In our approach to races, we discussed how we identified themes that define them. Now, let’s delve into how we approached half-orcs.
First and foremost, we aimed to steer clear of the most caricatured and expected themes. When you think of half-orc/half-demon, we know what comes to mind, right? Fire resistance, unnatural strength, an insatiable savagery, and a desire for bloodshed often accompanied by horns or wings… These are the typical expectations of a D&D enthusiast or someone interested in fantasy. However, the half-orc/half-demon (Umbral) lines in the “Book of Conflict – Brutal Races” depict an uncertain race, intertwined with shadows. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when discussing this theme.
We can say something similar for most of the others. In all our half-orc variants, there are certainly elements reflecting both orc and the other half, but we avoided using the most common themes that come to mind without much thought. Additionally, in this genetic crossbreeding, despite the influence of a deity like Repetnuk, we kept in mind the reality that things may not go smoothly. Furthermore, in the fluff section of each half-orc variant, we made sure to include the following:
- What is the approach of orcs to this race, and what is their name in Orcish (the name given by orcs would reflect their perspectives)?
- What is the approach of the other parent’s race, and how have they named them?
- How do the other races view this particular half-orc variant?
Within this framework, some were valued among orcs and considered worthless by the other half, while for others, the situation was the opposite. Some were generally seen as disliked and even feared beings. We didn’t forget the fact that some might be subjected to discrimination and even attempt to be killed due to their peculiar appearance during childhood.
Adole (Half-Halfling) – Probably became a likable half-orc variant. Accepted among both orcs and halflings, they were a type that could be extremely useful due to their quick learning among other races. Therefore, their combat effectiveness was much lower.
Anx (Half-Gnome) – Genetically, we anticipated the incompatibility between gnomes and orcs. So, Anx’s outer appearance was disproportionate and shapeless, and they were mentally unstable characters. We thought that this mental state could be quite appealing to some players. Their arcane affinity would stem from the peculiar workings of their minds.
Bewitched (Half-Minotaur) – Probably the most mysterious type among them is Bewitched. The glittering runic inscriptions on their horns and the hidden messages within them could shape an entire main story on their own. However, due to their intimidating appearance and powerful magical abilities, finding a place for themselves in most societies was not easy.
Bogey (Half-Bugbear) – Despite having the most terrifying appearance, Bogey was actually conceived as an extension of the bugbear theme in literature. In practice, weren’t bugbears the “bogeymen” who suddenly emerged from the forest to snatch children? We wanted Bogey to be a true bogey. Therefore, we made their appearance dramatically different, resembling undead. In fact, Bogey is also a product of a kind of genetic mismatch.
B’stian (Half-Ogre) – We didn’t want to create a standard powerhouse half-ogre. So, despite being large, we wanted the attention to be drawn to the bony natural extensions growing in their bodies rather than their strength. B’stian, true to its name, became a type accepted among brutal races but appeared frightening among other races.
Cerulean (Half-Lizardfolk) – Another genetic anomaly. We wanted Ceruleans to have distinctive features, such as all of them having the same color, appearance, and fingerprints… They would also be remarkable hunters with large and observant eyes.
Churgrun (Half-Goliath) – It was predictable that the Repetnuk Church would not value them all in the same way. So, it was inevitable that one of them would be the most desirable and most valuable for the church. Unwanted by both goliaths and orcs, the Churgruns became an elite half-orc variant with strong personalities and impressive physical abilities. However, the constant pursuit by others was an inevitable side effect.
Godlike (Half-Elf) – The hatred between orcs and elves is evident. However, these “bastards” disliked by both became quite well accepted by all other races. Despite having excellent social skills and striking outer beauty resembling a statue, all these advantages didn’t translate into combat effectiveness. After Adole, they would probably be the most comfortable half-orc variant to find a place for themselves.
Hobni (Half-Hobgoblin) – Initially, if we thought of them as perfect warriors who could adapt war techniques in combat, we realized that in the long run, too many half-orc variants would be combat-oriented. So, in their early stages, Hobni, inspired by the unusual sexual development process, became a type that could change their appearance.
Lanky (Half-Goblin) – The reason they were more acceptable among other races than presumed was not their social skills but the fact that they were not taken seriously due to their extremely weak appearance. Although they were excellent thieves, the skills of the Lankies would be more useful in urban areas than in wilderness lands. Despite being expected to be the most successful hybrids in terms of survival, as in the first thought, you wouldn’t see hundreds of them in armies.
Squann (Half-Kobold) – Another unexpected turn. It was expected that the children of kobolds, one of the smallest races, from their relationships with orcs, would be small. However, Squanns were one of the largest types. We predicted that the orc blood would be a trigger for the dragon potential within kobolds. We also thought their dignified and calm nature would appeal to those seeking different flavors among brutal races.
Typ (Half-Troglodyte) – This was the most challenging half-orc in the design stage. We had said that troglodytes could reproduce asexually, so how would they produce a child from an orc parent? Therefore, Typ awaited a solution during the design stage for a while. After predicting that troglodyte subraces emerged through different rituals, Typ found itself. Although they were practically not half-orcs another troglodyte species transformed by orc genetic material, this challenging process should have cost them significant losses. So, we took away their eyes and vision abilities. Otherwise, the Repetnuk Church could have produced them in very large quantities. But thinking about a character who lost their vision, we gave them similar abilities, taking our inspiration from the character who comes to mind the most (yes, that lawyer, you guessed it right).
Umbral (Half-Demon) – The concept of half-demon, along with half-ogre, was determined through voting on Discord, as promised in the stretch goals. We decided to make the halflings of the most voted ogre and demon types. We’ve talked about the design of Umbral above. The extraordinary and otherworldly appearances won’t make their daily lives easier. Therefore, they have significant abilities. After all, isn’t it expected that demon blood is powerful?
Virile (Half-Dwarf) – Perhaps Virile is the one closest to stereotypes. They have the physique, short stature, and long beards of both dwarves and orcs. Indeed, when you hear half-dwarf/half-orc, they resemble whatever comes to your mind. Among all these types, we thought it would be a good joke for one of them to be extremely caricatured. However, Viriles, surprisingly, is much more composed than both races, with analytical intelligence and approach, true professionals among brutal races.
Wretch (Half-Gnoll) – Another physical anomaly. Like orcs and gnolls, having the small size from the crossbreeding of two physically successful species would be a perfect joke. When designing Wretches, we thought of some of the small players in physically demanding sports like basketball or football. They could have tremendous energy and aggression with unexpected courage, almost as if to compensate for their advantages. Despite being small, Wretches became a unique type that could carve a place for themselves entirely with their physical skills among large and aggressive races. Their lack of hesitation and constant anger would offer players a real challenge.
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