Orcs for CRB


Prerelease Discussion

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Zaister wrote:
I have looked, believe me. Orcs can't take half-orcs feats, no, but half-orcs can take orc feats. I believe, for now, this simply is structured like that, so symmetry exists for the half-elf version. I don't believe they are currently anticipating orcs as a PC race.

That seems like a very odd prediction, given they were a PC race in PF1. (Albeit one you couldn't play in all games.) They clearly seem to be leaving the door open for printing an orc ancestry, especially given the tone of the post with "here's all the things we can do moving forward."

What evidence do you have that Paizo thinks they won't ever make an orc race?


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
The most relevant statistical data on races actually played puts Goblins way ahead of Orcs.
Nobody here, in this thread, is currently suggesting Orcs instead of Goblins. We are suggesting having both.

Can I be the first then? >:D

Because honestly, I'd vastly prefer to see Orcs rather than Goblins in the CRB. Orcs have a connection to core (half-orcs) and including them seems natural to help define what a half-orc is. Not to mention that they're already going to be printing Orc ancestry feats that half-orcs can take, so why not just go all the way and include them?

Goblins on the other hand are psychotic miscreants who won't be allowed in my home games. I know they're popular, but outside of goblin-only campaigns they don't really make much sense in the standard adventuring party.

Liberty's Edge

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Gorbacz wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
The most relevant statistical data on races actually played puts Goblins way ahead of Orcs.
Nobody here, in this thread, is currently suggesting Orcs instead of Goblins. We are suggesting having both.
Oh, I totally see that, but then we need at very least Kitsune, Kobolds, Catfolk, and Drow in as well. But not Tengu. Screw those dirty thieves.

IMO, the main criteria for including something like an Ancestry in the core rulebook is 'Will someone who has never played D&D or Pathfinder know what this is?' It makes things work much better for new players that way.

The answer in regards to Orcs (and Goblins) is 'Yes', and for those other is 'No'.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
The most relevant statistical data on races actually played puts Goblins way ahead of Orcs.
Nobody here, in this thread, is currently suggesting Orcs instead of Goblins. We are suggesting having both.
Oh, I totally see that, but then we need at very least Kitsune, Kobolds, Catfolk, and Drow in as well. But not Tengu. Screw those dirty thieves.

IMO, the main criteria for including something like an Ancestry in the core rulebook is 'Will someone who has never played D&D or Pathfinder know what this is?' It makes things work much better for new players that way.

The answer in regards to Orcs (and Goblins) is 'Yes', and for those other is 'No'.

Depends on if they like anime :D


Strangely enough, I'm more in favor for Orcs in CRB than Goblins. That may be because we have half-orcs since times immemorial.


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Gorbacz wrote:
The most relevant statistical data on races actually played puts Goblins way ahead of Orcs.

The delta between Goblins and Orcs is only of -0.5%, so it's so ridiculous that it shouldn't be used to draw any conclusion. Also, this argument doesn't work when you see that Tieflings have a +3.9% delta and aren't core =P

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Glad to see so many people agree >:>

I know it's likely they'll just be put in the bestiary, but... Orcs are a surprisingly popular race, especially for fans of the bruthish klingon archetype of character. Sometimes, playing a Half Orc like that feels... somehow discriminatory? Like "yeah he's a guy raised in human society probably but he's green so he's DEFINITELY in touch with his roots", which is aaaaall kinds of wildly fantasy racist. It'd also help correct the whole evil race narrative that's been mentioned earlier in the thread- in a way that's far more fluid than those good ol' Goblins. Places like Ustalav, Numeria, etc- they can all easily have Orcs as PCs, and it allows for some very fun roleplay situations! Also, about the statistic of "orcs are played less than goblins in 1e"- orcs in 1e are mechanically... not very /easy/ to play with that hefty mental stat drop, so... oomph!

For the minute, let's keep making some noise and hope staff notices- and continue doing so til we get what we want! We're holding you hostage, Paizo! Write up those orcs for us, or your fiance who's tied to the railway tracks GETS it!


