Category Archives: Orc

Zek Creature Catalog

by Pearl Honeywine

While many areas experienced changes during the Rending, the changes brought to the Jaggedpine Forest are devastating in that they are not due to the cataclysms that reshaped Norrath. Rather, orcs staked their claim to the region and named in Zek. We call it the Orcish Wastes.

Zek lies to the north of Karan across the Coldwind Coast and over the Sea of Crossed Swords. Not a large land mass, it is relatively close to the Antonican shores although the waters between them are deep and treacherous.

The barren slopes of Zek do not provide much in the way of a windbreak, therefore even a gentle breeze can turn into a hearty windstorm as it channels through the hills. Due to the lack of significant shade, the surface reflects back sunlight and keeps the region warm. The mines are much cooler as they are deep beneath the surface.

The Deathfist orcs have cleared most of the area, leaving only stumps and deadwood as indication that the Jaggedpine Forest ever existed. While pockets of trees remain, many of them are thin and scraggly. Grass grows in some areas, but is often trampled and flattened. There are no known flowering plants in the realm.

As the guards stationed at this outpost claim, you cannot throw a copper without hitting an orc. They are not the only creatures which make traveling through Zek a hazardous journey, though. One must also keep an eye out for the various lions and the treants. The latter do not hesitate to attack first and questions later.

Trinni’s Adventures Abroad

By Trinni Mellosius, student

So, in order to graduate, my teacher told me I had to spend a year someplace I hadn’t been to before. I ended up in the Pillars of Flame. Don’t make the same mistake!

When my classmates and I were picking where we wanted to go for our year abroad (that’s what the teacher said to call our trips), I’m the only one who showed so much imagination in planning my trip. That’s what half-elves have, you know: lots of imagination! Anyway, I said I would travel on a merchant ship and learn more about the ocean.

As you might guess, this didn’t turn out so well. I mean, it turned out okay; I’m still alive. But the ship got lost and drifted around a bit before landing at the Port of Tears at the edge of this HUGE desert. By then I was pretty sick of living on a boat and decided to dry out. Little did I know what this weather does to your HAIR!

The Port of Tears, which I thought was named for the old Ocean of Tears, is actually named for a couple of stinky ponds a little ways further inland. I guess when you live in the desert, fresh water is scarce. The residents were pretty upset when I took a bag of water and washed my hair, but I tell you what: I really needed it. The salty sea air gave me split ends!

I’m supposed to record my impressions of the locals and stuff. They are uptight. These Dervs are kind of like the Dervs that I seen in the Commonlands, only different. Some of them have really great tans! But they’re pretty jumpy. We went for a walk, this one guy Stergie and me, down the old Orc Highway. Every rock that tumbled down the canyon, he was ready to kill something.

I traveled with Stergie’s family for a bit. They made me stop washing my hair, though, which made it go all limp. Since my hair was already frizzled from the sea water, I now have this limp, frizzly hair. It’s pretty rank. I decided to head out on my own for a bit, maybe find my own well so I could get some regular maintenance going on and meet other people.

Stergie was pretty tore up. He kind of liked me, I guess. I gave him a firm handshake and a souvenir acorn from the Willow Wood and went on my way. My teacher said to take along some souvenirs to give out to folks. That’s a pretty lame idea if you’re like, spending your year abroad in the Feerrott. But it worked out pretty well for me, except acorns are heavy.

After a couple of days, I found myself in the Pillars of Flame, which is a really cool area other than all the deadly critters in it. There’s all these really high rocks that make a sort of maze to run through. At sunset, it’s like looking at a painting with all the colors on the rocks lit up and the sky so dark blue. I met some really great guys at the Ortallian camp.

The only thing with these Ortallians is that they just go on and on about Solusek Ro. “Solusek be praised!” and “Blessed be Solusek!” all day and night. It kind of gets on your nerves after a while. I’m a pretty tolerant individual and if these folks want to worship someone like that, great! But there’s a limit, you know what I mean? Dating an Ortallian is rough on a non-believer.

In the desert I ran into lots of folks who still worshipped Solusek Ro who was the god of the sun. I think. Anyway, I didn’t like to tell them that the gods all up and left us because they got pretty agitated the first time I hinted at it. The Ortallian guy I was hanging out with was so totally upset his ears turned all red. He was kind of cute, but so high maintenance.

