Getting rid of orc babies

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drkrash
Joined: 2016-04-15 15:54
Getting rid of orc babies

I've decided that in my setting that beastmen don't reproduce sexually.

I was wondering: in terms of the lair rules, should I make any mechanical changes to account for the fact that the lair lacks women and children? I don't know if there should be more warriors, or less treasure, or change nothing at all.

Any thoughts?

Aryxymaraki
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Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

If you want to make it identical, calculate the XP value of all the women and children in the lair, then add that many beastmen to make up for it.

I don't think it would change anything in any significant way if you just removed them, though.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

This was NOT the thread I was expecting it to be. I was ready to say:

  • Yes, getting rid of orc babies is Lawful, just as when Ripley kills xenomorph facehuggers it's a good deed.
  • Fireball is very effective, but overkill; we've found stinking cloud with a hireling perimeter works better at less cost in spell slots.

 

Nikephoros Phokas
Joined: 2011-10-19 17:02

I solved the "problem of orc babies" by replacing orcs with Chaotic human raiders. Since they have moral agency and their children and wives do too they can be integrated into a Lawful/Neutral society or be trusted to move to their kinsmen and not necessarily come back with vengeance in their hearts, in fact letting them go might even dissuade future interlopers.

bestial warlust
Joined: 2017-04-04 08:15

You can use Harnworlds orcs -- Gargun. They have no young the gargun hatch from eggs that are laid by one queen. There are several types of gargun these could be used to replace orcs, goblins, kobolds, etc...

drkrash
Joined: 2016-04-15 15:54

This is exactly the kind of conversation I was hoping to have.  I presented it to my players for their thoughts, since it was one player's aversion to the idea that made me think about this.  In turn, one of them reacted somewhat strongly with something along the lines of, "I don't need to think about these things in my fantasy game; I just want to have fun and kill things."  The last two players are more interested in story and world-building, but also actually used the Aliens analogy.

One of the players noted that the problem is that we think of orc babies as ugly babies in swaddling clothes, nursed by ugly mommys and playing with primitive toys.  Maybe orc babies are just slug like creatures that mature quickly in a matter of years.  One of my players suggested that and that seems like a reasonable option.

A more complicated idea I had was to make each beastman have a different origin.  In my world, they are not the products of magical experimentation, but rather mockeries of creation by lords of chaos opposing the One True God.  So I imagined kobolds could grow out of a sort of "nuisance fungus" (similar to WH40K orks).  Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears spawn from sources of chaos (like sinkholes of evil).  Orcs and ogres impregnate elven and human women with fast-growing litters.  Gnolls eat elves and humans and vomit out protoplasmic goo that grows into gnolls.  Giants and trolls are flesh empowered by lesser chaos spirits.  More detailed and more horrific (and beyond the taste of some gaming groups, I suspect).

I'm intrigued by my idea, but "slug babies" that aren't at all cute or anthropomorphic would work too.

I welcome any thoughts or opinions anyone has on the matter.

Jard
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Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23

Usually when I see this sort of line of reasoning come up, it tends to be a case against using beastmen at all because "the true monster is man!".

There's at least a few things you need to unpack in order to answer the question of "why orcs?" and then figure out what you want to change.

How does raiding and wiping out an orc stronghold compare to raiding an wiping out a stronghold of human bandits?  We assume the bandits likely don't have their young or their spouses with them.

How does raiding and wiping out an orc stronghold compare to raiding and wiping out a nest of giant bugs or the den of an animal?  We assume that the orcs, in some form or another, can be bargained with, threatened, cajoled, tricked, etc. in ways something of animal intelligence can't.

How does raiding and wiping out an orc stronghold compare to raiding and wiping out a tomb full of zombies/skeletons or other unintelligent undead.  We assume that orcs have an ecology and a reproduction cycle rather than being magically created by some external force, whether that's a chaotic wizard or some sort of evil aura permeating a region.

 

When you figure out what you need out of orcs, and what you don't, you can figure out either how to change them or, possibly, what to replace them with entirely.

bestial warlust
Joined: 2017-04-04 08:15

More on Gargun

 The gargun have a reproductive system resembling that of some insects. In each tribe there will be, at most,one fertile female (the queen) and generally only one fertile male (the king). Both sexes become fertile only through continued social exposure to the opposite sex. All such contact leads to fertility, but most male gargun have no sexual contact with females......

