Goblin Ecology

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  • Why does people want orcs to be Warcraft like! I uderstand for WoW players it would be more familiar but would be strange fo WFB and WH40K players. And it would also be boring and would basically copy another factions lore. Orcs would be nothuing more than Wastleland Barbiarians that are green. Thing is there is more factions in 9th age than in Warcraft and trying to push orcs into familiar role from Warcraft means that it will be same as role of other faction in 9th age. In essense in 9th age there are already barbarians form the westlands (and lots of them). If you prefer this lore just play WDG. Orcs need to be something diferent both from biology and psyhology point of view to work properly in this setting. Also if there are orc females and they procreate sexually there is no place for them in this corwded world. They would have to be placed somwhere very very far away in some desolate land away from everyone where they can slowly muster their numbers to the point of being any kind of threat. And this would mean they are no threat in comparison to undead, WDG, Saurians, Elfs and all the other nasty things. It also poses problems with diferent greenskin species and their relations.

    Do not get me wrong I like Warcraft. Warcraft III is one of my favorite games of all times. But why copy solutions from other settings when there is no need to?

    This mushroom thing is bad @JimMorr I agree. But bear in mind orcs are not fungi per se in WFB or WH40K. They are animals that have biology based on very close symbiotic relation with several fungus species.

    Zug Zug
    Sklodo
    Best regards
    Sklodo

    Retireing for unspecyfied period of time. Sometime I hate the world.
  • As I noticed before - goblinoids have not always been fungi in WFB. It is quite recent development and done for WH40k at least partly to justify feral orcs in age of spece combat. In orginal Warhammer RPG half-orcs did exist which means orcs have been humanoids able to cross-breed. And it is not orcs that are like other races... it is ogres who are just like big, nasty, technologically advanced orcs. Another late development.

    I can live with fungi-goblinoids. I believe however that ordinary orca give much more possibilities like half-orcs or orogs (orcs with some ogre blood...)
  • Shlagrabak wrote:

    I, on the other hand, love the fungus biology. It helps explaining why greenhides may be constantly growing, why they keep respawning in large numbers and why there are no females (and really, no males either). It's unique, flavourful, and opens a ton of possibilities, while I find the regular biology to be quite bland. But I guess the Background doesn't need to decide officially and let us have our own interpretation, since it's being told a lot from an in-world perspective. Don't think the scholars of late medieval period could understand biology that far anyway! It was much more about the large-scale observation.
    Another approach that might justify relative lack of gender traits and the parasitic/symbiotic relationship of lesser greenskins could be a Hive ecology, i.e. one "Queen" who spawns all of her own drones, workers, soldiers, etc. Some species of ants even are known to enslave other ant species and integrate them into their own hive.

    However, a Hive ecology would likely make greenskins considerably less nomadic. I tend to prefer the fungus approach myself, for the reasons stated above.
  • I have also always found the fungal roots odd. I mean at the end of the day, Orcs and Goblins are man things- albeit bigger and stronger (or smaller and weedier depending on the Greenhide), they bleed when cut, and die when you chop their heads off. They don't act like plants, which makes fungus an odd comparison.

    There are lots of factors which can contribute to their survival and numbers.
    1) More frequent procreation (shorter cycles)
    2) Larger groups of young
    3) Faster growth periods, if it takes a human 18 years to become fully grown, an elf 50 years, and an orc 3 years.

    Combine these factors, and you have a rapidly reproducing population. Look at Skaven, they reproduce like lightning, for the reasons stated above. Orcs just have always felt more animal than plant. We shouldn't base a lack of female orc models as the reason they reproduce like plants. There aren't any women 40K Imperial Guard models, but we assume that they could exist. And there are miniature manufacturers who do make them.

    It made sense for Warhammer 40K to move to fungus, in an effort to sanitize 40K, and explain a universe wide ork infestation. And it made sense for Fantasy to mimic it, for consistency purposes. It doesn't make sense for the 9th age to continue on with the concept.

    If we want to get freaky, we could even give the Greenhides could reproduce in an insect colony type way. You could have *very* few female, which are massive Queen Greenskins. Then they lay hundreds of thousands of eggs of varying greenskin types, depending on what the colony needs. Gobblins, Snotlings, Orcs, etc.

    The point is, anything is possible at this point. We shouldn't feel limited to use the fungal concept if we don't want to.
    I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
  • Make note we are talkiem fungus BASED biology. Not that Orcs are fungus. This mean biologically they are animal organisms that live in extreamly close symbiotic relationship with severla specialised fungus species (for example one for breeding one for enhancing blood one for serving as some organ adn so on). They cannot live without that fungi, granted, but this not mean they ARE fungus. Even in WH40k there is sentence thet states that ork brain is in fact devioided of any fungus at all (as only place in their body free of some form of fungus).