I hung out with them for a couple of weeks. It was nice for me since there were a couple of half-elves and a wood elf in the camp at the time. We talked about the changes in the Qeynos area, since they hadn’t been there. I gave them some acorns. Captain Nyelash gave me a herbal remedy for my hair problems, too! I wish I could have stayed with them longer.

I picked up a job with the Swiftriders later. They operate as a sort of messenger service or something. The pay wasn’t bad. And they weren’t such Solusek Ro fanatics, which was a great relief. I kept thinking, “Trinni… you’d remember more about the Ro family if you’d paid attention in school!” Which is true, but not very helpful when you’re on the spot for details!

The Swiftriders deliver stuff to and from Maj’Dul. Kind of like the Far Seas Trading Company, only on land. I got to keep some hair clips that nobody wanted, which was another bonus! It’s a change of pace from the nomadic life. Camping is fine, until you wake up surrounded by searing scorpions! And I thought split ends were bad!

In the end, I decided to spend the rest of my time abroad inside the city of Maj’Dul. It’s much more civilized than the Pillars of Flame. Oh! Did I mention they had cyclops? Or is it cyclopses? Anyway, there were some of those out there too! Only I’m out of time and I have to turn my paper in. I hope I get a good grade this time.

Teacher’s Note: Miss Mellosius, this is one of the worst papers you have ever written. You were supposed to learn about the natives, not report about your hair and your boyfriends. What about their trade goods? Write another paper, this time with more factual information and less personal details.


The woodlands are filled with a mysterious beauty. Some of that beauty is due to the unseen influence of mana. Infused with mana, sentient beings known as treants are the guardians of the woods. This is their story.

“Treants,” by various authors — Being a collection of the thoughts and feelings evoked by these fascinating forest creatures.

“It nearly ripped my arms off.” — Griffon Barkstripper, Baubbleshire, after mistaking a drowsy treant for a willow and attempting to remove its bark to brew some tea. Lesson: A treant’s bite is worse than its bark.

“Are those…eyes?” — overheard in the Orcish Wastes, followed by a high-pitched scream. The Orcish Wastes are the known habitat of a darker form of treant that is preoccupied with exterminating any other being in its path. They apparently view everyone else as the cause of the decay in their lands. Lesson: If it has eyes, it can see you.

“A single treant can breathe life into a forest,” Daryann Stormrider, wood elf of the Willow Wood. The breath of the treant may be a source of renewing the concentration of mana within a forest, although this is not proven. Lesson: Wood elves know the woods.

“Arbos is father and mother to all trees,” anonymous dryad, Oakmyst Forest. In mythology, Arbos is often cited as the tree from which all other trees sprung. Apparently, this relationship extends to the sentient treants as well. Lesson: Even a potential enemy has parents.

“Put that out!” an elderly treant to a camper lighting an improper campfire. Treants may be living beings, but they are still made of the same fibers as other trees. Generally, if you are in a deciduous forest, the treants there will appear as deciduous trees rather than coniferous trees. Lesson: Make sure your fires are completely out before abandoning a campsite.

“It’s magic!” a Runnyeye goblin surprised by a treant, immediately before being crushed by its roots. Treants are very strong physically, however they are also well-known magic users. In some areas, magic-wielding treants outnumber other treants three to one. Lesson: This could be magic!

“Mmm. Jumjum juice,” Xanuusus, a treant in the old Northern Karana Plains. As with most sentient creatures (and some that are not), jumjum is an excellent way to make friends. There is no guarantee that this will work with all treants, but it could be worth a try. Lesson: Sometimes, it is better to give than to hoard but it may be impossible to tell when.

“Zzzzzzz…” a sleeping treant in Nektulos Forest. As they age, treants tend to become less mobile. It could be the result of their sap flow slowing, making them more sleepy. Eventually, treants pause for longer and longer naps, finally losing all mobility and turning into regular trees. Lesson: Not every great oak sprang from a normal acorn.

“Sharp axes make for small treants,” a Bloodskull lumberjack battling treants in the Orcish Wastes. Sadly, many treants have been turned into kindling by the orcs who continue to clear large swaths of land. While a lone orc is no match for a healthy treant, the orcs send in vast numbers of lumberjacks when they suspect a treant is living amongst the trees in their way. Lesson: Even the oldest and strongest can be felled by strategic planning.

I hope this information provides you with enough basic information about treants that you will be able to learn more about them on your own. Remember to walk carefully through the forests and beware of all big sticks!

The Orcs of Norrath

“The Orcs of Norrath”
Second Edition

This book is a guide that is intended to help the reader identify orcs by analyzing various noticeable features about them.

