One of the key races of Garin, the Orcs followed the Elves and Dwarves as the third of the major races to inhabit the world. The did not start out in their modern form, however. The Goblinoid race, which was the progenitor race of the modern Orcs and Goblins was a baser creature. Less intelligent and susceptible to coercion and manipulated by the Elves, they often found themselves on the bad end of a situation. Especially when caught between the Elves and Dwarves in one disagreement or another. As the ages past they grew wary of the elder two races and no longer so readily agreed to schemes and plans that saw Goblinoid blood shed for the benefit of others.

This worked in their favour, as well as causing great hardship. Carving out a slice of land they could rear their animals on always put them at odds with Elves on the plains and in the forest and Dwarves in the hills and mountains. Certain elements of the Goblinoids started to prefer one environment over the other and so the race started to divide. By this point the hill and mountain part of the race stayed smaller and more nimble while the plains and trees loving part of the race had grown in strength and stature and were more than a match one on one for an individual Elf or Dwarf in combat. They’d grown clever in martial skills and had inflicted some terrible defeats on Elven forces that had taken their presence lightly.
Their armourers had learned the skills of weapon and armour making and they had clever engineers building strong fortifications as well as engines of war.
Having finally established themselves as equals to the Elves and Dwarves, the trouble for the Goblinoids now came from within. The hill and mountain loving part of the race was moving ever further away from those that loved the plains and trees. A schism developed and there was more than one war fought to keep the race united in the face of the threats it faced.
Eventually, however, the gulf grew too wide, and there could no longer be any reconciliation. The Orcs, who were now large and strong could no longer cohabitate with their smaller, quicker and more cunning Goblin cousins. While each sub-race understood the common heritage, they no longer regarded themselves as the same race.

So, the Orcs stayed on the plains and in the forests and grew and prospered while the Goblins delved in the hills and mountains to discover their secrets.

And then the arrival of humans onto Garin was the Orc’s toughest challenge yet. The humans proved more overtly war-like than either of the Elves and Dwarves and worse still, the humans also coveted the Orcish lands.

So the Orcs became very good at war.

A fully grown Orc is a daunting prospect. Clad in heavy armour and brandishing heavy weapons they present a fearsome challenge. And woe betide any commander, of any race, that believes the Orc is slow and stupid, because they will find, to their cost, that they are anything but.

The Orcs also have allies in the creatures of the world. They make great friends of the Giants, the Trolls and the Ogres. They rear packs of huge wolves and bears and ride them into battle as fast cavalry. They nurture Wyverns from hatching to adulthood, training them as mounts and riding them into the fray.

The Orcs are a formidable foe.

And yet, they are not all about war. Far from it. While staking a claim to a home in Tineré often forces them to fight, they are also accomplished engineers, adept mages and deeply faithful to the gods that they revere. They trade skilfully with produce and artisan works valued across the whole continent. They are also accomplished sailors and explorers. The Orc nations are a complex interaction of warrior culture with faith and trade.

In a future update, we will explore the sundered cousins of the Orcs and the the half of the Goblinoid descendants. The Goblins.