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Orcs and Goblins are two great examples of elements that virtually always encourage lazy, derivative and just plain bad writing.

 

This is equally true - I would argue more true - of elves and dwarves. But Obsidian is including those, and we trust them to do a good job.

 

There rest of your post doesn't make sense to me. You seem to praise Obsidian for doing new, creative things with the races they've chosen to include, but assume that if Obsidian were to include orcs they would not be able to do similar creative things. There's nothing inherent to orcs and goblins that would suddenly make Obsidian incapable of creativity. You're arguing from a double standard.

 

 

 

I've never seen anyone do anything interesting with Orcs or Goblins(the ONLY exception for Goblins is, funny as it sounds, Harry Potter) , but I HAVE seen them do interesting things with elves and dwarves, repeatedly.  The Witcher is a good example. 

 

Sorry but no. Elves and dwarvs sucked in Witcher as well. It doesn't matter if the elves are an ancient civilazation in the magical woods who hold humans in contempt, or an ancient civilazation oppressed by the racist humans, they are still a separate race, that lives propably longer and hasn't good relations with humans. And Witcher dwarfs are as by the book as it comes. To have them be bankers and merchants in addition to miners isn't revolutionary.

 

As for the orc arguement, i have seen them be used in a very good way, in the aforementioned Malazan series. But apart from the physical description (green skin, tusked, slightly bigger than humans), they have absolutely nothing in common with any orc depicted elsewhere, nor are they named orcs.

Edited by Malekith

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Orcs and Goblins are two great examples of elements that virtually always encourage lazy, derivative and just plain bad writing.

 

This is equally true - I would argue more true - of elves and dwarves. But Obsidian is including those, and we trust them to do a good job.

 

There rest of your post doesn't make sense to me. You seem to praise Obsidian for doing new, creative things with the races they've chosen to include, but assume that if Obsidian were to include orcs they would not be able to do similar creative things. There's nothing inherent to orcs and goblins that would suddenly make Obsidian incapable of creativity. You're arguing from a double standard.

 

 

 

I've never seen anyone do anything interesting with Orcs or Goblins(the ONLY exception for Goblins is, funny as it sounds, Harry Potter) , but I HAVE seen them do interesting things with elves and dwarves, repeatedly.  The Witcher is a good example.  The fact that it pulls from a deep cultural wealth of Polish/Baltic mythology that is LOADED with elves and dwarves is what gives it substance, whereas Orcs and Goblins as we think of them effectively date from, as others have said, Tolkien's works.

 

The PoE world is being built in a renaissance period.  The powerhouses of the time in reality were states like the Dutch Republic, The Hanseatic League, the Italian states, France and the wealthier parts of the H.R.E.  The nomadic steppe peoples had been pushed out of the Russias and their time was O-V-E-R.  The arab world was FAR past it's prime(it's widely held to have peaked around 1100-1300.  This isn't to say that everything in the PoE world must derive from the Earth at that time, but rather that it's not the eternal middle ages seen in pretty much every other fantasy setting.

 

If you cast Orcs as any of those types of civilizations, they'll just be what they always are:  low-tech, low-rent tribal militarists with some goofy priest-driven theocratic structure bolted to their seat of gov't.  Want to cast them as the monolithic empire with a higher level of development but retaining the same silly themes? Maybe ripping off the Ottomans/Fatimid Egypt and some far eastern culture? Congratulations, you just made the Qunari!

 

Tolkien's Orcs are no better than demons.  They're animals.  They're inspired by a version of the nomadic steppe peoples that never existed except in the imaginations of historical revisionists of the romantic period who saw those events not as the mass, gradual migrations that they were but rather wholesale demonic invasions by monster people.  They are not fertile material for creating an interesting, intelligent, high-performing, thought-provoking race of people.  They're always going to be a fantasy re-fit of the Arab, the Hun, the Mongol, the Turk, or the Oriental.

 

Make me a well-written nation of Orcs based on 1600's Holland/Venice and I'll accept that they might be useful for something other than providing guilt-free cannon fodder and a vehicle for bad writing.

 

 

2 words - colonization era

 

The clash of cultures on various technological development level.. anyone remembers the story of Spanish meeting Aztecs? or how Australia got colonized? What about far east cultures of that time?

 

Orcs can be your Aztec culture for example or others. It's perfectly viable for fantasy setting that you can have various development of tech among cultures, because "magic" and "active deities", hence you can get even nomadic tribes or even literally cavemen... It is a colonization and exploration era in Eora, right? And the setting is still wide open for tweaks and additions, right?

 

So we have yet another reprecentation of the orcs as bloodthirsty, low tech  at odds with the humans. No thanks.

I would love an Aztec inspired civilization, but no orcs. There is nothing inherently interesting with orcs,elves,dwarves. Every interesting thing you can do with them, you could do just as well( in fact better since there would be no expectations) with another, original race.

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Orcs and Goblins are two great examples of elements that virtually always encourage lazy, derivative and just plain bad writing.

 

This is equally true - I would argue more true - of elves and dwarves. But Obsidian is including those, and we trust them to do a good job.

 

There rest of your post doesn't make sense to me. You seem to praise Obsidian for doing new, creative things with the races they've chosen to include, but assume that if Obsidian were to include orcs they would not be able to do similar creative things. There's nothing inherent to orcs and goblins that would suddenly make Obsidian incapable of creativity. You're arguing from a double standard.