Having grown up in Freeport, I have known about orcs ever since I was a small child. Though my parents would commonly threaten to feed me to the orcs when I was acting in an unruly manner, I wouldn’t actually see one until I was close to fifteen years old. Since then I have devoted much time to studying these beasts and have collected my findings within these pages.

One of the first things that a person will notice about the orc is their body shape. They stand slightly shorter than human-height, yet possess the hulking brutish qualities of an ogre. Having a slightly stooped posture, the orc’s monster-like qualities rarely cause someone to mistake them for a traveling human or half-elf.

The arms of these horrible beasts are one of the most striking features. Rarely will you find an orc who does not possess a frightening amout of muscles bulging throughout their arms. Their musculature extends from their fingertips all the way up to their shoulders. The upper body strength of an orc should never be underestimated.

Easily recognized, an orc’s face belies its monsterous nature. Mottled and pockmarked, their faces are pressed together causing them to look as if they have a perpetual scowl. The nose is not defined, rather appearing to be two small holes with flaps of skin around them.

One cannot look at the face of an orc and not notice the tusk-like fangs jutting from their mouth. These teeth cause the orcs to speak in an incoherent manner, making it difficult to understand whether they are crying for mercy, or crying out for reinforcements. Suprisingly, they do not use their teeth as weapons, which is fortunate indeed.

Coming in a varitey of different colors, the orc’s skin will range from a deep green to a burnt orange and even all the way to a deep black. Not much is known why there is such a broad range in the skin coloration, but it can be said that their aggressive nature isn’t affected by the color of their skin.

Orcs are not exclusively carnivores. They have been seen from time to time eating various plants if meat is not available. Though their food of choice is (usually) cooked meat, some groups of orcs have been reported to cultivate food from grains to livestock. Though they have the reputation for eating living people, I have come to the conclusion that this is just a story that must have started many years ago.

At first it may look as if the weapons used by the orcs are crude and rusted. This may be the case in the Commonlands, but not in Zek. Utilizing the same standard swords and axes used the world over, the metal they use in its construction is what makes them so effective. Being very similar to iron, the metal has a red tint that gets more vibrant for a short time after the weapon has been used to kill something.

The orcs has two modes of dress. Either they will be covered from head to toe in the strongest armor they can get their hands on, or they will be stripped down to nothing more than breeches. The latter is usually worn by those holding lesser positions, such as lumberjacks. There is no such thing as “casual” clothing amongst the orcs.

Of all the information I’ve collected about the orcs over the years, there is one thing that I have always found disturbing. No matter where I have gone, from the Commonlands all the way to Zek, I have never once spied a female orc. This causes me to believe that of all the countless orcs I’ve seen… I’ve only seen one half of their numbers.

The Desert Serpent

By a concerned Maj’Dulian
An unusual political treatise that some suspect was written by an outsider to stir up trouble within the city’s walls.

There are few among us today who can truly appreciate Maj’Dul for what it originally represented, in contrast to what it now represents.

The Dervin Empire was once the powerful desert serpent, winding itself about people and geography. The change from that once noble position should have been evident years ago.

One need only review a page from the diary of a young barrashar who has spent a good deal of time in Maj’Dul.

“It is a strong city. Though its people seem resolved in their ways, it isn’t until one learns how unstable their ways are that this resolve falls short.”

Let me underline that the fifth word used in this description of Maj’Dul is “city.” We were once an empire birthed from every pore in the desert.

Perhaps we should rewrite our own history: “Dissatisfied with the lot of his people, Ahkari set out to build a small city.”

One must wonder, then, how an empire became merely a city in the eyes of a foreigner.

Are we not desert-hardy to the last? Do we not protect ourselves from the battering rams of advancing cultures? Do we not hold power over the region?

We are all of what we once were and we are also nothing of what we once were. We have lost not ourselves as a people, but ourselves as an empire.

And if the barrashar know this, then so must the desert have known long ago.

Perhaps you will question whether or not this is a real problem. For, if it is merely barrashar talk, then what has it got to do with the real Maj’Dul, the real empire?

I point you in the direction of our disgruntled citizens. The poetry in “Of Maj’Dul Am I” is a perfect example of the suppressed, yet evident, cry for change. Read that, as well and see then if you do not agree.

Why are we lost?

Due to improper leadership, we find ourselves now without purpose or direction.

