The Orc culture revolves around two main pillars: combat and honour. As a result, a great deal of conflicts are resolved through means of ritual combat. These sessions of ritual combat have very strict rules and regulations, which are very rigid. To break these rules would mean great dishonour, a shame no Orc would want to live with. Contrary to popular Midgardian and Asgardian belief, these combats are rarely to the death. Most Orcs even frown upon such permanent resolvement of disputes, as killing the other would mean one less honourable Orc who can fight dishonourable Asgardians. Most of the times, there are other penalties involved when losing a fight or better rewards for the winner. The penalties are comparable to the stakes involved - to ask anything more would be very dishonourable and might even mean the winner is declared the loser. Ritualized honour combat is a privilege only granted to Orcs of honour.
Honour takes centre stage in Orc society. Many cultures in Heimr have some sort of 'honour code', but these usually take a more simplistic and natural form. While orcs have degrees of honour and shame to work with. In Orc culture honour is socially enforced and in a much greater extend governed by tradition and ritual.
Some examples of honourable behaviour are:
- Participating in ritual combat (winning will net you more honour, but losing is still considered honourable)
- Victory on the battlefield
- Taking honourable people captives instead of killing them (Asgardians are never seen as honourable)
- Escaping dishonourable capture
Some examples of dishonourable behaviour are:
- Breaking promises
- Lying including defamation (telling lies about others shameful or dishonourable behaviour)
- Running away when captured by an honourable person
Some examples of shameful behaviour are:
- Backstabbing allies
- Breaking the rules of hospitality
- Mistreating honourable prisoners
- Cheating in ritual combat
- Attacking without a formal declaration of war
These things are never considered dishonourable or shameful:
- Poison use
- Attacking forces with superior numbers
- Attacking in the back
- In general, anything that can be used during warfare to gain a strategic or tactical advantage is not considered dishonourable or shameful.
The honour of an Orc is judged by the society around them. Offences can quickly dishonour or shame an orc but dishonour can quickly be redeemed by acts of honour while shameful behaviour is never forgotten (but may be forgiven) and eventually could become a long list. Once an Orc has reached a certain amount of shameful deeds (that are not countered by honourable deeds) they will be treated as outcasts, and in many cases even as outlaws. Orcs that are seen as outcasts tend to move around much, in an attempt to find a place that will take them in. Because of this, Orcs seeking a new home are often treated with even great distrust.
Orc societies organise themselves around houses. The house itself is considered to have honour. All deed of members of a house reflect on the honour of that house. Dishonourable acts of members of a house can be redeemed somewhat by making a public apology for the act. This however does not work on shameful acts. Dishonourable or shameful acts can be redeemed completely however by publicly evicting the acting orc from the house altogether. Power in Orc societies is mostly focused on houses. Positions and titles that are granted to individuals are considered to be part of that house, and will be granted to a different house members if the barer of the title passes on or gives up the title.
A lot of problems occur between Orcs and other races because their sense of honour is misunderstood. A common problem is that orcs will go to great lengths to avoid being taken prisoner by people that don't know the how to treat prisoners honourably. When fighting amongst themselves, Orcs resolve this by capturing enemies without imprisoning them. Captives are treated as guests and are not expected to run away. Orcs are much more likely to put down their sword and be take as hostage if their captor can ensure that they will not be mistreated.
Because of their constant physical training and exercise, they tend to be muscular, both the males and females.
Orcs have two large tusks protruding from their lower jaw, which they use for anything, from eating to fighting to sex.
Customs and Cultural Habits
Things people do because the culture teaches them to do it, also includes the ages of consent, legal maturity, etc.
Main Article: Orc Politics
Non-religious things people believe because the culture teaches them to believe it.
Art, Literature and Music
What does the culture finds aesthetically pleasing or exiting.
Usually builds on the area the culture settled in and the biological needs of the race.
How does the culture build its buildings.
How did the culture come to be.
Naming conventions and example names, including how things like family names and heritage are dealt with.