Red Orc (5e Race)

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Design Note: This race first appeared in the Official D&D Supplement in the Gazetteer 10, GAZ 10 in 1989 by Bruce Heard and is adapted to fit 5e.

Scales.png This page is of questionable balance. Reason: This race seems overpowered compared to similar first-party races, and would benefit from having less powerful features. Examples: Flat bonuses/detriments, grants a better barbarian rage, traits that increase ability score temporarily, traits that have prerequisites, Orcish Rage and Peon Cower. Overall requires more work from a mechanical perspective to better compare and integrate with the first party content. Consult the 5e Race Design Guide for help.


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Broom Icon.svg.png This page needs grammatical help. Reason: Words and phrases would be improved if their grammar and formatting better conformed to the norms of D&D 5th edition. E.g., race names like "Red Orc" are common nouns and as such should read "red orc." More guidance on this specifically can be found in the Help:When to Italicize and Capitalize. Aside from this, there are many instances of terms which were present in previous editions, but aren't in 5th; e.g., "Balance, Ride, Escape Artist, Will save." "hp" is always spelled out as hit points, outside of creature stat blocks. Several traits are vague and confusingly worded, making it difficult to know precisely how they are intended to function; in particular, the Orcish Rage and Peon Cower.


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Red Orc[edit]

Physical Description[edit]

Red Orcs are discernable from their obviously red skin, and terrible angry tempers.. With simian monkey-like or ape-like faces, instead of the porcine like faces of their greener cousins.

History[edit]

Red Orcs have been around for longer than can be remembered.. usually used as elite troops by their greener cousins. The race was born out of experiments of demonic or fiendish origin, . Their blood tainted with demonic energy in some ancient epoch. Due to their ape and monkey like faces, scientist wizards believe that Bar-Iguras were mixed with Common Orcs, to form an elite fighting force that the arch-demons could use to invade other planes and worlds. The Red Orcs created their own brutal societies by being shunned and exiled, being the pariahs that they were, due to their excessive aggression and intimidation. They were forced to live outside of the common Orc realms. In the millennias that have passed two distinct species of Red Orc has emerged according to scientist wizards that have observed the species through use of invisibility spells. Orcus Rubeous Vulgaris and Orcus Simius Terribilis. The Terribilis being the dominant species of Red Orc. Both species can live within the same horde at any given time, and the wizards believe at some point they will assimilate and become one distinct species. The very aggressive behavior of the Terribilis has, so far, kept the two species from assimilating.

Society[edit]

Red Orcs live in badlands and arid places, feeding off cacti, other arid plants, and whatever they can hunt, be it animals. bugs, or other humanoids. Some of the smaller Red Orcs are ranchers and keep livestock that are able to survive in the arid environments. The smaller orcs(called peons) are bullied by the more powerful orcs and are good at stealth, and cowering to cope with the brutality. These peons are not able to rage, but instead can do the opposite at times. Clans, Tribes, and Hordes are always ruled by one chief that is the most muscular and powerful. A chief can be challenged by any Red Orc in a fight to the death in single combat. Cunning and spellcasting is frowned upon in these societies, although there is always at least 1 shaman and 1 apprentice. These shamans are of the lower peon class, and cannot normally rise to chiefdom. Those peons that are experts in cunning, tend to be the scouts sent out to find new raiding opportunities or military intelligence and tend toward ranger-like classes, although thievery is not unheard of in the tribal system, if a peon is caught, they will usually suffer torture and death. Peons are basically slaves, that are owned directly by the chief, but can be used by anyone of the stronger class to do errands.

A natural strength of 10 or less always puts the character into the peon class.. If a warrior ever loses enough strength to put their natural strength at 10 or lower, they will lose the ability to rage, and lose warrior status and be considered a peon and will be considered a pariah of the tribe and exiled or enslaved. The society of the Red Orcs has instilled an innate fear of being weak, or being weakened.

Red Orc Names[edit]

Males and Females can use the same name, there is no distinction between masculine or feminine. Very often a nickname is added to the first name related to their prowess on the battle field or (for peons) their jobs within the tribe. (For example Grakguul Spleen-Splitter, or Flop Pooper-Scooper, etc.) very often -guul is added to the name at birth.. which means "warrior"(such as Arghguul) If the name is of the peon class this is not added.

Common names: Angmar, Argh, Arkah, Augh, Bangrah, Bruun, Caasz, Cungk, Darg, Derk, Da, Droom, Eaark, Elokr, Fak. Frachk, Garlack, Gor, Gork, Grak, Horrack, Khor, Murukk, Mor, Raaar, Sohr, Urgh, Whorff, Zar, etc..

Basic Racial Traits[edit]

Very aggressive Orcs of demonic ritual experimentation. Easily recognized by their red skins and ape-like faces.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength, Constitution scores each increase by 1. Your sub-race increases another ability score by 1.
Age. A Red Orc reaches adulthood at 15 and Maturity at 20. Most Red Orcs die early, but it is not unheard of for a Red Orc to reach 55 or more.
Alignment. The warrior class has Chaotic alignments, usually Evil, but pariahs of other alignments do occur. Peons will have Lawful or Neutral alignments, usually Evil or Neutral due to being forced to obey.
Size. Red Orcs vary widely in height and build depending on their social class within the tribe, from under 5 feet to well over 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet. In addition, While raging a Red Orc can increase this to 50 feet.
Lesser Darkvision:. Red Orcs have a weak form of darkvision. You can see in dim light within 30 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Peon:. A peon is any character that has 10 natural strength or lower. Peons have proficiency in Stealth. But have no proficiency in Intimidation.
Armor Training. You have proficiency with light and medium armor.
Languages. Can speak Orcish. Dialects from tribe to tribe are different, but usually discernable. Literacy is unheard of. There is no written language of Red Orc.
Subrace. There are two sub-races of Red Orc. Vulgar and Terrible. These names are only used by outsiders to distinguish the sub races. The Red Orcs themselves only call themselves Red Orcs, regardless of sub-race.