Look at our city life and ask yourself: in the midst of a cultural invasion, why is it our focus lies still on the Games? Why have we allowed the continued existence of the Rujarkian Orcs?

Why do the lands once called ours contain enemy tribes, goblins, orcs, harpies, any number of nuisances that threaten not empires but people?

The Games as a means by which to govern a people must be abolished. My livelihood and your livelihood should not compete for each other.

Most especially, we should not gamble on who should prosper and who should not. The Games provide – and should continue to provide – entertainment.

Government, however, should come from the intellectual elite. To weigh and pit laws against each other is to seed revolution and we must take that bait, or we shall surely fail as a people.

Our leadership situation is stagnant. What was once a temporary measure – to restore power to its rightful owner – has become instead a distraction.

Dukarem, Ishara, Neriph: all three worry less about the people of Maj’Dul than how they might gain control of them.

Their petty games afford them a temporary power they covet, but none has the leadership needed to take what they consider theirs.

Consider Mudeef, wielder of the supreme power. It is with relief that I can say Mudeef does not preoccupy himself with the Games as do the true sons of Maj’Dul.

But it is with sadness that I say nobody knows with what Mudeef occupies his time. What has Mudeef changed for the better in Maj’Dul? In fairness one might counter: “What has Mudeef changed for the worse in Maj’Dul?”

If the answer to both of those questions is “nothing,” then he is no ruler.

To promote stagnancy is not a virtue. Some argue Mudeef stands as a barrier between an empire and a cliff, preventing us from flinging ourselves off the edge.

What is scarcely discussed is what lies at the bottom of that cliff. It is not the rock-hidden waters we are led to believe.

At the bottom of that cliff lies our identity as a people, dropped there long ago and forgotten. Through no malice of his own, Mudeef is preventing us from regaining our empire’s soul.

Where, then, lies Maj’Dul’s future?

It is simple: the future of Maj’Dul is found within its people.

Are we, as a people, content with stagnancy? Does the lure of the arena prevent us from seeing a future – nay, present – in which Maj’Dul is a city and nothing more?

Or, do the Games merely open our eyes to that vision through tinted glass in which it is acceptable?

Neither answer is sufficient, if Maj’Dul is to survive.

A simple revolution is all that can save Maj’Dul. And as citizens, revolution falls under our jurisdiction.

When our leaders do not make safe our lands, we must do so ourselves, and force conflict upon our people.

The Rujarkian Orcs we once thought defeated; this is not so, they hide within their crags. No near-defeated race – and orcs are not merely animals, they are indeed a race – can let defeat stand. They will return and they will return in force. We must preempt this.

The well-known of Maj’Dul must be ousted. It is clear enough to those who learn our history on who the rightful leader of Maj’Dul should be (indeed, I had a barrashar lecture me on this point once).

Right of ascension is acceptable in times of prosperity. As it stands we must cut all lineage. Our three sons do not represent Maj’Dul any more than Mudeef, and none of the four succeed in growing or stabilizing the empire.

Interim governments must be shattered and new power must arise.

We must put effort and money into strengthening our empire, letting not orc nor harpy nor goblin nor any other force keep us from our sandy homes.

This process must start slowly; we can dot the land with outposts.
Through trade and war, the process will sweep across the desert, leaving nothing but the Dervin Empire in its wake.

Finally, we must find our serpent head. And in swallowing its enemies – political and military – it shall grow the desert serpent of Maj’Dul.

Once again our empire shall coil itself about the desert regions, striking at all who would threaten us. Once again our empire shall protect and encircle its children.

And once again our empire shall own her desert home.


Skeletons are so common throughout Norrath, it’s pretty wasteful to spend much time studying them. The good thing about skeletons, though, is that they are so numerous that studying them is a breeze.
“Skeletons” by Trinni Mellosius — Taking them apart and putting them together.

If there’s a graveyard, there’ll be skeletons. The question is, what kind? The best way to figure out what you’ll encounter in any given graveyard is to look at what’s alive in the area. That’s because skeletons are simply reanimated dead. That puts skeletons into the category known as “undead,” which includes creatures such as ghosts, ghouls and zombies.

Pretty much every living creature has a skeleton. The nice thing about skeletons is that you can see everything you need to know about your enemy at a glance. Is it carrying a concealed weapon? That’s mighty hard to do when you don’t have any skin to hide it behind!

Let’s take a look at orc skeletons as an example. Once you are familiar with skeletons, you’ll know about the living orcs, too. Seeing them from the inside out gives you the advantage in battle — you will already know where the living orcs are vulnerable and tender.

