Saturday, April 21, 2012

Orcs of the North

Orc by Aleksi Briclot
An Orc class for ACKS

This will be for the War in the North campaign. (We've been playing a wilderness mini-region hexcrawl/dungeon campaign instead of the war in the north, but now that I have ACKS in print, I'm going to start developing the WitN as a possible follow up campaign.) 

Capsule Description:
Orcs are the soldiers of the snow elves. Using foul magics, they created orcs by combining goblins and men. Orcs are unnatural things, not of this world. They appear as men during the dark of night, walking among us with their wicked knives. The sun reveals them for what they truly are. 

ORC (click here for a pdf verson of the class)
Prime Requisite: STR
Requirements: STR 9, DEX 9, CON 9
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum Level: 11

Orcs are born soldiers, created by the elves from mannish and goblin stock to march in the elven wars of conquest. Most still live and die in the service of their cold elven lords. Orcs are born of magic fully grown and begin life as members of military bands of eight to twelve soldiers. This is the orc’s born warband. While they are not bound magically to the service of the elves, most orcs know no other life, and the bonds of camaraderie within their units hold them together. In many ways, orcs fight not for their elven masters but for their brothers in the warband. Some orcs whose units have been decimated find themselves adrift in the lands of men, lost, vagabond. These may take up work as mercenaries, join bandit groups, work as trainers for local militias, wander as adventurers, or even join the armies of men. They are rarely trusted, and even among those who find some acceptance in human lands, few ever regain the camaraderie they knew in their warbands. 

Orcs are born nameless, and until they distinguish themselves within their unit, they remain so. Orcs have names like Whiskey, Buzzard, Poet, Red, Savvy, Croaker, One-Eye, and Raven. Orcs have no families other than their bands. They travel as military bands, live in military camps, and conduct themselves as soldiers in the field. Orc bands (8-12) are further organized into hosts (of 8-12 bands). 

Physically, orcs are the size and build of men, and through the dark glamours of the elves, orcs are cloaked by night with the appearance of men. Only the light of the sun strips away the elven glamours and reveals them to be orcs. Thus the elves sow discord in human lands, sending orc spies, saboteurs, and assassins to cause chaos and seed suspicion among men.

Orcs are born for war, and there is only one orc class—the soldier. At first level, orcs hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. Thereafter they advance in attack throws by one point every level of experience up until 9th level (i.e. they fight as monsters). They advance in saving throws as normal fighters, by two points every three levels of experience. Like fighters, orcs increase their base damage roll from successful missile and melee attacks by +1 at 1st level and by an additional +1 at 3rd, 6th, and 9th level. They may perform one cleave attack per level. 

To maximize their flexibility on the field, they are trained in the use of all weapons and armor. They may fight wielding a weapon and shield, wielding a two-handed weapon, or wielding a weapon in each hand, as desired. Equipped with light armor and a bow, any orc is an archer or skirmisher. Equipped with heavy armor, shield, and blade, that same orc is a heavy foot soldier. Cloaked as a man, carrying a wicked curved knife, the orc is an assassin in the night.

Like their goblin forebears, orcs have infravision, albeit only to a range of 60’. 

One of the greatest killers of armies is disease. The orc does not fall prey to it. Orcs must survive long marches and punishing conditions. The body of an orc is incorruptible. Every orc is immune to all forms of disease, including magical diseases caused by spells, mummies, or lycanthropes.

Orcs may fall in battle, but they stand again. Orcs are unstoppable. When an orc is required to consult the Mortal Wounds table, the player may roll twice and choose the preferred result to apply. The character also subtracts his class level from the number of days of bed rest required to recover.

Created by dark magics, orcs are born to die, and they know it in their souls. Orcs are immune to all natural and magical fear effects.  Orc units may make a strategic retreat to gain advantage, but they never need do so through fear or hesitation. When encountered as monsters, orcs never need make morale checks. Orcs fight, and orcs die. It is the way of the world. 

Because they are twisted mockeries of mankind born for the elven wars of conquest, orcs are feared for their inhumanity. Orcs suffer a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans and demi-humans who know they are orcs. Conversely, they get a +2 bonus to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of other orcs, who are their only true brothers.

However, when an orc reaches 5th level, his battlefield prowess begins to inspire others to follow him. Any henchmen and mercenaries hired by the orc gain a +1 bonus to their morale score whenever he personally leads them. This bonus stacks with the modifiers from the orc’s Charisma, proficiencies, and race.

At 9th level, an orc can build a fort. When he does so, up to 1d4+1x10 0th level mercenaries and 1d6 orcs of 1st-3rd level will come to apply for jobs and training. If hired, they must be paid standard rates for mercenaries. Through force of arms, the orc may ultimately control several castles or even entire realms, though he can expect to face ongoing challenges from humans and demi-humans. Additional rules for castles are detailed in the Campaign chapter of ACKS.

Orc Proficiency List: Acrobatics, Alertness, Ambush, Berserkergang, Blind Fighting, Combat Reflexes, Combat Trickery (disarm, force back, knock down, overrun, sunder), Command, Dungeon Bashing, Endurance, Fighting Style, Healing, Intimidation, *Kin-Slaying, Leadership, Manual of Arms, Military Strategy, Precise Shooting, Riding, Running, Siege Engineering, Skirmishing, Sniping, Survival, Swashbuckling, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus
*New proficiencies described in Chapter 6 of the ACKS Player’s Companion.

Veteran of the Western Front Template: This pre-generated template represents a veteran of the war in the north who is living as a vagabond among humans after the decimation of his unit. The template is ready for adventure. However, if your veteran’s INT is 13 or greater, you may pick one or more additional general proficiencies before play if you’d like (see Starting Proficiencies in Chapter 4).