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I want orcs in there for plurality, and also because I don't see the need for evil alignments to exist if no playable races are evil. May as well call the game Herofinder and go all-in on the goody-two-shoes type of games.

I jest, but I do like the ideas of having more alignment diverse ancestries.

I do believe that orcs are just as recognizable as elves, goblins, or dwarves. And they basically already half-exist as a race anyway thanks to half-orcs needing orc racial options to take.


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I would be fine with Orcs as a core option, they are a core option in my setting. But I think the recontextualization and cultural shift needed to justify "Heroic Orcs" in large numbers on Golarion is a significantly larger than the similar change needed to justify large numbers of heroic goblins (which some people seem to chafe at.)

Like Golarion should already have a bunch of different Orc groups who are good neighbors to non-orcs before we could consider this.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would be fine with Orcs as a core option, they are a core option in my setting. But I think the recontextualization and cultural shift needed to justify "Heroic Orcs" in large numbers on Golarion is a significantly larger than the similar change needed to justify large numbers of heroic goblins (which some people seem to chafe at.)

We actually have more examples of Good or Neutral Orcs than we do of Goblins at the moment.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like Golarion should already have a bunch of different Orc groups who are good neighbors to non-orcs before we could consider this.

The Orcs in the Mwangi Expanse are exactly this. They're good neighbors with the local human tribes. That's only one geographical region, sure, but so is the Hold of Belkzen, home of the more unpleasant Orcs.


In Golarion, as I understand it, Orcs have the goblin "town guards attack on sight" problem times ten, since goblins are already sometimes tolerated on the margins of society as annoying but not really a threat, whereas a heavily armed orc absolutely is a threat until his or her intentions can be determined.


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Isn't there a country of human demon worshippers on Golarion. Are humans from there attacked on sight?


Kaer Maga may not be the best example, but it's one of my favourite cities nonetheless. In it there is a district filled with a haphazardly built goblin community of walkways and stacked houses. Orcs from Belkzen meanwhile regularly visit to conduct trade, particularly of slaves they've captured.

Of course this is also the city where you can pay a troll to tell your future by ripping its own entrails out and reading the signs, so your mileage may vary for the rest of the known world.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
In Golarion, as I understand it, Orcs have the goblin "town guards attack on sight" problem times ten, since goblins are already sometimes tolerated on the margins of society as annoying but not really a threat, whereas a heavily armed orc absolutely is a threat until his or her intentions can be determined.

This is pretty true around Belkzen (though less so elsewhere, especially since it's often visually hard to distinguish Orcs and Half Orcs). But very susceptible to change given the apparent return of The Whispering Tyrant. I mean, his return is inevitably gonna have huge effects on the whole area and could bring humans and orcs together to oppose him.

That doesn't necessarily make them less Evil, but it does mean everyone has to start playing a bit more nicely together.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
But very susceptible to change given the apparent return of The Whispering Tyrant. I mean, his return is inevitably gonna have huge effects on the whole area and could bring humans and orcs together to oppose him.

I've been away from PF for a while, so I hadn't heard that The WT is returning. Where was that discussed?

On-Topic: I think it would be awesome to have orcs in the CRB. Entire races of evil entities is a pretty outdated and problematic concept. Let it die a quick and quiet death. I don't even think there's a need to explain it in-setting. Hard retcon.

If page count is a concern, I'm even fine with them being included in the Bestiary as an Ancestry. Not ideal, since Bestiary races have historically received less attention, but still workable.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
since it's often visually hard to distinguish Orcs and Half Orcs

AFAIK, every distinct species is identifiable by knowledge checks. That applies to Orcs and Half-Orcs as distinct species/races/etc. Only specific abilities (like Halfling option to appear like human child) alter this. AFAIK there is no such standard conflation of Orcs and Half-Orcs (although latter have option to appear fully human, the norm is appearing distinctively Half-Orc).

