Proposal: The Half-Orcs of Venza


Here is a proposal for a history of the half-orc population in Venza. It's not necessary for any existing plotline, just some local color.


The Half-Orcs of Venza

Humans and Halflings were not the only beings who sought refuge during the Years of Darkness. Tribes of orcs were driven from their homes as well, with many settling in the caves on the rocky coast north of the settlement that would ultimately become Venza. Their migration roughly coincided with the arrival of the first humans in Venza, a fact that that eased relations between humans and Halflings by uniting them against a common foe.

Skirmishes between the groups were frequent over the years, and there were atrocities committed by both sides. Sadly, the children of these unions were considered outcasts by both races, and made their living foraging and hunting in the forests and tide pools near the city. These half-orcs continued their marginal existence for generations, reviled by both sides of the conflict and supporting neither.

Exactly how this situation changed is subject to some debate. Humans claim that Gordren the Wise, ruler of Venza, took pity on the half-orcs and brought them into the city. Half-orc legend says that Gordren was overmatched by the full-blooded orc tribes and sought aid from Urtok, a clever half-orc leader who succeeded in uniting his people and leading them in victorious battles. The Halflings claim it was they who engineered the alliance between the two groups of tall, bickering idiots. Whatever the truth, the outcome was that the half-orcs were permitted to enter the city as residents, and they assisted in driving the local orc tribes into oblivion once and for all.

For much of their recent history, half-orcs have primarily dwelled in ghettos in Venza and have taken on menial occupations. To this day, half-orc dockworkers, carters and mercenaries remain a common sight. But in recent decades, as the city’s mercantile interests have expanded, a more liberal attitude has taken hold, particularly in the merchant class. Returning sailors and traders have dealt with tengu, centaurs and other exotic races, and find it harder to maintain their distrust of the more human-looking half-orcs. This attitude has manifested in greater freedom for half-orcs to ply other trades, and a significant number have moved into Venza’s middle class as carpenters, masons and other skilled workers.

This new liberalism does not extend to the city’s more elite guilds, however. Half-orcs are seen as suitable assistants to glassblowers and alchemists, but the craft masters do not grant them apprenticeships. More ambitious half-orcs have moved in other directions, taking up careers in shipping, warehousing and tavern keeping, many quite successfully. Indeed, the name of Grog, proprietor of the Dunn Wright Inn, has become synonymous with alcohol.

Crime has been a long-time refuge of half-orcs, a fact that is frequently tossed about by the city’s aristocracy and elite guildmasters. The argument is often made that this reflects their bestial nature, though the poverty and history of the group make this question suspect at best. For their part, the Whitecloaks wisely treat the half-orc population with respect, preferring to enlist their aid in policing their districts rather than seeking to impose an iron-fisted rule.

The recent glimmerings of prosperity among Venza’s half-orcs have, ironically, begun to breed discontent. Already there are murmurings that the half-orcs should have a greater say in the running of the city, and that the largely human aristocracy needs to pay them more heed. And there is a rising bitterness toward the guilds. Some of this has spilled over into inter-racial rivalry, with some half-orcs coming to resent the gnomes for their dominance of these trades. Most half-orcs, however, know that this is unfair and that in many cases gnome merchants and tradesmen are good neighbors. Nevertheless, tensions remain. How long this uneasy state of affairs may last, and how it may break down, are anyone’s guess.

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First Post
I like this. If you're going to go this route, I would outline a major merchant house that's half-orky and trying to get admitted into Venza's human-only country clubs. Great source of strife, there.

One thing does stand out though -- one would think that half-orcs would gravitate to the Planks, but the feeling I've gotten so far is that the Planks is very much a human district. So this most likely that would suggest a very anti-half-orc/pro-human sentiment in Ranoccio, in the same way that Bostonians of Irish decent went nuts when Massachusetts tried busing minority kids into their districts. Given that [MENTION=40413]GlassEye[/MENTION] seems to be our Planks expert, I would want his opinion.


I like it, too.

As for Planks racial make-up, I honestly hadn't given it much thought. I think adding a large half-orc population and a rivalry between the have-not humans and the have-not half-orcs gives the place a bit more dimension.

Good ideas from both of you.

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