 Approximately one month after fertilization, the queen will lay up to 80 gelatinous eggs...... If the eggs are stored in a dark, humid environment and given a good supply of decomposing organic material (offal), they hatch in three to six months. Newborn gargun have an extensive racial memory, permitting almost immediate social interaction with others in the tribe. This racial memory also has the effect of preserving the customs of the gargun from one generation to the next. Hence, gargun society is almost totally unchanging.

 

drkrash
Joined: 2016-04-15 15:54

The gargun idea is one that I'm going to consider; thanks.

jard, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by it, but my setting (and my players) are definitely not "the true monster is man!" types.

I'm using beastmen because I like them.  And because I'm using packaged dungeons largely and replacing beastmen would defeat the purpose of using packaged material: ease of use.

I have a cosmology that formally establishes that the beastmen were created as a parody and mockery of men and elves.  Men and elves were created by the One True God, who opposes the powers of chaos.  Chaos cannot create original designs, but it can ape designs, which it does.

The Church is essentially Catholicism, with the significant change that the "battle against sin" is a literal crusade against beastmen, who are an affront to creation.  Churches are monastery fortresses and priests are roving adventurers armed and armored to hunt beastmen (thus making the use of the core cleric very easy).

In the 18 months we've been playing in this world (again - using canned adventure material like Stonehell), we only had one encounter with beastmen families: some orc females and children.  We noted the oddness of killing them in the name of God (my setting and my players are not looking for moral ambiguity here), but moved on.

At this very moment, they are assaulting an orc town that was discovered as a random encounter (thanks Lairs & Encounters!).  The write-up has loads of orc women and children.  A couple of the players already raised the question of what to do with them; some said, "kill them," while others balked a little, presumably because even orc mommies love their babies.

I realized that the idea of beastman mommies and babies doesn't even jive well with my cosmological origin of beastmen, and so I started looking at asexual means of reproduction to enrich my setting.

Sorry to go on with a "let me tell you about my campaign!" post, but the context might help explain the kind of insights and opinions I'm looking for.  TIA.

GMJoe
Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

In my campaign, I've been handling this by giving the opportunity for players to let the noncombatant women and children of beatmen tribes go. So far, they've taken advantage of this opportunity every time. (Admittedly, they haven't discovered what happens to these survivors after they leave; it's usually some variant of "merged with a nearby tribe of similar beastmen" or "captured and sold into slavery by neighbouring tribes." I'm curious as to what my players will do once they find out.)

This has had the unexpected side effect that my players tend to leave behind any trade goods that seem necessary to the tribes' survival, so they've been getting slightly less treasure than would otherwise be the case.

Magus7a
Joined: 2017-01-20 08:13

A fun idea might be I shudder to call it this *the pokemon idea*, weaker beastmen evolve into stronger ones

Anytime a beastmen female or child is said to fight identically to *other beastman race* just replace it with an identical number of that beastman, justified as beastman who have not become that race yet but aren't strong enough to set up their own lair as members of their own race

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Such great ideas here.

DrKrash - I like your ideas for the grotesque asexual reproduction of beastman more than I like my own. I think your suggestions work better as a "parody of life and affront to creation" and it worksaround the sensitive issues raised.

I recently re-read Isaiah 13 and was reminded of how different ancient sensibilities could be to our own: Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated. If you spent time worrying in the ancient world about whether it was permissible to kill baby monsters, they'd have thought you crazy. 

In contrast, under contemporary sensibilities, there likely are many people in society who would argue that we couldn't even exterminate facehuggers because we have no right to do that to another species. Picard argued in Star Trek that the Federation wouldn't be morally right to wipe out the Borg, etc.

So if you have any differences of opinion within your group on this, it's probably better to work around the whole issue entirely. Gaming should be an escape. 

Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

I did a one off game where goblinoids (besatmen could work) essentially had a break down of where combat fuled their development, but they also essentially had inherent cloning as part of themselves.  Essentially making them much likes slimes and oozes.

What essentially happend was goblins were stage one where after enough killing or consuming enough they would quickly (1-2 rounds) mutate into war goblins (akin between a goblin and an orc), then to orc, then on to war orc (think Uruk-hai) and finally onto a troll.  Once a troll had developed enough it would just split into 1d6+2 goblins.  Likewise if the corpses of orcs or greater weren't heavily destroyed (typically by burning the corpse) a goblin would rise from the remains in 1d6 days.