Vulgar Red Orc[edit]

Orcus Rubeous Vulgaris: Very short hair if any, brick red to rusty brown skin tones. Simian features representing many of the various monkey like faces found in nature.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Angry Temper or Cowering. When in battle a Vulgaris can Rage(See below), unless the orc is a Peon with a natural Strength score of 10 or less, in which case they can Cower(See Below)
Badlands Survival. Whenever you make a Wisdom (Survival) check while in badlands or arid climates, you are considered proficient in the Survival skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Terrible Red Orc[edit]

Orcus Simius Terribilis: Long, Shaggy hair, bright orange to dull red skin tones. Much more muscular and aggressive than the Vulgaris, gorilla or ape like faces.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
Angry Temper or Cowering. When in battle a Terribilis can Rage(see below), unless the orc is a Peon with a natural Strength score of 10 or less, in which case they can Cower(See Below)
Aggressive behavior. At natural 11 Strength or higher you gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill and you can use your Strength modifier instead of your Charisma modifier for all Intimidation checks. You also have advantage on saving throws against being frightened unless the Red Orc is a peon, with a natural Strength score of 10 or less. In which case the peon will have disadvantage on saving throws against being frightened and will have no proficiency in the Intimidation.

Red Orcish Rage[edit]

Requires a natural Strength of 11 or more to activate.

Your Strength and Constitution each increase by 2, and a +1 bonus on Will saves, and a –2 penalty to AC. Increasing the Orc's Hp by 2 per level until the end of the rage. The effect does not fatigue at the end of the rage. Instead the Orc becomes ravenously hungry, suffering disadvantage on all Strength and Constitution rolls until well fed. If the Orc is hungry, the effect on abilities and HP is halved for the duration of the rage, increasing your Strength only by 1 and your HPs only by 1 per level. With a +1 will save bonus, and a -2 Penalty to AC. The rage lasts 3rounds + the character’s (newly improved) Constitution modifier. or until the end of the encounter, whichever comes first. The rage is considered a concentration skill(but not a concentration spell) and the Red Orc can be distracted or incapacitated to take them out of the rage. While raging, a Red Orc cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except for Balance, Escape Artist, Intimidate, and Ride), the Concentration skill, or any abilities that require patience or concentration, nor can the enraged character cast spells or activate magic items that require a command word, a spell trigger (such as a wand), or spell completion (such as a scroll) to function. The Warrior can use any feat the Warrior has except Combat Expertise, item creation feats, and metamagic feats.

Red Orc Rage can only be used 1 time a day. But the warrior may use the Rage at any time, including as a reaction on someone else's turn.

Red Peon Cower[edit]

Requires a natural Strength of 10 or less to activate.

Your Strength and Constitution are each lowered by 2, with a -1 bonus on Will saves, and a +2 bonus to AC. Decreasing the Red Orc peon's HPs by 2 per level, down to a minimum of 1 hp. For the duration of the cower all enemies ignore the peon, if there is another target in range. The effect causes the peon to be frightened. The cower lasts 3rounds + the character’s Wisdom modifier lasting at least 1 round, or until the end of the encounter, whichever comes first. The cower is considered a concentration skill(but not a concentration spell) and the peon can be distracted or incapacitated to take them out of the cower. While cowering, a peon cannot use any Strength-, Constitution-, or Intelligence-based skills (except for Balance, Escape Artist, and Ride), the Concentration skill, or any abilities that require patience or concentration, nor can the cowered character cast spells or activate magic items that require a command word, a spell trigger (such as a wand), or spell completion (such as a scroll) to function. The peon can use any feat the peon has except Combat Expertise, item creation feats, and metamagic feats.

Red Peon Cower can only be used 2 times a day. But may be used at any time, including as a reaction on someone else's turn.

Warrior Height and Weight[edit]

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
5′ 6″ +1d12 140 lb. × (2d10) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

Peon Height and Weight[edit]

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
4′ 8″ +1d6 100 lb. × (1d10) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

Peons have stunted growth because they only get the leftover scraps or whatever they can steal.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

When creating a Red Orc character, you can use the following table to add in some flavor to your looks, if you desire. Or choose your own.

d10 Personality Trait
1 Eye patch or blinded eye cut by old war wound or physical abuse.
2 Long beard tied with bones. Or slimy short hair on chin.
3 Piercing on ears or other body parts.
4 Long lower fangs and jutted jaw.
5 Oversized ears or nostrils.
6 Various ugly scars from past battles or abuse.
7 Small lower fangs, or one broken fang or tooth.
8 Distorted broken nose that has healed, but is hard to breath from.
9 Black Tattoos of gruesome scenes on face or other body part.
10 (Reroll the die)

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