Resource Title:   ORC BREEDS
Date Added:
Terry Zimmerman
Word Document of Orc Breeds
November 13, 2002
Orcish breeds for d20 orc characters and npc's.

The content below is an article written by Terry Zimmerman. This article presents gaming information for a "d20 format" orc character class. All information contained within is protected by copyright laws of Canada.


Breeds of Orcs

In traditional fantasy literature the description of orcs tends to vary, though most authors describe orcs as green skinned, flat nosed, pointed eared and having tusks. Staying true to these commonalties I have created two primary breeds of orcs that may exist in most any fantasy world, Uruks and Snaga.

There is no affective character level adjustment for either breed when they are played as orc characters in an orc campaign. Should either breed be used as an orc character in a non-orc based campaign, then their level adjustment would be one.  


The Uruk tend to resemble the more traditional fantasy orc. They are large, burly, mean-tempered beasts who excel in combat. Their lower jaw protrudes forward slightly ahead of their upper jaw to accommodate their large tusks. Uruk have splotches of coarse black hair on their heads and back. Uruk are 6 to 7 feet tall, but often stoop forward reducing their height appearance by one foot. Uruk also have a bulky, muscular build. Their weight ranges from 300 to 400 pounds. They have dull blood-red eyes with black pupils.

Uruk tend to be very confident of their physical prowess. Often they perceive themselves as nearly invincible -- a perception which has lead many uruk to an early grave. Uruk tend to be quite selfish, individualistic and are more concerned over their own welfare than that of others. Uruk are always looking for ways to gain reputation and rank within their clan.

Young uruk commonly bully snaga, often resulting in a conflict ending in serious injury caused to the snaga. Eventually the young uruk will come across a very clever, agile and/or magically gifted snaga who will quickly teach him that not all snaga are as weak and inferior as they seem to appear. Should an abused snaga live through the conflict, it is very common that the snaga and a few of his loyal chums will visit the uruk in the near future. By adulthood, the uruk learn to accept the snaga as capable and useful orcs.

Most uruk are not of average intelligence. Of the uruk that are intelligent, the biggest and strongest of them tend to become the leaders within their clans and tribes. Most orcs (snaga and uruk) support the tradition of following leaders who are physically strong and exude fear upon their enemies simply by their mere appearance.

Uruk Traits:

  • +4 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma
  • Medium size.
  • Base speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision up to 60 feet.
  • Toughness feat
  • Bonus feat at first level
  • Light sensitive -1
  • Access to Uruk Hardiness feat
  • Automatic Language: Orc. Bonus Languages: Common, Demonic, Draconic, Gnoll, Goblin and Infernal.
  • Favored Class: Orc Rager (Barbarian)

Snaga used to be uruk many centuries ago when they ventured out into the sun-lit lands. They have long since lost their ability to see in darkness since they have adjusted to the sunlight. A few Snaga yet claim to have some latent ability to see well in partial darkness.

Snaga are smaller in stature and build than Uruk. These orcs tend to be slightly more muscular in build than humans and do not tend to hunch forward as much as the uruk. They are still tough orcs, however their interests often stray slightly from all out combat.

Snaga's skin tends to be a greyish-green color. They have tufts of black hair on their head and back, although many are completely hairless. Snaga have dull blood-red eyes with black pupils. Their lower jaw only slightly protrudes in front of their upper jaw and their tusks are fairly small compared to the uruk -- and this feature alone makes it hard for uruk to view snaga as equals as the size of an orc's tusks is perhaps the greatest source of pride they have. Snaga average height is between 5 to 6 feet and weigh an average of 180 to 250 pounds.

Snaga tend to stick together and they spend much of their youthful years building loyalties with a few other snaga.

Snaga Traits:

  • +2 Strength, -2 Charisma
  • Medium size
  • Base speed is 30.
  • Low Light vision
  • Attuned Resistance (The snaga may start with one of the following feats: Great Fortitude, Iron Will, or Lightning Reflexes)
  • Alertness feat
  • Automatic Language: Orc. Bonus Languages: Common, Demonic, Draconic, Gnoll, Goblin and Infernal.
  • Favored Class: Orc Scout (Ranger)
Orc Cross-breeds

An orc born from a coupling of a snaga and an uruk will always be born as the same breed of the mother. When either breed mates with a human, the resulting half-orc will gain the abilities of a half-orc as described in the Player's Handbook.  

New Orc Feats

Orc Improved Darkvision

Although orcs do have red eyes, their eyes do not glow red in darkness unless they have this feat. With this feat an uruk gains 120' darkvision, and a snaga's low light vision triples the range he can see from a given light source. When this ability is utilized to see beyond the orc's normal vision ranges, the orc's eyes glow red.

Uruk Hardness

Similar to an Orc Rager's damage reduction ability, uruk are able to stand their ground and partially shrug off some of the impact of a physical attack or blow (melee or missile). An uruk with this ability can apply their constitution bonus to their armor class instead of their dexterity bonus (if any) when a physical attack or blow is directed against them.

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