Goblin remians however would putrefy into tiny oozes (about 200-400 millilitres) over the 1-6 days, and often combine into much larger ones to become a threat.

It was great to see the look on players faces when a troll split or a goblinoid grew in size because of killing one of its compatriots in their rampage.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I did a one off game where goblinoids (besatmen could work) essentially had a break down of where combat fuled their development, but they also essentially had inherent cloning as part of themselves.  Essentially making them much likes slimes and oozes.

What essentially happend was goblins were stage one where after enough killing or consuming enough they would quickly (1-2 rounds) mutate into war goblins (akin between a goblin and an orc), then to orc, then on to war orc (think Uruk-hai) and finally onto a troll.  Once a troll had developed enough it would just split into 1d6+2 goblins.  Likewise if the corpses of orcs or greater weren't heavily destroyed (typically by burning the corpse) a goblin would rise from the remains in 1d6 days.

Goblin remians however would putrefy into tiny oozes (about 200-400 millilitres) over the 1-6 days, and often combine into much larger ones to become a threat.

It was great to see the look on players faces when a troll split or a goblinoid grew in size because of killing one of its compatriots in their rampage.


-Loswaith

That's absolutely awesome!

drkrash
Joined: 2016-04-15 15:54

Another friend (outside my play group) suggested that wounded or weak beastmen could be sacrificed and their parts turn into new beastmen.  I think this idea might mix well if the sacrifices only grow in the blood of men and elves, requiring capture raids.  It would also mean that men and elves should make sure the beastmen can't claim their own dead...but they haven't learned that yet.

Since I'm playing tonight, I'm going to establish that there are no babies (and I replaced the females with more warriors).  As for the actual truth, it's still a work in progress.  Other thoughts and ideas still gladly welcome.

chalicier
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-01-14 00:36

This thread is awesome! I love variant ideas for monster origins, it really keeps players on their toes and maintains a sense of wonder.

For my current game, I lifted an idea from another forum about the connection between goblins and hobgoblins. In Alaria, hobgoblins are one of the True Races of the world: organised and intelligent to the extent that they have their own settlements, industry, systems of writing and numbers etc. Their lives are harsh, rather violent and highly regimented in some ways (think Norsemen) but they're fully-fledged "people" with a lifespan of around 40ish years and sometimes longer. However, they suffer from a peculiar biological issue whereby they only reach full maturity if they undergo a major adrenal shock of some kind. This causes a problem as the hobs get steadily more civilised.

In order to maintain their population levels, low-status hobgoblin females are forced into a role as "breeders" and produce lots and lots and lots of offspring. These offspring are looked after in group nursery environments until they reach around 5-6 years of age, at which point the entire age group is driven out of the hobgoblin settlements and outside their lands under threat of violence. These hobgoblin children, forced to live without support, quickly develop into bands for survival. The regions between hobgoblin and human settlements are filled with lots of these desperate, starving children, and humans call them "goblins".

Many goblins die quickly. The ones that survive usually only remain "goblins" for perhaps 3 or 4 years before a near-death experience in combat, fire, or any other of the myriad dangers of the wilderness force them into the adrenal shock they require to mature. As they grow prodigiously and develop the characteristic long brow and intelligence of a hobgoblin (goblinoids do not have animalistic features in my setting, since they are not beastmen) the changing goblins quickly realise their situation and journey back to hobgoblin lands. Hobgoblins find it easy to recognise adults by their scent, so the large majority are allowed back into the hobgoblin settlements.

A very few goblins do not undergo the physical changes even after surviving a near-death situation and the ensuing adrenal shock. These unfortunates continue to grow, though they remain immature, and their increased stature and hard-won experience marks them out as leaders amongst the squalling masses of goblins. These form the goblin Champions and Chieftains; few if any ever master magic of any form, so goblins (unlike hobgoblins) have virtually no Witch Doctors or Shamans.

