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Orc Blog Introductionary Posting


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Why Orcs you ask?
Why not is the simple answer. I suppose lets begin at the beginning:

My first exposure to orcs was via the old Fighting Fantasy solo adventure books back in the 1980's. I was in highschool at the time and what were effectivly childrens books, due to their novel material and concept, were well accepted and played by teenagers. Well thats my excuse anyway.

Shortly thereafter I was introduced to D&D (The old Basic, Expert, Companion, Master series) where orcs were seen as cannon fodder. No problem I thought at the time. After all you were supposed to be a good guy fighting bad guys. Something that in the second half of the 1980's, in South Africa was important to point out when asked aboiut D&D. Remember at that time there was a huge hype about D&D causing people to be satanists (thanks hatfield christian church eejits, I rellay needed that kind of stigma in high school, rot in hell the lot of you) or that you were going to go psycho or commit suicide.

Anyhow, at about the same time, as I started reading fantasy (Until then I had been an almost exclusive war story, reader, but had already started branching out) and after the then standard popular cannon such as The Belgeriad (David Eddings) and of course the Hobbit (JRR Tolkein) i moved onto more popular stuff of the day.

Why Orcs you ask?
Why not is the simple answer? I suppose letís begin at the beginning:

My first exposure to orcs was via the old Fighting Fantasy solo adventure books back in the 1980's. I was in high school at the time and what were effectively childrenís books, due to their novel material and concept, were well accepted and played by a few teenagers. Well thatís my excuse anyway.

Shortly thereafter I was introduced to D&D (The old Basic, Expert, Companion, Master series) where orcs were seen as cannon fodder. No problem I thought at the time. After all you were supposed to be a good guy fighting bad guys. Something that in the second half of the 1980's, in South Africa was important to point out when asked about D&D. Remember at that time there was a huge hype about D&D causing people to be Satanists (thanks Hatfield Christian church ejects, I really needed that kind of stigma in high school, rot in hell the lot of you) or that you were going to go psycho or commit suicide.

Anyhow, at about the same time, as I started reading fantasy (Until then I had been an almost exclusive war story, reader, but had already started branching out) and after the then standard popular cannon such as The Belgeriad (David Eddings) and of course the Hobbit (JRR Tolkein) I moved onto more popular stuff of the day.

Of course I read Raymond Feist's Magician, Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon. I picked up The Lord of the Rings at the library, and thankfully, also picked up The Hour of the Dragon (Robert E Howards only full length Conan novel).

I found that while I did (and still do) enjoy High Fantasy, my real love for Sword and Sorcery and Gritty, hard edged fantasy (The Black Company by Glen Cook per example) was developing.

The same thing was happening with Role Playing. The D&D group had broken up and while I had had a go here and there with AD&D etc, I had not settled into a new group or campaign. This of course didnít stop me talking or reading about gaming. It was at this time that something about the whole setup began to bug me.

Maybe itís because I have to be difficult or buck the trend, or I have soft spot for the underdog, but the way players and authors simply loved elves and dwarves and equally despised orcs was getting to me. I think I developed a very hearty dislike for elves long before I developed a love for orcs. Actually my first fantasy race love was and still is Lizard Men.

So over time it became clear to me that something needed to be done to fix up the image or orcs, to make them real, give them a personality and purpose. Equally it became clear to people who played in the RuneQuest adventures I ran that playing an elf would likely find your character dead in short order.

Orc

Thankfully many other people seem to have had similar thoughts and there have been novels, game supplements and articles about orcs springing up everywhere over the past two decades. I am sure World of Warcraft may have helped a lot here, but I also think there may have been a bit of a group think saying: "Hey, wait a minute; a race cannot just exist to be destroyed. Who are these guys, what are their motivations, their loves and hates."

This blog will serve to detail this trend. I will intersperse my own views on orcs with those of other people and hopefully provide exposure for this oft misunderstood fantasy race.

In parting, I must say I originally thought to approach Black Gate Magazine to do this blog there, but my erratic (euphemism I am sure) publishing schedule I doubt would suit their slick publication.

Lastly, images are always a problem. If you have some decentish orc doodles you would like to put up here, by all means contact me!

Enjoy what lies ahead.
Tony

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