Age of Legends
uring the War of the Damned a massive legion of orcs commanded by Grimtosh swarmed the mountainside of the Atrowan Heights and overthrew the Dwarven city of Ondroth. The orcs have remained upon the heights and within the ruined city for over a millennium and a half. After the death of Grimtosh, nearly a dozen would be chieftains vied for power over the orcs. Conflict soon erupted between the disparate parties. In the end, no single warlord managed to assume primacy over the whole. Instead, the orc legion subdivided into various clans, each headed by a warlord, or Jarl. Nine such clans emerged after the death of Grimtosh, yet due to infighting several of these clans were destroyed or assimilated into other clans. Today there are five surviving orc clans.
The most prominent orc clan is that of the Reavers, led by Jarl Gorlosh. The second largest clan is the Gray Scalps, led by Jarl Oglark. The three remaining clans are: the Dark-Fangs, the Wart-Backs, and the Blood-Letters. The orcish culture of the Arowan Heights tends to be highly ornate, and though they have no written language to speak of, the orcs weave the stories of their history and exploits into tattoos, decorative scars, heraldic clothing art and trophies. One basic element of this symbolic syntax is the differentiation between the clans themselves. Fortunately for outsiders this symbolism tends to be fairly obvious, and differentiates one the clan from another. The Reavers either wear their hair long and tied back, or they shave their heads but leave a long pony tail at the back of their head. They always splatter their faces and clothing with blood before a battle. The Gray-Scalps always shave their heads, and rub oil upon their scalps to make them gleam. Ceremonial tattoos are also cut into the heads of this clan. The Dark-Fangs drink a dark inky substance they call Grid that dyes their mouth and their teeth black. Through a process of breeding and manipulation of the dark arts, the Wart-Backs have managed to toughen their their skin into a leathery hide. They never wear clothing or armor of any kind above the waist, and their backs tend to be covered in warts and tufts of fur. The Blood-Letters are the most religious of orcish tribes. They engage in a fevered cultic practice of blood-letting right before battle that enables them to fly into an intense demonic berserk rage upon the field of battle.
The orcs tend to raid and pillage the regions surrounding the Atrowan Heights (though they avoid the villages of Karthador, their ally) in the spring and summer seasons, and feud amongst themselves over resources in the fall and winter seasons. Occasionally one clan will gain enough strength to vie for power over the other clans, yet up until recently, none has ever been able to achieve a unification of the clans. However, in the last generation, the Reaver clan has swelled in numbers compared to the other clans. Part of this is due to the fact that the polygamist orcs of that clan have enslaved many human females over the last generation, and have spawned quiet a number of “half-breeds.” In any case, the Jarl of that clan, a particularly pugnacious leader named Gorlosh Leatherface, has managed to coerce most of the other orc clans into uniting under his leadership. Only the Gray-Scalps have managed to resist this unification. Gorlosh, now Lord Jarl of the mountains, seeks to usher in a new dark age upon the north. An age in which orc rule is extended to every sphere of the North. To this end he has assembled the clans for war and stands poised to flood into the Tindor Forest, the plains of Vindovier, and the Downs of Edigroth like a swarm of locusts.