In this case, the orcs have received a "sanguine grail" from a patron god. The grail allows the orcs to extract memories, knowledge, and information by draining the blood of a creature, and then drinking it. For willing creatures, the grail also extracts a portion of spiritual essence, allowing the creature to become a voice inside whoever drinks the grail. The voice can even coordinate actions between orcs at a distance.
What does this mean for Orc Society?
The original concept article and my follow up focus on the statistics of an individual orc. I want to look at society as a whole.
The ability to consume information directly from captured creatures, and then spread it means that whether they use it or not, the orcs will have in innate knowledge of everything they consume: language, poetry, heavy manufacturing, et cetera. They will also be able to extract knowledge from every civilization that they have contact with. This mixing of culture, ideas, and information would lead to rapid technological advancement as the spirits that guide the clan breakdown and reassemble ideas. Everything is psionically stored. There is no reason to write anything down (as if orcs did so the first place).
What does this mean for Orc Battle Plans?
Because all members of the clan can communicate telepathically, their army can act as a unified creature. Reinforcements would always show up on time. They can adopt tactics that shift away from direct assaults, and toward the use of the indirect approach, misdirection, and deception. The Orcs use of maneuvering and feints would crack all but the most battle hardened commander.
I was listening to hardcore history, specifically the "Wrath of the Khans" episodes where the mongol horde invaded central asia. In the podcast, those that experience the invasion describe it as an apocalypse. This unstoppable horde that out maneuvers, defeats, and utterly slaughters everything in its way. At the beginning of the invasion, the mongols are facing armies that are three times their size and still handedly defeat them.
This made me think of this particular clan of orcs. Thier ability to coordinate their actions means that any orc invasion force should be doing a dozen things at once, while any defenders (who merely rely spoken commands and messengers) can only do one or two.
Example of Technological and Tactical Growth: Fire Sticks
Whatever powers that allowed the orcs to divine the secret of gun (called Bal Sjuk, lit. “fire stick”) making, also gave them the discipline to use them effectively.
The fire stick gangs are filled with the weakest of the orc warriors. Their lack of close quarter weapons, comparatively poor constitution, and low strength make them poor melee fighters once the enemies close. Their real power lies in the disciplined use of firearms. They lend voluminous (if inaccurate) fire support to where it’s needed most.
Fire sticks are only tolerated by other orcs due to the substantial casualties they inflict upon the enemy. Each orc fire stick dreams of the day they can put down the gun, and take up the axe.
Using combined arms tactics, the orcs have dealt serious blows to the dwarves of Thol Kuldihr and their human allies. Dwarven and human commanders alike know the terrible cost these weapons inflict at close range.
This unit typifies the tactical and technological advancement that the orcs could achieve in a campaign scenario. Combined with Orc Swarms and other members of the sanguine grail clan, these orcs could give high level heroes a run for their money. You can download a PDF the Orc Fire stick and Fire Stick Squad here.
Let me know what you think.