History Main / OurOrcsAreDifferent

17th Aug '17 4:33:44 PM CaptainCrawdad
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** The mid-80s Creator/RankinBass version of ''WesternAnimation/TheReturnOfTheKing'' blended the two, as the orcs were depicted as being forced to march to war and, in a DreamSequence, are seen happily waving to Frodo and Sam as they pass by in the Shire.

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** * The mid-80s Creator/RankinBass version of ''WesternAnimation/TheReturnOfTheKing'' blended the two, as the orcs were depicted as being forced to march to war and, in a DreamSequence, are seen happily waving to Frodo and Sam as they pass by in the Shire.
17th Aug '17 1:50:12 PM ironballs16
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** The mid-80s Creator/RankinBass version of ''WesternAnimation/TheReturnOfTheKing'' blended the two, as the orcs were depicted as being forced to march to war and, in a DreamSequence, are seen happily waving to Frodo and Sam as they pass by in the Shire.
5th Aug '17 6:11:00 PM CallawayJ
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* ''Fanfic/TheFall'': [[ZeroNoTsukaima Louise]] is familiar with the Tolkienesque types, coming from a medieval fantasy world infested with them herself. In [[FalloutNewVegas the Mojave]] however, she is told a story of Super Mutants, who are capable of being the Blizzard types, if still having a penchant for violence, and usually not being that much smarter than her type. She even [[LampshadeHanging Lampshades it.]]
2nd Aug '17 10:36:30 PM Fireblood
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In modern fiction, "orc" is sometimes spelled as "ork", both to make the orcs that much more different and for XtremeKoolLetterz appeal. For whatever reason, 'orc' is usually the spelling in Medieval fantasy, while, 'ork' is the norm in modern or futuristic settings. The form "orke" appeared in early modern English during the Renaissance period, perhaps influenced by the French "ogre". Tolkien considered spelling it "ork" late in his life, but never got around to revising his published stuff for it.

to:

In modern fiction, "orc" is sometimes spelled as "ork", both to make the orcs that much more different and for XtremeKoolLetterz appeal. For whatever reason, 'orc' is usually the spelling in Medieval fantasy, while, while 'ork' is the norm in modern or futuristic settings. The form "orke" appeared in early modern English during the Renaissance period, perhaps influenced by the French "ogre". Tolkien considered spelling it "ork" late in his life, but never got around to revising his published stuff for it.
2nd Aug '17 12:55:16 PM CaptainCrawdad
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* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' follows the Tolkienian model closely, although the possibility of using orcs as a player race can lead to [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch subversions on an individual basis]]. However, even as far back as Second Edition, D&D gave their orcs hints of the Blizzard model, including a shamanistic (albeit warlike) culture, and a more troll-like appearance. D&D may also be the first work that explicitly split orcs (large savages), goblins (small sneaks), hobgoblins (large troopers), and bugbears (large bullies) into separate races; in Tolkien, there were different strains of orcs with different traits, but they were still all one race. Earlier editions claim that orcs don't just have a warlike culture but are actually good strategists and tacticians (they are theoretically of human intelligence), but since almost everyone just had them as StupidEvil berserkers anyway this detail was dropped.
** Orcs in ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'', on the other hand, are somewhat "Blizzard orcs," but somewhat fulfill the role of elves in other settings (Eberron elves are a {{Proud Warrior Race|Guy}}). They have little actual conflict with the other races, are the best druids in the setting (despite a fullblooded orc getting a Wisdom penalty) and actually have a sort-of company that finds Dragonshards - [[AppliedPhlebotinum crystals]] that are ''essential'' to create magic items. Oh—and their shamanistic culture is responsible for keeping one type of CosmicHorror from causing TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
*** There's a picture floating around the internets showing an Orc facing off against an Elf. The text says [[https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/89/15/ee/8915ee67c43f0d24f7e429d62e33851c.jpg "One is from an ancient druidic culture dedicated to preserving the world from nameless horrors. The other is a roving marauder looking for a fight."]] The humor comes from the fact that in Eberron, the "obvious" answer to "Which is which?" is reversed.
*** Hobgoblins are "Blizzard orcs" played straight.
** For the most part, the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' has followed the usual D&D variety straight, but it has been played with over time. The ''Literature/LegendOfDrizzt'' series eventually saw the founding of the Kingdom of Many-Arrows, a legitimately recognized orc kingdom founded by a VisionaryVillain, Obould Many-Arrows. In 4th edition, the Many-Arrows kingdom had been enjoying a real peace with its formerly hostile neighbors for decades, implying orcs in at least that part of the world were finally climbing out of their AlwaysChaoticEvil niche... and then [[StatusQuoIsGod 5th edition came in and had Many-Arrows destroyed and orcs cast out again, with Salvatore's novels claiming the gods themselves had denounced Many-Arrows' existence as an aberration in the natural order that never would have worked]]...
*** Notably, ''Forgotten Realms'' started laying the ground work for their orcs to be portrayed as proud warrior race guys around the same time that Blizzard turned their orcs into [=PWRG=]s. Coincidence?
*** Back in the early 90s, before Warcraft ''I'', the Realms had the metaplot result in a group of orcs (former Zhentarim mercenaries having been involved in an EnemyMine against a massive [[HordesFromTheEast Tuigan invasion]]) settling down in the realm of Thesk, on the eastern edge of Faerûn. Integrated into a civilized society, these orcs shifted away from evil and their warlike ways (so not fitting with ''either'' general flavour) and ended up as mostly Lawful ''Neutral'' (at the time orcs were usually Lawful Evil, and the Theskian orcs remained lawful as an artefact of that when most orcs became usually Chaotic Evil).
*** The Realms are also home to the Ondonti, a rare group of pacifistic LawfulGood orcs who prefer to tend their farms and mind their own business. They're believed to be descendants of orcs who were saved by the clergy of a minor goddess of peace and agriculture who chose a third option to the traditional [[GenocideDilemma Orc Baby Dilemma]].
** In the ''TabletopGame/{{Spelljammer}}'' [[RecycledINSPACE D&D IN SPACE]] setting there's a villain race called the [[SdrawkcabName Scro]], who are tougher than normal orcs, and are also more "civilised" (i.e. "usually ''{{Lawful|Evil}}'' [[LawfulEvil Evil]]).
** ''D&D'' also had [[HalfHumanHybrid half-orcs]], and introduced the idea that Orcs could breed with almost anything. Except elves, perhaps as a minor tweak to the Tolkien orcs. There were some releases of such breeding done in alternate sourcebooks, but these creatures were almost unavoidably insane from their conflicting nature.
*** Tolkien also had Half-Orcs - Saruman bred them at Isengard (also called "Goblin-men" and "Orc-men").

