Campaign of the Month: July 2012
Guardians of the Frontier
The scro resemble musclebound orcs, fully armored and armed to the teeth.
The scro stand proud and erect, and their high foreheads resemble humanity’s. Scro have large canine teeth that they sharpen to a fine point; they decorate teeth and ears with tribal mini-totems. Scro eyes appear human, but they glow a sickly phosphorescent green in dim light. Hide color ranges from slate gray, burnt orange, light tan, and moss green, to jet black and even, in rare cases, albino white.
Each scro wears an insignia that identifies its tribe.
The scro speak a distant variant of the orcish tongue. Curiously, some speak fluent elvish, for they have fanatically preserved the language of their worst enemies-so that when the scro slaughter the elven race, the marauding humanoids can tell their victims, in their own tongue, who is doing this to them.
The Scro live for combat. They have raised it to the highest form of expression in their society. They fight easily in any environment and are well disciplined. Though the scro can be just as bloodthirsty as orcs, they have tempered their savagery with pragmatism and strategic and tactical cunning. Scro actually obey most of the civilized rules of warfare and do not fire on messengers or truce-bearers. For every four scro encountered, there is one sergeant. For every ten scro encountered, there is one captain and one war priest. Only the largest gatherings of scro include an Almighty Leader.
War priests, are multi-classed level cleric/mages.
The vast majority of scro warriors specialize in unarmed combat, which gives them two punches per round at +1 to hit, doing ld3 damage per punch plus Strength bonuses.
Most adult scro have at least Strength 16 and Constitution 15. In addition, some scro use a spiked leather glove that does an extra + 1 hp damage in unarmed combat attacks.
Scro armor spikes cause ld4 damage to any foe that the scro smashes against. Some nasty scro coat their armor’s studs and spike with a Type D poison (5% chance); the poison’s onset takes one minute and does 30 hp damage (save vs. poison for 2d6 damage).
If all else fails, a scro bites with its powerful teeth for ld3 damage. If a scro kills an opponent with its teeth, the triumphant warrior affixes a small gem or bauble on one of its oversized canines. It then takes a tooth from the opponent and puts it on a necklace called a toregkh. This necklace is prized as a totem of strength. If it is stolen, the warrior flies into a berserk rage against the offender +2 to hit and damage, +4 penalty to AC, number of attacks per round doubled).
Strangely, the scro are notably articulate. They prefer to begin combat by shouting long, literate insults against their opponents, to show that they hold their enemies in contempt. The mere sight of a goblinoid spouting offensive alliterations might disorient the most battle-hardened veteran long enough to let the scro gain initiative in combat.
Direct sunlight does not affect scro combat ability.
Scro live in a regimented society, based on a complex system of laws and customs that call for unswerving loyalty and obedience. Each scro is a valued member of society and has a duty to fulfill.
Leaders are respected and obeyed unless they show obvious cowardice in battle. In that case, it is the strongest scro’s duty to overthrow the cowards authority and lead the troops in glorious battle.
The scro homeworld’s location is unknown. Thus far, they have seldom ventured into civilized areas, preferring to keep out of sight until they are truly ready. On the homeworld, Dukagsh, the scro live in well-planned, spartan cities with stout towers, strong fortresses, and efficient shipyards. Though the place is no garden spot, neither is it smoky, ugly, or garbage-strewn. Each city has 10,000 to 100,000 orcs. Each of Dukagsh’s 24 tribes is led by an Almighty Leader. The entire planet is ruled by the Ultimate High Overlord, a 16 HD scro who is guarded by 24 Captains, one from each tribe. Each tribe has a social rank, with those of lower rank subordinate to the higher tribes.
Scro soldiers train in non-weapon proficiencies and normally have three of these skills: Armorer, Blindfighting, Endurance, land-based Riding, Reading/Writing, Rope Use, Running, Tracking, and Weaponsmithing. War priests have four, plus Healing, Herbalism, Religion, and Spellcraft. Scro are not interested in conquering the multiverse. Their sole purpose is to drive all groundling human, demi-human, and humanoid races out of wildspace for good. The war priests see this, not planetary conquest, as their holy mission. As for the races native to wildspace . . . well, the scro will need slave labor, and those pitiful races will do quite nicely. The scro are merely waiting for the right moment to strike.
Ecology: The scro have an “us against the whole multiverse” philosophy that is sure to produce plenty of enemies when they make their presence felt. Thus far, the scro know much about the other space-faring races, but those races are unaware of the scro’s existence, save for a few rumors from unreliable sources. Like their orcish forebears, scro are fecund. They produce litters of ld4+1 offspring, most with an excellent chance of survival beyond infancy. Unlike their orcish ancestors, the scro live for an average of 80 years.
History: The scro trace their ancestry back to the orc tribes that fought and lost the Unhuman Wars. Some crews and troops of the few surviving orc vessels made their way to a remote but habitable planet and settled down. This ragtag band was led by a huge orc called Dukgash, who appointed himself the first Almighty Leader.
By orc standards, Dukagsh was a visionary. He recognized that the orcs lost the Unhuman Wars because of their one-dimensional ideas and outmoded tactics. Brutality for its own sake had gotten them nowhere. Dukagsh realized that the orcs needed to fight in an organized way, and that each soldier must realize his full potential. In the ensuing years, Dukagsh whipped his people Into shape, making sure that they learned fighting, survival, and even culture. To make sure no one forgot who caused the orc’s misfortune, each orc had to learn fluent elvish. Sometimes, the orcs salvaged equipment from drifting space junk, the remains of human, elven, dwarven, and goblinoid ships from the Unhuman War battles. Occasionally they found books, and Dukagsh made his people read them. Before Dukagsh died, he declared that his people were on the path to success. The old ways were dead, he claimed, and a new race was born, a race that was more than any orc could ever be. He named them the scro. At his death, his grateful followers named their homeworld in his honor. Dukagsh’s tomb now floats over the homeworld’s north pole, so that the deceased leader may look down on his people and watch their progress.
