If any fantasy race epitomizes battle fodder for the armies of darkness, it’s orcs. Most of you are probably picturing a mob of grotesquely savage humanoids with bulging muscles beneath their green, gray or black skin. Their weapons and armor are rough and jagged, reflective of their brutish warring civilation. They usually serve some non-orcish dark lord. They’re the fantasy foes we love to hate.
The orcs of the Impworld/Otherworld saga are in many ways reflections of the well-known tropes we’re used to. Orcs are one of the Elder races of Obsidius. The Elder races are separated into four distinct categories: Noble, Corrupted, Monstrous and Primal. In keeping with the early ideals of the Impworld game, each Elder sub-category was assigned a general alignment, spanning from Order to Change to Chaos.
Orcs are Corrupted Elders believed to have been corrupted from elves as battle fodder for the Balrog masters of the subterranean Netherworld. Though they have pointy ears like an elf, they tend to be stronger but less agile than elves. Elves resent the spoken acknowledgement that orcs are corrupted from their stock, especially since orcs have a porcine quality to their appearance.
In general, orcs are a savage but disciplined warrior race that attack in mobs. They tend to exist in warring tribal societies, typically in a walled encampment from which they dispatch raiding parties. For the most part, larger groups of orcs are only found under a (typically non-orcish) dark lord. The Orc Nation of Manitoba is the exception to this general rule, being a fiercely disciplined, autonomous military society. After the Forbidden Gates to the Netherworld were sealed at the end of the First Age, orcs abandoned on the surface were left to fend for themselves. The kingdom of Manitoba on the continent of Wanjur organized early under various dictators, until the tribes in the area were united under the banner of the Four Brothers, orc generals who had grown tired of spilling orc blood serving the interests of others. They overthrew their masters and established the Proud Land of Manitoba as the Orc Nation. They developed a male-dominated militaristic society whose peoples live by a strict code of honor. Manitoba remained unapproachable throughout the Second Age simply because, even unmanned, its defenses were impenetrable.
The Rise of Dominus in the Third Age caused a shift in power, most notably in the formation of the Knight Legions with the backing of the Magus Council. This super army was able to threaten the Proud Land, making alliances with nearby goblin and minotaur kingdoms and with the Shadow Council, an alliance of Corrupted Elder and demihuman species intent on the demise of the Noble Elder races (human, elf and dwarf).
As of the events in Luckbane, the orcs of Manitoba are no more. Impossibly, the Firelord, last of the Dark Lords and truest enemy of Obsidius, destroyed the Proud Land in one fell stroke, leaving them like ants swarming over a ruined anthill. The neighboring kingdoms of Wanjur, particularly in the southern peninsula known as the Dragon’s Tail, have found themselves overrun with orc refugees. Even so, at least one orc general has positioned himself for revenge against the Firelord. General Amadeus Warscream will brave the Accursed City of Eternal Night itself if it means a chance at repaying the Firelord for his unprovoked attack. His armies grow daily as outraged orcs learn of his vendetta and make the trek to Mot Hadrall to rally under the banner of the Retribution. The dangers of Mot Hadrall serve as a vetting mechanism, weeding out those without the resolve or skill to serve under him.
Meanwhile, you will find not a single orc serving under the banner of the Firelord. If you think you’ve met one, be sure that it is a trick!
Look for General Warscream and the Retribution in Soulbright, the soon-to-be-published sequel to Luckbane.