The Tribes of Occupied Ulek
Date: Thu, August 19, 2004
Topic: Peoples & Culture
Fighting continues on the western front of the Orcish Empire as the dwarves of Ulek refuse to give up their tenacious offensive to reclaim their lost land. Who are these orcs that have managed to hold the Despot’s western border?
The Tribes of Occupied Ulek
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Since Turrosh Mak forged the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj there have been continued battles along it’s western border. The Principality of Ulek will not concede the loss of it’s eastern provinces and continues to mount offensives attempting to drive the orcish hordes back. How is it that the orcs have managed to hold this region with continued resistance since the initial invasion in 584CY? The answer lies in a study of the tribes of the area and the personalities which control them.
When the humanoid hordes first poured across the Jewel River into the Principality of Ulek they caught the forces there unaware. Pushing ever westward they drove the defending dwarves back to the foothills of the Lortmils where they were finally able to make a stand, by that time eastern Ulek was lost. Understanding that his fragile confederation of tribes needed continued victories if they were to remain strong Turrosh Mak placed several contingents of his human forces in the newly gained area to hold the line and turned the humanoid horde northeast. Mak despised his need to rely on the human troops but recognized that his humanoid forces were not disciplined nor patient enough for the protracted campaign necessary in holding their new lands in Ulek.
When finally the newly formed Orcish Empire halted it’s advances many of the humanoid tribes looked to the conquered lands to make their homes. Several tribes returned to the captured provinces of Ulek, eager to pick through the ruins of the dwarven settlements. As more and more humanoid tribes made their way west of the Jewel River Mak was forced to pull several of his human contingents from the region to minimize conflicts between the groups.
Ulek was not about to concede defeat and continued in attempts to reclaim it’s eastern provinces. The sustained military action began to destabilize the humanoid tribes of the region and Turrosh knew he needed to quickly consolidate his strength there if he wished to keep his gained lands. Mak found the answer in an unusually disciplined orc by the name of Nevrash the Stalker, chieftain of the Gutshank tribe and one of Mak’s most vocal supporters during the initial formation of the empire. Make named Nevrash as War Chief over the assembled tribes of conquered Ulek and charged him with maintaining the western front.
Nevrash was quick to assert his dominance over the region and in 588CY during the month of Harvester, Gutshank tribe assassins eliminated voices of dissention among the humanoid in what is now known as the Night of Long Knives. Combined with a strategic alliance to the orcs of the Bone Fire tribe Nevrash was quickly able to organize the humanoids of the occupied provinces with an iron grip.
With a series of well planned skirmishes against the forces of Ulek Nevrash was able to rally the humanoids and ensure further cooperation. Nevrash continued to bolster the tribes by instilling a sense of purpose and pride, building upon Turrosh Mak’s original cries urging the humanoids to reclaim their “birth right” and fuel the hatred of the dwarves with tales of the Hateful Wars.
Among these humanoids the worship of their tribal gods is not only tolerated but encouraged, much to the chagrin of the Cult of the Earth Dragon. Mak allows Nevrash to do so because of the solidarity it has helped build among the humanoids. There is growing alarm however as increased violence against the Despot’s remaining human troops in the region forced Mak to withdraw them earlier last year. Stalman Klim has expressed concern over these matters but Mak believes that Nevrash cultivating the horde’s hatred of the dwarves and their allies better prepares them for future conquest.
Nevrash has divided the occupied provinces into three fronts (north, west and south), each ruled over by a confederations of tribes of the prominent orc clans. They are in turn provided support from Nevrash’s own base of operations which consists of the old Grumel and Ne-Ogard provinces now called Shargaal by the occupying orcs in honor of their patron deity. Nevrash divided the fronts for two reasons. First, to place greater accountability by the tribes of a given front in defending their area. Second, and most importantly, to minimize the need for cooperation between tribes of differing religious outlooks therefore reducing intertribal warfare.
The seat of power from which Nevrash and his Gutshank tribe direct the continued operations in occupied Ulek. Shargaal covers most of the former Grumel and Ne-Ogard provinces. From here Nevrash directs reinforcements and supplies into the three fronts as well as providing them with specialized support and war bands from the tribes of his region.
Most of the orc tribes in Shargaal are offshoots of Clan Death Moon and venerate Shargaas. The following are some of the prominent groups of the region.
The Gutshank Tribe (Orc)
Population: Approx. 600
Leader: War Chief Nevrash the Stalker (Rgr11/Asn3)
Clan Affiliation: Death Moon
Standard: A putrid green upturned crescent crossed with a downward pointing dagger.
