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[Proposal] Orcs and Shatanwæs


Illusionist and Trickster
Aug 6, 2016
Gold Crowns
Bronze Pieces
The Kingdom of Alexandria
Character Race
Common Human

An arid and dry landscape dissected by lush river valleys where the vast majority of its population lives, and embroiled in constant battles and wars over land, water, spices, gold, and even knowledge, but also united against the eldritch and natural terrors of the desert and the ancient ruins buried in the dark sands of the desert. This is the homeland of Saïd Najdi, the half-orc Scholar and Illusionist of Arbordsen.

The population of Shatanwæs is populated mostly by the Orc, or in their tongue, Úrrqulasa, race, with smaller populations of humans and dwarves scattered among the Orc cities or in their own few enclaves within the country. Though skirmishes and arguments over various resources are common among the various warlords acting as the largest form of government in the region, they are kept from full-fledged civil war and complete anarchy by a council of scholars (the Mætlayo) who arbitrate disputes and act as ambassadors of sorts for their region.

Despite this non-cooperative hierarchy, the scholarly pursuits and mercantile industries thrive, as theses on various magical pursuits, natural sciences, and various histories are collaborated upon and discussed by the magi and archivists of Shatanwæs, and spices, exotic goods, and even the very tomes and manuscripts pored over by scholars are bartered for by fiercely competitive merchants, importing and exporting almost every good imaginable. The idea of a centralized and standardized currency has not found extensive use in the country’s economic mindset, though coins of various metals and shapes are often used in place of more practical goods and capital.

Several languages are spoken across Shatanwæs, most notably the various dialects of Łamatṡyo, the native and ancient tongue of the orcs. A variant of the language, known as Matṡwæṡ, is used as the language of arcana and magi, as well as the various scholarly pursuits, and is a much more traditional and isolated language than the main dialect, simply known as Łamatṡyo, which is spoken by most of the population. The various minority races speak their own native tongues, but typically only amongst the enclaves they live in or in one of the few provinces that are dominated by them.


The native denizens of Shatanwæs, Orcs are well adapted to the unforgiving volcanic deserts of the region, being hardy physically and metabolically. Orcs feature an unusually large range of typical heights, from 1.63 meters at their typical shortest, up to 2.11 meters, rivalling the Holdir in stature. Because of this, their weight varies widely as well, from around 54 kilograms up to 136 kilograms. Orcs are naturally slightly longer lived than humans, the oldest typically reaching 170 to 190 years of age, and reach physical maturity noticeably faster, at about 15 or 16 years of age, though bone crests have been known to grow and change shape with age.

Orc skin is typically very hardened, especially across the torso, the backs of the hands, the bottom of the feet, and between the shoulders, and are typically darker in skin color, ranging from swarthy browns not alien to the human race to a charcoal gray bordering on black. Older individuals typically display noticeable mottling of colors across their body towards paler colors.Little sexual dimorphism is observed in height and weight among Orcs, though females typically have less rounded ear, while males display sharply pointed ears (many warriors and mercenaries have a tradition of removing cartilage near the tip to give the ear a “sharper” look), and both sexes display bony protrusions, referred to as “crests” or “bone crests” around their head, ranging from two to as many as twenty crests.

Orcs are typically grouped into “clans” based on the morphology of their bone crests, which is highly heritable and a reliable method of tracking ancestry. The largest clan typically displays a four crest pattern, with the anterior crests being more pronounced and horn like and the posterior crests being less pronounced. These crests are typically smooth sided, but feature a more pronounced edge facing outwards than the inwards facing side. Conversely, the least common clan is typically a full ring of twenty crests, medium and roughly equal in length, and all other clans fall between in terms of ubiquity. Outside of a shared genetic lineage, there is little tying each clan together over bonds with others, and intermingling is common.

Though perhaps not more endemic to the orcs of Shatanwæs than any other race living in the arid country, orc culture is typically forward sighted, looking to explain any old beliefs and traditions in light of new discoveries or practices. Self-sufficiency is prided, be it in mercantile, military, or magical pursuits, though collaboration is welcomed if it is beneficial for both parties to work together. Religious practices are non-uniform and highly personal, though several common threads pervade most of the population. A myriad of demons, spirits, djinn-like beings, fey-like guardians of nature, and eldritch entities entities of no known description form the bulk of Orc faith, and are typically collectively referred to as K’unyagwætṡ, and demand a similarly diverse host of offerings, obeisances, practices, and habitats.

Despite the apparent knowledge and self-sufficient driven culture of the orcs, they are rarely seen outside their home country for unknown reasons. Those that are seen are typically dual diplomatic emissaries and merchants of exotic goods, students, or exiles from their own city or region. Most common are the merchants, gathering goods unseen in their home country to sell in the ports and bazaars of the cities in Shatanwæs, as well as distributing volcanic gems, spices, books, tomes, and scrolls of knowledge about their home country to the residents of whichever port they find themselves in.

As a result of their particular culture and perhaps in mild contradiction to their ideal of self-sufficiency, most orcs are more focused in their magical studies than the average human, tending towards illusion and summoning, though a destruction mage of fire or earth is not uncommon to see. Though on average slightly more physically adept than most humans at base, they are not overly prone to martial walks of life, preferring to blend magic with their physical ability. As such, the concept of the "gish" is popular among Orc warriors.
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