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* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' follows was highly influential in making orcs a standard part of fantasy settings. The game's characterization of orcs varies widely based on the Tolkienian edition and campaign setting, (to say nothing of dungeon master interpretation).
** Early editions of the core game follow Tolkien
model closely, although the possibility of using fairly closely. Orcs are violent, pig-like humanoids who dwell underground and find sunlight uncomfortable. They are said to be highly competitive and good tacticians. Half-orcs are also a playable race, receiving extra strength but lower intelligence, implying that full-blooded orcs as a player race can lead to [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch subversions on an individual basis]]. However, are even as far back as stronger and stupider.
**
Second Edition, D&D gave their orcs Edition and subsequent editions are largely Tolkien model, but include hints of the Blizzard model, including model. Orcs are violent, stupid creatures who typically serve as fodder for low-level heroes to slaughter. They have a shamanistic (albeit warlike) violent) culture, and a more troll-like appearance. D&D may also be the first work that They are typically drawn with green skin, though this can vary. Edition 3.5 explicitly split orcs (large savages), goblins (small sneaks), hobgoblins (large troopers), and bugbears (large bullies) into separate races; in Tolkien, there were different strains of orcs with different traits, but states that they were still all one race. Earlier editions claim that orcs don't just have a warlike culture but are actually good strategists and tacticians (they are theoretically of human intelligence), but since almost everyone just had them as StupidEvil berserkers anyway grey skin, though this detail was dropped.
** Orcs
is not borne out in ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'', on most of the other hand, are somewhat "Blizzard orcs," but somewhat fulfill the role of elves in other settings (Eberron elves are a {{Proud Warrior Race|Guy}}). They have little actual conflict with the other races, are the best druids in the setting (despite a fullblooded orc getting a Wisdom penalty) and actually have a sort-of company that finds Dragonshards - [[AppliedPhlebotinum crystals]] that are ''essential'' to create magic items. Oh—and their shamanistic culture is responsible for keeping one type of CosmicHorror from causing TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
*** There's a picture floating around the internets showing an Orc facing off against an Elf. The text says [[https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/89/15/ee/8915ee67c43f0d24f7e429d62e33851c.jpg "One is from an ancient druidic culture dedicated to preserving the world from nameless horrors. The other is a roving marauder looking for a fight."]] The humor comes from the fact that in Eberron, the "obvious" answer to "Which is which?" is reversed.
*** Hobgoblins are "Blizzard orcs" played straight.
illustrations.
** For the most part, the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' has followed the usual D&D variety straight, but it has been played with over time. The ''Literature/LegendOfDrizzt'' series eventually saw the founding of the Kingdom of Many-Arrows, a legitimately recognized orc kingdom founded by a VisionaryVillain, Obould Many-Arrows. In 4th edition, the Many-Arrows kingdom had been enjoying a real peace with its formerly hostile neighbors for decades, implying orcs in at least that part of the world were finally climbing out of their AlwaysChaoticEvil niche... and then [[StatusQuoIsGod 5th edition came in and had Many-Arrows destroyed and orcs cast out again, with Salvatore's novels claiming the gods themselves had denounced Many-Arrows' existence as an aberration in the natural order that never would have worked]]...
*** Notably,
worked]].
** The
''Forgotten Realms'' started laying the ground work for their orcs to be portrayed as proud warrior race guys around the same time that Blizzard turned their orcs into [=PWRG=]s. Coincidence?
*** Back in the early 90s, before Warcraft ''I'', the Realms had the metaplot result in a group of orcs (former Zhentarim mercenaries having been involved in an EnemyMine against a massive [[HordesFromTheEast Tuigan invasion]]) settling down in the realm of Thesk, on the eastern edge of Faerûn. Integrated into a civilized society, these orcs shifted away from evil and their warlike ways (so not fitting with ''either'' general flavour) and ended up as mostly Lawful ''Neutral'' (at the time orcs were usually Lawful Evil, and the Theskian orcs remained lawful as an artefact of that when most orcs became usually Chaotic Evil).
*** The Realms
are also home to the Ondonti, a rare group of pacifistic LawfulGood orcs who prefer to tend their farms and mind their own business. They're believed to be descendants of orcs who were saved by the clergy of a minor goddess of peace and agriculture who chose a third option to the traditional [[GenocideDilemma Orc Baby Dilemma]].
** Orcs in ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'' are somewhat "Blizzard orcs," but somewhat fulfill the role of elves in other settings (Eberron elves are a {{Proud Warrior Race|Guy}}). They have little actual conflict with the other races, are the best druids in the setting (despite a fullblooded orc getting a Wisdom penalty) and actually have a sort-of company that finds Dragonshards - [[AppliedPhlebotinum crystals]] that are ''essential'' to create magic items. Their shamanistic culture is responsible for keeping one type of CosmicHorror from causing TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
** In the ''TabletopGame/{{Spelljammer}}'' [[RecycledINSPACE D&D IN SPACE]] setting setting, there's a villain race called the [[SdrawkcabName Scro]], who are tougher than normal orcs, and are also more "civilised" (i.e. "usually ''{{Lawful|Evil}}'' [[LawfulEvil Evil]]).
** ''D&D'' also had [[HalfHumanHybrid half-orcs]], and introduced the idea that Orcs could breed with almost anything. Except elves, perhaps as a minor tweak to the Tolkien orcs. There were some releases of such breeding done in alternate sourcebooks, but these creatures were almost unavoidably insane from their conflicting nature.
*** Tolkien also had Half-Orcs - Saruman bred them at Isengard (also called "Goblin-men" and "Orc-men").
Evil]]).



