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Converting old varieties of orcs to 5e and making new orcs and half-orcs

I have been considering bringing back a lot of the various orc and half-orc varieties from editions past, as well as creating some new ones. I'd love to bring back the 2e versions of Orogs and ogrillons, as well as the neo-orogs, and I have already recreated the losels(the half-orc-half baboons (When Luthic said indiscriminate, I guess she really meant it)) and invented a bunch of new varieties of them. I would also like to recreate the tanarukks from 3/3.5e, and the Thayan Orcs from that same edition(yes, I know they are basically the same as the Neo-orogs, but I have been thinking of a way to differentiate them into two different sets of experiments by the Red Wizards). I have also recreated the boogin(not difficult, as orcs and Quaggoths have stats that are really close in the monster manual.) I am merely curious if anyone here has come up with stats for any of these races.

Which brings me to my next question: How would YOU convert the old orc varieties to 5e?


Also, if anyone has a favorite variety of orc from previous editions(or from a homebrew campaign), feel free to mention it... I'd love to take a look.


However, I cannot merely leave this there, as it does not fully cover the variety of half-orcs out. I want to create half-orcs for various forms of crossbreeds between orcs and other humanoids. I wanted to start with Dwarves, as they are the ones mentioned by name in the monster manual alongside humans. What an orc-human crossbreed gets is the endurance of the humans(Us being the long-distance runners of the animal kingdom), and the strength and constitution of an orc. It led me to wonder why orcs would mate with dwarves... what would they gain... and, so, I field this question here: What do orcs gain from the Dwarves? Why would they choose to breed with them? What kind of stats would Dwarf-orcs have?

And have you guys ever thought of any interesting ideas for orcs, that you've wanted to try out?
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Adventurer
I have been considering bringing back a lot of the various orc and half-orc varieties from editions past, as well as creating some new ones. I'd love to bring back the 2e versions of Orogs and ogrillons, as well as the neo-orogs, and I have already recreated the losels(the half-orc-half baboons (When Luthic said indiscriminate, I guess she really meant it)) and invented a bunch of new varieties of them. I would also like to recreate the tanarukks from 3/3.5e, and the Thayan Orcs from that same edition(yes, I know they are basically the same as the Neo-orogs, but I have been thinking of a way to differentiate them into two different sets of experiments by the Red Wizards). I have also recreated the boogin(not difficult, as orcs and Quaggoths have stats that are really close in the monster manual.) I am merely curious if anyone here has come up with stats for any of these races.

Which brings me to my next question: How would YOU convert the old orc varieties to 5e?

Also, if anyone has a favorite variety of orc from previous editions(or from a homebrew campaign), feel free to mention it... I'd love to take a look.

However, I cannot merely leave this there, as it does not fully cover the variety of half-orcs out. I want to create half-orcs for various forms of crossbreeds between orcs and other humanoids. I wanted to start with Dwarves, as they are the ones mentioned by name in the monster manual alongside humans. What an orc-human crossbreed gets is the endurance of the humans(Us being the long-distance runners of the animal kingdom), and the strength and constitution of an orc. It led me to wonder why orcs would mate with dwarves... what would they gain... and, so, I field this question here: What do orcs gain from the Dwarves? Why would they choose to breed with them? What kind of stats would Dwarf-orcs have?

And have you guys ever thought of any interesting ideas for orcs, that you've wanted to try out?
Unfortunately I'm not sure how much I can help you.

Freyar and I are into converting old-edition monsters to 3rd edition. I've never posted any 5E conversions here, and I don't recall Freyar doing so either.

There are a few versions of orcs you haven't mentioned. The ones that sprang immediately to mind are the Scro from Spelljammer and the Ondonti ("good orcs" from the Forgotten Realms). I think we did a Creature Catalog conversion of the latter ages ago - with the two Thayan orcs too, if I remember correctly.

As for a Dwarf-Orc hybrid, I'd go for something more "subterranean" than a regular orc. Maybe with traits from a Duergar rather than a regular Dwarf?
 
Unfortunately I'm not sure how much I can help you.

Freyar and I are into converting old-edition monsters to 3rd edition. I've never posted any 5E conversions here, and I don't recall Freyar doing so either.

There are a few versions of orcs you haven't mentioned. The ones that sprang immediately to mind are the Scro from Spelljammer and the Ondonti ("good orcs" from the Forgotten Realms). I think we did a Creature Catalog conversion of the latter ages ago - with the two Thayan orcs too, if I remember correctly.

