Orcs and Goblins - Tribes, realms and characters

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    • Fair point, no mammal are green.
      However, Orcs have feet, like humanoids and no other animal.
      They have bare skin, forward vision, ability to create tools, to throw, to talk, to domesticate animals and ride them, no fear of fire,...
      This is found among humanoids, and unheard of in any other animal.

      Two hypothesis:
      1. they have a similar origin as humanoids (humans, elves, dwarves) and got their color for some reason.
      or
      2. they have a totally distinct origin as humanoids, and got their bare skin, forward vision and various abilities for some reason.

      Having them lay eggs is possible, why not, and would indicate that hypothesis 2 is the right one.

      But then, how come would they have all the humanoid qualities?
      Two possibilities:
      2a. Natural evolution.
      2b. Unnatural willingness.

      2.a Natural evolution? That would be heck of a coincidence that an egg-laying creature (which one?) would evolve to get feet, bare skin, hands, arms, forward vision, ability to talk etc.
      There are cases of natural convergence, but usually the similarities are much less obvious. Example are dolphins look more like sharks than like land mammals; bats look more like birds than like land mammals; ostriches walk on two legs. However, we're talking here about getting much, much closer to humanoids.

      2.b Unnatural willingness, could be a forced evolution from something else, or a creation from scratch.
      2.b.1. creation from scratch? Why would an intelligent willingness create something looking like humanoids, if they had the incredible power to create from scratch? It would have been so much more efficient to have given wings and have created angels? Or four legs and two arms and have created centaurs? But the "creator" limited himself to four limbs. This shows that it was not a very powerful creator.
      2.b.2: forced evolution from something else, laying eggs, which a willingness would have transformed to get feet, arms etc? What would be the something else?


      As you see, if the green color raises one question, laying eggs introduces many more questions.
      Would you happen to have an explanation?
      If so, I am willing to accept that Orcs (and Goblins) are not mammals.

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    • Calisson wrote:

      Fair point, no mammal are green.
      However, Orcs have feet, like humanoids and no other animal.
      They have bare skin, forward vision, ability to create tools, to throw, to talk, to domesticate animals and ride them, no fear of fire,...
      This is found among humanoids, and unheard of in any other animal.

      Two hypothesis:
      1. they have a similar origin as humanoids (humans, elves, dwarves) and got their color for some reason.
      or
      2. they have a totally distinct origin as humanoids, and got their bare skin, forward vision and various abilities for some reason.

      Having them lay eggs is possible, why not, and would indicate that hypothesis 2 is the right one.

      But then, how come would they have all the humanoid qualities?
      Two possibilities:
      2a. Natural evolution.
      2b. Unnatural willingness.
      Hm, I did not expect such an in depth respons to my "no mammals are green"-argument.

      When it comes to non mammals walking on heels, both opossums and kangaroos are platigrade. As was partially the pterosaurs, who lay eggs. It is good for stability and weight-bearing ability. Some features that would benefit ancestral orcs and goblins, especially if they used wrestling like contests for mating rights.
      Forward vision is found outside mammals among birds of prey.
      An animal related to the modern birds and the antediluvian pterosaurs might have evolved in a parallel track as ground bound scavenger and hunter. Cave hiding and night hunting for smaller animals. The animal hade longer arms, stronger upper body, and shorter leggs than humans.
      Primates of different origin might have evolved to fill the same role on different continents by convergence. Intelligens happens to stumble upon these races about the same time.

      Why not a combination of 2a and 2b?

      Their different gods are not almighty as they are not alone on the earth. One not almighty creator might actually lack some imagination and if one god with creational powers blesses a race with certain features then another god might copy the best design ideas?