 

 

 

I've never seen anyone do anything interesting with Orcs or Goblins(the ONLY exception for Goblins is, funny as it sounds, Harry Potter) , but I HAVE seen them do interesting things with elves and dwarves, repeatedly.  The Witcher is a good example. 

 

Sorry but no. Elves and dwarvs sucked in Witcher as well. It doesn't matter if the elves are an ancient civilazation in the magical woods who hold humans in contempt, or an ancient civilazation oppressed by the racist humans, they are still a separate race, that lives propably longer and hasn't good relations with humans. And Witcher dwarfs are as by the book as it comes. To have them be bankers and merchants in addition to miners isn't revolutionary.

 

As for the orc arguement, i have seen them be used in a very good way, in the aforementioned Malazan series. But apart from the physical description (green skin, tusked, slightly bigger than humans), they have absolutely nothing in common with any orc depicted elsewhere, nor are they named orcs.

 

 

 

I respect that the Elves and Dwarves in The Witcher are stereotypical, pulled right from the pages of the fairytales that I grew up with(and thus culturally significant to people who share that heritage) and yet depicted VERY seriously and with a straight face.  For what it is, which is Grimms Elfenmärchen in a video game, it is well done.  Original it is not, but that's not CD Projekt's mission.

 

I can't speak to the Malazan series' depiction of Orcs, but it sounds like they aren't Orcs any more than Aumaua are.

 

I agree wholeheartedly that there is nothing inherently interesting in those fantasy races, but I think when viewed through a lens of cultural richness, some are certainly better than others.  The direction PoE has taken Dwarves, for example, towards what seems to be a fair representation of the wandering Nordic colonials and frontiersmen, is genuinely interesting.

 

I don't believe that Orcs, however, will ever escape samurai armor, grunts, stone spears, idol worship or emulation of the Turks, Persians, Mongols or any Oriental culture.  And as long as anologues(which shouldn't be direct anyway) of those cultures are populated with Orcs, they'll never be depicted intelligently.

Edited by Panteleimon

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Orcs and Goblins are two great examples of elements that virtually always encourage lazy, derivative and just plain bad writing.

 

This is equally true - I would argue more true - of elves and dwarves. But Obsidian is including those, and we trust them to do a good job.

 

There rest of your post doesn't make sense to me. You seem to praise Obsidian for doing new, creative things with the races they've chosen to include, but assume that if Obsidian were to include orcs they would not be able to do similar creative things. There's nothing inherent to orcs and goblins that would suddenly make Obsidian incapable of creativity. You're arguing from a double standard.

 

 

 

I've never seen anyone do anything interesting with Orcs or Goblins(the ONLY exception for Goblins is, funny as it sounds, Harry Potter) , but I HAVE seen them do interesting things with elves and dwarves, repeatedly.  The Witcher is a good example.  The fact that it pulls from a deep cultural wealth of Polish/Baltic mythology that is LOADED with elves and dwarves is what gives it substance, whereas Orcs and Goblins as we think of them effectively date from, as others have said, Tolkien's works.

 

The PoE world is being built in a renaissance period.  The powerhouses of the time in reality were states like the Dutch Republic, The Hanseatic League, the Italian states, France and the wealthier parts of the H.R.E.  The nomadic steppe peoples had been pushed out of the Russias and their time was O-V-E-R.  The arab world was FAR past it's prime(it's widely held to have peaked around 1100-1300.  This isn't to say that everything in the PoE world must derive from the Earth at that time, but rather that it's not the eternal middle ages seen in pretty much every other fantasy setting.

 

If you cast Orcs as any of those types of civilizations, they'll just be what they always are:  low-tech, low-rent tribal militarists with some goofy priest-driven theocratic structure bolted to their seat of gov't.  Want to cast them as the monolithic empire with a higher level of development but retaining the same silly themes? Maybe ripping off the Ottomans/Fatimid Egypt and some far eastern culture? Congratulations, you just made the Qunari!

 

Tolkien's Orcs are no better than demons.  They're animals.  They're inspired by a version of the nomadic steppe peoples that never existed except in the imaginations of historical revisionists of the romantic period who saw those events not as the mass, gradual migrations that they were but rather wholesale demonic invasions by monster people.  They are not fertile material for creating an interesting, intelligent, high-performing, thought-provoking race of people.  They're always going to be a fantasy re-fit of the Arab, the Hun, the Mongol, the Turk, or the Oriental.

 

Make me a well-written nation of Orcs based on 1600's Holland/Venice and I'll accept that they might be useful for something other than providing guilt-free cannon fodder and a vehicle for bad writing.

 

 

2 words - colonization era

 

The clash of cultures on various technological development level.. anyone remembers the story of Spanish meeting Aztecs? or how Australia got colonized? What about far east cultures of that time?

 

Orcs can be your Aztec culture for example or others. It's perfectly viable for fantasy setting that you can have various development of tech among cultures, because "magic" and "active deities", hence you can get even nomadic tribes or even literally cavemen... It is a colonization and exploration era in Eora, right? And the setting is still wide open for tweaks and additions, right?

 

So we have yet another reprecentation of the orcs as bloodthirsty, low tech  at odds with the humans. No thanks.

I would love an Aztec inspired civilization, but no orcs. There is nothing inherently interesting with orcs,elves,dwarves. Every interesting thing you can do with them, you could do just as well( in fact better since there would be no expectations) with another, original race.

