5E Faerun: pantheon for non-evil orcs

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Hey,

in another thread today I described some parts of my own take on the Realms, including the fact that the Kingdom of Many-Arrows had a population of non-evil (well, not automatically evil) orcs. I never put much thoughts behind it because I never had many players interested in that part of the world.

But...orc society is really tied to the cult of Gruumsh and its savage, brutish and cruel sons. So what FR gods would a kingdom of non-evil orcs worship? So far the story is that after the Times of Troubles, Obould Many-Arrows ascended as a Power after founding the first orc kingdom, becoming the Orc god of civilization. After its death, a strange witch took the direction of the kingdom, teaching the orcs the power of primal magic to protect themselves against the outsiders that abound in the Savage Frontier. The witch is Dargentum, a great silver wyrm in disguise, playing kingdom-maker in the north. Now that their ties with Grummsh a faded a little, I thought of having them build a new pantheon with the ''orc-ification'' of some other gods:

  • Obould Many-Arrows
  • Silvanus or the 4 elemental princes of good: Isthia, Grumbar, Akadi and Kossuth
  • Tempus
  • Shaundakul
  • Gwaeron Windstrom

OR

- Obould + the giant pantheon (with a focus on giant-kin)

OR

- Cult of the Ancient, like the Valenar elves of Eberron. The orcs, after being bound to a god for thousands of years, decides that they dont need'em, instead one can achieve god-like status like Obould did by becoming a Paragon and having a great legacy.

Which one would seem good?
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I like the cult of the ancients idea more. It's a little more unique than just a repurposed pantheon and it really fits the tribal orc zeitgeist.
But it dont feel a little....on the nose to you? Tribal people worshiping animistic spirits and ancestor ghosts? You dont get a vibe of ''noble savages'' from it?

Maybe if they would worship actual ghosts like the Dunmer in ES: Morrowind, that could be nice. With orcs having a a very short lifespan, having institutionalized necromancy would be beneficial.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Most direct: the first one with Obould being deified. This one along with non-evil orcs worshiping the regular sort of deities the rest of Faerun does works. There isn't anything stopping an orc from worshiping Tempus, which make sense given their generally martial culture.

Options 2: I wouldn't combine giants and Obould, its basically the same as the first one but less obvious, and weirder. Why giants?

Option 3: Ancestor worship, with potentially being tied to a particularly important ancestor. I personally like this one, most orcs would want to be tied directly to Obould in some way, but as things move along you get more orcs tying themselves to other orcs. I like the idea of the Valenar angle, where as a rite of passage and orc gets an ancestor they have a very strong connection to and thus are encourage to honour via emulation, and potentially even improving upon. Thus they honour their ancestors with the intention of themselves becoming and honoured ancestor when they die.
 
The noble savage baggage is only there if you want it to be. The narrative of emancipating yourself from evil gods and moving instead to a religion of self reliance and self belief doesn't really go there though, IMO. I think it's all in how you spin it.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
A question with Option 3: Does it feels weird to have a non-divine/animistic religion in a world where gods are (on in the case of my FRs, were) a factual reality?
 
Nope. As a rough parallel, if you want to go a different direction, the psychic powers of the GW version of orks works based the power of their collective belief (roughly speaking). The GW version is on purpose pretty comical, but it doesn't have to be. Something like the collective belief of a race determined to forge their own destiny, or whatever. I'm sure you could wrap some awesome fluff around that.

One of the reasons I like the idea is that it's getting dropped into a world where gods are a factual reality. Something different is cool.
 

dave2008

Legend
A question with Option 3: Does it feels weird to have a non-divine/animistic religion in a world where gods are (on in the case of my FRs, were) a factual reality?
That is the one issue I'm having. I like the idea of ancestor spirits, and that could still be a part of it. But the orcs know gods are real and they have worshiped them. It would seem odd to drop that completely. If they had been a separate group that never knew of the gods, that would be different.

So I am back tracking form my initial thought to suggest ancestor spirits and instead suggest "converting" some of the orc pantheon. Re-brand them so to speak. It is like how the Greeks basically despised Ares, but to the Romans Mars was 2nd only to Jupiter / Zeus. Mars was basically the same god, but modified slightly and glorified instead of derided.

I could see paths for worship of: Ilneval, Luthic, & Shargraas. Heck, even Yurtru and Gruumsh with a bit more work. They worship different aspects of the gods. These are not the old testament gods of wrath, but the new testament gods of peace and forgiveness. Same gods, different outlook.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I approve. I loved the idea of having a bunch of orcs just sayin' : ''well, yes you know...we've had gods before...been there, done that...didnt work all that well for us...so we're all just takin' a break from the old ''gods'' thing. But you do you, my elf friend, you do you.''
 