      Eggs raises a lot of questions but also a lot of possibilities.
    • Calisson wrote:

      I forgot to mention that T9A BG team is keen to develop a rather realistic setting. Orcs do have children. Somewhere internally someone has defined loosely Orcs' lifespan, AFAIK to be significantly shorter on average than Humans. This is a very defining feature when thinking about how an alien race lives.
      Also, IMO there is most likely an Orc or Greenskin district in Avras, the very cosmopolitan city inspired from Byzance.
      Akrübad is just a name with a meaning such as "the Unstoppable" in Orc language, adapted to English with loss of meaning. There is no asociated fluff, only the name to fit a poem, so basically you are free to make him what you wish.
      is this shorter life span BECAUSE of their violent culture? Or could it be that because orcs know they live shorter lives they are violent - seeking glory immediately because they can't afford to miss their chance at glory?
    • johedl wrote:

      platigrade. As was partially the pterosaurs, who lay eggs.
      Forward vision is found outside mammals among birds of prey.
      An animal related to the modern birds and the antediluvian pterosaurs might have evolved in a parallel track as ground bound scavenger and hunter. Cave hiding and night hunting for smaller animals. The animal hade longer arms, stronger upper body, and shorter leggs than humans.
      These explanations are great... especially for SA. :)
      So what would be the story?
      Proto-SA, a bird-like dinosaur, evolved "naturally" to various species of SA, while some offspring of same proto-SA were unnaturally forced to evolve towards OnG, losing in the process the Saurian traits and acquiring a primate face, a more upright silhouette, a more human foot?

      Or do you envision a different animal as origin?

      Who could have forced such unnatural evolution? For what purpose?

      -=-=-
      What I had in mind for O&G origin was a primate which would have gained the green colour through either one of three explanations: 1) pigments, which could be painted, or 2) pigments coming from a plnt or mushroom and absorbed and concentrated in the skin, or 3) natural mutation introduced in the DNA, leading to a greenish colour.
      I never envisioned any primate to evolve to egg laying. Would it bring some advantages?

      -=-=-

      jgetsi wrote:

      is this shorter life span BECAUSE of their violent culture? Or could it be that because orcs know they live shorter lives they are violent - seeking glory immediately because they can't afford to miss their chance at glory?
      This could apply to Orcs maybe, but how would that apply to goblins or snortlings?

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    • Calisson wrote:

      These explanations are great... especially for SA.
      So what would be the story?
      Proto-SA, a bird-like dinosaur, evolved "naturally" to various species of SA, while some offspring of same proto-SA were unnaturally forced to evolve towards OnG, losing in the process the Saurian traits and acquiring a primate face, a more upright silhouette, a more human foot?

      Or do you envision a different animal as origin?
      I was not thinking of dinosaurs but pterosaurs. An upright platigrate walk like a penguin instead of a bipedal walk on toes balanced by a tail, they were only a single toe away from a five toed foot. The merging of the nasal and antorbital openings into a single large opening seen in pterosarus could explain the flat open nasal holes of the orcs. Fishing for crabs, mussels and other creatures of the shores might explain the lack of hair. I can not explain how the face became flat :) .

      Coast living flying species might have become isolated on an island or mountain region from predators. With a rather varied, but physically demanding, access to food on ground and in the sea the species might have given up flight in exchange for better digging skills and tougher bones. A diet that includes roots and other shewing food might explain the kept teeth instead of a beak.

      Calisson wrote:

      What I had in mind was a primate which would have gained the green colour through pigments, which could be painted, or absorbed and concentrated in the skin, or even introduced in the DNA.
      I never envisioned any primate to evolve to egg laying. Would it bring some advantages?

      Your explanation is much simpler. But I would like the greenskins to be bit more exotic than just the aggressive gorillas of the sapient primates.

      The primate never evolved to egg laying. It came with it. Egg laying is weight saving and for a former flying creature it means it was an advantage in the primates past. It does however come with the extra cost of energy from the mother to create a full egg that will evolve externally by it self. The eggs need an even environment and makes the tribe less mobile. But after the egg is laid the mothers can work as well as the father.

      Bearing a child internally would put weight on the mother and create the need for a predictable food supply for the mother. But it would be a more flexible way to handle mobility for the tribe as well as tackling uneven temperatures.

      Orcs living in an even climate coupled with unreliable food axess might have benefitted the continued laying of shelled eggs over the development of an placenta.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by johedl ().

    • @Calisson please don't confuse our users. The 9th Age setting is a mythological one. Process of evolution as we know it is largely irrelevant. Creatures of the setting came into being in a moment of creation by primordial forces. Since then there have been some changes but those can in no way or scope be compared with real world evolution. :)

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    • Giladis wrote:

      The 9th Age setting is a mythological one.
      Process of evolution as we know it is largely irrelevant.
      Creatures of the setting came into being in a moment of creation by primordial forces.
      Since then there have been some changes
      If we compare to the situation in RL in the 16th century, which serves us as an inspiration:

      The universe in the 16th century setting was a mythological one, descibed by Genesis for Christians and other myths for other religions.
      Process of evolution as we know was totally unsuspected.
      Creatures of the setting were supposed to have come into being in a moment of creation by primordial forces, according to Genesis.
      Since then there have been some changes, with History.


