Tiralth, Quest for Freedom
(Though this focuses on the Orcs of Tolare, there are Mountain Orcs, who are the traditional savage orcs in other games)
Storm clouds arise slow
Yet no one appears to see
Dancing rain falls down
The Orcs of Tolare are a proud, noble people heavily steeped in tradition, art, family and society as a whole. Though only the Saguri caste are land owners, and are permitted to wield the war sabers of the caste and are responsible for the armies of the Empire, the entire society is oriented around the art of war. Despite this, peasants are not permitted to carry bladed weapons, and can only carry weapons when apart of a Saguri’s armed force. There is no animosity toward the warrior Saguri despite this. Instead the peasants simply work to better their land, honor their family, and more importantly honor their lord and Warlord.
Tolaran society is broken down into a caste system, and is rigidly followed. Everything is in the honor of the Family, Spirits, and Ancestors. The Orcs do believe in the Gods, especially the ones dedicated to war, and temples can be found in their lands to these gods. However to the Orc, the Spirits, and more importantly the Ancestor is the ideal chosen form of worship. Spirits in the Orc’s eyes are everywhere, there is a spirit of the sun, a spirit of the rocks, a spirit of the river etc. Ancestors, those who died are Orcs who have become spirits. One’s Ancestors might be worshiped or revered simply because it is a blood tie to the spirits that surround them, and thus worthy of recognition. Other races, the Elves particularly, believe that the Orcs are worshiping falsehoods. The answer is that the spirits on the Island of Tolare are real. Their ancestors when they die join the spirits. The Spirits give their clerics and shamans their divine powers. Even their mages are guided and empowered by these spirits. The bond between the Orc and the Spiritual realm is very real, and very powerful.
Before the enslavement the Orc race was tribal, one might call them feral. They were nomadic, traveling from place to place in a hunter gatherer society. When the Dragons descended upon the world they found the Orcs relatively easy prey. They were then used as food, and as manual labor, especially in mines were the Orc’s more muscled bodies could be put to best use. It was only like this for the majority of the Orcs however. One Orc was kept by a silver dragon by the name of Kensei. This same silver dragon was the one who taught the Arileons their path to enlightenment. The Orc, name Kagoran, was shamed and enraged toward the treatment of his race by the more greedy dragons. Attempting to placate someone Kensei viewed as a friend, he taught the Orc martial arts and Blacksmithing. Eventually Teaching his friend how to fold metal into a finely wrought weapon. Kagoran made the first War Saber and named it Kusanagi, Freedom in the Orcan language. Kensei then allowed his friend to teach ninety-nine other Orcs to occupy him, and to bring about a calming sense of camaraderie.
In the Decades that followed, Kagoran taught these Orcs everything he knew, and was occasionally accompanied by Kensei in the teachings. They all forged their own blades, and all learned well. When the Night of a Thousand scales descended upon them Kensei stopped briefly before his friend and gave him a suit of armor he had been working on. The Armor was glittering in Silver dragon Scales. With a final farewell, Kensei flew away. The One hundred Orcs trained in combat by Kensei and Kagoran fought against dragons in that uprising bravely. Kagoran himself fought the massive Blackmaw of the Black Dragon flight, reportedly the greatest dragon of his kind. When the dust settled, Kagoran still stood, his silver armor merely scratched, but one eye missing. Not pausing he and his fellows continued in the battles for Freedom, and freed as many Orcs as they could. By the end of the war, only twelve of the one hundred Orcs remained, Kagoran among them, but the warriors had freed thousands of the Orcs and banded them together.
As a race, the Orcs headed east, eventually crossing a narrow strip of ocean that lead to an unclaimed large island. Kagoran was declared the Warlord of the Orcs, and promptly named the land and thus his new Empire Tolare. The twelve companions that remained from the war for Freedom against the dragons were each granted a piece of land thus dividing the land into twelve equal parts called a Dugara. Kagoran simple claimed a spot for the capital and declared that no weapon may ever be drawn in this city unless a formal duel is declared. From there he set about constructing a homeland for his people. Each Dugara is responsible for it’s people, and the Warlord responsible for the Lord of each Dugara. What happens with this type of system is that even a peasant may make a complaint about his Lord before the Warlord. If the complaint is found to be valid, the Warlord may issue punishment as he sees fit. Each Dugara is split up into districts, each run by a trusted Saguri. The Lord of a Dugara is permitted to have as many as One Thousand Saguri so long as he can support them, but may never have any more than that. The Warlord may have as many as he sees fit. Internal squabbles, which happen frequently, can only be settled by Saguri, either diplomatically or through force of arms. No territory is permitted to be taken to preserve the original twelve Dugaras.
