Thaorc Wargrider

THE COMPENDIUMIST THAROC WARGRIDER
(STEVE "HARLEYRIDER" JACKSON)


INTRODUCTION - DISCOVERY - PERSONAL DETAILS - WORKS - DEV AWARDS
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he fellow we all learned to love for his unique sense of humour on the Dev and RPG Boards known as Tharoc Wargrider (aka Steve "Harleyrider" Jackson) is no more. He died unexpectedly and way too soon in July 2012. Tharoc will never again be able to cheer us up with his bawdy verses and greenskin remarks as the orc that he represented in the world we've been creating here with his enormous help. While on the site since 2008 and contributing various Herbarium, Bestiary, story and poem contributions, he never got to finish his masterwork, which would have made him an official member. But we won't let reality interfere in a fantasy site, definitely not this time! And therefore we're happy to make the most famous greenskin south of the Tandala Highlands an official member now by setting up this page, and we even put a Lifetime Achievment award on top. We're glad that you accompanied us on your journey and are honoured to include you in the ranks of the Santharian Dream team! Congrats, Tharoc - late, but well deserved!

P.S. As Tharoc didn't get to write the biography bit of this page himself, we' took the liberty to add his own introduction to the Dream in the following. This little story was posted by Tharoc in 2008 when we were celebrating our 10th anniversary. Hope you enjoy!


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ugger,” thought the half-orc as, not for the first time that day, he sank shin-deep into a cold puddle, more mud than water. Leaning one hand against a nearby tree he lifted his foot and wrenched off his filth-caked boot. Raising it to eye-level and tipping it slowly, he watched as the brown sludge drained out and splashed onto the ground at his feet. Pushing his huge green hand down into the boot, he wiggled his fingers around in search of his scrunched-up, sodden sock. Looking up into the gloomy sky and poking his tongue out of the side of his mouth seemed to help, as he was soon pulling the dirty grey article from its hiding place in the toe of his Wison-hide Ranger boot (A snip at only 19Erg 99San, from Max & Spankers Emporium, functional footwear for discerning adventurers). Dragging the sock wearily onto his blistered and bloody foot, he wasn’t in the least surprised when his toes ripped straight through the end.
 

Tharoc Wargrider
The cool Steve "Harleyrider" Jackson aka Tharoc "Tha'Orc" Wargrider.
As he stood up after wrestling his boot back on, he heard the mournful “Caw!” of a solitary Corbie a time-tick before he felt the unmistakable ‘Splat!’ on the top of his head. He sighed. “Bugger,” he thought to himself again, and his already drooped shoulders seemed to sag even more.

Just then, his travelling companion emerged from the undergrowth beneath the trees beside him, her rain-drenched fur hanging in tattered clumps and knotted with weeks-worth of grime, leaves, twigs and some small, suspicious looking things with far too many legs. The large, black warg glared accusingly at Tharoc, rain running in rivulets down her snout and dripping slowly from the end of her nose.

“”Whaaaat?” asked Tharoc, his shoulders hunched and his arms outstretched.

Valkree continued to stand, squelch, and glare.

“Ok, ok, I admit it. A’hm lost, alright? There, I said it. You ‘appy now?”

The Warg half snorted, half sneezed, shook herself vigorously (showering Tharoc with yet more dirty water), and turned back into the undergrowth.

“OI! A’hm talkin’ t’ you, y’igrant lummox……..” He left the path and began pushing his way, cursing, through the bushes and brambles.

As he followed after Valkree, Tharoc’s mind began to guiltily wander back a few weeks, to when he had decided that he had had enough of rising each morning at stupid-of-the-hour to spend all day toiling in the local blacksmith’s forge. He craved adventure. He craved excitement, but most of all, he craved a nice comfy chair to sit in whilst he was doing it!

He began to search the dusty tomes in the library of the local monastery, and eavesdropping on whispered conversations in the town’s less-fashionable inns and taverns, hoping to garner some clue as to where an enthusiastic amateur adventurer could find a place to… well, adventure.

For weeks they had tramped across the region, looking for someone, anyone, who would show them the way. Many times he thought he had found the ideal starting-point, only to discover at the last moment that a hefty up-front fee was required if he was to join this party, and being the frugal chap his Mother had raised him to be, that would never do.

