Savage Worlds: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Chapter 3b The Median Races - Half-Orcs
The half-orc is a hybrid race, the result of interbreeding the orc and the pure-blooded human. Such a pairing is usually accomplished by rape, the mother human and the father a full orc; in rare cases, however, human males have been known to breed with orcish females willingly, and half-orcs can also marry one another and produce children. In any event, the commingling of orcish and human blood is a subject of extreme distaste among most ordinary humans, who view the resulting children of such a union with abhorrence and loathing.
Half-orcs vary greatly in physical appearance. They have roughly the same stature as humans, ranging from 65 to 80 inches or 175 centimeters in height, and some seven hundred to twelve hundred stone in weight. In general they tend to look like tall, robust orcs, largely free of the spinal irregularities which plague their pure-blooded orcish parents. They are only slightly less hairy and have only slightly less prominent teeth than orcs do. Of course, this is not by any means a firm rule; some half-orcs are nearly indistinguishable from humans. Only the subtlest clues point out the orcish heritage of such individuals. A skilled observer might note that the subject had more body hair than is strictly normal for a human being, that the nose was upturned, the fingernails especially thick and sharp, or the canine teeth exceptionally large…but otherwise, there might be very little sign of ought amiss. Half-orcs can sometimes “pass” for many years before being spotted, even by those closest to them.
Unfortunately, an extremely human countenance is not common in half-orcs. Generally speaking, even the handsomest half-orcs have some distinctly orcish features, which brand them for life if they choose to live in human society. Half-orcs can rarely find work in any but the most menial professions. They may be taken on as farm hands in rural communities, but in cities they can almost never find any occupation but the meanest: garbage collecting, chimney sweeping, rag picking, mining or factory work. By contrast, half-orcs often rise high in the hierarchy of the orcish tribes, should they choose to eschew the company of humans entirely; they are far more intelligent than pure-blooded orcs, and the ability to think clearly serves them well in an environment where only the fittest survive.
As to the half-orc character in general, this is difficult to discuss. Orcs have no sense of family per se, but they also do not discriminate against their half-orc children; half-orcs are given what respect they can earn by their strength and cunning, appearances notwithstanding. Humans, on the other hand, hardly ever accept half-orcs into the family, or treat them well enough to encourage any of the finer feelings we associate with our race. The intolerance to which half-orcs are subjected in our society colors their outlook on life permanently, and it is impossible to know whether they might be capable of transcending their orcish tendencies, were they treated as humans from birth. In any case, as it stands now one tends to find half-orcs brutish, venal, unforgiving and prone to violence. Given the environment in which they are usually raised, this cannot be surprising.
Some half-orcs are able to learn to control the violent orcish temper which plagues them. Their native intelligence, combined the slight advantage they gain from being members of an innately magickal race, will allow them to learn some of the fundamentals of Spellcraft, if this is permitted. They can also grasp the workings of Natural Law and become Technologists, when given the opportunity. Such opportunities are afforded only rarely to them, however, as they have little or no access to higher education; all civilized peoples discriminate against them freely, and most hold a low opinion of their intellectual capacity. Nonetheless, in the 60 or so years which make up a half-orc’s natural life time, they may accomplish a great deal. Some have become famous bandits; others have demonstrated more humanity than the pure-blooded humans who gave them life. They are born balancing on the edge of a razor, and any sensible person can see that they fall to wickedness most often because they are pushed.
- Gender Restrictions: None.
- Heritage: Some Half-Orcs retain the brawn of their Orchish parent. Others gain the adaptability of their human ancestry. A Half-Orc may either start with a free Edge of
his choice (as a human), or a d6 in Strength instead of a d4.
- Infravision: Half-orcs can see in the infrared spectrum, halving attack penalties (round down) for bad lighting.
- Outsider: Half-orcs aren’t trusted by most other civilized races, -2 from their Charisma (Except when dealing with full and Half-Orcs).
- Savage Constitution: Start play with a +1 Toughness.
- Ugly: To most civilized people, all Half-Orcs appear rather ugly. -2 Charisma.