a post. Let's leave our real-world politics away from orcs, ey?

Who said what? I know it wasn't the Nazi post that got canned, and that's the only IRL shot I saw thrown out.

Liberty's Edge

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:

I'm sorry if the only goblin children you've encountered are starved and vicious because they come from "Evil" tribes. But most goblins don't treat their children that way. Tribes who that neglect their children are often forced do so BECAUSE of war with humans. War, I might add, that tends to be incited by anti-goblin vigilantes.

This isn't true for golarion. Tribes raise the children in cages and treat them more as pets. When they are old enough ( normally when they have murdered most of the others and can hold their own) they are let out to join the tribe. Lone goblins in theory would raise the children but do not do so in a normal goblin tribe.

It isn't humans who do this, the goblins do with or without other races. A goblin child is far more likely to attack and try to eat you or run away as it is stop to look at a pretty rock.

If you get the goblin young enough before it is mentally damaged by this treatment you may be able to save it. Otherwise, even with the best of care its a damaged child who is likely to burn down your house, kill the family pets and murder folks who upset it.

Perhaps you have not heard the phrase "revisionist." Haven't you noticed that only humans report on conditions in goblin tribes? Can you prove that goblin tribes that aren't facing hard times treat their children this way?

NEVER trust an omniscient narrator.

Also @Kelsey: It was probably me! Again!

Scarab Sages

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Icyshadow wrote:

This was an interesting thread, even though it started out as a mere joke. Anyway, I think all that's been needed to say has been said, and there seem to be some things going wrong too (like some guy constantly telling people to "get over it" when there's nothing to get over), so I might as well go with the whole silly part of all this.

Nothing to get over except people whining about other people "not taking this seriously"......


Gark the Goblin wrote:

Perhaps you have not heard the phrase "revisionist." Haven't you noticed that only humans report on conditions in goblin tribes? Can you prove that goblin tribes that aren't facing hard times treat their children this way?

NEVER trust an omniscient narrator.

Also @Kelsey: It was probably me! Again!

This is simply untrue. Paizo have goblins working for them. They preform the server maintenance.

Sczarni

James Jacobs wrote:
Draco Bahamut wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


If you're not playing in Golarion, then my arguments and opinions on orcs are pretty much irrelevant. It's only if you're using Golarion, or looking to modify Golarion, or want to build a world LIKE Golarion that my arguments matter... and even then, I present them as nothing more than my philosophies so that folks can see why things are the way they are in Golarion, and so that they can make informed decisions about any changes they might want to make.

My problem isn´t that orcs aren´t good guys or bad guys, my problem with Golarion orcs is that they are kind of bland. Goblins got a nice redesign, elfs and drows too, but the orcs of Golarion brought no deepth. Where are the great orc shamans traditions or war-machines ? Where are the great orc warlords that shove fear in the armies of Lastwall ? Ok, the orcs of golarion are bad guys, but they aren´t villains, they are just low level thugs. I guess that after Red Hand of Doom mister Jacobs has been saving the spot of the great adversaries of humanity for the hobgoblins when they make their appearance in Golarion, but if they don´t give us legendary orc heros, they could at least let some infamous orc really bad guys slip by so we could relate to them.

Please, more love to Belkzen, Orcs of Golarion wasn´t inspired enought.

Fair enough. It's certainly true that we haven't done much at all with orcs.

Yet.

That will change soon enough.

Well, color me excited!


Gark the Goblin wrote:
Also @Kelsey: It was probably me! Again!

Man, you are chaotic. How many flags before you get banned?


Something is interesting about someone not getting the concept "monster?" Sure, "interesting" has a very wide range of usage...


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Professor Higgins wrote:
Something is interesting about someone not getting the concept "monster?" Sure, "interesting" has a very wide range of usage...

And there is the crux of the debate. Some people think the orc should primarily be a monster, others, like, me, do not (Warcraft made me think of the orc as something that should be a PC race).

Liberty's Edge

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:

Perhaps you have not heard the phrase "revisionist." Haven't you noticed that only humans report on conditions in goblin tribes? Can you prove that goblin tribes that aren't facing hard times treat their children this way?

