Half-orcs are rare on Khorvaire, since humans and orcs have never lived in particularly close proximity. In the small, scattered human communities of the Shadow Marches, however, half-orcs are more common, and they can also be found in the western parts of the Eldeen Reaches and Droaam. The orcs of the Shadow Marches live much as the humans do: It is a rustic life, to be sure, but a far cry from their existence as ruthless barbarian hordes in the distant past. Half-orcs are just as civilized as the humans of the region, and often look almost human despite their size and strength.
Both genders of half-orc stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, with powerful builds and greenish or grayish skin. Their canines often grow long enough to protrude from their mouths, and these “tusks,” combined with heavy brows and slightly pointed ears, give them their notoriously bestial appearance. While half-orcs may be impressive, few ever describe them as beautiful.
Half-orcs do not have lands of their own, but live in both human and orc communities in the Shadow Marches, the Eldeen Reaches, and Droaam. Some have even found a place among the other nations of Khorvaire, especially in the larger towns and cities.
A lifetime of persecution leaves the average half-orc wary and quick to anger, yet those who break through his savage exterior might find a well-hidden core of empathy. Elves and dwarves tend to be the least accepting of half-orcs, seeing in them too great a resemblance to their racial enemies, but other races aren’t much more understanding. Human societies with few orc problems tend to be the most accommodating, and there half-orcs make natural mercenaries and enforcers.
Alignment and Religion
Forced to live either among brutish orcs or as lonely outcasts in civilized lands, most half-orcs are bitter, violent, and reclusive. Evil comes easily to them, but they are not evil by nature—rather, most half-orcs are chaotic neutral, having been taught by long experience that there’s no point doing anything but that which directly benefits themselves. When they bother to worship the gods, they tend to favor gods who promote warfare like Dol Dorn, or gods who represent individual strength like the Devourer or the Fury.
Staunchly independent, many half-orcs take to lives of adventure out of necessity, seeking to escape their painful pasts or improve their lot through force of arms. Others, more optimistic or desperate for acceptance, take up the mantle of crusaders in order to prove their worth to the world.
Ausk, Davor, Hakak, Kizziar, Makoa, Nesteruk, Tsadok.
Canan, Drogheda, Goruza, Mazon, Shirish, Tevaga, Zeljka.
Half-Orc Racial Traits
+2 to One Ability Score: Half-orc characters get a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their varied nature.
Medium: Half-orcs are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Half-orcs have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: Half-orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Intimidating: Half-orcs receive a +2 racial bonus on Intimidate skill checks due to their fearsome nature.
Orc Blood: Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Orc Ferocity: Once per day, when a half-orc is brought below 0 hit points but not killed, he can fight on for one more round as if disabled. At the end of his next turn, unless brought to above 0 hit points, he immediately falls unconscious and begins dying.
Weapon Familiarity: Half-orcs are proficient with greataxes and falchions and treat any weapon with the word “orc” in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Half-orcs begin play speaking Common and Orc. Half-orcs with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, and Goblin.
Alternate Racial Traits
Swampstrider (Shadow Marches): Half-orcs of the Shadow Marches can move at full speed through shallow bog, and half speed through deep bog. In addition they receive a + 2 bonus on checks to escape quicksand and similar effects. This ability replaces Intimidating.
Marcher: These half-orcs have the swampstrider racial trait.
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