Shadow Lodge

Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would be fine with Orcs as a core option, they are a core option in my setting. But I think the recontextualization and cultural shift needed to justify "Heroic Orcs" in large numbers on Golarion is a significantly larger than the similar change needed to justify large numbers of heroic goblins (which some people seem to chafe at.)

We actually have more examples of Good or Neutral Orcs than we do of Goblins at the moment.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like Golarion should already have a bunch of different Orc groups who are good neighbors to non-orcs before we could consider this.
The Orcs in the Mwangi Expanse are exactly this. They're good neighbors with the local human tribes. That's only one geographical region, sure, but so is the Hold of Belkzen, home of the more unpleasant Orcs.

Whereas goblins are regarded as a nuisance virtually everywhere.

Liberty's Edge

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Saedar wrote:
I've been away from PF for a while, so I hadn't heard that The WT is returning. Where was that discussed?

The final PF1 AP (after Return of the Runelords) features him coming back. It's been implied that the PCs won't stop this (though I'm sure they'll ameliorate it somewhat), as they've noted that part of the reason for this is to make a new threat to compensate for the closing of the Worldwound.

Saedar wrote:
On-Topic: I think it would be awesome to have orcs in the CRB. Entire races of evil entities is a pretty outdated and problematic concept. Let it die a quick and quiet death. I don't even think there's a need to explain it in-setting. Hard retcon.

It's pretty easily explained in-setting, and they were hardly all Evil before (even in Belkzen there's a CG Warpriest of Sarenrae leading a tribe). That being the case, I prefer an in-setting explanation.

Saedar wrote:
If page count is a concern, I'm even fine with them being included in the Bestiary as an Ancestry. Not ideal, since Bestiary races have historically received less attention, but still workable.

Well, their Ancestry Feats are gonna eat up some page count anyway due to Half Orcs getting them, and an Ancestry appears to take two whole pages or so.

I think they can put them in if they feel like it.

Quandary wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
since it's often visually hard to distinguish Orcs and Half Orcs
AFAIK, every distinct species is identifiable by knowledge checks. That applies to Orcs and Half-Orcs as distinct species/races/etc. Only specific abilities (like Halfling option to appear like human child) alter this. AFAIK there is no such standard conflation of Orcs and Half-Orcs (although latter have option to appear fully human, the norm is appearing distinctively Half-Orc).

Mechanically, this is true. It has nevertheless been repeatedly stated in setting materials that people often mistake Half Orcs for Orcs, especially in places where there aren't many Orcs.

This is what I was referring to.


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Belkzen orcs are evil not because they're orcs but because for the most part they revere Rovagug as the state religion, and presumably those opposed to that culture either escape or (more likely) are culled. Orcs outside of that culture such as the ones in the Mwangi Expanse are not necessarily evil; essentially, saying orcs are generally chaotic evil because of Belkzen is the same as saying humans are generally lawful evil because of Nidal.

Liberty's Edge

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Belkzen orcs are evil not because they're orcs but because for the most part they revere Rovagug as the state religion, and presumably those opposed to that culture either escape or (more likely) are culled. Orcs outside of that culture such as the ones in the Mwangi Expanse are not necessarily evil; essentially, saying orcs are generally chaotic evil because of Belkzen is the same as saying humans are generally lawful evil because of Nidal.

This is pretty much true.

The big difference in terms of presentation is that there are lots of humans outside of Nidal, while there are not a lot of Orcs in most places outside Belkzen, and the one exception we know of (those in the Mwangi Expanse) have had basically no text talking about them at any point aside from a single mention in Bastards of Golarion.

The latter seems very fixable.


Charon Onozuka wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
The most relevant statistical data on races actually played puts Goblins way ahead of Orcs.
Nobody here, in this thread, is currently suggesting Orcs instead of Goblins. We are suggesting having both.

Can I be the first then? >:D

Because honestly, I'd vastly prefer to see Orcs rather than Goblins in the CRB. Orcs have a connection to core (half-orcs) and including them seems natural to help define what a half-orc is. Not to mention that they're already going to be printing Orc ancestry feats that half-orcs can take, so why not just go all the way and include them?

