Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Incredible, Edible Ork (part II)

Back when the title was thought up, there was a TV ad in the States where a catchy jingle sang out on TV "...the incredible, edible egg!" for American audiences on behalf of egg farmers. You see, I had two T&T players on a boat. A skiff in the middle of a doldrum and well away from food and drinkable water for about two weeks after they sneaked off the trading ship that they had just stolen the Demon Blue diamond in the last adventure. Things were looking bleak for the delvers. So along came a single ork in a boat. The PCs rowed close enough and promptly raided the boat killing the goblinoid sailor. Finding no food or water, nor thinking of how the ork in the boat got there, they ate the ork. 
Even sated, the adventurers still did not wonder how the ork in the boat had gotten to them. So I had the submarine full of orks, a leviathan actually, smash into both their boats, and made them figure out how to get aboard the inhabited sea creature to begin the undersea adventure I had in store for them. They barely held on the Demon Blue diamond. Had it fallen into the hands of Oceanus, the Sea God, things would've gotten interesting for the next player-characters in the campaign. The Cult of the Sky Beetle would not get the artifact and the city-state of Gul would fall to the orkish horde besieging it.

The above yarn is from 1980, though the TV commercial may have come later. I wrote an article for a zine called the Hobbit Hole with this post's title around March of '98. It recounted the tale that you've just read, and went on to talk about RPGers trying to be creative in how "monster-kin" are presented. But though I have been role-playing, now called tabletop roleplaying, since 1978, maybe '79, about 41 years, I am still a "New Wave fantasist." Yeah. About one hundred years of gnomes in blimps, vampire elves, and spaceships crashed atop mountains, Monty Cook's room with an ork guarding a pie still stumps the average "OSR" aficionado.
 The image above, the cover to "a gritty OSR" campaign setting, is too "woke" for some dude at a group at for real OSR gamers. First off, I'm not sure I agree that the image is depicting an ork as a  "... fashionably inclined 21st century humans trying to look like that stupid-ass Rae character from the dopey new Star Wars films crossed with a ren faire pirate?" I mean, I as an ork-rights advocate since my discovery of Monsters! Monsters! in '79, I've been seeing this sort of image since Shadowrun, that was before the original Star Wars film trilogy was completed. So maybe the guy has never watched the ren faire pirate costume-filled movie called Conan the Barbarian?
Maybe it's the guy thinks that it's about the tube-top and working out thing not being very feminine or something? He's definitely never watched the sequel.
Now I don't really care if a gamer doesn't like strong female characters. I don't care if they think that Shadowrun is "faggoty." I should quote here, "but it's faggoty orc mockeries are not tolerated by any sane person outside of the confines of that imaginary Seattle trash fire." But do not tell me that pig-nose orks are the epitome of the fantasy species depictions.

And do me another favor, don't act like you know crap about orks or old school gaming. The species has moved beyond a take on the novel House on the Borderland and fantasy gaming has always had strong female characters. Thanks for the point out though, I'll buy it next week to add to my ork library.

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