Shattered Stone Orcs

"Long has our people been squeezed between the fairies and the men of the valley. No more shall we cower among these trees! Under the cold stare of He Who Never Sleeps, we will run our spears through the hearts of our enemies and feel their hot blood shower our faces!”

—Vernnagar, chieftain of the Shattered Stone Orcs

The Shattered Stone Orcs have spent centuries beneath the leaves of the Border Forest. The tribe’s strength has waxed and waned over the passing of decades as its chieftains have sought to expand their holdings beyond the Border Forest. Never have the Shattered Stone Orcs been so few, yet their leadership has never been stronger.

BACKGROUND
On the verge of starvation, the orc tribes of the White Peaks were united under the opportunistic Gurvoth. They came howling down the mountainside, beneath the boughs of the mighty pine and oak of the Rystall Wood during late fall in the Year of Good Hunting (-205 DR). Like a wave of fangs and axes, the orc hoard crushed the elven thorps and villages as fallen leaves beneath their feet. Before the first snowfall, the hoard enveloped Yrlaancel; yet the elves managed to defend their city from the orcs’ lust for blood. During the biting cold of winter, Gurvoth threw everything he had at Yrlaancel, but the elves claimed victory as the ice began to thaw in the high mountain streams.
As Gurvoth’s forces assailed Yrlaancel, one tribe broke away and sought easier prey farther south into the areas of the Rytsall Wood that were sparsely populated by the elves. Deeper and deeper they stalked through the forest until they were far from the hoard that assaulted the City of Peace. The fey of Rystall Wood encircled the tribe, cutting off hope of rejoining Gurvoth’s hoard to the north, and began to slowly pick apart the tribe and push it farther south. By the time the orcs staggered into the area of the forest under the protection of the elves of Tachepp, they were a small group of desperate warriors. Northeast of Tachepp, in an area of rugged ravines, the orcs made a desperate move for survival and collapsed a cave entrance behind them as they fled underground. Content to let the orcs starve to death beneath the tangled roots of pine and oak, the elves did not follow.
The orcs did not starve as the elves assumed they would. Unknown to the elves and even the fey, the cave led deep into the earth where a freshwater lake full of fish was surrounded by editable mosses and fungi. Decades passed as the orcs multiplied and began to rebuild their strength. The orcs called their new home Darlat Gorkoth, roughly meaning “early grave” in the common tongue. This cavern in which they dwelled, as well as the surrounding caves, were all poor in minerals. The orcs had no metal with which to fashion weapons or armor. To protect themselves from the creatures that crawled from the deep portions of the lake, the orcs learned to fight more effectively with their fists, claws, fangs and feet. The greatest warriors among the orcs were able to shatter stone with their very fists. It was during this time they began to call themselves the Shattered Stone Orcs.
As the tribes numbers swelled, and the food started to run out, the Shattered Stone Orcs dug through the rubble of the collapsed entrance to find the forest under siege by a hoard of giants and orcs. The Shattered Stone Orcs joined the giants and orcs that brought low the Rystall Wood in the Year of Gleaming Frost (-64 DR). It was during this time that the elven outpost of Areal Gisir was destroyed by the Shattered Stone Orcs, but the elves of Tachepp managed to keep their town from being swept away by the giants and orcs. In the years following the fall of Rystall Wood, the Shattered Stone Orcs slowly expanded their territory north, claiming the lives of many elves, hybsils and satyrs.
In the Year of Burning Skies (632 DR), the Shattered Stone Orcs joined the army of Iyraclea the Ice Queen. By this time, the Shattered Stone Orcs controlled the southern half of the Rystall Wood, which by then was known as the Border Forest by the humans that lived in the Tesh Valley. In the Year of Chasms (633 DR) Myth Ondath was destroyed and the Shattered Stone Orcs assimilated many of the orcs and ogres that were part of the Ice Queens army. The Shattered Stone Orcs held all but the southern tip of the Border Forest through the might of their ogre allies and ogrillon offspring.
Vergluk the Horned, chieftain of the Shattered Stone Orcs, soon found it difficult to maintain control of the orcs, ogres, and ogrillons spread across the entire Border Forest. Ogrillon icepriestesses of Auril soon began sowing dissent among the northern orcs, ogres and ogrillons against the southern Gruumsh worshiping orcs. In the Year of Ire's Immolation (639 DR), an all out war erupted between the two factions. The Border Forest fey used every opportunity to strike both sides. After six years, the Auril worshiping orcs and their allies were nearly wiped out and the Shattered Stone Orcs of the south were but a fraction of the strength they were at the time Myth Ondath fell.
Over the next three hundred years, the orcs retook much of the southern Border Forest despite the best efforts of the fey. The orcs began to test their might against the men of the Tesh Valley. At the time, the humans were little more than a number of independent towns and villages united under a common defense agreement known collectively as Merrydale. House Morn, one of the strongest and most influential of the noble houses of the valley, began construction of Fort Orcskull to help protect their logging and farming interests along the southern fringe of the Border Forest. The orcs managed to destroy the fort a number of times before they in turn, were defeated by the soldiers of Fort Orcskull and one of the Nine Druids of Cormanthor in the Year of the Hunted Whale (1013 DR).
It was another three hundred years before Gulab, the chief of the Shattered Stone Orcs, entered into an alliance with the Zhentarim and attacked Dagger Falls in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR). Unfortunately, Gulab realized after his tribe attacked, that Dagger Falls wasn’t going to be as easy of pickings as the Zhentarim had promised. Gulab was slain in the battle, and his people were forced to retreat back into the Border Forest to once again lick their wounds.
The Shattered Stone Orcs are now lead by Gulab’s only surviving son, Vernnagar, whose calculated attacks keep his enemies on their heels and his greatly outnumbered tribe alive.