Orcs are a peculiar aberration. The connection between goblins and hobgoblins is poorly understood, but some sages have recorded it. As a result, at some point in history evil spellcasters have taken advantage of the unique hobgoblin process of maturation. A spellcaster oi high enough level to create crossbreeds may construct a Gall, a fleshy cage-thing into which captive goblins can be inserted. After a period of screaming and crunching sounds, the goblin is forced through a magically-controlled adolescence and transformed into an Orc - larger and far more muscular than a hobgoblin, with their long lower canines transformed into tusks and their intelligence mostly maintained, but their ambition dulled powerfully in favour of a rather easily-led nature. These Galls are primarily used by evil spellcasters to create armies of loyal creatures that know nothing except service to their dark masters. (And yes, this bit was definitely inspired by the movie version of Uruk-hai.)
Orcs have Champions and Chieftains, but no Shamans or Witch Doctors. A very rare mutation or error in the Galling process produces an unusual orc with greyish skin and smaller stature; these are Grey Orcs and share the same natural spellcasting capabilities as Elves have in my setting. While they are rare to begin with and most die early in their lives, my setting has a rare one or two Grey Orcs survive to high enough levels that it is possible for them to create Galls of their own, producing more Orcs.

So far, my players have been loving discovering all this. I suspected they would be a little squicked to discover that those goblins they slaughtered with impunity at low levels were actually desperate children, but not really - if anything figuring it out has only made them more determined to smash every hobgoblin they see to pieces; which is ironic, given it's probably easier to deal non-violently with hobgoblins than any other "beastmen" (only a few humans understand the difference).

(For reference, Ogres, Trolls, Gnolls, Bugbears and Kobolds are all still "animal crossbreeds created by evil sorcerers for their dark purposes" as per usual ACKS. The evil sorcerers were Nazi Elves... maybe that's a story for another time.)

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

This thread is awesome! I love variant ideas for monster origins, it really keeps players on their toes and maintains a sense of wonder.

For my current game, I lifted an idea from another forum about the connection between goblins and hobgoblins. In Alaria, hobgoblins are one of the True Races of the world: organised and intelligent to the extent that they have their own settlements, industry, systems of writing and numbers etc. Their lives are harsh, rather violent and highly regimented in some ways (think Norsemen) but they're fully-fledged "people" with a lifespan of around 40ish years and sometimes longer. However, they suffer from a peculiar biological issue whereby they only reach full maturity if they undergo a major adrenal shock of some kind. This causes a problem as the hobs get steadily more civilised.

In order to maintain their population levels, low-status hobgoblin females are forced into a role as "breeders" and produce lots and lots and lots of offspring. These offspring are looked after in group nursery environments until they reach around 5-6 years of age, at which point the entire age group is driven out of the hobgoblin settlements and outside their lands under threat of violence. These hobgoblin children, forced to live without support, quickly develop into bands for survival. The regions between hobgoblin and human settlements are filled with lots of these desperate, starving children, and humans call them "goblins".

Many goblins die quickly. The ones that survive usually only remain "goblins" for perhaps 3 or 4 years before a near-death experience in combat, fire, or any other of the myriad dangers of the wilderness force them into the adrenal shock they require to mature. As they grow prodigiously and develop the characteristic long brow and intelligence of a hobgoblin (goblinoids do not have animalistic features in my setting, since they are not beastmen) the changing goblins quickly realise their situation and journey back to hobgoblin lands. Hobgoblins find it easy to recognise adults by their scent, so the large majority are allowed back into the hobgoblin settlements.

A very few goblins do not undergo the physical changes even after surviving a near-death situation and the ensuing adrenal shock. These unfortunates continue to grow, though they remain immature, and their increased stature and hard-won experience marks them out as leaders amongst the squalling masses of goblins. These form the goblin Champions and Chieftains; few if any ever master magic of any form, so goblins (unlike hobgoblins) have virtually no Witch Doctors or Shamans.

Orcs are a peculiar aberration. The connection between goblins and hobgoblins is poorly understood, but some sages have recorded it. As a result, at some point in history evil spellcasters have taken advantage of the unique hobgoblin process of maturation. A spellcaster oi high enough level to create crossbreeds may construct a Gall, a fleshy cage-thing into which captive goblins can be inserted. After a period of screaming and crunching sounds, the goblin is forced through a magically-controlled adolescence and transformed into an Orc - larger and far more muscular than a hobgoblin, with their long lower canines transformed into tusks and their intelligence mostly maintained, but their ambition dulled powerfully in favour of a rather easily-led nature. These Galls are primarily used by evil spellcasters to create armies of loyal creatures that know nothing except service to their dark masters. (And yes, this bit was definitely inspired by the movie version of Uruk-hai.)
Orcs have Champions and Chieftains, but no Shamans or Witch Doctors. A very rare mutation or error in the Galling process produces an unusual orc with greyish skin and smaller stature; these are Grey Orcs and share the same natural spellcasting capabilities as Elves have in my setting. While they are rare to begin with and most die early in their lives, my setting has a rare one or two Grey Orcs survive to high enough levels that it is possible for them to create Galls of their own, producing more Orcs.