As for a Dwarf-Orc hybrid, I'd go for something more "subterranean" than a regular orc. Maybe with traits from a Duergar rather than a regular Dwarf?
I was, in fact, planning to convert the Ondonti, though I haven't gotten to them, yet. The scro weren't immediately on my list, but I can't see why I shouldn't convert them...
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I was, in fact, planning to convert the Ondonti, though I haven't gotten to them, yet. The scro weren't immediately on my list, but I can't see why I shouldn't convert them...
Well how far are you willing to go before something stops being an orc?

You've already mentioned the Boogin, Ogrillon and Orog, but what about more unnatural crossbreeds of orc, such as the Scorpiorc from Dragon #32?

There are also centaur versions of dwarves, gnomes and halflings in 2E AD&D (see the MCA2), so you could do an orc centaur that has some kind of ungulate as the lower half instead of the giant scorpion the Scorpiorc uses.

Maybe a wild boar?
 
Well how far are you willing to go before something stops being an orc?

You've already mentioned the Boogin, Ogrillon and Orog, but what about more unnatural crossbreeds of orc, such as the Scorpiorc from Dragon #32?

There are also centaur versions of dwarves, gnomes and halflings in 2E AD&D (see the MCA2), so you could do an orc centaur that has some kind of ungulate as the lower half instead of the giant scorpion the Scorpiorc uses.

Maybe a wild boar?
Hadn't thought about the scorpiorcs before... that's an interesting idea... and an orc centaur would have to be a giant boar (I don't think a normal wild boar could withstand an orc torso...)

As long as orcs are part of the heritage, I'm willing to convert/re-invent them.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Hadn't thought about the scorpiorcs before... that's an interesting idea... and an orc centaur would have to be a giant boar (I don't think a normal wild boar could withstand an orc torso...)
I don't see why not. Provided the animal half is the same size or a size larger it'd seem feasible to kludge them together. Of the Centaur-Kin in MCA2 that were converted to 3.5 one of them - the "Donkey-Dwarf" Dorvesh - was made up of creatures who are both Medium sized in 3E, although the resulting centaur-hybrid is Large.

I don't know whether they're the same size in 2E AD&D, because Donkeys don't appear to be statted up in AD&D. The game's got stats for Mules and Ponies (both of whom are size M), but no Donkeys. Does that mean AD&D has no Ass?
 

GreenTengu

Registered User
To what degree do they even need to be altered to accommodate all these different kinds of things?

I guess for Haf-Orc/Half-Ogres you are going to want to have it be higher level than other Orcs and be meatier-- maybe even use the Bugbear stat block.

But for the most part, I don't think any of these were known for their mystical or magical abilities. So a lot of the change might just be in how you describe them. The same stat block can describe two distinctly different looking things after all.
 
To what degree do they even need to be altered to accommodate all these different kinds of things?

I guess for Haf-Orc/Half-Ogres you are going to want to have it be higher level than other Orcs and be meatier-- maybe even use the Bugbear stat block.

But for the most part, I don't think any of these were known for their mystical or magical abilities. So a lot of the change might just be in how you describe them. The same stat block can describe two distinctly different looking things after all.
I actually already completed the ogrillons, normal orogs, losels, and boogin(these were all fairly easy). It's the neo-orogs and tanarukk that present the biggest challenge, as part of it is differentiating them from current orcs. I'd alter the abilities, to some degree. Black neo-orogs are better at camouflage, and red neo-orogs have their special battle cry. Tanarukks have their pyromania... and their tendency to produce sorcerers... and their varying demonic heritages...
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I actually already completed the ogrillons, normal orogs, losels, and boogin(these were all fairly easy). It's the neo-orogs and tanarukk that present the biggest challenge, as part of it is differentiating them from current orcs. I'd alter the abilities, to some degree. Black neo-orogs are better at camouflage, and red neo-orogs have their special battle cry. Tanarukks have their pyromania... and their tendency to produce sorcerers... and their varying demonic heritages...
It's been so long since I've read Monsters of Faerûn I'd forgotten completely about Tanarukks. With a –4 racial adjustment to Charisma the 3E version isn't well suited to Sorcerer. As spellcasters they work better as wizards.
 
