Today's post will begin a new series centered on a certain perennial favorite bad guy. Orcs have a poor reputation as a cliche D&D villain. When most players hear "Orcs", a certain mindset develops. Orcs are ugly, nasty, brutish, and NOT very smart. I enjoy using these preconceived notions against my players, so while MOST orcs the PC's encounter do fall into the general description that society provides, some do not. I have found that if you keep your players on their toes, then everyone will have a better gaming experience.
In addition to developing clans of orcs with differing characteristics in order to "spice up" orc encounters, I also decided that orc clans were much like 1% Motorcycle Clubs. This not only gave me a general structure for how the clans would work and what general rules they would respect among their own kind, but it also provided an interesting side effect that my players didn't count on because, "they were ONLY orcs". Let me explain, bikers are a brotherhood. What you do to one biker, you do to all bikers wearing the same colors. If you and your friends killed a small group of Pagans, then the entire Motorcycle Club would be out for your blood. They would stalk you relentlessly. They would wait until the time was right. And then, as a group, they would surround you and your friends and enact whatever terrible vengeance they wanted. This is how orc clans operate in my world. Some have patrons, while others "stand on their own" by hunting, raiding, and slaving. Once you have crossed one, there's no coming back. You will look over your shoulder for the rest of your days until ALL of them are dead.
As always, I encourage you to develop your own clans. Ones that are better suited to your own world. Nevertheless, I also hope that you enjoy my 20 Different Orc Clans. Happy Gaming!
Yellow Rune Clan - Their leader is a short and nasty brute named Ureg Xaeyr. He is both strong and charismatic for an orc. Clan warriors fight with spears and shields. The clan loyally serves the cult of the King in Yellow and often shelters cultists of other races. The clan is widespread and about 500 members strong.
Bloody Scalps Clan - Their leader is a tall and rotund killer named Shagar Durz. She is a dark shade of green. Shagar is tougher and smarter than anyone else, thus she is the leader. Clan warriors prefer to fight with dual short swords. The clan raids up and down the Far River and is a plague to all manner of settlers on its banks. The clan is centralized in the swamp near the Far River's delta. They are almost 900 members strong.
Moon Skull Clan - Their leader is a short and gnarled sorcerer named Amadaak the Hoarder. He is both wiser and more charismatic than anyone else in the tribe. Clan warriors fight with all manner of weapons. The clan is known for two things: a slave market and a gladiatorial arena. The clan lives in the Orcwood in a camp-town they call Kharzaag. They are just over 300 members strong.
Bone Breaker Clan - Their leader is a lanky, white-skinned orc with numerous sores and boils all over her body named Ragash Bor. She is stronger and tougher than all the others in the clan. Clan warriors prefer to fight with longswords and shields. They are spread around everywhere and each band is semi-independent. They work as mercenaries and muscle. The whole clan is over 800 members strong.
Evil Eyes Clan - Their leader is a tall and pudgy sorcerer with mottled olive and brown skin. He is really a half orc named Dubok Parr. He is both strong and charismatic. Clan warriors fight with axes and shields. Dubok has made a pact with the Archdevil Moloch on behalf of the clan to faithfully serve him forever. The clan is spread throughout the major cities and is just over 500 members strong.
Rotting Hand Clan - Their leader is a short and gaunt orc with light green skin and long black hair. Her name is Gorza Mog and she is a witch. Gorza is both wise and charismatic. Clan warriors prefer to fight with spears and shields. The clan has made a pact with a family of vampires that also live in the Orcwood. The clan is over 700 members strong.
Wet Blades Clan - Their leader is a tall and lean orc with golden green skin named Jit Orak. He is amazingly fast and dexterous. Clan warriors use all sorts of weapons with no real preference. Small groups of the clan are spread throughout the major cities where they work as thugs and assassins for the highest bidder. The whole clan is almost 700 members strong.
Ice Moon Clan - Glasha Bum is a short and very strong orc with dark red skin. She stands out from her clan because nearly all others are white-skinned. They all seem immune to the effects of cold. Clan warriors prefer to fight with short swords and round shields. The clan lives at the north end of the Orcwood and raids the northern coastal settlements. They send out 4 ships with 100 orcs each on them every spring, while another 400 orcs live in the icy village called Shadback.
