Friday, April 22, 2011

An Orc is an Orc of Course of Course...

The players in my Nightwick Abbey game recently discovered (i.e. last session) that Orcs in the Dark Country have no genitals.  Since Ffraid was technically a character in my short lived Keep on the Borderlands game, she was able to inform them of the horrible manner in which Orcs reproduce.  

One of my players asked how the hell you have Half Orcs then, but of course there are no Half Orcs in the Dark Country.  He seemed fine with that answer, but his question got me thinking: have I changed some of these monsters too much?

Why the hell do I still call the bestial things which breed with witches' spells and magic pools Orcs?  What is the point?  Of course this is a slippery slope since at some point you start to say "well why am I using D&D since I've made all new monsters?" and that way madness (or T&T) lies.

I'm not really sure what to do about all this yet.  It mainly shows up in the way that I have to avoid all the Gygaxian naturalist sections of the MM because I have my own explanations for those sorts of things -- though Goblins and Hobgoblins mate in the usual manner.  I will say that what little tension there is between my gaming group and the setting -- and it is very little tension -- comes from how bizarre the setting can be.  If I had to do it over again I'd probably go with a more "beer and pretzels" set up, but I didn't do that and Nightwick Abbey has been loads of fun so far.


  1. I've often used variations on established creatures. It works to call 'em an Orc cause the players get a handle on it quick without the ten page backstory, THEN they can later find out all the neat tweaks that make these an orc of a whole 'nother colour.

    Lazarus Lupin
    art and review

  2. I see absolutely nothing wrong with redesigning any of the "standard" monster races. When I think orc, I think of the niche they fill, not the way they look, so the pig faced old school orc is still the same creature as the evil manish looking orc that Tolkien created.

    Also, I'm stealing your orcs to put in my game, so I'm glad you came up with them!

  3. Simple: They're partly changed Orcs. They weren't left in the pools long enough.