Orc and Goblin Background Idea Bazaar

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  • Orc and Goblin Background Idea Bazaar

    I think generally you will find that people love a couple of things about Orcs.
    -Violence and brutality - I tend to see that people love the unfettered violence of Orcs without much credence to the concept of humanity, or it's complete absence from their society. This is akin to the culture or society of the Koloss from the Mistborn. Ever growing warriors fighting and killing each other over even the simplest things in fits of anger without an ounce of humanity to the observer. Koloss would fight over things like "I just didn't like him." Or "He ate my horse." Those were accepted reasons for killing a fellow Koloss. Also Koloss like most fantasy Orcs and even akin to Warhammer kept growing in size and strength.

    -Societal structure based on around battle prowess and strength. I think that it is generally accepted that regardless of level of intelligence Orcswould have their own set of beliefs of "Honor" and social conduct based upon the strength of the individual. Merit would be equivalent to their success in fights upward socially or in battles. Battles and victories and their associated trophies are the true currency. Higher up you were the more Orc luxuries one would have rather than cleaning the boar pens, carrying a Warlord's sword, or herding his goblins. Nepotism wouldn't exist but there was structure around battlefield role, and what mob of boyz and leader you associated with, basically a savage version of the medieval vassal and banner system. I think creating a further unique society that warps or turns on their head the traditional norms of medieval and indigenous societies, such as chivalry, governance, shamanism, fiefdoms and aristocracy/nobility, would give the background team a lot of creative license. Even Orcs mocking certain realities we know is great fun. Orcs modeling themselves after Louis XIV with his excesses and finery, very much the readers delight is in seeing the Orcs pushing caricatured human trends into their society.

    -Intelligence - This is where I think you find some disagreement. Personally, I was never a fan of taking their stupidity too the lows that GW did. I find it was the most conflicting thing about them. If anything I like some of the other literary directions that Orcs were taken. I would almost have them have intelligence, but a force of rebellion in the world to advanced technology, reading, the other gods, and other scholastic activities or pursuits. I think those that did would be characterful and humourous with the role within the lore. Their faith and intelligence would be believing more in what can be learned from battle, traditions, experiences, and the physical world. I understand this is where most of the humor came from and think there is still a great outlet for it without taking them to below a child's intelligence. I think their rejection of technological innovation, their very inhuman belief systems, and their interpretations and practice of common human concepts like charity, empathy, manners, etc. would be more than enough humorous fodder. Charity to them could be loosing a young orc in with the boars to learn animal taming before his peers learned it.
    -
    Religion and Gods - I think this is where it would get more difficult to split from GW. However any satire of the pantheon of gods is pretty much fair game. Gork and Mork were loved because they had a ridiculous nature to them, they were exaggerations of previous gods. I think an exaggerated Thor that combines the Hulk would be fair game. Basically I think you could take the Hulk and combine him with any previous god and get something pretty Orcy. Goblin Loki, just sayin' would be awesome. Sky is the limit.

    Above from original post- Additional Aspects

    Origins - Definitely an aspect that has many in the community split. In many origins Orcs and Goblins are a corruption of Humans or Elves, such as in Tolkien. In GW they were spores. In other areas they are a unique race with both sexes such as in Warcraft or MTG. If you were to combine all of these you would get a race that was created by the Orc/Goblin gods when they modeled their creations crudely and haphazardly on the human and other races as crafted by their respective gods, but "gifted" the Orcs aspects in their own Orciness or goblinyness. Of course, these creations would have been deposited clumsily on the world explaining their adaptable hardiness. I think in many ways if we were to pay homage to GW they could have a very symbiotic relationship to their home terrain. Spider goblins sharing aspects with spiders and affinities to poison, Goblins to darkness and mushrooms. I think to borrow that aspect Orcs and Goblins could develop physical and even innately magical representations to their surroundings and whether it physiological or even magical in nature or both could be made vague.

    Will add more later.
  • I will throw once again my brainchild of O&G religion :

    Igthorn wrote:

    It's was just one god GOBLORK the winner of all the battles in ancient world. The most cleverly, cunning and combative unbeatable being.
    After when all opponents was slain in mighty battles by Goblork he nestled on the higher top of the higher mountain where the biggest and longest river was created from the larger fall spring in the prime world.
    Bereft god with no more enemies doubt his existence so he decided to trow himself into the whirlpool of the river!
    His action was well-thought-out as his body get transfigured true water to the fungus which became a womb for greenhide races!
    O&G believes that one day whole greenhide species with hulky abilities become so strong and cleverish to the level of their god and then legend says he will come back to lead his army to show whole universe..
    Who is da best!!!
    Fungi is the part of orcs existence that explaining a lot : (in short version) when orc die his rotten carcass creaiting puffshrooms (puffball fungus) which does spreading spores around the lands. If that spores lend on moss it's creaiting underground womb where greenhide start growing. That is green circle of life, simply u grow fast, u fight, u die, u spread your DNA to grow with bigger number and u fight again...


    Beside of just pro fighting orientated life of greenskins they gather together in communities like tribes and clans or less organized mobs.
    The biggest social event when all O&G getting together even from very far lands is "Ache Maxilla Fest" simply annual pitfight tournament where is also used to pic orc warlords and goblin kings who they are in charge of making war plans etc..
    keep calm and warrrgha cadabra
  • I really like the fungus aspect that GW had with their Orcs, especially the 40K Orks and their reproduction during battle and death.

