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Orcs in Role-playing Games

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Of all creatures living in the fantasy world, orcs are the most common. With the recent upsurge (at the time of writing) of people enjoying RPG-games1 and stories, orcs have now become as well-known as the ubiquitous dragon.


Fully-grown orcs stand at about 4ft 6in; the male being slightly taller than the female, and the youngsters being shorter. They vary in colour from brown to grey, and orcs from a specific clan usually share the same colouring. This is because of inbreeding.

Orcs have pointy ears, yellow eyes, and in the middle of their broad face, a snout-like nose. Don't let this fool you into believing that they look like cute pigs; they are often scarred from battle, and can take on a menacing, mean-looking aspect.

An orc will prefer to wear earth-coloured clothing, and it never worries itself about holes or having a dirty appearance. Most often, an orc will be content to wear just a piece of cloth attached to its neck or around its waist.


Living in clans, the strongest and biggest orc is the natural leader. To take over the leadership of the clan, a challenging orc needs to slay the former leader.

They exist on their ill-gotten spoils from hunting, raiding caravans and small towns. They also constantly engage in war with their neighbours, with the aim of expanding their borders.


Misinformed people believe orcs think little of their closely-related kin, the small goblins, but actually they respect them and highly value their special skills. Goblins are invited into orc communities to fill important jobs, such as garbage disposers.

In battle, the little goblins are extremely useful. They are often used in special 'Cannon Fodder' platoons; an honour goblins all wish to experience. Although few goblins have actually survived this experience, and therefore are quite unable to relate what it's like to be in a 'Cannon Fodder' platoon, they believe the orcs when told about the previous 'glorious' exploits of their fellow goblins.

Fighting Strategy

The most dangerous thing to do when facing an orc is to underestimate it. Although they don't use many battle techniques, and usually run away if they're not out-numbering the enemy two-to-one, they still know how to swing their swords and poke you with their spears. On top of that, they don't spend much time cleaning their weapons, so a single hit from an unhygienic orc blade can be fatal.

The best way to handle a situation where you encounter a small band of orcs - five or six - is to give them the impression that you could wipe them all out without breaking into a sweat. More often than not, this will get them running.

1Role-playing computer games.

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