An Orsimer warrior prepares for battle

Orcs, also called Orsimer, or "Pariah Folk" in ancient times, are considered sophisticated barbarian beast peoples, despite being a type of Mer. They are from the Wrothgarian and Dragontail Mountains and are noted for their unshakable courage in war and their unflinching endurance of hardships. In the past, Orcs have been widely feared and hated by the other nations and races of Tamriel, but they have slowly won acceptance in the Empire, in particular for their distinguished service in the Emperor's Legions.

Origins of the Pariah Folk

Orcs were born during the latter days of the Dawn Era. History has mislabeled them beastfolk, related to the goblin races, but the Orcs are actually the children of Trinimac, strongest of the Aldmeri ancestor spirits. When Trinimac was eaten by the Daedric Prince Boethiah, and transformed in that foul god's insides, the Orcs were transformed as well. The ancient name for the 'Orsimer,' which means 'The Pariah Folk.' They now follow Malauch, better known as Malacath, the remains of Trinimac.

Strength and Steel

Orcish armorers are prized for their craftsmanship, and Orc warriors in heavy armor are among the finest front-line troops in the Empire. Most Imperial citizens regard Orc society as rough and cruel, but there is much to admire in their fierce tribal loyalties and generous equality of rank and respect among the sexes.

The Moving City

Orsinium, which literally translates to "Orc-Town" in Aldmeris, is the city of the Orsimer and the provincial seat of what was called Wrothgar, or in the late Third Era, the Orsinium Area. It has a history of being sacked and rebuilt, as Orcs are often at odds with their neighbors. In the Second Era, it was located in the eastern part of the Wrothgar region of High Rock. In the late Third Era, it was located between Wayrest, Menevia, and the Wrothgarian Mountains, but it was sacked in the early Fourth Era. It reemerged in between Hammerfell and Skyrim later on in the era.

A Culture of Conflict

Most people consider their society as rough and cruel, but it's been a lifestyle of necessity. With their cities and strongholds being under constant attack throughout their history, every tribe member is trained at birth for battle and war.

The strongest of warriors becomes chief of their stronghold. The women are either wives of the chief, or his daughters, with the only exception of the shaman, who takes care of spiritual matters. Only the strongest males are allowed to mate to keep the tribe strong.

The Orcs do not follow the laws of man, but they follow the code of Malacath, which states: Do not steal, do not kill your kin, do not attack without cause. Those who break these rules must pay the Blood Price.

Orsimer Names

An Orc has a given name and a family name. Orc family names are always prefixed depending on gender. “Gro-” for males and “Gra-” for females. A child will take the fathers name if male, or the mothers name if female. Some orcs take the family name of their stronghold where they are born.

Male Names

Agronak, Bazur, Bogrum, Dubok, Dul, Gaturn, Ghorub, Gogron, Grommok, Hanz, Krognak, Kurz, Lumdum, Luronk, Magra, Magub, Maknok, Orok, Rugdumph, Shagol, Ulmug, Urbul, Ushnar

Female Names

Batul, Borba, Bumph, Homraz, Mazoga, Mog, Mor, Oghash, Orag, Rogbut, Rogmesh, Snak, Ugak, Umar, Umog

Family Names

Agamph, Barak, Buglump, Bura, Cromgog, Dragol, Galash, Gharz, Glurzog, Hubrag, Khash, Murgak, Muzgol, Naybek, Orkul, Orkulg, Rugdush, Shadborgob, Shura, Ugdub, Uzgash, Yarug

Common Traits

Every character will have traits to choose that are not dependent on their Heritage, relying more on the background or story of the character prior to becoming an adventurer. These are often influenced by their Heritage or their class, but is entirely up to the player.

Attribute Score Increases. When determining your attribute scores, increase one of those scores by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. Follow this rule regardless of the method you use to determine the scores, such as rolling or point buy.

The “Quick Build” section for your character’s class offers suggestions on which scores to increase. You’re free to follow those suggestions or to ignore them. Whichever scores you decide to increase, none of the scores can be raised above 20.

A classic depiction of an Orsimer would suggest that your Endurance and Willpower scores increase by 1. Increase your Intelligence by 1 if you are a City Orc, increase your Strength by 1 if you are a Wild Orc, or increase your Willpower by 1 if you are a Wood Orc

Alignment. Each ancestry has stereotypes about what they believe, but these are broad strokes that might only apply to a group, rather than to an individual. Each player character’s alignment is entirely under the purview of the player.

The Orsimer are often lawful neutral. Orcs follow a code and are often extremely beholden to their traditions. They are dedicated to the strength of their clan over individuals.

Languages. Your character can speak, read, and write Tamrielic (sometimes referred to as Cyrodiilic or Common) and one other language that you and your GM agree is appropriate for the character.

Orsimer Ancestral Traits

Your Orsimer character has certain traits deriving from your orc ancestry. You have the following ancestral traits.

Age. While they are Mer, Orcs do not live as long as their distant cousins. They could live up to 80 years old, but the Code of Malacath demands that an old Orc should end his life before he becomes weak and a burden to his clan. They rarely live longer than 50 years. They reach adulthood at age 16.

Size. Orcs are broad and hardy, they are usually around 6 feet tall and weigh around 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Aggressive. As a bonus action, you can move up to your speed toward an enemy of your choice that you can see or hear. You must end this move closer to the enemy than you started.

Berserk. As bonus action, you gain temporary hit points equal to twice your character level for the next minute. Additionally, you gain advantage on the first attack you make on each of your turns during this time. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Blood-Kin. You share a connection with all of your Orsimer kinfolk. You can use Strength in place of Personality for any skill check made when interacting with other Orsimer.

Orsimer Cultural Traits

Orsimer culture values hard work and determination, which your character shares. You have the following cultural traits.

Menacing. You have proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Tool Proficiency. You gain proficiency with artisan's tools (smith's tools).

Subculture. Three main Orsimer subcultures influence the continent of Tamriel: City Orcs, Wild Orcs, and Wood Orcs.

City Orcs

Not all Orsimer choose to live in the strongholds. Those that choose to live in the cities live a much more cosmopolitan life, but they are sometimes derided by other orcs for doing so.

Well Read. You have proficiency in one skill of your choice from Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion.

Wild Orcs

Traditional Orsimer society is centered around living in stronghold settlements. These independent villages follow the Code of Malacath, and the strength of each tribe depends on their strongest warrior.

Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Wood Orcs

Valenwood is typically home to the Bosmer, but many tribes of Orismer have made this forested province their home. Like other orcs, they prize strength and honor, but to the wood orcs this means having agility and mobility as much as it does muscular power and endurance.

Keen Hearing and Smell. You have advantage on Willpower (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.