It's been so long since I've read Monsters of Faerûn I'd forgotten completely about Tanarukks. With a –4 racial adjustment to Charisma the 3E version isn't well suited to Sorcerer. As spellcasters they work better as wizards.
Hence why I am adjusting their charisma score. It's not entirely a full-blown conversion. Part of it is taking into account their very powerful intimidation(while they may not be good looking, they are definitely intimidating looking). In some ways, it's both a conversion and a re-invention. It's an adaptation, as much as anything else.
 

bedir than

Registered User
For my homebrew I'm dealing with a split Charisma concept. A penalty when outside their racial family and bonuses within it. Use the average for spellcasting. I haven't quite got it figured out how to do it, but a similar concept could work.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
For my homebrew I'm dealing with a split Charisma concept. A penalty when outside their racial family and bonuses within it. Use the average for spellcasting. I haven't quite got it figured out how to do it, but a similar concept could work.
It might be easier just using a single score plus an adjustment, like 3E normally uses. e.g. an orc hybrid with Cha X with a special quality that give a +4 bonus to Charisma for purposes of spellcasting and Intimidation checks.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I actually already completed the ogrillons, normal orogs, losels, and boogin(these were all fairly easy). It's the neo-orogs and tanarukk that present the biggest challenge, as part of it is differentiating them from current orcs. I'd alter the abilities, to some degree. Black neo-orogs are better at camouflage, and red neo-orogs have their special battle cry. Tanarukks have their pyromania... and their tendency to produce sorcerers... and their varying demonic heritages...
Have you already considered the various orc breeds mentioned in the "D&D Orc" Wikipedia entry?

Glancing through it I see a few that haven't been mentioned so far on this thread...

Krugel Orcs (Hollow World) - pretty much standard orcs without infravision.
Gray Orc (Races of Faerûn)
Mountain Orc (Races of Faerûn)
Aquatic Orc & Half-Orc (Unearthed Arcana)
Arctic Orc & Half-Orc (Unearthed Arcana)
Desert Orc & Half-Orc (Unearthed Arcana)
Jungle Orc & Half-Orc (Unearthed Arcana)
Water Orc (Unearthed Arcana)
Sharakim (Races of Destiny)

The various "environmental" breeds in Unearthed Arcana aren't terribly interesting, since they're basically Orc plus template. If you're going to stat up every templated orc that's possible in 3E you're going to be at it a loong time!

The Krugel Orc, Gray Orc, Mountain Orc and Sharakim look more worthwhile. At least they're given some cultural background, although they're not terribly interesting mechanically. Although that applies to most of the orc strains, since they tend to stick close to the "stock humanoid warrior" model.
 

bedir than

Registered User
It might be easier just using a single score plus an adjustment, like 3E normally uses. e.g. an orc hybrid with Cha X with a special quality that give a +4 bonus to Charisma for purposes of spellcasting and Intimidation checks.
That would be simpler. Wrap up the things where they are bad (give minuses), average, good (bonuses) all based on the activity. Thanks.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
That would be simpler. Wrap up the things where they are bad (give minuses), average, good (bonuses) all based on the activity. Thanks.
Well sometimes the simple solution's the best.

Just make sure the wording gives you the result you want.

Hmm... I wonder would it be be better to phrase it so it isn't an actual bonus? Something like "A tanarukk's Charisma is treated as if it is 4 points higher than its actual value when determining spellcasting ability and Intimidation rolls."
 
Well sometimes the simple solution's the best.

Just make sure the wording gives you the result you want.

Hmm... I wonder would it be be better to phrase it so it isn't an actual bonus? Something like "A tanarukk's Charisma is treated as if it is 4 points higher than its actual value when determining spellcasting ability and Intimidation rolls."
Working with 5e, I merely need to give them advantage on Intimidation rolls due to the ritual scarring, and disadvantage on most persuasion rolls. Then, I don't need to mess with the charisma itself or make it below 10, making them still work as sorcerers.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Working with 5e, I merely need to give them advantage on Intimidation rolls due to the ritual scarring, and disadvantage on most persuasion rolls. Then, I don't need to mess with the charisma itself or make it below 10, making them still work as sorcerers.
Yes, but that's quite a bit step up or down compared to the benefits & deficits that result from having a 2-point racial adjustment to Charisma that is the standard approach for races that are particularly personable or repellent.
 
Yes, but that's quite a bit step up or down compared to the benefits & deficits that result from having a 2-point racial adjustment to Charisma that is the standard approach for races that are particularly personable or repellent.
True. However, 5e kind of strays away from small bonuses to enemies.
 
Well... Ran the Orog and Ogrillons in a campaign, today... and they went over quite well...

Ogrillon was kind of a glibbering ball of rage, where as the orog is rather intelligent... and even said, pointing at said ball of rage, "I am the reverse crossbreed of him... somehow..."
 

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