 

 

Who said that they have to be at odds? If I recall history right, it was the greedy Europeans wiping native american cultures on both continents. Heck, I could even take the idea of orcs from the latest Might & Magic series by Ubisoft (HoM&M5 / 6 and M&M X)

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Good ideas. Now tell me. If you remove orcs from the equation, and have another, completely new race, preferably not even humanoid in nature, but still go with your ideas. Is there something of value that would have been lost by the replacement?

 

 

Yes I'd say there is.

 

On a more shallow level, you lose the body type. At the moment we have two diminutive races, two medium races, and one large race. That means if you prefer the larger physique, it is go aumaua or bust. You might reply that a brand new race could still offer an alternative large humanoid physique, but creating a large humanoid that will be truly distinct from orcs, aumaua, qunari etc. is significantly more of an artistic challenge.

 

I would also say that the familiarity of orcs can be a conceptual strength. For the same reason why Obsidian chose to have elves and dwarves; familiarity coupled with innovation is a strong mix. You could contrive an original race that is reminiscent of, say, Persia. Then you can put that wonderful original creation in a room next to an elf and a dwarf, and hit your audience with a brain-full of thematic dissonance. For some it will seem great, for others it will just seem foreign. Or you can take that inspiration and attached it to orcs, using two familiar ingredients that no one expects to be combined, and create something that is simulataneously familiar but also entirely novel.

 

They key point here is that Obsidian aren't trying to completely break free of familiar high fantasy. They chose familiarity with a new spin on it. If you are going to take that route, I would say it is better to own and embrace it. Get more familiar races in there, and do a better job of reimagining them than your competitors. Expecting Obsidian to leave it at elves and dwarves and then do everything else as entirely new is to accept that elves and dwarves will forever stick out like a sore thumb.

 

I've never seen anyone do anything interesting with Orcs or Goblins(the ONLY exception for Goblins is, funny as it sounds, Harry Potter) , but I HAVE seen them do interesting things with elves and dwarves, repeatedly.

 

 

That's rather my point. Elves and dwarves have been thoroughly explored. Obsidian might be breaking new ground on dwarves, but celtic and/or native american elves are not remotely original, and their worth in the setting will derive entirely from the quality of Obsidian's writing rather than their own innate originality. The fact that you've never seen anyone do anything interesting with orcs means everything imaginable is still there to be done. As I said in the post you quoted, I don't understand why think Obsidian would be bound to repeat the poor writing of other worldbuilders.

 

The PoE world is being built in a renaissance period.  The powerhouses of the time in reality were states like the Dutch Republic, The Hanseatic League, the Italian states, France and the wealthier parts of the H.R.E.  The nomadic steppe peoples had been pushed out of the Russias and their time was O-V-E-R.  The arab world was FAR past it's prime(it's widely held to have peaked around 1100-1300.  This isn't to say that everything in the PoE world must derive from the Earth at that time, but rather that it's not the eternal middle ages seen in pretty much every other fantasy setting.

 

The setting is taking its inspiration from the Renaissance. That doesn't mean that the world has to correspond state-by-state to the Renaissance's political landscape. Aumaua for example are quite a departure from the "powerhouses" you identify. This setting could have a Renaissance equivalent of a nation that wasn't prevalent during the actual Renaissance, couple that nation with the familiarity of orcs, and produce something new to the genre.

 

 

If you cast Orcs as any of those types of civilizations, they'll just be what they always are:  low-tech, low-rent tribal militarists with some goofy priest-driven theocratic structure bolted to their seat of gov't.  Want to cast them as the monolithic empire with a higher level of development but retaining the same silly themes? Maybe ripping off the Ottomans/Fatimid Egypt and some far eastern culture? Congratulations, you just made the Qunari!

 

 

Except Qunari are not the only possible outcome. A failure of imagination on your part is not a rigid restriction that binds the very subject matter.

 

Tolkien's Orcs are no better than demons.  They're animals.  They're inspired by a version of the nomadic steppe peoples that never existed except in the imaginations of historical revisionists of the romantic period who saw those events not as the mass, gradual migrations that they were but rather wholesale demonic invasions by monster people.  They are not fertile material for creating an interesting, intelligent, high-performing, thought-provoking race of people.  They're always going to be a fantasy re-fit of the Arab, the Hun, the Mongol, the Turk, or the Oriental.
Make me a well-written nation of Orcs based on 1600's Holland/Venice and I'll accept that they might be useful for something other than providing guilt-free cannon fodder and a vehicle for bad writing.

 

So you're disqualifying arabic, turkic, and oriental civilization all in one fell swoop? Any mix of those influences is automatically tired and without value? Have I missed a slew of games where the evil, stupid, conceptually-useless orcs came in arabic and chinese packaging? You're just dismissing any potential reimagining of the race that isn't European as being inherently without value. You're projectingyour own failures of imagination, and I guess your own aesthetic biases, onto the genre as though they are some universal law. They're not. Potential is there, simply no one has tapped it yet.

 

 

I get the feeling that both my respondants here are quietly resentful of elves and dwarves being in the setting, and taking a stand against orcs as a "no more!" gesture. I sympathize, I do, I was in the same boat when the project launched. By this "original or bust" stance you are bringing to the discussion is the projection of something that is not Eora and never will be. Obsidian has accepted the baggage of genre familiarity, so the fact that something has been done before and done badly is not a difficulty.

Edited by Sarog
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Apologies for the double post, but this is going to be fairly big and is separate from the rebuttal above. Just as a creative excercise, I'm going to try to put together a concept -just as an example of something Obsidian might chose to do -  and see if people still insist that orcs can't add anything of value if they were reimagined like dwarves have been.

