Orcs are a race of humanoids that have been a threat to the civilized cultures of Toril, particularly Faerûn for as long as any can remember. This changed somewhat in the years preceding and immediately after the Spellplague, when a horde of mountain orcs under the command of King Obould Many-Arrows unified into a single kingdom that gained recognition from other nations of the Silver Marches.

Traditional orcish culture is extremely warlike and when not at war the race is usually planning for it. Most orcs approach life with the belief that to survive, one must subjugate potential enemies and control as much resources as possible, which puts them naturally at odds with other races as well as themselves. This belief is spurred in part by Gruumsh and his pantheon, which teaches that all races are inferior to the orcs.

Male orcs dominate most orcish societies and females are usually, at best, prized possessions and little better than livestock at worst. Male orcs pride themselves on their number of wives and sons, as well as their scars from battle and rituals. Orcs also prize the possession of slaves, though relatively few own them.

Most orcs don’t build cities of their own, instead relying on those left behind by others and improving their fortifactions or operating out of small camps and dens, often in natural caves. Orcs can manage ironwork on their own, as well as stonework, though their tools are often inferior to those of more disciplined races.

Most orcs are part of a confederation of tribes, loosely held together by a despotic chieftain. Bands within these alliances might wander far from their homelands, but continue to greet those orcs who belong to the same tribal network as kin.

Orcs vary in appearance, based on region and subrace, but all share certain physical qualities. Orcs of all kinds usually have grayish skin, coarse hair, stooped postures, low foreheads, large muscular bodies, and porcine faces that feature lower canines that resemble boar tusks. Many also have wolf-like ears that are pointed on the ends, similar to elves. Orcs are roughly the same size as humans.

Orcs breed fast and live short lives compared with most other races. They are considered adults anywhere between 11 and 14 years of age; they are considered middle-aged at 17, old at 23, and venerable at 35 years of age. The average orc seldom lives longer than 40 years, even if it manages to avoid violent death. It is unheard of for an orc to live longer than 45 years without magical aid.

Orcs have poor temperaments and are given to anger more easily than some races. Easily offended and impatient, orcs generally prefer violent solutions and rarely consider multiple ways of approaching a problem. However, in spite of this many orcs are excellent at getting results, since they are creatures of action, not thought. Some exceptions to this profile do exist, however, such as the famed King Obould whose deeds were accomplished through planning and insight.


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