An Epic

Dark Folk Society

Table of Contents

Origin of the Dark Races
Origin of the Oluk Orcs
Oluk Orcs
Worg Riders
The Dark Will


Although Farland is rife with creatures and beasts of all sorts, dark folk are the most prominent evil creatures that plague the continent. Also called goblinoids, dark folk are the most human-like of all the evil races, and although they come in all shapes and sizes, they tend to share some basic characteristics: they dislike sunlight (although not all dark folk are actively bothered by it), they are unpleasant to behold, and they are almost always thoroughly evil. There is some confusion about which creatures exactly qualify as "dark folk"; the average peasant might consider a gnoll or bugbear to be dark folk, but this is not the case. Farlandish scholars have essentially agreed that goblins, kobolds, hobgoblins, orcs, and oluks are the only true dark folk races. The reason for this classification is strictly one of origins: all dark folk stemmed from the genetically diverse orcish race.

Origin of the Dark Races

They were created for a specific purpose, which they longed for: to kill elves and bring all glory and honor to Vornoth, the Dark Walker. Thus was the situation in the year 3289 E.R., less than a century after the Walker bid the orcs to begin their attacks on the elves. Their primitive weapons easily penetrated the weak elven defenses, destroying the thin-skinned creatures with ease. The strength of the orcs exceeded that of the elves. The orcs were winning; the triumph of Vornoth was close at hand.

But this was before Tal-Allustiel saw the plights of his children, his chosen, and intervened. The Elflord sent them aid in the form of the Swan Alfain. The Swan brought to the elves mighty magics with which they were able to repel the orcs, magic which gave them power beyond the unthinking, brute strength of the dark folk.

The orcish horde continued to throw themselves at the elves in great number, but where orcish strength was once supreme, elvish magic now prevailed. The orcs began losing, their numbers dwindling rapidly against the mighty enchantments now wielded by the chosen of Tal-Allustiel.

Vornoth knew he must act and act quickly. His generals reported that for each elf that fell in the orcish raids, twenty orcs paid the ultimate price. Twenty orcs for each elf. It was there Vornoth found his answer.

More orcs.

Taking small groups of his finest warriors and stoutest females, Vornoth labored. This sampling of his best orcs would be the parents of a great race. They were to produce an orcish horde large enough to crush the elves with sheer numbers. These creatures quickly conceived and before long gave birth.


However, Vornoth miscalculated when he channeled power into the selected orcs. For one of the basic laws of the multiverse is that power is finite; to add something, something must be taken away. Therefore by adding to the power of the orcs by increasing their birthrate, he inadvertently stunted and twisted them.

The creatures that were borne were not orcs at all, but stunted and misshapen creatures. Small of frame and weak of body, these creatures were not what the Walker had expected, and they would not serve as front line warriors. They were pitiful creatures, useful only as slaves and fodder. And thus they were named the Gohb-lûnds ("stunted-thralls"), or goblins, in ancient Blackspeech.

And yet the Walker was not deterred, for he was still determined to create a master race, creatures of strong arms and disciplined minds. Taking a select few of the deformed goblins, he once again used his skill and might. His magic poured into the wombs of the goblins, separating and amplifying the best traits of these creatures while removing the less desirable aspects. He instilled into these beings great strength, discipline and grasp of combat tactics. He pushed aside the lesser attributes of these creatures, removing from them undesirable qualities such as fear and weakness.

It was in 3312 E. R. that the first of these altered goblins conceived. The child born of these creatures was all that the dark lord had hoped for -- healthy, strong and willful, destined to be a general of his armies. He rejoiced and named it Habû, meaning "leader" in ancient Blackspeech. And yet, birthed at this time was more than the Habû Gohb-lûnd, or Hobgoblins, for the mother of the race had conceived twins.

Where the Habû Goblin was healthy, strong and willful, its brother was sickly, small and weak. Where the Habû Goblin received all of the best of the goblinoid traits, this pitiful creature received only the worst. Vornoth named this creature Kûl-bolk, or "Low One" in the dark tongue, and he cast it aside, expecting it to die. And yet there was something to this sickly creature, a resilience of sorts. Where it was weak of arm and short on intelligence, it relied on cunning and a desire to survive. And thus the dark folk were born and became a blight to the world.

