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Author Topic: Overhaul for Orcs? For Consideration...  (Read 694 times)
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Rakshiri
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« Reply #30 on: 31 January 2007, 14:37:39 »

As a currently breastfeeding mother who has nursed four babies, I can assure you it is not that easy.  "Possible" doesnt equal "simple."  ...

Yeah, I know. We should make orcs a little less complicate concerning childcare, humans and primates have comparatively long time periods in which one cares for one's offspring. The sharing could also help here by accelerating development of an orc baby as it can get more nutritions in shorter time.

I'd agree with Mina that a mushroom is rather artficial for a basic need so it should rather natural for orcs.



The other thought is the incapability of sweating coupled with better endurance in the cold. This would explain why orcs are so dominant in Northern Sarvonia and actually not very keen or successful going south. If they can only cool down via breathing (flat noses do help here) they'd consider it unpleasant in hot Southern summers. For the Orchristh one could imagine further ways of cooling like blood vessels near under the skin, thus maybe bigger ears or skin folds that enlarge the area for cooling. As they are exceptional some differences like that are imo acceptable.
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #31 on: 31 January 2007, 18:25:29 »

Okay, but it would be very awkward for female orcs to start lactating just because they were in the presence of a baby.  Perhaps we should say the act of nursing causes lactation to begin within a day or two, so that the care-givers, whether they are the biological mothers or not, are the only ones for whom lactation occurs.

I like the idea about special adaptations for cold.  As for the black orcs, perhaps their dark skin has something to do with it as well.  In RL, people who live in hotter climates do tend to have darker skin.  Or the Sarvonian orcs could have a special layer of what I believe is called "brown fat" (seals have it, I think), that provides particular protection from the cold.  And the more slender Orchristh would not have or need it. 
So then orcs would actually pant, like dogs, to cool down?  That would certainly also contribute to thei perception of them as being "less human".  Works for me.

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Rakshiri
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« Reply #32 on: 06 February 2007, 17:15:17 »

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Okay, but it would be very awkward for female orcs to start lactating just because they were in the presence of a baby.  Perhaps we should say the act of nursing causes lactation to begin within a day or two, so that the care-givers, whether they are the biological mothers or not, are the only ones for whom lactation occurs.

 Yeah, something like that. There would be still a transitional time where the mother is fully occupied till someone else takes over. The main concept being that the childcare is far more quickly distributed among a community.

Quote
I like the idea about special adaptations for cold.  As for the black orcs, perhaps their dark skin has something to do with it as well.  In RL, people who live in hotter climates do tend to have darker skin.  Or the Sarvonian orcs could have a special layer of what I believe is called "brown fat" (seals have it, I think), that provides particular protection from the cold.  And the more slender Orchristh would not have or need it.
So then orcs would actually pant, like dogs, to cool down?  That would certainly also contribute to thei perception of them as being "less human".  Works for me.

Their skin is described to be thicker, more leather like and capable to protect them against some physical abuse, so possibly the Sarvonian orcs would have a layer of fat there interlocked with a more sturdy skin structure.

Because of broader/stronger noses they can possibly cool themselves down more by breathing through the nose but at some point panting would be the only other option. It would also foster the idea that orcs are "averse to sunlight" and "weakened" by it when they are in fact simply better adapted to cold climates by preserving heat rather than losing it.
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Rakshiri
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« Reply #33 on: 18 February 2007, 16:50:25 »

Aside of these physiological changes and behavioural definitions I'd try to also emphasize the fragmentation of orc nations more. Similar to Native American Indian tribes  the Northern Sarvonian tribes should have many similarities so they can communicate with each other and understand each others cultural concepts but in my eyes they should all vary in the details.

Most strikingly would be maybe an expansion on their religion. Marvin made a great entry on it but it is monolithic in makeup. I would expand on it and e.g. vary (or point out) that the creation myth is the version e.g. the Ashz-oc use. The Rhom-oc would have a very similar myth but it most likely includes their relationship with wargs (*). I'd also propose to include the Osther-oc in the bunch, they seem to be regarded as special though they actually are not. The difference between them and their southern cousins is plainly that they collectively suffer from Post traumatic stress disorder. They fought against their darkelven masters and lost! In their worldview the orcish gods have been defeated which is why they do not worship gods anymore but only lesser spirits and their general motto being: We came from dust we turn to dust.
So they simply have an attitude resembling that of WW1 veterans. E.g. when they fight they have no emotional connection to what they fight for. They do it because they were told to and after centuries they have become extremely good at it.

I'd further expand on the definition of tribe in orcish context. While we might name someone Ashz-oc and another Losh-oc it might be a good idea to enhance their clanish behaviour in that they do not primarily identify themselves that way. The term Ashz-oc more attributes to the current allegiance and mindset of their clan than their heritage (e.g. clans might turn to the Losh-oc and back to the Ashz-oc over the course of a vew generations)
As such the term tribe would rather attribute to a rough definition of a group of people sharing certain properties, in the case of the Northern Sarvonian orcs this is however not binding.