NEVER trust an omniscient narrator.

Also @Kelsey: It was probably me! Again!

This is simply untrue. Paizo have goblins working for them. They preform the server maintenance.
Sorry, how exactly does this disprove my point? Goblins are not involved in producing content. In fact, some of my friends once worked for Paizo and have horror stories of capricious bosses and all-seeing eyes.
ANebulousMistress wrote:

Man, you are chaotic. How many flags before you get banned?

We can only hope to find out!

Actually, I checked back and I don't think it was me. Go Team Restraint!


Gark the Goblin wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:

Perhaps you have not heard the phrase "revisionist." Haven't you noticed that only humans report on conditions in goblin tribes? Can you prove that goblin tribes that aren't facing hard times treat their children this way?

NEVER trust an omniscient narrator.

Also @Kelsey: It was probably me! Again!

This is simply untrue. Paizo have goblins working for them. They preform the server maintenance.
Sorry, how exactly does this disprove my point? Goblins are not involved in producing content. In fact, some of my friends once worked for Paizo and have horror stories of capricious bosses and all-seeing eyes.

And you've seen Paizo's own photographs of the servers being worked on. Who's that poor goblin in the back with his head on fire? How do you even do that with a computer?

Gark the Goblin wrote:
ANebulousMistress wrote:
Man, you are chaotic. How many flags before you get banned?

We can only hope to find out!

Actually, I checked back and I don't think it was me. Go Team Restraint!

And that's why I'm lawful.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If Orcs are not villians then their only niche they could fill is comedy relief which is by far a worse fate than being Evil. Just look at the kobold.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ANebulousMistress wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:

Perhaps you have not heard the phrase "revisionist." Haven't you noticed that only humans report on conditions in goblin tribes? Can you prove that goblin tribes that aren't facing hard times treat their children this way?

NEVER trust an omniscient narrator.

Also @Kelsey: It was probably me! Again!

This is simply untrue. Paizo have goblins working for them. They preform the server maintenance.
Sorry, how exactly does this disprove my point? Goblins are not involved in producing content. In fact, some of my friends once worked for Paizo and have horror stories of capricious bosses and all-seeing eyes.

And you've seen Paizo's own photographs of the servers being worked on. Who's that poor goblin in the back with his head on fire? How do you even do that with a computer?

Gark the Goblin wrote:
ANebulousMistress wrote:
Man, you are chaotic. How many flags before you get banned?

We can only hope to find out!

Actually, I checked back and I don't think it was me. Go Team Restraint!

And that's why I'm lawful.

Oh it is quite possibly to set things on fire if you miswire a computer. I saw someone fail their midterm in a computer assembly course that way.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Man! Am I ever conflicted? Orcs in my game are unremittingly EVIL! Vile, nasty, etc. Zero redeeming qualities.

Flip side, I truly enjoyed My 40k Orks! Over 50 games with a lot of wins! The Shock Attack Gun had one of the best descriptions ever! And the cheapest bolter with a trigger finger in the game!

Shadow Lodge

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Every time I hear people talk about how orcs should be killed because they're always evil, I want to roll a paladin proclaiming the final solution to the orc problem who keeps elf slaves.

Silver Crusade

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JMD031 wrote:
If Orcs are not villians then their only niche they could fill is comedy relief which is by far a worse fate than being Evil. Just look at the kobold.

Absolute false dichotomy. There are plenty of serious directions one can take orcs that don't require them to be always-evil villains.


TOZ wrote:
Every time I hear people talk about how orcs should be killed because they're always evil, I want to roll a paladin proclaiming the final solution to the orc problem who keeps elf slaves.

Due to the whims of the gods, I must now enslave an evil elf. Thank you, fool.

Silver Crusade

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John Kretzer wrote:
And just a minor point I think any half breed will have to a certain extent a tragic background. Or are you complete ignoring how half elves written? No matter how 'enlightened' you make the society.