 

Say I start with Carthage. It was a trading nation, and althought it didn't survive nearly into the Renaissance or age of colonisation, it isn't terribly out of place. Carthage was a great explorer and coloniser in her day. It isn't terribly difficult to imagine it existing in a Renaissance-equivalent era.

 

When I think of Carthage I think of its unique blend of democracy and plutocracy. Major offices and military commands being given to the sons of the great families. For there to be the equivalent of great Carthaginian families, there needs to be wealth that puts those families at the top of the social ladder.

 

So let's consider their primitive history and development. Here I'm thinking of hunter-herder groups like those of southern Africa. Wealth was measured in livestock, the chiefs and great men owned large herds of livestock. Smallfolk were employed to tend these livestock, being payed with livestock in return which they would use to grow their own herds and support their own families. Say this is what the orcs looked like when primative, and fast forward a thousand years. The orcs have grown into a civilization that builds cities and temples, and has technology on par with the late middle ages. Whereas the nobility of western Europe largely sprang from germanic warrior traditions and Roman offices, orcish nobility traces its roots back to the herd-owning chieftains of their primitive, semi-nomadic days. Therefore orc culture values wealth; not money, mere coins in a vault somewhere, but tangible wealth. Orcs are impressed by people who own tangible things like beasts and land and ships, and who can employ many people in their service just like the headmen of days gone by did.

 

Thus the orcs are a culture with an emphasis on trade, lending, and contract service. Warriors and militarism are however as much a part of the orc's appeal as magic and archery are of the elf's, and we don't want to negate that entirely. So as the orcs developed, they came into contact with more groups and developed trade networks - first on land, and then eventually at sea. This required military force to protect the trade interests of the great headmen, and armies and navies were developed as another way for people to serve their betters and receive assets as payment. Now that the orcs are in the late middle ages, I imagine that their armies are built around a core of mail-clad pikemen. This is reminiscent of both the Hellenistic Age to which Carthage belongs, and of how warfare shifted back to pike tactics in the late middle ages. Depending on where in the world you put them, you could even give the orcs Carthaginian/Seleucid/Indian-style war elephants - which would give them a more exotic feel, making them less Uruk-hai and more Haradrim. On top of this they could crossbows, ballistae, and other weapons that distance them further from their primitive origins - without going all aboard and giving them gunpowder, which might be a step too close to qunari.

 

We then want to give orcs a religion. Let's leave Carthaginian religion be, and look elsewhere. We don't want our orcs to be seen as qunari, so that means avoiding Islam, Buddhism, or any combination of the two. We also want to avoid shamanism, animism, or anything that keeps orcs stuck with one foot in "noble savage".

 

So I think of zoroastrianism. Organised religion, monotheistic or semi-monotheistic, perhaps a little prone to hedonism. You can take or leave the fire worship - though it might be a good way to include an orcish version of Magran into the mix. Zoroastrian-style towers of silence are perhaps an interesting dungeon candidate if you wanted to take that as well.

 

To develop this religion further, what would these orcs I've imagined value? Since they value assets and service, I imagine them placing a heavy emphasis on property law and contract law.  What if the priesthood developed along a legalistic approach where law and religion where intertwined? This can tie in well with a Zoroastrian approach, as to my knowledge that religion is more concerned with order vs. disorder than with individualistic virtue, placing a high value on law and honesty. This seems like a good place to tie the orcs to Woedica. We can ditch the idea of semi-monotheism, or put the gods in some hierarchy where only orc-Woedica is seen as "the" god and the others are seen as lesser-but-important spiritual entities (that seems like an ideal situation for Woedica and her priesthood).

 

But all this emphasis on law might seem a little too "the Qun demands!", so we want to temper it with less severity. So make the orcs prone to decadence. Zoroastrianism rejects monasticism and abstinance, believing that people should fully participate in their physical reality. And the African tribal patronage systems from which we derive some of the orcs' culture were rife with decadence. So it seems likely that our orcs - or their aristocracy, at least - would be prone to being self-indulgent and corrupt. Which ties in perfectly with our nepotistic Carthaginian political system.

 

To return to the political system; we've now worked out a powerful aristocracy, a prominent and legalistic clergy, and a significant military that exists to protect trade interests. Someone has to keep these groups together and prevent one from simply dominating the others. Say that the priesthood, being vested with the legal powers of the state, appoint something like a Carthaginian Suffete (chief magistrate) who is effectively their king. This head of state is appointed from among the great trade families, meaning that they have to jostle for the favour of the priesthood. But the priesthood in turn is wary of giving power to a figure who is too powerful, prefering that the head of state be a puppet ruler. Thus our king/chief magistrate/whatever has to contend with the scheming of the clergy to undermine his power, while at the same time contending with the ambitions of the other family headmen - who, on account of the nepotism that puts their sons in command of the orcish armies, might try to force a regime change.

 

That seems like a solid basic outline for a civilization. Now you mostly need to put this civilization into the world, work out its interactions with the other civilizations, and consider how people might have migrated between this realm and the others.

 

So we have something that...

 

Has a political settlement that we haven't seen in orcs before? Check.

Has a religion and value system unlike what we've seen in orcs before? Check.

Isn't primitive, and can reasonably fit into the time period? Check.

Retains the basic level of militarism that is part of the appeal of orcs? Check.

