Table of contents


The Orc race is split in two, into superior and inferior. And the difference is not their height, as it may seem at first, but their intelligence and physical development. The higher Orcs, who call themselves Orcons, are smart and inventive as hell, but not very physically fit. The lower ones are called Gr'tkr, they are fierce warriors and tireless nomadic herders, but not distinguished by high intelligence. No one knows when and under what circumstances the division of one race of orcs into these two peoples took place, it happened so long ago. Orcs themselves have an ancient legend about it, though there is a difference in details and eloquence in each of the two peoples. 

And the fact of the matter is that in ancient times the Orcs were a united people and lived in the east beyond the "Eridan ridge". They were divided into seven clans led by chiefs who chose the supreme leader – the smartest and strongest, whom everyone had to obey. And so it was customary that most often they were chosen from one clan, so in the future they began to choose a new supreme chief among the sons of the deceased one. And so, a long time ago, it was time to choose a new Supreme Chief among the sons of the just deceased (whose name was Kruush the Wise in the chronicles of the orcons and Gruush the Mighty in the legends of Gr'tkr). There were two of them. The elder, Lukruush, was a mighty warrior, the strongest among all the Orcs, but also not lacking of military cunning. The younger one, Mozguur, was weaker than the elder brother (although no one would definitely call him a weakling), but he was exceptionally smart and eloquent. And for a long time the leaders of other clans could not choose the Supreme Chief among them, it almost came to a fight. And then each brother was given the opportunity to speak out in his favour. By right of seniority, the eldest warrior brother was the first to answer. But he decided to cheat, to listen to what the younger one would say first, in order to "strike back at the weak spot." And then the younger one made a fiery speech, allegedly transmitted word for word in the orcon chronicles (but most certainly a lot was added later) about the need for change, about new inventions, about trade and peace with other peoples. And he explained everything so passionately and lucidly that even some mighty warriors and hunters hesitated.

The elder brother became enraged and began to accuse the younger of treason to the traditions and precepts of the ancestors, saying that all his innovations would make the orcs weak and cowardly. And the screams and arguments began, and again it almost led to bloodshed. Then the younger one said that he himself refused to be the Supreme Chief and would go to the West, beyond the "Great Mountains" (that's how orcs called the Eridan Ridge at that time). Anyone who wanted to go along with him to build a new life, a life in search of new knowledge and inventions, friendship rather than war with other races – he would be welcome to everyone. The orcon chronicles say that two of the seven clans and the smartest members of the other clans followed the younger Mozguur. According to Gr'tkr – only one weakest clan and a handful of renegades that were the unluckiest hunters followed him.

The orcs have changed since then. The orcs who stayed with the elder Lukruush eventually became even stronger and more skilled in combat and hunting. But the descendants of those orcs who left with the younger Mozguur have changed more. In the beginning, they also relied on their strength and endurance. But as time went by, they conquered new discoveries and inventions, and they no longer had to rely on their strength. Now most orcons have weak muscles, short stature and are quite well-fed. They even have a specific snow-white hair coat, though it's not very thick. Only a few orcs keep themselves in shape by exercising on specially created devices.

Most of the orcons live in the luxurious city of Semigrad, which stands in the delta of the Erin River. As it is already clear from the name, Semigrad consists of seven parts — its cities. In the main city of Semigrad, "Ordor", there is the most beautiful and majestic building— the "Orkon University of Sciences". Previously, the university used to have seven faculties, according to the number of sciences studied there, but now there are more of them. Seven cities bear their names after these first seven sciences: Music, Architecture, Engineering, Alchemy, Medicine, History and Ordor –  precisely the main one in Semigrad. At the Faculty of Alchemy, orcon magicians are trained, although they are inferior to elf magicians in strength, but they are able to enhance mechanical inventions with their magic and endow it with some semblance of life. There is a belief that the seven cities are a tribute to the memory of the seven clans of the once unified Orc people in ancient times. But many consider it a beautiful legend.

Each city of Semigrad chooses its own ruler – a sentarion. And each spring the seven sentarius choose among themselves the Supreme Consul, endowed with great power. Together they form the Supreme Council, which meets in the Sentarium – beautiful and majestic building in Semigrad, the second after the University. The eighth member of the Supreme Council is the Rector of the University, who has the same rights as the sentarius, except for the possibility of being elected Consul. Occasionally, for certain important public matters, the Supreme Council can be expanded to the Grand Council, where the deans of all faculties and the heads of merchant and craft guilds are invited.

The orcons have no regular troops, only a small handful of specialist officers who try to keep themselves in shape. Orcons do not raid or wage wars of conquest, they are not interested in it at all. And in case of a military threat, they rely on the protection of their militia. Poorly developed physically, orcons perfectly compensate it by being well-organised and by using their inventions, which are also enhanced by magicians and alchemists. And "battlesuit" is one of such major inventions. It is a full plate armour of an unusual shape, which differs not only by its great quality but also by special features: it increases the strength of the wearer by three or four times.

Add to thesevarious unusual weapons invented by alchemists and engineers and you get the enormous lethality of such a militia. It is clear that all such military inventions are kept a huge secret, but various household inventions and elixirs are mass-produced by craft guilds and are in great demand among other races.

The lower orcs  are called Gr’tkr.  These wild creatures lead a nomadic way of life in the southern and eastern steppes. They are taller than elves but significantly lower than ogres. They are very strong, hardy, and fierce. Their thick skin has an earthy-brownish hue which makes them unnoticeable among the plants of the scorched steppes. They have incredibly sharp eyesight, excellent hearing, and a sense of smell similar to that found among animals. They are not shy about nudity and they don’t make clothes from fabrics themselves . If they do wear something, then it will be used as a sign of their valour. The skins of dangerous animals, clothes from defeated enemies (or torn pieces of their clothes) and the skulls and bones of killed animals and enemies.

