There is an Orcish civilization. It is not the only one, of course. This one is an empire, centered around Tosk, the "City of Spears".

The Toskan empire is not interested in conquest. Rather, its clans secure work, resources, and prestige by aiding those in need. They are mercenaries, enforcing order in lawless lands by the consent of those living there.

This guide is intended to present Tosk and its inhabitants as a system-neutral play aid for TTRPGs. In addition to the main text, two voices present their perspective on Tosk and its people: Virens, a Toskan orc, and Santino, a human traveler making his way through the empire.

The content of this guide is CC-BY licensed. You can grow and expand Tosk as you wish, but you must acknowledge the original author ("Astral Frontier").

Orcs as "the other"

Every real-world marginalized group is different. Whether gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, or something else, each faces its own challenge and has its own experiences. And human beings can find themselves in several of these categories, facing further unique challenges (intersectionality).

Orcs are often othered in fiction. They can be treated as subhuman monsters, rampaging barbarians, uncouth primitives, or inherently wicked creations of evil and deserving of destruction. More sympathetic views depict orcs as marginalized people, and sometimes have them stand in for an existing group.

This guide assumes that orcs are marginalized in their own world to an extent, but does not intend to paint them as a substitute for any real world group. Likewise, orcs can stand at the intersection of identities. There are queer orcs, disabled orcs, orcs from shunned ethnic groups, orcs who faced persecution for religious reasons, and more. This guide does not intend to uphold such people as heroes, or pity them as wretches. It intends to depict them as people.