The cultural groups I see so far:
- Ashz-Oc and Losh-Oc. Culturally similar but divided over interpretation and values. Those two would share alot of properties as they derive fom the same group of orcs.
- Gob-Oc. Related to the two above but having developed a distinct culture. Still they have regular exchange with their northern neighbors so should have many things in common.
- Rhom-OC. Individual Lifestyle and isolated from the other tribes they should have a distinct worldview based on their particular surroundings
- Osther-Oc. Fundamentally similar to the others but in key elements influenced by their slavery through their darkelven masters.

Other orc groups should exist but either they are not particularly different from the above or are not really a distinct own tribe.


We could go from here into rewriting/adjusting the entries, most prominently the race entry. With the tribe entries I wouldn't mind if someone wants to get involved with some tribe completely (I assume you want to continue on the Orcristh?). I don't want to reserve anything.



*(the Rhom-oc would be also a good place where we can completely negate gender roles as their main weapon would be the warg, not the rider. This would be consistent with the observation that horse archer cultures - all over central Asia and East Europe usually had a far more emancipated role for women than their infantry based, "more cultivated", western neighbors. Among the Scythian a noblewoman supposedly was only allowed to marry if she had killed an enemy in battle. )
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Mina
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« Reply #34 on: 18 February 2007, 19:45:26 »

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I'd further expand on the definition of tribe in orcish context. While we might name someone Ashz-oc and another Losh-oc it might be a good idea to enhance their clanish behaviour in that they do not primarily identify themselves that way. The term Ashz-oc more attributes to the current allegiance and mindset of their clan than their heritage (e.g. clans might turn to the Losh-oc and back to the Ashz-oc over the course of a vew generations)
This could be confusing though.  Currently we use the term 'tribe' to mean something like ethnicity.  It's probably not such a good idea to use the term differently when discussing different races.  Then again, there does seem to be some confusion in its meaning already, as it seems to at least occassionally be used to mean something like nationality. 

Quote
Similar to Native American Indian tribes  the Northern Sarvonian tribes should have many similarities so they can communicate with each other and understand each others cultural concepts but in my eyes they should all vary in the details.
Speaking of communication, I spoke to Marvin some time ago concerning the linguistic situation amongst the orcs of Northern Sarvonia.  I can't quite remember what we concluded, but I was thinking that the situation could be similar to what it was like amongst the Native Americans, ie. that there is a relatively high density of unrelated families of languages across their territories (which should fit with what you've said about their clannish behavior).  Pidgins and possibly creoles should be quite common in this case, at least where they have reason to communicate regularly, with Kh'om'chr'om being one of the more prominent ones. 

I also had the idea that it is the norm for signing/gesturing (like in sign languages) to be an important part of orcish languages.  This should make them seem even stranger, I think.  I'm not sure if, were this the case, whether this feature would be retained amongst the Gob-oc though, since IIRC they live undergroud and it is of course much darker underground, in most cases. 
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Rakshiri
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« Reply #35 on: 18 February 2007, 22:30:13 »

This could be confusing though.  Currently we use the term 'tribe' to mean something like ethnicity.  It's probably not such a good idea to use the term differently when discussing different races.  Then again, there does seem to be some confusion in its meaning already, as it seems to at least occassionally be used to mean something like nationality. 

I agree, I mainly think that the term ethnicity is also a vague one. usually it simply fixed by meaning those people consider themselves similar. If we look at the chaos of Iraq/Afghanistan without caring about the effects of outside interference: You have three ethnic factions (in Afghanistan more), however the individuals do not even primarily identify themselves via the ethnic origin but by their family/clan/tribe origin which again happens to have an ethnic background.

The core of Ashz-oc or Losh-oc may be distinctive but as they are historically linked people on the fringe of either society will have no major problems switching their allegiances. In the case of orcs that should mean not individuals switch sides but whole clans and families. This allows times where the Ashz-oc are dominating the region and others where the Losh-oc dominate it by having more influence over the majority of the orcs.

Hope Marvin shows up some time, I hope he doesn't think I want to press him out of the picture, I do not. I mainly seek to make a clearer cut between alien orcish behaviour and common one.


