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Half-Orc Handbook
By: Phillip Humphries, et al


           Hi! Welcome to the wonderful world of Orcs, or the Uruk as they prefer to be called. If you are neither playing an Orc nor on plot committee, this document will explode upon your reaching page two. I mean it. Put it down.

           To continue, Orc's as a race are not quite bright. Does that mean that they are stupid? Not. hardly. Some of them are and some of them aren't----just like every other race out there. A better way to look at it would be to say that the average IQ for an Orc is about 10 to 20 points lower than the average IQ for a human. That means that while the smartest human is noticeably  smarter than the smartest Orc; there are some Orcs out there smarter than most humans, and a few that are smarter than most intelligent humans. But remember, they are the exception to the rule and as such should be a rarity.

          Because of this Orcish Society is primitive and brutal, as in all societies where physical rather than mental strength is the predominant trait. Orcish culture is based on the concepts of might makes right and what am I strong enough to get away with. The package presented in the following pages follows these guidelines. Does this mean that all players playing Orcs should follow this package? No. This merely means that these are the ideas and opinions

held to be true by most Orcs out there. If you do not want to play an Orc who is primitive and brutal, but would rather play one raised in different beliefs, then that is what you should play. Your character should first and foremost be fun for you. However, if that is what you decide, you should remember these two things. You should not read the in-play section of this package as you would have no knowledge of what is contained in it, and; also remember that the majority of Orcs out there will not like you, considering you to be an inferior aberration. If you decide that you want to play an Orc that has been banished from the tribes, read on; however, realize before hand that not only will the majority of Orcs dislike you, they will also consider you kill on sight.

For those deciding to play tribal members, clan specifics are left up to you; but the basic guidelines should be followed fairly closely. Enough room is left; however, for you to tailor make your Orc in the way that seems most fun for you to play. And while the rules should be observed; remember, in Urukian society, might ultimately does make right. 

(In-Play Section)

The History of Urukian Society

            Unlike cultures established by the lesser races, Uruk society testifies to a fundamental understanding of the nature of the universe and the purpose of life itself. A profound insight into the one ultimate question which the very rocks cry out for an answer to, "Who is the strongest?" As such Uruk society is a formalized means to best reaching the end of answering this question.

  In Uruk society those who are not the strongest exist for one purpose, to show by their deaths who the strongest really is. At its earliest point, Uruk society existed with this thought alone in mind. Eventually, events progressed to where interaction between Uruks consisted solely of challenges and funerals; excepting, of course, the Sharku who were nearly inviolate by Urukian custom. By this phase of Uruk history, as all good things do, finally came to an end.

            Around 500 C.B., i.e. Contest's Beginning, the legendary Ghash-Sharku Gorbag sensed an imminent danger to the resolution of the Contest. Seeing the vast number of inferiors,who had until then bred like rats in the shadows, walking the land; Gorbag reasoned how they might, in their ignorance, interfere with the Great Purpose. His words were, at first, met with derision and disbelief by the rest of Uruk society. In his wisdom, he did something which at that point was unprecedented since the Contest's Beginning; supported by the mightiest of the Sharku, he called a meeting of the Uk-Uruk with the stipulation that no challenges could be issued until after they had heard the words which he wished to speak to them. With great reluctance and little bloodshed, the Urukian horde assembled at the appointed meeting place.

                They were all amazed at the sight which greeted them; Gorbag standing atop a mountain of sandstone rocks, each the size of a plum. He addressed their derision of his warnings by saying,"it is evident that they mighty Uruks have nothing to fear from the snaga, no matter how many of them there are." Sensing implied ridicule, Pusclot who was believed to be the mightiest Uruk of the time, stepped forward to speak. "I have not come here to kill," he told Gorbag, while making a spitting gesture to the side to show his distaste at those words having crossed his lips. "I have not come here to kill," he continued, "but, with all due respect, come to the point before I change my mind."

With that said, Gorbag called forth on of the least of the Uruks present, this Uruk's name is neither recorded nor remembered. Indeed, he is only mentioned for the sake of reporting this history accurately. The aforementioned Uruk came forward nervously. Gorbag then instructed him to take one of the stones and crush it in his hands, which the Uruk accomplished with ease. At which point, Gorbag commanded Pusclot to challenge the unfortunate Uruk for the furtherance of the Contest. Finally seeing a point to the proceedings, Pusclot immediately complied and swiftly dispatched the unknown Uruk. With the outcome decided, Gorbag caused an avalanche of stones to descend on Pusclot leaving only his blood to flow freely from the spot where he now lay. The impact of this lesson was not lost on the assembled Uruks. Gorbag then spoke his most famous words, "Even that which may easily be destroyed by the least of all Uruks, enmass may crush even the mightiest. These words were to change Urukian society forever.