And that was how he came to be here, cold, wet, filthy, hungry and very, very lost. He had heard rumours of a strange land to the south where adventure and excitement awaited anyone who cared to visit. Many wondrous races, creatures and plants were to be found there, and much of the land remained unexplored. Apparently, they were always in need of eager volunteers, the food was good, the ale strong, and the company comfortable. And all for the princely sum of absolutely nothing!

So, Tharoc and Valkree had set-off in search of this wondrous land, not knowing exactly where it was, nor what it was called, but happy and confident that they would soon be tracking down some rare blood-sucking insect, or forging new paths across uncharted wastes in this amazing new place.

“Oh, we found plenty o’ blood-suckin’ insec’s, alright,” he thought, scratching at the numerous red bite-marks on his arms, “an’ as fer forgin’ new paths, well, a’hd give anyfin fer a paved road right now. Or even a stony one. A’hd even settle fer a dirt track, s’long as it weren’t muddy.”

Just then, as he dragged himself painfully through a particularly thorny bush, Tharoc spotted Valkree. She was stood at the edge of a high cliff just beyond the fringe of the forest. She seemed to be transfixed by something below.

“Whats’it girl? What’ve y’found?” The Warg turned to look up at the Orc and flicked her tail briefly from side to side before turning back to look over the cliff.

When Tharoc reached the cliff’s edge and saw what it was that had his friend so transfixed, his mouth fell open and he raised a finger to point silently at the sight before him. There below them was the place they’d spent the past weeks searching for! There were the wide expanses of well-tended fields, lush with fruit and vegetables. Beyond that, in a secluded orchard were the sinister-looking greenhouses he had heard so much about. And here, at the head of a large town square, surrounded by neat cottages, shops and ale-houses, stood the widest, tallest, most important looking building he had ever seen.

Built from huge blocks of stone which seemed to reflect the light back on the viewer a thousandfold, it’s many towers and turrets topped by rich, red tiles, and two massive, carved wooden doors stood as silent guardians of the knowledge contained within. As he watched, a steady stream of people, many of them carrying huge bundles of parchment under their arms, scurried in and out of the doors, moments later to re-appear in one of the multitude of elaborate windows which peppered every wall of the structure. This was the fabled University Library of Lorehaven, repository of all knowledge in the land of Caelereth!

His awe-struck reverie was interrupted by Valkree, who had begun to make her way down the steep cliff towards the town below and had barked up to him to follow her.

“See, ah told yer ah’d find it, di’nt ah? Stick wi’ me kid, an’ yer won’ go far wrong,” said Tharoc, enthusiastically.

Valkree shook her head, growled to herself, and carried on picking her way between the massive boulders littering the steep slope.

Less than a half-candle later, they arrived at the edge of the town, and began to walk, as casually as an orc and a warg can, towards the square they had seen earlier. As they walked, Tharoc smiled at everyone and greeted them with a cheery “’Allo, there,” or “’Ow d’ya do?” Most of them, turning to respond in kind then seeing just what it was, hurriedly darted into the nearest doorway and slammed it shut behind them. Shawled women ran out of houses and dragged curious children back indoors. Shopkeepers put up ‘CLOSED’ signs as he walked past.

“S’funny,” he said to Valkree, “ Ah wonder wot’s up wiv ‘em? “

Valkree stopped, looked wearily at the Orc beside her, at his mud-caked and torn clothes, his face, bloodied from the savage thorns of the bushes in the forest, but most of all, at his size. At nearly two peds, one palmspan tall, and two and a half pygges in weight, Tharoc was an imposing figure in any language. Looking like he was fresh from the battlefield did little to soften his image. Neither did the row of throwing-knives strapped across his broad back. And, to be fair, thought Valkree, neither did the fact that he had a very big, very hungry warg at his side.

As they walked along the now deserted streets, the University loomed ever larger before them, and soon they entered the square facing the huge portal to this place of learning.

As he stood looking up at the building, Tharoc heard the sounds of talking and drinking, and smelt the unmistakable aroma of roasting meat! He turned to whistle for Valkree to follow him, but too late, she was already padding her way across to the far corner of the square, where a small group of people were gathered around a crackling fire.

As Tharoc neared the group their conversation slowly petered out, until the only sound was the crack and pop of the burning logs. Every member of the group was looking at Tharoc with an uneasy interest. Fingers toyed warily with the hilts of swords whilst both parties eyed each other nervously. Suddenly, a figure began to push its way through the group of adventurers, and the orc picked up the familiar aroma of hot kragghi broth, an orcen dish usually too spicy for the likes of these folks, and something he hadn’t tasted since leaving his home in the Prominent Mountains, all those months ago.

