Orc society was based in tribal roots from it's beginning, but rose to be one of the most advanced and peaceful societies in the early history of Onathien. During the centuries before the Old Gods rose to prominence their Shamans began to explore the mysteries of life and death, compiling great stories that related the knowledge from generation to generation. This knowledge was not only conveyed by word, but by use of colouration and markings on the skin of the Orcs themselves. Orc's dye their skin from a young age with dyes that last for months, the colours changing as they develop and their life moves on. Colours are used to reflect their clan, their personal heritage, profession, even their hopes and aspirations. Additional markings are used that are likewise rarely permanent. The re-inscription of markings onto skin reinforces the history of the individual, allows them time for introspection and meditation and results in slow change to the historical legends of their race.
The rise of the Old Gods initially had little impact upon Orc society, the primal elements had always been a focus of Shamanic lore and it wasn't really untill war began to spread accross Onathien that change began to come to the Orcs. As the Old Gods bought more war and death to Orc society a new type of Shaman arose. These mystics focussed much more intently on death and became commonly referred to as Witch Doctors. They were among the first true followers of Edarr to walk Onathien and even they perhaps did not realise the significance of their beliefs to the future of the plane. Their rise drove a wedge into the cracks in Orc society that were opening under the pressures of war. Martial prowess had not been widespread within Orc society, skills of warfare simply were not needed and were hence not highly valued.
Under the doctrine of the witch doctors warriors were highly valued indeed. They were seen as bringers of death, honoured servants of Edarr. That message resonated with younger Orcs, raised in a time of war, among people that were obviously ill-equipped to fight. They came in numbers to serve the witch doctors and the Orcs very suddenly developed a military force that rapidly drove back their enemies and began invasions of their own, driving deep into areas of land that Orcs had never seen or desired.
When Edarr came to Onathien and the true nature of her threat was revealed, Orc society shattered. The Shaman's recognised her doctrine for how truly self-destructive it ultimately must be and they pronounced a sentence of exile upon the Witch Doctors, sparking an immediate civil war.
The numbers were on the side of the Shaman, since Witch Doctors were seen as a radical force from their very origins, but the skill in battle was on the side of the Witch Doctors. The war raged for as long as Edarr strode the plane, Orcs on both sides died in their thousands, entire clans were erased from the racial memory forever.
Then Edarr fell.
The civil war ended overnight, transitioning instead into a mass exile of those who had followed the Witch Doctors. There was no heart left in the Orcish people, no will to chase down and finish off those who fled, the clans simply collapsed into themselves, to mourn what was lost and attempt to rebuild what had fallen.
For the next few decades the Witch Doctors were persecuted on sight, driven from villages and reviled by all, forced to live in secluded villages deep in the forests or high in the mountains. Yet time heals even the deepest wounds and slowly the Orc society found a place again for the Witch Doctors. Their knowledge concerning death was still valuable and they soon began to find a home presiding over funeral rites and tending to the sick and wounded.
The returned Witch Doctors were far more peaceful in nature than their predecessors, the fall of Edarr having broken the certainty that had driven them before. They are now considered a normal part of Orc society, the flip side to the Shaman though not nearly as revered. It is not unheard of for a Witch Doctor to become a Shaman in later life, though the two paths seem very different from the outside.
The other legacy of the war was harder to shake, harder to reconcile. "The bringers of death" as they had come to be known, were a new breed of warrior. Young Orc's so focussed on battle that when Edarr fell they were left with nothing in their lives. These young warriors wandered Onathien, unwilling or unable to settle into villages. They found homes in the many wars that still raged accross Onathien following the fall and those who survived long enough eventually found themselves in mercenary warbands, selling their skills and building the reputation of the Orcish berserker.
Orc Shaman (Male), Supporter
Haksa is one of the most influential orcs of his time and has devoted his life trying to curb the violent tendencies of his people, in the hope of ensuring their survival in an ever changing world. Haksa understands that often orcs are their own worse enemy, and if they could keep the strengths of their natural state, whilst adopting the better qualities of other races, they could be an unstoppable force. Orcs, however, are nothing if not stubborn and bringing about fundamental change is not an easy task.