      Giladis wrote:

      those can in no way or scope be compared with real world evolution.
      Sure! Evolution did not exist in RL at the time, evolution does not exist in T9A.

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    • What if the green skin was due to chlorophyll in it? That is, the actual green chemical that enables plants to do photosynthesis? They would still be carnivores primarily, but have photosynthesis as a secondary energy source. Making it more viable for them to live and amass large numbers even in blasted wastelands.

      I would imagine them to be carnivores primarily, able to digest pretty much any animal matter (using "animal" in the biological sense, i.e. including humans and, speaking in fantasy terms, all sentient species). They would get their meat supply part through hunting and war, and part through herding and breeding pigs. Pigs would be convenient for a relatively primitive and unorganized species such as orcs, since pigs can eat and make use of pretty much any plant matter. Pigs would also be a ready source of leather for orcs. It would also go along with boars being the preferred beasts of war used by orcs.

      Also, it makes for a suitable thematic image of what happens when an orcish horde overruns a major human settlement and its surrounding farmlands: The humans get turned into orcfood. Crops, grain stockpiles and pretty much all plant matter gets turned into pigfood. The abundant food supply enables orc females to move in and start breeding in large numbers. The orc horde has a proper victory orgy (in all of the multiple senses of the word), then the majority of the horde moves onwards to new conquests. A suitable number of the most distinguished veterans are left behind with the females to protect them and to make sure they keep on breeding. The settlement becomes an orcish stronghold at least for as long as it takes for the new generation of boyz (and gurlz, presumably) to grow to adulthood, whereby depending on circumstances they'll either become a horde of their own or reinforce their parent horde. Or, if the parent horde does badly, it might retreat back to the stronghold it once conquered.
      Sunna is not with the big battalions, but with the ones whose parts move with the best coordination.
    • Another thing. The Greenhide Races. What should they represent? That they're called races implies biological differences, but then, pretty much all the implied background in the slim books should be regarded as provisional. Thus, the relevant question is not one of what they can be inferred to be, but of what they should be.

      I would prefer if they wouldn't be racial subgroups, but rather something like castes, or sociocultural differences. I particularly never liked the WFB savage orcs, the whole concept smells of (probably unconscious) racism. Orcs that are exceptionally savage, aggressive, primitive and stupid even by orcish standards, and they just happen to live in the geographical analogue of Africa. Also, letting the difference be sociocultural rather than racial would go better together with how all three kinds of orcs and goblins can freely be mixed in the same army.

      Iron Orcs could simply be an elite warrior caste, something like orcish huscarls. Bodyguard units and standing forces of elite shock troops of chieftains and warlords. The orcs that are solely warriors by occupation, and perform no work apart from warring or training for war (something pretty much every orc would want to, but few get to). Disciplined and regimented by orcish standards. Trained in actual combat techniques taught and honed among themselves, unlike most orcs who learn by doing. Armed and armoured to the teeth and provided for at the expense of the chieftain, who thus decides their number. Being thus an exclusive warrior brotherhood within orckind, they would have the final say on who gets to be inducted to fill vacancies. The chieftain often makes nominees, but only chieftains who have risen to that position from within the iron orcs themselves would be able to count on their nominations being accepted by default.

      Common Orcs would then be the great mass of orckind, the boyz who usually make up the bulk of most orcish tribes and armies. While they live to fight and every common orc is a warrior, they also form the labour base of the orcish economy, the work that needs doing to fuel the war machine. They herd pigs, mine ore, smith, chop wood, build structures, and most else that needs doing. They are required to provide for themselves economically at times when there aren't spoils of war to live on, as well as pay tribute to the tribal chieftain. Thus, they are somewhat comparable to conscripts, though ones that are more eager to be mobilized and more likely to cause trouble on their own than most. Or, to common Viking raiders who were farmers most of the time but joined in on raids when they happened. The biggest, toughest, most experienced and ferocious ones are the 'Eadbashers. They, like the iron orcs, are something of a standing force of full-time warriors provided for by the tribe, the ones to usually carry out low-intensity warfare that doesn't require mobilizing the bulk of the tribe. They also serve as subordinates of the chieftain and the executors of his rule, and more often than not enforce it by bashing heads. Thus, while iron orcs are very much apart from orcish society, 'eadbashers are very much part of it though a notch above the common orc. Most common orcs that rise to the position of chieftain do so through being 'eadbashers as an intermediate stepping-stone.