A friendly but serious-looking woman appeared from between two of the figures before him, carrying a tray containing a huge bowl full of the broth, a fresh-baked loaf of golden rain bread, and numerous chocolate-covered sweets, the like of which he had not seen before, but which looked, and smelt, delicious. Under her arm, she carried a bladder of strong dwarven ale.

“Welcome, traveller,” said the woman, her voluminous skirts billowing around her legs as she fussed about, clearing a space at the table. “You must be hungry? And thirsty, too, no doubt? Well, come on, tuck in! Oh, I’m Judith, by the way, from Bardavos. I’m the Masterbard around here, and chief cook and bottle-washer, as well, it seems”. She looked witheringly over the top of her closer-up lenses at the others. “So, tell us about yourself, and your travels. How did you happen upon our little gathering here? Erm, and is your warg safe? I mean, does she bite?”

Tharoc looked down at Valkree and ruffled the fur atop her head, “Nah, she’s alright, ain’t ya girl?” The warg just sat and stared at the whole woolly boar which was roasting over the fire, grease dripping in sizzling droplets into the flames. “Oh, my, where are my manners!” gasped the woman, and cutting a whole rear leg from the boar, she threw it to Valkree, who caught it smartly, her tail wagging furiously.

Tharoc sat down on a spare stool and began to hungrily slurp his broth, tearing large chunks from the loaf and mixing them into the hot, spicy liquid. A sudden gust of wind, accompanied by strange squawking made the orc turn in his seat. “What the…… Ye Gods….” The sudden commotion was caused by the arrival of another traveller, this one sat astride an enormous gryph. The rider jumped easily to the ground, stroked the neck of his mount and whispered some strange sounds into its ear. The gryph squawked and settled down by the fire, eyeing Valkree and the half-eaten haunch in front of her. Valkree growled softly and threw a massive forepaw across the meat.

“Greetings, all. Sorry I’m late, we hit a little rough weather over the mountains. Who’s the green fellow?”

Tharoc offered a greasy hand, “Tharoc. Tharoc Wargrider, of the Ashz-oc tribe. Pleased t’meet yer, ah’m sure.”

Nsiki took the proffered hand, or rather, he put his hand inside the Orcs huge fist and hoped he wouldn’t squeeze too hard. “So, what brings you to these parts, eh?” The assembled group turned as one and looked at Tharoc, expectantly.

Now, many months later, Tharoc sat at his desk in the tiny attic of mistress Azhira’s lodgings, putting the finishing touches to his latest Compendium entry. His mind had begun to wander, and his thought’s had turned back to that first meeting with the folk who were to become his good friends, and the many adventures he had shared with them.

There was Masterbard Judith of Bardavos, who first took him in hand and guided him gently through the do’s and don’ts of researching for the Compendium. It was she who had given him his first position, as apprentice in the greenhouses, although he sometimes wondered whether he had done the right thing in accepting, especially since he met Mira and his ‘experiments.’ Ah, Mira. What can one say about Mira? Well, quite a lot, actually, but most of it is unprintable here! However, in fairness, he had proved himself to be a patient and inspirational teacher, and his theories on experimental herbology were fascinating.

Then there were the Mistresses Alysse and Azhira, who had taken him on his first real expedition, a trip into the far northern territories. It was the place he felt happiest, being of northern descent, and he had decided to remain up there as a roving researcher for his two tutors, both of whom he admired and respected very much.

Nsiki, he of the strange tongues and flying lion-type things, now there was a character! He actually thought he could talk to the animals! Imagine that. Mind you, that Garrett was nearly as bad. He/she thought he/she was ‘at one with the wolves’. Well, loopy he/she may be, but Tharoc liked him/her, and had just spent several weeks in the frozen wastes of the Icelands Peninsula, and the Peninsula of Iol, researching, for their joint project, the White Warg, or Eanian Warg, as he had discovered it had been re-named. In fact, that was the very report he was preparing now, but he didn’t think he/she would mind if it was another day delayed.

There was Irid, who never seemed to tire of slapping people around the head with large, wet fish. He had never found out why she did that. Or why she carried large, wet fish with her at all times… All he knew was, it hurt! And he couldn’t think of Irid without also bringing to mind the infuriatingly cheerful Rookie the Brownie. She was a feisty one, that. Valkree had taken an instant liking to her, which was the cause of much amusement to him as Rookie herself was less than impressed by the warg's constant attention. Tharoc himself had grown very fond of Rookie, and he always saved his biggest smiles for his littlest friend.
  