Goblins on the other hand are psychotic miscreants who won't be allowed in my home games. I know they're popular, but outside of goblin-only campaigns they don't really make much sense in the standard adventuring party.

Make these my words too!

Dark Archive

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When considering classic literature like Lord of the Rings or going back to D&D 1st Edition, the basic races are:

-Humans
-Dwarves/Gnomes
-Halflings/Hobbits
-Elves
-Orcs/Goblins

-Half-elves
-Half-orcs

There are a few others, but these are the most common.

So, orcs in PF 2.0 core? Yes, please.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would be fine with Orcs as a core option, they are a core option in my setting. But I think the recontextualization and cultural shift needed to justify "Heroic Orcs" in large numbers on Golarion is a significantly larger than the similar change needed to justify large numbers of heroic goblins (which some people seem to chafe at.)

Like Golarion should already have a bunch of different Orc groups who are good neighbors to non-orcs before we could consider this.

You don't need them to be good for them to be a playable option, not every character has to be heroic.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Biztak wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would be fine with Orcs as a core option, they are a core option in my setting. But I think the recontextualization and cultural shift needed to justify "Heroic Orcs" in large numbers on Golarion is a significantly larger than the similar change needed to justify large numbers of heroic goblins (which some people seem to chafe at.)

Like Golarion should already have a bunch of different Orc groups who are good neighbors to non-orcs before we could consider this.

You don't need them to be good for them to be a playable option, not every character has to be heroic.

Most PCs are Good. No reason that Orc PCs would be an exception to this


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"Most PCs are good" sounds fake to me. Good and Neutral seem to be mixed pretty readily, and a lot of ostensibly "Good" PC's are... not.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
a lot of ostensibly "Good" PC's are... not.

This is definitely true, and a lot of neutral PCs are also... not.

That said, I'm not entirely sure we are on topic here.


With Goblins in Core, there really is zero basis for Orcs NOT being core. Of course, that also means there is zero basis for Kobolds to not be Core as well. Including these would represent pretty much every 'populous' race on Golarion.

Liberty's Edge

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The Raven Black wrote:
Most PCs are Good. No reason that Orc PCs would be an exception to this

I'm not sure this is true. Few are Evil, and I agree Orc PCs wouldn't be any more Evil than the rest, but quite a few are Neutral as well.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Although I wonder if all (non-human) ancestries are going to use the +2 to one physical, one mental and -2 to one stat formula.

The system is strongly predicated on the stat mods for Ancestries being +,+,-, and then a floating +. I'd bet good money that won't change, pretty much ever.

The one physical/one mental thing, though, that might be more variable. I could easily see Hobgoblins as +Dex, +Con, and then maybe -Wis, for example.

I see Hobs as CON+2, CHA+2, WIS-2 -- the same way I see Humans.


avatarless wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Although I wonder if all (non-human) ancestries are going to use the +2 to one physical, one mental and -2 to one stat formula.

The system is strongly predicated on the stat mods for Ancestries being +,+,-, and then a floating +. I'd bet good money that won't change, pretty much ever.

The one physical/one mental thing, though, that might be more variable. I could easily see Hobgoblins as +Dex, +Con, and then maybe -Wis, for example.

I see Hobs as CON+2, CHA+2, WIS-2 -- the same way I see Humans.

Admittedly, I see hob's as a heritage option on the Goblin.. ;-)

Dark Archive

Funny thing about "Not lot of orcs outside of Belkzen" is that there are a LOT of half orcs outside of Belkzen, in every single Inner Sea nation.

There is something wrong with the setting if that is the case :D


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Arachnofiend wrote:
"Most PCs are good" sounds fake to me. Good and Neutral seem to be mixed pretty readily, and a lot of ostensibly "Good" PC's are... not.

That's even more true when many scenarios for "Good" PCs tend to ask those PCs to kill living creatures on sight without second thoughts instead of capturing them and throwing them to jail...