Isn't mindlessly dedicated to evil and bound to perpetual war with humanity? Check.

Draws from multiple real-world civilizations without being a carbon copy of any one? Check.

Brings real-world cultural/historical influences that aren't already present in the setting? Check.

Could coexist alongside Obsidian's elves and dwarves, make them seem less out of place in the world, but still stand on its own merits as unique? Check.

 

This concept isn't something that I've put any thought into before this evening (my previous concepts for a new spin on orcs have been more fully Armenian/Persian), and I won't claim that it is mindblowing. But isn't there worth in something like this? Couldn't this coexist alongside Obsidian's elves and dwarves and not seem like a failure of creativity? How much better would a similar concept actualy written by Obsidian be? Or is it still inherently bad because it has orcs in it?

Edited by Sarog
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I can't speak to the Malazan series' depiction of Orcs, but it sounds like they aren't Orcs any more than Aumaua are.

Bingo. They are unlike anything orcish, nor are they based in an Earth culture. And that is my point. If the only way to make orcs interesting is to change them so radicaly that beyond their anatomy nothing else is recognisable, why name them orcs in the first place.?  Aumaua are very close to orcs in appearence (swap blue for green), with a completely different and interesting culture (i hope) Yet some people still want orcs, because apparently aumaua  don't tick their "orc" button.

 

Let's say PoE adds orcs. They even come with a Persian theme as Sarog wants. But they aren't well muscled, nor are they have a warrior culture. Instead they are artists, poets, philoshophers, mathematicians, artificers. They are the most mild tempered of all the races. Their main nation is an economic powerhouse, and it controls trade and banking across Eora. Foreign orcs often being teachers, advisors to kings and holding key positions to the governing stracture of various Nations. They have the most advanced ship constraction of all nations, but they disdain exploring themselves. Nevertheless, the age af exploration came because of their inventions.

Would you like them Sarog, or not orcs enough for you?

Edited by Malekith

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Let's say PoE adds orcs. They even come with a Persian theme as Sarog wants. But they aren't well muscled, nor are they have a warrior culture. Instead they are artists, poets, philoshophers, mathematicians, artificers. They are the most mild tempered of all the races. Their main nation is an economic powerhouse, and it controls trade and banking across Eora. Foreign orcs often being teachers, advisors to kings and holding key positions to the governing stracture of various Nations. They have the most advanced ship constraction of all nations, but they disdain exploring themselves. Nevertheless, the age af exploration came because of their inventions.

Would you like them Sarog, or not orcs enough for you?

 

 

I would say that it wouldn't tick my "orc button". As I've said, a basic martial nature and muscly aesthetic is as much a part of orcs as magic and archery is for elves. You need a certain minimum to ground the race in the familiar, but so long as that minimum is maintained there is a great deal of freedom.

 

I get that you want all-new stuff. But that's not really this setting, is it? Wouldn't intelligently written orcs make elves and dwarves seem less out of place in a world with aumaua and orlans?

 

I think my concept at least proves that something can be new and innovative and still retain the basic martial appeal of orcs, while adding new dimensions to it.

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@Sarog

 

Sacrificing infants is still in there? :p

 

Haha, that's why I said "Let's leave Carthaginian religion be." Don't want to go near that mess.

Edited by Sarog

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I get that you want all-new stuff. But that's not really this setting, is it? Wouldn't intelligently written orcs make elves and dwarves seem less out of place in a world with aumaua and orlans?

 

I think my concept at least proves that something can be new and innovative and still retain the basic martial appeal of orcs, while adding new dimensions to it.

 

I never refused your second sentence. If i did i would have lost hope in this project the moment the "elf" word was first mentioned.

But i disagree with your first sentense. There is a middle ground between full D&D copypasta and completely Alien with insect people, sentient trees, and marble skined giants living inside floating cities.

Eora has humans, elves and dwarves. That's enough familiarity. By your own logic, if we add orcs and gnomes as well because why not, won't aumaua and orlan seem out of place in a world straight from Lord of the Rings?

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@Sarog

 

Sacrificing infants is still in there? :p

 

Haha, that's why I said "Let's leave Carthaginian religion be." Don't want to go near that mess.

 

 

I wonder what's the view on slavery then? I mean I would expect it's a normal thing and such a culture would probably use slave labor for mundane works and maintain their men in dominant positions in politics, trade and military (here you can even give a splash of Spartan culture in that regard). Number of slaves after all is also a tangible proof of wealth

Edited by Darkpriest

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I never refused your second sentence. If i did i would have lost hope in this project the moment the "elf" word was first mentioned.

But i disagree with your first sentense. There is a middle ground between full D&D copypasta and completely Alien with insect people, sentient trees, and marble skined giants living inside floating cities.

Eora has humans, elves and dwarves. That's enough familiarity. By your own logic, if we add orcs and gnomes as well because why not, won't aumaua and orlan seem out of place in a world straight from Lord of the Rings?

 

 

I think orcs can fit quite comfortably in that middle ground.

 

As for representation, true I don't think gnomes are warranted. My preferred concept of gnomes is very close to what orlans are, whereas I don't think aumaua are so near to orcs as to preclude them.

 

We have humans, who are the default and will be in every high fantasy game anyway.

We then have two medium-sized races. One old (elf), one new (godlike). I'd argue that godlike are significantly differentiated from tieflings and genasi to be counted as such.

We have two diminutive races. One old, with a very new spin (dwarves), one new (orlans).

We have one large race (aumaua).