So far, my players have been loving discovering all this. I suspected they would be a little squicked to discover that those goblins they slaughtered with impunity at low levels were actually desperate children, but not really - if anything figuring it out has only made them more determined to smash every hobgoblin they see to pieces; which is ironic, given it's probably easier to deal non-violently with hobgoblins than any other "beastmen" (only a few humans understand the difference).

(For reference, Ogres, Trolls, Gnolls, Bugbears and Kobolds are all still "animal crossbreeds created by evil sorcerers for their dark purposes" as per usual ACKS. The evil sorcerers were Nazi Elves... maybe that's a story for another time.)


-chalicier

This is novel-worthy. Seriously - awesome. 

chalicier
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Joined: 2017-01-14 00:36

Well I certainly wrote enough for a novel, lol :)

golan2072
Patreon SupporterPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
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I find the entire "Baby Orc Moral Dilemma"(TM) extremely stale and overused, regardless of any broader philosophical considerations.

So what I am considering in my next setting (Elysian Empire) is changing the situation a bit, though not uniformly for all beastmen.

Female goblins look just like the males. Goblin young hatch from their eggs as fully-developed gremlins. They are fully capable of taking care of themselves, and are already quite malicious in their mischief. Sometimes murderous. So a goblin lair will include a whole gang of these small bastards ready to do all sorts of nasty things to hapless adventurers. They usually carry very sharp knives.

In this setting, like all of my settings, lizardmen are not beastment. Lizardman males are larger than the females. Parents guard their eggs until they hatch. The hatchling - a small lizardman - can take care of itself from the moment it hatches. Adults let the young dwell with them in the village, but the young feed themselves on carrion or by fishing in the swamp.

Orcs are not born, but made. Originally, sorcerers made them in breeding vats by infecting human captives with an alchemically-modified magical fungus. These sorcerers and their vats are long gone, but the fungus still exists. Orcs eat most of their captives. They perform an unholy ritual on the stronger captives, infecting them with the fungus. As the process is incredibly crude, a few survive the transformation. Those who do become orcs. There are never young orcs around, as a human child cannot survive this ritual, only a healthy and sturdy adult.

Toadmen mate in the swamp, and lay long strings of eggs into the murky water. These hatch into tadpoles. The tadpole itself, esepcially when it grows big, is a threat to any who swim in the swamp. It eventually transforms into an adult toadman and creeps out of the water. The "adolescent" version looks like a smaller toadman with a tail, and it behaves like an adult, including eating captives.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I find the entire "Baby Orc Moral Dilemma"(TM) extremely stale and overused, regardless of any broader philosophical considerations.

So what I am considering in my next setting (Elysian Empire) is changing the situation a bit, though not uniformly for all beastmen.

Female goblins look just like the males. Goblin young hatch from their eggs as fully-developed gremlins. They are fully capable of taking care of themselves, and are already quite malicious in their mischief. Sometimes murderous. So a goblin lair will include a whole gang of these small bastards ready to do all sorts of nasty things to hapless adventurers. They usually carry very sharp knives.

In this setting, like all of my settings, lizardmen are not beastment. Lizardman males are larger than the females. Parents guard their eggs until they hatch. The hatchling - a small lizardman - can take care of itself from the moment it hatches. Adults let the young dwell with them in the village, but the young feed themselves on carrion or by fishing in the swamp.

Orcs are not born, but made. Originally, sorcerers made them in breeding vats by infecting human captives with an alchemically-modified magical fungus. These sorcerers and their vats are long gone, but the fungus still exists. Orcs eat most of their captives. They perform an unholy ritual on the stronger captives, infecting them with the fungus. As the process is incredibly crude, a few survive the transformation. Those who do become orcs. There are never young orcs around, as a human child cannot survive this ritual, only a healthy and sturdy adult.

Toadmen mate in the swamp, and lay long strings of eggs into the murky water. These hatch into tadpoles. The tadpole itself, esepcially when it grows big, is a threat to any who swim in the swamp. It eventually transforms into an adult toadman and creeps out of the water. The "adolescent" version looks like a smaller toadman with a tail, and it behaves like an adult, including eating captives.


-golan2072

Wickedly good stuff here, too. I especially like the fungust-infective orcs. Sounds like a ritual spell "fungus cloud" needs to be unleashed on unsuspecting urban settlements...