    To an Orc fighting might feel like sexual congress does to humans (they release spores when fighiting) and death is the best form of reproduction, as it releases the most spores. However spores are released only when fighting strong foes, so ORcs are always looking for a tough fight.
  • In terms if intelligence I've never seen them as stupid. Them being forcefull and violent does not imply low intelligence but, the way I see it, they act in this manner because they are intelligent. They reject technology not because they do not understand it but simply because they don't have an interest in it. For me, orcs are nature born. They do not shape the world to their own liking, like humans for example, but strive to keep it pure and untaimed. But unlike the elves, they focus on raw undistilled power rather than harmony.

    Orcs and goblins are like water. Where others try to harness its power by building banks, watermills, water crops and gardens, ride boats etc. the OnG see this as a violation of nature, an obstruction of the natural flow. Water is forcefull with ever strong currents. Any objects in the way will either be swallowed whole or simply passed by. Water always finds the path of least resistance and can't be subdued.
    This is why they have no need for technology, philosophy, centralized religion, society, etc. For all these represents ignorence and obstruction to the natural order of things. This is why they mock and seek to destroy such obstructions.

    Fighting an OnG horde should feel like fighting a waterfall. You can splash away some fraction but the flow will continue. You can build barriers but the water will find its way around. The force is endless and never ceasing.

    For the OnG life is to ride the wave of the waterfall. To destroy and rampage anything in its path. Not because they have any ethical or moral reasons, or any notion of good or wrong. Force, raw power, is everything and the more you tap into that force the more true you are to yourself and the universe, hence their violent nature.

    While goblins find the path of least resistance (sneaky) and orcs swallow obsticles in the way (fighty) they collectively create a wave called THE GREEN TIDE and the stronger their numbers (and thus their force) the stronger their WAAARGH!!!!

    You may be able to still a wave but you can never still the ocean!
    A smart gobbo convinces others to die for him
  • Warboss_R'ok wrote:

    Here's a video with some great orc personalities
    Interesting - some of them do play on the stoopid orc a bit too much, but there are some cool varieties.

    Executive Board

    Head of Background Team


    Team Scotland ETC 2019 Captain

    "I think of the Abyss as being a pretty good catch all term."
  • So my view (for now) - maybe some more to follow:

    I see Orcs and Goblins as being quite different to each other - different in personality, physiology and lifestyle.

    To me orcs are nomadic - maybe herders of boars but otherwise hunters. Stronger and tougher than humans they are brutal rather than evil. Much like Hobbes' state of nature. They are violent and aggressive with little appreciation for subtlety however they are far from stupid. Strength is valued as a virtue - not only physical strength but the courage to face their enemies. This often leads to the strongest and boldest orcs becoming leaders. Power in orc society is earned, not inherited or bestowed by titles or religion.

    Their lifestyle involving hunting lends them to use of weapons like spears and bows as their most common weapons whilst also making them at their most comfortable with only light armour.

    Iron orcs are the exception. Among the Nomadic Orcs they are unusual in terms of settling down, building fortifications, forges and weapons. With this lifestyle comes wealth and the need to defend it from others. This has lead to a much more pronounced martial ethos than other Orcs.


    Goblins on the other hand do settle. They set up vast sprawling settlements in tunnels under mountains or in the treetops of deep forests. They are cruel, cowardly and will follow any expedient course of action whilst also being exceptionally smart - more so than humans. Goblins reproduce prodigiously however they are cursed with a relatively short lifespan. This means that technology and know how rarely advances - no one has enough experience to learn from, goblins would prefer to build the next device than develop the reading and writing skills needed to make notes. This intellect gives them a huge advantage when it comes to sneaky schemes although it is not manifest in their technology.

    Both orcs and goblins value deeds over legacy. A mighty victory that creates an empire that last 20 years is more highly valued than a more modest victory that spawns an empire that lists a thousand years. This leads to a degree of hyperactivity and a desire to do more, do bigger and to do better than other orcs and goblins but ensures that rarely if ever are any gains cemented.

    Goblins may be venal and cruel but are not utterly untrustworthy. Whilst a goblin may double-cross anyone at the first opportunity they are smart enough to know that deals are safer than violence and as long as there is something in it for them they will keep their word.

    Orcs and goblins will often come together for war, although for different reasons. Orc migratory paths are relatively trouble free across goblin lands - most live in different places, consume different food and have no interest in the resources the others seek. Often as an Orc tribe passes through goblin lands there is opportunity for trade. Orcs come into conflict where their movements cross into the lands of other species. Farmers, however placid, rarely take kindly to a tribe moving across their lands - swine herds and all, which will often result in conflict. Orcs have little cultural truck with concepts like territory and land boundaries so these conflicts are regrettably common. Goblins will often get drawn into supporting Orc advances through weapons dealing, or more commonly seeing a chance to get rich quickly by plundering the lands in the path of the orcs once their native inhabitants are defeated.

    Goblins on the other hand will find themselves in battle for other reasons. Goblins have a well deserved reputation for malice - too many ills befalling a neighbouring kingdom or a deterioration in what tends to be an already fragile peace can quickly lead many to conclude that driving out the nearby goblins will improve life. Conversely when goblin spies spot an opportunity - a weak leader, an army engaged in a foreign war or are just tempted by the wealth of their neighbours they attack. In these circumstances orcs in the region get drawn in - tempted by the chance to explore pastures new.