High Orc Intelligence/Teamwork


Hey everybody!

So, hopefully the can of worms this might open is smaller than I expect. I need some help reconciling a concept I have for a character with the race as written, because there is a little contradiction going on. Or perhaps I am just overthinking it.

The Facts As I See Them:
The description of high orcs, ARB pg. 44 through 45, ellipses to avoid this post being a novel:
High orcs enjoy being bossy, loud, outspoken, and picking fights...A high orc is not much of a forward-thinker or a schemer...also, high orcs use physical means to accomplish their goal whenever possible...Curiosity is also a large part of the high orc’s nature...
However, ARB pg. 40 says:
High orcs should be slow witted
My problem is this: nothing in the racial info suggests high orcs have to be stupid. Violent? Yes. Predisposed to blunt, direct solutions to things? Yes. Bad planners? Certainly But the racial write-up does not suggest they have to be complete morons, either.

What I'm wondering is: how smart/what kind of smart can a high orc be before they are stepping outside the bounds of their roleplaying requirements? And just how little planning must a high orc do? Taken as written, a high orc could be argued to be stepping outside the bounds of their race if they think to stock up on potions before they go out on a mod, or make sure they have an earth caster with them, or any of a number of other things which are potentially suicidal, but which are also arguably elements of a "not-too-well-thought-out plan" (ARB pg. 44). Now, some lack of preparation provides spice (and allows characters who are brainier to have their time to shine, just like the Racial Prof and Racial Slay give high orcs an edge in swinging pipe), but if the high orc fighter is forever charging headlong at the death knight armed with a weapon that won't affect it and no protectives, the character is liable to start losing out on mod invites sooner than later.

I ask this because I'm interested in exploring what a "smart high orc" (that is, smart for a high orc, not smart for any more intellectual race) might look like (I think the race has a lot of untapped potential), but I don't want to be completely missing the point of the race as written. Advice? Criticism? Rotten tomatoes?


Wits differ from raw intelligence and bulk knowledge. Wits are more along the lines of greatly advanced planning, diplomatic cleverness, extreme cunning, and incredible insight. With teamwork, you may understand your role in a greater plan, but you probably are not going to be the mastermind behind it.

As a High Orc, you're not a mindless drone. You are already the more intelligent of the Orc race, hence the term "High" Orc. You are fearless, which leads to being foolish, but anyone who has spent any time around a High Orc will come to expect this and adjust accordingly (maybe a healer will pay a little more attention to you). Think of it more as someone who gets so pumped for battle that they rush in before anyone else (except maybe a High Ogre or Barbarian, which can lead to fun rivalries).

Also, your loud rush into battle could be the perfect distraction that the rogues need to flank the enemy. As a fighter and experienced adventurer, a High Orc would know they need may need healing and take potions or a caster with them, offering physical protection in return. This is a common team strategy often called "back-packing."

Every team needs a big hitter and lover of combat, and that is where the High Orc excels, so do not be afraid of being left behind.


Gettysburg Staff
A high orc isn't necessarily dumb. It's simply harder for them to learn things. And they use a form of linear thinking rather than planning. A high orc can absolutely say, "hey dis fight is gonna be tuff. Me gonna get some more potions." They, however, will not start thinking of all the things that can possibly go wrong and decide how they are going to react when it does. If there is a boulder in your way, a high orc is going to use an endow to move it, rather than find his/her way around. So there is an example of using brute strength over logic which would be common among orcs. High orcs are also very capable of playing scholars. It just requires more build (I.E. harder).

All of this goes for High Ogres as well.


Excellent, your thoughts are about where my thoughts are. I knew you guys would have some good feedback.

So, my thought is this: as a low-level, young high orc, if he's "thoughtful" for a high orc he's going to still be extremely foolish in his choices (as stated, the race is fearless, curious, and loves a good scrap), but some low-level understanding of "a good plan" is still available, like making sure there's a healer or two in the group and having a couple protectives up. However, that's probably the extent of his innate planning unless someone gives him a good reason to stop and listen. I figure that way, he's survivable at low levels while still allowing some character development as he meets other races and classes and starts to learn more about the groups he's running with. That way his bossiness is also a character trait and not literally him being in charge by default, which I don't want (I firmly believe that in-game leadership needs to be earned and I try to restrain my OOG understanding of the game to that effect unless I'm running with serious newbies who need the direction). Does that seem like it'll work without being alien to the concepts of the race?


Gettysburg Staff
That'll absolutely work.

