Name of nation: Fellmore
Name of leader: Erudessa Durvain, Chief of the Tarhide Tribe
Brief introduction to leader: Once a high-ranking leader of the elves and star healer among clerics, Erudessa was betrayed and thrown to her enemies, where she was expected to be killed. Instead, the orc chief of the Tarhides, Gorman, had mercy on her and took her in as one of his own soldiers. He trained her in the martial arts and the ways of the orcs, and more importantly, trained her to stand up for her beliefs. Erudessa used to be powerful, but overly kind, without the backbone to do the right thing when push came to shove. Gorman challenged her until she became a stronger person, physically and morally. When one day he led a raid on an elven settlement, Erudessa had the spine to challenge him and his entire warband. Their resulting duel left the orc warchief wounded, where he revealed that he always meant her to replace him. When he died, Erudessa stepped up, and the warband accepted her.
Now, as the newly appointed warchief of Gorman's warband, Erudessa's new quest is to unite the other warring tribes of Fellmore, to bring peace to a divided race, and some measure of healing to a broken people.
Tomas: A huge, muscular orc often used to make a "boss fight" for unsuspecting champions. Many a wannabe hero has fallen to his club. However, few have seen his sensitive side. Unable to speak and illiterate, he devotes his noncombat life to building homes and farms for the clans living in the desolate lands of Fellmore. He would have been chief of his own clan had his enemies not used his illiteracy against him to seize his title. Gorman was the only orc who saw him for who he was, and took him in as a brother. He and Erudessa share a close friendship, despite the deafness barrier.
Grieling: A short, spindly orc renowned for being the only orcish healer in the entire country. He brags that he learned it from watching humans, but it's more likely he learned it from the medical textbooks stolen in a raid several years ago. Wherever its origins, his skill is remarkable: many orcs brought to the brink of death have been saved by his timely intervention. Since he knows no magic, his healing skills are entirely rooted in conventional medicine, an art long lost until recent times. Erudessa is one of the few other healers in this part of the world who understands conventional medicine, so she and Grieling often train together when opportunity permits.
Bawz: Leader of the Thornclaw Tribe, and the meanest, greenest orc in Fellmore. Bursting with macho manliness and rippling with raw power, Bawz and his Thornclaws are the greatest rivals to the Tarhides since the Fracture. They owe their success to their ruthlessness and uncompromising politics. The weak are food for the strong, and where the weak are useful, they become slaves for life. Unfortunately, the other tribes see them as role models for success, yielding a broadly unforgiving culture.
Culture: Fellmore is a barren, icy desert, with clay for soil and acid rain for precipitation. Only the hardiest life forms can survive here, and orcs are at the top of the food chain. "Waste not, want not" is the motto they live by. Natural resources are so sparse that orcs hunt other orcs to cannibalize them, and where their enemies are few, they pick up and move until they find some. The orcs living on the borders are a bit less violent; the coastal orcs can fish, while those by the Fell River in the south and White Mountain in the north have developed farming techniques. The midland orcs have access to most of the land's iron resources, but little in the way of sustenance, so midland orcs survive mainly by raiding their neighbors. Orc women stay behind to till the clay soil and eek what crops they can out of it, and are largely responsible for the building and maintenance of the home. As such, orc society leans toward matriarchy.
The constant struggle for survival forged the orcs into a warlike race, and not the honorable kind. They raid and pillage their neighbors, eat and tear apart their captives, and enslave those they feel are useful alive. Depending on the tribe, they may kill their captives before eating them. The Tarhides are utterly unique among orcs in that they are the only tribe that does not engage in any form of cannibalism (though they are not above throwing dead bodies to the wargs or burning them for fuel).
The Tarhides weren't always named that. Once upon a time, they were called Wyrmfists for their honored role as Keepers of the Wyrm, a mighty limbless creature some worshipped as a god. In their arrogance, the Wyrmfists thought they could subdue the Wyrm and bring it under their control. The creature turned and slaughtered them. Their bitter defeat made them the laughingstock of the nation, and in acknowledgement of their shame, they renamed themselves Tarhides. They remained a popular raiding target until, after decades of careful management by their chieftans, they grew strong enough to hold their own once again. They are the most civilized tribe, though that isn't saying a whole lot. Farming and mining are the most common professions (after warriors, of course). Thanks to their relative peace, they are also the most advanced tribe, having made incredible advances in recycling and resource conservation. Without ample access to iron, however, they remain incapable of dominating the other tribes.
Religion: Broadly speaking, orcs tend to be agnostic or atheistic. They are either too consumed by their struggle to survive to bother with religion, or they are so embittered by their lives that they actively deny the existence of deities. Worship of the Wyrm used to be more common when the creature wandered the land, but since its departure and isolation, its followers dwindled to almost none. A few orcs on the border have adopted the religions of their neighbors.
Attitude to magic: Orcs would love magic if they could get their hands on it. It's no coincidence that so many flocked to the Warlock during the War. However, few orcs are capable of practicing magic themselves, in part because they haven't had the time or peace to train in it like the other races have.
Brief history: Fellmore used to be a culturally advanced civilization. But disaster after disaster drained the life from their lands, and in their desperation, orcs turned on each other, devolving into the divided brutes they are today in a climactic civil war called the Fracture. Since then, they have only been united once: when a magical orc called the Warlock took charge. Since his demise at the hands of a small group of foreign "heroes," the orcs parted ways and quickly returned to their old habits. Now, with Erudessa on the scene gradually uniting the tribes under her leadership, Fellmore is becoming poised to take the world stage once again.
Military: A single orc soldier is called a warrior. The smallest unit of military organization is the Warband, a group of about 5-20 warriors that train, fight, and live together as brothers in arms. A single clan, consisting of several extended families descended from a single matriarch, may have dozens of warbands, and all the warbands in a clan are called an arm. A tribe consists of all clans that, for whatever reason, stopped killing each other long enough to tolerate each other's presence and work together toward a single goal. All the arms in a tribe are called a body.
Despite their penchant for physical brutality, orcs are capable of subtlety and creativity. Some warbands are renowned for their ability to create impromptu siege weapons wherever they go, while the more scientific tribes use crude bombs and chemical weapons. While the term varies a little by region and dialect, most specialists are called engineers (techs in the midlands, magi by the coasts).
Government: Tribal/Feudal, with Chiefs overseeing each one. They cannot afford to be tyrants, since orcs are fiercely independent and have no qualms about ganging up on a cruel leader.
Main sources of income: Raiding, pillaging, scavenging
Current goal: Unite under one banner, Become self-sustaining