    Best regards
    Sklodo
    Best regards
    Sklodo

    Retireing for unspecyfied period of time. Sometime I hate the world.
  • I don't know the 40k story and don't play the game either. I just like the fungus background, but you're right to say that it is not mandatory.

    akaean wrote:

    If we want to get freaky, we could even give the Greenhides could reproduce in an insect colony type way. You could have *very* few female, which are massive Queen Greenskins. Then they lay hundreds of thousands of eggs of varying greenskin types, depending on what the colony needs. Gobblins, Snotlings, Orcs, etc.
    Like @Ozariig pointed out it would make Greenhides much more static and defensive on their location. Besides, a hive behaviour is really about selflessness, where your personal fears and mind don't matter before the sake of the colony. Sense of sacrifice and fearlessness are not what I would personally associate with Greenhides.

    We don't have to go down the road of fungi. Greenhides could be mammalians, fungi, symbiotic beings or other things. But IMO it would be very practical to get rid of the questions of resources and risks spent on finding and upkeeping suitable mates, i.e. the question of sexual reproduction (it can be asexual instead).
    By the way, fungi are not plants, they cannot perform photosynthesis and have a different reproductive system, which is what is convenient to use. :)
  • @Shlagrabak I agree that this would be practical way of solwing several issues in fast, sensible and interesting way. We could also go mixed road. Making more emphasis on symbiosis with fungi with keeping in all the mamalian traits, up to O&G being humans infected by some kind of spores (but that seem to Chaos-mutant-like for my taste)

    Best regards
    Sklodo
    Best regards
    Sklodo

    Retireing for unspecyfied period of time. Sometime I hate the world.
  • Sklodo wrote:

    @Shlagrabak I agree that this would be practical way of solwing several issues in fast, sensible and interesting way. We could also go mixed road. Making more emphasis on symbiosis with fungi with keeping in all the mamalian traits, up to O&G being humans infected by some kind of spores (but that seem to Chaos-mutant-like for my taste)

    Best regards
    Sklodo
    They do share a lot of physical traits with humanoids at least. Either they did not evolve from primate-like species, but through a process of convergent evolution (like dolphins may look like fishes on first approach) or another process to specifically mimic another species, they acquired this resemblance ; or they did come from/are still mammalian primates but acquired their own characteristics, maybe through a symbiotic partner.
    Infesting another species to make one of their own is not something that I would personally like to see, because it would make them dependent on capturing and living near other species. 1) I would imagine that they would have no tendency to spare and capture their victims in general 2) that would prevent them from invading wild/desertic lands with no other humanoids.

    Very interesting conversation to have anyway. :) But we should maybe not invade the OP's thread which was about something slightly different. @Xargosh let me know if you want me to move the posts about greenhides biology in another thread. :)
  • Shlagrabak wrote:

    Like @Ozariig pointed out it would make Greenhides much more static and defensive on their location. Besides, a hive behaviour is really about selflessness, where your personal fears and mind don't matter before the sake of the colony. Sense of sacrifice and fearlessness are not what I would personally associate with Greenhides.
    We don't have to go down the road of fungi. Greenhides could be mammalians, fungi, symbiotic beings or other things. But IMO it would be very practical to get rid of the questions of resources and risks spent on finding and upkeeping suitable mates, i.e. the question of sexual reproduction (it can be asexual instead).
    By the way, fungi are not plants, they cannot perform photosynthesis and have a different reproductive system, which is what is convenient to use. :)
    eh, while it does make them a bit more Static, I think it also works. While I was just proposing the Colony approach as an alternate idea, I would see Orcs behaving more like wasps. You still have them ranging, raiding, and foraging. New nests spring up everywhere, and you have to try to exterminate the nest to remove a Greenhide infestation. It's just an alternate idea to approach Orc populations :)

    As to the plant vs fungi... you got me there. I got nothin
    I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
  • As I understand that you want to justify with fungi-based biology huge armies raised by a race who neither has developed agriculture nor is able to create any trade goods. Use it as a shortcut to avoid all those difficult questions on economy... It might work, but it wouldn't work for long. Fully grown-up goblinoids do have biology similar to any other race - they need to eat, need to drink, need to breath. A huge army suddenly appearing in the middle of nowhere without any local base of operation, without source of supplies will starve. Or will start eating itself in case of goblinoids...

    Can a civilization with no agricultural background raise a huge army? It will be difficult for gatherers and huntsmen. They have to live dispersed, to be able to provide their tribes with food. They will never create bigger cities and they have little interest in meeting with others of their kin: each colony if fully self-sufficient. However if they will have significant male-overproduction or live in harems then young males will be forced from the tribes to bring back fame & treasures for which they will buy females. It might have also some religious background (journey of a warrior or whatever). Those outcasts will band together and will follow strongest leader around. Young warriors starting their journey prepare for months drying and smoking meat so each of them carries his own supplies for weeks. The waaghhh gathers fast and disappears as fast - when the loot is gained nothing keeps greenskins together. This might be convenient explanation why goblinoid invasions usually do not cause territorial gain for greenskins.