First, look at the orc skeleton’s skull. It is thicker at the front top than it is on the temples or at the back. That means you’ll want to attack them from the side whenever possible to knock them unconscious. Although…it’s hard to say that an undead creature actually has a conscious state even without you coshing it on the head.

The skeleton’s neck is thin and much more vulnerable to a slashing attack. This is not always true of living creatures which may protect their soft fleshy bits with studded collars and coifs. The motto for the novice hunter is: look before you slash. If it’s covered, see what is left wide-open, and redirect your attack appropriately.

Many skeletons wield the same weaponry as they would in life. If the animated undead was a magic user, you can be assured that its skeletal counterpart is also a magic user. In this case, it’s handy to study the living creature instead to better know what damage skeletal creature is capable of doing.

For the most part, skeletons are fairly solitary. They will however band together from their separate funereal plots to do whatever thing a particular sorcery has called them to life to do. Or undead. It’s hard to know what to call them since they are clearly not alive, but aren’t necessarily dead!

Occasionally, skeletons are found beyond graveyards. You can find them haunting areas where they existed in life. For example, you can see any number of skeletons in places like Stormhold. These skeletons are likely bound to the last place their living self remembers and need to be re-killed in order to die. Except they’re already dead, which means you can’t kill them. Hmm. Anyway.

When you come across a skeleton and you don’t recognize what sort of creature it might once have been, imagine it covered in fat. Often, we’re surprised by how scrawny a skeleton is and forget that something like a giant may be big in the bone department, but lack some of the width its layer of skin and fat would cover. Keep in mind that not everything has a skeleton. You’d feel pretty foolish telling someone you were fighting a Coldwind octopus skeleton, now, wouldn’t you?

That’s all I know about skeletons. Hopefully, you’ll find this information useful. If not, go do your own study on skeletons. It’ll be easy; they’re everywhere!

Rise of the Orcs – The Rousing

“Rise of the Orcs – The Rousing”
Second Edition

This book highlights the turning point when the orcs would start to become a force to be reckoned with.

The following historical account details what some stories describe as the “return” of the orcs. Once primal savages, the orcs would become frightening masters of tactics and strategy not seen on Norrath for nearly thousand years. The following facts have been taken from many different sources ranging from fragments of parchment to tales told by elderly elves.

The Deathfist Orcs: By the Age of Turmoil, the Deathfist orcs would become a formidable threat to the city of Freeport. Having grown in size, the Deathfist orcs would absorb all of the surrounding tribes, making them the largest tribe on Norrath. Their numbers would prompt the Overlord of Freeport to send his armies against these savages from time to time in an attempt to keep them from destroying all commerce. This would change one day, however.

When one of the Freeport Militia raiding parties failed to return one day, several search parties were sent after them. When none of them returned either, one third of the Militia was sent to find the cause of their disappearance. Of the twelve hundred soldiers that left to search for the patrols, only seventeen would return to describe what happened to the legion. Their tale would change the way people viewed the orcs the world over.

As the legion reached the last known site of the troops, they spotted several orcs fleeing into a narrow ravine. Following them into the ravine, they spotted the mangled bodies of their fallen comrades. At that same moment, a wave of boulders fell from the surrounding cliffs, closing off their escape. That was when the hundreds of enraged, trained elephants were let loose by the Deathfist orcs. At full speed, they began to stampede through the ravine… straight for the doomed Militia.

The Snow Orcs: During this time, the Snow Orc’s numbers would be reduced drastically. Having been driven to the eastern half of Everfrost Peaks, the Snow Orcs were wedged between the lair of a mighty dragon on one side and the ever-expanding mammoth-tusk trade on the other. Were it not for a change in the way they used their weapons, the snow orcs would count this time period as their last on Norrath.

The shamans of the Snow Orc tribes would at times raise the bodies of the fallen, friend or foe alike. These icy boned skeletons would then be sent loose to wander the frozen wastelands, attacking anything it would find. The Snow Orcs hoped that the skeletons would one day find a barbarian or adventurer and kill them. By some unknown means, the Snow Orcs would change tactics and start using their undead minions with surprising efficiency.

Cleverly hiding their actions from everyone, the orcs would begin to bury many lines of skeletons beneath the snow outside the entrance to the great dragon’s lair. As great heroes would come running out of her lair holding some stolen artifact, a group of orc shamans would be waiting. At the precise moment, all of the shamans would raise the skeletons to life, trapping the raiding party inside a circle of hundreds of skeletons. It wouldn’t take long for the undead to overwhelm the heroes. The Snow orcs would then take the artifacts from the dead adventurers, flay the flesh from their bones, and add them to their army of undead.