** Oddly enough, most ''D&D'' orcs forget the one serious piece of characterization Tolkien DID give them, and subsequently have orcs and elves participating in generational hatred, despite not having any overlapping territories, resources, or any other areas of common interest.
*** Except for ''TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}'', where the shadow elves [[spoiler: abandon their deformed infants near orc settlements, and the unwitting orcs raise them as members -- and often, thanks to their intelligence, leaders -- of their tribes. This is part of a BatmanGambit by the shadow elves' patron Immortal, to try to breed a less evil variety of orc.]]
** Also oddly, while orcs are iconic ''D&D'' monsters, they also seem to be viewed as a somewhat expendable race by writers of D&D settings. Both ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' and ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' lack native orc populations, although goblins are present in both these worlds.
** According to the 3.5 Monster Manual, orcs have gray skin and like to wear bright colors, but this is almost never represented in illustrations; they're not even consistent within the same edition.
** ''TableTopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' orcs seem to ''look'' more like the Blizzard variety. However, to say that they act like the Tolkien variety would be to [[UpToEleven vastly underestimate]] their [[AxCrazy sheer batshittery]]. They also have varying appearances, with different bloodlines with more or less human blood. Because of this, they vary between BeastMan and GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe, depending on the individual. The upcoming book on their homeland, Belkzen, also promises to tone down the AlwaysChaoticEvil bit.
*** In ''TabletopGame/WickedFantasy'', a third-party setting for Pathfinder, orks ''were'' the standard AlwaysChaoticEvil raider race... until they decided that they hated it and murdered their [[AbusivePrecursors malevolent creator-gods]] to try and forge their own path. Now, they've made a tentative peace with humanity. They're still war-like and rather creepy, with their religious philosophy about the value of pain, but they're not ''evil'' all the time anymore. [[spoiler: Also, they weren't created by evil gods, but by a malevolent race of amoral scholarly SnakePeople called the Hassad.]]
** Both ''Pathfinder'' and 4th edition have made significant changes to half-orcs. They've become better-looking (although those in ''Pathfinder'' still look rather like Blizzard orcs) and no longer have a intelligence or charisma penalty. Also, [[LighterAndSofter 4e]] chose to remove their traditional ChildByRape backstory. Pathfinder, on the other hand, [[DarkerAndEdgier chose to emphasize it]].

to:

** Oddly enough, most ''D&D'' orcs forget the one serious piece of characterization Tolkien DID give them, and subsequently have orcs and elves participating in generational hatred, despite not having any overlapping territories, resources, or any other areas of common interest.
*** Except for ''TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}'', where the shadow elves [[spoiler: abandon their deformed infants near orc settlements, and the unwitting orcs raise them as members -- and often, thanks to their intelligence, leaders -- of their tribes. This is part of a BatmanGambit by the shadow elves' patron Immortal, to try to breed a less evil variety of orc.]]
** Also oddly, while orcs are iconic ''D&D'' monsters, they also seem to be viewed as a somewhat expendable race by writers of D&D settings. Both ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' and ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' lack native orc populations, although goblins are present in both these worlds.
** According to the 3.5 Monster Manual, orcs have gray skin and like to wear bright colors, but this is almost never represented in illustrations; they're not even consistent within the same edition.
** ''TableTopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' orcs seem to ''look'' more like the Blizzard variety. However, to say that they act like the Tolkien variety would be to [[UpToEleven vastly underestimate]] their [[AxCrazy sheer batshittery]]. They also have varying appearances, with different bloodlines with more or less human blood. Because of this, they vary between BeastMan and GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe, depending on the individual. The upcoming book on their homeland, Belkzen, also promises to tone down the AlwaysChaoticEvil bit.
***
In ''TabletopGame/WickedFantasy'', a third-party setting for Pathfinder, orks ''were'' the standard AlwaysChaoticEvil raider race... until they decided that they hated it and murdered their [[AbusivePrecursors malevolent creator-gods]] to try and forge their own path. Now, they've made a tentative peace with humanity. They're still war-like and rather creepy, with their religious philosophy about the value of pain, but they're not ''evil'' all the time anymore. [[spoiler: Also, they weren't created by evil gods, but by a malevolent race of amoral scholarly SnakePeople called the Hassad.]]
* ''TableTopGame/{{Pathfinder}}''
** Both ''Pathfinder'' and 4th edition have made significant changes Orcs seem to half-orcs. They've become better-looking (although those in ''Pathfinder'' still look rather ''look'' more like the Blizzard orcs) and no longer have a intelligence or charisma penalty. Also, [[LighterAndSofter 4e]] chose variety. However, to remove say that they act like the Tolkien variety would be to [[UpToEleven vastly underestimate]] their traditional ChildByRape backstory. Pathfinder, [[AxCrazy sheer batshittery]]. They also have varying appearances, with different bloodlines with more or less human blood. Because of this, they vary between BeastMan and GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe, depending on the other hand, [[DarkerAndEdgier chose individual. The upcoming book on their homeland, Belkzen, also promises to emphasize it]].tone down the AlwaysChaoticEvil bit. Ha
** Half-orcs don't look quite as monstrous and do not have penalties to their Intelligence or Charisma.
2nd Aug '17 10:15:56 AM CaptainCrawdad
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Orcs typically share a close relationship with [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Goblins]], and indeed Tolkien originally used the words "orc" and "goblin" interchangeably, though modern fantasy typically separates the raises into distinct species. Orcs are also frequently associated with other monstrous humanoid races. See: OurOgresAreHungrier, AllTrollsAreDifferent and OurGiantsAreBigger. The trope often overlaps with PigMan, though the pun on "pork" is linguistically coincidental. They are often the "adopting" parent when a child is RaisedByOrcs.