Not ignoring it. What's frustrating is that half-orcs get beaten over the head with it to a far greater degree than half-elves, no exceptions, and that apparently there's the notion that half-orcs are supposed to be miserable, which is really limiting to that race's range of possibilities.

Certain elements of "half-breed" angst are always going to be present, but they shouldn't be required to have misery porn hard-coded into each and every one of their backgrounds.

John Kretzer wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
All it takes is some creativity. Values dissonance alone could make non-evil orcs stand out as clearly orcy while being their own thing.
Ok how would you go about creating a orc that is a orc without the evil aligned culture? I don't mean to be flippant here I am really curious to hear people ideas on alternative cultures for orcs(r any race for that matter)

Isolate what makes orcs orcs that don't require them to be evil. Take a different angle on that, and keep their values and mindsets different enough so that they stand out as their own thing.

copypaste

Spoiler:
The (slim) majority population of Nirmathas are orcs comprising mostly CN/CG-leaning tribes, descended from tribes that crossed the mountains out of Belkzen during the reign of Kazavon. These people are a big motivator behind Nirmathas' fierce independence, which leads them to greater conflict with Molthrune, a land that promises their race security in exchange for freedom. These tribes are also entangled, for better or worse, with the fey courts of Nirmathas' forests, which are somehow larger on the inside than the outside due to First World shenanigans. The orcs get on well enough with their human countrymen, and this place provides ample opportunity for half-orcs to have backstories that aren't rooted in tragedy. They have a grudging mutual respect with Lastwall, though it took a while to get there.

-----

Long story short is that Sarenrae had long been sickened by the idea of an entire race ensnared by a culture that revered Rovagug. She managed to wrangle a "chosen one", Maja Firehair(a female orc possessed of remarkable empathy, which is usually an unhealthy thing to have in Belkzen), to lead her people towards the light. Said chosen one was more CN than anything, interpreted her visions as a call to conquest, and basically forced her way into the leadership position of her tribe and handed out beatdowns and annexations to other tribes. She did make some changes in orc culture(curbing brutality and sexual inequality, defying and defiling Rovagug's works,) but she was more about getting vengeance on her oppressors than anything else. She was closer to a Gorumite than a Sarenraean.

Sarenrae was enraged that her chosen one was missing the point and decided the best way to get through to an orc was to speak the same language. She then metaphysically and physically kicked Maja's ass and made her see that there was no future at all for the orcs if they stayed on their current path. A bit of Moses and the Burning Bush vibe, if the Burning Bush was handing out beatings. Finally fully spiritually awakened, Maja started edging more and more into CG and led a change in culture along the way, while continuing her, now far more idealistic, tribal conquest.

And things actually started to come together. She had managed to win over the hearts, minds, and souls of four great tribes that had gathered under her banner in southern Belkzen. They had also made a number of enemies that wanted nothing less than to see them wiped out, mainly rival orc tribes, particularly those truly faithful to Rovagug. But more dangerous than that was Kazavon, who had consolidated power in Belkzen at that time.

Maja was hellbent on leading her people against Kazavon in a holy, frenzied crusade before Sarenrae gave her one final vision. Her mission wasn't to conquer in her goddess' name, but to preserve and safeguard the people she had managed to save. If they stayed in Belkzen, they would be wiped out and all of their work would come to nothing, and the orc race would face its eventual self-inflicted extinction. Maja's task was to lead her people to a new land where they could chart their own destiny.

Hounded by rival tribes and the servants of Kazavon, Maja's went south through the mountains of Nirmathas, around Lastwall. After weathering a rough winter and ogre attacks, they finally made their way in to Nirmathas, at that time still mostly unpopulated save for the outlying dwarven settlements that were paying more attention to what was inside the ground than on it. Maja passed when they finally arrived, and the tribes spread out.

They came into conflict with the dwarves from time to time, with the usual racial motivations, but that came mostly to a stop once "this is our side/this is your side" lines were drawn and that the orcs now greatly outnumbered the dwarves(and that the orcs were basically going "don't start none, won't be none" at that point).

