Orcs are fecund and create
many cross-breeds, most of the offspring of
such being typically orcish. However, some one-tenth of orc-human
mongrels are sufficiently non-orcish to pass for human. Complete details
of orcs and crossbreeds will be found under the heading Orc in
As it is assumed that player
characters which are of half-orc race are
within the superior 10%, they have certain advantages.
Class Options: A half-orc
character can become a cleric (maximum of 4th
level), a fighter
(max. of 10th level), a thief (maximum of 8th level), or an assassin.
TABLE II.F.: HALF-ORCS
It is also possible for a half-orc character to operate in two classes
same time: cleric/fighter, cleric/thief, cleric/assassin, fighter/thief, or
fighter/assassin. When playing a multi-classed character, the half-orc
must abide by the restrictions of the least favorable class with regard only
to armor. All earned experience is always divided equally between the
player's two classes, even though the character might no longer be able to
progress upwards in level in one of the two classes. (See CHARACTER
CLASSES for more information regarding this subject.) <>
characters are able to speak the "common tongue" of humanity,
their alignment language, and orcish as well. These characters are able to
learn a max. of two additional languages.
Half-orcs have infravision,
so that they can detect varying degrees of heat
radiation up to 60' distant in the dark.
As has been shown before,
half-orc characters have bonuses of + 1 to both
their STR && CON scores initially rolled, but they must subtract
a charisma penalty of -2. Note that this penalty is in regard to those nonplayer
character henchmen who are not themselves of half-orc race, so
the initial, unaltered, charisma ability score should be recorded (cf. Dwarves).
Question: Why can’t half-orcs be raised, especially if they are 90% human as the PH says?
Answer: The PH
does not say that half-orcs are 90% human.
It says that 10% of them (from which player characters are drawn) resemble humans enough to pass for one under most circumstances.
Genetically, a true half-orc is always 50% human.
Half-orcs cannot be raised simply because they do not have souls.
I went right to the top for the answer to this one, and according to Gary Gygax himself, “Half-orcs cannot be raised--period.”
ABILITY SCORE MODIFIERS:
HEIGHT, M: 36. 01-10 (-d3), 11-90 (d100, 01-30 = -d3(/2), 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d3(/2)), 91-00 (+d6).
HEIGHT, F: 33. 01-10 (-d3), 11-90 (d100, 01-30 = -d3(/2), 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d3(/2)), 91-00 (+d3).
WEIGHT, M: 60. 01-10 (-2d4), 11-50 (d100, 01-30 = -d4, 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d4), 51-00 (+2d6).
WEIGHT, F: 50. 01-10 (-2d4), 11-50 (d100, 01-30 = -d4, 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d4), 51-00 (+2d4).
<rework those numbers>
NPC ABILITY SCORE MODIFIERS:
Reduce - Reuse - Recycle
Hi Gary! I'm always interested in the history of D&D and other games, and this is a queation I've always wondered about:
When you wrote the AD&D rules, had anyone played a Gnome in your games yet?
Or a Half-Orc?
Thanks for so many hours and hours of enjoyment over the years!
Indeed, as I was drafting the PHB, one of the group had a gnome PC.
As for half-orcs, yes to that too, including my own half-orc cleric assassin.
The other half-orc PCs in out party let him bite the bullet, though, because he was too likely to become dominant.
I have a question about half-orcs:
In the description given in the PHB, it states that half-orc PCs are assumed to be from the 10% of such hybrids that can pass for humans. I always took this to mean that they looked human. However, in most (A)D&D artwork they are depicted as looking partially, if not entirely orcish (which I should think would ruin any attempt to pass for human). I understand that NPC half-orcs would look orcish, but how obvious is the orc strain supposed to be in half-orc PCs?
It is likely that a goodly umber of the less attractive members of the human race resemble orcs in some aspects.
however, I can not speak for the illustrators that take liberties with what is set forth in the game's text
In short I don't agree with most of the depictions of half-orcs.
Elfdart--that has always bothered me also! As it is likely those that do not pass for human are simply executed by the usual PC races.
While I quite concur with Elfdat's position, one might make the case for less offensive orcs in one's campaign world, more tolerant humans,
and so half-orcs of somewhat brutal appearance being accepted.
As depicted and treated in the D&D game, though, that is not likely...
I must agree with you gents on the depiction of half-orcs in most fanatsy artwork. THis picture is really good though:
Except parhaps for the jutting fangs.
That is close to the description
I have for orcs, greater and lesser included, in the Lejendary Adventure
The illustration might be of a half-oaf half-orc therein
In essence I concur with your handling the matter of half-orcs...and possibly applying it to half-elves as well;)
A likely template for general social reaction to such individuals can be found in the social history of the USA around 1850. A good deal of prejudicial and ethnocentric behavior there.
Originally Posted by Vyvyan Basterd
I'm sure you've answered this before and I have my own take on the subject, but a recent post on another forum prompted me to get your take.
Why were half-orcs included as a "core" race in 1E AD&D? Are their origins meant to be grounded in rape? If so, was this incidence common enough to warrant a complete race (with population data IIRC in the GH material)? Or was there another origin that the 1E PHB didn't go into?
Who needs a rational for a race in a fantasy game? Half-elves, half-orcs, what's the difference? Both add choices to the game, and that is why they were included
Originally Posted by Vyvyan Basterd
Fair enough, some people need to rationalize and other like myself get sucked into debating them.
I can think of many reasons why half-orcs would exist beyond the simplistic scenario presented on the aforementioned thread. Some people just get stuck with one view and try to limit choice instead of trying to make it fit. I see monks removed from many games because the "flavor" the DM has stuck in his head doesn't fit "his" campaign world.
I agree with you that greater
choice is a good thing.
Half-orcs might well be the result of wedlock between a strange or desperate human and an orc. There is no single answer to any such question.
A DM not allowing monks in their campaign world is fine, but it shows a narrow perspective. Why not an enclave of immigrants of Oriental sort producing a few such individuals? Or even why not wandering monks from far off. Of course either approach will require some considerable adjustment in regards gaing levels after 8th, but that's an easy quest to set up.
ABILITY SCORE MODIFIERS: +1 STR and CON, -2 CHA
STARTING AGE: Cleric (20+1d4), Fighter (13+1d4), Thief (20+2d4)
NPC ABILITY SCORE MODIFIERS: