The Game of Many Things
Origin of the Species…
No one knows how or when half orcs came about, not even the half orcs themselves. To hear them tell it, half orcs have simply always been in Odan and always will be. Theories vary wildly from an ancient mage's forbidden experiment, to the strange intermixing of orcs with other races. It's a mystery, and one that the half orcs don't really care to solve. What does it matter where they came from? They're here now, and good luck to anyone trying to challenge them.
Half orcs actually live and operate in a surprisingly complex caste system based around duties and deeds performed for the tribe. The reason they are so frequently looked down upon, however, is because it is incredibly difficult to get close enough for long enough to realize how their society works. While they seem to be composed of small and ever-changing villages, the reality is that a tribe is composed of whatever villages they happen to control at the time. It is not unusual for members of a village to move to another if tribal alliances change, and one settlement may change alliances three or more times in a year.
Rank is gained mostly through acts of war or valor, and even secondary acts such as armor or weaponsmithing can earn a half orc luzgrad, or merit, with the tribe. Half orcs mainly concern themselves with hunting, some foraging, and warfare. Despite the constant fighting, it is incredibly rare for a half orc to die in a tribal skirmish. While their tactics are brutally efficient, half orcs see death as a waste. They are firm believers in the idea that those who fight and eventually give way, live to fight back another day. There is little to no farming in communities as it is seen as earning no merit for the farmer. Which is a shame, because the windswept plains of Odan are incredibly fertile.
There are a rare few half orcs who stand outside of the caste system, and they belong to their own small, independent tribe. These handful of outsiders act as impartial mediators, witnesses, and even merchants and traders. Even the wild and warlike half orcs realize they can't be constantly fighting, and sometimes neither side is willing to lose. In cases such as this, a member of the Sobark Dam is called in to witness and mediate a cease-fire. These peculiar half orcs also act as intermediaries between the coinless tribes and the free trade cities of Odan. Buying and selling to both sides, they turn goods into coin and back again, distributing the wealth amongst the tribes and keeping a modest cut for themselves.
Because of the Sobark Dam, half orcs have an unusual respect for merchants and rarely haggle or try to bargain with them.
Half Orcs outside of Odan are either outcast for some heinous crime, or possessed of a relentless need to find battle outside of their closed tribe system. Sometimes members of the Sobark Dam will journey out, looking for rare materials or ideas to bring back and strengthen the tribes with.