The Crushbone Orcs : No one knows for sure where they acquired them, but by this time in history the Crushbone orcs would be seen carrying weapons of dark elf make. Rumors tell of a dark elf ambassador being seen in the highest tower of the orc’s castle, so it can only be assumed the orcs had brokered a deal with their people. Considering the less than philanthropic nature of the dark elves, it is still a mystery as to what the orcs were providing in return.

The Crushbone orcs would claim a stunning victory against the elves of Kelethin one fateful day. Amassing their highly trained armies, they launched an attack against both the dwarven city of Kaladim and the high elven city of Felwithe. The residents of the tree city of Kelethin split their forces to help defend their allies’ cities and were able to stop the orcish legionnaires with only minimal causalities.

Little did they know, the true target of the orcish assault was the city of Kelethin. Attacking with their real army, the Crushbone orcs would succeed at chopping down two of the ancient trees supporting the wood elf city. By the time the wood elves would return home and put a stop to the orcs, half of Kelethin would be destroyed.

Rise of the Orcs – The Fall

“Rise of the Orcs – The Fall”
Second Edition

This book details how the orcs would nearly succeed at toppling the two most powerful cities on Norrath.

The following historical account details the orc’s involvement during the short, yet devastating, War of Defiance. Simultaneously laying siege to the two largest cities on Norrath, the orcs would come close to achieving greatness, only to be crushed in the final moments. Several accounts of this time period still exist in varying forms, which have been condensed together within this volume.

Snow Orcs: Numbering only in the hundreds, the Snow Orcs would have their numbers reinforced by the Avatar of Flame’s hidden army. Coming from the Plains of Karana, hundreds of goblins and giants would join their ranks to do battle with combined forces of the humans. The resulting clash between forces would echo halfway across the world.

For eight days, the battle would rage. Giants would smash the Qeynosian Guard, druids would kill orcs, but neither side was winning. Ultimately, the Qeynosians would make a valiant charge that would end the war. The Knights of Thunder would land a killing blow against the Orcish horde by severing the head from the Avatar of Flame’s shoulders.

Losing the guidance from their divine leader, the giants, goblins, and orcs would finally to fall to the Qeynosians. Not having enough troops to hunt down the stragglers, the fallen army would scatter to the four winds. The few remaining Snow Orcs would be routed back through Blackburrow, and that is where history would last see these people. It is not known how many Snow Orcs survived the journey through their former slaves’ den, but it is known that orc bones would be seen in the gnoll’s rubbish pits for months to come.

Deathfist Orcs: The siege of Freeport would not bode well for the Militia. Not expecting the combined might of the orcs and the ogres, the Militia did all they could just to keep the walls standing. Soon enough, the humans would realize that the orcish and orgrish armies were doing nothing more than taunting them. When it was noticeable in the faces of every one of the guards that all hope was lost, something unexpected happened. A greenish mist began covering the land for as far as the eye could see. Filling the lungs of everyone, it seemed nothing more than an odd weather phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The orcs would look in horror as they watched as all of the ogres began to cough up clouds of green colored mist from their lungs. These spasms would become more and more violent until the ogres would collapse dead from asphyxiation. Looking all around them, the Deathfist army would see every last one of their Rallosian brethren lying dead on the battlefield, with nary a scratch on them. To make matters worse for the orcs, the battle would be joined by two other armies, intent on finishing what the green mist had started.

Though their numbers were unimaginable, the Deathfists were not able to withstand an army on three fronts – The Freeport Militia on one side, the Ashen Order on another, and the Knights of Truth on the last. The orcs would not go down without a fight, however. It would take the death of the Avatar of War before the Deathfist would be routed. With their numbers reduced to the mere hundreds, the Deathfist orcs fled past the Ashen Order monks towards the Desert of Ro, where they were never seen again.

The orcs would neither be heard nor seen for the next several decades. Aside from isolated clans that remained out of the War of Defiance, Norrath believed the threat was forever gone. With the coming of the Rending and later the Shattering, the endless hordes of the orcs would begin to become nothing more than stories again. This would prove to be folly once again.