 

I think Eora needs precisely one more race from familiar fantasy to balance out the familiar and the new. Regardless of whether that race is orcs or not. I'd prefer orcs to goblins, or halflings, or draconians/whatever. But if not orcs, then something else. I reckon that this balance is important. If all future inclusions are entirely new, elves and dwarves will forever stick out as something that doesn't belong; the most popular, common fantasy races shoehorned into the setting as a concession to what Infinity Engine game fans were expecting of a successor to BG2. That might be exactly what they are, but letting them remain so is not, I think, good for the setting. If we're taking on the baggage of what is familiar to D&D (and though we keep coming back to Tolkien, it is really D&D's shadow that is more relevant, as Tolkien orcs are very dissimilar to orcs in mainstream modern fantasy) my thinking is that this role of repurposing tired fantasy should be embraced (even if we wouldn't have picked it as our first choice when the project started). Orcs seem like the best candidate; they are more niche than dwarves and elves, and less thoroughly tapped. Their presence would make elves and dwarves seem less out of place, less of an obligatory concession. And I certainly don't see orcs - certainly not the kind of orcs Obsidian might write, or what I have imagined in my concept - making aumaua and orlan "seem out of place in a world straight from Lord of the Rings." Eora isn't straight from Lord of the Rings anyway, and the kind of orcs I'm advocating would make it less so, not more so.

 

 

 

I wonder what's the view on slavery then? I mean I would expect it's a normal thing and such a culture would probably use slave labor for mundane works and maintain their men in dominant positions in politics, trade and military (here you can even give a splash of Spartan culture in that regard). Number of slaves after all is also a tangible proof of wealth

 

 

You could go that way. Or if you wanted to avoid slavery, you could play up the Zoroastrian connection. Zoroastrianism prohibited slavery, so there weren't typically slaves in the Persian Empire. But the Persians had serfs instead, which to the Greeks seemed as though *everyone* was a slave in the Persian Empire. Two very different directions for orcs, and both could be interesting.

Edited by Sarog

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I disagree with that because if elves and dwarves are as well writen as i hope, they will fit with the rest of the World just as much as humans will do.(even though i would like to throw humans out as well, i know how to pick my battles ;) )

So orcs wouldn't offer something. I have no doubt that Obsidian could possibly make the orcs fit as well, but then they would make dwarves and elves fit as well, so i prefer orcs to stay out of Eora. And i realy hope you are right and future instalments of the series to move in a more PS:T weird direction (as long as it is thematicaly appropriate, i don't want another Forgotten "and the kitchen sink" Realms

Edited by Malekith

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I disagree with that because if elves and dwarves are as well writen as i hope, they will fit with the rest of the World just as much as humans will do.(even though i would like to throw humans out as well, i know how to pick my battles ;) )

So orcs wouldn't offer something. I have no doubt that Obsidian could possibly make the orcs fit as well, but then they would make dwarves and elves fit as well, so i prefer orcs to stay out of Eora. And i realy hope you are right and future instalments ot the series to move in a more PS:T weird direction (as long as it is thematicaly appropriate, i don't want another Forgotten "and the kitchen sink" Realms

 

And if orcs were written to Obsidian's standards, they would also fit in and not make the setting seem Tolkieny. My point about elves and dwarves sticking out isn't to say that I expect Obsidian's writing of them to be a let down - quite the opposite, as I normally hate dwarves but am excited to see what Obsidian do with them. It is just that we know as players that they are the two isolated survivors of a D&D legacy that has otherwise been rejected. Giving them one more reimagined D&D race as company would, I think, be more balanced and not Tolkien overkill. Which is on top of the fact that I'd eventually like one more large race in the setting, new or old.

 

But yeah I can certainly understand the desire to take a stand against more Tolkien influences, even if some are already present. I think that it is something you are projecting onto Eora rather than something that belongs to it, but I can hardly deny my own biases either. I think a big part of why this project was so successful and is so hyped is because so many of us are fed up with the state of RPGs, and all come to the table projecting our own ideals onto it so that it might be a saviour of the genre. That leaves a lot of room for incompatible subjective preferences and expectations.

 

I'm happy to cordially agree to disagree. You can't blame me for exploring the subject, yeah? I hope my offerings have at least being entertaining to consider.

Edited by Sarog
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As I've said, a basic martial nature and muscly aesthetic is as much a part of orcs as magic and archery is for elves.

I kinda object to this statement

 

I mean, I think elves and dwarves could be potentially done interestingly if the work ignores every elven and dwarven thing from Tolkien and D&D based works and instead focuses on fae aspect <_< Since fae are basically medieval version of aliens anyway, with some "Leave cookies at doorstep and hope gnomes/whatever like them and do something nice in return or at least don't do any trickery" type stuff included. You know, people getting spirited away, children kidnapped and replaced by copy that acts creepy, etc. So yeah, if instead of being playable and acting like humans, if they would be this mythical creatures that people don't really know much about, they could be actually interesting for once.

 

Though dwarves are harder to do interestingly since their mythological aspect does include whole "live in the mountain mining and smithing things" aspect. Elves on other hand don't "need" to have bows, thats stuff originating from Tolkien

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Completely agree with Sarog.

