Blessed be for Ava, our news person extraordinaire. I’m digging the weekly deep readings, getting the noggin rolling.
Its all got me thinking about orcs, and their role in my game. I’ve never liked the whole orcs are bad and savage and all that droll, it never made sense in any thematic way, to just have a scourge that stops at nothing, that just wants to wipe others off the map. It becomes even more hilariously out of place when we consider the racial weight the orc carries, and the modern methods of ‘western’ countries that seem rather orcy to me. Enough of that, just for context, not controversy.
I like Terry Prachett’s attack on the orc in Orc!, hence the title of the thread (raise a glass of something cool to the memory of the guy eh). Society seeks to defines us, forces us into rote roles that become parodies of themselves. So it goes.
To redefine orcs in a way that makes them something meaningful without pandering. I liked Warcraft 3’s take, though it hews a little close to “noble savage”. So this is my thinking on the matter:
Orcs are anarchists in that they live in communal non-hierarchical societies that intentionally seek to remove themselves from other civilizations, perhaps for lore reasons. Technology and other factors would be the same, so not super advanced like Wakanda. Otherwise they are normal people living life. Orcs that my players have encountered would be revealed to be outcasts from these communal villages. Effectively orcs as the brutal warlike race are revealed to be more akin to bandit leaders and warlords, scrapping together an existence outside of their society. A cataclysm brings the communal orcs into contact with the rest of the world.
Curious what folks think about the above as a means to address problematic orc assumptions.
Also, I would love to see what ideas others have to bring the orc around