to:

Orcs typically share a close relationship with [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Goblins]], and indeed Tolkien originally used the words "orc" and "goblin" more or less interchangeably, though modern fantasy typically separates the raises them into distinct species. Orcs are also frequently associated with other monstrous humanoid races. See: OurOgresAreHungrier, AllTrollsAreDifferent and OurGiantsAreBigger. The trope often overlaps with PigMan, though the pun on "pork" is linguistically coincidental. They are often the "adopting" parent when a child is RaisedByOrcs.
2nd Aug '17 10:04:10 AM CaptainCrawdad
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* Are AlwaysChaoticEvil. Tolkien's Orcs are of debatable morality; while not "peaceful", their actions are mostly driven by their fear of [[EvilOverlord Sauron or Morgoth]].[[note]]It's worth noting that Tolkien ''himself'' had a lot of issues with this concept, being a firm Christian with a belief that redemption was available to everyone, but he never had a chance to act on it further in his published fiction despite discussing the idea often. A number of the variants below stem from other authors picking up this torch.[[/note]]

to:

* Are AlwaysChaoticEvil. Tolkien's Orcs are of debatable morality; while not "peaceful", their actions are mostly driven by their fear of [[EvilOverlord Sauron or Morgoth]].[[note]]It's worth noting that Tolkien ''himself'' had a lot of issues with this concept, being a firm Christian with a belief that redemption was available to everyone, but he never had a chance to act on it further in his published fiction despite discussing the idea often. A number of the variants below stem from other authors picking up this torch.[[/note]]



* Are oftentimes made solely as artificial creatures rather than reproducing naturally, thus explaining the aforementioned lack of females. ''LOTR'' implies that Morgoth created them as "[[EvilCounterpartRace a mockery of the Elves]]".

to:

* Are oftentimes made solely as artificial creatures rather than reproducing naturally, thus explaining the aforementioned lack of females. ''LOTR'' implies that Morgoth created them as "[[EvilCounterpartRace a mockery of the Elves]]".
2nd Aug '17 10:01:40 AM CaptainCrawdad
Is there an issue? Send a Message


Orcs typically share a close relationship with [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Goblins]], and indeed Tolkien originally used the words "orc" and "goblin" interchangeably, though modern fantasy typically separates the raises into distinct species. Orcs are also lumped together with other monstrous humanoid races. See: OurOgresAreHungrier, AllTrollsAreDifferent and OurGiantsAreBigger. The trope often overlaps with PigMan, though the pun on "pork" is linguistically coincidental. They are often the "adopting" parent when a child is RaisedByOrcs.

to:

Orcs typically share a close relationship with [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Goblins]], and indeed Tolkien originally used the words "orc" and "goblin" interchangeably, though modern fantasy typically separates the raises into distinct species. Orcs are also lumped together frequently associated with other monstrous humanoid races. See: OurOgresAreHungrier, AllTrollsAreDifferent and OurGiantsAreBigger. The trope often overlaps with PigMan, though the pun on "pork" is linguistically coincidental. They are often the "adopting" parent when a child is RaisedByOrcs.
2nd Aug '17 9:58:54 AM CaptainCrawdad
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In modern fiction, Orcs come in two general flavors: the original model developed by Creator/JRRTolkien who borrowed the word from ''Beowulf'' and used it for his version of goblins, and the model [[TropeCodifier best exemplified]] ([[OlderThanTheyThink but far from invented]]) by Creator/BlizzardEntertainment's ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' series, which is a subversion of the former.

Often overlaps with PigMan; the pun on "pork" is linguistically coincidental. Often the "adopting" parent when a child is RaisedByOrcs.

to:

In modern fiction, Orcs come in two general flavors: the original model developed by Creator/JRRTolkien who borrowed the word from ''Beowulf'' and used it for his version of goblins, and the a revisionist model [[TropeCodifier best exemplified]] ([[OlderThanTheyThink but far from invented]]) by Creator/BlizzardEntertainment's ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' series, which is a subversion of the former.