          Having now gained the complete attention of the Horde, Gorbag then outlined his plan to ensure the successful completion of the Contest. Lest they be taken individually and crushed by the vermin that infest this world, the Uruk were to be divided into tribes. Six tribes, each with their own totem; Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Order, and Chaos. The snaga must be destroyed before the contest could be completed, and this was to be the purpose of the tribes.

 Outright warfare between the tribes was forbidden until this goal had been accomplished. Personal challenge's between Uruk's was permitted but could be forbidden by the Tribal Chief. All matter's of law, including appointment of tribal leadership, were to be decided by Combat. A challenge for tribal leadership could not be refused. Any who interfere with or aid a combatant  during a challenge for tribal leadership must be marked in spirit and cast out of the tribes for all time. If the challenger loses the combat for tribal leadership, he must be marked in spirit and cast out of the tribes for all time. In all other matters, the tribal leaders words would be as law. With these things said, Gorbag divided the horde into tribes and selected tribal leaders from among them. After all was prepared, he took the six mightiest Sharku present and departed. It is rumored that with them he formed a seventh tribe; but, if this is true, the tribe's purpose and indeed it's very existence are unrecorded.

           Gorbag chose the Uruk Mukrot as the first of the Fire Tribe chieftains and Mukrot was a deadly warrior by all accounts. He had but one son, Gore, born to him late in life. Gore gained much renown for his ability to incapacitate and permanently maim his foes without actually killing them. Mukrot took much pride in this. As his father grew older, Gore became more and more convinced that he should be tribal leader and wear the two tusk necklace.

 Thought and action were as twins with Gore and having made his decision, he went in search of a wild boar from which to gather the tusks. Bloody from the slaying of the beast, Gore strode triumphantly through the tribe as he made his way to where his father waited. Gore the spoke, "I have come to take what is rightfully mine." To which his father replied, "Rights are decided in the taking. Death is the only right which we are all freely given. If you would have others, come and take them. Long they fought, until with a swing of his great axe, Mukrot clove deeply into his son mortally wounding him. Mukrot declared, "As is the law, the challenger is now nameless and cast out of the tribes. He is to be marked as one of the snaga and slain if found among the

 tribes." With that said, the Sharku prolonged his life long enough to mark him in spirit as outcast and then slew him and drove his spirit from the tribes.

          After the death of Gore, Mukrot fathered a second son, Goregreedee, who eventually slew Mukrot and became tribal chief. During his time, there lived two Uruk known as Rotbile and Bileslog. These two had a great hatred for each other. Eventually Bileslog challenged Rotbile to fight so that one would no longer offend the other by breathing. Since the pair's hatred was so great, many gathered to watch this fight and thus witnessed as Bileslog was slain. Bileslog's father, Grene-Moel, was greatly angered by the outcome of the fight. He went to Goregreedree and accused Rotbile of murder, declaring that he had snuck in during the night and slew Bileslog while he slept. Goregreedee was greatly troubled by this accusation, since he himself had witnessed the duel in which Bileslog was slain earlier that moming. But as an accusation had been made, he reasoned that it must be decided by combat as all matters of law were. Having made his decision, he then spoke to the tribe. "Since the issue of Rotbile's guilt has been thrown into doubt by the vast number of witnesses declaring otherwise. And since the crime he is accused of is so reprehensible. The issue shall be decided as all matters of law are decided; in mortal combat between the two." Long did Rotbile contend with Bileslog's father, but eventually, Rotbile was slain. With Rotbile's guilt proven, Goregreedee declared that as punishment, Rotbile would only be tattooed as Globo when resurrected; whereas, he had ranked as Un-Uruk before his crime. Then because Grene-Moel had caused much confusion by bringing to light the fact of Rotbile's guilt, Goregreedee slew Bileslog's father.

           Five hundred years passed before warfare erupted between Urukian tribes. The Chaos tribe which had grown strange and had isolated itself from the other tribes, spewed forth from the wasteland it inhabited with vast legions of undead minions. Within a passing of the moon, they had smashed the Water tribe into nothingness and only the day slowed their advance into the foothills of the Earth tribe. It was at this time that a mighty Sharku calling himself Gorbag appeared. He would appear at night to bring council to the other tribes and under his leadership, the remaining clans wiped the lands clean of the Chaos tribe in a long and bloody war. Never had the contest seen greater service. In the end, all but a remnant of the Chaos tribe was destroyed; but, too late to save the Tribe of Water. The one calling himself Gorbag decreed that while chaos and the snaga-ghul were useful tools; the creation of the un-ghul and the naz-ghul was forbidden to Uruks on pain of being cast out for endangering the Contest. With this decreed, the one calling himself Gorbag departed and was not seen again.