The native fey courts of Nirmathas reacted differently. They and the land itself adopted these tribes in their own way. The general outlook of these fey was that they were the nobility, the superstitious orcs were the common folk. Depending on the nature of the individual fey or court, these orcs were sources of entertainment, champions, pawns in their inter-court feuds and games, etc. The orcs in turn generally see the fey as capricious nature spirits, to alternately be revered or avoided, but always approached with a healthy wary respect.

Lastwall was naturally highly suspicious(and alarmed) when orcs settled Nirmathas, and there was conflict before it became clear that most on both sides did not truly have a fight with each other. A mostly chilly, wary truce was kept after that, with Lastwall spending too much of their forces on their southern border to make certain nothing was afoot. True peace and trust between the two nations finally came when Lastwall extradited a band of war criminals that had fled into the country after wiping out a number of Nirmathi orc villages. After these criminals were hanged at the border, old wounds finally started to heal.

Human settlers started rolling into the Nirmathas area from Molthrune(and thus the Chelish Empire), which didn't really recognize the coverignty of a bunch of orcs, who were hardly organized into any sort of nation anyway. The expected conflicts did occur, but when Cheliax crumbled and House Thrune rose, the game really changed. Irgal Nirmath had established healthy relationships with the orc tribes and had earned their respect(and even had a half-orc wife who may have had a child, leading to all sorts of rumors and whispers that speak of that scion as some sort of "royalty", if Nirmathas held to such structures).

Humans and orcs are currently highly integrated in most places in Nirmathas. There are still some regions that are mostly orc and mostly human, but they're all Nirmathi. There, peaceful unions between humans and orcs are the norm rather than the exception, which means the region boasts probably the largest half-orc population in Avistan.

The Molthrune conflict is particularly vicious and painful, because there aren't (m)any real "bad guys" on either side. Molthrune does have a large population of humanoids and "monsters" that have sworn loyalty to that nation, and they've been given acceptance, honor, and station for it. The same offer has been made repeatedly to the orcs, but they remain as fiercely independant as their human countrymen.

Some particularly zealous orcs do make raids into Belkzen from time to time, but these small crusades are most often a drop in the bucket that is the ongoing Belkzen/Lastwall conflict.

Orcs may be getting on well with their neighbors, but there are still aspects of their culture that frighten or disturb others. Many of the tribes do "sky funerals", where the bodies of their dead are left on elevated platforms for carrion birds to pick clean. Some of the traditionalist tribes still have some form of ritualized cannibalism going on, where a new chief eats the heart of the old one to inherit thier strengh and wisdom. Cannibalism period doesn't hold much of a taboo in times of great need, such as during the original exodus from Belkzen. That is only performed with the willing however, and carried out with the utmost respect. (it's been noted with curiosity that there are no reports of orc ghouls in Nirmathas...)

John Kretzer wrote:

I am sorry to hear about the people you play with...though from your description on another thread about your group(in the Curse of the Crimson Throne game I believe)...I don't think your current group as the issue of killing things on sight.

Yes a poor GM has everything ALWAYS meet with failure...but actualy reading the orcs desciption in the Beatiary they chalk up all of their evil behavior to culture...so logic would entail that raising orcs in a loving enviroment could produce a good orc.

Nah, current group is cool. I was complaining about some very miserable past experiences mostly. That and some other players who are all too eager to yell "you're doing it wrong!" if you don't like the idea of Team Good being genocidal.

These days if I'm possibly going to be playing under a new GM one of the first things I do is ask if they do "always inherently evil mortal races" and if genocide is fine for Team Good to do. If so, I just decline from the game. I'd just be miserable, and it wouldn't be fair or any fun for them either. I'm not going to begrudge them their preferred flavor of play...I just wish mine could get a bit more support than it's gotten. I mean, we have 16423 richly detailed books about that many flavors of elves. Still waiting for a non-evil orc book of the same depth and quality as their books for the other races.

About the Bestiary...I'd love it if that approach were actually catered to a bit more. Unfortunately the Orcs of Golarion book, the book that should have been for orc players, practically goes out of its way to discourage it. There were like two lines that I can remember that actually spoke to the possibility of orcs being anything other than horribly evil, which leaves a sour taste if you were looking forward to that book opening up some possibilities for your favorite fantasy race.