Hriston

Adventurer
I recently played a female half-orc life cleric whose deity was Luthic the Healer. Her alignment was chaotic good, and she really emphasized the healing, nurturing aspect of Luthic, the Cave Mother. She identified strongly with the orcish half of her lineage to the point of conservatism, but part of her character was that as a half-orc she wasn’t bound by the restrictions placed on full-blooded female orcs, so she could use weapons and armor, and basically take on the role of a male warrior.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
That is the one issue I'm having. I like the idea of ancestor spirits, and that could still be a part of it. But the orcs know gods are real and they have worshiped them. It would seem odd to drop that completely. If they had been a separate group that never knew of the gods, that would be different.

So I am back tracking form my initial thought to suggest ancestor spirits and instead suggest "converting" some of the orc pantheon. Re-brand them so to speak. It is like how the Greeks basically despised Ares, but to the Romans Mars was 2nd only to Jupiter / Zeus. Mars was basically the same god, but modified slightly and glorified instead of derided.

I could see paths for worship of: Ilneval, Luthic, & Shargraas. Heck, even Yurtru and Gruumsh with a bit more work. They worship different aspects of the gods. These are not the old testament gods of wrath, but the new testament gods of peace and forgiveness. Same gods, different outlook.
Well, I think orcs would still recognize the fact that gods were a thing. But since in my FRs gods are now silent and removed, I think having them ''try a new thing'' to avoid being shackled to another ungrateful god could make sense.

Maybe under the teaching of the Silver Witch, they could have found another side to the usual orc pantheon. Maybe in their new faith, Obould went to orcish heaven and add a talk with the other gods and convinced them to change their ways a little. So the orcs pantheon would exist in two time: the Kingmaker Faith (the pantheon under Obould) and the Thronebreaker Faith (Under Grummsh)

Baghtru: Strengh, Courage, Competition, Oxen
Ilneval: Protection, Strategy, Craft
Luthic: Protection, love, hearth, Sacrifice, Bears
Yurtus: Healing, Death, Burial
Shargaas: Night, Moon, Travel
Grummsh: Fury, desctuction, the ''old ways''
 

tommybahama

Explorer
A strange witch took the direction of the kingdom, teaching the orcs the power of primal magic to protect themselves against the outsiders that abound in the Savage Frontier.
How about nature and spirit worshiping druids? Or they are all heretics with no healing magic, only warlocks and sorcerers. Their fecundity makes death and injury of an individual not a concern. They may even practice eugenics.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
How about nature and spirit worshiping druids? Or they are all heretics with no healing magic, only warlocks and sorcerers. Their fecundity makes death and injury of an individual not a concern. They may even practice eugenics.
That's why I had one possibility be more animistic. The primal magic thing is taken from the gatekeeper from Eberron. I thought it made sense since the location of the orc kingdom is straight at the junction of a forest with a bunch of fey, deep caverns with swarms of aberrations and sleeping titans under the earth.
 

Eltab

Adventurer
  • Eldath: resting and recuperating, usually to prepare the body for greater strength / exertion in the future.
  • Amanutor: the merciless sun god who punishes those orcs who needlessly trample / destroy the things around them.
  • Who is the Drow goddess shown dancing in moonlight?
  • One of the fallen Untheric gods slain during the Orcgate Wars, perhaps? As the new clerics explore unknown territory they stumble into some unusual stuff.
  • Silvanus in his aspect of 'Nature red in tooth and claw'
  • Bane, god of tyranny but more importantly teacher of self-restraint
  • Siamorphe, goddess of nobility and rulership, self-justification for rulers who base their leadership claims on more than physical force
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Or maybe, since their first allies in this world was Mithral Hall and the dwarves, they took the faith of their new allies. There's a bunch of unused dwarven deities from Races of Stone that could be worshiped as the Lost sons and Daughters of the Mordinsamman, a more chaotic mirror to the usual dwarven faith, with a more ''primordial nature'' vibe to them.

Obould: Civilization, War, Nobility
Muamman Duathal: Storm, Travel, Exile
Mya: Clan, family Wisdom
Raknar: Lies, Greed, Intrigues
Tharmekûl: Forge, Fire, Desctuction, War
Thautam: Magic, Secrets, Artifice
Valkaunna: Circle of life and death. blood oaths

and just to be clear, we are only talking here about the orcs from the Kingdom of Many-Arrows, not the wild ones who still worship the old faith, of the more civilized ones who walk the world and prefer the worship of non-racial deities.
 

gyor

Legend
Hey,

in another thread today I described some parts of my own take on the Realms, including the fact that the Kingdom of Many-Arrows had a population of non-evil (well, not automatically evil) orcs. I never put much thoughts behind it because I never had many players interested in that part of the world.