The re-emergence of the orcs would first be seen in the Commonlands. A clan calling themselves the Bloodskulls would begin to become a new threat to Freeport. Using siege engines, Freeport has managed to keep these orcs at bay, but they must remain ever vigilant. Coupled with this clan that emerged overnight, those foolish enough to ply their trade on the sea lanes claim to have seen great armadas of ships roaming the water. Those that have survived these encounters claim that the people crewing these ships are not just people, but rather, orcs.

Some unfounded reports claim that that the Deathfist Empire had managed to survive their defeat during the War of Defiance. These stories claim that the phantom armadas exist and it’s nothing more than the naval branch of the Deathfist Empire. Even wilder stories claim there is a land filled with these orcs, and not only have they rebuilt their Empire, they’re preparing for another attack on Norrath. Fortunately, these stories have no proof to validate these foolish claims.

Rise of the Orcs – The Ascension

“Rise of the Orcs – The Ascension”
Second Edition

This book details how the orcs would organize into armies the likes of which had not been seen on Norrath for millennia.

The following historical account details what stories would describe as the main turning point in the rise of the orcs. No longer primal savages, the orcs would organize into armies the like that hadn’t been seen on Norrath for millennia. Several accounts of thus time period still exist in varying forms, which have been condensed together within this volume.

Snow Orcs: Launching a surprise attack on both Surefall Glade and Qeynos at the same time, the Snow Orcs would attempt to divide the two cities. Sending wave after wave of gnoll suicide squads against the two people, the orcs directed the attack against the humans. Employing frighteningly effective tactics, the destruction caused by the orcs would seem to be amplified by the man leading them – a being engulfed in fire.

As the invasion would wear on, the gnoll’s numbers would be decimated – leaving behind only women and children in Blackburrow. The Avatar of Flame would ultimately send the signal that would spell the doom for Qeynos. Having suffered major losses to the gnolls, the human city would stand no chance against the orcish hordes marching straight for them. Were it not for a miracle that happened that day, Qeynos would not be standing.

As the Snow Orc horde began their charge, a great rumbling was felt in the earth. It intensified to the point of toppling many of the nearby towers. When the dust settled, the armies of Qeynos gazed upon a huge hole in the land where the hordes once stood. Slowly they realized that the very earth had swallowed the entire orc army. They watched in amazement as the ground began to reform, leaving no trace that there was ever a rift in the earth. Even with this turn of events, the war was far from over.

The Avatar of Flame, somehow avoiding the great sinkhole, still stood with only a few remaining orcish troops. The Qeynosians, having suffered severe losses from the invasion, would then see their second miracle that day. Approaching from the north, the combined forces of the Knights of Thunder and the Druids of Surefall were riding to join the ranks of Qeynos – being led by the Avatar of Storms. Unbeknownst to the human forces, however, was that the Avatar of Flame had reinforcements of his own. And they, too, had just arrived.

Deathfist Orcs: Though they had just traveled many leagues to join with their Rallosian brethren, the Deathfist orcs would find that the war in the south had changed since they were called. Already controlling the Innothule swamp, the Rallosian Army had now set their sights on new targets. Splitting the forces into two armies, one would sweep to the west being led by the Rallosian Warlord. The other, being led by Emperor Gash and the Avatar of War, would return to the north. Rather than being upset by the change in direction, the orcs were looking forward to what was to come.

Traveling back through the desert wasteland the orcs had just devastated, the Rallosians would remark upon the efficiency of the orcs’ work. Sometime during the march, Emperor Gash would send several platoons towards the hills, but not offering to explain why. When questioned, he would reply that the ogres needn’t worry about having enough troops when they reached their destination.

Though working together as allies, the orcs and the ogres would maintain wide berths during the march. This would prove a stroke of luck for the Rallosians, but not for the Deathfists. As they the armies passed into an open stretch of desert, the Rallosians would watch as tens of thousands of orcs would instantly be swallowed by the sand in one fell swoop. Though a devastating loss to the Deathfist Empire, Emperor Gash informed the Rallosians and the Avatar of War that all was not lost. For, he claimed, the orcs he brought with him were only one half of the Empire. The other half were already waiting at their destination.

Finally reaching their destination, the remaining orcs and the Rallosians joined with the other half of the Deathfist Empire. Employing the tactics of the orcs and the unstoppable might of the Rallosians, the Avatar of War began preparing for battle against their target – the great city of Freeport. When the assault was set to begin, the Avatar of War gazed upon Freeport and watched as thousands of Militia gathered to defend the walls. The battle was about to begin.