    Creating a huge army if easier for nomadic shepherds. They travel a lot, trade with each other. They can be forced to invade by a drought for example. When plains they live on cannot provide food for their herds they will move on to find better grounds. And they will move in force for every leaving member of tribe will follow. I can imagine goblinoids pasturing huge herds of half-wild squigs on vast planes in the east. Invading each year when winter is too long or summer too hot.
  • akaean wrote:

    eh, while it does make them a bit more Static, I think it also works. While I was just proposing the Colony approach as an alternate idea, I would see Orcs behaving more like wasps. You still have them ranging, raiding, and foraging. New nests spring up everywhere, and you have to try to exterminate the nest to remove a Greenhide infestation. It's just an alternate idea to approach Orc populations
    That would probably be how outsiders would see O&G in my opinion. Anywhere from a nuisance to an imminent and numerous danger. But the inside view must incorporate more of religion and emotion in my opinion.


    JimMorr wrote:

    Creating a huge army if easier for nomadic shepherds. They travel a lot, trade with each other. They can be forced to invade by a drought for example. When plains they live on cannot provide food for their herds they will move on to find better grounds. And they will move in force for every leaving member of tribe will follow. I can imagine goblinoids pasturing huge herds of half-wild squigs on vast planes in the east. Invading each year when winter is too long or summer too hot.
    :thumbsup: I can especially see Feral Orcs and Common Goblins doing this, complemented with hunting. Herds could be of boars too!

    JimMorr wrote:

    Fully grown-up goblinoids do have biology similar to any other race - they need to eat, need to drink, need to breath. A huge army suddenly appearing in the middle of nowhere without any local base of operation, without source of supplies will starve. Or will start eating itself in case of goblinoids...
    Absolutely! :) It could be among the basic motivations of Greenhides to go on a raiding and looting campaign. Overpopulation. A greentide would assemble and rush like a wave against its neighbours, gaining momentum and creating havoc on its way, until it is defeated or trapped in starvation. That would fit the nomadic and invader view.

    Doesn't mean that settlements or bigger lairs would not exist, feeding the respawn of these tides. You are convincing me on this one, a trade and breed system would be very fitting to maintain a minimum population outside of these tides (who said mushroom farms? :p). I can totally picture the treacherous goblin king plotting his next move at the heart of its cave or forest lair. :D
  • JimMorr wrote:

    Shlagrabak wrote:

    I can especially see Feral Orcs and Common Goblins doing this
    And here comes another important question - are the greenskin communities single or multirace? Some tribes may consist of Common Goblins doing the pustering, Orcs acting as mercenaries or elite and snotlings swarming around. Even trolls might fit in...
    I would guess both cases happen. Mixes could be especially common at war (common/forest goblins raiders scouting ahead while orcs could lead the main force), but we have some clues that the typical environments of greenhides may be different depending on their race (cave and forest goblins for example). This doesn't mean that they can't live next to each other but certainly suggests that the communities/cultures do not blend all the time and rather have their own places.
  • I can see goblins generally speaking (forest, cave, common) are the smarter of the Orc / Goblin relationship. Goblins more able to establish working relationships with other communities.

    I may be stereotypical but really like the soccer hooligan type of Orc with a steeper slant towards like nothing more than to fight and go to war.
    If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything - Mark Twain

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  • dirtywulf wrote:

    I may be stereotypical but really like the soccer hooligan type of Orc with a steeper slant towards like nothing more than to fight and go to war.
    I guess that image can stand with some sort of "trade", although I agree Orc trade is probably not going to look like Goblin trade.
    "We got da bridge, you got da shinies. You pass, we got the shinies, dealz ?"

    "I got good stone to make spikiez, said the feral orc Grobulg the one-eyed, about the piece of obsidian in its hand. Want good spikiez? Two gnashers a piece.
    - Dat's too much, answered Tig Greenbit, the cave goblin. Can't even see the stone in the dark to shape it. One 'andle of teeth.
    - Nah, need more food for the tribe. No big'di, I take you den!
    - What? No, no, no, wai..."

    "Hey, wait, that's not the agreement, where are the weapons?
    -In yer faaaaace!"

    All in all, I would see orc trade existing, but simple and often unreliable or degenerating into a fight. Tributes and taxes could be expected (while probably very variable), along anything based on "the strongest rules" philosophy.
  • I'm absolutely in with a general picture of smarter (politically speaking) goblins (than orcs), with a wide array of relationship with other factions.

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  • Even if the Orcs are just stupid brutes they need to eat. And they are smart enough to understand that it easier to get food for not fighting then win all the supplies in combat.

    Pure orc societies will be huntsman / raiders. Any equipment they get would be by looting. However a lot of orcs might be living along goblins and a whole range of relationships is possible: starting from orcs subduing a goblin tribe, turning all small ones into slaves through goblins serving orcs from free will for protection to orcs being just stupid mecenaries, fighting for food and shinies for a reach goblin tribe.

    The post was edited 3 times, last by JimMorr ().