Orcs of the Gutshank tribe have long been feared by their kin. Where most orcs rely on brute force and strength of number to overwhelm their foes, the Gutshanks specialize in stealth and precision strikes. In the past, rival tribes who have wandered to close to Gutshank territory have often discovered their leaders or shamans murdered in their sleep by Gutshank assassins.
This tribe has long held a burning hatred in their hearts for the dwarves and their allies that drove them from the Lortmils during the Hateful Wars, dreaming of the day in which they could strike against their hated foes and return to their homeland. They hold strong the ideas of orcish supremacy and it was their whispered urgings that led to the increasing violence against Mak’s human forces.
Prior to the invasion of Ulek they made their home east of the Jewel River and conducted numerous raids into the area. When the invasion began the Gutshanks led the way, familiar with the terrain and leading the other tribes to primary targets. Now they serve in a support role of the assembled occupying forces providing specialized war bands for reconnaissance sabotage missions. Turrosh Mak has also charged Nevrash’s tribe with expeditions into the Suss Forest seeking a rumored lost city of the Suel.
They are led by a particularly driven orc by the name of Nevrash the Stalker. Nevrash has served as the tribal chief for over a decade, a testament to his prowess. Nevrash possesses a feral cunning and fair comprehension of large scale battle tactics. He is ruthless in his rule and his tribe has done well under his leadership.
His hatred of dwarves is legendary among the tribes and many have observed his wicked smile as he leads his orcs into battle against the stout folk. Wielding a relic of his tribe’s past, a magical blackened iron blade enchanted to slay dwarves even the forces of Ulek stubbornly admit to this strange orc’s prowess.
Nevrash secretly despises Turrosh Mak. He sees him as a manipulative half-breed far to human tainted to be trusted. He remains one of Mak’s most vocal supporters however because of the half-orc’s uncanny ability to rally the hordes around him. Nevrash supports Mak as a means to an end knowing that without the charismatic Mak his tribe would not be this close to returning to their homeland in the Lortmils. He does not trust his leader however, sensing the Despot possesses ulterior motives for his rise.
The Balefire Tribe (Orc)
Population: Approx. 200
Leader: Jul’kahn (Sor10)
Clan Affiliation: Death Moon
Standard: Crossbones surrounded by a nimbus of green flame
This small tribe is renown for the number of Witch Doctors it produces. For an unknown reason it has an unusual percentage of it young born with the inborn powers of sorcery with roughly a third of the tribe possessing some degree of sorcerous ability.
Balefire orcs are extremely superstitious, seeing omens in everything. They are currently led by a crafty old orc named Jul’kahn, an accomplished sorcerer. Never a prominent tribe Jul’kahn was quick to seize upon the opportunity of allying his tribe with the Gutshank orcs. Jul’kahn believes there is greatness in Nevrash and plans to ride the War Chief’s success as long as he can.
Balefire witch doctors work closely with Gutshank war bands in their specialized assignments.
Leader: Regnok (Clr10)
Clan Affiliation: Death Moon
Not a true tribe but a collection of shamans from various tribes of the Death Moon clan. They were sent by the Death Moon clan elders to bolster support of Nevrash as having one of their tribal leaders so highly placed brings great prestige to the clan.
Population: Approx 600
Leader: Nigtarm (Ftr7)
Standard: A barbed whip on a yellow field
The largest non-orc tribe in Shargaal these goblins are in charge of the slave force which provide the assembled tribes of the region with supplies and labor. They currently oversee mining, agricultural and livestock operations bolstering the supplies of Nevrash’s force.
Other tribes of Shargaal also include:
Black Hand (Orc)
Venomous Star (Bugbear)
Slink Shadow (Kobold)
Northern Front (The Spear Head)
The northern front encompasses most of the Prinzfeld province. This is by far the most heavily fortified front and possesses the largest concentration of troops. Not only are the tribes here charged with maintaining the border but they are also preparing for the eventual north eastern assault to lead the drive towards the Lortmils.
Most of the orcish tribes here are offshoots of the Evil Eye clan and venerate Gruumsh. The following are some of the dominant groups of the region.
Blood Tusk Tribe (Orc)
Population: Approx 950
Leader: Tanag Bloodtusk (Bbn10)
Clan Affiliation: Evil Eye
Standard: A stylized red orc mouth with 2 bloody tusks set on a black field
The Blood Tusk orcs are the dominant tribe in the region though barely. Extremely aggressive they are a formidable fighting force. Tanag is not the most gifted commander but the orcs follow him faithfully because through fear of his impressive might. He took command of the tribe after the Night of Long Knives when his predecessor was assassinated by the Gutshank tribe for challenging Nevrash’s right to lead.
