Sea Orcs

I noticed that most of the species other than Human and Giant Spider don’t have any nautical lifepaths, and I thought I might rectify this. I started with Sea Trolls a while ago, and I want to go back to them at some point, but here’s my first shot at Sea Orcs.

Sea-Orc Lifepaths


Time 3 years, Res 2, Stat +1 P
Leads Black Legion, Chattel
Skills 2 pts Punishment-wise, Seamanship
Traits 2 pt: Tasting the Lash, To the Beat, Exhaustion

Sea Reaver

Time 4 years, Res 5, Stat +1 P
Leads Black Legion, Chattel
Skills 4 pts Seamanship, Rigging, Brawling, Booty-wise
Traits 1 pt: Tasting the Lash, To the Beat
Requires: Any Black Legion, Oarc

Drum Beater

Time 3 years, Res 10, Stat +M
Leads Black Legion, Chattel
Skills 3 pts Conspicuous, Skin Flaying, Intimidation
Traits 2 pts: The Beat, Incessant Tapping
Requires: The Rites, Sea Reaver, Whipmaster


Time 6 years, Res 9, Stat +1 M
Leads Black Legion, Chattel, Great and Black
Skills 6 pts Flogging-wise, Intimidation, Command, Sword, Pilot, Booty-wise
Traits 1 pt: Where there’s a whip, there’s a way, Keelhauler
Requires: He who Hauls Goblins along the Keel requires Whipmaster, Drum Beater, Bears the Lash, or The Rites.
Counts as: Bears the Lash

Prize Taker

Time 6 years, Res 20, Stat +1 M, P
Leads Black Legion, Chattel, Great and Black
Skills 5 pts Navigation, Brutal Intimidation(s), Coastal Community-wise, Escort-wise
Traits 1 pt: This is MY Ship
Requires: He who Takes All Ships Before Him and Makes them Prizes requires Keelhauler or Named.
Counts as: Headtaker

The Beat [Die]- So long as the Drum Beater keeps the beat on his drum, all rhythmic actions get +1D.

Keelhauler [Call-on] An Keelhauler can execute a member of his crew ‘Pour encourager les autres.’ Treat as a call on for Command or Intimidation requiring the death of a subordinate.

Skin Flaying - The orc art of skin flaying is both practical and decorative. In addition to being useful for making clothes and standards and, in a pinch, repairing sails, it is required for the making of drumheads.

Comments? Questions? I’m concerned by the similarity between Keelhauler, The Beat, and Where There’s a Whip. If I can find alternate powers for those traits, that would be good.
I also think three more lifepaths might be useful - an artillery one, probably Boat Burner, focusing on the use of incendiaries; a construction/repair lifepath, possibly branching off of the Woodcutter or Servant of the Gate; and finally, a chattel lifepath or two about fishing or farming… possibly Net Slave or Dolphin-bane.

I’d let Whip stand as the C-O and have the Beat act as a die trait: +1D to rhythmic actions while he’s keeping the beat.

Most excellent.

“Oarc.” I see what you did there.

The Time in all LPs seems a bit long (except Drum Beater, of course). Maybe a year off of each? And honestly, I’d bump up Drum Beater to 2 or 3yrs, as there is a true skill he needs to master in there.

I would also consider removing the +1 P Stat bonus from Oarc. They’re mooks, right? Rabble?

I’d steer away from any farming or fishing LP. BW Orcs depend on raiding and stealing all they need to survive.

Too cutesy?

I modeled the lifepaths directly on Black Legion lifepaths - same trait points, skill points, time, and resources, only VERY OCCASIONALLY changing things. All the beginning life-paths are as long as beginning Black Legion lifepaths, and shorter than most Chattel ones, so I think they should probably stay where they are.

Except for Drum Beater. I’ll fix it, and shift it to be more in line with Despair SHouter than Hatred Bearer.

All beginning Chattel life-paths have +1P, as do Goblin and Sun Blotter, so I think it’s appropriate.

Point taken about the fishing. I just really want them to have pens of dolphins they eat. Cause, seriously, fuck dolphins.

“Too cutesy?” Ha! You’re talking to the guy that put Pinky and The Brain in his Roden LPs. No, au contraire. I love it!

Yeah, so if the years and stuff are based on the existing LPs, it’s ok. It doesn’t have to match, though, and might make the choice between Legion and Sea more interesting. Shorter Time versus a bump in Stats? Now that you have the hard work done, such tweaking is the fun part of LP creation.

Awesome, thanks for the advice! I certainly will start tweaking… I just wanted to make sure the foundation was secure first. Now I need to burn some characters =P

Awesome, thanks for the advice. And glad you like Oarc =P I’ll certainly start tweaking, but I wanted to make sure the foundation was secure first. Going to test burn some characters to see how they turn out.

Should there be a weapon skill in there somewhere, other than brawling? Seems to me that an Oarc->Sea Reaver would be pretty shite at the actual reaving part. If you view orc navies as extensions of the Legion, this is no biggie, but I love the idea of self-sufficient sea-borne communities.

As a new setting, do you need to specify how to get into this one?

Well, Brawling would cover using belay pins and such, but yeah, that Reaver LP could probably use an appropriate weapons skill to cover Knives, Swords, or even Bows.

I just want to say that this is great. My Tarshish setting has always featured Sea Orcs, but they have never been backed up by more than vague hand waving. I totally intend to plunder this thread for the future.

IIRC, Brawling permits the use of weapons, it just restricts certain actions. I’m imagining that they rely a lot on found weaponry - belaying pins, and the like. If they need proper marines with actual combat training they need to steal them them from the legion. Sea Reaver requires either Oarc OR Black Legion, so there are two streams - an orc manages to escape from his galley chains to become a sailor, or soldiers get brought on board. This setting is designed particularly for galleys, which have short range and are tied to ports fairly closely. An entirely sea-based setting would be awesome, and could include lifepaths from this, but I meant this to be an adjunct to the Legion.

As for how to get in, I’m not up to trying anything terribly convoluted. All life-paths listed as a requirement could contain a lead in.

Awesome! So glad you like it.



I think there should be some trait or skill that represents the fact that seafaring orcs must have a different relationship to the Sun. Maybe even a character trait, ‘Burned in its Fierce Light’?

I was wondering about that. But then I thought, they’re galleys. They beach on shore at night. So if they’re orcs, they sail all night, and tie up in the day. It COULD be added in, but it seems excessively powerful.

I agree with that, Mike. Very few orcs should be allowed to wander under the Sun without penalty.

If you really want to sail all day, get your Drum Beater to skin a whale, and rig it as some giant stinking obscene parasol =P

Or maybe the Orcs develop their own special type of ship, such as the Korean Turtle Ship!

Name and idea courtesy of Fuseboy

Horizon Glarer

Black Legion, Chattel
2 Years, Res 5, +1M (Maybe. Unsure. It’s a powerful lifepath, and I don’t want it to be too attractive.)
Skills 2 pts Observation, Weather-wise
Traits 1 pt Unblinking, Enemy of the Sun
Requires: Sea Reaver

This one is NOT based on an existing lifepath. Also looking at making a Great Black Leviathan Hunter lifepath, with Harpoon, and a trait related to finding the sea serpent that bit off his leg.

I, oddly enough, was also thinking of turtle ships. Maybe orcs DO have them…