 

koewn
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In brief-ish:

- Goblins - bioengineered servitors brought to Earth by elves. Reproduce via skullstones, kinda like a seed, that also implants the next goblin with much of the memories/knowledge of the one the skullstone erupted from. Goblins themselves are pretty rare, and highly valued by human sorcerors who have the chutzpah to try and deal with one. 

- Orcs/Hobgoblins (the same thing for me) - crossbreeds of elves and goblins made by the Atlanteans/Hyperboreans/Thulians/Mu/blah (haven't got a good overall name yet). Skullstones as well, but no memories/knowledge, probably (haven't really thought about it yet)

- Gnolls - I'm thinking they have to do something to mutate lesser canine/felines. I'm imagining my gnolls as back-engineered from an earlier carnivore form; miacids or something. They're not endemic to the area we're in, so, won't have to worry about it probably.

- Kobolds - more like malevolent gremliny earth elementals, animated by random chaotic ids (pretend that quantum fluctuations or other Star-Treky technobabble can spontaneously form a half-conscious ego, and animate some stuff. Same place I think giants and treants (tree-giants) come from - Gaia-Earth-Spirit sort of thing without the implied niceties)

- Bugbears - orcs and bears. I'm thinking about having them have bonuses to morale for purposes of Domains At War if you double-provision them in fall and let them hibernate (and as such you can only use them Spring through Summer) or a penalty if you don't...

- Ogres - devolved/degenerate Atlanteans/etc/etc. Ogre Magi, as a term, is applied to still-cognitive Atlanteans/etc. I'm kinda half-assed cribbing from Steven Erikson's Jaghut for my outlook on this sort of thing as an "elder race" from outside Earth.

- Others - extraplanar summons now living here as 'native'. I think most everything left (lizardmen, trogs, etc) are egg layers? Dunno if I've skipped anything.

It evolves. I'm running in large parts a quasi-historical game set in 1400s Poland, around Krakow, so I'm recasting/adjusting as I read more about the time period, fitting in things where it would make sense from a standpoint of much of the mythological history of the world being allegorical, or the true history being hidden and/or forgotten.

For example, I recently read 'Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness', which in large part is about an Arab traveller WTFing at the weather and Norsemen in Central Europe. At any rate, something I'd forgotten - the old tale of the Gates of Alexander, and Gog and Magog, and all that, oft referenced in these sorts of medieval travelogues - easily decrufted and recast as an ancient general pushing back orcish hordes and their Hyperborean overlords back to Siberia, let's say.

 

golan2072
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Additions to my above notes:

Lizardmen are less active in the winter in cold climates. They retreat to their underground warrens - often with underwater entrances - and hide there. They still fiercely defend the warrens against attacks, but do not raid settlements and do not waylay travelers until the spring. They sleep for many hours a day and eat preserved (usually smoked or dried) food in the winter months. In warmer climates, they are active year-round. However, would-be conquerors who might see "hibernating" lizardmen as easy prey should beware: the shamans still have theiur spiritual "eyes" open, even when they hide underground and even when they sleep.

Lizardmen can reproduce both sexually and asexually, just like some real-life lizards (for example, certain Whiptail lizards; Komodo Dragons) can. A single female lizardman (lizardwoman?) can start an entire new tribe of her virgin-born daughters and their lineage of daughters. If they come across males, they can mate with them and have sexually-produced offsprings as well (and male offsprings in general).

For inspiration: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis_in_squamata

Regarding orcs - rumor has it that the laboratory used to produce the first orcs is out there somewhere, in whatever accursed ruin which once belonged to a dread sorcerer. The mage who finds it could mass-produce orcs, as the vats are far more efficient than the primitive tribal ritual used by the orcs themselves.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Koewn, Omer, just awesome stuff, too... My setting weeps with jealousy at the outpouring of creativity here!

I wonder, if I did a poll, if the majority of ACKS campaigns have beastmen producing non-sexually or magically in some manner?

 

 

koewn
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Joined: 2012-07-17 20:11

I'd be curious what folks are using for the cost of reproduction - supply costs of a set of 'virtual parents' over gestation time? Some metric based on XP value of resultant creature? Fixed percentage of the initial cost to crossbreed or arcanogenerate the original creature? What value must be invested in a vat or pool or whatever? 