      Feral orcs, then. I would prefer if they were to be renamed into Orc Berserkers or something like that. That is, not a separate race, but a different fighting style. While orcs overall are known for a fighting style of reckless aggression, orc berserkers take it to a whole other level, fighting with mad fury, counting on a combination of killing the enemy first, sheer grit and furious determination to protect them. Indeed, there are stories of orc berserkers fighting on unaffected by and apparently not even noticing wounds that would take a common orc out of action. Orc berserkers tend to congregate into warbands of the similarly disposed, thus amplifying the battlefield potency of their fighting style. In principle, berserkerdom is simply a fighting style, not a social class in tribal society, orc berserkers having the same positions in society as common orcs, being either commoners, 'eadbashers or chieftains. In practice, one does not simply go ape in combat and then return to pig herding just like any common orc. Orc berserkers are often exceptionally restless for action and prone to squabbling even by orcish standards, which has an effect on the internal politics of the tribe. Being a ferocious force in war as well as a powder keg of dissent, their presence is a double-edged blade for any chieftain. More often than not, things finally come to a head, resulting either in the berserkers getting wiped out, or killing the chieftain and his 'eadbashers and seizing control of the tribe.


      That's enough background ideas for today. I'll continue with the goblin races later, though feel free to jump in.
      Sunna is not with the big battalions, but with the ones whose parts move with the best coordination.
    • @Konrad von Richtmark I like your idea a lot. Mainly because my view of the iron orcs is exactly the same. I don't agree witth the rasism idea though. GW explained it as the the not already very sophisticated orc brain being baked by the strong sun in the region creating the savage orcs, bringing the orcs primal and agressive nature more to the foreground. But you could make them berserkers getting in a fighting trance. This would make them more geographically independent en gives more room for modelling
    • Konrad von Richtmark wrote:

      I would prefer if they wouldn't be racial subgroups, but rather something like castes, or sociocultural differences. I particularly never liked the WFB savage orcs, the whole concept smells of (probably unconscious) racism. Orcs that are exceptionally savage, aggressive, primitive and stupid even by orcish standards, and they just happen to live in the geographical analogue of Africa. Also, letting the difference be sociocultural rather than racial would go better together with how all three kinds of orcs and goblins can freely be mixed in the same army.
      I like this idea and I have envisioned their differs in a similar fashion. I, however, thought of the Iron Orcs as a breed apart. As orcs and feral orcs are the same race and their rule differens is due to their differens in society and look on life. Like the differs between dwarves and death seekers.

      Ferals lives in separate clans or might be a separate warrior class in an ordinary orc tribe. Perhaps they could be seen as followers of an green god who embodies the way of the free orc and the rule of the strong. Let us call him Karlakarl and he bows for no king, lives of the land as a hunter, he looks down on the use of metal as it is the tool of the lesser races (Lizards and dwarves), he does not fear death as all who falls in the trial of combat is summoned to his side as a hunter on the other side of the veil. There they hunt, feast and test their martial skills against the other creatures behind the veil. When the veil is draw back and the different worlds unite Karlakarl will bring his host back and unit them with the living orcs and the full green host will conquer the full creation, topple all kings and no orc will ever be i chains again.

