THE ASHZ-OC ORCS ("NOBLE ORCS")

APPEARANCE - COAT OF ARMS - TERRITORY - PEOPLE - HOUSING - CLOTHING
DIET - WEAPONS - OCCUPATIONS - GOVERNMENT - PRODUCTION/TRADE
 
NATURAL RESOURCES -
FESTIVALS - HISTORY

The orcish tribe known as the Ashz-Oc ("Noble Orcs") live in the southern hills and valleys of the Prominent Mountains in Northern Sarvonia. They're famous for their military strength and their skills in combat, but also for their strong steel and dyed clothes.

Although most other races see orcs as hostile monsters, the Ashz-oc became known as honourable and worthy enemies despite many raids that were caused by clans from their lands. Most of them are not interested in conquering more lands, but defending what they believe is rightfully their home since they crossed the mountains.

An Ashz-Oc Warrior

View picture in full size Image description. The Ashz-Oc orcs see themselves as the "noblest" of their kind. Not only do they have an almost human or elven stature, but they also act much more honourable compared to other orcish tribes in battle. Picture drawn by Faugar.

Appearance. The tribes of the Ashz-Oc are direct descendants of the orcs that once lived in the Kingdom of F'v'cl'r. They still see themselves as the "noblest" of their kind, thus deriving the name.

They're generally high-grown, nearly as tall as a man. Other than their "lesser" cousins that live in small communities all over the continent, their appearance is less ape-like with straight legs and shorter arms. The Ashz-Oc skin is a dark green to nearly black, hardened by the weather. They wear coats of simple cloth often colored in complex patterns as well as fine leather clothing and fur coats. Their hair is normally knotted in complicated ways around their heads with fine bone needles and other decorations identifying their clan-affiliation.

When at war magical symbols and signs are painted on the bodies and faces of the warriors making them look even more scary.
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Coat of Arms/Sign
. Still to be added.
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Territory
. The Ashz-Oc Orcs hold any territory in Northern Sarvonia located east of the Liben River, and South of the Prominent Mountains.
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People. The orcs of Ashz-Oc live in a very strict clan federation, with rigid laws for the different clans and families.

Weaker families are often pushed off their lands to make room for others, and are either accumulated in other clans or driven out of the country. The same can happen to clans with debts, or that suffer from hunger, or diseases. In the dense populated region this often proves to be a neccessary regulation in order to grant enough food for anybody who seems to be of use for the community.

Often homeless families or poor clans try to evade this fate by forming raiding parties to gain enough food and gold. As the other orc clans are far too prepared for battle, they often attack humans, dwarves and elves for this purpose, which is the main reason for the bad reputation the orcs have in all countries. However, the homeless clans that wandered through the countryside formed a new federation of orc clans in the Hills of Oro.

Families consist of between thirty to two-hundred warriors, living in seperate hamlets. Several hamlets feeling aligned to each other by oaths or family bounds, form clans led by a Council of the Elder. The clans swear loyality to warlords that are elected from the clan-councils, and are responsible for different military keypoints in their domain. The most famous and most honored clans became those that appoint the Warlords of "Haz'Ar'Mhun".

The rules governing the Ashz-Oc and the Rhom-Oc regarding the role of the females in orcish society are nearly identical so they are being considered together. Their laws are similar to those of the Losh-Oc, although they are not quite so rigid and females are permitted more leeway. They may study to become shamans (though only under the tutelage of a male and are subject to him) and are also responsible for the care of the wargs. Females may own possessions that are not subject to the whims of their mates (i.e. a female may barter a piece of jewelry or a deer hide that belongs to her without her mates permission). A female does not necessarily have to be assigned to another male immediately if her mate dies. In theory, she may even live on her own if she can provide for herself and her young. In practise, however, there is a great deal of social pressure to remarry and most generally do, though a rare few prefer to manage on their own. Though the Rhom-Oc and Ashz-Oc orcs usually have multiple mates as well, they tend to have greater respect for their female's wishes, and will not, for instance, give away a mate to another warrior if she is unwilling to go. However, women are still not allowed to be warriors and their responsibilities are still mainly domestic.  
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Housing. Still to be added.
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Clothing. Still to be added.
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Diet. Still to be added.
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Weapons. One of the main differences between the Ashz-Oc and other tribes, is that their political and military leadership is quite strong, resulting in an - at least for orcs - outstanding fighting style.

