Uruk-Balt (Swamp Orcs) Army List
The Uruk-Balt army list is for those orc and goblin tribes living in and around
the extensive swamps and marshes of the hot south lands. An uneasy truce can
be arranged between the various Swamp Orc and Forest Goblin tribes, making for
a much larger and more formidable fighting force, either to raid a neighbour
or repulse an adversary.
The Uruk-Balt forces owe little allegiance to the Great Orc Clans of the north.
They are far removed from them and have been so for many generations. However,
much like the relationship between orcs and goblins, which no scholar truly
understands, tyranny, fear and oppression seem almost to be a necessary
requirement for a well developed orc mentality. The Swamp Orcs therefore
still have some innate fear and awe of the Great Orcs, almost an ingrained
genetic memory. Luckily for them, the Great Orc clans view them with some
disdain, seeing them as barbarous at best, animals at worse. However, this
does not mean that the Great Orc clans are above calling upon the formidable
fighting prowess of Uruk-Balt forces if the need is great. The Uruk-Balt
Tribal Leaders may mutter resentment and protest at this, but they invariably
comply. There is little love lost between the Lesser, Hill Orcs, and the
Swamp Orcs though, and such mixed forces need a very firm hand from the War
Chief and Battle Leaders if they are not to degenerate into the chaos of open
feud and bloodshed.
Eastwards from the Swamplands lie the Nubian plains, and they are plagued by
Uruk-Balt raids, killing and burning for what almost appears to be a wanton
love of bloodshed and destruction. Although they attempt to patrol the
shifting borders of the Swamplands, they have as yet dared not risk a venture
into its heart to tackle their antagonists in their lair.
To the south lie the Temples of the Lizardmen and their Frogling allies, some
of latter sharing the southern borders of the Swampland with the Uruk-Balt tribes.
While there is no real alliance here, there is a wary respect on both sides.
Minor clashes are not uncommon, but usually this amounts to little more than
inter-Tribal feuding. And the 2 have been known to march together to war before
now, unifying against a common threat to the Southlands.
The Uruk-Balt, or Swamp Orcs, themselves are large, savage and brutal, even by
orcish standards. They are a fragmented and fiercely tribal people where
internecine rivalry permeates their nature as part of the fight for survival.
Cannibalism is common, although the larger Swamp Orcs prefer the smaller and
more succulent Forest Goblins that live in the jungle and mangroves at the
edge of the swamp. Some of the Swamp Orc tribes have even gone so far as to
keep captive Forest Goblin 'herds' especially for eating - and in times of war,
which is often, will force these unfortunates to fight for them as well.
Perhaps the most frightening thing about the Swamp Orcs is that, unlike other
orcs, they are not cowed by the sun. This is a consequence of their environment,
for the Swamp Orcs have taken to smearing their bodies in thick layers of the
stinking mud and ooze that makes up their homeland. This 'Mystical Mud' seems
to protect them from the sunlight, and over the generations they have gradually
become used to going abroad about their business during the day as much as the
Units of Swamp Orcs are a frightening sight to behold, the 'Mystical Mud'
coating their bodies applied in garish patterns of black, brown , red,
white and orange. Fortunately however, they wear little or no armour.
To them , the 'Mystical Mud' is all the protection they need, and to wear
anything else suggests some kind of fear of getting hurt, or cowardice.
However, it is also again probably a consequence of their environment as
any leather, wood or metal will quickly corrode and rot in the humid environment
of the Swamplands.
Recently, the Swamp Orcs have learnt form their northern cousins and have
started to capture and train the giant pecaris that also call the swamp
home. These creatures are even more irascible than their northern boar
counterparts, more than matching their rider's ferocious temperament.
Something the Nubians have certainly begun to learn to their cost as mounted
Uruk-Balt raids on their villages range ever further into their homeland.
The Uruk-Dru-Ul, or Forest Goblins, are rarely seen. Even when they attack,
the first that will be known of their presence is usually a poisoned arrow in the back
fired from the undergrowth. They are at one with their jungle home, matched
only by the pygmies for stealth and jungle lore, the 2 being deadly rivals.
Although the Forest Goblins exist in an autonomous tribal society, they still
have ties to the Swamp Orcs. Philosophers speculate that it is just an intrinsic
part of Goblin nature to require the tyranny of Orcs in order to validate
their existence. Despite the high risk of being eaten in this case.
Small units of Forest Goblins will often accompany Swamp Orc raiding parties,
acting as scouts and offering missile support.
Forest Goblins are small, even by normal goblin standards.
They wear little in the way of armour, preferring to rely on
stealth, guile and their forest skills instead. Their most useful
talent is a limited ability to train and ride the monstrous giant
spiders that live in the deep jungle, whilst their shaman have been
known to ride the giant mosquito like hummerhorns found in the Swamplands;
frightening creatures with a malign intelligence whose sting can pierce even
the sturdiest mail.
Monsters of the Swamplands
The swamps of the south are rife with a plethora of dangerous creatures.
As well as the usual gamut of wild life: from crocodiles of immense size and age
to poisonous snakes and giant constrictors, there are those creatures that the
Uruk-Balt have coerced, bullied or trained to fight along side them. The huge
boar-like peccaries and giant mosquito-like hummerhorns have already been mentioned,
as well as the malign giant spiders of the jungle. But there are others,
even more terrifying than these.
Krokadogs are some sort of mutant crossbreed. Bigger and more squat than a
crocodile, they are equally at home in the water or on land and can be readily
trained as the most viscous of 'pets'. They are unsurpassed trackers through
the Swamplands and the Uruk-Balt often use them for hunting.
Perhaps the most frightening of the natural denizens are the huge Olog-Balt or
Swamp Trolls. Larger than the hill variety, bulkier than the mountain trolls
and incredibly difficult to kill, they are unmatched for shear bad-tempered
ferocity. Their only weakness is, like most of their brethren, they can be
out-witted fairly easily. Fortunately, they are also very rare. Favoured
indeed is the orc tribe that can count one amoungst its allies. Favoured
that is until it turns on them.
The strangest and deadliest creatures of the Swamplands are the demons that
lurk there, the Dy-Dagul. There are some, the Uruk-Balt shamans amoungst them,
that say that the Swampland itself has an old and malign intelligence that pervades
and permeates the land. The Dy-Dagul are a manifestation of this, being the
land itself incarnate. They are something like elementals, but more than this.
Their very substance seems to comprise of corruption, decay and disease; from
the smallest of their kind less than knee high up to the great, bloated
monstrosities occasionally seen. As far as is known, the Dy-Dagul are never
encountered naturally but must be summoned forth from the swamp. However,
whether the magical energy employed summons them into existence, or just calls
them forth from some dark and hidden recess of the land, no one knows.
Whichever it is, they are powerful and dangerous allies.