About orcs – part II

Hunting in the grassOrc skin comes in a broad variety of colours, from olive green to shit brown and rock grey. The eyes show a colour range from pee yellow to sludge brown, with green and red being rather common as well. The typical orc is either hirsute or completely bold, unlike humans that keep patches of hair at the weirdest of body parts.
The orc body is perfectly adapted to any kind of environment, from the smaller dexterous mountain orc to the tall sturdy steppe orc. Every kind of climate has brought the race to its specific form of perfection.

Agriculture and stock farming are foreign to the orc. They naturally harvest what they did not sow. They cherish silver and gold, but do not see the necessity to dig it out themselves if they need only to wait until others did it and then take it away (remember the superiority of the race).
Bartering and exchanging is very common and handled easily, following the principle of “You had it long enough, I will take it now”. Consequently they do not see any reason to produce anything themselves.
Regarding their equipment the orc knows no splendour, anything can become a lethal weapon in their claws. Tattoos (violent battle scenes, totems) and dressings of the hirsute (braids, bodyparts of the enemy) are common but vary due to tradition and climate. They do wear clothes to show off what they took from the enemy but one rarely finds anything underneath the armour when going into battle.

Domesticating animals is universally disapproved of, which is the main reason that humans are not regarded as animals. In areas of food shortage this principle might be abandoned though. Creatures that have been domesticated by any of the other primary races are welcome as spoils of war.
Horses are either an enemy or an opulent meal. If the orc rides (and he does so very frequently in some areas) he would never use a horse. This utterly stupid hoofed animal has only one right to exist: as staple food. Oral legend knows countless recipes to prove this. It is indeed a common misconception that orcs swallow their food raw. Ever since Barrobob the Stumpy burned down a whole village of gnomes it is commonly accepted amongst orcs that barbecued food is preferable to raw meat.

Their chief characteristic is to laze about. But every orc really appreciates a good battle. Fighting in formation is scorned as unorcish but is frequently used right before the battle to irritate the enemy. After drawing first blood the main purpose is to cause the greatest possible amount of chaos.
Leaders appoint themselves by fiercely rejecting any form of protest. Consequently this claim to power only reaches as far as the axe or flail. Basically orcs follow the principle of self-determination, only matters concerning the whole tribe are debated with the chief. Matters concerning battles are to be solved after two consecutive debates, one under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol, the second (if time allows) sober. This is supposed to guarantee that at least a small number of warriors survive. Often enough this second debate is postponed or cancelled altogether due to urgency or alcohol-induced forgetfulness. Very traditional tribes reject the second, alcohol-free debate on principle as unnatural.
Leading and decision-making comes naturally for every orc and is questioned by the fellow orcs just as regularly. Quarrels are dealt with according to the principle of raw violence.
Orc society knows crime and judges it. The community has to deal with cowardice and treason, treachery and pacifism. Local habits demand how these are dealt with: hanging, beheading, deserting them, kicking them into moors – the tribe’s creativity is the limit.
Bravery in battle goes without question and is basically owed to the fact that behind the troops womenfolk nag and hungry brats cry. Who wouldn’t run in the opposite direction? Also, this yelling is often necessary to give directions as the drunken warrior sometimes loses his natural sense of orientation.

Sacrificial animals or humans have shown to be entirely ineffective and are only rarely offered these days. Oracles and predictions on the other hand are very popular, but not so much as to foresee the outcome of a battle than to while away some time with creative storytelling. Tokens of faith are very common as most orcs are very superstitious and have a deep respect for their gods’ arbitrary rule.
Prisoners of war are taken regularly, either to integrate them into their own families or as a means to barter. Agreements made before the battle are commonly ignored afterwards or are simply forgotten about. Blood-lust does that occasionally to the orcish memory.
Most orc tribes do not have the necessity for priests, as communication with their gods is regarded as a very private, almost intimate matter. Occasionally a strong cleric might gain some influence via the usual amount of violence and then uses his special skills to create a spiritual form of bonding that normally lasts no longer than a battle or two. There was however the glorious exception of Slurrig the Seedy who made it to chief amongst his tribe. His main spiritual ritual was to pass around a clay pipe with some unknown holy weed, which made everyone quite relaxed and disgustingly peaceful. But the warriors couldn’t be arsed to rise against such unorcish conduct and consequently paid with their lives when the whole tribe was extinguished by a horde of rampant centaurs.
Rare examples of self-sacrifice are known, mostly to call the attention of the gods. All of these cases of self-harm were done by priests and are much debated among orc societies. The majority tends to believe that in order to chose the path of a priest one has to be very much confused already and therefore is highly endangered to commit such a deed. On the other hand many tribes regard these confused minds as holy, a voice of their gods, that is as confused as the gods usually are.

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