Social Structure:

Orcs usually live in extended family groups belonging to loosely bound clans. Whole families will occasionally switch clans if feuds develop. They have no central government. Orc clan leaders, Geds, are chosen through combat. When an Orc leader is challenged, a ritual duel is called. All clan members attend this challenge, called a Geddar. They fight using a ceremonial weapon only used for this purpose. These combats are always to the death. When a clan leader is killed in Geddar, it frequently leads to chaos among the clan. An unpopular new Ged may find himself alone, ruler of none, if the clan abandons him.

Males are warriors or beast handlers. They consider any other calling to be beneath them. Females perform all other types of work. Orcs are very disrespectful of males who do woman's work.

They prefer plain foods and strong drink. Orcs love nothing better than a thick slab of venison, roasted potatoes, boiled cabbage, washed down with a hearty ale. Fried apple pies or some pumpkin bread would be a nice finish to a meal. If they want to relax with after dinner with a drink, don't offer them some namby-pamby liqueur, that's for children. Whiskey-- that's what an Orc drinks.

Professional gambler is an honorable trade for an Orc. They take their gambling very seriously. When they are just having fun, they are particularly partial to games that involve drinking. In that case winning the bet becomes secondary to staying upright and conscious.

The males also compete in drumming contests and participate in ritual drumming circles. Your place in the drumming circle denotes your status within the group. Head drummers are also leaders of the war parties.

There is a larger ratio of men to women born to Orcs. They are very protective of their females. Wives are a great status symbol (but only if the wife is Orc). They can crossbreed with humans and ogres but the offspring mule out. Fathering mules is considered shameful. Most Orcs refuse to acknowledge crossbred offspring.

Daughters are highly prized and doted on. They can bring very high courting fees to their families. Females pick their mates, who pay for the right to court them. The highest bidder gets to be the next suitor. Females are very vain (Miss Piggy syndrome).

Orcs prize good weaponry and armor. Females are often good weapon smiths and armorers. This would make them more valuable and give higher status to their mates. An Orcish woman is expected to have practical skills; leatherworking, woodworking, hunting. An Orc isn't too impressed with lacemaking or harp playing. If it's not a survival skill, it's impractical. Possibly downright foolish.

Orc males will sometimes take females of other races as consorts but consider them inferior to having an Orc mate. Children are important to the clan and therefore to the family. Having an Orc wife and purebred children is a sign of high status. Females sometimes leave a husband for another Orc who makes a better offer, but the children remain with the father. The mother has only the rights granted her by the children's father in regards to them. Males are understandably jealous of their mates and try to discourage suitors. Most Orcs assume that being clubbed in the head will be discouraging to anyone they think might be flirting with their mate.

Their dead are cremated on funeral pyres on the third day following death. The male's goods and weapons are handed down to the eldest son or eldest brother. Female's goods are handed down to the eldest daughter or eldest sister. Sometimes certain items are bequeathed beforehand to younger children in the family. These inheritances are always honored. Trophy belts are retired and may be displayed in the family home. They are brought out to use as standards carried to war by the clan's troops.

Young males frequently set off on their own as mercenaries. They usually return to their clans when their trophy belts are sufficiently impressive to attract a mate. Perfect reason to be a traveling Orcish mercenary. Orcs are very likely to accept quests if they feel it is likely to add to their trophy belt. Unmated females can be independent types, but they traditionally stay with their parents, providing courting fees to the family, until they marry. If they become unhappy with their husband they are prone to declaring the marriage null and void, then setting off to look for greener pastures.

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