Origin of the Oluk Orcs

In the aftermath of the fall of the mighty orc-nation Rothnog, a new rage and hate for the good-natured races of Núrion took hold of the Dark Folk society. As Karoxfang fled to the south, he had already formulated his plans for a new, powerful weapon for the Dweller's armies. In 9340 E.R., Karoxfang founded the mighty fortress of Stor-gris and immediately set his plans into motion.

With the vision of a new, powerful race loyal to the Dweller, Karoxfang the Vile started to gather powerful ogres and the most vicious orcs that could be found. In his dark pits, the half-fiend Karoxfang began his practice in genetics, under the guidance and tutelage of his master, the Dweller in the Vale. The work had an urgent quality, as the Dweller saw the future of Vornoth's fragmented followers threatened by the races of good.

Without proper control, Karoxfang's initial experiments went awry. The breeding of ogres and orcs created powerful creatures indeed, but alas, they were mindless brutes, even more simple than the trolls that frenzied in battle in the name of the Dweller. With a fearful hope, Karoxfang introduced various other species into the breeding pool, over generations of experiments. In such early attempts, defects were created. Some were brainless thugs, while others were misshapen, distended, or had various peculiar mutations. These misfits stalked the dark halls of Stor-gris, lumbering about in their eternal search for purpose.

Not long after Karoxfang's introduction of other species, the Vile one found his answer: the human. After the breeding of a human with an ogre-orc cross breed, a child of unearthly power and cunning was born. Immediately after witnessing such power, Karoxfang ordered an entire pool of such creatures to be bred. Thus in roughly 9750 E.R., the first Oluks were born.

Soon, a contingent of young Oluks stood ready to do the bidding of Vornoth, the Dweller, and Karoxfang the Vile. Alas, Karoxfang was killed in battle in 9770 E.R., leaving the powerful Oluk race susceptible to influence. Such influence came in the form of Bardanax the Voracious. The black dragon Bardanax came to power immediately after the fall of great Karoxfang and found his base of power to be the Oluks, who hungered for an earthly tie to their convictions. The new ruler of Stor-Gris wasted no time in showing the power of his new force, and he sent the Oluks, with orcs backing them, to the Elven ship-haven of Lannael. The dark folk turned Lannael into a sea of ash, and a legend was born. The Oluks rose to power.

From this time on, Oluks had been purely bred and mated to create the perfect dark race, loyal to the Dweller and Vornoth beyond. During the Age of Men, the humans endeavored to extinguish the race of Oluks, but they were never successful, and in present times, Oluks have come into their own in the world of Farland.

Varieties: Goblins

Goblins left to their own devices lead an uncivilized existence but are far from helpless, nor are they completely bestial. They are known to be very cunning but have a foul disposition. They have learned to take advantage of their natural sneakiness, ingenuity, and large numbers. Natural cowards, goblins' best battle tactics are hiding and running in the face of superior foes. Fear of their masters' whips is often able to overcome these natural tendencies, but without direction and discipline, goblins are cowardly indeed. They persecute and enslave their kobold cousins and any other less powerful races they encounter whenever possible. Otherwise, theirs is a life of persecution and slavery by the superior dark races.


Goblins are famous throughout the dark lands for their great numbers. They crowd the poorer districts of all large cities and are commonly found in warren type lairs in the hills surrounding any civilized town. They are happy to benefit from the jobs and other luxuries that civilization brings, though they have little taste for it themselves. One of the most important reasons why there are so many goblins is that female goblins give birth to as many as eight offspring at a time. Moreover, the gestation period for goblin pregnancies is a mere six months. Goblin mothers are protective of their litters and stay close for up to two years if they do not give birth again. In the case that they do become pregnant again, they will often desert their young upon nearing their birthing time for the new litter. Goblin babies begin eating solid food within a few months of their birth and are usually completely self-sufficient by the age of five at the latest. Litters that lose their mother's attention before this age often die. Sometimes other goblins will care for them, but this is the exception, not the rule. If goblins are slaves of members of the superior races, they are usually encouraged to take good care of their young. The young goblins grow up to be slaves of their parents' owner. Goblins are mature by the age of ten, if not earlier. It is not uncommon to see goblin youths of seven or eight fighting in the wars of the dark folk. Goblin mortality rate is the highest of almost any race and less than 50 percent of goblins die of old age. Males do not pay attention to the young. They work or fight for a living. Monogamy is rare amongst goblins, and goblin males typically mate with whatever female will have them. They are also not above rape.