John Kretzer wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
It would also be nice to see less skittishness about using half-orcs in art simply because they're "monstrous" looking. In this post-WoW world, I really don't think that's going to confuse gamers all that much to see a heroic half-orc.
That I can agree with...more because well ugly people can't be heroic? Than anything to do with race or such.

I don't get it either. The one half-orc iconic we do have looks plenty heroic and awesome, but doesn't get used because she's "monstrous" compared to the others. And? She doesn't look any less heroic.

It's like when I first saw an example of Hellboy art. He was fighting a monster. It was pretty easy to tell who the good guy was, from a variety of clues.

John Kretzer wrote:
Here is a morale question...if race is inherently evil...is it ok to commit genocide on that race?

Personal opinion, if we're dealing with mortal races: no. In settings with magic, interventionist deities, deities of redemption, there's always hope. The notion that someone could be damned because of an accident of birth is horrifyingly awful, and if good exists in that setting it should be doing all it can to remedy the situation.

For a mortal race to be inherently evil it would need to lack free will, IMO. Team Good's goal should start by giving it to them, even if it requires it to be punched into their heads. Then they're free to choose their own destiinies, for good or ill.

Beats annihilation.

Liberty's Edge

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FWIW, my homebrew (well, when I get to run it again) doesn't use alignments at all, except for clerics and paladins. Orcs are primitive, not evil, for the most part. They're still fodder for more "civilized" races bent on exploiting the mineral wealth found in orc lands, however.

Amazing thing, none of the Paizo people have ever knocked on my door with a "cease and desist" order for not writing my orcs up exactly as they're presented in the Bestiary.


Alright, since this thread has been warped into a serious discussion on orc morality, I'll see what I think here.

I think that, in Golarion, the setting benefits from monstrous monsters. Kobolds are sadistic and cowardly. Goblins are vicious and impulsive. Orcs are violent and dumb.

Now, if the GM feels like it, he can make some monsters nicer than others. Maybe there are some benign kobolds who look after their friends. Maybe there are some orcs who would stand up for a child, if it came down to it. But I feel that monsters are monsters, and even the nicest goblin might still take pleasure in the torture of, say, small animals.

Obviously, that's my opinion. Other settings, like Dragonlance and Eberron, resist such absolutes. Orcs might guard nature, draconians might just be Punch Clock Villains. And it all comes down to how a GM runs it.

But I think that Golarion is better with the 'racism'. So probably do the Paizo staff, given the books. If you don't want to run it that way, that's fine. But I'm not sure what we're accomplishing here.

/\ I've taken it upon myself to send a few kobolds down there to teach you a lesson. Be afraid.

Shadow Lodge

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
/\ I've taken it upon myself to send a few kobolds down there to teach you a lesson. Be afraid.

Afraid of what? Gaining a level?


James Jacobs wrote:
Draco Bahamut wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


If you're not playing in Golarion, then my arguments and opinions on orcs are pretty much irrelevant. It's only if you're using Golarion, or looking to modify Golarion, or want to build a world LIKE Golarion that my arguments matter... and even then, I present them as nothing more than my philosophies so that folks can see why things are the way they are in Golarion, and so that they can make informed decisions about any changes they might want to make.

My problem isn´t that orcs aren´t good guys or bad guys, my problem with Golarion orcs is that they are kind of bland. Goblins got a nice redesign, elfs and drows too, but the orcs of Golarion brought no deepth. Where are the great orc shamans traditions or war-machines ? Where are the great orc warlords that shove fear in the armies of Lastwall ? Ok, the orcs of golarion are bad guys, but they aren´t villains, they are just low level thugs. I guess that after Red Hand of Doom mister Jacobs has been saving the spot of the great adversaries of humanity for the hobgoblins when they make their appearance in Golarion, but if they don´t give us legendary orc heros, they could at least let some infamous orc really bad guys slip by so we could relate to them.