As clearly evidenced, reproduction 'just happens' when there's a boy, a girl, and some Barry White, so I wouldn't think that ongoing costs would be all that high, or much beyond regular supply costs.

I could also be overthinking it...

chalicier
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-01-14 00:36

I wonder, if I did a poll, if the majority of ACKS campaigns have beastmen producing non-sexually or magically in some manner?

-Alex

It serves a distinct narrative purpose to have at least some of the Existential Threats To The Very Heart Of Civilisation be spawned in a non-sexual, and importantly rapid, manner. "The barbarians are breeding like rabbits in the hills while our strength wanes, if a leader arises amongst them we may not be able to hold" is another narrative that has a powerful hook, but sometimes you just need a horde to appear from nowhere in a matter of weeks because the Dark Controller demands you build him an army worthy of Sodor.

chalicier
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-01-14 00:36

I'd be curious what folks are using for the cost of reproduction - supply costs of a set of 'virtual parents' over gestation time? Some metric based on XP value of resultant creature? Fixed percentage of the initial cost to crossbreed or arcanogenerate the original creature? What value must be invested in a vat or pool or whatever? 

As clearly evidenced, reproduction 'just happens' when there's a boy, a girl, and some Barry White, so I wouldn't think that ongoing costs would be all that high, or much beyond regular supply costs.

I could also be overthinking it...


-koewn

I did give this some thought. I allow 9HD level Grey Orcs and 11th level (as usual) spellcasters to build Galls, and they must be constructed as a minimum +2 laboratory for crossbreeding 1HD creatures, so they cost 22,000gp each to build (most of which I figure is made up of monster parts, for the azoth). Since 9th level spellcasters get an 8+ on research rolls, that means Grey Orcs succeed in Galling 3 in 4 of their attempts, with other spellcasters succeeding 4 in 5 times. We just average that over their attempts.

The fun part in all this is the per-unit costs. Obviously evil wizards can just go ahead and pay the 2000gp per goblin transformed, but how do barbarian orcs pay that? I figure there are three options:

1) Blood sacrifice. (In this case taking the form of living Azoth rather than divine energy.)
2) Collect various herbs and monster parts from the forest until they get 2000gp worth, chuck them and a captive goblin into the Gall, out comes an orc.
3) Just waive it.

3 is unsatisfying and also leads one to wonder why orcs don't multiply exponentially until they cover the entire planet, and 1 involves giving Grey Orcs a new ability they didn't previously have. 2 on the other hand... whole tribes of orcs wandering around nicking mushrooms out of people's henhouses and actually keeping the local monster population down as they slaughter every ogre, ettin and bugbear they find for their monster bits, carrying them home in special "magic satchels" built by their masters (primitive metamphora)...

Now that is a solution that fits with a world of weird Gnostic alchemy :)
 

golan2072
Patreon SupporterPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

Koewn, Omer, just awesome stuff, too... My setting weeps with jealousy at the outpouring of creativity here!


-Alex

Thanks!

I wonder, if I did a poll, if the majority of ACKS campaigns have beastmen producing non-sexually or magically in some manner?


-Alex

In my case, only orcs and possibly other vat-grown monsters such as owlbears and chuul. There is no single "Beastmen" category. The common theme, however, is that humanoid monster species are not humans and do not reproduce like humans:

  • Lizardmen reproduce just like real-world lizards, both sexually or a-sexually, with hatchlings who can fend for themselves.
  • Goblins reproduce sexually and have offsprings (gremlings) who can fend for themselves and are as nasty in character as the adults.
  • Other goblinoids reproduce like goblins. Bugbear young are very dangerous creatures from day one, for example.
  • Orcs are made, not bred.
  • Toadmen reproduce like toads - with killer tadpoles and transformation.

I also want to have a species which reproduces like a parasitic wasp... Which was, IIRC, the real-life inspiration for Alien and its chestburster! Or worse.

https://www.livescience.com/51764-wasp-spider-zombies.html

drkrash
Joined: 2016-04-15 15:54

It's cool seeing that I am far from the only one who has done away with orc babies! When I announced that, while the answer of where they come from was still a work in progress, there definitely weren't any babies, another one of my players - who had previously said little about the issue - said, "Good.  I didn't really want to kill orc babies despite joking about it."

At the moment, I'm leaning toward multiple origins (as several others have described here), though I am ditching my idea of orcs and ogres as rape-breeders.  Neither I nor my players would have an issue with the idea; I just thought it darkened my world more than I wanted to.