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3/07/2014 11:19 pm  #1


Not orcs

I've long felt that the orcish and goblin races of traditional D&D had long been played out- especially the trend of Klingonation that they have undergone under the guidance of Wizbro. 

But removing orcs means you have to replace their role in the D&D ecology- I'd like to nominate the androphagi of greek myth as an alternative- what follows is swiped from the wikipedia page:
An anthropophage or anthropophagus (from Greek: anthrōpophagos, "people-eater", plural anthropophagi) was a member of a mythical race of cannibals described first by Herodotus in his Histories as androphagi ("man-eaters"), and later by other authors, including the playwright William Shakespeare. The word first appears in English around 1552.
In popular culture, the anthropophagus is sometimes depicted as a being without a head, but instead have their faces on the torso. This may be a misinterpretation based on Shakespeare's writings in Othello, where the anthropophagi are mistaken to be described by the immediate following line, "and men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders." In reality, the line actually refers to a separate, different race of mythical beings known as the Blemmyes, who are indeed said to have no head, and have their facial features on the chest.
Contents  [hide] 
1 Accounts
2 In literature
3 See also
4 References
Accounts[edit]

People spell this creature's name in several different ways, 'anthropophagi' or 'anthropophage' being two examples. Herodotus first wrote of andropophagi in his Histories, where he described them as one of several tribes near Scythia. An extra note indicates that the andropophagi are cannibals, as reflected in their name:
“    The manners of the Anthropophagi are more savage than those of any other race. They neither observe justice, nor are governed, by any laws. They are nomads, and their dress is Scythian; but the language which they speak is peculiar to themselves. Unlike any other nation in these parts, they are cannibals.    ”
    
— Histories, Book 4 (Melpomene), trans. George Rawlinson, 1858-1860
Pliny the Elder later wrote in his Naturalis Historia that the same cannibals near Scythia wore the scalps of men on their chest.
“    The Anthropophagi, whom we have previously mentioned as dwelling ten days' journey beyond the Borysthenes, according to the account of Isigonus of Nicæa, were in the habit of drinking out of human skulls, and placing the scalps, with the hair attached, upon their breasts, like so many napkins.    ”
    
— Naturalis Historia Book 7, Chapter 2, trans. John Bostock and Henry Thomas Riley, 1855
In literature[edit]

It is likely that the ancient Greek account influenced later writers. The most famous usage appears in William Shakespeare's Othello:
“    And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders.    ”
    
— Othello, Act 1. Scene III
Shakespeare makes yet another reference to the cannibalist anthropophagus in the Merry Wives of Windsor:
“    Go knock and call; hell speak like an Anthropophaginian
unto thee: knock, I say.    ”
    
— Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 4. Scene V
American novelist Rick Yancey incorporates and expands the myths of the Anthropophagi in his 2010 release The Monstrumologist. The Anthropophagi are imported from their native Africa to 19th century New England where the infestation of huge, headless, bloodthirsty carnivores must be eradicated by the title character and his young assistant. In Rick Yancey's description of the Anthropophagi the thing is very tall and has huge hands that are about the size of a human skull, with rows of shark-like teeth. Like many pop culture references, it has no head and instead has a face on its chest. Its eyes are black, and it has flawless white skin. Winner of the 2010 Michael L. Printz Honor Award for excellence in young adult literature. Since then he has written a sequel.


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3/08/2014 9:44 am  #2


Re: Not orcs

Nice write-up. I tend to use skraelings as my catch-all for orcs or human-sized barbaric or monstrous creatures when I don't want to call them orcs.

 

3/08/2014 11:05 am  #3


Re: Not orcs

My players referred to them as demon Picts or pig Picts.  So orcs never came up. They're just degenerate humans with porcine features.  Cool addition Morty!   

Morgan


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3/08/2014 6:39 pm  #4


Re: Not orcs

JasonZavoda wrote:

Nice write-up. I tend to use skraelings as my catch-all for orcs or human-sized barbaric or monstrous creatures when I don't want to call them orcs.

I use skraelings as well, but they are more animalistic than the androphage in my world. My skraelings are more like eyeless Morlocks who hunt by elocution (sp?), you know like bats. They sense electrical impulses put off by liveing things. They also have absolutely no culture or even reasoning powers.

The androphage in my campaign world are savage, red-skinned (as in ruby red, not native american), tatooed cannibals.
 


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3/08/2014 7:13 pm  #5


Re: Not orcs

Fascinating stuff, Morty. I especially enjoyed all the andorphage citations. I think I'd like to use this race in my own Hyperborean campaign, too! 


