In my previous post, yesterday, I briefly talked about the idea of postponing the Orc range, due to the unexpected approval that our Elf range is receiving from our community.
As imagined, the reaction of the Orcs collectors has been loud and energetic: I wouldn't expect anything less, from them!
For this reason, I think it might be interesting to talk about my projects concerning Orcs and why it is funny and appropriate that Orcs collectors would harbour resentment for anything Elf-related (of course, it is always appropriate to hold a grudge against Elves!).
Let me be clear: if I eventually postpone the Orc range, it would be only to design MORE Orc miniatures.
My original plan for 2020 releases, in fact, concerned a Kickstarter campaign made to fund not a single big range dedicated to a specific faction of Inneath (as we did for Dwarves and Humans), but to create two initial ranges focused on the Elf and Orc kins: so, approx, 10/12 characters for each alliance.
However, the success (of course, read these terms always contextualizing them to our manufacturer size!) of our first Elf characters made me think a lot about how to move, in the next year, and a single question started to buzz inside my head: "Why not focus properly on a single range at a time, creating more dedicated characters?".
10/12 characters are not enough to properly show you the real potentials of a brand new design, especially considering that with both Elves and Orcs I want to make something unique and different, so I think it would be better to take time and do things as better as possible.
So, here is why I'll probably dedicate the next KS campaign to create a whole Elf range and explore in-depth their lore with 20/25 specific miniatures, and soon after I will start to design the Orc range, that will be for sure bigger and mightier than in the first schedule.
Of course, feel free to hate Elves and their betrayal, it is part of their character, after all.
THE ORCS OF INNEATH
Given the necessary premises, it's time to start to give you some brief hints about how the Orcs of Inneath will look, and why.
Since the beginning, I wanted to get away a little from the classic barbarian archetype of the iconic Orc of classic rpg and wargames.
Do not misunderstand me: I love classic Orcs, almost as much as I love Dwarves, and there is nothing wrong in an Ikea-Pax-sized-beast that only wants to smash, kill and have a good fight.
However, I always imagined the Orcs of Inneath a bit different: they are not elegant academics and their natural strength makes them excellent warriors by default; however, they are more civilized and after ages of wars and discords with the other peoples of Inneath, they found a kind of "way to coexist".
It is usual, for example, to see Orc mercenaries fight under the banners of the Second Government or just work as bodyguards for wealthy individuals of Inneath, and you can find Orc enclaves in the most cosmopolitan islands of Inneath, like Zorn Uzul.
In short: despite the integration between all the inhabitants of Inneath is fragile, precarious and controversial, as you may legitimately expect from a kind of fantasy medieval/pre-industrial world, and ancestral grudges and distrust may make coexistence extremely difficult, Inneath is not a classic "all against all" setting, it's not black&white, but more a shades of grey lore. Despite, for example, it would be impossible for an Iron Crow of the Eastern Chamber, that spends his life fighting to claim the Disputed Lands, even just to be in the same room with an Orc, in the metropolis of Zorn Uzul is quite common to see Dwarves and Orcs working in the same guild.
So, if you are wondering what I suppose you are wondering: yes, Inneath game will allow mixed guilds of characters taken from different alliances (with some exception, of course).
Clarified this first, important, note about Orcs, it's time to anticipate more details.
First of all: Orcs of Inneath are not green. Or better, they surely can have green skin, but their skin colour may vary a lot. For example, many Orcs have dark brown skin, many others have vibrant yellow skin, and it is common also to see black, red, even purple skin!
A little curiosity: Orcs born with blue skin are extremely rare and are considered cursed by the Sea, carriers of bad luck!
The reason behind this fact is, well, just a way to give you infinite ways to paint your Orcs, and also because green Orcs are a 100% GW archetype (in fact, it was GW to set this iconic green-style for Orcs!): I love creative freedom and I love more, as we say here in Italy, to "give Caesar what is Caesar's".
So, Orcs of Inneath are (in general...) civilized and colourful, but what about their iconic style?!
Before going on, I have to talk about...Elves!
ORCS AND ELVES
Elves are not an established being, in Inneath. Or better: after the great disaster that torn apart this world, a long time ago, the Elven kin isolated itself so efficiently that the other peoples of Inneath almost forgot its existence!
To better understand this situation, imagine being a 1500 d.C Spaniard guy (or gal), and imagine that a crazy traveller tells you about exotic tribes that live in the depth of jungles, in mythical lands far beyond the sea. Would you believe him?
Imagine, then, to be a modern guy (this is easier, indeed), and somebody tells you about weird inhabitants of other planets that visit the Earth and interact with us without us realizing it. Would you believe him?
The Elf situation is approximately this, concerning the general knowledge of Humans and Dwarves: they all have weird tales, in their traditions, concerning this mythical and mysterious kin, but they just look at them as fairytales for children, memories of a forgotten past that won't ever return, or just weird stories of drunken travellers!
Orcs, however, are more serious about this topic: they not only truly believe in Elves, but they are constantly in search for them!
The reasons for this weird obsession are many, all of them deeply rooted in the Orc folklore: first of all, it is said that among all the living being, the Elf meat is not only the most delicious one but also extends the life of those who eat it! I'll talk about the Orc obsession for eternal life, afterwards.
Moreover, it is said that, being Elves magical creatures, it is possible to create incredibly powerful magic talismans, with them: whether they are true or fake, Elf Ears are a truly expensive item sold in the black market of Zorn Uzul, and the sellers swear they bring incomparable luck to the bearer!
Last, but not least, it is said that the mythical lands inhabited by Elf are soaked in treasures!
You may imagine, then, how much Orcs are serious about Elves, and many Orc travellers talk about having encountered them in real: despite, often, they bring with them any kind of creepy memorabilia, very few people outside Orcs really believe their stories.
