• Mark S. Cookman

20 Known Orc Allies and Combat Tricks

Here is the fourth post in the orc series. Today's list was originally created as the notes that an NPC Outpost Commander had made concerning orc tactics and the allies that all orc clans use over the span of 15 years serving on the frontier near the Orcwood. The information was revealed over time to the PC's as warnings and advice from the old veteran, who was a ranger named Sir Gregor the Steady. You are free to make what use you can of these items. Perhaps they will give you some encounter ideas or perhaps you can just tell your players about some of them just to put them more on edge when entering the Orcwood. You could use this information as rumor and hokum, true and valid or a mixture of the two. How you use this list is completely up to you. Without further ado, here are 20 Known Orc Allies and Combat Tricks. Happy Gaming!

  1. Worgs are often found along with orc bands. Some of the clans train their worgs, while others just see them as scavengers and menaces. Trained worgs are twice as deadly as war dogs and smarter as well. Any orc group using them in combat has an intelligent leader.

  2. 'Death from below' is a favorite tactic of the orcs. Orc warriors will hide under the surface of the water in ponds, swamps, and ditches, breathing through reeds, waiting to surprise their victims as or after they move past.

  3. Ogres are known to associate with some orc clans and wage war on others. All orcs respect ogres for their size and power, but most orcs think ogres are dumb and they mock them given an opportunity.

  4. 'Come catch us' is another tactic used by more intelligent orcs. A pair of archers fire arrows at their enemies and then "run away" through a snare and trap laden area near where the main troop of orcs hides waiting for the enemy to come running to them.

  5. Trolls are employed as mercenaries by some of the larger orc clans, but most orcs fear them and hate working with them. You'll encounter trolls with orcs in their large camps or when the orcs are massing for war. Small orc warbands and raiding parties won't have trolls.

  6. 'Falling out of the trees' is just as popular an ambush tactic as 'death from below' is among the orcs. Warriors hide in the foliage and wait for their enemies to move beneath them. When the enemy moves into position, the orcs begin screaming and falling out of the trees all around their foes.

  7. Half orcs are viewed as having a stigma by human and demi-human society because they are part orc. Most orc clans do not have any such stigma for being less than a full orc and so half orcs are just as welcome in the clan encampments as every other orug, orc, and ogre.

  8. Sophisticated battle tactics like feints and refused attacks are extremely rare when fighting orcs, but they are not unheard of. Orc groups that use sophisticated tactics are almost always either directed by an outside intelligence (an evil cleric or sorcerer, for example) or are professional soldiers. In either case, withdraw is recommended.

  9. Orogs are found among only a few clans within the Orcwood and they rarely venture outside the swampy forest. This is an incredibly good thing because orog commanders make orc bands absolutely deadly foes by focusing their natural cruelty and brutality to epic levels.

  10. Smashcharges are a common tactic used by most orc clans, especially in large battles or against a certain opponents (spell casters or those using tech, for example). The warband chooses a target, either a point in the enemy battle lines or a specific opponent. While the archers focus their fire on the target, the rest of the warband charges forward to smash into, overrun, and destroy it.

  11. Ogrillions are only found in the clans that ally with ogres, as they are the offspring of an orc/ogre union. Half-ogres are huge and vicious, like rapid worgs. They are often used as shock troops by orc warbands due both to their size and disposition.

  12. Mounted orcs are rare in the Orcwood. Some smaller orcs ride worgs into battle. There is one clan that uses war chariots drawn by worgs and another rumored to ride giant blue beetles. No orcs ride horses; orcs eat horses. Old horror stories tell of orcs riding dragons over the Orcwood during the dark of the moon, but no one's ever seen that.

  13. Otyughs can be found throughout the caves and the swampy Orcwood. It is not uncommon for orc warbands to make deals with otyughs to provide them a steady source of food for their help in eliminating difficult opponents.

  14. 'Set everything on fire!' is a favorite orc raiding tactic used against wagon trains and merchant caravans. The orcs have learned from experience that the guards and teamsters will devote effort to putting out the fires. This splits their attention and makes it easier for the orcs other raiding actions to succeed.

  15. Goblins are used as slaves by many orc clans, but some clans treat them more like equals. Goblins are most often used as fodder by the orcs that use them as slaves and as 'skilled stealth specialists' by those who treat them with more respect. Goblins are terrified of orcs no matter how they are treated.

  16. Strange clockwork warmachines are rumored to have been used in some recent orc raids. The stories come from a gold bricking drunk who is the only survivor of a small wagon train recently massacred by orcs. The drunk says the gnomes and the orcs are working together to take over the world with their giant metal soldiers.

  17. Kobolds are occasionally seen in the Orcwood, but it is rare to catch sight of one. Perhaps because of their draconic heritage, they are treated much better by the orcs than goblins are although the two races are roughly the same size.

  18. 'Dangerous slaves!' is a stealth tactic that employs the ruse that a group of loud goblin slaves armed with sticks and rocks is the actual dangerous threat, while the orc warriors employ stealth to get an advantage over their enemies.

  19. Hobgoblins are skilled warriors who are employed as mercenary advisors by the large orc clans when the clans go to war. Hobgoblins are tough opponents and orcs that serve under them are hard as nails. Most orcs try to avoid hobgoblins, just as most rogues try to avoid a hard day's work.

  20. Diplomacy is ALWAYS a delay for advantage or escape. Orcs do not use diplomats and their culture does not respect talking as a means of resolving problems. Know that any time they spend negotiating with an enemy they are using to look for an advantage or an escape.

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