Orks of the Frozen North
Orc Player Classes
Orcs have a long oral history, and many are their tales of great heroes (though what they consider heroic often varies greatly from other races’ interpretations). While practically every Orc hero fulfills the necessary criteria of incredible violence, strength, and mercilessness, not all Orc heroes are warriors, and particularly in the legends told by females, Orcs that show great cunning are celebrated. What follows are the typical Orc attitudes to the most common adventuring classes.
Alchemist: While orcs admire explosions of any kind, they struggle to understand the need to study and the patience required to ferment and brew alchemical magic. Still, orc warlords often see the benefit of harboring an alchemist follower, provided the alchemist can carry out his work while a host of eager sightseers stand by, hoping to witness an unplanned explosion.
Barbarian: Orc Barbarians are respected and admired, particularly for their rage ability, which is greatly envied by rank-and-file Orcs. Often such Orcs earn nicknames or titles of respect based upon their individual prowess and encounters. The Barbarian is Orcs’ favorite character class, and the wilder the rage, the greater the respect. Many Orc barbarian heroes enter combat naked, considering the blood of their many enemies the only armor they need.
Bard: Orc bards concentrate upon songs of war and brutality, and gruesome tales filled with gory detail and graphic descriptions of wounds and suffering. An Orc who can tell a good tale of a Dwarven death is always welcome at any fireside or corpse-strewn feasting table, and one whose songs and tales rouse courage in battle is even more admired. Orc standard-bearers are often bards, and as such provide the focus for Orc courage.
Cavalier: Among mounted Orc tribes, cavaliers are seen as elite troops, and their fury and foolhardiness is legendary. While Orcs struggle with the concept of order generally, they admire courage in battle and respect those whose commands regularly win the day. Like bards, cavaliers are often given the honor of holding a tribe’s standard in battle, and are thus much admired. Orc cavaliers do not stop at riding horses, worgs, and dire boars, into combat, either, and some Orc cavaliers take great pride in mounting a ferocious array of dangerous (and generally uncooperative) mounts into battle.
Cleric: Many Orcs fear the priesthood, and few survive the rigid discipline necessary to rise as an Orc shaman. Orc clerics inspire terror and admiration in equal measure, and often take up advisory roles at the side of powerful chieftains to further their god’s ends. These clerics understand that only frequent displays of force can help them maintain their positions of power and influence, and hence regularly match bursts of showy spellcasting with insane acts of physical violence.
Druid: Orcs struggle with the traditional human concept of druids, who revere nature above all things, and instead see druids as beings capable of harnessing and embodying the tempestuous and terrifying power of the natural world. Those druids who are most honored tend to race into battle summoning great storms, flames, and angry lightning to do their bidding.
Fighter: The mainstay of orc life, the fighter is the backbone of orc society. Orc males are ruled by strength, and the fighter is easily the most profligate of classed orcs save for the barbarian. Subtler than their enraged cousins, fighters gain slightly less glory than barbarians, but are often more useful to a warlord, with their more flexible combat skills.
Inquisitor: Orcs fear inquisitors of their own gods even more than other races do. An orc inquisitor generally has carte blanche to do what he will without interference from chieftains or other leaders, and as such their methods are greatly feared. Infamous orc inquisitions are spoken of in hushed words, and members of tribes where inquisitors are working often turn on each other in a desperate attempt to unmask the unfaithful, whoever they might be.
Monk: Orc monks are rare, and their applied skill and subtlety in combat is rarely taught. Orcs therefore tend to find it easier to ignore monk orcs than to try to understand them. Unarmed combat is seen as an inferior method of fighting that results in less gore, blood, and easily identifiable wounds than the same fight involving a greatsword or meat cleaver.
Oracle: Orcs are by nature superstitious, and anyone who is granted visions and omens that aid them is seen as a boon. Oracles are treated as figures of both fear and respect, and crossing one is considered very bad luck. Oracles’ use of mysteries makes them an enigma to orcs, and what orcs cannot understand, they either fear or destroy; which happens to a given oracle depends entirely on the individual’s ability to defend against such violence. Paladin: Almost unheard of,
Orc Paladins are a stain upon orc history, and many orc tribes violently deny any orc paladins exist. Whenever orc paladins are mentioned by the fireside, it is as figures of madness and fun; fools who have strayed from their true nature and gone native with men and elves. Antipaladins, of course, share much the same role as inquisitors.
Ranger: Popularly depicted as hunters, poachers, and stalkers, orc rangers are respected as canny masters of the wild hunt. They work as spies and runners, scouts and hunters for many tribes, but such is their esteem that they can easily be the focus of envy within a tribe. Rangers who have animal companions are even more feared, provided the beasts prove capable of killing for their masters.
Rogue: The art of thievery is generally frowned upon as somehow cowardly—after all, a real orc warrior would just kill his victim and take what he wanted—but some orc rogues are told of in tales. These rogues tend to be overtly violent, but in a sneaky way; slaying scores from the cover of darkness, or poisoning villages and then burning them. Orc rogues operate at the edges of battle, their skills often overlooked by their more overtly violent bretheren who wade into combat without subtlety.
Sorcerer: Orc sorcerers frequently become witch doctors, strange mystics only barely understood by their fellows, but feared and respected for their abilities in combat—especially those who utilize explosive evocation spells or other flashy combat tactics.
Summoner: While welcomed for their ability to summon creatures to help in fighting, summoners’ strange association with dark, ever-evolving eidolons makes them orcs to be feared. Some tribes treat the eidolons as heralds of their dark gods. In such tribes, summoners are greatly respected and revered, and their eidolons are taken as fiendish mascots and employed in battle regularly for the glory and terror they bring.
Witch: Orc witches—particularly females—are either open about their powers and confident in their ability to protect themselves, or else hide their abilities for fear of being killed (either by superstitious kin or the tribe’s jealous shamans and witch doctors). Male orc witches often become witch doctors in the same fashion as sorcerers. Orc females, on the other hand, are sometimes drawn into secret covens that are greatly feared by males, who generally only find out about the mysterious sisterhoods once the coven is powerful enough to challenge the shamans and witch doctors for recognition within the tribe. Where female covens are more open, males broodingly hate the females, but still fear and respect them.
Wizard: Orc wizards are extreme anomalies. Magical study is something no ordinary orc has access to or is encouraged in, and any orc caught reading would almost certainly face the immediate derision of his kin unless he could defend himself quickly and violently. Orcs tend to do two things with books: either burn them, or use them to start fires which they can then burn other things with, and the thought that they may be of other uses never crosses the average orc’s mind. Orc wizards therefore tend to hide their skills and magical tomes when operating within a tribe, and most quickly strike off on their own to pursue their studies independently.