Please, more love to Belkzen, Orcs of Golarion wasn´t inspired enought.

Fair enough. It's certainly true that we haven't done much at all with orcs.

Yet.

That will change soon enough.

Great news!!!

HAIL TUROSH MAK!!!!!


James Jacobs wrote:

Fair enough. It's certainly true that we haven't done much at all with orcs.

Yet.

That will change soon enough.

Should I be excited, worried, or both?

Also, I asked my DM about playing an Orc in Golarion who had been converted by a Cleric of Sarenrae after he got kicked out from his tribe and was pretty much left for dead in the desert. Nothing like a good application of Sarenrae's "Redemption" portfolio and the Human Cleric invoking the "Good Samaritan" trope to make a good backstory for the Orc that actually makes sense and isn't the creation of a Driz'zt clone, since the Orc still has a tendency to go into a Rage at times, which is why I would take the Blood Vengeance feat and go for the approach "He might be Good, but he's clearly struggling with it".

Silver Crusade

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Set wrote:

Even more fanciful theories might include that the peaceful, simple and physically powerful orcs were originally used as slave-labor in the Darklands by a cruel dwarven empire, who regarded them as sub-human beasts. A great revolution by the oppressed orcish slaves led to the disintegration of the dwarven empire, and the orcs fled to the surface in the great 'Quest for Sky,' pursued by the vengeance obsessed remnants of the once-mighty dwarven empire. Even today, one can travel to the Darklands and see the dwarves who remained behind, gray-skinned dour slavers called the Duergar, who are the *true* face of dwarven kind, as cruel and heartless beings. Dwarves will deny it with red-faced bluster and threats of terrible violence, but the Duergar are their true face, and the surface dwarves are those who chased their former subject-race to the surface, in a genocidal campaign, only belatedly claiming to have 'quested for sky' when they discovered a rich surface world to begin to claim and settle for themselves.

This is frighteningly close to the "possible" history I was going to put into that fan project. :)

Spoiler:
Orcs were primitive but not generally malicious when the dwarves discovered them. Droskar-worshippin' dorfs made "adjustments" to the orcs to have themselves a slave race, led to the whole Torag/Droskar schism. Dwarves and Duergar cultures split, dwarves torn about what to do about the orcs since they're a symbol of shame upon their race, ugly war and Quest for Sky happened, and now the real history, if it's indeed real, has mostly been forgotten by orcs with too little known history to remember it and dwarves who have had the truth hidden for so long that it's been forgotten by all but a few who insist that the very idea is heretical.

Dwarves that come upon the knowledge balk at the idea that their own kind could have a hand in the creation of what the orcs became. Orcs that come across that knowledge balk at the notion that what they are, all the good and bad, is owed in part to the dwarves. And no one knows for certain if any of it is actually true or not.


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I personally have no problem casting orcs as "usually evil," but I agree it's absurd to assume that it is always the case. I generally portray their proclivity for evil alignments and their long-standing animosity against the other humanoid races as stemming from vastly different cultural values, ones that push most members of the race towards CE, but that allow for deviation. They're bad guys in my game, but I not "just monsters." I use Gorum's philosophy as a starting point, and then color it a shade or two darker. Orcs respect strength, and they relish battle. Those are the fundamentals that shape their society (in my own portrayal, at least). Despire their savage practices in war, though, they are separated from goblinoids in that they do have a clear sense of orcish honor, and understanding of respect for a worthy foe, and pride. Most orcs will not grant mercy, and they never expect it. They scoff at centralized authority, and will not bow to someone who has not displayed their strength personally. They also have a spiritual side, albeit a decidedly dark one. I've mostly been using the primitive humans from "The 13th Warrior" as the basis for them. Generally evil, but not unsympathetic.

Dark Archive

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If I really wanted to push in the other direction, I'd have orcs be the result (in Golarion) of a species being warped by the presence of Rovagug's prison deep within the planet. What we see today as 'orcs' are as to the original orcs pre-Rovagug's taint as the drow are to surface elves, twisted and cruel and tainted with the chaotic and evil energies of the Destroyer, whose dark and bloody and frustrated dreams have replaced their own, leaving them trapped in an endless state of hate and rage.