Haksa's rivalry with Kruul is well known and bordering upon open conflict. The main source of their struggle being their fundamentally opposing views on the emergence of the new gods and their beliefs on how the Orc race can rise to prominence. Haksa is a proponent of the Old Gods and their ways, whist Kruul has embraced the new gods and their warlike nature.
The key to using Haksa effectively is the astute placement of his idols, which can have a huge impact on the course of a battle, if left unchecked. His Spirit of the Dragon Fate ability is also very powerful when used in the right circumstances. Don't be afraid to throw Haksa into the fray as he is quite resilient and plays the role of a bruiser very well.
Orc Witchdoctor (Male), Soulgazer
Kruul believes orcs should be the dominant race on Onathien and is hellbent on seeing it so in his life time. He is outspoken in his support of the new gods and believes they are the key to delivering orcs to their rightful place. His views have placed him in direct opposition with Haksa, and the two are on a collision course that could plunge orcs into a bloody civil war.
Kruul continues to experiment with mind altering toxins and elixirs, aiming to tap into the raw fury of the orcs. His star pupil is Zhonyja, a young female warrior, who has risen to prominence under the tutelage of the witchdoctor. Kruul has several interesting abilities, including transferring Souls between allies and extracting bound Souls from enemy heroes. He also has very good synergies with the orc aggressors Zhonyja and Rakkir.
Orc Rogue (Male), Aggressor
Rakkir is a deadly killer, specialising in the various toxins and poisons of Onathien. Exceptionally agile and stealthy for an Orc, Rakkir quickly rose through the ranks of his local thieves guild, before striking out on his own as a hired assassin. His reputation stretches the length and breadth of the land and anyone rumoured as being a target of the Blood Shadow is considered a dead man walking. Rakkir is a veteran of many battles on the shadow plane of InBetween, since he was the 1st hero that Zaron Bogdan recruited to the cause.
Zaron created the shadow orbs and presented them to Rakkir as payment for his services and loyalty. The orbs contain the essence of the shadow plane itself, enabling Rakkir to travel short distances in a heartbeat, by slipping in and out of the plane at will. The shadow orbs have elevated an already deadly assassin to supernatural heights that make him a terror to behold on the battlefield. Rakkir cares little for his appearance, often seen wearing a torn and blood spatter hooded cloak and ill-fitting armour, stolen from his victims. In combat he wields a single short dagger, often coated with deadly poison.
Rakkir will take some time to master, however once you do he will strike fear in your opponents. He has the rare ability to drop heroes in a single activation and can get himself around the battlefield better than most, enabling him to wreak havoc where you need it most. As his background suggests he also has a wonderful synergy with Zaron. Another good hero to partner Rakkir with is Zaffen Ironhelm. The dwarf hunter can apply poison to Rakkir's targets, removing the need for him to do so.
Orc Warrior (Female), Aggressor
Zhonyja is unbeaten in single combat since her teen years, demonstrated by her braid, which drags along the floor behind her. A braid she will not cut until defeat is suffered. Whilst Zhonyja's skill with arms is undoubted, her unbridled fury is frightening to behold, a frenzy that seems supernatural. The truth is that Zhonyja has been enhanced, the result of a friendship with a witchdoctor that used her from a young age to test concoctions that altered both mind and body.
Zhonyja is the true essence of the orc realised in flesh, a lethal puppet of which Kruul controls the strings. Those who know her say she is a hollow shell when not in combat, a sad tale for one so young, despite the accolades and hero worship she receives from her peers. Haksa, the orc shaman, only recently learned the truth about Zhonyja and he is hellbent on saving her, not only for Zhonyja's sake but for his people. A world where all orcs are mindless, senseless furious killers is not one Haksa wants to see, and he will do all in his power to stop Kruul.
Zhonyja has the ability to do the most direct damage to a single target than any other hero in the game. There are no subtleties in her kit. Point her at a target and unleash the fury.