Like the Goblins, the orcs also live in clans. There are no noticeable differences between the different clans. Every male of a given clan is not only a warrior but also a hunter and cattle breeder. It sometimes happens that lower orcs become mercenaries, given that the demand for such fighters is so high! Thus, the most famous clans are the ones which produce the most mercenaries. These are the Groombs, the Kroots and the Mits. The clans are ruled by a chief and a Council of Elders (old and wise veterans). The rule of a chief can be passed down to the next of kin for hundreds of years. Rule isn’t passed to the oldest son, but the most worthy because a chief has just as many sons as he does wives. He always has a lot. Usually around 20 sons outlive their father. Sometimes even more. The most fruitful chief of them all was Grugg the Inseminator from the Groomb clan. Not only was he himself one of the most ferocious and famous leaders of the Orcs, but he also left behind 47 strong and ferocious sons! The Council of Elders allowed almost all of them to compete for the title of Chief of the clan. Only a few slow-ones were suspended because the leader also needs to be wise (they boasted too much about the strength of their skulls from childhood). The elders condemn death during duels for the title, but during this race many of Grugg’s sons fell. The defeated sons have a choice: either they can take a blood oath and swear to rightfully serve the new chief, or leave the clan. Some take the oath, and some leave to join the mercenaries, and by doing so, increase the orcs' renowned status as the most skilled and ferocious warriors. The elders also monitor the younger generation who have torn away from their mothers and organised into packs where they are taught not only the art of war and how to survive on the steppes, but are also drilled (often beaten or hit) on how to stay as a cohesive unit and offer mutual assistance.

The orcs don’t have that many Blacksmiths. They mainly repair trophies acquired in raids (the nomadic way of life makes it difficult to undertake blacksmith work). They rarely forge anything, and if they do, then it is knives, which are suitable for both hunting and fighting. Thus, orcs learn to fight with all types of weapons which they acquire in battles… actually, with anything that finds its way into their hands. Orcs believe that a real warrior should know how to fight not only with all different types of weapons, but should also know how to quickly and efficiently forge weapons using what they have on them. However, the favourite weapon of the orcs is the spear, and the best shaft for these spears are made out of Ogami wood. As is known by all, it is very hard to get this type of wood, not to mention how hard it is to actually process it! It really is hard work! But spears made out of Ogami wood are a great source of pride for an orc warrior. So important in fact that the tip of the spear is not really given that much attention. Spear shafts made out of this wood are passed on by inheritance; however, only those that are made personally are the most renowned. Unless, of course, it’s Rage’s spear, the best warrior in a clan. Every Rage spear in every clan has its own unique tip. Some are made from good-old dwarf steel, and others, from rare hard minerals. Some are even made out of meteorite-iron, forged by the legendary orc blacksmith Tuurg, who is known for his immunity to fire, holding his just-forged pieces with only his bare hands. Any orc can challenge Rage to a duel, and if he manages to win, he receives the title of Rage and also his spear. But this rarely happens, as the orcs know very well what it actually takes to beat him.

Orcs look down upon armour, believing that only cowards and weaklings hide their bodies behind iron. True warriors defend themselves with weapons, and also their agility and skill in hand-to-hand combat. Furthermore, orcs will use hand-to-hand combat in all situations: battles without weapons, against armed or unarmed opponents, against a single opponent or even against several. However, Orcs do not hesitate to use shields. The young orcs are taught as a necessity how to fight with them. But, as their skill base improves, the orcs will try to rely less on them, preferring to fight either double wielded, or using two-handed weapons which create a real small maelstrom of death. However, when trying to get Ogami wood, you definitely cannot do without a shield.

Female orcs also learn how to wield weapons and how to engage in hand-to-hand combat; however, of course, they have much less time to devote to this. They are mainly busy with household work: collecting berries and roots, cooking food, making hides or pots from clay, looking after the little children while they still haven’t been sorted into packs. Some of the orc women are born with a special gift. A “magical power” as the elves would say. Orcs call such women Druuns (kissed by the wind) and such women become Baabshi (wise) — the witches and healers of the clan.

However, only males raise cattle because orcs raise the most dangerous type of cattle, Khruums. These are cloven-hoofed, stocky and powerful animals. Khruums are much heavier than the average steppe game and are very fierce, so only adult orcs have it in their power to tame them. Khruums are omnivorous. They can eat both steppe grasses and roots and even living creatures or carrion. Thus, it isn’t a problem to feed them, especially after raids when all of the enemy's dead bodies are given to them as feed. Adult Khruums can be ridden, something which orcs use to create their own orc cavalry. During raids on cold nights, they can also warm their orc owners. Although, something even more amazing is that sometimes winged Khruums are born! These little-winged pets don’t in any way differ from their сounterparts apart from in two ways: they have a pair of black wings, and they are of a surprisingly kind nature. If they are properly trained, then they grow up to be gracious to everyone around them and loyal to their master. It is because of this that the cost of these winged khruums is huge! Elves, dwarfs, basically everyone is ready to give over a stack of gold for one of these wonders because, up to the age of six months, the little one is ready to accept anyone as its owner as long as they feed and nourish it. How such a heavy khruum carrying a rider on its back can fly remains a mystery. No-one knows. It’s just a “gift of the Steppes'', as the orcs would say.