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CraziFuzzy wrote:
avatarless wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Although I wonder if all (non-human) ancestries are going to use the +2 to one physical, one mental and -2 to one stat formula.

The system is strongly predicated on the stat mods for Ancestries being +,+,-, and then a floating +. I'd bet good money that won't change, pretty much ever.

The one physical/one mental thing, though, that might be more variable. I could easily see Hobgoblins as +Dex, +Con, and then maybe -Wis, for example.

I see Hobs as CON+2, CHA+2, WIS-2 -- the same way I see Humans.
Admittedly, I see hob's as a heritage option on the Goblin.. ;-)

Eh. Hobgoblins are very different from goblins. Way more different than half-orcs are to either parent race. Do we even have confirmation they can breed with each other? I feel like I've seen it as a rumor about an NPC or two but never seen it confirmed.


Captain Morgan wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
avatarless wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Although I wonder if all (non-human) ancestries are going to use the +2 to one physical, one mental and -2 to one stat formula.

The system is strongly predicated on the stat mods for Ancestries being +,+,-, and then a floating +. I'd bet good money that won't change, pretty much ever.

The one physical/one mental thing, though, that might be more variable. I could easily see Hobgoblins as +Dex, +Con, and then maybe -Wis, for example.

I see Hobs as CON+2, CHA+2, WIS-2 -- the same way I see Humans.
Admittedly, I see hob's as a heritage option on the Goblin.. ;-)
Eh. Hobgoblins are very different from goblins. Way more different than half-orcs are to either parent race. Do we even have confirmation they can breed with each other? I feel like I've seen it as a rumor about an NPC or two but never seen it confirmed.

The heritage "half-race" mechanic need not be devoted to true half-breeds, but could be used for any sort of 'subrace' type options. I envision Drow, Duergar and Svirfneblin also being heritages - no reason Hobgoblin needs to be a separate race - if Goblins are going to take up page counts, might as well use them for more than annoying marketing ploys.


CraziFuzzy wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
avatarless wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Although I wonder if all (non-human) ancestries are going to use the +2 to one physical, one mental and -2 to one stat formula.

The system is strongly predicated on the stat mods for Ancestries being +,+,-, and then a floating +. I'd bet good money that won't change, pretty much ever.

The one physical/one mental thing, though, that might be more variable. I could easily see Hobgoblins as +Dex, +Con, and then maybe -Wis, for example.

I see Hobs as CON+2, CHA+2, WIS-2 -- the same way I see Humans.
Admittedly, I see hob's as a heritage option on the Goblin.. ;-)
Eh. Hobgoblins are very different from goblins. Way more different than half-orcs are to either parent race. Do we even have confirmation they can breed with each other? I feel like I've seen it as a rumor about an NPC or two but never seen it confirmed.
The heritage "half-race" mechanic need to be devoted to true half-breeds, but could be used for any sort of 'subrace' type options. I envision Drow, Duergar and Svirfneblin also being heritages - no reason Hobgoblin needs to be a separate race - if Goblins are going to take up page counts, might as well use them for more than annoying marketing ploys.

I agree with the other examples you listed, I'm just not sure hobgoblins are actually a sub-race of goblins. They aren't even the same size or proportions, and goblin ability scores make no sense on a hobgoblin.

I mean, you might as well have a bug bear as a heritage feat at that point. Or make troglodyte a heritage feat for lizardfolk, I dunno.

Liberty's Edge

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CorvusMask wrote:

Funny thing about "Not lot of orcs outside of Belkzen" is that there are a LOT of half orcs outside of Belkzen, in every single Inner Sea nation.

There is something wrong with the setting if that is the case :D

No there isn't. As I've mentioned elsewhere Inner Sea Races rather explicitly notes that Half Orcs are mostly born to other Half Orcs at this point. They were originally bred by the Orcs as a servant class when the Orcs had an empire, and have spread out and perpetuated since then.