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3/08/2014 9:44 pm  #6


Re: Not orcs

I think of the Picts as an orcish analog in many ways, but still like the idea of the androphagi.


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3/08/2014 9:47 pm  #7


Re: Not orcs

Chainsaw wrote:

I think of the Picts as an orcish analog in many ways, but still like the idea of the androphagi.

Yes, well, that is the direction we are heading in when we have Half-Blood Picts (Picts with Tlingit ancestry) engaging in unspeakable unions with demonkind. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png

 


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3/08/2014 10:42 pm  #8


Re: Not orcs

I just saw an interesting blurb about another mythic race the pamphagi: those who eat everything. There's GOT to be something done with that!


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3/08/2014 11:21 pm  #9


Re: Not orcs

http://lemshecky.deviantart.com/art/Pamphage-439181617?ga_submit_new=10%253A1394339040 quick sketch of a pamphage


Btw, nsfw- it's a sub-human so it's nekkid

Morty

Last edited by Morty (3/09/2014 7:36 pm)


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3/09/2014 6:53 am  #10


Re: Not orcs

Ghul wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

I think of the Picts as an orcish analog in many ways, but still like the idea of the androphagi.

Yes, well, that is the direction we are heading in when we have Half-Blood Picts (Picts with Tlingit ancestry) engaging in unspeakable unions with demonkind. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png

 

 Ahhh! That is what I was thinking of and didn't realize it. Thanks for the correction.


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BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

3/12/2014 1:53 pm  #11


Re: Not orcs

Great stuff, Morty! Historical sources are a great place to find inspiration for the weird...its my go-to. I recently came across an image of an ancient Buddhist (?) statue depicting a robed snake-man. Awesome. I'll post it the next time i'm on my PC.


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4/11/2014 11:59 pm  #12


Re: Not orcs

Androphage

The androphage are a cannibal tribe that lives in the far north of the world beyond even the horse nomads of the Skuthe, yet not so far as the lands of the ancient Hyperboreans. Androphages are an inbred warrior society. From an early age an androphage will tint its skin a crimson hue and inscribe bizare runes of power into its flesh. Androphagoi practice cannibalism for both substinance and faith. The Androphage believes that eating the flesh and vitals of a fallen enemy can transfer their slain enemies vitality and power unto themselves. for this reason, wizards and mighty warriors are prefered sources of food.

Unlike the nomadic Skuthe, Androphagoi rarely engage the use of mounts. Indeed, both domesticated as well as feral beasts grow agitated in the company of Androphagoi. The only exception to this are the foul Dire Wolves of the far northern lands.

With their far-ranging reputation of cannibalism, their inherently cruel nature, and their bizarrely fierce appearance, Androphagoi are widely recruited by ruthless kings and tyrants as mercenary troops, jailers, torturers, and henchmem; uses which the Androphage is eminently suited for and in which he excels.

Some scholars have debated whether the Androphagoi are truly men. One noted ambassador and poet, upon seeing the carnage wrought by the tribe, was heard to utter in horror that "these are NOT men". It is the majority opinion that, although deranged and debased, Androphagoi ARE human and NOT a sub-race of humanity. Androphagoi can breed normally with humans from other tribes. That the offspring of such humans are generally hated and reviled may be more of a form of human intolerance rather than an inherent evil.

Minority opinions note that such sentiments mean very little to the man, woman, or child that is about to be flayed and placed into an Androphagoi cook-pot.


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4/12/2014 12:02 am  #13


Re: Not orcs

Morty wrote:

Minority opinions note that such sentiments mean very little to the man, woman, or child that is about to be flayed and placed into an Androphagoi cook-pot.

So. True.

 

4/12/2014 12:03 am  #14


Re: Not orcs


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4/12/2014 5:04 am  #15


Re: Not orcs

I'm going full Beyond The Black River with AS&SH orcs. Orcust is a ruined temple, a placed of worship for the ancient, boar-headed god of hate and murder, Gru'umsh, whose name and worship is taboo amidst all other Pict tribes. One down-on-its-luck tribe stumbled into the ruins and erected boar-headed totems; when they started sacrificing captives, their shaman started growing fat and porcine; the first Demon Boar. Others joined his horrific metamorphosis and within a yeah the first of the Orc were born.

 

4/16/2014 9:20 am  #16


Re: Not orcs

I want to avoid "humans, but evil" in my campaign. The closest thing are trolls (using Mountain Ape) stats. They are rare and appear only in small groups, but are very strong and tough individually and are mostly able to do whatever they feel like.


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