Oruskan Overview

In the Before, the kobolds, goblins, orcs and trolls — the Oruskan races — survived as hunters and gatherers, though often that “gathering” came in the form of raids. The civilized races’ caravans, villages and small towns were all fair game, as were the settlements of other Oruskans. When direct attacks didn’t work, the Oruskans resorted to sneak attacks and lightning strikes. Only an all-out attack from the civilized lands could stop the raiding parties completely, and the Northlands’ harsh weather prohibited the long campaign that would require. So the monstrous races continued to raid while the civilized lands continued to defend — such was the way it had always been, and most expected it was the way it always would be. But then the Night of Fire changed everything.

The Night of Fire brought everyone low, but the Oruskans are better positioned to recover more quickly. Perhaps now it’s the Oruskans’ turn to rebuild the world in their image.

Although about the size of humans, goblins appear a little shorter because they walk with a stooped gait. Most have a sickly green cast to their warty skin, but light- and dark-gray skin tones are also common.

Goblins are by far the most numerous of the Oruskan races, perhaps by a factor of 10 to 1 or more, even after the Night of Fire. Almost as varied in personality as humans, goblins can make good traders and merchants (the smarter ones, at least). However, with their wide, shark-like grins and mouths full of needle-like teeth, goblins eventually make most folk feel uncomfortable. The more successful goblins are nomads, moving around from place to place, leaving just before they wear out their welcome.

Even after the Night of Fire, goblins are still the most numerous Oruskan race. However, their most powerful Shamans perished during the Night of Fire. They are now raiders and parasites, attaching themselves to bigger, stronger groups in hope of grabbing a few scraps. They still revere Nature, however, and have not turned their backs on magic — instead they carefully protect and nurture those among them who show the gift for Primal Magic.

No one is quite sure where this race of small, cunning Oruskans got their name, but at least one human tribe in the Northlands call them “cold-bolds” in reference to their aggressive, quick raids that usually happen in the dead of night and the middle of winter. The small, seal-like kobolds are underestimated by the other races, and they prefer it that way. They typically stand about 3 ft. tall and are covered with very short white or brown fur. They wear clothing made from the skins of polar bear, seals, arctic wolves or whatever else they have hunted.

Kobolds are clever and agile adversaries, preferring subterfuge and guile to fighting. When a fight is unavoidable, they attack in large groups — lightning fast — attempting to get in and out quickly and taking only as much as they can carry.

The Night of Fire was tough on the kobolds, but they quickly recovered. The Long Winter actually turned out to be a very prosperous time for them. The deep cold and the mysterious push of glaciers further south than previously possible created an almost perfect environment for the kobolds, who began to breed quickly and raid deep into the ruins of the Ascondean Empire, finding little or no resistance. Typical kobolds in the After find themselves in a strange and thawing world, which makes them feel panicky and hot. They are smart enough to know that they must change or perish.

Even the smallest orc is more than 6 ft. tall and weighs more than 300 pounds. Like goblins and kobolds, orcs have sharp teeth, but they are the most human-like of the Oruskan races. Orcs are known for their strength and bad temperament. They do not get along well with anyone, least of all other Oruskans. The rough reputation that the Oruskan race gets as a whole can be traced back to the belligerent attitude of orcs.

In battle, orcs are vicious and unyielding foes. They prefer charging into a fight, wildly swinging their axes and tasting the blood of their enemies as it jets into the air. When the spirit of battle takes them, orcs will even bite their foes, inflicting terrible wounds with their razor-sharp teeth. It’s considered a great act among them to deliver a killing blow in this manner.

Clad in animal hides and carrying large axes or swords, orcs exist in barely organized tribes held together by the sheer will and personality of a single leader. They are also quite superstitious. A crafty orc chieftain usually has a Shaman by his side, helping him keep control of the seething tribe of muscle and anger. Many chieftains are eventually murdered by an ambitious rival from within — but most fall in battle with other orc or goblin tribes as they endlessly vie for territory. This drive for land sent many orcs south and west into the Warlands, where they spend a fulfilling existence in warbands, often rising to positions of significant power. The rest spend short and brutish lives taking territory from one another and the lesser Oruskan races over and over again.

Very little has changed for orcs after the end of the world. They remain aggressive and violent; there are just fewer of them. They were always used to taking what they wanted, and that has not changed. However, the loss of the more powerful Primalists did shake many orcs’ faith in the world, and many mistrust magic now.

If there is one thing the orcs of the Northlands fear, it’s the trolls. The hulking beasts stand as tall as 12 ft. and weigh nearly 700 pounds. Trolls all have large, wart-like calcium deposits on their bodies, including their knuckles. The sharp deposits on their knuckles makes a troll’s fists lethal weapons. Trolls lack the intelligence of other Oruskans. However, what they lack in brains they make up for in sheer muscle and violence.

Trolls are more animalistic than the other Oruskans, but are clearly related to orcs and goblins. Like orcs, goblins and kobolds, trolls have razor-sharp teeth. Their skin color varies from gray to dark green.

Trolls spend most of their time hunting prey. They aren’t fussy about what they’ll eat. They are so voracious that they have been known to start eating their opponents during battle, literally ripping chunks of flesh from their foes and forcing the meat into their mouths as they fight on.

A few trolls have been “tamed” by warbands or particularly cunning orc or goblin tribes. Taming a troll is risky, however, and often ends badly for the tamer.

Unfortunately, trolls have not become extinct in the After. If anything, they have flourished in the chaos and destruction. The beasts may even become more prevalent. That’s unfortunate for survivors: One hungry troll can tear an entire community of survivors apart in a few short minutes.



Goblins are excellent woodsmen and traders.




Kobolds are cunning strategists and bold hunters.




Orcs are formidable, bloodthirsty warriors.




Trolls are savage, animal-like beasts.

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