Thursday, May 12, 2011

Orc camp ahead, but what are they up to?

Aggressive traveling orcs. (From LotR movie).
How many times in fantasy settings group of heroes have encountered camp of orcs? How often group of heroes have encountered camp of orcs with random encounter table? How often you don't have any idea what the orcs are doing there, but the point is to A) avoid them or B) to kill them. Here's little table for your random orc camp. They might be also encounter on the move.

Random Orc Camp Or Travelling Group Table

First you have to know, how hostile these orcs are. Roll D4:

1. Try to flee even if they must leave their camp behind.
2. Are defensive, continue what they are doing and let PC's walk by if not bothered.
3. Really suspicious, maybe make point that you should not come any closer.
4. Aggressive, and attack in sight.

Now you know, how how the orcs generally behave for intruders of their nearby space. After that, you might want to know, what that camp of orcs is all about. Roll 1D8 to find out:

1. Mercenaries. They might have had a job before or they might be venturing to one. (1D4 = no job, no previous one, normal gear, no valuables, 2D = preparing for a job, better gear, no valuables, 3 = aftermath of a failed job, normal gear, little valuables, 4 aftermath of a succesful job, better gear, more valuables.)

2. Exiles. Exiles are often poor and in bad condition. They usually are really careful and defensive if they are refugees, but might be really aggressive if they've been exiled for being not suitable to even orc culture. Exiles usually have next to nothing valuables, and their equipment are in poor quality. (There are 2D6 exiles band together even from different tribes.)

3. Warlord. You should see orc warlord's camp from far before you are noticed yourself by them. Big tents,  lots of orcs in war equipment, lots of noises and decorations, emblems and war flags of different offensive and dead things. Ignore roll of hostility. Warlord and his army are always bloodthirsty, and will kill anyone who comes close enough or they notice. You flee, they practice catching you. You fight well, they keep you alive to be their real practice dummy. You want to know how many there are. (1D6 better generals, 2D20 warriors per general. 20% change per general to have a shaman or mage. 40% change per general to have a tamed beast [% rolls can be cumulative per general. If you roll 19 for shaman or mage, roll again, if you still get under 20%, roll untill you don't score below 20. That's how many shamans or mages there are per one general. Same goes with beasts]).

4. Bandits. Normal orc bandits you see, robbering people who pass them. Usually kill their victims and take their valuables. (There are character party +1D4+2 of them total.) They might have some valuables with them (1D4, 1 = nothing special, 2 = some coins, 3 = more coins and some items, 4 =more coins and more items). 10% change that there is wanted reward for the head of their leader (1D3, 1 = small revard, 2 = mediocre reward, 3 = higher reward).

5. Half-Orcs traveling. Normal, half-orcs traveling. It is not easy for them, as their own hate them for being "good", but "goods" hate them for being half orc blooded. So they must travel and find their place where they are accepted. Usually they aren't aggressive, but if they are, they have grown really suspicious against everyone thinking, that they are target. Make player characters roll appropriate stat for them to realize, that these orcs are good at heart. If they fail the roll, they can act like they usually would act, maybe bloodlusty killing for experience and loot, or based on how half orcs react (first 1D4 roll). If they plan to kill these half-orcs, make sure somehow, that they understand that they killed "good" people. Maybe there's a travelling journal or something. Nothing valuable, this is morality lesson.

6. Captured orc. Group of humans are escorting this huge orc in thick wooden cage on four wheels pulled by two ox. There is one guard captain (heavily armed) and four guards (normally armed, medium armor, spears, small sword).  Guard captain brags, how they did get the mighty Grok'arg, the orc war leader. Characters might know, that Grok'arg actually is freedom fighter, solo, who wants to kill this evil duke/king/prince/lord/wizard what might be known for player characters for his wickedness. Even though Grok'arg is orc, and his other motives and -well- orcishness might be suspicious, he could be a valuable ally especially if characters want themselves the blood of this bad guy Grok'arg hates. Will they free him? Or not.

7. Hunters. Orc hunters are known to hunt game but also for hunting people and other races. Are they on hunt now? (1D4, 1 = hunt is over and succesfull, 2 = hunt is over but unsuccesful, 3 = they have started their hunt and have hunch, 4 = they have started their hunt but are clueless). What they are hunting? (1D6, 1 = orc renegades to be killed, 2 = humans to be slaves, 3 = food and game, 4 = personnel of area's lord, 5 = elven, 6 = player characters).

8. Orc scholar. Orc scholars you don't see every day, but even some orc leaders do value knowledge or want to know areas better and obtain maps to plan better their attacks. Or maybe this scholar is after his personal deeds. (1D6, 1 = scholar is after arcane knowledge for himself, 2 = scholar is after arcane knowledge for his chief, 3 = scholar mapping out the area for his chief, 4 = scholar is after books and scrolls to learn more for himself, 5 = scholar is after books and scrolls to learn more for his chief, 6 = brains was not the attribute scholar's tribe valued, so he decided to go find his own fortune with knowledge). But does scholar travel alone? (1D4, 1 = alone, 2 = with apprentice/assistant, 3 = with apprentice/assistant and a couple of guards, 4 = with his trained monster).
D&D orcs by: Ralph Horsley.
This table will work with any fantasy game with orcs.

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