“Probably my finest creation. No blunt instrument, not a mindless soldier like the golem or a savage beast like the goblin. A work of art, an apex predator that can strategize as well as any human. My opponents create tools. I have created life.” -The Journal of Cobb
The orc is a perfect soldier, designed for war. Built to combine the ferocity and bloodlust of a goblin, the cunning of a human, and the physical strength of a really BIG human. Cobb created armies of them to send against the Imperium and the Brotherhood, but when he was killed they were left leaderless and scattered. While the humans regrouped in Doloth, the first Orcish Khan, Qazri, united the warring bands of his people and restored order, wiping out the remaining humans and building a mighty nation in the ashes of the Sorcerer Wars.
The orcs are a naturally warlike people however, and Qazri soon fell to an assassin’s blade, causing the horde to fracture into a number of warring tribes. Preoccupied with the infighting, the tribes were unprepared for a counteroffensive by the humans who were determined to take back their homes. The tribes were slaughtered by the better-armed and organized human forces, until the second Khan, Jhotan, organized the survivors and led them west into the wastes. Believing that nothing could survive in the wastes, the humans wrote the orcs off as extinct, except for a few pockets that had remained in human lands.
They were proven wrong in 143 AW, when Mazon Skycaller, the third Khan, led the horde back out of the wastes to make war against Garrick. The orcs fought with a renewed fury, and quickly swept across the human kingdom, burning what they could not steal. Only with the combined efforts of a band of heroes and the Inquisition were they able to be pushed back into the wastes again. Since then, the nation of Torunn has risen up as a bulwark against further orcish invasions, but aside from scattered raiding parties, the horde has yet to reappear. Still, all fear the day when another Khan arises to lead the orcs once again into the lands of men.
The Major Orcish Tribes
The largest and most prosperous of the tribes, the Stoneclimbers were the first to forsake the orcs’ nomadic ways, building cities into the sides of the crags and canyons of the southern wastes and cultivating vast swaths of desert plants. While members of all the tribes intermingle within their cities now, the Stoneclimbers are afforded a particular place of honor as the founders of the mighty fortresses.
Still largely a nomadic tribe, the Beastbrothers make their living by domesticating, raising, and training desert creatures for food and transportation. They have forged a particularly strong link with the wildlife of the desert.
A tribe built around the orcs’ most dedicated shamen, the Dreamseers consider themselves the spiritual guides and guardians of orckind. They live in the cliffs above the Garden of the Giants, and it is their sacred duty to safeguard that holy place.
A nomadic tribe that makes its fortune finding and providing water to the other tribes, through a combination of seeking out springs through earth magic and calling storms from the sky.
A tribe from the far southern desert, near the jungles of Kreer, the Shadowwalkers train their warriors in stealth, poisoning, and vicious butchery, tactics that many others among the tribes consider dishonorable, but they have grown powerful in recent years.
A tribe that dwells in the eastern dunes, known for their daring raids on human settlements. The Outriders have recently fallen out of favor due to the heretical teachings of its twin leaders, Vrag and Ronan Torlukk.
The Little Brothers
A great number of goblins have also fled the human lands and those that survive have joined up with the orcs. The orcs have tried to impart their teachings on the smaller greenskins, but all but the cleverest goblins seem unable to comprehend the idea of anything but fighting, eating, and reproducing. Still, the goblins appreciate the protection of their larger cousins, and the orcs find the goblins useful for menial labor and certain kinds of warfare, so the goblins have been allowed to create their own tribe, the Little Brothers, which they are all a part of.