Because Saguris are such an integral part to the workings of society as protectors, warriors, and diplomats, many Saguris are well versed in art, poetry and literature as well as the swordsmanship, archery and tactics of a warrior. To this end the people view the Saguri as heroes, and the Saguri return this hero worship by being companionate to the peasantry, and courteous to a fault to the Lords and the Warlord. Saguri on the field of battle however are nothing like the gentle souls they are off the field. They fight with a savage determination while wielding their War Sabers with deadly efficiency. The Saguris however are respectful even in battle. A worthy opponent is marked with an “X” drawn with a blade on the field of battle. After a battle the Saguri will seek those they marked as worthy, and to keep that strength will cut out the heart with their blades and consume the heart. They did this because they believed that the Strength of the opponent would be passed on to them and would both aid their people, and honor them.
It was this belief and respect that would cause them to become pseudo-slaves to the Vaxian Empire. The Vaxians believed that if they were to conquer the world the Orcs would have to be removed from the equation. They landed on the southern portion with a fleet of Barges, all attempts by the Small Tolaran navy repulsed by the Dark Elven corsairs running escort. Meeting on the field of battle was the entire might of the Orcan army. The Vaxians discouraged and advanced. When the armies meet on the field of battle, the Warlord marched forth and issued a challenge, calling the Dragonmen fools for entering his domain. The Vaxian Emperor, taken aback by this brazen insult answered the challenge. The two met in what can only be described as the longest single melee battle on the history of the planet. For twelve days, and twelve nights the two battered each other relentlessly in a stunning show of stamina and skill. In the end however it was not the Orc Warlord who was the Victor. Tired, battered and wounded the Orc was lifted from his knees to stare in the Vaxian’s face, the Emperor suddenly lashed out slamming his clawed fingers in the Warlord’s chest ripping out a still beating heart and eating it before the Warlord’s eyes.
Stunned that a Vaxian would know of Orcan tradition, and in Respect for the Emperor’s show of skill and respect to the Orcs, the forces f the Orcs allowed the Vaxian’s to rest. On the following day the new Orc Warlord, the son of the fallen Warlord, bent knee to the Vaxians, entwining their destinies. The Vaxians seeing in the Orcs the chance to quickly end a war and gain a warrior race as slaves. Quickly the New Warlord and the Emperor came to terms. The Orcs would serve the Vaxian Empire whenever they called. The Orcs in return were permitted to keep their territory and identity. The Orcs quickly assembled a force of the bravest Saguri and their armies. So emboldened by the Tolare host, the Vaxians set forth and began the Vaxian war proper.
Today, the Orcs of Tolare continue their role as warriors for the Vaxian Empire. They answer whenever the cal is made, and the world knows Tolare warriors as much as they know Vaxian. In the Dugaras it is not uncommon to see a Vaxian with an Orc Saguri.
The peasantry have remained completely unchanged since the founding of the kingdom. They work the fields, they forge weapon and armor, and they answer their Lord’s call to arms if an army is needed. Women in the Kingdom are generally the raisers of children and handle such chores as cooking, laundry, sewing and entertainment such as acting and singing, though men play most instruments. Female Saguri are almost never seen, they are the defenders of the home, carefully raising and watching over the children. It is interesting to note that almost every Saguri was trained by a woman, usually their mother, while their father was off conducting his Lord’s business. However should a female Saguri be available for marriage they typically adventure out with an army to show her prowess in battle and thus earn the respect of her perspective husband.
The Twelve Dugaras are
The Tolaran War Saber
The Saguri are all trained from the day they can walk in the wielding of the War Saber. Over the years they have perfected the art of forging these folded weapons and have even personalized them. When forging the Saguri whose blade the Saber is to become cuts himself and allows his blood to mingle in a pool of water used for quenching the blade. This water is traditionally Glacial spring water. Once complete, the Tolarans believe the weapon shares a soul with it’s wielder, thus forging an unstoppable swordsman.
Damage: 1D10 wielded one handed, 2D6 wielded in two hands with the two handed. All War Sabers are Masterwork, and only a Saguri may wield them.
Orc Racial Stats
While this mainly applies to the Tolaran Orc, there are tribes of Orcs in the Mountains of both continents. These stat modifiers apply to All orcs.
Mountain Orc: Barbarian
Tolaran Orc: Fighter or Cleric, must choose at character creation.