From a human perspective, orcs are huge, muscle-bound brutes with half a mind, a tough hide, and very little else. For some orcs this may be true, but they can be much more varied than humans choose to believe.
An orc can be a hulking giant or a sinewy and ropey creature. The flesh of an orc can range in shades of green, gray, yellow, and brown. Their skin is tough like leather, and can contain spots, specks, markings and odd patterns.
Orcs faces are recognizably humanoid, and can be amiable in appearance to beastly. They commonly possess broad faces, typically square shaped with a strong jaw. They have wide or long prominent noses with moderate to large nostrils. Their eyes are commonly oval or almond shaped and can be wide or narrow. Their eye colors run the gamut from shades of brown, green, red, amber, gold, silver, yellow, and hazel, all the way to black. Blue eyes are never seen in a full blooded orc.
The most distinctive part of their face involves their two tusks. All orcs have wide mouths, with thick or thin lips, and an under bite where their tusks stick up and out from their lower jaw. These tusks are not used as teeth, but orcs believe that large tusks are a sign of strength and prowess. Losing a tusk can be demoralizing to an orc for they do not grow back. If an orc is severely dishonored, one or both tusks are often removed as punishment depending on the crime.
Orcs have no eyebrows, but their brow line is strong and pronounced. Their hair can be thin and wispy to thick and wiry. They don’t view hair as anything important aestetically. Some will wear it in ponytails, braids, or loose and tangled, while many shave the sides of their head or all of their hair entirely. Females included.
Compared to humans, the orcs are huge. They have large muscled bodies and even the thinnest orc can easily overshadow and outweigh a human. The average orc stands around 6’2, the shortest run about 5’10″, and the tallest 7’5″. Fat orcs are uncommon because extreme weight is viewed as a weakness. In fact, most orcs take rigorous care of their bodies. As a result they don’t normally die from obesity, poor metabolism, or cardiac arrest, as many humans do. Orcs are, however, susceptible to many other diseases and disorders.
Tattoos are a favored part of orc culture, so almost all orcs who have reached adulthood have more than one tattoo. Many tattoo their faces with tribal patterns or designs to increase their ‘ferocious’ appearance.
Orcs breed in similar fashion to the human race, women carrying the child for about eight to nine months. The babies are born small and typically helpless to start, but quickly grow in size. Their tusks are just little tiny nubs when they are babies, but they begin growing along with them as they mature. An orc reaches full maturity at 16, and they could also gain access to velanil at the same age. Orcs can live to be up to 120 years of age, but do suffer the effects of aging, giving them a more realistic age cap of 75. Humans and orcs can interbreed, creating a halfbloods offspring called a half-orc.
Orcs do have a lower birthrate than humans, though, and is part of a series of reasons why the race is not as populated. They also war with not only other races but with each other, which contributes to their lower numbers.
Another factor that keeps the orcs from world domination is that amongst their kind really intelligent orcs tend to be uncommon. It’s not that they are not smart or wise, but that they are just generally not that involved in deep issues or thoughts. Their thinking tends to be shallow, crude, and to the point. Yet intelligent orcs tend to become figure heads and leaders in their society, as they make great leaders and thoughtful decisions regarding their people.
Orcs aren’t technically savvy beings, and so their crafting tends to be crude and basic. Even so, it is efficient at its purpose, which is all orcs ever care about. Orcs are resourceful and surprisingly fond of recycling and reuse. “Waste not, want not” is their motto, and so they are sticklers for using everything. When they raid they take everything, hostages included.
Status within orc society is determined by a number of crucial factors. Generally, and in typically order of importance, these factors are: strength, charisma, cunning, and intelligence. Intelligence is valued quite differently among the castes and often depends upon the orc concerned. Orc warmongers, for example, value the abnormally clever a great deal, but intelligence really means nothing to a common runt.
Orcs are very competitive creatures, preferring to shame their opponents openly. They don’t regularly engage in murder unless it’s deemed necessary. They have their own form of honor, which may seem strange and selfish to an outsider, but for orcs, such acts of honor are highly prized.
An orc can inhabit one of three extremely distinct social tiers depending upon his or her aptitude:
Kaffs: These orcs are the first step in the orcish status ladder. They the most varied of any caste, and are the commoner class in orc society. They are general citizens, workers, and crafters. They make up the majority of the populace.
Raiders: These orcs serve as warriors, and are the backbone of of the orc military. They’re physically empowered and have shown their skills to be exceptional. The orcs view raiders as orc nobility, as they are the strongest, most ferocious, skilled orcs that have the greatest contributions to orc society.