           After the war, the tribes began to spread apart once more and eventually the tribes themselves split into clans which were similar in structure to the overall tribe. Though each clan chief was still ultimately answerable to their own Tribal Leader, their words were as law to the members of their clan. It was during this time that a shocking discovery was made. A mok- sharku known as GloboMok learned through his research that many of the Snaga could be taught to speak and indeed had a semblance of a language of their own. While not having a bearing upon their ultimate fate as snaga, it did raise the possibility of temporary alliances to further Urukian ends.

          Around this time their lived Gnash, the chief of the Storm Clan of the Air Tribe. Gnash had long warred with both the humans and the dwarves who lived nearby. Eventually, the dwarves, who were outnumbered by the humans, came to Gnash with words that greatly confused him. They wished to become as one with the Uruk and destroy the humans. Long did Gnash ponder these words and much did he talk with his Sharku, Wind-Hew, concerning these matters. Wind-Hew spoke to him, saying," Words are as the air, to be controlled and used for our purposes." Gnash then summoned the dwarves and agreed to an alliance to crush the humans.

He then sent messengers to the humans, proposing an alliance to crush the dwarves, which the humans agreed to quickly. As the humans and dwarves met on the battlefield, messengers were sent to each side speaking of a reserve force of their enemies being fought by the Uruks. The battle raged until both sides had decimated each other and began to quit the field. At this point the waiting Uruks rushed in and slaughtered the remnants. Thus Gnash destroyed two armies with one word: treaty. Through this the Uruks learned that confusion reaps much reward.

          There are many lessons yet to be learned before the contest ends. Recently the Sharku Grenebile put forth the idea that the Contest never actually ends but will continue on forever with no winner. The debate over this idea was not silenced by his abrupt demise. Many issues still remain to be decided and the one Great Contest still waits to be won.



The Sharku


          While life exists for the purpose of resolving the contest, there are those who exist outside the great competition. The wise-ones, healers, magic-users; they are known by many names, but they are all Sharku. While the Sharku do not directly participate in the Contest, they are there to make sure it reaches resolution. Sharku are nearly inviolate by Urukian custom and the harming of one can carry dire consequences. There are three acceptable reasons for the harming of a Sharku; defense of one's life, by order of a chieftain, or as punishment for creating the Un-ghul. The Sharku practice many arts. The oldest order is the Ghash-Sharku, those who call down the fire from the skies. As such, they are much respected in all areas of Urukian society. Also, there exist the two orders in opposition amongst the Sharku, the Mok-Sharku and

the Narmok-Sharku --- the servants of Order and Chaos, respectively. Recently, those who take things from the earth in order to bring forth fire and explosions, have been included in the ranks of the Ghash-Sharku. Though they may eventually be accepted, there is still debate in regards to another society that considers itself of the Sharku. With their acceptance still being discussed,

their insistence they be referred to as Sharku has earned them the name Sharpulum, those who spew forth venom like a serpent. It is a description and a jest. While the Sharku do not obtain tribal leadership, their influence is much more profound. They control the Contest which rules Urukian Culture.



Ranks within Urukian Society



1   Uruk -----------------any orc


2   Globo-----------------the lowest rank for an orcish warrior


3   **** Uruk-------------roughly equivalent to a sergeant's rank


4   UnUruk----------------roughly equivalent to a captain


5   Uruk Durbo------------Clan Chieftain


6   Uruk Durbo ****-------Tribal Chieftain


**** represents the appropriate tribal totem




          Sharku are outside the ranking system and as such are always referred to as Sharku regardless of ability. There are only two exceptions to this:


        1     Sharku Cirith          --   Clan Wiseone

        2     Sharku Cirith ****     --   Tribal Wiseone


       **** represents the appropriate tribal totem


Tribal Totems

Common                                  Orcish


Earth                                   Dor

Air                                     Nardor

Fire                                    Ghash

Water                                   Narghash

Order                                   Durbum

Chaos                                   Nardurbum

Urukian Language


Urukian is a conglomerating language. What this means is that , while it has a limited vocabulary, the amount of words is limitless. (Example: The word for earth is dor, air is nardor (literally not earth), water is narghash (NOT FIRE), Rain is nardornarghash . (air-water))

General rules for word formation: Words are formed by Nouns. Merely remove any vowel from the end of the word, then add the following.

Ending;                      TYPE

-a                              verb

-um                           adj

All content copyright Joseph Valenti 1986 to 2019, all rights reserved. Tel. 914.309.7718.  e-mail