Goblins are adept at almost nothing. Failure is very familiar to a goblin. They are rarely successful in their endeavors. Yet even in the face of constant failure and disappointment, goblins are known for their dogged persistence, which is their most valuable trait. Because of this, they are often employed by thieves' guilds and similar organizations. They are given tasks and are promised rewards but are given no information about their employer. In this way they offer employers little risk. Usually they die in their attempts. Orcs joke that the numbers of goblins are kept low by their thieving. The orcs claim that if a goblin successfully robs a merchant or a house, he will return to this same merchant or house until he is caught and killed. There is probably much truth to the orcs' story. Goblin thieves are persistent as are all goblins and they will return if they suspect there is more loot to be had. Occasionally they are successful, and goblins have been known to make names for themselves as thieves in the larger cities. There is also a secret sect of goblin monks that enjoys immense power in the east.

Goblins are also used as background healers for smaller fighting groups and adventurers. Given their fierce racial persistence, they are often quite devout and if a goblin is fortunate to be born with particular wisdom, churches covet them for their dogged persistence in studying the ways of their lord. It is extremely rare however, for goblins to reach high ranking positions in the church. As in battle, they are usually relegated to the lowliest positions in the church. As a rule, goblins are faithful followers of Vornoth. They host elaborate rituals to the Dark Walker which includes sacrificing maidens. These are usually kobold maidens, but if one of these is not available, they will use a goblin maiden. Many goblins further believe that drinking humanoid blood during a full moon will empower them with dark powers channeled by Vornoth through the moonlight. Strangely enough, goblins do not practice this custom outside under the light of the moon, but as deep within the earth as they can manage. This bizarre practice has been a goblin custom for millennia. Not all goblins are known to follow this custom, though. It is highly discouraged and considered uncivilized in larger towns and cities. Dancing is also important for goblin religious celebrations. During times of celebration, goblin females weave reeds and grasses to make simple dance masks. These masks represent the gods, their masters, or other powerful figures in the goblins' lives. They dance to incur favor.

Slavery is the plight of a very large percentage of goblins in Farland. The superior races consider this a practical necessity in order to keep the goblins from their primitive ways. Most goblins are born into slavery and their owners are usually orcs, hobgoblins, or Oluk orcs. In rare cases free goblins live in cities or towns due to exceptional service to their lord or master or perhaps for becoming a specialized and powerful soldier. The most common possibilities for the latter are to become a successful Worg Rider or priest of Vornoth. Thieves' guilds often purchase promising young goblins for their organizations, but they are also little better than slaves. In the wild, goblins fear contact with other humanoid races for the most part and only approach other intelligent races in very large parties.


One of the greatest gifts of the kobold race is its ability to procreate. Kobold females reach maturity at four years of age and remain fertile for the rest of their lives. The gestation period for a kobold is five months, with anywhere from six to nine children being born. Infant mortality is high, and 50% of kobold children do not survive beyond their first year. The life span of a kobold is approximately 35 years, although they typically meet their end much earlier at the hands of their brutal dark cousins.


The kobold race has survived-prospered really-in situations others would find completely unbearable. These creature live at the bottom of the dark folk society; they are often forced and bullied into slavery, doing jobs that others consider beneath them. Digging latrines, hauling trash, and burning bodies are all the province of the kobold in the dark societies. Small groups of kobolds have also broken away from other dark folk, leaving the oppressive rule of their larger kin. These small groups form primitive tribes, eking out an existence away from civilization.

Kobolds are nameless in their early childhood but name themselves as they learn rudimentary speech. These names are almost always one word only, as most kobolds have not the cranial capacity to memorize two word names. These names always have two or fewer syllables and are often associated with the kobold's main occupations.

Kobolds are true omnivores and are often forced to subsist on meager rations of food other races would consider inedible. However, when given the choice, kobolds always prefer to eat meat over all other sources of food. Kobolds actually eat very little, their natural tendency for untidiness resulting in their often wasting more food than they actually eat.

