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Solasta Kickstarter Update #15: The Humans and Orcs of Solasta
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 24 September 2019, 20:15:34Tags: Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures
The Solasta: Crown of the Magister Kickstarter campaign has now raised over €170k and is just days away from reaching its base funding goal. The Paladin class won last week's vote and will be added to the game when it does. For now though, as expected, there's a new Kickstarter update with details about the humans of Solasta - and as an added bonus, the orcs as well. We already know that the humans are descendants of refugees from another world who arrived through a rift shortly before the Cataclysm. Unlike the three previously described races, there are no human subraces as such. However, the orcs of this setting are actually descended from humans who were mutated by a magical eruption when the rift was shut. I'll quote that part of the update:
Scholars agree that there were no orcs on Solasta before the Cataclysm. They are also absent from the surviving human histories of Tirmar. They seem to have appeared in the aftermath: a new threat in a beleaguered world.
Some speculate that they came through the Rift from some third place, but the archivists of the Einarium are firmly against this theory.
The truth is that the orcs are linked to the Cataclysm. Their story is a sad one, for their ancestors were proud Tirmarian humans. Members of barbarian tribes from the high, jagged mountains of Tirmar, they were fearless in battle, for their harsh environment fostered a contempt for death within them. While they respected the Tirmarian pantheon, each tribe also venerated a totem animal, typically one renowned for its strength and ferocity. They made ideal shock troops, and the Tirmarian Inquisition regularly sent them into the toughest spots.
As the Cataclysm unfolded, the Bear Brothers and the Snow Lions fought on the front lines, side by side with the Imperial Iron Legions. Heedless of casualties, they slowly forced the enemy back so that the Imperial wizards could come close enough to close the Rift.
As the rift closed, the enormous strain on the mana of the land had a devastating and varied series of consequences. All know of the centuries when there was not enough magic to cast even the simplest cantrips; of the earthquakes, floods, and famines; the cold and the drought – but the fate of the Tirmarian barbarians was crueler still.
As the Rift closed, a backlash of magic engulfed the front lines, wiping out the Iron Legionnaires. For some reason, though – their human physiology, or their unyielding barbarian toughness – the Tirmarians survived. However, they were no longer human. The twisting magic ripped through their bodies, turning human intelligence into orcish ferocity and barbarian honor into monstrous bloodlust. The men and women were transformed into half-beasts, warped parodies of humanity’s basest instincts.
Over the days following the battle, the transformation became complete and the survivors began to move away from the Rift. They called themselves orcs, from the dim memory of a word in the mountain dialect: urrak, meaning strong or capable. Strength and capability had become the only virtues they understood. They wandered the land looting and killing. Many became cannibals, eating the bodies of their fallen foes as much to show dominance as to satisfy hunger. As they spread across the ruined world, sub-groups gathered behind particularly strong leaders, sometimes taking over a tribe and sometimes splitting off to form a new one. Tribes fought whenever they met, but all followed the violent orc way and all would band together against a foe who wielded the hated power of magic.
In time, the orcs moved out of the Badlands and into the Marches. Occasionally a tribe will grow strong enough to raid civilized areas and bring back captives as slaves or as food. Even less frequently, a cunning leader is able to forge a temporary alliance of tribes for the same purpose, but orcs are fractious by nature and such alliances seldom last long.
With strongholds in the mountains that separate the Marches from the Badlands, each orc tribe developed its own form of orc culture, fully orcish and yet distinctive, as each tribe forged its own path.
Although orcs share a common hatred of magic, their shamans wield a quasi-religious power through pacts with local spirits. They strive to prevent clan rivalries and petty feuds from developing into all-out war, often by organizing ritual combats between the champions of both sides. These fights sometimes settle a dispute, but just as often the losing side resorts to war rather than accepting defeat.
Although other races regard them as savages, orcs do have a culture, however barbaric. Orcs define themselves by their clan. For an orc, being clanless is, in many ways, worse than death, and in many clans banishment is regarded as a harsher punishment than execution.
As well as identity and protection, the clan provides structure and order. In the chaotic environment of the Badlands and the Marches, these are things that orcs crave. Each orc has a rank and a place within the clan, with superiors, inferiors, and duties. Ambitious individuals scheme to improve their position, usually under the watchful gaze of the tribe’s shaman.
Orcish mercenaries are occasionally hired by Solastan employers, most often the petty warlords of the Marches rather than the rulers of the more civilized nations. They are generally employed as expendable shock troops as well as for those unsavory tasks which might cause their employers’ regular troops to mutiny. A clanless orc takes surprisingly well to the mercenary life, with the mercenary band filling the role of the clan in providing security and structure. The colors of a mercenary company usually ensure that orcs are not taken for raiders and killed on sight, and as harsh as mercenary discipline can be, it is seldom as brutal as life within an orc clan
Orcs are of a similar size and build to unusually large and muscular humans. Their skin is a dark olive green in color, and often decorated with clan tattoos and brands. Their hair is usually black and coarse. Their jaws are heavy and their teeth are large, with especially pronounced canines.