Probably, because it is a common thought that Orcs love to exaggerate their stories, embellishing them with unlikely details and legendary feats!
The whole Orc culture is full of references about Elves, including also an impressive list of tips concerning how to detect them, catch them and, above all, take the best from them!
For example, coffee is considered to be the best Elf-detector on Inneath: Orcs believe, in fact, that these pungent-smelling seeds are the delight of fairy creatures and they usually try to attract them, like honey for bees, using a coffee-based drink they invented specifically for the purpose: the Espressorc!
I honestly don't know if this fact is true or not, but I can't wait to design the Hunter of Elves (including, of course, a Flonzo assistant who's drinking a delightful Espressorc!).
Creating funny puns with the word Orc is incredibly easy and fulfilling, and after all these hints I think that you're starting to imagine how the Orcs of Inneath will look.
Obviously, it's not so difficult because we already have sculpted an Orc character, Urghor, but consider it a kind of first experiment, a prototype, a first draw indeed.
At that time, I had no idea about how my Orcs will be, I was just in search of something cool. Ironically, or probably due to a kind of divine help, after years of deep reflections about Orcs, I decided for a design style that, in some way, doesn't totally diverge from Urghor style!
As you've learned in the previous part, Orcs and Elves are deeply related, and for this reason, I thought about making them not only a nemesis in lore, but also visually speaking.
Our Elves have a tribal, native look, with a lot of references taken from the South and North American kins (Aztech, but also native north american tribes -you will see them in the next characters) mixed with a far-east vibe.
Our Orcs will be almost the exact opposite of Elves, being their nemesis, and for this reason I imagined them characterized in the opposite way: if Elves have a strong and immediately visible relation with nature, Orcs will incarnate the industrial revolution; if Elves looks like the native American tribes and peoples, Orcs will look like the European invaders that brought devastation to their lands; if Elves have a far-east mood, Orcs will have a far-west (yes, you're imagining right) vibe.
I honestly don't know yet how the first Orc character of this new range will look, but damn, I really can't wait to put my brain on a Cowboy/Conquistador/Steam&Gunpowder Orc.
I know it may appear like a visual mess, but, after all, if I just wanted to create something simple and effective, I would have thought about making classic Orcs, am I wrong?
At the end, Orcs of Inneath will maintain their classic mood of fighters and invaders but reworked in a different, dare to say "modern", way.
They are not no-brains barbarians that only want to kill and smash. They are smart, devoured by ambition and organized.
Which is, in my opinion, even more terrifying.
the shorter the fuse, the bigger the explosion
I love to deeply think about my characters. I don't say I have only great ideas or just interesting ones, but at least I always try to do my best when I have to imagine one of my characters.
For this reason, I wanted to give my Orcs a precise reason for their attitude, which influences almost all their culture, way of life and, consequently, the design of their miniatures.
The "conquistadorcs" theme wasn't born only because I thought that it would suit nicely on an Orc figure, but also because it visually incarnates their soul.
Among all the peoples of Inneath, Orcs are those with the shortest life. If an average human individual lives about 60/80 years and a Dwarf can reach the impressive age of 140/160, Orcs, in general, are considered already old at 30 years.
They are totally aware of their condition, and for this reason they spend their (relatively short) lives in search of a way to make at least their names immortal!
It is not difficult to understand, then, why Orcs are so attracted by adventure and perils: they are eager to forge their own legend and carry out legendary feats that everyone will remember!
Obviously, this fiery ambition means also that they might be a bit Machiavellian, in pursuit of their goals, and for this reason it is also common to see many Orc pirates, willing to build their own legend at any cost, generally paid by others' pocket!
This is why, even in time of relative peace, Orcs are viewed with suspicion or ill-concealed resentment by other peoples of Inneath!
However, the vast majority of them doesn't care at all about what others think about their behaviour: their life is short and they simply don't have time to stand in a queue like others!
Of course, the fact that Orcs are aware of their brief existence doesn't mean that they accept it passively, or philosophically: more than any other kin on Inneath, they are obsessed by anything related to immortality, or just for any way that could extend their life!
For example, Orcs believe that cats, especially black cats, bring luck and long life to their owners (they think that cats are able to drive away evil spirits and curses!) and it is really common to see them surrounded by little felines: you would be impressed by how much loving and affectionated Orcs can be, with their purring companions!
For their part, cats accept willingly the incomparable protection and leftovers that an Orc guarantees.
You can't spell Orc, without spelling Goblin, too.
Despite I want to re-invent, as much as possible, the classic fantasy archetypes, I think that there are things that should stay as they have always been.
For this reason, our Orc range will contain also Goblin characters!
This is not only due to the fact that a whole Orc range would cost me a fortune to produce, and I honestly don't know if I will be able to afford 20 Orc characters, but also because Goblins are great to add storytelling and interesting, colourful characters to the scene.
I still don't know how they will look, but I think they will be a bit different from the classic GW style (you know, cease&desist stuff, and above all creative's pride).
...be patient, it will be worth it!
I know, after this post (if you managed to read it, enduring my English, of course!) you are probably eager than before to see our Orcs: if it depends on me, I would immediately call Valerio to tell him "stop sculpting that Pachicefalosaurus, it's time for Orcs&Cats!", but I need you to be patient and supportive as you've always been 'till now.
I'm sure that with more time available to work on both the Orc and Elf ranges separately, we will be able to create a better quality product and really do justice to them!
Obviously, the more doubloons we'll gather during the next year, the lesser time you will have to wait before seeing our brand new Orcs, so you if you want to help me achieve these goals, it's simple: spread the voice, support our project and keep being the amazing community you have been 'till now!
Or just sail the sea and steal some treasure for us, as a proper Orc would do.