The Forget-Me-Nut
View picture in full size Image description. One of our resident orc's creations, the Forget-Me-Nut. We made sure to put the picture in here to make clear that this nut is not forgotten... Picture drawn by Seeker.
Someone else Tharoc was always glad to see was the dwarf Mannix, because he was in possession of culinary skills which were the equal of Judith’s, and he always carried a tray of some new delicacy with him!

Then there were Coren, Deci and Gean. Tharoc was always hesitant to join in conversation with these fellows, not only because they always seemed to be measuring him up for a hole, but because they used long words and talked about things which made his head hurt. Still, Gean was quite handy to have around when you needed a tune to lift the spirits. And he wrote good limericks, too.

And who could forget the enigmatic Talia, whose knowledge of this world and its peoples seems to know no bounds. Oh, and the elusive Dru, who was once a seemingly permanent fixture around the forums, but who has, sadly, been distracted by other-wordly events of late, as has Arch-commenter Smee, last heard of doing battle with the Daemons of IT and their fiendish Firewall spells.

And finally, there was the Great Sage himself, our Lord Artimidor, may the blessings of the Twelve be upon him, and may he ever have ink in his quill (pauses momentarily to bow reverently in the direction of Lorehaven). Never had he met any single person with as much knowledge jammed into such a tiny head. Well, it was tiny compared to his own, leastways.

These were his friends. Each one of them the foremost expert in their chosen field, and each one, to a man (or woman), ready to share that expertise with even the lowliest of researchers, and he would gladly stand beside any one of them in battle. They had laughed together, broken bread together, wept together, and suffered hardships all, but one thing remained constant throughout. Their help and support, whatever may come, and he was pleased by that, and grateful beyond measure.

All this thinking of his friends had led him to recall the many mis-/adventures he had had since he arrived in Santharia. He had seen things he would never have imagined possible, met strange people, fascinating creatures, and vicious man-eating plants. Usually in Mira’s greenhouses. And usually when he wasn’t expecting it.

He had held discourse with the dread Assassins of Marmarra upon the merits (or otherwise!) of their “fluid” battle tactics. Tharoc thought fluid to be a too-generous description, and preferred instead “fully-adjustable”.

He had revealed the hitherto unknown intricacies of orcen duelling, ancient rules set down by the great General Ch’oan herself before she relinquished her command and became a reclusive healer and carer of the sick and needy.

Risking life and/or limb, he had travelled to the very edge of the sinister Mists of Osthemangar to observe the wretched existence of the undead Cha’Morta-oc, scoured the midden walls of Sarvonia’s less salubrious inns and cully-houses to find amusing and insulting odes, attended inauguration parties for barbarians, Kyranians and Brownies, he’d even been invited to the magnificently impressive Brownie Council Tree. Shocking his fellow researchers with the contents of the Bawdy Bard’s Songbook had amused him no-end, as had his stint as Navigation Officer aboard the good ship Santh Trek… Ah, good times, good times.

All these things and more he had experienced in the half-year since he arrived here. What, he wondered excitedly to himself, lies await for me in the next half?


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Gender
Male
Date of Birth
25th July 1964, died on 25th July, 2012
Languages
English
Nationality United Kingdom British
Santharian Focus
Resident orcish expert, occasional story writing - and of course bawdy verses, especially the latter.
Joining Date
April 20th 2008

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The Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Dedication and Perseverance
That big, ugly, green, smelly fellow, the orc amongst our ranks known as Tharoc "Ta'Orc" Wargrider really was something. He hit the Santharian Dream like a storm and collected several awards already in 2008 when he joined the development team. Without him Santharia would probably still be without bawdy verses or lymericks and we wouldn't know any details on the orcen larder or how duels work among those strange greenskins. Plus, the Herbarium got a serious boost due to, well, our orc's green finger. But most of all, what Tharoc brought to the table was his humour and carefree approach to his entries, stories and poems, which made his works always fun to read and one of our site's assets. Wherever he could help, he did, be it by commenting on entries, putting together Santhworld weapon descriptions or just make some fuss at the Forum, be it Dev or RPG, thus shaking things up a bit. Tharoc also well deserved his role in "The Enemey Stirreth" Santhworld module, where his memory will live on forever. Thanks for all the time with us, Tharoc!