VERNNAGAR
NE male half-fang dragon/half-mountain orc fighter 7
Born of the union between the mountain orc Gulab and the fang dragon Sevellantranarth, Vernnagar rose quickly as a powerful warrior due to his draconic heritage and his father’s influence. His renown among the tribe’s warriors was built completing solo missions for his father and the tribe’s clerics and adepts. Eventually he was giving command of his own war party. Vernnagar’s leadership developed a group of skilled warriors that slew many enemies of the tribe while very rarely losing one of their own. Most of this war party make up the senior leadership within the Shattered Stone Orcs today.
Upon the death of his father, Vernnargar set about securing his leadership of the tribe. First he slew every sibling and every widow of Gulab in case she was carrying a child. A few orc warriors sought to claim the tribe as their own but Vernnagar easily dispatched all challengers to his rule with brutal efficiency. In two short months after the death of Gulab, Vernnagar was the undisputed chief of the Shattered Stone Orcs.
Vernnagar has two wives who have given birth to five daughters. The eldest daughter, Vernharra, has survived fourteen winters. Vernnagar wishes to sire a son, but is wasting no time in making each of his daughters skilled fighters and intelligent tacticians.

GOALS
Like most orcs who have the strength and wits to keep a tribe of orcs under their control, Vernnagar seeks to take the entire forest and areas beyond into his grasp. Under his father’s rule, the Shattered Stone Orcs held almost the entire bottom half of the Border Forest. Gulab’s humiliating defeat at Dagger Falls, cost the tribe nearly all of the area once under their control. Reduced to little more than a band of bandits, the Shattered Stone Orcs raid small caravans and communities that lie within and around the edge of the Border Forest.
Vernnager knows that he has a lot of work to do before he can realize his dream. He has spent the years following his father’s death, building up the fortifications of the Shattered Stone ancestral cavern, Darlat Gorkoth. Much time has been spent training his warriors to be swift and deadly killers who understand the importance of making their enemies believe they are greater in number than they truly are. Due to the small size of the tribe, many female orcs are found among the warrior class of the Shattered Stone Orcs. With the aid of his mother, the fang dragon Sevellantranarth, the Shattered Stone Orcs have cowed a tribe of ogres as well as a band of hobgoblins into service.

USING THIS VILLIAN
Vernnagar is truly concerned about the lives of his warriors, only because he sees each one as an important part of his plan to put all who live in the Border Forest—and beyond—under his heel. This concern for his warriors has led them to be extremely loyal to their chief. Vernnagar cares little for the fate of the ogres and hobgoblins who are nothing more than fodder to weaken his enemies.
Making heavy use of scouts, Vernnagar is studying the humans, elves and fey who surround his tribe. His level of caution is unheard of for his race, yet he keeps his warriors active enough to sate their bloodlust.

APPEARANCE AND BEHAVIOR
Coming from mountain orc and fang dragon parentage, Vernnagar is a fierce looking creature. His bestial face is framed by spikes and horns that sweep back from his face. Oversize fangs protrude from his upper and lower jaws, which perpetually drip saliva. He is a huge specimen, covered in brown scales and spikes.
Vernnagar appears calm at all times. Confident in his own abilities, Vernnagar fears nothing beneath the leaves of the Border Forest. Even around his mother, Vernnagar is merely cautious. Vernnagar enjoys proving himself through single combat against his enemies and will never turn down a challenge. Having a sense of honor, Vernnagar will refuse aid even if his opponent draws allies into the duel.

