Vicious marauders from the uncharted continent of Dread Salarza, orcs have pillaged, looted and despoiled the civilized lands of Qairn since Arkhosian explorers made first contact three hundred years ago. In the intervening time, half-orcs, the product of forced interbreeding, have begun to emerge across Qairn, with an unaccepting and scornful world waiting for them.
Half-orcs favor their human lineage in appearance, but are distinguished by skin that tends to various shades of gray, broad jaws, and prominent lower canine teeth – though these are still a far cry from the jutting tusks of orcs. On average, they are taller and stronger than humans as well. Their hair is usually black, though it grays quickly with age. Most half-orcs who live among humans favor human styes of clothing and hairstyle, but a few adopt orc traditions, tying small bones or beads into long dreadlocked braids or bunches of hair.
Half-orcs don’t live quite as long as humans do. They mature quickly, reaching adulthood at about 16 years, and rarely live past the age of 60.
Half-orcs combine the best qualities of humans and orcs, though some would argue that the good qualities of orcs are few and hard to find. From the orc blood, half-orcs inherit great physical strength and toughness. They are fierce warrior, fleet of foot as they charge into battle.
Their human blood makes half-orcs decisive and bold, resourceful and self-reliant. They are adaptable and able to make their way in almost any circumstance. Although half-orcs often live on the fringes of society in human towns and cities, they still find ways to prosper in a world to which they don’t fully belong.
For all their good qualities, many half-orcs exhibit characteristics that polite society finds uncouth or undesirable. Half-orcs have little patience for complicated rules of etiquette or procedure and find little value in hiding their true opinions in order to spare someone’s feelings. They enjoy the simple pleasures of food and drink, boasting, singing, wrestling, drumming, and dancing, and they don’t find much satisfaction in more refined or sophisticated arts. They’re prone to act without much deliberation, preferring to overcome obstacles as they arise rather than consider every possible outcome and make contingency plans. These qualities lead some members of other races to consider them rude or crass, but others find their brashness refreshing.
Half-orcs generally live among either human or orc cultures – some in bustling human towns or cities, others among roving orc warbands. Most half-orcs have one orc parent and one human parent, but sometimes half-orcs marry and have half-orc children with other half-orcs. Orcs can show either grudging respect to certain half-orcs for their considerable strength and cunning intelligence, but more often, they’re fiercely prejudiced against, as they’re viewed as weaker than true orcs and orc culture is dependent entirely on strength.
Half-orcs overwhelmingly speak Common, save for that small handful that actually survive long enough in orcish culture to learn their tongue.