The Best Poetry Entry Award 2010
Winning Entry: "We Heard What She Said"

(Bard Judith clears her throat and begins to read again from a scroll which she holds carefully by two fingers)

We heard what he said, oh, we heard what he said,
But somehow the words sounded odd in our head;
With meanings redoubled, connotations to utter,
Until all our minds ended up in the gutter.

We knew what he meant, or we thought that we had,
But strange implications to worse went from bad;
And sentences innocent or merely flirty,
In Tharocian dialect went very dirty.

We read what he wrote, and reread it again,
Till the lines started dancing to give us eye-strain;
Your grandma could read it with nary a vex,
But somehow our thoughts turn it all into....

(Valan manages to kick over the very large urn next to which he is standing, just at this point, and the last word of the Laudation is drowned out in the subsequent clatter and hasty applause.)

We hail our beloved, if frequently absent, orc friend, and his, er, poetic gifts! The Library is the richer for his contributions, and we are delighted to recognize that talent with this award this evening.


(Judith quickly rolls up the scroll and exits, stage left.)

The Best Herbarium Entry Award 2009
Winning Entry: "Forget-Me-Nut"

Tharoc's highly imaginative creation, the Forget-Me-Nut Bu.... where was I? Oh, yes: The Best Herbarium Entry '09 Award goes to; Tharoc Wargrider! Tharoc's highly imaginative creation, the Forget-Me-Nut Bu.... where was I? Oh, yes: The Best Herbarium Entry '09 Award goes to; Tharoc Wargrider! Tharoc's highly imaginative creation, the Forget-Me-Nut Bu.... Well, Someone won something, and that's what matters.. I think.

The Best Herbarium Entry Award 2008
Winning Entry: "Neeps Vegetables"

Tharoc Wargrider has proved himself to be a very versatile and cunning fellow. One of his herbal additions this year concerned a remake of a real-world food, which is always a difficult task. However, Tharoc succeeded admirable (Had we expected anything less? I think not!) and produced this innovative and imaginative entry, so we proudly dub his Neeps Vegetables (also) the "Best Herbarium Entry Of 1668"! Congratulations!

The Best Bestiary Entry Award 2008
Winning Entry: "The Flying Sponge"

Perhaps as a testament to the sheer quality of Bestiary entries in 2008, this category leaves us with a tie between Tharoc Wargrider and Miraran Tehuriden. It seems that the vast choice avaliable was wittled down to the characterful and very well written Eanian Warg of this year's Rising Star Tharoc and Mira's delightfully exotic Flying Sponge. Both of the dedicated developers are deserving of this bitterly contested award, being two high-quality contributors in a variety of the Dream's aspects. Congratulations Mira and Thar!

The Best Newcomer Award 2008
Our orcish friend Tharoc has come far in but a year. From utter obscurity, he has grown into one of our most promising Apprentices, an Orcish Expert, Generally Helpful Person, and Personal Nemesis in the case of Miraran. It cannot be much of a surprise then, that with an overwhelming number of votes the green-skinned savage we all have come to know and love has been declared "Best Newcomer Of 1668"! Good job Tharoc, and may we see yet more of you in the coming year! Like your masterwork for example...

Commitment Badge 2008
"Tha Orc" Tharoc isn't only a newcomer, he's also a very commited one as works his versatile self has contributed and inspired over the last months clearly show. Thus he made it not only to "Newcomer of the Year 2008", but also ended up as winner in the Bestiary and Herbarium category. He was also responsible for fresh ideas like Septimus' Bawdy verses, helped with Anniversary stuff, put together trivia questions, spread good humour on the Forum and has made the orcs of the North his primary focus which he constantly expands. We're hoping to accept him pretty soon in the membership ranks, as that's where he indeed belongs!

 Nominations

Innovation 2008 - "Septimus Smallpiece's Book of Bawdy Verse", Bestiary 2008 - Blue Myrmex, Herbarium 2008 - Ironweed Tree, Herbarium 2008 - Truphull Fungus, Herbarium 2008 - Venlaken Tangleweed, Places 2008 - Prominent Mountains, Commentor 2008, Story 2010 - "Nod and the Hydragon's Tooth"


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 Date of last edit 2nd Dead Tree 1672 a.S.

Information provided by the respective team member