There would be a *reason* why orcs would be un-redeemable, if I wanted to go that route, not just because they have darker skin or they didn't invent steel, armor or firearms in time to stop more technologically advanced neighbors from taking their territories.

But the game has never really lacked for those sorts of figures. Meenlocks and Derro and Drow have traditionally been the corrupted and 'doesn't come back from that' races. Turning orcs into yet another version of the Derro doesn't really add much to the game, and takes away from makes those sorts of taint/corruption-based races especially creepy (even if, per Tolkien, the corrupted elves-become-orcs, is pretty much the root of that idea, but since orcs in D&D/PF aren't corrupted elves, that doesn't really apply here).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
JMD031 wrote:
If Orcs are not villians then their only niche they could fill is comedy relief which is by far a worse fate than being Evil. Just look at the kobold.
Absolute false dichotomy. There are plenty of serious directions one can take orcs that don't require them to be always-evil villains.

Really? Name 3 that aren't already taken up by some other race.


Grumash Boneboiler wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Also... orcs eat poop.
So do dinosaurs.

...and dogs

...and pigs
...and unattended 3 yr humans!


James Jacobs wrote:
Set wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

First point...

The word "orcish" doesn't exist in Pathfinder. The adjective form of "orc" is merely "orc."

So, you'd have an orc longsword, an orc bloodline, or problems with orc racism... but never an orcish longsword, an orcish bloodline, or problems with orcish racism. This isn't anti-orc propaganda, of course, but a style we chose for almost ALL of our races. "Ish" never gets added to any race in Pathfinder.

That's a useful style tip. I noticed in the Gnome book that 'gnomish' wasn't used, although the Dwarf and Elf books still used 'dwarven' and 'elven' instead of 'dwarf' or 'elf.'

Yup; dwarven and elven are pretty much the only exceptions to the rule that an adjective version of a race is the race's name.

awww c'mon. Can't you make an exception. I think the word Ork-kin would be a fine way to describe the half-orcs and anything orc related. I even filked a song borrowed from a commercial that ran a long time ago.

"Orc-kin were number 1, we get the job done were Orc-kin..Were number 1" I'm sure the pest control company won't mind me borrowing their tune.

I blame a certain forgotten realms ranger for this entire mess of bad guys being looked at as something other than cannon fodder or exp givers.
Certain races are evil by their make up and culture other wise where do the HEROES!! come in at. If all the green skins are singing com-by-ya and all the vampires are sparkly when they walk into the sunlight and all the dragons are wise sages of benevolence and salt water taffy where can heroes be heroes?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
I assume you never read the section of the Book of Exalted Deeds that spoke about mercy being a virtue?.

We can't use that value as it's protected IP. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
I assume you never read the section of the Book of Exalted Deeds that spoke about mercy being a virtue?

Since you mentioned going back to the traditions of orc usage in D&D, I did some hunting on the origin of the word itself.

The oldest usage I can find on a casual search, dates from the 18th century poetry of William Blake, as well as a book he published in 1793. I'll put the first passage of the article read the rest on the link : Orc (Blake)

Orc is a proper name for one of the characters in the complex mythology of William Blake. Unlike the medieval sea beast, or Tolkien's humanoid monster, his Orc is a positive figure, the embodiment of creative passion and energy, and stands opposed to Urizen, the embodiment of tradition.

In Blake's illuminated book America, a Prophecy, Orc is described by his mythic opponent 'Albion's Angel' as the 'Lover of Wild Rebellion, and transgressor of God's Law'. He symbolizes the spirit of rebellion and freedom, which provoked the French Revolution.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There's nothing more beautiful than the sound of orcish babies burned alive after you obliterate their village and chop their parents to pieces. Blowing up drow cities and decimating mind flayer colonies has nothing on that. The sound, the delicious crispy noise of burning flesh, that sweet tingling that your conscience has for 5 seconds before you remind yourself of how might makes right. Delicious.

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