Try to make a functional Half-Orc oh... let's say Warlock or Sorcerer or Bard or Druid... and then you see how often your racial abilities actually ever come into play as opposed to if you were an Elf or a Dwarf or a Halfling.
There's a huge different between functional and not utilizing your racial abilities.
And it isn't just bad enough that the race offers you NOTHING of any benefit beyond an Intimidation skill if you are anything but a Barbarian, Paladin or inferior version of the Fighter (moreover, this edition even made it so you can't even be a functional strength-based Monk-- they were so much on their "let's make Dexterity should be the god stat so that elves are the super race" kick that they not only made strength-based Fighters the crappier build, they actually eliminated the possibility of making a functional strength-based monk!), but the abilities the race DOES have all stack onto making them the best possible tank.
Yeah, they are much worse in my campaign. Because half-orcs in my campaign are almost always the result of an unwanted parent in the course of war. They have a lot more to worry about than a high strength.
Yeah, it seems to me that the primary purpose of providing more Dexterity options is because people didn't like the idea of having to always
be a Strength-based fighter. But I have players with Strength-based monks and fighters that function quite well. Of course, the goal here is to have a character you can play and survive, and they have done that better than many other characters. Including Dex-based monks, elven rogues, and all sorts of other race and class combinations.
When you look at the properly constructed races, how it is supposed to work is that if your racial attribute bonuses make you superior for one class, your other abilities should give you less benefit if you are that class and more benefit if you are another class. For instance, the Dwarf has a lot going for it to be a tanky melee class, but if you are one then your weapon and armor proficiency are effectively nullified or, if you choose Hill Dwarf, the extra hit points mean less to a class that gets twice as many hit points normally than one that gets half as many.
To me, a "properly constructed race" is one that fits the design concept of the race. If anything, the bonuses should apply primarily (and maybe only) if you are playing to the archetypes of that particular race. Otherwise, you're playing against type and don't gain those benefits.
In the case of the Elf, if you do a Dex fighter with one then your weapon proficiencies don't mean anything. On the other hand, if you choose the Wizard-leaning one, you get one extra cantrip which means a lot less to a character who already gets 3 than a character who wouldn't normally get a cantrip at all.
In the case of the Half-Orc, your attribute bonuses are already ones that extraordinarily limit you to only 2 classes or the inferior build of a third class or possibly the cleric (but not really). Then you have an ability that only helps you if you are the person in the party who is going to go down in combat first-- sure, its possible that someone besides the tank is going to one day have to make a death saving throw, but in any such case the tank should have already gone down and be on their 2nd or 3rd turn of being at 0 HPs before it is remotely likely that a spellcaster is going to be making one. And then you have an ability to do more damage, but ONLY in melee combat.
Oh, and let's consider something here... what reason was there to limit savage attacks to melee weapons? Putting that restriction on it when you already forced the race to primarily specialize in the second worst attribute in the damn game was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Is there any particular reason the aggressive spirit of the Orc-blooded individual couldn't make their magical attacks a bit more "boomy" than a less a race with less fury racing through their blood? A simple strike-out through the words "a melee weapon" and replace "weapon's" with "attack's"... and right there you would have a key to making a functional Orc Monk, Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, Warlock or Wizard. Instead, an unnecessary restriction to ONLY work with melee weapon attacks slapped on there exclusively to artificially limit the classes you can even play as with the race is jammed in there for no other reason but that the designer who made it sucks at his job.
I'm not sure what you're referring to as the "second worst attribute in the damn game" but if it's Strength, then you are talking about a functional difference of 5% (a +1 bonus) if you aren't taking advantage of it. It's hardly game breaking. I can think of a number of different reasons to limit it rather than "exclusively to artificially limit the classes you can even play" or that it was "because the designed who made it sucks at his job."
One is that I have a hard time understanding how you can throw a fire bolt
or shoot an arrow "with savagery." You might make angry faces and curse, but it doesn't really have much of an impact on the spell or arrow. I would definitely agree that a thrown weapon would be different and quite reasonable.
I suspect no consideration was given to limiting the classes, since it doesn't actually do that at all. In other words, I don't think any decisions were made to limit classes, just enable some others.
Unlike in my world, you can still play any class you'd like with a half-orc. And it could also be better than other races at that class, since the fact that you don't get a bonus on the ability score you want does not actually limit your ability scores. You can have a half-orc wizard with an 18 Intelligence just as easily as any other race. You can't get a 20 Intelligence at 1st level, but it doesn't prevent you from gaining it later. And again, we're talking about a 5% difference in effectiveness.
When you make a decision in real life, is 5% enough to change your mind? If there's a 5% chance a restaurant will be sold out of what you want for dinner, do you decide the risk is too great? Or call off a vacation to the beach because there's a 5% chance of rain, or even a hurricane? I think you're putting way too much weight on such a small amount, myself.
And its no like the concept of an Orc shaman or warlock is such a wild or unusual one that it would seem wildly out-of-character. And when such things are depicted, they are never depicted as absolutely HAVING to use a weapon at all times to be remotely effective. In fact, having their spellcasters use big, flashy, barely controlled blasty damaging spells seems quite Orc-like.
Agreed. It's just not something that comes naturally to them. A small number of them have unusually high Wisdom or Charisma scores, and might take to the call naturally. That doesn't mean that being an Orc shaman is as common or easy for them as it is for a dwarven cleric.
Oh, and finally there is the Intimidation skill. That could possibly be useful, but only if you are willing to follow up your threats with actual violence. Its always going to be inferior to Deception or Diplomacy in any given situation.
Really? It seems to work well for all sorts of criminals today. And parents. You don't have to follow up every threat with violence. You just have to be convincing enough to make them think you're willing and capable.
And, moreover, since the Half-Orc's attributes and other abilities basically prevent you from being any class that is going to have a reason to invest in charisma, it cannot remotely be of any use. You can pick an intimidation skill up off of background or choosing it from your class skill list, so you are better off being any other race that offers any other skill you might use in addition to giving you actual benefits then just picking Intimidation up off background or class.
So remind me again why I can't put that 18 I rolled into Charisma? Or the 15 if you use the standard array?
But, you know... given that the two major things that make the Half-Orc kind of terrible are..
1) Strength being an absolute trash dump stat in this edition that offers you no real benefit.
2) Savage attacks being unnecessarily limited only to melee weapon attacks
Well, #2 is easily houseruled out of existence and #1?... well, yeah... that's a more fundamental problem with this edition that isn't resolved so easily. Quite a lot of houserules would have to be implemented in order to make Strength (and even more so Intelligence) attributes that any character should actually want to invest in.
I've got lots of players that invest in Intelligence and Strength. For any race. Personally, I find them to function quite as expected.
However, if you are the type of player that focuses on only playing the "most optimal" combination possible, while avoiding anything that would hamper that (such as playing a half-orc wizard, when other races have a bonus to Intelligence), then you will obviously feel differently. Just recognize that the game isn't necessarily designed for that approach, nor is it the approach that everybody else uses. Your design goals would differ significantly from those of the folks that designed D&D, of nearly every edition, with the possible exception of 4e.
Nothing wrong with that, but it certainly doesn't mean that the game is poorly designed, or that they are incompetent at their jobs. They just have different priorities than you.