View Single Post
Old 08-06-2018, 02:52 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Orcs as player characters

"Surly, vicious, lying, sneaky, and rotten" is probably the prevailing opinion about orcs among the majority of the humans on Cidri. But then the majority of humans on Cidri have probably not known an orc well, if at all. What orcs think about humans is likely to put humanity all in a basket of similarity and distrust as well. When you define someone as "other", you immediately make it difficult to avoid such categorizations.

(There are areas of Cidri with just about any population mix you could imagine, including some where humans are semi-mythical beings, unknown to the locals for generations. There are parts of the world where orcs are unknown, too. It's a big place.)

But even where orcs are known, the tendency is for people of all types to mostly settle among their own kind. There are probably places on Cidri -- many in fact -- where orcs, humans, elves, reptile men, dwarves, etc. live in harmony and cooperation together and there is little difference in the lifestyles of any of them. (Unlike Earth, where there are almost NO such places where everyone gets along and accepts each other, alas...)

In general, though, the likelihood is that if you are human, most of the people you know are human, orcs mostly interact with orcs, etc. Adventurers are not the average members of society, however, and an adventurer is more likely to have had interaction with many different people and their varying beliefs, societies, etc. Not always, of course. There are narrow-minded, insulated individuals and families who have managed to make a lot of noise with spells and swords without having much truck with those of different species. In most places, though, they'd have to work at it.

It is the nature of most humanoids to create arbitrary walls of difference between their tribe and others. Even races as old as the dwarves and elves haven't managed to overcome this entirely.

So if orcs are seen as sneaky and vicious, elves as haughty and annoyingly snobbish, dwarves as crude and easy to anger, etc. -- well, any such categorization of a large group is likely to be colored by prejudice at the very least and just flat out wrong as applied to individuals.

This sort of description is going to be common within the game world, but if a GM decides that "all _____ are _____", yeah, that's a real fantasy. The only thing you can be sure of about people who have different looks, views, and cultures and experiences is that they probably are not going to see everything the same way you do, and that you are probably going to have to make an effort if you want to understand their thoughts and actions.

Unlike our own world, the GM can directly shape the behaviors of everyone but the player characters. Even so, I have always preferred to play in worlds where you don't assume you know how someone feels or thinks just by looking at them.

Come to think of it, I prefer to LIVE in a world like that, too.
Guy McLimore
guymc is offline   Reply With Quote