Families and clans form whole army units, which are led into war by the warlords. They are either elected for one certain task by the clans participating in it, or by the warlords defending the borders of their realm. In general that means that there are four or five "official" armies that can break up into hundreds of independent units at any time

The Ashz-Oc's weapon of choice is the "straight" broadsword. They use long pikes and leather shields and bows of various kind as well. They don't like full armor, but braces and greaves are common to protect the swordarm and the legs. Other than that most warriors only have strong fur-coats, or wear simple breastplates.
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Occupations. Still to be added.
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Government. Still to be added.
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Production/Trade. The Ashz-Oc mainly live from tending cattle and sheep but you can also encounter agriculture at the rivers. Most clans are self-sufficient, so trade is rather unimportant. Nevertheless at cities like "Haz'Ar'Mhun" and other places, small markets have developed. The clans sell iron ore, coal, wool, hides and meat for pottery, weapons and cloth.

Pottery is often finely decorated with earthern colors, like red, brown and black. The cloth the dye-workers color their clothes with, are of all kinds of color even yellow and blue. Colorful clothes are appreciated by most orcs.

Weapons are also highly-valued, but when the blacksmiths are finished, priests etch magical symbols and spells on the blade to protect the bearer and destroy the enemy. Shamans and other demand high prices to enchant these weapons with very doubtful results...
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Natural Resources. Still to be added.
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Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Still to be added.
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History.
The tribes of the Ashz-Oc are direct descendants of the orcs that once lived in the Kingdom of F'v'cl'r, but were driven out. Their descendants arrived from the Wilshier Heaths, when the pressure of the Shadow Empire grew from day to day. More and more families and clans came under attack. Villages were burnt, and their warriors slain.

While the Ashz-Oc were already fierce warriors since ancient times, they were soon forced to retreat. The fleeing clans and tribes joined the huge trecks of children, women and elder, guarded by the armies that were formed by the male adults, and soon the whole orcish population of the Wilshier Heaths was on its way to find new lands for living. [1] They wandered south, in two enormous worms of troops and settlers. One crossing the Liben River, east of the Water Marshes to get cover from the shadow elves. The other evaded farther to the west, and crossed the Liben at the feet of the Prominents. South of the River they climbed the hills and reached a Pass and crossed the Prominent Mountains looking down on the fertile plains of Mynia.

The treck climbed down the valleys and build strongholds and camps to find shelter, recover from the deprivations of the trip and wait for the spring to make their final march down the hills to the plains. The second treck had reached the Liben Delta and rested in the southeastern valleys of the Prominents.

Word came to the inhabitants of the Mynian kingdom, and with it, fear. Never such huge masses of orcs had crossed the mountains. The Mynians gathered their troops, and their army waited at the feet of the mountains. They couldn't think of anything more frightening, than orcs settling on their side of the mountains.

In spring the orcish army left its camp in the valleys, and met the Mynians on the plain. The leaders not interested in a bloody war asked for negotiations and declared to the Mynian commanders, that the southern Prominents will be their new homeland in exchange for peace. The Mynians denied this offer and demanded that the orcs should leave their borderlands immediately. The orcs left the negotiations frustrated, and so the battle was opened. But as the Mynians engaged the orcs in the occupied valleys, a catastrophic message arrived!

The second treck that had made the migration east of the mountains had arrived on the other side farther south and they were as numerous as the tribes encircled in the valleys!

The Mynian army hurried back into the plains to stop the second army from invading Weavermoth, but encircled from two sides the fate of the Mynian Kingdom was fulfilled. The Mynian army was destroyed between the appoaching army from the south and the counterattacks of the tribes in the valleys. When both armies reunited at the battlefield, a great council was held. Enraged by the behaviour of the humans, the orcs decided to invade and loot Weavermoth.

Within a year the Mynian kingdom was plundered and finally destroyed, and the orcs pursued the fleeing humans whereever possible.

In the west the elves and dwarves could save the northern bridge of Weavermoth, and stopped their approach over the Liben River, opening a passage for many of the fleeing humans. But in the south many refugees were slaughtered by the pursuing orcs, giving the coast the name "Skeleton Coast" or "Resz'Ar'Ghun" (Tombs of the Cursed).

The orcs couldn't breach the defense of the elven army at the river and started the construction of a powerful fortress to secure the eastern side of the river. "Haz'Ar'Mhun" (Guard of the Red Fields) was founded, built on an artificial hill, east of the the cursed ruins of Weavermoth.

From this time on the Ashz-Oc hold anything east of the Liben River, and South of the Prominent Mountains. The tribe grew quickly and soon all lands that once belonged to the Mynian Kingdom were filled by hamlets, villages and strongholds, making the Ashz-Oc a huge clan federation, and one of the strongest orc tribes of Northern Sarvonia.
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Footnotes.
[1] Important in this context is that the orcs are not an united race. The population was, in fact, split up into hundreds of families and clans, all defended only by their own adult males. So the armies were formed when more and more clans joined the huge trecks south. Before that there were only hundreds of independent warbands. [return]

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THE ERA OF SUNDERING
(YEARS 11.900 B.S. - 10.000 B.S.)
ca. 11550 b.S. The Foresighted One's Legacy: The Death of Sophronia
Sophronia with no young men to protect the tribe trains the women and daughters. They become very good horsewomen and develop weapons and techniques that suit them well.

