Devil’s in the details: half-orcs

The OSR is kicking around random tables to give demihuman characters a little on-the-fly background.

I don’t actually have the issue of Fight on! this references but I think I get it. There is already a really good orc table, but no one has claimed half-orcs as far as I know, so here goes; apologies if this isn’t in the proper pattern.

Many half-orcs (roll or pick d3)

  1. are ashamed of their orcish blood and try to pass for human
  2. are ashamed of their human blood and try to pass for orc
  3. are intrigued by the idea of cannibalism but haven’t tried it (yet)
  4. were raised in orphanages/monasteries and hope to find their parent(s)
  5. file their teeth and nails to points and use them as weapons
  6. are largely feral and cannot sleep indoors
  7. have worked as pit fighters or gladiators
  8. have a “slave mentality” and lack initiative
  9. have abnormally long arms
  10. are intensely jealous of half-elves, who have it friggin’ easy
  11. are bullies and will dominate weaker PCs until beaten in a fist fight
  12. can eat anything
  13. are attracted to any humanoid/demihuman of the opposite (same) sex
  14. are attracted only to elves of the opposite (same) sex
  15. find themselves drawn to human wizards and hope to serve as their lieutenants
  16. have a special affinity with dogs & wolves
  17. know how to make effective improvised weapons out of almost anything
  18. have a very acute sense of smell and can smell fear
  19. cannot grow facial hair and & go bald early
  20. can drink prodigious amounts of alcohol with little effect but are intoxicated by raw meat and blood

Some half orcs (roll d16)

  1. were raised by ignorant farmers who think they are human
  2. have stomachs that audibly growl if they go more than 2 hours without eating
  3. have orc-like tusks and claws
  4. favor using two weapons, whether or not they are ambidextrous
  5. are experts at identifying poisonous plants and fungi
  6. fear clerics and will not enter active temples
  7. have a strict, complicated code of honor
  8. belong to an organized crime “family” or criminal guild
  9. have an intense rivalry with one or more half-siblings (human, orc, half-orc, or half-elf)
  10. have a permanent squint
  11. have rotten teeth and horrible breath
  12. look down on humanoids as uncivilized savages and try to prove they are cultured/refined
  13. aspire to lead humanoid armies and be their king
  14. have several totally unrelated superstitions/taboos
  15. vehemently deny being half-orcs
  16. are expert brawlers from constant fighting as children

Starting equipment (roll d16)

  1. stuffed animal or dolly
  2. necklace made of human teeth
  3. knife concealed in belt buckle
  4. hooded cape with partial mask for the lower face
  5. locket with a portrait of a supposed human parent
  6. rusty manacle with broken chain, still locked on one or both wrists
  7. bag of interesting smooth pebbles
  8. garrote
  9. an illustrated book in a language he/she can’t read
  10. clumsy frame backpack holding all of their possessions
  11. worg pup which is cute but vicious
  12. wanted poster (of the him/her, or of some random criminal with a bounty on their head)
  13. heavy wooden toolbox with hammer, prybar, and files
  14. executioner’s hood
  15. 2 “heavy metal” gloves covered with spikes that reach the elbows
  16. a large ball of twine and string cobbled together from many bits

By the way, how exactly does one roll a d16? d8 + another die which is +0 (even)/+8 (odd)?

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The more I see these popping up, the more I like them.
    Excellent post!

    • Thanks!

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