I look at Ogres and Orcs as essentially being the same, except for their views on necro, and that is essentially how I play my Ogre. He's level 7 and just played at a APL 20ish chapter this past weekend and he actually did pretty well. You gotta play smart and hang back when you know you will get rolled, but at the same time, as soon as NPC camp started sending undead out, I kind of went on a frenzy and was pretty reckless but I had my hobbling backpack with me with an earth blade and some heals ready so it was cool.


Charlottesville Staff
When I first came into game (Nov 2010), it was my Dwarf, 5 High Orcs, a Dryad, and a Barbarian...highest level in the group was 5. The rest were Level 1...we got put on the front line in a huge pitched battle and we yo-yoed the whole time! It was amazing and the healers were expecting us to keep falling down, so we didn't have any dying issues.

One of these guys (the level 5) played as our group's "shaman" (Earth Templar) and he had an awesome argument for how High Orcs are actually waaaaaay smarter than the other races: it only takes a High Orc 2 years to learn the same skills that it takes some other races 50 or more years to learn!

I think your ideas are perfectly in-line with the racial description and you'll do very well bringing him into our chapter...speaking of which, if you feel you need help with a connection/lead-in to why he's in the local township, there's an open line for ya since the rest of my guys have all found better things to do with their weekends ;)

Alliance SF


My theory is your character is built from their experiences. ex. if some one teaches you that the spell bless can only be cast after someone sneezes than you'll believe that until you are corrected. As for potions Gorka learned that Cure light wounds is the most powerful thing in this game so she will buy from everyone and spread them out to the whole town, because she figured out that you can't feed it to yourself when your dying.

That Curiosity allows you to ask lots of questions which give you better understanding of a situation. Gorka has helped get the puzzle mods on the right track so many times just by using simple logic, Like by following something that is running around a room and noticing its following rocks.

I think your perfectly fine with your concept. Good luck with the tusks and may I suggest Juice boxes, the straw means you can drink with your tusks still in.

Air Raksa

"Slow-witted", "not much of a forward thinker/schemer", doesn't imply that High Orcs are stupid, especially when it comes to violence and warfare (which it says they rule at). If you see a dread lord and you know that you can't effect it (because you tried before), you like anyone else would find a way or a person that could fight it. Some High Orcs (like anyone else) are good at killing.

I look at it more like High Orcs were never thought as much detail in there lives. They know what a tree is, few of them can name each kind of tree. Because of this other races rightfully view them as primitive. High Orcs (and Ogres) should remember that they have a limited vocabulary when they are young, but they learn a lot faster than other races. There aren't many very old high orcs (due to their races incredibly violent life style), so they suffer as children because it is like they are educated in a frat house. Violence in all its forms should be very interesting to a typical High Orc (there has been exceptions... sigh). That should be their favorite topic. They could know a lot about weapons, armor, warfare, equipment, coin and so on, most likely because it is the single driving purpose of their life (and many times their clan). They can love tactics and battle preparation even if they sometimes really don't understand the reason they are fighting or all the possible ramifications of their actions.

Each chapter has its own individual race packets. My own is very good at explaining the High Orc psychology. Curiosity is the desire to learn. Since they don't live as long, they are far more proactive in seeking and retaining information (whereas I have practically forgotten advanced algebra). High Orcs overall don't keep good track of history (think Mad Max). High Orc law and politics isn't as complicated (think Klingon Empire). While the "pinkies" argue about borders, trade, ethics and law, the High Orc is impatient and wants to go do something. To them it is like somebody IRL who doesn't LARP listening to two Alliance marshals argue about ritual rules. :noway:

Slow-witted is also not understanding jokes, but laughing anyway. Confused High Orcs many times will resort to violence especially if they think someone is maliciously making fun of them, trying to get them in trouble or scamming them. They don't have a sense of humor about that kind of stuff. Because of their fierce pride and honor, they take things personally from people they don't know or have reason to mistrust. The High Orc is unsubtle in politics, making more manipulative races have an easy time using them as tools. High Orcs don't like to be tools, but sometimes they really can't see what is wrong with following obliviously more intelligent, experienced or honorable allies. If something is out of their league they know people who can fill them in or direct them in a positive direction.

I tend to think of Alliance races as extremes of humanity itself. With that being said no one has to purposefully gimp themselves to such an extreme that they would never be selected to go on a mod. Some people will do that anyway, I'm just saying it is not a requirement.



Consider it this way. High Orcs grow up three times as fast as every other race. So that elf over there? It took him decades to learn what greenskins figure out in a matter of months.

Gloat. It's awesome.