As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to add Orcs to the world of Zaria. I’m going to have two different groups present: the first is going to be the citizens of a group of city-states (as mentioned in the above linked post).

These city-states are famous for their powerful trade barons and for the dozens of mercenary groups that call the cities home. The second half of the Orcish people will be modeled after Native Americans, particularly t he Iroquois. They’re going to live in the vast plains, farm and hunt.

I have all of that well established. Where the question arises, is that I need to decide on a mount that the Orcs favor. I was considering the stereotypical large-wolf mount, but then I thought about where I’m going to have these people live. It’s very similar to the Great Plains of America: grasslands and flat areas.

A herbivore would be  better suited to the rigors of travel across the plains. So here’s my question: go with the traditional large wolf/warg, European Bison (buffalo) or something else. It has to be large enough to support a race that ranges from 6’8″ to 7’6″ and several hundred pounds. If you choose other, please leave a comment!


About Joshua K Johnson

Josh is the author of The Cerberus Rebellion and The Hydra Offensive, Gunpowder Fantasy novels set in the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. He is currently working on a new novel set in the same world as well as The Centaur Incursion, Book 3 in the Ansgari Rebellion Series and Loyalty Betrayed, Book 1 in the Liberty Forged Series. He currently works full-time and has an 8-year old and a 4-year old to keep him busy.

Posted on June 23, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I think you should think about what other creatures might inhabit this kind of landscape. Since orcs are fantasy creatures, let your imagination go. Some kind of giant lizard? Insects? Who knows. Go for different than the expected.

  2. I cast my vote with other, but if you don’t like my idea, pretend I hit bison.

    I think that you should consider nothing. These are some big people – 7’6″ is MASSIVE – and almost any creature besides an elephant would struggle under their weight. Remember, until the arrival of Europeans, even the Iroquois didn’t have mounts.

    “But how will they have shock troops? Infantry can’t hope to stand against cavalry!” I hear you cry. These people are SEVEN FEET TALL, and presumably muscular. Why can’t they simply wear heavy armor with big shoulderplates on one side and axes or hammers, and just BULL THROUGH the massed ranks of their enemies? That would have all the weight of a cavalry charge, especially if they wore heavy harness. How would they resist a cavalry charge? By standing still, shoulder to shoulder, people that massive could knock a horse sideways. Maybe give them a smell that horses hate, or are afraid of (like camels or elephants), so cavalry charges aren’t efficient anyway.

    You have to keep in mind that horses, or other land transport, are a major step toward a developed society. If you want them to be like the Iroquois, mounts would (realistically) take away from that. Armies of infantrymen are a step away from the typical fantasy trope, and totally realistic and believable – and potentially really freaking cool.

    • Thanks for the feedback!

      The only reason that I had considered mounts of some kind was as beasts of burden (to haul things) and as a way for a vanguard to move ahead of the rest of the army.

      I’m still developing the details, but for the mercenary groups, the pecking order will be determined by who gets to the agreed upon camp site first. The sooner you get there, the higher your rank for the campaign. This will be balanced by the fact that they’ll be traveling for hundreds of miles between camp sites and the average will be between 25 and 35 miles per day. So it will be a kind of tortoise vs hare challenge.

      I suppose I could go with Bison as their beasts of burden without having them as mounts.

      • Hmm. Well obviously I don’t want to commandeer your story, I’m just throwing out ideas. Why can’t they have slaves as beasts of burden? Different strains of orcs, some bred to be faster moving (scouts), some bred to be big and dumb and strong (beasts of burden). That pecking order would still work without mounts as it would encourage fast, hard marches et cetera.
        Another thought; I don’t know about the climate of these areas, but I’ve always wanted to see someone ride a rhinoceros.

      • Rhinoceras was an option as well, but was set aside because of their natural environment. The area that I’m working with is very “midwest united states” “great plains” so a lot of open space, grasslands etcetera. I had thought Bison because they are of that type of environment and would be able to survive the winters.

        The issue of slaves is something that I’m still grappling with, especially because some of these Orcs are going to be civilized. The fast/normal/beast-mode could be used without going the slave route as well, I suppose, I would just need to work on it.

        I love feedback, so don’t feel like you’re commandeering the story. I might take a combination of all of these ideas and merge them together.

  3. Shrug, some humans were civilized in the 1800s, some had slaves, some were savages living in Papua New Guinea’s highlands.
    Also, woolly rhinoceri survived whole ice ages! 😛

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