VERNHARRA
NE female mountain orc scout 3
Vernharra is a silent viper among the trees of the Border Forest. Her father views her war party’s methods weak, but cannot dispute the effectiveness of Vernharra’s warriors. Vernnagar thinks her tactics resemble those of the elves too much, and Vernharra has learned much from her elven enemies. She has seen too many strong orc warriors who could crush a stone in their fist, fall to elven arrows long before the elves were within reach of a thrown spear. The elves must be hunted like they used to hunt the orcs, and she has trained her warriors to be silent and swift killers of the forest.
Vernharra has little interest in her father’s plans of conquest and spends little time among the orcs of Darlat Gorkoth. She and her warriors keep on the fringe of the land held by the Shattered Stone Orcs, killing enemies of the tribe and sending home fresh meat taken from the forest.
Vernharra is a tall and lean, unusual among the more squat and heavy female orcs. Her draconic heritage is still visible in her serpentine facial features. A few brown scales adorn her forehead and each of her brows sport a pair of button horns. To accentuate her draconic features, Vernharra split the end of her tongue at an early age, which causes her to speak with a bit of a lisp.

SEVELLANTRANARTH
CE female adult fang dragon
Terribly wounded, Sevellantranarth, snaked her way from the forest surrounding fallen Myth Drannor to the Border Forest. She was discovered by Gulab and his warriors were set to finish off the wyrm and return home as mighty dragon slayers, but the fang dragon convinced Gulab to hold off his warriors in exchange for an heir like no other. The experience was so revolting for Gulab that only one of his children came from the fang dragon. Sevellantranarth’s experiences leading up to their union was such a strain on her mental state that the dragon thereafter viewed the Shattered Stone Orcs as her personal hoard and protects them as such.
Sevellantranarth spends her time lying in a chamber deep within Darlat Gorkoth, listening to the whisperings (for the orcs quickly learned that a raised voice can send her into a rage) of her treasured orcs telling her of their plans and pleas for aid. For the most part she tries to ignore what they have to say, because what dragon in her right mind would let her hoard tell her what she should do. But the fang dragon is not in her right mind and on occasion will act on the urgings of the whispering orcs as if the plans were her own.
Sevellantranarth’s hide is covered with thick, scarlet scars from her time spent in the ruins of Myth Drannor. Of the numerous spikes that cover her body, many are broken off.

TLARGAT
CE male mountain orc barbarian 1/cleric of Gruusmh 8
Tlargat has always coveted the leadership of the Shattered Stone Orcs. He was never able to challenge Gulab and now he cannot escape the shadow of Vernnagar. In his youth, Tlargat had the potential for greatness within the tribe. Stronger and more savage than most orcs, he quickly gained the support of the tribe’s clerics and adepts. Promised support by Guur, the tribe’s Eye of Gruusmh, upon the completion of a raid deep within the central portion of the Border Forest, Tlargat was to challenge Dabruk, the tribe’s chief, upon the return of his war party. The mission went poorly for Tlargat’s warriors. Every one of them perished in an ambush by satyrs, hybsils, and shadar-kai. All except Tlargat who killed many of the fey but eventually swooned under the loss of an arm and eye. The fey even went so far as to stab him multiple times while he lay bleeding on the ground.
Two weeks after his war party left Darlat Gorkoth, Tlargat stumbled back to the cavern to fall defeated and a second from death at the feet of Guur who saw Tlargat’s missing eye as an omen from Gruumsh and healed, rather than kill the fallen warrior. Guur quickly switched his support to Gulab to remove the aging chief, Dabruk, and took Tlargat under his tutelage.
Tlargat was very slow to accept his role as a cleric. Only after he had overcome the misery of being a defeated warrior and began to hatch new plans of taking over leadership, did he begin to take up his role with zealousness. Tlargat sought to sire son’s who would be able to challenge Gulab whom he could control the tribe through. Unfortunately, Gulab fell in the battle against Dagger Falls in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR), and his impure son seized control of the tribe with fang and claw. Tlargat’s eldest son was the first to challenge Vernnagar, and have his throat ripped out. Tlargat’s second eldest son attacked as soon as his half-brother’s body hit the floor and succeeded only in adding to Vernnagar’s reputation as a brutal killer. After slaying Tlargat’s two eldest sons, Vernnagar rightly began to suspect Tlargat’s designs for taking control of the tribe. Rather than kill Tlargat, Vernnagar sought to further shame the orc by opening referring to him as Tlargat the Half-Orc, due of his missing limb and the weak warriors he sired. Also by opening mocking Tlargat, the second most powerful cleric in the tribe, Vernnagar began weakening the tribe’s clerics’ influence.
Tlargat’s hate of Gulab’s line grew a thousand fold the day his sons were slain. No matter how successful Vernnagar is at leading the tribe to victory after victory, Tlargat sees Vernnagar’s strategy of intelligence gathering and quick strikes as further proof of his tainted blood and unworthiness to rule. Tlargat continues to plot against Vernnagar and with the aging Guur wasting away in drug induced stupors, taking over leadership of the tribe’s religious faction is just the next step towards seeing the line of Gulab fall.

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