Advanced orcs from a distant sphere, scro are consummate warriors, adept at fighting alone against overwhelming odds, in close formation with similarly trained companions, or in command of less disciplined allies. Feared but grudgingly respected by their enemies, the scro have few friends outside their own kind.
Personality: Scro are aggressive and intense by nature, but their iron discipline keeps their emotions well hidden beneath a cool exterior. Scro often seem unfeeling because of their ability to coldly analyze their situation, but inside every scro seethes a frenzied orc only barely suppressed by culture and breeding. Among their own kind, the scro maintain arigid chain of command with a mix of respect, admiration, and fear. Unlike most evil creatures, the typical scro is selfless, self-disciplined, and focused on the greater good of his kind.
Physical description: Scro resemble ordinary orcs in their brutish features, sharp tusklike teeth, and formidable physiques, although a scro usually stands taller and ramrod straight. Scro display a wide range of skin colors, ranging from jet black to albino white, but otherwise vary little in outward appearance. Regardless, seeing even a lone scro in action dispels any illusions that those of his race are merely orcs. Scro take great pride in their armor and weapons, although most specialize in aunarmed combat. Ascro moves with astonishing discipline and complete control, carefully and astutely picking apaert his opponents.
Relations: The typical scro despises all other humanoids. Waging a genocidal war against the hated elves, the scro loathe all non-goblinoid and non-orc races and see little use for such kin outside of cannon fodder. Non-humanoids, such as dragons and beholders, pose a serious threat the scro prefer to avoid.
Scro show tact and decorum when they encounter other races in a social setting. Much like their ancestral foes, the elves, they prefer to demonstrate their superiority by not lowering themselves to the level of to the beings. On the other hand, scro liberally pepper their battle cries with fantastically creative insults calculated to goad opponents into a mistake.
Alignment: Generations of regimentation and discipline beat ancestral orc anarchy out of the scro race, leaving the survivors almost exclusively lawful. The scro show far less interest in conquering their tendencies toward brutality and viciousness, so most remain evil.
Scro Land: Aside from their distant homeworld, the scro prefer the rigors of Wil;dspace to any groundling terrain. When forced to ground, scro favor no particular climate or terrain, provided they can find ways to gain a tactical advantage from it. Scro fortify their homes, but lay fewer traps than most orcs and goblinoids.
Religion: After elven victory in the Unhuman War, the ancestors of the scro abandoned worship of the orc pantheon. The modern scro war-priest devotes himself to martial perfection and self-discipline. Scro tradition commands war-priests to multiclass as arcane spellcasters, and most become mystic theurges. Ordinary scro participate in few public rituals, but most privately follow a similar, albeit less ascetic, course of self-discipline.
Language: Scro speak a language derived from Orc. Anyone who speaks ORc grasps the basics of Scro, although the more refined tongue boasts nearly three times the vocabulary and a much greater range of expression. ON the other hand, someone who learns to speak Scro understands Orc, probably better than most orcs. In addition, most scro speak common to better interact with the races of Wildspace, and Elven, to taunt and debase their ancestral foes.
Names: Scro use longer, more complex orc names. Scro prefer hero names to d3escriptives names. Since almost all ancestral orc heroes were male and the scro insist on total militarization, female scro usually have feminine suffixes attached to orcish masculine names, a practice which orcs find disconcerting.
Male names: Dukgash, Horageth, Kagedmakh, Skalkash, Thokmakh, Varvageth.
Female names: Dukgashia, Horagethim, kagedmakhia, Shalkashev, Thokmakhim, Varvagethim.
Family names: Scro use rank, unit, and clan designations rather than family names. Clan names honor the clan’s founder, ususally an ancient orc or more recent scro who earned leadership of a full clan by some extraordinary exploit. The orc suffix, ulak, meaning ‘the hero’s’ is thus applied to all clan names. Thus, a scro’s full name might be Skalkash, Captain, 2nd Company, Dukgashulak.
Adventurers: While the best and brightest of most races typically become their adventuring class, scro adventurers more often than not come from the lowest caste of scro society, those unable to live up to the rigourous standards of their race.
A scro adventurer might display too many scruples for his kin, or, more commonly, involve himself in disorderly behavior. He might simply lack the physical and mental toughness to survive the scro lifestyle. A principlied scro might find a place in his people’s society, but a weak or chaotic one counts himself lucky if he faces exile rather than death. On the other hand, some scro adventurers remain firmly fixed in the scro military machine. These seemingly freelance agents ultimately owe their allegiance to the Ultimate High Overlord, but they serve the scro cause by infiltrating the societies of other races and even acting as mercenaries.
Scro Racial Traits:
STR+4, DEX+2, CON+2. Scro posses the best traits of orcs and hobgoblins with few of the drawbacks. Medium size, no special bonuses or penalties due to size. Infravision, Scro can see in the dark up to 60 feet. +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against elves (including drow). From the day they’re born, Scro learn to hate elves and how to fight them. Automatic Languages: Common and Scro. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Giff, Goblin and Orc. The Scro learn the languages they need to perform their duties. Favored Class: Monk. A multiclass scro’s monk class does not count when determining whether he takes an XP penalty for multiclassing. Scro believe in iron self-discipline and practice unarmed combat extensively. Most scro, however, are multiclass monk/fighters.