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The Orc is one of a race of creatures, accounts of whose existence is first detailed in English literary fiction. Specifically, the most famous and popular portrayal of Orcs is featured in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
Prior to the publication of this 1954 novel, the use of the name "Orc" in the mortal world was reserved for a breed of sea monster related to the Killer Whale (Orca) species.
As for the origin of the race itself, some believe Orcs may have been purposely created by some long forgotten race; others have drawn connections between Orcs and the name of "Orcus", an Etruscan/Roman god of the underworld known to eat human flesh.
Orcs themselves state that their kind have always roved the world, in their warring tribes, for as long as humankind, if not longer.
Orcs have skin that trends toward shades of green or gray, though occasionally brown or pitch-black skin tones do occur.
The body of an Orc is strong and broad, often athletic and fit. Body types for Orcs include some thinner physiques, but overwhelmingly, they trend toward muscular, husky or heavyset frames.
Hair color of an Orc tends to be dark, while the texture tends to be straight or wavy. Facial hair and body hair are found in perhaps just shy of half the population, with light facial and body hair, or none, being slightly more common.
Ears of an Orc commonly point, but not always. And Orc noses may range from short and narrow, to broad and snub. Of the Goblinoid races, Orcs are said to have faces most closely comparable to humans.
Orcs are a blunt, proud and aggressive species. They laugh loud, and have little care for politeness when telling jokes. They freely scratch themselves, burp and pass gas, without shame or reservation. Their humor can range from harmless fun, to personal insults, to bullying and harassment, to fighting.
At the same time, Orcs take matters of respect and personal honor very seriously. Serious insults to Orcs, or things they care about, will not be tolerated. Being called weak or a coward, or speaking ill of friends or family are almost foolproof, if one seeks to provoke the ire of an Orc.
It should be known that, generally, Orcs revere gods based in powerful, primal elemental forces. Depending on prevalent culture where they live, this may imply Orcs worshipping Odin, Zeus, Orcus, Shango, Set, Pazuzu or any number of others.
In fact, force, violence and toughness factor heavily into how Orcs view themselves, their families and the world around them. Muscle is a common consideration in sexual attraction, as are scars, and sexual activity between Orcs (which may include several partners, across sex and gender) is often loud, aggressive and violent. Families berate, deride or shun members if they are too passive or emotional. Orc children playing are encouraged to be self-sufficient, aggressive and to ignore or push through pain.
Orcs have no use for politicians, diplomats, formal teachers nor even clerics (whether or not they worship a deity), and instead defer to the most physically powerful or perhaps an elder with a storied history of violent glory in battle. Whoever has knowledge among Orcs, is valued as a teacher; yet, they only value knowledge which is practical to their survival, or overcoming an enemy.
Aside from wrestling, sparring and fighting, common activities among Orcs include hiking, hunting, playing sports (often war games), making and repairing weapons and tools, exercise (lifting, swimming, climbing trees and cliffs, exploring caves, etc) and other physical activities.
Relations between Orcs and other races are notoriously touchy. Perceived, generally, as being ugly, brutish and obnoxious, other races largely try to limit their interactions with Orcs as much as possible.
Smaller Orc groups may be more likely to live among other humanoids, while a large Orc family (or an Orc tribe) tends to live apart in a separate community.
Significantly large tribal groups of Orcs have been known to wage war on others around them, in the name of expanding territory. If unsuccessful in their conquest, Orcs may begrudgingly integrate into the power structure that defeated them.
Though, if successful in their conquest, Orcs of that tribe will take slaves and slay those who defy them or prove useless to their ends. Cannibalism is fairly common among the more tribal Orc family groups.
- Natural Weapons- the ability to make use of damaging physical features.
- Pain Resistance- the ability to endure a level of pain beyond human norms.
- Superhuman Durability- the ability to resist physical injury beyond human norms.
- Superhuman Strength- the ability to exert physical force beyond human norms.