Often overlaps with PigMan; the pun on "pork" is linguistically coincidental. Often the "adopting" parent when a child is RaisedByOrcs.
series.



It's worth mentioning that the actual [[VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} Blizzard orcs]] ''were'' originally fit the Evil Mook (if still {{Villain Protagonist}}s) template of "Tolkien" Orcs in the first Warcraft game. They gained more depth in the second game, becoming leaders of a "barbarian coalition", bringing LaughablyEvil Goblins and vengeance-driven TragicMonster Trolls in the second game. After the destruction of the war machine that was the Orcish Horde, the Orc were put into human internment camps, as prisoners, but gained their freedom and eventual redemption in the cancelled AdventureGame ''Lord of the Clans'', the story of which formed the basis of a novel and later incorporated into the backstory of ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III''. According to some, the first ''Warcraft'' game began as a ''Warhammer'' adaption that Blizzard was making before the license was rescinded. This may or may not be true, but the first Warcraft game Orcs were quite similar to the Orcs introduced in ''Warhammer''.

Although the two interpretations differ significantly, they broadly share both a monstrous, primitive appearance and conflict with humanity and the other FiveRaces. The author's choice of which model to emulate usually depends on whose perspective the story is written, the story's relative position on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, and whether or not the author intends to explore [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman ramifications of killing sentient beings]]. In any case, expect humans to treat revisionist orcs as if they were Tolkienesque orcs, at least initially. ''[[OurElvesAreBetter Yrch!]]''[[note]]Sounds like a noise of disgust, and it is, but it's also the Sindarin plural of the word "orc".[[/note]]

Small, cowardly Orcs are not unknown. The original Tolkien orcs seem a good deal shorter and less powerful than humans, but this is less popular these days. More recent Orcs (''especially'' the Blizzard kind) tend to be bigger, tougher and much stronger than humans (and thus more like Tolkien's [[EliteMook Uruk-hai]] than the original model), raising questions as to why humans are the ones in charge in the first place, although this point may be explained with the fact that humans have more friends and things like castle walls and wealth.

Goblins were originally conceived by Tolkien to be simply an alternate name for Orcs, or rather he used Orcs as an alternate, preferred name for Goblins. However, modern fantasy usually portrays them as [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent a smaller and often smarter variant]], or something else altogether.

In modern fiction, "orc" is sometimes spelled as "ork", both to make the orcs that much more different and for XtremeKoolLetterz appeal. For whatever reason, 'orc' is usually the spelling in Medieval fantasy, while, 'ork' is the norm in modern or futuristic settings (See ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' vs. ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''). Long before this, the form "orke" appeared in early modern English during the Renaissance period, perhaps influenced by the French "ogre". Tolkien considered spelling it "ork" late in his life, but never got around to revising his published stuff for it.

Strangely, orcs are probably the only race that everybody but Tolkien fleshed out. For the [[OurElvesAreBetter Elves]] and [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame Dwarves]], Tolkien could name every ancestral relative of the character, every king, describe their culture and what they had for breakfast, but nearly everybody just rips off the surface features, leaving it at that way. The orcs, however, Tolkien just left as mindless pawns for the BigBad, and it's everybody else who tries to expand on them and give them some form of culture. Though it's arguable that the Tolkien orcs are ''literally'' mindless pawns, having no self-direction whatsoever once Sauron's will is withdrawn. But again, Tolkien didn't really work these things through. Even Tolkien's origins for them remained somewhat vague and inconsistent, though interestingly the moral and religious ramifications of living beings meant he was willing to entertain the idea that orcs could ''theoretically'' be decent (or at least fight against evil), they just never made it into the story.

On the other hand, the conversation between Gorbag and Shagrat, two orcs of different (and being orcs, in some ways rival) bands on the steps of Cirith Ungol in ''The Two Towers'', shows that Tolkien's orcs have a moral sense, or at least a warrior code, [[MoralMyopia though they notably fail to apply it to their own actions.]] Shagrat explains to Gorbag that Shelob's venom is a knock-out drop, not deathly poison, and they both condemn the "Elvish Warrior" who they believe has left Frodo to be eaten alive by Shelob at her leisure. What a disgusting thing to do to a companion in arms, they agree. In explaining this to Gorbag, Shagrat reveals that he and his band have done that exact same thing to Ufthak, an orc under his command. So orcs do have a moral sense, of a sort, [[IgnoredEpiphany but they just don't use it.]][[note]]It should be noted that when this occurs in the story, Shagrat also mentions that Ufthak was captured by Shelob, and that he and his men knew better than to interfere with her. He also claims they laughed at the predicament Ufthak was in. YMMV on whether or not this shows orcs don't follow their own moral code.[[/note]]

In a final note: while these two camps are sometimes well defined in many cases it is more of a sliding scale, such as the [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} 40K Orkz]] who while mostly being in the first category are actually ChaoticNeutral and also serve as the immune system of the galaxy. ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' orcs by contrast are nearly at a midpoint between the two styles, which should surprise no one since they may have been the keystone in the arc of the shift between them. Indeed, Orcs with exclusively bright green skin, rather than the varied browns, greys and olives of Tolkien's Orcs, were a ''Warhammer'' invention, thanks to certain miniature painters in the early days of the game choosing to paint the skin of their Orc models a consistent green color for effect, and this scheme becoming so popular it was adopted as part of the background. To this day, ''Warhammer'' uses the term "greenskins" as an alternative catch-all name for Orcs, Goblins and related species.

