Oringard part 1

On the eastern fringe of Damir is the vast forestland of Oringard.  Named by the dwarven immigrants who fled the kingdom of Paia, it means “Natural Fortress.”  Although it lies within Damir’s borders, it is a realm all to itself.  It is almost two hundred leagues long and just shy of a hundred leagues deep.  It stops up against the Golden Mountains in the north, and trails off into the barren land of Basmah in the southeast.  Oringard touches five different lands: Damir, Gronde, Kasmoon, Nubrince, and Basmah.  Running through the forest is the curvy Paia River in the south, and the much shorter Mourning River in the north.   

Legend has it that the forest is the creation of Hovaia, a dryad queen, who planted the many trees and shrubbery to shield the land from mortal invaders.  Despite her best laid plans, the forest was inhabited for several hundred years by the wood elves, a nomadic people who built tree houses and lived off the forest.  It is rumored the wood elves knew Hovaia and worked with the dryad queen to keep other mortals out.

Of course this did not work.  After the kingdom of Paia (a dwarven kingdom) collapsed during the Chaos War, thousands of dwarves ventured north to discover the vast forestland which they would so aptly name.  They began to settle the forest, burrowing into the hillsides, chopping trees down to lay foundations for small communities.  The dwarves had a network of villages spread about Oringard but they did not occupy all of it.  They left Hovaia and the wood elves to their own realm and interests.

For two hundred years the dwarves controlled much of Oringard, dedicating most of their time to mapping the forestland.  The maze-like paths of the forestland can be deadly to any person who isn’t familiar with them or doesn’t have a map.  The trees are thick and some areas look similar to the next.  Getting lost in Oringard is easy and a common occurrence; trails become overgrown with foliage, creeks dry up, trees fall over and block paths. 

There are plenty of creatures in the woods, but a lot of the big predators have been driven out or killed by the orcs.  Bears, wolves, and wild cats are still common, but the forest used to feature sasquatch and hippogryphs.  It was also home to a nest of gryphons.  The gryphons kept to themselves for several hundred years, even after the high elves invaded the forestland and drove out the dwarves and wood elves.  It wasn’t until the orcs took over Oringard that the gryphons were forced to leave their nests and go elsewhere.

The high elves infiltrated Oringard around 350 ACW, defeating the dwarves in the 2nd War of Damir and forcing them out of Oringard.  The high elves took over much of southern Oringard, built large townships and began to blaze trails all over the forestland.  Believing the dwarves would one day return and try to take Oringard back, the high elves set up a series of booby traps along several false trails that led to their town centers.  The wood elves either assimilated with their High Elven brethren or left Oringard all together. 

Descendants of the fallen elven empire at Jeriko embraced the rule of their leader, Prince Iteph, who was a very distant cousin of the royal bloodline, but the only known survivor who could be linked to the elven monarchy.  In their time in Oringard, Iteph had children who went on to establish a royal line.  But because of the massive orc invasion that would come a hundred years later, most of the records concerning the descendants of Iteph were lost.  When Kalliste gave her prophecy that an elven king would be born amongst them, many figured it would come from Iteph’s lost lineage.

Orcs part 3

The Trials for male orcs involve a grueling set of tests designed to place the orc correctly in orc society.  It is here that the Sheshua try to determine if the orcling has any special abilities or gifts.  If the child appears to have gifts he is set aside to undergo the Gift Trials, for orcs who might be candidates to become members of the Orc High Council.  Orcs who are born with no magical tendencies or special abilities undergo the Blood Trials, the passage to become a warrior and perhaps a Tron later on.  Orcs who fall in between or it is uncertain where to be placed but appear to be useful are trained to be Sheshua.