For sign language. Physiological-wise I'm still pondering wether they have eyes like cats (extremely good night vision) or really have a wider range of perception (scientifically speaking infrred vision or something like that). For the later it would make sense for Gob-oc though it might seem artificial.
Sign language would make sense for hunters. As a language for hunting would be comparatively simple it might have developed into a more common language. Maybe the Gob-oc thus have another short language like by flicking their tongue to communicate via a distance in tunnels.
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Mina
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« Reply #36 on: 18 February 2007, 22:39:59 »

Just to clarify, I don't mean purely signed languages, but languages that have both signed and spoken components.  I don't think there are any such languages in existence, but it doesn't seem impossible to me, especially if it were for non-humans. 
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Rakshiri
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« Reply #37 on: 18 February 2007, 22:58:38 »

Well, I don't know about actual signs as it kind of diminishes the advantage of language (you got your hands free to do stuff/hold things while giving information to someone else) but I think it very likely that orcs project their demeanor - posture/mimic - more than humans to make their point, like fixating someone else with ones eyes might imply that one is ready to fight over the matter or baring one's teeth might be used in common dialogue to underscore a threat or somesuch.
If they'd have larger ears they could also use that as an indicator... though we don't have that ...

But it might cool I guess... mainly thinking that they'd not use their hands for it, maybe using mimic to deliberately to add details to the spoken words? Just not sure about the general hand part.
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Mina
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« Reply #38 on: 19 February 2007, 00:03:58 »

Hmm...good point.  Then again, IIRC, Kh'om'chr'om does make use of signs/gestures to make certain distinctions.  I think that the general idea would be that the 'core ideas' are conveyed through speech, and different shades of meanings, including even some that other races would use inflections to convey, could be added in various other ways.  In any case, signs can certainly go beyond mere handsigns and involve various other things, uch as the baring of teeth and such as you've mentioned. 
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Mirmec Rethindor
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« Reply #39 on: 19 February 2007, 02:27:22 »

yeah since they are orcs it may be that even the way they slaughter an enemy/prey could have some communal meaning, sort of like a May Day Festival has a general context for activities in a village. So i think maybe the way they prepare their fires, what fuel they burn could also indicate their intentions sort of like in the Old West the color of "the smoke signals" meant different things?? those are just ideas though.
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« Reply #40 on: 19 February 2007, 18:53:58 »

Sorry for the lack of response for a while but I'm kinda swamped. I seem to have the bad habit of wanting to do too much at the same time :(

Anyway, on ethnics/tribes: I've had something in my mind for a while that might fit in, but I haven't had the time to write it out properly. First you'd have the distinction between 'Great Orcs' and 'Wilderorcs' (names coming from a mention somewhere in the warfare section I think). The 'Great Orcs' would be the larger and stronger ones, namely the Ashz-oc, Losh-oc and Gob-oc. Wilderorcs would be the 'lesser' orcs living close to 'greater' tribes (living in the less good parts of the lands, hence the name) and believes and society would be mostly taken over from the nearby 'greater' tribe.

Orc wise, lesser orcs could be seen as a part of the greater tribe they are linked to. There could even be cross overs with 'lesser Great Orcs' being send away to live with the Wilderorcs and 'great Wilderorcs' being accepted into the related Great Orcs clan.

Researcher wise orcs might have been divided mostly on how they look. If I'm not mistaking:
Ashz-Oc: 1,8m on the average
Losh-Oc: 1,7m on the average, but bulkier
Gob-Oc: 1,5m on the average, but only because their 'bowed over' looks
Wilderorcs: 1,5m on the average perhaps, generally shorter versions of the above.

The gaps between the different orcs might be more gradual and less clear though, both in looks as well as religion and culture. I imagined shamans being responsible for a few tribes and being only in direct contact with most of the shamans from surrounding tribes for example. In religion for example, the big lines would be the same, but depending on where you live their could be small differences here and there.

You might have noticed I left out the Rhom-Oc. Reason being that I was thinking of them being originally having been Wilderorcs themselves (they are about 1,5m in the average I think), but then due to their superior use of the Wargs having upgraded themselves to one of the 'Great Orcs' in status. I guess it would be possible to let them have a slightly different culture, for example due to less good relations with the other great orcs and being accused of hiding behind their mounts (just an idea).

Osther-Oc: They are different, but I always imagined them having a similar set of mind, so something like your 'worldview the orcish gods have been defeated' sound like a possible idea for them.

Kh'om'chr'om: it's language with a lot of added body language and perhaps intonation, not a sign language. For example, the male and female version of a word could be the same, but orcs can deduce from how another orcs says it what is meant. Gob-oc rely more on intonation perhaps?
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Rakshiri
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« Reply #41 on: 20 February 2007, 20:30:02 »

Yeah, I mentioned the term "great Orcs" somewhere, I think I mainly wanted to distinguish between those that kind of are a coherent power in their region, however they are organized and those that are more scattered. E.g. the Rhom-oc while populating a large region as a rather coherent culture are not very organized and usually wouldn't go above organizing themselves beyond their clans very often.



Before we all drift off too far into details I'd suggest to rework the main entry in a team effort. The main goal should be to point out more critical differences between orcs and humans. My thought behind this is that we (=humans) tend to humanize other creatures so a stronger and clear distinction is necessary as we tend to smooth down those discrepances automatically in our heads overtime.


there's no rush on my side though as I want to finish some other stuff myself first as well.
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