to:

It's worth mentioning that the actual [[VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} Blizzard orcs]] ''were'' originally fit the Evil Mook (if still {{Villain Protagonist}}s) template of "Tolkien" Orcs in the first Warcraft game. They gained more depth in the second game, becoming leaders of a "barbarian coalition", bringing LaughablyEvil Goblins and vengeance-driven TragicMonster Trolls in the second game. After the destruction of the war machine that was the Orcish Horde, the Orc were put into human internment camps, as prisoners, but gained their freedom and eventual redemption in the cancelled AdventureGame ''Lord of the Clans'', the story of which formed the basis of a novel and later incorporated into the backstory of ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III''. According to some, the first ''Warcraft'' game began as a ''Warhammer'' adaption that Blizzard was making before the license was rescinded. This may or may not be true, but the first Warcraft game Orcs were quite similar to the Orcs introduced in ''Warhammer''.

Although the two interpretations differ significantly, they broadly share both a monstrous, primitive appearance and conflict with humanity and the other FiveRaces. The author's choice of which model to emulate usually depends on whose perspective the story is written, the story's relative position on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, and whether or not the author intends to explore [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman ramifications of killing sentient beings]]. In any case, expect humans to treat revisionist orcs as if they were Tolkienesque orcs, at least initially. ''[[OurElvesAreBetter Yrch!]]''[[note]]Sounds like a noise of disgust, and it is, but it's also the Sindarin plural of the word "orc".[[/note]]\n\nSmall, cowardly Orcs are not unknown. The original Tolkien orcs seem a good deal shorter and less powerful than humans, but this is less popular these days. More recent Orcs (''especially'' the Blizzard kind) tend to be bigger, tougher and much stronger than humans (and thus more like Tolkien's [[EliteMook Uruk-hai]] than the original model), raising questions as to why humans are the ones in charge in the first place, although this point may be explained with the fact that humans have more friends and things like castle walls and wealth.\n\nGoblins were originally conceived by Tolkien to be simply an alternate name for Orcs, or rather he used Orcs as an alternate, preferred name for Goblins. However, modern fantasy usually portrays them as [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent a smaller and often smarter variant]], or something else altogether.\n\n

In modern fiction, "orc" is sometimes spelled as "ork", both to make the orcs that much more different and for XtremeKoolLetterz appeal. For whatever reason, 'orc' is usually the spelling in Medieval fantasy, while, 'ork' is the norm in modern or futuristic settings (See ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' vs. ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''). Long before this, the settings. The form "orke" appeared in early modern English during the Renaissance period, perhaps influenced by the French "ogre". Tolkien considered spelling it "ork" late in his life, but never got around to revising his published stuff for it.

Strangely, orcs are probably the only race that everybody but Orcs typically share a close relationship with [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Goblins]], and indeed Tolkien fleshed out. For originally used the [[OurElvesAreBetter Elves]] words "orc" and [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame Dwarves]], Tolkien could name every ancestral relative of the character, every king, describe their culture and what they had for breakfast, but nearly everybody just rips off the surface features, leaving it at that way. The orcs, however, Tolkien just left as mindless pawns for the BigBad, and it's everybody else who tries to expand on them and give them some form of culture. Though it's arguable that the Tolkien orcs are ''literally'' mindless pawns, having no self-direction whatsoever once Sauron's will is withdrawn. But again, Tolkien didn't really work these things through. Even Tolkien's origins for them remained somewhat vague and inconsistent, "goblin" interchangeably, though interestingly modern fantasy typically separates the moral and religious ramifications of living beings meant he was willing to entertain the idea that orcs could ''theoretically'' be decent (or at least fight against evil), they just never made it raises into the story.

On the
distinct species. Orcs are also lumped together with other hand, the conversation between Gorbag monstrous humanoid races. See: OurOgresAreHungrier, AllTrollsAreDifferent and Shagrat, two orcs of different (and being orcs, in some ways rival) bands on the steps of Cirith Ungol in ''The Two Towers'', shows that Tolkien's orcs have a moral sense, or at least a warrior code, [[MoralMyopia OurGiantsAreBigger. The trope often overlaps with PigMan, though they notably fail to apply it to their own actions.]] Shagrat explains to Gorbag that Shelob's venom is a knock-out drop, not deathly poison, and they both condemn the "Elvish Warrior" who they believe has left Frodo to be eaten alive by Shelob at her leisure. What a disgusting thing to do to a companion in arms, they agree. In explaining this to Gorbag, Shagrat reveals that he and his band have done that exact same thing to Ufthak, an orc under his command. So orcs do have a moral sense, of a sort, [[IgnoredEpiphany but they just don't use it.]][[note]]It should be noted that pun on "pork" is linguistically coincidental. They are often the "adopting" parent when this occurs in the story, Shagrat also mentions that Ufthak was captured by Shelob, and that he and his men knew better than to interfere with her. He also claims they laughed at the predicament Ufthak was in. YMMV on whether or not this shows orcs don't follow their own moral code.[[/note]]

In
a final note: while these two camps are sometimes well defined in many cases it child is more of a sliding scale, such as the [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} 40K Orkz]] who while mostly being in the first category are actually ChaoticNeutral and also serve as the immune system of the galaxy. ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' orcs by contrast are nearly at a midpoint between the two styles, which should surprise no one since they may have been the keystone in the arc of the shift between them. Indeed, Orcs with exclusively bright green skin, rather than the varied browns, greys and olives of Tolkien's Orcs, were a ''Warhammer'' invention, thanks to certain miniature painters in the early days of the game choosing to paint the skin of their Orc models a consistent green color for effect, and this scheme becoming so popular it was adopted as part of the background. To this day, ''Warhammer'' uses the term "greenskins" as an alternative catch-all name for Orcs, Goblins and related species.
RaisedByOrcs.



* Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' is, of course, the {{Trope Maker|s}}. Although the orcs are cannibals in TheFilmOfTheBook, accusations of cannibalism are actually seen as a grave insult, demonstrating that EvenEvilHasStandards. Ironically, Tolkien's orcs are described as actually of human intelligence (making "no beautiful things, but many clever ones"), at least insofar as it comes to weaponry, and as a devout Catholic who believed all beings could be redeemed their AlwaysChaoticEvil status was something Tolkien could never quite make up his mind on; while no "good" orcs appear in the story, the possibility is never quite ruled out (Tolkien's orcs descend from corrupted ''elves'', at least according to one MultipleChoicePast, so some Tolkien fans speculate that an orc that wasn't AlwaysChaoticEvil might stop ''being'' an orc.) Not to mention there is a very specific passage in ''The Fellowship'' where Elrond states that (paraphrase) "during the last battle, all living things were divided between whether they fought for Sauron or freedom except for the elves". This would ''require'' there to be a tribe or clan or something of orcs who weren't dicks, at least at one point in time.
** Tolkien’s Orcs were actually a very diverse lot, and numerous varieties were around during the War of the Ring, largely as a result of the various dark lords breeding them like livestock to suit their needs. To wit:
*** Firstly, there were the [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent goblins]] of the Misty Mountains, sometimes referred to as northern Orcs or “Northerners”. They’re generally assumed to have descended from the survivors of Morgoth’s First Age armies, who fled beneath the Misty Mountains following their lord’s defeat. They’re usually described as smaller than other kinds, possibly from having lived underground and on their own for so long, possibly from their ancestors not being as “refined” for war as later breeds.
*** The Orcs of Mordor, also called Black Uruks or just Uruks [[note]] Uruk just means “Orc” in the Black Speech[[/note]], were the “main” breed of Orcs during the War of the Ring, large and strong and ferocious. Sauron bred them during the late Third Age from the remnants of Morgoth’s armies, in order to obtain a superior fighting force.
*** Then there were the Uruk-hai, more-or-less explicitly created from crossbreeding Orcs and Men and created by Saruman as elite soldiers. They were larger than other Orc types, and more upright and humanoid -- the other Orcs were usually described as hunched over and ape-like. They did not fear the sun (most of Sauron’s and Morgoth’s creatures could not stand sunlight and did not travel by day) and were usually described as being better-organized and more dangerous foes than “common” Orcs.
*** There were also several lesser Orcs in Mordor and Isengard, usually referred to as “Snaga” (meaning “slave” in the Black Speech). These appeared to be used for labor and garrison duty, and were sent out to war when soldiers were particularly badly needed.
*** Finally, a specialized breed of small Orcs known as “snufflers” appeared to be meant to act as trackers, possessing a highly developed nose and sense of smell. Only one snuffler is seen in the books, in the service of Mordor.
** It should be noted that, by and large, these types of Orcs [[FantasticRacism disliked each other almost as much as their foes]], with the resulting frictions between the Isengard, Mordor and Misty Mountains Orcs causing conflicts more than once. For instance, Merry and Pippin were able to escape being taken to Isengard largely because the Orcs that had captured them, who were split between Uruk-hai and Mordor Orcs, were unable to control their mutual animosity and turned on each other in a squabble over authority.

to:

* Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' is, of course, the {{Trope Maker|s}}. Although the orcs are cannibals in TheFilmOfTheBook, accusations of cannibalism are actually seen as a grave insult, demonstrating that EvenEvilHasStandards. Ironically, orcs are the ''least'' fleshed out race in Tolkien's work, and he was generally conflicted about basic aspects of the species. Tolkien orcs have, of course, most of the "classic" characteristics of the trope: they are described as actually of human intelligence (making "no beautiful things, but many clever ones"), at least insofar as it comes to weaponry, short, ugly, fanged, sallow-skinned, violent, and serve as {{mook}}s for the BigBad. They have human-level intelligence, however, as well as a devout Catholic who believed all beings could be redeemed their good knowledge of technology. Tolkien never officially settled on an origin for Orcs. In some versions, they are an AlwaysChaoticEvil status was something corruption of elves and therefore cannot procreate themselves. However, Tolkien could never quite make up his mind on; while no "good" also stated in writings that there had to be Orc women. Other writings even imply that there were orcs appear in the story, the possibility is never quite ruled out (Tolkien's orcs descend from corrupted ''elves'', at least according to one MultipleChoicePast, so some who actually ''resisted'' Sauron. As a devout Christian, Tolkien fans speculate that had moral issues with the idea of an orc that wasn't AlwaysChaoticEvil might stop ''being'' an orc.) Not to mention there is a very specific passage in ''The Fellowship'' where Elrond states that (paraphrase) "during the last battle, all living things were divided between whether they fought for Sauron or freedom except for the elves". This would ''require'' there to be a tribe or clan or something of orcs who weren't dicks, at least at one point in time.
**
species. Tolkien’s Orcs were actually also a very diverse lot, and numerous varieties were around during the War of the Ring, largely as a result of the various dark lords breeding them like livestock to suit their needs. To wit:
*** ** Firstly, there were the [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent goblins]] of the Misty Mountains, sometimes referred to as northern Orcs or “Northerners”. They’re generally assumed to have descended from the survivors of Morgoth’s First Age armies, who fled beneath the Misty Mountains following their lord’s defeat. They’re usually described as smaller than other kinds, possibly from having lived underground and on their own for so long, possibly from their ancestors not being as “refined” for war as later breeds.
*** ** The Orcs of Mordor, also called Black Uruks or just Uruks [[note]] Uruk just means “Orc” in the Black Speech[[/note]], were the “main” breed of Orcs during the War of the Ring, large and strong and ferocious. Sauron bred them during the late Third Age from the remnants of Morgoth’s armies, in order to obtain a superior fighting force.
*** ** Then there were the Uruk-hai, more-or-less explicitly created from crossbreeding Orcs and Men and created by Saruman as elite soldiers. They were larger than other Orc types, and more upright and humanoid -- the other Orcs were usually described as hunched over and ape-like. They did not fear the sun (most of Sauron’s and Morgoth’s creatures could not stand sunlight and did not travel by day) and were usually described as being better-organized and more dangerous foes than “common” Orcs.
*** ** There were also several lesser Orcs in Mordor and Isengard, usually referred to as “Snaga” (meaning “slave” in the Black Speech). These appeared to be used for labor and garrison duty, and were sent out to war when soldiers were particularly badly needed.
*** ** Finally, a specialized breed of small Orcs known as “snufflers” appeared to be meant to act as trackers, possessing a highly developed nose and sense of smell. Only one snuffler is seen in the books, in the service of Mordor.
** It should be noted that, by and large, these types of Orcs [[FantasticRacism disliked each other almost as much as their foes]], with the resulting frictions between the Isengard, Mordor and Misty Mountains Orcs causing conflicts more than once. For instance, Merry and Pippin were able to escape being taken to Isengard largely because the Orcs that had captured them, who were split between Uruk-hai and Mordor Orcs, were unable to control their mutual animosity and turned on each other in a squabble over authority.
Mordor.
2nd Aug '17 9:38:39 AM CaptainCrawdad
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** And a copy of ''Das Kapital'', which causes one to want to start a Communist Revolution. She even starts talking like Lenin.
* Trollocs fill the role of Tolkien orcs in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. They are portrayed as stupid, cowardly, and by the fourth book none of the main characters have any trouble with them. By ''Knife Of Dreams'' (book 11) they are really only a threat to Rand if there are tens of thousands of them, and even then the good guys suffer very little casualties. It is traditional for British reviewers to refer to such scenes as "a load of Trollocs". (They're described as MixAndMatchCritters, having human and all kinds of animal features.)

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** And a copy of ''Das Kapital'', which causes one to want to start a Communist Revolution. She even starts talking like Lenin.
* Trollocs fill the role of Tolkien orcs in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. They are portrayed as stupid, cowardly, MixAndMatchCritters, each sporting a blend of human and by animal features. They come from a variety of clans, each of which has a name vaguely similar to a real-world mythological monster. They are strong, but stupid and cowardly and strong. By the fourth book book, none of the main characters have any trouble with them. By ''Knife Of Dreams'' (book 11) they are really only a threat to Rand if there are tens fighting off droves of thousands of them, and even then the good guys suffer very little casualties. It is traditional for British reviewers to refer to such scenes as "a load of Trollocs". (They're described as MixAndMatchCritters, having human and all kinds of animal features.)them.



** Interestingly, all of this is ''exactly the same'' as one of the conceptions Tolkien ''considered'' using for his Orcs (made from ruined humans, have free will, can turn good) but rejected (Tolkien had timing issues with orcs and the appearance of humans).
* The Jaghut of Steven Erikson's ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' series are orcs, albeit fairly peaceful ones who rarely organised for any real purpose, thus making them closer to Blizzard Orcs than Tolkien ones. Of course, the Jaghut are also hardly seen anymore, since they were hunted to near-extinction by the [[OurZombiesAreDifferent T'lan Imass]]. Plus, their "civilization" pre-dates that of humans by a huge margin, their knowledge and magic is vastly superior to that of humans as well. In fact,they are considered to be one of the four founding races. And far from being mooks, they can unleash enough power to freeze entire continents and can ascend to Godhood. Oh, and when jaghuts turn evil, they don't serve as chaotic evil cannon fodder of the local evil overlord, but they themselves become continental scale tyrants capable of enslaving entire races and of driving numerous species into extinction.



* In ''Literature/MonsterHunterInternational'' the orcs are definitely of the Blizzard variety; they originated in Uzbekistan, but were transplanted to Alabama where they [[DarkIsNotEvil act as allies to MHI]].
** They also have a special ability that makes them each excel at a single skill. For example Skippy is the ultimate helicopter pilot while Gretchen is the ultimate healer.

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* In ''Literature/MonsterHunterInternational'' the orcs are definitely of the Blizzard variety; they originated in Uzbekistan, but were transplanted to Alabama where they [[DarkIsNotEvil act as allies to MHI]].
**
MHI]]. They also have a special ability that makes them each excel at a single skill. For example Skippy is the ultimate helicopter pilot while Gretchen is the ultimate healer.
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