      Iron orcs are something completely different. I personally like the idea of them being a separate race who was created by magic by the saurians when orcs lived in captivity as a smarter slave race who could be used as warriors instead of saurians in the war against the creatures behind the veil. They learned to fight war and won for the saurians but as a byproduct many great and experienced commanders arrived and they turned against their masters and as the civil war started many other races followed the Iron Orcs and won freedom.
      Another approach might be that the Iron orcs are a small procent of all orcs and they look like ordinary orcs from birth but soon starts to outgrow their siblings and their skins gets darker and darker until it has the color of cast iron. The are held in great respect and viewed as special blessed by the green (actually black) god of warfare and metal craft, let us call him Morkhar. Many blacksmiths are either iron orcs or followers of Morkhar.
      The Iron orcs are darker and, when adults, as big as an ´eadbasher. They are more cunning than the average orc and usually fight in a much more disciplined maner compared to the their ordinary brethren. They do not seem to have the same fears as other orcs. For example no one has seen or heard of an iron orc who fears heights, water, or fire. They look down on superstition and do not worship the gods under someones leadership, thus the lack of schamans.

      Konrad von Richtmark wrote:

      Common Orcs would then be the great mass of orckind, the boyz who usually make up the bulk of most orcish tribes and armies. While they live to fight and every common orc is a warrior, they also form the labour base of the orcish economy, the work that needs doing to fuel the war machine. They herd pigs, mine ore, smith, chop wood, build structures, and most else that needs doing. They are required to provide for themselves economically at times when there aren't spoils of war to live on, as well as pay tribute to the tribal chieftain. Thus, they are somewhat comparable to conscripts, though ones that are more eager to be mobilized and more likely to cause trouble on their own than most. Or, to common Viking raiders who were farmers most of the time but joined in on raids when they happened. The biggest, toughest, most experienced and ferocious ones are the 'Eadbashers. They, like the iron orcs, are something of a standing force of full-time warriors provided for by the tribe, the ones to usually carry out low-intensity warfare that doesn't require mobilizing the bulk of the tribe. They also serve as subordinates of the chieftain and the executors of his rule, and more often than not enforce it by bashing heads. Thus, while iron orcs are very much apart from orcish society, 'eadbashers are very much part of it though a notch above the common orc. Most common orcs that rise to the position of chieftain do so through being 'eadbashers as an intermediate stepping-stone.
      I agree with your view of the common orcs. I think that the portion of the population that work in the food creating part of the economy would be larger than in humans societies as the orcs are bigger and need to eat more food, perhaps twice as much, and therefore usually have a much smaller administrative elite in their society. Schamans, administrators, and such would be a smaller fraction and their society would therefore be organized less top down and more flat. Many orcs would need to be able to be both warriors and tradesmen. Must schamans and leaders would need to hunt, breed animals, or grow crops in addition to taxes in order to feed themselves due to less potential tax revenues. Few rulers can afford the luxury of keeping full time bards, schamans, or artists at court. Such professions are considered part time professions and hired during special festivals at most. If employed, it is not unusual to see an orc chieftain having a goblin jester or manservant instead of an orc.
    • Necrosa wrote:

      So what would be, or what would justify, the difference between Common and Iron Orc Warbosses?
      I would say, a difference in origin.

      Common Orc chieftains have risen to their position through the usual ways of tribal politics. Ways that are as of yet unspecificed, but probably more violent than the domestic politics of most societies. Warlords would likely either just be chieftains of the most powerful tribes, or leaders of alliances of several tribes, either permanent confederations or temporary coalitions to amass the numbers needed for larger campaigns of conquest.

      Iron Orc chieftains would have originated from among the iron orcs of the tribe. I imagine the iron orcs to be something like the Varangian Guard, not just a caste of their own but largely apart from tribal politics. They'd serve under whoever manages to become chieftain through the usual procedure, a procedure they'd generally not take part in. Their allegiance would be to the tribe, not to whoever currently is chieftain. There are circumstances though that sometimes cause an iron orc to end up becoming chieftain. Natural-born leaders are born in every segment of society, and sometimes an iron orc just happens to be the right orc to take up the position, particularly if the tribal chain of command gets badly shredded in war and someone needs to step up. Also, despite usually staying out of tribal politics, it happens on occasion that the iron orcs decide to violently remove the chieftain from power, if they think he is engaging in misrule and the good of the tribe requires it. If they do, more often than not they end up taking charge themselves, making one of their own number the new chieftain.

      The difference in origin would well justify the rules differences between the two, largely as they are in the current version of the armybook. Iron orc chieftains would have benefited from the formalized combat training they'd gotten as iron orcs, justifying them having Weapon Master and an additional point of Off and Def.
      Sunna is not with the big battalions, but with the ones whose parts move with the best coordination.