 

I think a blend of original and classic orcish traits could have been blended to create an Orcish civilization in this game. You could have had different ethinicities/cultures of orcs present in the game and behaving differently, besides the "classic" Turko-Hunnic and Japanese styles that we have been used to I can very well see as original orcish cultures the Carthaginian/trading nation one mentioned by Sarog and the "Russian" nordic blend of orcs, I really think these cultures would suit the orcs perfectly! (So maybe for PoE 2 or a DLC.. ;))

There could even be mixtures between these cultures..

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Completely agree with Sarog.

 

I think a blend of original and classic orcish traits could have been blended to create an Orcish civilization in this game. You could have had different ethinicities/cultures of orcs present in the game and behaving differently, besides the "classic" Turko-Hunnic and Japanese styles that we have been used to I can very well see as original orcish cultures the Carthaginian/trading nation one mentioned by Sarog and the "Russian" nordic blend of orcs, I really think these cultures would suit the orcs perfectly! (So maybe for PoE 2 or a DLC.. ;))

 

There could even be mixtures between these cultures..

 

How those cultures would suit perfectly for orcs? And do you see that orcs in PoE should follow classic fantasy ideology where race = culture? And if so why you see that PoE should do such exception with orcs? And if orcs are added in game should they follow suit of Tolkien, D&D, Warhammer, Warcraft or maybe some other archetype for orcs as there aren't orcish archetypes that persist through different fantasy settings as there is for elves and dwarfs (even though there is variety in these also, but Tolkien-ism comes nearly always through as it is said to be case with PoE also) ?

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How those cultures would suit perfectly for orcs? And do you see that orcs in PoE should follow classic fantasy ideology where race = culture? And if so why you see that PoE should do such exception with orcs? And if orcs are added in game should they follow suit of Tolkien, D&D, Warhammer, Warcraft or maybe some other archetype for orcs as there aren't orcish archetypes that persist through different fantasy settings as there is for elves and dwarfs (even though there is variety in these also, but Tolkien-ism comes nearly always through as it is said to be case with PoE also) ?

 

 

I don't really see anything here that I haven't already dealt with in all my posts thus far. At this point I'm going to avoid writing another long post that would just rehash things I've already said multiple times.

 

Are you actually willing to engage with the topic and consider our point of view? Because I feel that I've made a very good case here that is being largely ignored and dismissed with a simplistic "but Tolkien!" argument that would have me play-whack-a-mole.

Edited by Sarog

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How those cultures would suit perfectly for orcs? And do you see that orcs in PoE should follow classic fantasy ideology where race = culture? And if so why you see that PoE should do such exception with orcs? And if orcs are added in game should they follow suit of Tolkien, D&D, Warhammer, Warcraft or maybe some other archetype for orcs as there aren't orcish archetypes that persist through different fantasy settings as there is for elves and dwarfs (even though there is variety in these also, but Tolkien-ism comes nearly always through as it is said to be case with PoE also) ?

 

 

I don't really see anything here that I haven't already dealt with in all my posts thus far. At this point I'm going to avoid writing another long post that would just rehash things I've already said multiple times.

 

Are you actually willing to engage with the topic and consider our point of view? Because I feel that I've made a very good case here that is being largely ignored and dismissed with a simplistic "but Tolkien!" argument that would have me play-whack-a-mole.

 

 

I didn't see in your post anything that would make me excited of possibilities of orcs in PoE, but also I didn't see anything that I full heartily oppose, which is why I didn't engaged in conversation with you as I didn't see that there would be anything for me or community in that conversation. But Macrae's view on topic seemed to me be bit simplistic, which is why I asked they to specify some of their points in the issue.

 

And I would point that reason why I and probably some others want to see dwarfs and elves in the game is because of archetypes that Tolkien created for them, but Tolkien's archetype for orcs is such that I personally wouldn't want to see it in the Eora, and same goes for most other orc/ish archetypes that I know. 

 

I haven't also seen in this conversation any good example of addition of culture for orcs that wouldn't make them appalling addition for me, mainly because most examples give would make orcs as a race become also a culture, which is thing that I wouldn't want to see in the game. Although I had to admit that I have skimmed most of the conversation so I probably have missed some details.

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I haven't also seen in this conversation any good example of addition of culture for orcs that wouldn't make them appalling addition for me, mainly because most examples give would make orcs as a race become also a culture, which is thing that I wouldn't want to see in the game. Although I had to admit that I have skimmed most of the conversation so I probably have missed some details.

 

 

You keep coming back to this "race shouldn't be culture" thing, but it is a non-issue.

 

The reason why race/ethnicity and culture are distinct in this setting is because it is fairly cosmopolitan. Civilization did not start as racially diverse, but grew to be diverse because of population movements.

 

When dealing with any prospective race, unless you want them to magically spring out of the ground without a point of origin, you need to define a civilization from which they originate. Conceptually once you have run through this and established a "racial civilization" as a starting point, only then can you move to figure out how movements into and out of other countries would make sense. If it looks like we're equating orc race with orc culture, it is only because it is necessary to do so in the initial stages of conceptualization.

 

Honestly though telling us that any ideas regarding orcs are automatically "appaling" and not telling us why isn't terribly good conversation.

 

Preferences are subjective, and if your answer to something is always "no" because of ironclad aesthetic preferences rather than any tangible point with which we can engage, then you can't fault the subject or our suggestions for not being able to change your mind.

Edited by Sarog

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I didn't see in your post anything that would make me excited of possibilities of orcs in PoE, but also I didn't see anything that I full heartily oppose, which is why I didn't engaged in conversation with you as I didn't see that there would be anything for me or community in that conversation. But Macrae's view on topic seemed to me be bit simplistic, which is why I asked they to specify some of their points in the issue.

