Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons Monster Tactics: Orcs

With the current state and power creep of Dungeons &; Dragons it’s tough to be an orc these days. The days of going into the dungeon as a magic-user with 4 hit points and one magic-missile spell for the entire adventure are long gone, and some would say for good.

Over each edition of D&D the player characters have only grown in power at the lower levels. Mid to higher levels have always been a bit broken, often forcing a roll playing type DM vs. a role playing DM to go with save or die tricks. Orcs used to scare that first level fighter, they were a martial challenge, now? Is it me, but are orcs, goblins, and kobolds b o r i n g?

They are fodder for every new low level adventure, long time D&D players have probably committed genocide with how many they have killed, and new players are used to just smashing on them as MMO trash mobs. Orcs need to organize and mobilize. As the Dungeon Master we need to be mindful and give them some more bite in the game. 5th edition has done a good job of giving some variants off the usual orc, and showing us more about the warriors in orc society- a good starting point.

But what about some other ideas?

Do orcs work alone? Are you building the team? I’ll run an ogre with them as part of the brute-squad for some extra muscle.

The warboss of the group is going to have some pets to bring along- be it the usual dire wolf, or perhaps something a bit more exotic? What about clan honor? A half-orc NPC off of one of the PHB character classes who has joined the clan to find himself and embrace that side of the family. The first time the players fight that kind of orc it can be a nasty surprise.

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