Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Clark Ashton Smithian Ecology of The Orc Tribes in Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea with Help From Dragon Issue #62

"These despicable humanoids are the unhallowed progeny of swine dæmons and an abominable tribe of Picts. They are stocky, short-legged, thick-boned, and heavily muscled, but their features are horribly disfigured and oft porcine, with pronounced lower canine teeth. In the wilderness they are largely nocturnal, but in subterranean lairs not necessarily so. Orcs are temperamental and prone to infighting, but under a strong leader they are capable of exceptional obedience. They are a violent species, killing for pleasure, and they relish in torturing and burning their victims; too, they are notorious slavers. 
Orcs are intelligent enough to manufacture their own weapons and armour and perform other feats of simple engineering, but their craftsmanship is generally inferior to human standards; hence, a suit of orcish plate mail might provide AC 4 instead of AC 3 (otherwise orcs have natural AC 6 from their thick hides). Orcs speak their own language (Orcish) and oft a crude form of the Common tongue of man; some are able to speak a smattering of Pictish."
These are the orc warrior tribes that we've come to know in Hyperborea but there is far more bubbling below the surface of these eaters of men & warriors of renowned cruelty.

When most folks think of the troops of Ragnarok they seem to always forget the most dangerous & deadly the Orcs.  Found on the edges of Zothique  & the temperate forests of Hyperborea the pig faced orc warriors are some of the most dangerous foes that adventurers can encounter. The orc tribes of Hyperborea go all the way back to the time of the ancient Hyperborean nations were wrecking havoc on Earth. They are the projeny of Babi - ngepet ("swine demons") & an abominable tribe of half blooded Picts on Hyperborea. But their origins go much further back in history into the very mists of time. Their wiki entry hints at some of their demonic origins;

"Old English glossaries record the word orc corresponding with Latin Orcus (deity of the Underworld), and synonymous with þyrs/ðyrs "ogre" (cognate to Old Norseþurs), as well as "hell devil". The Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal defines ork in the very closely related Old Dutch language as a verslindend monster ("devouring monster"),[3] and points at a possible origin in the Old Dutch nork "petulant, crabbed, evil person".[4]
The LatinOrcus is glossed as "Old EnglishOrc, þyrs, oððe hel-deofol"[a] as given in the first Cleopatra Glossary (10th century), and on this entry Thomas Wright wrote, "Orcus was the name for Pluto, the god of the infernal regions, hence we can easily understand the explanation of hel-deofolOrc, in Anglo-Saxon, like thyrs, means a spectre, or goblin.
þanon untydras ealle onwocon
eotenas ond ylfe ond orcneas
swylce gigantas þa wið gode wunnon
lange þrage he him ðæs lean forgeald
Beowulf, Fitt I, vv. 111–14[7]
Thence all evil broods were born,
ogres and elves and evil spirits
—the giants also, who long time fought with God,
for which he gave them their reward
John R. Clark Hall, tr. (1901)[8]
The compound orcneas is designated "evil spirits" above, but its accurate meaning is uncertain. Klaeber suggested it consisted of orc < L. orcus "the underworld" + neas "corpses" and that the translation "evils spirits" failed to do justice"

Orcus himself the demon prince of the undead had a hand in seeing his babi-ngepet minions sewing the seeds of his chaos as the old gods battled the orc warriors birthed from the stomachs of mankind. These first warriors were the powerful gods of the orcs who would later be worshiped & venerated in the city state of Orcust. Shamans to this day court the evil survival at costs favors of their gods. The Hyperborean wizards & shaman scientists who courted the favor of Orcus lord of the underworld had no idea of they were sewing the seeds of their own destruction.

DD12 – Orcus, Prince of the Undead By Otherworld Miniatures 

Driven by their Jotunn masters the tribes of orcs ran riot killing both man & demi god alike. They were born into an age of the axe & very well adapted for it. The events of Ragnarok were the orcs golden age & they reveled in it. But as time moved on the orc mind began to resemble or emulate mankind. Even as they put man to the sword & axe their chieftains began to arise from those touched by their gods. The chieftains were methodical in their violence & carefully dangerous in their tactics. They became more lawful in their evil as time went on. They began to turn on both human & Hyperborean masters alike putting them to fire & flame. 

HT3l – Pig-faced Orc Chieftain I by Other World Miniatures 

With the unleashing of the Green Death upon the Earth the orc tribal shamans & priests lead their peoples into the underworld of Iceland soon to become Hyperborea. When the black  miracle of Hyperborea was lifted into the sky occurred the first champions of the orc tribes waited along with their babi-ngepet masters. Their infravision scanned the caverns of Underborea. But soon the Hyperborean wizards would create more savage versions of these creatures. Orc shamans communed with the Great Old One Abhoth ("The Source of Uncleanliness") for his genetic favors for their warriors. The shamans passed this knowledge along to senior Hyperborean wizards & they birthed special warriors & chieftains who were slightly more intelligent then the usual rabble. These warriors often had mastery over many weapons stronger natures & constitution but soon the Green Death came for all & once again the orcs retreated beneath the vaults of Hyperborea. Thousands died but those who survived were the strongest of the race of the damned.

HT3q – Pig-faced Orc Shaman I By Otherworld Miniatures

Today foolish humans have forgotten the face of the Hyperborean wizards & their kings of the damned nation states. The City State of Orcust now grows fat with the newest batches of these despicable monsters. But in the genes of orcs, ogres, & goblins flows the promises of damnation from the twin horrors of insanity from both Abhoth ("The Source of Uncleanliness") &  Ubbo-Sathla. The wizard houses of the Ixians have been turning out record numbers of new Orc shock troops. While in the wilds outside of the bounds of civilization the ancient Orc shamans & priests begin to call upon their gods. Some of the Ixian's shock troops already hear the ancient call of their gods as it courses through their dark & sinister veins!

So one would not think that there would be a Dragon magazine angle to this but in Dragon issue#62 we have the article Gods of The Orcs Make War Not Love By Roger Moore. The update to this article is the roll that orcs have on Hyperborea today.

The difference here is that the shamans of the orcs tell of their incredible bravery & battle prowess during the time of Ragnarok & how now their is only room on Hyperborea for them! The humans will once again die by the score on their sword & knife blades as they did during the end of all things.

Today the orcs of Hyperborea are even more dangerous then they were during the time of Ragnarok because humanity does not preconceive the danger that their in. The orcs grow bolder & more dangerous with each passing day. So mankind will feel the rage & wraith of the orc once again! 

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