Also, Half Orcs are actually somewhat rare most places. They're more common in the areas surrounding the Hold of Belkzen and the Mwangi Expanse, as makes sense, but relatively rare in places further afield.

Dark Archive

Well that then weirds me out why there is specific half orc heritage for Garund/Qadira then <_<

Anyhoo, if half orcs are actually rare though, that just makes it more questionable why they are core race in favor of something more common besides tradition

Liberty's Edge

CorvusMask wrote:
Well that then weirds me out why there is specific half orc heritage for Garund/Qadira then <_<

Looking at the map in Bastards of Golarion (which shows where Orcs can be found), I was slightly off. The Garundi Orc territories extend north a fair bit into the desert from the Mwangi Expanse (into Thuvia, Rahadoum, and a little into Osirion). That's where you get the desert Half Orcs (like the Mwangi Orcs, those Orcs in northern Garund also seem friendlier, which makes sense as it's a contiguous region).

There also seem to be a fair number in Isger and a small area of Orcs just north of Kyonin in the River Kingdoms. So I was slightly exaggerating their rarity.

There aren't many in Qadira though.

CorvusMask wrote:
Anyhoo, if half orcs are actually rare though, that just makes it more questionable why they are core race in favor of something more common besides tradition

Basically? Other groups are even rarer.


Rarer in polite society. Orcs and goblins are plentiful. Hobgoblins are apparently really fecund too but their militaristic discipline seems to make them dangerous enough for folks to try and actively exterminate them or at least clamp down on the population.


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Marco Massoudi wrote:

When considering classic literature like Lord of the Rings or going back to D&D 1st Edition, the basic races are:

-Humans
-Dwarves/Gnomes
-Halflings/Hobbits
-Elves
-Orcs/Goblins

-Half-elves
-Half-orcs

Orcs and Goblins have never been basic/classic D&D races, the others, yes.


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I vote Kobolds.


Definitely NOT a certain Kobold wrote:
I vote Kobolds.

Even the smorfy kind?


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Barathos wrote:
Definitely NOT a certain Kobold wrote:
I vote Kobolds.
Even the smorey kind?

No none of those


Barathos wrote:
Definitely NOT a certain Kobold wrote:
I vote Kobolds.
Even the smorfy kind?

I am going to stat up some Smurfs for PF2 next month, but Smurfette is a construct, right?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

When considering classic literature like Lord of the Rings or going back to D&D 1st Edition, the basic races are:

-Humans
-Dwarves/Gnomes
-Halflings/Hobbits
-Elves
-Orcs/Goblins

-Half-elves
-Half-orcs

There are a few others, but these are the most common.

So, orcs in PF 2.0 core? Yes, please.

Half-elves in Tolkien were only a few individuals IIRC. Hardly sufficient to be called a race


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The Raven Black wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

When considering classic literature like Lord of the Rings or going back to D&D 1st Edition, the basic races are:

-Humans
-Dwarves/Gnomes
-Halflings/Hobbits
-Elves
-Orcs/Goblins

-Half-elves
-Half-orcs

There are a few others, but these are the most common.

So, orcs in PF 2.0 core? Yes, please.

Half-elves in Tolkien were only a few individuals IIRC. Hardly sufficient to be called a race

In Norse mythology there was a single half-elf. Again hardly a race.


The Raven Black wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

When considering classic literature like Lord of the Rings or going back to D&D 1st Edition, the basic races are:

-Humans
-Dwarves/Gnomes
-Halflings/Hobbits
-Elves
-Orcs/Goblins

-Half-elves
-Half-orcs

There are a few others, but these are the most common.

So, orcs in PF 2.0 core? Yes, please.

Half-elves in Tolkien were only a few individuals IIRC. Hardly sufficient to be called a race

Yeah, Elros, Elrond and his two kids, Elladan and Elrohir, and that's about it. Though there were some others in the past, adding to Aragorn's heritage, etc.

Also, gnomes are not in Middle-Earth, though, technically, Tolkien referred to the Noldor elves as Gnomes, in his original drafts.

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