 

To be fair I didn't really exactly understand what you meant in your posts. But to put what I wanted to say simply: orcs are different than others races in many aspects and haven't been exploited originally and intelligently until now in fantasy games, therefore there is plenty of space to do interesting things with them, and if I had the choice to play one at the beginning an orc would be one of the choices I (and others) would consider playing, because they are fan favorites, a lot of people like them.

 

So now that I have seen how the Obsidian guys have fleshed out different cultures/races currently in the game I just can't help but wonder what they COULD have done with orcs in this game..."renaissance orcs"...even the sound of it excites me.. :) would have loved to see what they would have done with them..

Edited by Macrae

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I haven't also seen in this conversation any good example of addition of culture for orcs that wouldn't make them appalling addition for me, mainly because most examples give would make orcs as a race become also a culture, which is thing that I wouldn't want to see in the game. Although I had to admit that I have skimmed most of the conversation so I probably have missed some details.

 

 

You keep coming back to this "race shouldn't be culture" thing, but it is a non-issue.

 

The reason why race/ethnicity and culture are distinct in this setting is because it is fairly cosmopolitan. Civilization did not start as racially diverse, but grew to be diverse because of population movements.

 

When dealing with any prospective race, unless you want them to magically spring out of the ground without a point of origin, you need to define a civilization from which they originate. Conceptually once you have run through this and established a "racial civilization" as a starting point, only then can you move to figure out how movements into and out of other countries would make sense. If it looks like we're equating orc race with orc culture, it is only because it is necessary to do so in the initial stages of conceptualization.

 

Honestly though telling us that any ideas regarding orcs are automatically "appaling" and not telling us why isn't terribly good conversation.

 

Preferences are subjective, and if your answer to something is always "no" because of ironclad aesthetic preferences rather than any tangible point with which we can engage, then you can't fault the subject or our suggestions for not being able to change your mind.

 

 

It is issue for me, and thing that I would not like to see in world of Eora.

 

If you have more than one race in fantasy setting, then I am tired to see explanation that all those races where born in different places, especially when there are gods walking among people. People from different cultures should in my opinion be separated by ethnicities inside of races that are formed over the course of time, because of environment where people have mostly lived. This is because of fact that for me it is more interesting to image cultures that are shaped on co-operation and co-existence of people that have different physiology especially when people with different physiologies can't reproduce between each other, which means that social dynamics between races are more asexual aspects than what we have used in our world.  

 

I find warmongering, mono-race and/or praising physical prowess cultures appalling, which most suggestions for orcs seems to be in their essence.  

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I didn't see in your post anything that would make me excited of possibilities of orcs in PoE, but also I didn't see anything that I full heartily oppose, which is why I didn't engaged in conversation with you as I didn't see that there would be anything for me or community in that conversation. But Macrae's view on topic seemed to me be bit simplistic, which is why I asked they to specify some of their points in the issue.

 

To be fair I didn't really exactly understand what you meant in your posts. But to put what I wanted to say simply: orcs are different than others races in many aspects and haven't been exploited originally and intelligently until now in fantasy games, therefore there is plenty of space to do interesting things with them, and if I had the choice to play one at the beginning an orc would be one of the choices I (and others) would consider playing, because they are fan favorites, a lot of people like them.

 

So now that I have seen how the Obsidian guys have fleshed out different cultures/races currently in the game I just can't help but wonder what they COULD have done with orcs in this game..."renaissance orcs"...even the sound of it excites me.. :) would have loved to see what they would have done with them..

 

 

But what is the archetype that interest you in the orcs or is it just the name orcs? Why there should be race named orcs in Eora instead of some more originally named race if you don't want them to follow any exciting archetype for them? 

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If you have more than one race in fantasy setting, then I am tired to see explanation that all those races where born in different places, especially when there are gods walking among people. People from different cultures should in my opinion be separated by ethnicities inside of races that are formed over the course of time, because of environment where people have mostly lived. This is because of fact that for me it is more interesting to image cultures that are shaped on co-operation and co-existence of people that have different physiology especially when people with different physiologies can't reproduce between each other, which means that social dynamics between races are more asexual aspects than what we have used in our world.  

 

I don't get your fixation on this point. Are you suggesting that it isn't good enough for races to be intermingled now, but that they must always have been intermingled? All I'm saying is that you need a point of origin. That (sub)races were presumably divided into their own civilizations, but then interacted and intermingled to the point that it is no longer true. That seems to be the case with Eora already. Are you insisting that Aedyr thyrtans and Vailian thyrtans sprang fully formed from the earth completely independently of one another, without any common history? Unless that is your argument, there is no issue here.

 

I find warmongering, mono-race and/or praising physical prowess cultures appalling

 

 

 

Read the thread more closely. Alternatives have been suggested.

 

Besides, this is obviously just a subjective issue on your part. "Appaling" is a very strong word to use to describe such such vague, general cultural attributes as "praising physical prowess". If something like that were to be completely excluded from a world because you do not appreciate it, the result is a much less authentic and interesting world, because you've just disqualified something that is ubiquitous throughout many civilizations and most of human history.

 

All you are doing is describing why you as an individual would not play an orc even if it were novel and well-written. You're not making any case at all for why orcs such as we've suggested would be bad for the setting or creatively unworthy. Which is fine, we all have our subjective preferences. We just can't expect those preferences to be treated like objective truth.

Edited by Sarog
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