There is a myth that kobolds are descended from dragons and often possess rare sorcerous powers. This myth was originated by a kobold sorcerer named Garbad, during the reign of Karoxfang of Stor-Gris. Garbad felt that if others believed he was a descendant of a dragon-in this case, Bardanax the Black-he would garner respect from the bullying orcs and hobgoblins who gathered during the Siege of Stor-Gris. Unfortunately for Garbad, the myth did little to intimidate the larger dark folk, and he was killed during the siege by an irritated Oluk. Obviously, this myth has no basis in reality or truth. The true reason behind kobolds' apparent penchant for sorcerery actually derives from their huge numbers, coupled with the lack of ability to move into other occupations. In truth, only 1 in 2000 kobolds has the innate talents needed to follow the sorcerous path.

Kobolds typically play only a small role in the armies of the dark folk, although strong leaders recognize their value. They are considered easily replaceable troops and are often used as diversions, or even sent on suicide missions, to slow opponents' troop movements. They are typically armed with spears and slings, items which are easily replaceable and of little or no cost.


While hobgoblins can craft passable weapons, armor, and other necessities, they rarely do so, since their time is spent drilling for war and fighting. They receive most of their implements through military supply channels, either from the factories of the warlord they serve or from spoils seized from conquered communities. Female hobgoblins prepare the food for their men, although they do not grow it. While certainly not adverse to keeping slaves, hobgoblins rarely do so on an individual basis, since watching over a slave consumes valuable time that could be spent in a military capacity. Only masterless hobgoblins, those rare few who have become unattached from their armies either through exile or because of a desire to amass glory, have the time to keep individual slaves. Hobgoblin regiments and armies do keep "community slaves," however. These creatures are the property of every hobgoblin and generally aid the females in their upkeep of the armies.


Although they tolerate other dark folk, hobgoblins see other races as beings to be subjugated or if necessary eliminated. They willingly engage in genocide if they are so commanded. Hobgoblins believe that weakness and disorder are vile, and they lack pity or mercy in general. This philosophy is reflected in their treatment of all living things. The communities of hobgoblins never contain animals besides livestock. Pets are unknown in their society, as hobgoblins believe that anything that must be taken care of in its adult life doesn't deserve to live. Hobgoblins serve in the same dark armies as orcs and lesser goblinoids, but to preserve the advantage provided by their superior discipline and tactics, hobgoblin units are often homogenous. Also because of these advantages, hobgoblins usually occupy positions of high military rank, second only to the deadly oluks. Many hobgoblins have risen to the rank of Hoth, or general, in the dark armies.

A generally superstitious lot, hobgoblins worship the Dark Walker, although they tend to do so more with promises and invocations than actual attendance of worship services. The race does not produce many clerics or mages, although some few hobgoblins do enter these professions. Most hobgoblins, however, see soldiery as the only valid path in life, and, while glad for the support that mages and clerics provide their armies, they rarely choose these occupations.

Hobgoblins are as susceptible to commands from the Dark Will as any dark folk, but, like Oluks, their breeding rate is not increased by it.

At heart, hobgoblins are thoroughly evil. And although they take no pleasure in the random acts of graffiti and destruction that so thrill orcs, they also do not flinch at the sight of such acts. As far as hobgoblins are concerned, the world would lose nothing if all art and song were eliminated from it. They simply feel that they have more important things to do--like conquering and killing.

Oluk Orcs

The Lords of Sin and their viceroys usually surround themselves with oluks; being natural leaders themselves, oluks have no trouble recognizing and giving their allegiance to a being who is more powerful. Moreover, the not-inferior mental abilities of oluks allow them to be mages and spellcasters, and their natural work ethic provides for them the devotion necessary to be competent clerics.


Oluk lifestyle, while reflecting their position in society, is still one of toil. Oluks spend their time tending to the various duties invariably heaped upon them. They have nothing of the lesser orc's desire to avoid labor, and thus they are always found either disciplining inferiors, fulfilling the requests of their superiors, concocting battle plans, tending to their equipment, or slaying their enemies. Being at the top of a hierarchical, slave-keeping society, they spend no time on mundane tasks. Lesser orcs or other dark races perform these duties for them. It is not uncommon for an oluk to simply walk out into the street and commandeer the first passing creature into some hours or days of service. The oluk pays for such service by allowing the creature to keep its life. This practice, however, often still ends up causing the deaths of lesser dark folk soldiers, because they then have to explain to their own oluk commander why they have not been at their post for several days.