The orcs, once viewed as a petty annoyance, would rise from primitive savagery to tactical genius. Ancient tales that told of their former greatness were oft overlooked as being nothing more than fairy tales. Norrath would come to know that the stories were actually true, and were more attention paid to them, they would have known that the orcs had “returned” to Norrath. And their “return” would be forever burned into the memory by the part they played in the War of Defiance.

Remembering Rivervale

Many brave halflings fell defending Rivervale and the Misty Thicket during the Age of War. This is the story of the defense of the Misty Thicket.
The sight of the orcs reminded Gemma of the talk in Rivervale the previous week, that goblins and orcs had teamed up in the Northlands as the “Horde of the Inferno.” Watching the tide of invaders pouring into the Misty Thicket through the breached wall, Gemma realized that the Northlands weren’t the only place where such coordination had been happening. She turned resolutely and headed to Rivervale. Someone had to warn them!

Arrows whistled past her but Gemma ran swifter than she ever had in her entire life, ducking into the trees to dodge anything aimed her way. The sound of the battle, while fainter, still rang in her ears. How had they kept the orcs a secret for so long? When she reached the outskirts of Rivervale, Gemma paused to catch her breath, her eyes darting from one familiar, beloved landmark to another, in a sorrowful farewell.

Running up and down the streets, Gemma cried out the news of the breach in the wall. The Leatherfoot Brigade units that were still in Rivervale ran past her toward the Misty Thicket. Gemma reached the doorstep of her own home and paused. She’d left it in such disarray this morning; could she bear to have some filthy orc pawing through her treasures? With a quick shake, she said angrily, “They’ll have to come through Gemma Pathfinder first.”

There was no time to dawdle. Emma burst into the house, yelling for her mother to get the younger children and head to Freeport. “Gemma! What’s the matter?” her mother asked, but it was clear from the frightened look on her face that she already knew. They hugged quickly. Gemma kissed the tops of the youngsters’ heads. She jerked open the trunk in which they kept their family’s prized possessions and pulled out an ivy-etched leather jerkin. She would wear it into battle.

“I will meet you in Freeport. Gemma, be careful!” her mother said, joining the throngs of families heading toward the Kithicor Forest. “And Bristlebane hope there are no orcs in there yet,” Gemma said under her breath. She took one last look around the disordered room where she’d lived all her life. Chairs were overturned, breakfast on the table spilled and uneaten. “Good bye,” she said softly, shutting the door and for the first time, locking it behind her.

It seemed that all of Rivervale was running someplace. Gemma joined a group of soldiers heading back toward the Misty Thicket, although from the sounds of it, they might as well stand still — the battle was coming to Rivervale. Thick black smoke rose into the air; the invaders had set fire to the Misty Thicket. Once again the desire to run — she should go with the families and protect them! — came into Gemma’s mind. She stopped running.

The sound of heartbroken crying caught her ear over the din. Gemma followed the sound to the doorway of the Rivervale schoolhouse. She found the school mistress sitting on the doorstep, shaking from the force of her tears. “Get up,” Gemma said somewhat crossly. “Get up, Winda…you’ve got to get the children and get out of here.” Winda shook her head, “They’ve all gone; they’re safe. But I’m so scared, Gemma!”

Gemma pulled Winda to her feet and took her hands. “It’ll be fine, Winda. You just head over to Freeport now with the rest of the families. They’ll need a school teacher, you know.” Chatting as cheerfully as possible, Gemma got the school teacher walking away from town. “Maybe you can get the older ones into a different room now,” Gemma said, bringing up a subject dear to Winda’s heart. Winda hated having the older children disrupting the younger ones at their lessons.

“That would be…good,” Winda sniffed. “Oh, Gemma, thank you!” Winda smiled. The battle sounds returned even louder. “I can’t go out there, I just can’t,” Gemma thought, fighting the desperate urge to run. She grabbed Winda’s hand and pulled her along the nearly deserted streets along the road to the Kithicor Forest. “The families aren’t much ahead, Winda, you just got to….” The halflings stopped running; on the road before them stood a half dozen orcs.

“Run, Winda!” Gemma pushed the school teacher back the way they’d just come. She pulled out her short swords again and faced the invaders, her feet planted firmly apart. Winda screamed and took off, shrieking as she made her escape. The orcs hadn’t seen them until then, but now they jogged purposefully up the road. One of them threw a javelin at Gemma, catching her in the shoulder. She fell, thinking, “It’s like falling asleep.”