Green Leaf Clan - Their leader is a tall and broad-shouldered orc with grey-green skin named Vertharg Slag. He is both tough and dexterous. Clan warriors prefer to fight with clubs and wooden shields. The clan lives near the center of the Orcwood around the grove of Hangar Riverfall the druid. The orcs have a pact with the druid and often do his bidding. All told the clan is nearly 400 strong.
Broken Fang Clan - Their leader is a towering and angular, dark-skinned orc named Bashuk Gonk. She is both tough and charismatic. Clan warriors prefer to fight with maces and spiked shields. The clan has pledged its service to green hag named Morrigan Black. The witch and her magical servants live in the village of Blackmere within the Orcwood, along with the nearly 400 orcs of the clan.
Flying Spider Clan - Their leader is a short and thin orc with mottled green and black skin named Olfin Yak. He is both wise and intelligent. Olfin is a wizard who talks to animals. This is how he managed to make a pact with a group of giant Selenops spiders. Clan warriors prefer to fight with hand axes, both wielded and thrown, while swinging from tree to tree. None of the 200 clan members have ever been outside of the Orcwood.
Cave Bear Clan - Their leader is a half-orc giant with one eye named Grukk the Slayer. He is both strong and intelligent. Grukk saved the remaining members of the Bloody Axe clan from destruction by moving them into the Stetvar Caverns at the edge of the Orcwood after a clan war with the Green Leaf Clan nearly wiped them all out almost 7 years ago. The Cave Bears are new clan, unknown to nearly everyone, who number almost 300 now.
Night Wind Clan - Their leader is a tall and thickly-muscled dark green orc named Snak Golob. She is both dexterous and tough. Clan warriors prefer to fight with bows and blowguns. This clan is known for two things: stealth and ritual cannibalism (the harder you fight; the more they want to eat you). The clan's over 600 members are spread throughout the vast Orcwood. The other clans fear the Night Wind Clan and give them a wide territory.
Mud Face Clan - Their leader is named Shadback Glashsa. She is a dark green orc with cream-colored splotches on her face. Shadback is both strong and wise. Clan warriors prefer to fight with dual daggers, attacking by surprise from under the water of the swamp. The clan lives at the western edge of the Orcwood in the Snakefish Bog. They number almost 300 members.
Trail Stalker Clan - Their leader is a tall and thin orc with brown skin named Kegan Vlorg. He is both strong and tough. Warriors in the clan prefer to fight with scimitars and small shields. They raid caravans that travel the Great Northern Road south of the vast Orcwood, where they live. They are almost 400 strong and allied with the Moon Skull Clan.
Blue Beetle Clan - Their leader is a completely average-looking orc, with the exception of the dark blue spots common to this clan. Her name is Murbol Glob and she is both tough and charismatic. The clan is known for riding giant blue rhinoceros beetles into combat. Clan warriors prefer to fight with spears and shields. The clan is almost 500 members strong.
Devil Fish Clan - Their leader is tall and athletic orog with blue-black skin. His name is Dregu Snat and he is very intelligent. Dregu has aligned the clan with a warlock named Jatrix Spade, who has been experimenting on them. A number of the clan members are amphibious. The clan warriors have no weapons preference of their own, but they often pretend to be Bloody Scalps when they are raiding along the Far River. The clan is almost 300 strong.
Steel Skull Clan - Their leader is a short and wiry orc with both red and blue blotches on her face. Her name is Umog Lash and she is both tough and intelligent. The clan keeps a number of gnomish tinkers as slaves. The tinkers work around the clock to develop war technologies for the clan. Clan warriors have no preference in weapons, but all have horned and spiked helmets. The Steel Skulls raids other orc clans and also work as mercenaries for other races. There are almost 500 members in the clan.
Desert Wind Clan - Their bare-chested leader is an extremely muscular orc with green-brown skin and white hair. His name is Darfax Xat. Clan warriors prefer to fight with falchions and small round shields. The clan is known for attacking caravans crossing the Starshine Desert. There are just over 400 members in the clan.
Red Arrow Clan - Their leader is a tall and shapely half orc named Sazha Grim. She is both dexterous and tough. Clan warriors prefer to fight with short bows. The clan is famous for both its excellent archers and its "good looking" members. The clan lives near Kharzaag and has a pact with both the Moon Skull Clan and the Trail Stalkers. They often work as mercenaries and bandits for non-orcs. There are almost 300 members of the clan.