Reign of Winter
As seen by civilized races, half-orcs are monstrosities, the result of perversion and violence—whether or not this is actually true. Half-orcs are rarely the result of loving unions, and as such are usually forced to grow up hard and fast, constantly fighting for protection or to make names for themselves. Half-orcs as a whole resent this treatment, and rather than play the part of the victim, they tend to lash out, unknowingly confirming the biases of those around them.
A few feared, distrusted, and spat-upon half-orcs manage to surprise their detractors with great deeds and unexpected wisdom—though sometimes it’s easier just to crack a few skulls. Some half-orcs spend their entire lives proving to full-blooded orcs that they are just as fierce. Others opt for trying to blend into human society, constantly demonstrating that they aren’t monsters. Their need to always prove themselves worthy encourages half-orcs to strive for power and greatness within the society around them.
Elves and dwarves tend to be the least accepting of half-orcs, seeing in them too great a resemblance to their racial enemies, and other races aren’t much more understanding. A lifetime of persecution leaves the average half-orc wary and quick to anger, yet people who break through his savage exterior might find a well-hidden core of empathy. Human societies with few orc problems tend to be the most accommodating, and half-orcs dwelling there can often find work as mercenaries and enforcers. Even in places where there is a general tolerance for half-orcs, however, many humans mistreat them when they can get away with it.
Half-orcs are envious of the measure of acceptance half-elves have within human and elven society and resent their physical beauty, which contrasts starkly to the half-orcs’ brutish appearance. While half-orcs avoid antagonizing their half-breed cousins directly, they won’t hesitate to undermine them if the opportunity presents itself.
Of all the other races, half-orcs are most sympathetic with halflings, who often have an equally rough lot in life. Half-orcs respect the halfling’s ability to blend in and disappear and admire their perpetually cheerful outlook on life in spite of hardships. Halflings fail to appreciate this fact because they usually are too busy avoiding the large, intimidating half-orcs.
Staunchly independent, many half-orcs take to lives of adventure out of necessity, seeking to escape their painful pasts or improve their lot through force of arms. Others, more optimistic or desperate for acceptance, take up the mantle of crusaders in order to prove their worth to the world. Half-orcs raised in orc societies often take up the brutish ways of those around them, becoming fighters, barbarians, or rangers. Half-orcs who survive their shaman training may eventually succeed their masters as tribal shamans, or flee the tribe and practice their magic as outcasts or explorers.