12 Pieces of Orc Village Dressing

The flavour of an orc village is entirely different to that of a “normal” human settlement. Orcs are more barbaric, less civilised folk and their settlements are primitive places that reflect their racial proclivities. Most orc villages are little more than armed raiding camps.


Use the table below, to add flavour to the orcish village:

  1. A half-dozen sun-bleached skulls dangle from a hut’s overhanging thatched roof. The skulls—set out perhaps as trophies or particularly barbaric wind—chimes clack against one another in the breeze.
  2. Tied to a hitching post with a length of short, frayed rope, a miserable-looking, half-starved goat noses among the mud and weeds for something to eat.
  3. Sharpened wooden stakes driven deep into the ground and connected by woven tree branches form a ramshackle fence. A grinning skull tops each stake. 
  4. A weapon rack stands against one wall of a hut. Eight unfinished spear shafts fill the rack; none of the weapons as yet has a spearhead.
  5. A dejected-looking, beaten cow stands mournfully in a small pen. Its eyes are glazed over, and its head hangs listlessly. It makes no attempt to graze on the sparse grass dotting the ground.
  6. A pall of smoke, fed by thin streams of smoke rising from several chimneys, hangs over the village. The smell of smoke and cooking meat fills the air, and the faint clatter and hubbub of daily life reach the PCs’ ears.
  7. A discarded suit of studded leather armour lies draped over a crude bench standing in front of a hut. Several large, bloody holes in the armour’s chest hint at the fate of whoever last wore the suit.
  8. A stacked pile of wood haphazardly leans against one sagging wall of a hut. The hut is in bad repair—it is possible the woodpile is stopping it from collapsing.  
  9. A fence of sharpened wooden stakes, set at a sharp angle, keeps casual visitors away from this stout, well-maintained hut. Each stake is around four-foot high and stout enough to impale a charging attacker. 
  10. An odious smear of noxious mud and other fouler things fill a shallow depression lying between several huts. Here and there pieces of rubbish—broken equipment, discarded clothes and so on—jut from the foul ooze. 
  11. A rickety wooden stair leads up to a platform about six-foot high. Five irregularly shaped hanging posts—cut from thick branches—rise above the platform. Decomposing bodies hang from three of the posts and sway slightly in the breeze. Arrows jut from all three corpses. (The orcs use them as target practice.)
  12. The muddy, bare ground is churned up—virtually no vegetation grows within the village. Rubbish is strewn everywhere.

Inside an Orc Hut

Once they enter an orc village and start slaying its inhabitants, the PCs are bound to search a hut or two. Use the table below, to add minor points of interest to such locations:

  1. The floor is of packed earth covered with old, rotting rushes, bracken and so on. The stench of sweat and smoke lie heavily in the air.
  2. Several battered shields hang from the hut’s walls. A thick shafted spear leans near the door—ready for immediate use. Shafts of pale light pierce the thatched roof creating thin rays of light which faintly illuminates the hut’s interior.
  3. Shafts of pale sunlight pierce the hut’s interior through the thatched roof; strange shadows move across the floor—the hut’s orcish inhabitants have hung several bags from the rafters. The bags sway slightly, creating the shadows. 
  4. Several throwing axes jut from one of the hut’s walls. The splintered wall in the general vicinity of the axes is “decorated” by many obvious axe strikes.
  5. A filthy rug covers a portion of the floor near the hut’s fire pit. The rug hides a small, poorly concealed storage niche roofed in timber planks. Pulling up the planks reveals the orc’s (meagre) treasures.
  6. Five leering skulls—of the orc’s rivals—fill a shelf above its bed. Several exhibit obvious signs of violence. A small pile of damaged wooden boxes hold the orc’s meagre possessions and foodstuffs. None of the items are particularly valuable or noteworthy. 
  7. An iron chain attached to a slave collar is wrapped around an iron spike hammered into one wall. Investigations, reveals flecks of dried blood on the collar. 
  8. Perceptive PCs notice one part of the hut’s earthen floor is not as hard-packed as the rest. Digging in the spot reveals a small coffer containing the orc’s choicest treasures.

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This article appears in 20 Things #30: Orc Village. Members of our Patreon campaign got 20 Things #30: Orc Village completely free as a thank you for their awesome support. Join today!

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