Orcs (also known as Uruk-hai, Orsimer, Orks or informally "Greenskins"), are one of the most well-known high fantasy races. While the overall concept of orcs draws on a variety of pre-existing mythology, the main conception of the creatures stems from the fantasy writings of J. R. R. Tolkien, in particular The Lord of the Rings. In Tolkien's works, orcs are a brutish, aggressive, repulsive and generally malevolent species, existing in stark contrast with the benevolent Elf. Usually seen as a barbaric chaotic evil race, the Warcraft and Elder Scrolls series shed some light on the orcs, having some more peaceful groups such as the Frostwolf clan to break the stereotype.
Orcs are humanoids distinguished by their usually green, brown or grey color, muscular shape and tusks. Orc males are massive and brutish looking creatures. Weighing in at 250 to 300 pounds and standing from 6 to 7 feet in height, they are not a small race. Even orc women tend to be only a half-foot or so shorter and 50 to 100 pounds lighter than most males (and some of them are equal in stature to their male counterparts), having broad shoulders and muscular, powerful bodies. Orcs tend to have coarse and bristly hair and beards, often black or brown in color, graying with age. Orc males sometimes choose to grow beards that are wild and untamed, while others prefer them to be braided and tasseled. These beards always hang from the chin, as orcs do not grow heavy facial hair above their upper-lip
This article is based off of common orcish stereotypes. It does not have to be followed.
The majority of orcs live in tribal groups under the rule of a warchief or chieftain, as they are usually outcast from most societies. However, some orcs have been accepted into more modern kingdoms or forged their own. Orcs are known in particular for being very warlike and barbaric, pillaging and killing just for the sake of pillaging and killing. To their enemies, they are brutal and fearsome opponents, without parallel in their ferocity and cunning. To their allies, they are noble and honorable, following the traditions of their past.Though brutal in combat orcs fight with a feral grace that equals even the finest fencing of an elven noble. For an orc, skill in battle brings great honor. The concept of personal honor that pervades all echelons of orcish society has made the race more cohesive and more of a threat to their adversaries. Even the naming of an orc is temporary until he has performed a rite of passage. Once an orc has brought honor to his name and the name of his clan, the elders give him a second name based upon his deed.For an orc, personal reputation is as important as his or her clan, and most will fight to the death in defense of either.While the orcs might seem quick to anger, they are tempered by the wisdom of their leaders and their shamans.
Orcish society has always been characterized by hardy and rugged living. As a result they are staunch pragmatists, and never shy from killing if it will protect the future of the orc or his clan. All orcs, regardless of gender or station, are expected to pull their own weight and weakness is considered a grave liability. The weakness of one contaminates the strength of all, and it is punishable by the greatest humiliation an orc can receive: exile. Yet regardless of their clan affiliations, orcs prize honor over all other things in life - first to bring honor to their clan and secondly bringing honor to the self and to their sense of self-worth as an individual. Likewise, hospitality is considered one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed.
There is no discrimination between genders in orcish society. Women are able to pursue the same career choices as men, rise to positions of power and are even expected to answer to the call for battle just as men are. Strength (both physical and mental), courage, initiative and independence are prized traits in all orcs. Traditionally, children are seen as children of the parents, but are raised as children of the clan.
Listed from largest to smallest group of full orcish race.
Xug'kzai Tribe - A spiritual, peaceful and shamanic tribal nation of orcs.