20 Orc Village Sights & Sounds

Orc villages are living, breathing places. Events and minor happenings occur all the time as the residents go about their brutish and violent day-to-day lives. If the orcs become aware of intruders in their midst, the style and tenor of the village changes; use the appropriate table below.

Unaware of Intruders

If the orcs are unaware of intruders, use the table below, to add flavour to the orcish village:

  1. The deep bellow of an angry orc followed by the high-pitched screaming of another creature shatters still air. The second creature does not sound like an orc. Any other orcs in sight, pay no attention to the commotion. 
  2. An orc child beats a cowering slave who has his hands over his head in an attempt to ward off the worst blows. Each time the child’s cudgel comes down on the slave, blood splatters the ground.
  3. The stench of wood-smoke, cooking fires, sweat and other unwholesome things drifts through the village. 
  4. Two orc children, wielding wooden weapons, are enthusiastically beating each other. Their high-pitched battle-cries would be comical, except each tiny warrior seems intent on inflicting serious harm on the other.
  5. An orc woman, wearing dirty studded leather armour and carrying a sizeable water-filled bucket, violently cuffs a child around the back of its head. As she turns away, the child’s murder-filled stare speaks volumes as to its feelings.
  6. Low chuckles, pregnant with malice, along with a faint, high-pitched sobbing reaches the most perceptive PC’s ears. The sounds seem to be coming from the nearest building.
  7. A leather-clad orc warrior slumps against one wall, his head in his hands. He is oblivious to the PCs’ presence as he is nursing an epic hangover. 
  8. The wounded bellowing of a cow, or other large animal, cuts through the general din of the village. A few seconds later, an audible wet thunk brings the bellowing to an abrupt end.
  9. Somewhere deeper into the village, someone starts to beat a large drum. Its throb passes through the village; several orcs howl in appreciation. 
  10. A burly orc warrior drags a human woman toward a hut. The woman sobs, but does not resist her captor, even though he is dragging her by her hair.

Aware of Intruders

If the orcs are aware of intruders, use the table below, to add flavour to the orcish village:

  1. A half-starved mongrel dog stalks through the village. The animal’s ribs are showing through its mottled grey and white fur; if it sees the PCs, it snarls and barks.
  2. The shouts of orc battle-cries and the harsh clamour of weapons rhythmically beaten on shields echoes through the village; the orcs are preparing for battle. 
  3. The tramp of heavy feet and the jingle of armour comes from close-by.
  4. A bloody, disorientated human staggers into view. The man has no shoes and wears ragged, blood-stained clothes. Shouts behind him cause him to spin round which reveals a black-fletched arrow buried in his left shoulder. 
  5. A small group of orcish warriors dash across an open space between two buildings. They are not heading for the intruders; either they haven’t seen the PCs, or they are trying to out-flank and trap them.
  6. The pounding sound of two drums beaten in unison echoes through the village. A chorus of orcish voices is raised in a battle-chant. The chant is a horrible song; it speaks of the orcs’ enemies’ horrible fate—to be feasted upon by the victors.
  7. The shutters over the windows of the nearby huts are shut, and the doors barred. Here and there unattended items—a bucket, a bundle of cloth (now hopelessly muddy) and a battered helmet lie scattered in the mud.
  8. An arrow thumps into the ground at a PC’s feet. A few moments later, a second glances off another PC’s armour.
  9. Clouds of smoke, from cooking fires and the like, drift across the village, suddenly cutting visibility before it is restored mere moments later. One such cloud of smoke descends on the party seconds after they spot a large group of nearby orc warriors…
  10. Two orc children—filled with battle lust and a desire to prove themselves to the tribe’s warriors—creep through the village. If they spot the PCs before the PCs spot them, they charge screaming high-pitched battle-cries. (Even hardened adventurers may baulk at killing children—even armed, homicidal children).

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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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