When the orcish Ashz-oc tribe descend down from the Prominent Mountains her tribe fights with distinction but the orcs are too much and finally destroy the Mynian Kingdom, the remnants of the kingdom along with the remnants of Sophronia's tribe flee across the Liben River. Sophronia herself dies during the war with the orcs. It is decided that the eldest daughter of Sophronia will rule and lead the tribe. Her name is Alala, the "War Goddess".

THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
257 b.S. The Rhom-Oc Orcs call for Help
The Rhom-Oc Orcs, having tasted defeat at the hands of the Susilgerim Dwarves for the first time in many years, send messengers to the other orc tribes of Northern Sarvonia. They ask for their help, and propose to wipe the dwarves (Susilgerim and Kurakim) out of Northern Sarvonia. The other Orc tribes agree to the proposal, and soon preparations for war are under way.
  

243 b.S.
to 145
The Three Hundred Year War of the North
A bloody, back and forth war ensues between the northern dwarves, orcs, and Shadow Elves for the next three hundred years. Many lives are lost on both sides, and the destructive effect on the continent is extreme. The displays of valor and might are the greatest to be seen in that area since the War of the Chosen. The many battles go back and forth, with no one gaining any clear victory.
  

203 b.S. The Great Sarvonian Victory against the Orcs
At the end of the Third Sarvonian War the orcish hordes are on the retreat. It should later be said more orcs were killed in disputes among clans than in skirmishes with other races. However, under great losses the Ashz-Oc and Losh-Oc clans return to their homelands, not without crushing any resistance they encounter on their way including dark elves and other orcs that do not run fast enough. Soon after this campaign these tribes re-establish the rule over their land without much obvious change.

On the other side orcs from tribes far away coming from destroyed lands have only the choice to stay and fight the allied forces or find a new home. Those refugees flee into the tunnels they used to overrun the north of the Tharanian kingdom, before these were discovered by allied troops and closed. While many of those perish some also find places to survive and take the deserted dungeons of the Tandalas as their new home.

THE AGE OF CHANGE
(YEARS 50 B.S. - 172 A.S.)
14 Kanapan Men join the Susilgerim Dwarves in Battle
The Kanapan Men, recognizing the disastrous effects a dwarven defeat would mean in the Three Hundred Year War of the North, enter the conflict on the side of the dwarves.
  

93 Susilgerim Dwarves examine Keralkorim Writings in Ximax
The Susilgerim dwarves send a group of the most highly magically-gifted among them to Ximax to see if they can gain the knowledge necessary to understand the magical Keralkorim writings. The greatest among this group is Kograv Mountainshaker. The dwarven party brings with them copies of the Keralkorim writings. The ships are provided by the Kurakim Dwarves, and soon they are underway.
  

145 The Grand Battle of Imlith
After over fifty years, the Susilgerim Kograv the dwarven mage and his companions return from their journey to Ximax. Upon reaching Northern Sarvonia, they find the Susilgerim and Kurakim Dwarves surrounded in the midst of a cataclysmic battle against the orcs and Shadow Elves upon the Heaths of Wilderon. They immediately put their newly learned skills to use in saving the dwarves from destruction, winning the day. After a hard night of hurried preparation, the mages prepare for their ultimate test against the Moh'rhim Shadow Elves. This is the greatest contest of magical prowess seen in the area in several thousand years. The battle continues unceasingly through three days and three nights. On the fourth day, Kograv is the only mage left alive. The Moh'rhim also have lost many of their people. But the power of their queen is great, and threatens still to destroy the dwarves.

As the battle looks bleak, Kograv from his knees raises a heartfelt prayer to Trum-Barol for deliverance in their despair. Suddenly he feels a surge of magical energy through him. Standing up once again, he focuses his energy on the queen of the Moh'rhim, and delivers a blast of pure energy at her. This blast severely wounds her, and is powerful enough to dissipate her corporeal form. This causes her, and the rest of her people, to be swept away back into the Shadow Marshes. The dwarves rally and defeat the confused and bewildered orcs, achieving a final victory. The orcs are all driven back to their own lands, and the dwarves regain control of their mountains.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF KINGS
(YEARS 172 A.S. - 547 A.S.)
ca. 300 Orcs emerging from the Dark
The mix of many orcish clans has developed into a more or less unified tribe. Beside the known raids and assaults by Losh-Oc warbands also other orcs are reported to attack and pillage the northern borderlands since decades. While their origin is unknown and most people see in all orcs evil vermin this marks a startling shift in the balance in the north where the border is said to be pacified for centuries now.

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