Magic and Religion

Religion is a significant part of Orc culture, as it reflects the Orcs’ belief in the natural order of things. Their religious views are an extension of their society, and their gods are merely infinitely powerful divine bullies, worshipped not out of awe or veneration but out of fear and respect for their power. Most religious rituals are intended to appease the gods and turn away their anger, and to serve them as Orcs themselves wish to be served. It also means that for a god to gain followers among the Orcs, his shamans must be able to show a direct and tangible benefit on the battlefield (or else simply be so physically imposing that they can kill all naysayers themselves).


To Orcs, the world is a cruel and merciless place, and thus they tend to be intensely superstitious, as they lack the wit or patience for any sort of philosophy other than their own.

To an Orc, every misfortune is a direct attack, either by enemies casting curses or plotting against them, or by supernatural forces like demons, spirits, or gods who have it in for them. Succumbing to such misfortune is a sign of weakness. Therefore, Orcs believe in all manner of superstitions, omens, and charms intended to ward off ill will and strengthen their defenses. When dealing with the cruel whims of fate, they prefer to be forewarned and well armed, rather than unarmed and helpless.


Few Orcs have the patience or mental acuity for diligent study, so Orc wizards are rare in the extreme. Most arcane magic in Orc society thus comes from those blessed with innate magical powers from birth.

Orc sorcerers frequently display the abyssal bloodline, with a lesser percentage manifesting the elemental (fire) bloodline. A rare few (both Orc and half-Orc) can trace their bloodlines back to legendary tribal chieftains and warlords who once raged across Avistan in orgies of blood, fire, and destruction. These powerful sorcerers often possess the Orc bloodline, and frequently rise to become warlords and chieftains in their own right. Typically, though, Orcs make little distinction between the divine magic of shamans and the arcane magic of other spellcasters. Yet while shamans enforce their might not just with their personal powers but with the implied—and often violently demonstrated—divine might of the deities they serve, arcane magic-users typically present far less intimidating figures and don’t rely upon otherworldly allies. Thus, when confronted by a savage priest bedecked in the trappings of a violent cult and a frail sorcerer, albeit one with considerable destructive might, Orcs prove far more willing to serve the emissary of a bloodthirsty deity.

This pattern leads to a blurring of shamanistic and sorcerous traditions in many Orc cultures, wherein arcane magic-users couch their magic in divine trappings. Although few Orcs can distinguish arcane magic from divine, cagey Orc spellcasters know their positions, and thus their survival, depend as much, if not more, on the impressions of the rest of the tribe than the actual source of their magic.

The Orc Sorcerous Bloodline

The rage of your ancestors burns within you, and the taint of savage Orc blood flows through your veins. Your anger is never far from the surface, giving you strength and driving you to seek greater power.

Class Skill: Survival.
Bonus Spells: burning hands (3rd), bull’s strength (5th), rage (7th), wall of fire (9th), cloudkill (11th), transformation (13th), delayed blast fireball (15th), iron body (17th), meteor swarm (19th).
Bonus Feats: Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Intimidating Prowess, Improved Overrun, Power Attack, Toughness, Widen Spell.
Bloodline Arcana: You gain the orc subtype, including darkvision 60 feet and light sensitivity. If you already have darkvision, its range increases to 90 feet. Whenever you cast a spell that deals damage, that spell deals +1 point of damage per die rolled.
Bloodline Powers: You are heir to the bestial power of the great orc warlords of the past. You feel their rage in your blood, and must take care lest the urge to despoil and destroy consumes you.
Touch of Rage (Sp): At 1st level, you can touch a creature as a standard action, giving it a morale bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, and Will saving throws equal to 1/2 your sorcerer level (minimum 1) for 1 round. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.
Fearless (Ex): At 3rd level, you gain a +4 bonus on saving throws made against fear and a +1 natural armor bonus. At 9th level, you lose your light sensitivity, gain immunity to fear, and your natural armor bonus increases to +2.
Strength of the Beast (Ex): At 9th level, you gain a +2 inherent bonus to your Strength. This bonus increases to +4 at 13th level, and to +6 at 17th level.
Power of Giants (Sp): At 15th level, you may grow to Large size as a standard action. At this size you gain a +6 size bonus to Strength, a –2 penalty to Dexterity, a +4 size bonus to Constitution, and a +4 natural armor bonus. You may return to your normal size as a standard action. You may remain in this size for up to 1 minute per character level per day; this duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be used in 1 minute increments.
Warlord Reborn (Su): At 20th level, you become a true orc warlord of legend. You gain immunity to fire and DR 5/—. Once per day, you can cast transformation as a spell-like ability using your sorcerer level as your caster level.

Magic and Religion

Orks of the Frozen North JosephGargiulo