Tanag shares the view that the Blood Tusks should be leading operations in occupied Ulek due to their patron deity being Gruumsh but wisely keeps silent on the matter. He respects Nevrash’s ability however and plans to remain loyal until the Lortmils are reclaimed, then he hope to gain rulership over the assembled tribes.
Shatterskull Tribe (Orc)
Population: 800 orcs, 30 ogres
Leader: Dintok (Ftr9)
Clan Affiliation: Evil Eye
Standard: A great maul on a brown field
Dintok leads this capable tribe and is a fair tactician. His tribe is the chief rival to the Blood Tusks for supremacy of the northern front. Dintok could likely win a challenge and take command of the region but surprisingly enough does not wish to upset the cooperation of tribes. He possesses a deep respect for Nevrash despite their clan differences and believes the War Chief’s dogma of orcish superiority.
Black Arrow (Goblin)
Population: Approx 300
Leader: Paneeg (Rog5)
Standard: A black arrow on a red field
The goblins of the Black Arrow field a large number of worg riders. These riders are trained as fast moving skirmishers harassing enemy forces with their bows while making swift passes.
Moss Mange (Gnoll)
Population: Approx 600
Leader: Yinglak (Rng7)
Standard: A green silhouette of a gnoll head on a yellow field
This tribe of gnolls does not reside within the northern front itself but instead exists in numerous camps along the border of the Suss. They are placed to intercept expeditions from Ulek into the forest to keep them from interfering with Gutshank expeditions in the forest. They will also serve as a flanking force when hordes are ready for their drive to the north east.
Other tribes in the region include:
Rock Head (hill giant)
Fetid Tick (gnoll)
Gore Lick (hobgoblin)
Western Front (The Wall)
The western front occupies the northern half of the Deerfield province and has suffered most from attack by Ulek forces. This region sees the largest conglomeration of tribes as Nevrash stations trouble makers and others who do not serve well within his established hierarchy here.
The Grim Brood and Blood Rage orc tribes share joint responsibility of directing the fodder here.
The Grim Brood Tribe (orc)
Population: Approx 700
Leader: Anakza Dun (Clr8)
Clan Affiliation: Vile Rune
Standard: The black sillhouette of a hand bearing Luthic’s rune on a gray field
The Grim Brood is a matriarchal tribe devoted to the orcish goddess Luthic. They represent the interests of the Vile Rune clan and fully support Nevrash’s rule as War Chief. Of all the tribes they perhaps work best with others and provide the blessings of their goddess to the assembled tribes in order to ensure the continued fertility and growth of the orc race.
Blood Rage Tribe (Orc)
Population: Approx 900 orcs 50 ogres
Leader: Fargaz (Bbn6)
Clan Affiliation: Broken Bone
Standard: A red fist on an orange field
The orcs of the Blood Rage are heavily interbred with the tribe’s ogre population producing a large number of orogs. They use the minor tribes stationed here with impunity to soften the ranks of their enemies while the more skilled Blood Rage orcs move in with devastating effect.
Minor Tribes of the western front:
The minor tribes here are too numerous to mention. Nevrash’s belief in orc superiority is painfully obvious here to the other humanoids as this front has the largest collection of non-orc tribes and also the highest mortality rate.
The Southern Front (The Blight)
Comprised of the southern portion of the Deerfield province as well as a majority of the Grindin province this area is now largely a wasteland plagued by undead humanoids and dwarves who have fallen during the conflicts that raged here.
The tribes of this region are offshoots of the Leprous Hand clan and venerate the dark god Yurtrus.
Plague Wind (orc)
Leader: Ungar (Clr14)
Clan Affiliation: Leprous Hand
Standard: A Black skull on a sickly green field
The mighty Plague Wind tribe is led by perhaps the most powerful cleric of Yurtrus in the Flanaess and high ranking member of the Leprous Hand council. They systematically poison the land and spread disease into Ulek while seeking the blessing of their dark god. Hordes of undead have been raised by this tribe and set loose to wander the region aimlessly.
The only other tribes which make the southern front their home are all offshoots of the Leprous Hand clan. They serve under the leadership of the Plague Wind tribe faithfully due to Ungar’s standing within the clan. Some of the tribe names are as follows