Orcs who are larger and much stronger and intelligent are considered candidates for becoming a Tron (a superior orc) who answers only to the warlord.  Trons help the warlord with strategy, organizing legions, arming and prepping their warriors and controlling the clan in general during times of war.  The majority of Trons are above seven feet and are athletically built for intense warfare against a variety of opponents.  To become a Tron an orcling must first pass the Blood Trials.  Depending on how he scores, a warrior can be given Tron status, but this is the exception to the rule; most become standard warriors.  Trons are exceptional warriors who are candidates for becoming the future warlord of their clan.  Becoming a Tron automatically means annual breeding rights with the females.

Orcs are taught not to fear death but to welcome it.  Suicide, however, is thought to be a coward’s end, while death in battle is considered glorious.  Orcs who have been badly wounded or have become too old are honorably put to death.  Orcs believe that when a warrior dies honorably he goes to the Great Mountain, which is the gateway to the Spirit Realm.  The Spirit Realm is the collection of the greatest warrior souls, where they serve as ancestral guides to the living.

The orcs of Oringard are one clan of the Orc High Council of Nubrince.  It is not unheard of for clans to go rogue and break off from a High Council, such as was the case with the orcs of Kasmoon, who conquered the upper half of the divided ancient kingdom of Paia, then appointed a king and fashioned an entirely different orc society separate from the High Council.  The Nation of Oringard is among the much larger and more successful clans who adhere to the Orc High Council of Nubrince.  The orcs were triumphant in their invasion of Oringard, driving out the elves in 460 ACW.  However, early on in their history, the orcs of Oringard began to squabble over what land to conquer next.  Most wanted to press west into Damir, where the ground could be cultivated, yet a segment of their people saw the Golden Mountains as a place to take refuge and launch attacks from higher ground.  This division caused a civil war within Oringard, one that lasted nearly forty years and decimated the clan.

The orc civil war within Oringard ended with the losing clan wishing to drive north to go rogue, defying the High Council, which ruled in favor of the orcs staying in Oringard and eventually conquering Damir.  Heading north, this rogue orc clan stumbled upon the dwarven fortress of Gilstad in 525 ACW and attacked it, launching the 7th War of Damir.  But the war was brief and the orcs were badly defeated.  Forced to retreat, their shattered army went north into the Golden Mountains and were never heard from again.  The orcs that stayed behind in Oringard spent the next seventy years forced to re-populate and rebuild defensive structures that had been totaled during the civil war.

The orcs did not make headway against Damir until the warlord Phumbaas, who organized the first ever massive orc invasion to cross the Paia and marched west toward Merrimont, the city of the elves, in 601 ACW.  The 10th War of Damir changed the land and gave the orcs tremendous confidence that they would eventually take Damir, despite the loss.  Even with Phumbaas’ defeat, the orcs had made their point: they were to be a thorn in Damir’s side for years to come.

Mal Orah-

The warlord and/or his Trons issue battle commands through the beats of orc drums.  The Mal Orah, which means “Death Charge”, is a command given to attack with maximum effort.  Typically, the Mal Orah is sounded for a full verse before the orcs actually charge, as a means of intimidating their enemies prior to assault.  The Mal Orah consists of slow beats that gradually get faster and louder until they are done in rapid succession.  The Death Charge is described as deafening, as the orcs usually use an abundance of drums, which beat together at once.  The Mal Orah is also used as a form of distraction, the noise making it difficult for their enemies to communicate.

Shogue Language-

The native tongue of orcs everywhere is the Shogue language.  The orcs refused to adopt the Druish language, yet it was still learned in some circles and is still taught among orcs of high positions such as Trons.  Considered the language of the Juhas, orcs only speak Druish rarely or for reconnaissance purposes.  Shogue is a slow language, as it is more important to pronounce the word than to speak it quickly.  Partly due to their militaristic society, orcs want to ensure that their words are heard and understood.  Because Shogue is relatively simple and slow it is among the easiest languages for other races to eventually master.

Orcs in Age of Thunder:

  • Kazul
  • Gozma
  • Noxima
  • Crohl
  • Mogabi
  • Mutawa
  • Morgon