But...orc society is really tied to the cult of Gruumsh and its savage, brutish and cruel sons. So what FR gods would a kingdom of non-evil orcs worship? So far the story is that after the Times of Troubles, Obould Many-Arrows ascended as a Power after founding the first orc kingdom, becoming the Orc god of civilization. After its death, a strange witch took the direction of the kingdom, teaching the orcs the power of primal magic to protect themselves against the outsiders that abound in the Savage Frontier. The witch is Dargentum, a great silver wyrm in disguise, playing kingdom-maker in the north. Now that their ties with Grummsh a faded a little, I thought of having them build a new pantheon with the ''orc-ification'' of some other gods:

  • Obould Many-Arrows
  • Silvanus or the 4 elemental princes of good: Isthia, Grumbar, Akadi and Kossuth
  • Tempus
  • Shaundakul
  • Gwaeron Windstrom

OR

- Obould + the giant pantheon (with a focus on giant-kin)

OR

- Cult of the Ancient, like the Valenar elves of Eberron. The orcs, after being bound to a god for thousands of years, decides that they dont need'em, instead one can achieve god-like status like Obould did by becoming a Paragon and having a great legacy.

Which one would seem good?
Its not unusual for Evil Gods in FR to have none evil worshippers, even clergy, alignment is usually secondary to the Portfolios, like Malar has repectable clergy in Cormyr that hunt animals instead of people and share the food with the poor. There are other examples.

This would be true of the Orc Gods as well. I mean the response to Obould the first creating Many Arrows and peace with it's neighbours by Gruumsh was to turn him into an Exarch and a member of the Pantheon. So you can't always rely on a Gods alignment when figuring out what a God will do in any given moment or what kind of clerics it will have. Like Sharess was CG in previous editions, but would tolerate Evil Clerics and Sune had Lawful Good Paladins even though she herself was Chaotic (an except to the rule of Paladins in previous editions where normally only Neutral Good, Lawful Good, and Lawful Neutral had Paladins).

Of course good orcs that reject the Orc Pantheon, but are still religious will likely adopt the Pantheon of whatever race they live with.

And of course all Druids of every race worship and get their magic from the First Circle in FR, a group of Nature Gods, although they might worship other Gods as well. That includes Orc Druids.

Or you can use the God of the Scro Orcs, they are a race of intelligent orcs from Spelljammer, but the Scro have appeared in an FR novel and in the Solar System of FRs.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Follow-up question; which dragon-disguised-as-a-witch (ala Flemmeth in D.A) would do a cool leader?

First I thought of Claugiyliamatar, the ancient green who dwells in Kryptgarden Forest and looooove to play politics in the North, but I changed it to Argentum, a great silver wyrm who dwell in the Spine of the World because I could see a good-neutral aligned dragon seeing a benefit of having a kingdom of warriors between the realms and Klauth the mighty ancient red wyrm.

There's also Old Mother wyrm, a greath white wyrm's ghost who's quite active in the Savage Frontier a love to play goddess with the orc tribes (but she's chaotic evil).
 
On the Orc Pantheon front, I would really look into Ilneval and Luthic. They are both fairly neutral dieties overall, and focusing on magic, healing, and strategy over strength gives them a very different vibe from the normal pantheon.

I kind of like the idea of Obould as the Favored Son, turning his Mother against his cruel Father, and taking his Father's best General to lead a new way forward
 

Quartz

Adventurer
But...orc society is really tied to the cult of Gruumsh and its savage, brutish and cruel sons. So what FR gods would a kingdom of non-evil orcs worship?
Wasn't there a half-orc - maybe half-ogre - thread on these very boards in 3E days? Urg the Unlikely rings a bell. Said Urg worshipped a standard FR deity IIRC.
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
On the Orc Pantheon front, I would really look into Ilneval and Luthic. They are both fairly neutral dieties overall, and focusing on magic, healing, and strategy over strength gives them a very different vibe from the normal pantheon.

I kind of like the idea of Obould as the Favored Son, turning his Mother against his cruel Father, and taking his Father's best General to lead a new way forward
This is almost exactly what I did with a half-orc cleric I played once.

His tribe worshipped Luthic, Ilneval, and Yurtrus, and his great-great-great-grandfather was essentially an Obould-type character who lead a kingdom of orcs that helped the local humans, elves, dwarves, and gnomes defeat an empire of goblinoids.
 

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