Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Pimp My Orc

Bored of green-skinned, vaguely man-like orcs? Reskin your orcs using the following tables:

The Orcs' faces are:

1. Crocodilian
2. Porcine
3. Lupine
4. Bovine
5. Feline
6. Simian.
7. Cervine
8. Insectoid
9. All-too-human
10. Beaked

Their skin is:

1. Feathered
2. Furry
3-5. Scaly
6-10. Smooth

They have (roll d3 times):

1. Long tails
2. Single horns like unicorns
3. Twin horns like rams
4. Useless flapping wings
5. Extra eyes
6. Cloven hoofs for feet
7. Male and female sex organs
8. Abnormally large heads
9. Very long necks
10. Tusks like wild boar
11. Very long noses
12. An especially foul stench
13. No spoken language
14. Legs which bend the 'wrong' way
15. Purple skin
16. No eyes but can somehow see anyway
17. Grasping feet like a monkey
18. Tattoos covering their bodies
19. Tongues which are too long and permamently hang out of their mouths
20. Horrible warts, boils and other growths all over their skin

Their favourite weapons are:

1. Axes
2. Swords
3. Spears
4. Polearms
5. Nets and tridents
6. Morning stars and maces


  1. Orcus noismus
    From the depths of the caves under the Giestops Mountains they come. Have they lost their eyes over generations of sightless years in the blackness? None can say. Somehow, in daylight or at night, they still perceive the world around them.

    Wolfish yet scaly, they sniff the air, but that cannot be their only means of "seeing". They run, sometimes on all fours, sometimes as a man, their tails keeping them steady.

    The hardy villagers of the north fight hand-to-hand when these fiends venture forth, swinging their axes. A noismus orc-tail is a prized trophy from such an encounter.

  2. That is a simple and clever way of messing with players too. Thank you for posting this.

  3. Very nicely done, simple and elegant.

  4. You've reinvented Broo!

    This strikes me as a much smarter, better solution to all those goblinoids/humanoids in the MM, which from kobold up to ogre or troll pretty much boil down to S/M/L/XL versions of the same threat. If size becomes no more than a rough, unreliable indicator of power, then the PCs won't know what they're facing until they get into combat. Which I think is a good thing.

    It also seems more Romantic to me in its uncertainty than Gygax's arch-Classicist approach, of making an encyclopedia of chaos.

  5. I love these tables... but can we all agree to stop using "pimp" in a positive and/or ironic way? Considering that a pimp is someone who traffics women into prostitution for his own monetary gain, and that human trafficking is an intense and terrifying problem for women the world over, I can't understand why it's still cool to use it. At the risk of invoking Godwin, we don't hoot over our characters' ill-gotten gains as "Nazi gold", which is also wealth obtained in horrifying fashion.

  6. richard: I sort of like imagining orcs as basically demonic spirits who take different forms. But see my most recent post.

    RMDC: "Pimp My Ride" is a famous TV programme about making over your car - I use "Pimp My Orc" in reference to it.

    As for the wider point, I have a hard time getting excited about this sort of issue. Language changes and evolves over time and if the word "pimp" changes its meaning to "a verb meaning 'to make-over or refurbish'" then one should feel perfectly comfortable using it in that context, safe in the knowledge that nobody is condoning human trafficking or profiting from prostitution.

    It's like the word "idiot". Originally it was a medical term referring to people with mental health problems. Nowadays people use it in entirely different contexts without any connotation towards actual real life mental health problems (that are very sad and destructive). This is perfectly normal and natural.