Although they do not have the sheer, sometimes suicidal doggedness of goblins, Oluks are famous for their work ethic. They will grimly grind away at a task until the project is completed or until it becomes apparent that they will never succeed (this last almost never becomes apparent to the average goblin). Thus, unlike lesser orcs, oluks can be skilled craftsmen if they set their minds to it. The only things that oluks see fit to create, however, are arms, armor, and siege engines. The crafts produced by an oluk are never adorned, but they are eminently sturdy and practical. Moreover, oluks do not have the typical orcish penchant for garish color. They prefer blacks and grays, and their crafts are thus considered very drab by other races. Still, no member of a dark race would turn up its snout at an oluk-crafted weapon. When an oluk crafts his own weapons and armor, he will never let another creature, not even his own slaves, handle them. Instead, he will see personally to their care and maintenance. Oluks do not consider the care of their equipment to be a mundane task.

During what little leisure time they have, oluks prove that they are still orcs first and foremost. Like lesser orcs, oluks enjoy inflicting meaningless pain on those weaker than themselves, and they spend much of their free time seeking brawls or attending torture shows. While they also hate things that other races consider beautiful, they consider it beneath them to engage in acts of graffiti, although, unlike hobgoblins, they will often actively direct their slaves to do so. Oluks also have the typical orcish taste for blood grog, and they have a reputation as hard drinkers.

Worg Riders

One of the very few things that goblins are naturally good at is riding a Worg. A Worg Rider, a goblin specially trained and mounted on a worg wolf, is one of the most feared and dangerous soldiers in the armies of darkness. The pair, rider and worg, are masters of battle tactics. They favor charges, and whenever possible they implement their ride-by attack to take advantage of their two attacks. This tactic can indeed be deadly to the unprepared.

Any of the dark folk who are sufficiently small and light can become Worg Riders, but for social reasons almost all Worg Riders are goblins. A goblin Worg Rider gains the respect of his goblin community and also the superior races. Becoming a Worg Rider is a dangerous proposition, though. Worgs are known to test their prospective riders by attacking them. It takes a courageous and battle hardened goblin to withstand such an attack. The only proven method for becoming a successful Worg Rider is by besting a worg in combat. Thereafter the worg will respect and obey the rider. Otherwise worgs have been known to turn on their riders at inopportune times such as in the middle of a battle. Even though becoming a Worg Rider is extremely dangerous, many goblins aspire to become one of these elite soldiers. Their dogged persistence and small size often help them to achieve this goal.
    Hit die: d10


To qualify to become a Worg Rider, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

    Skills: Balance: 2 ranks, Handle Animal: 6 ranks, Riding: 10 ranks
    Feats: Mounted Combat, Ride-by Attack, Spirited Charge
    Special: To become a Worg Rider, a character must have successfully established dominance over his worg mount. This process takes at least two months before the pair can successfully ride together in battle. Once the bond of master and servant is established between worg and rider, the death of either of the pair can be disastrous to the other. If the worg dies, the Worg Rider must re-establish dominance with a new worg. This process once again takes a full two months. Without a sufficiently submissive mount, a Worg Rider is unable to draw upon his class abilities. If a rider dies, his worg mount will become wild, attacking friend and foe alike. He will never again become a mount and becomes completely uncontrollable.

Class Skills

The Worg Rider's class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Profession, Ride, Spot, Survival.

    Skill points at each level: 4+ Int modifier.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Worg Rider is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pockets, and Tumble.

Intimidating Charge: A Worg Rider on the back of a charging worg is a frightening sight. At level one, a Worg Rider gains the ability to make an intimidate check in combat against a foe as a free action. This ability is only useable when the Worg Rider charges during combat, and the Worg Rider can only use it once per foe in a single combat. He gains a +1 circumstance bonus to the intimidate check at level 3, a +2 bonus at level 5, a +3 bonus at level 7, and a +4 bonus at level 9.

Don't Spare the Whip: Through the use of a heavy hand and force of personality the Worg Rider can spur his mount to faster speeds. This ability allows the mounted Worg Rider to add 10 feet to his worg's movement rates if the worg and rider do nothing else in a round except move.

Mounted Fighting: Worg Riders are extensively trained to fight while mounted on their worgs. As such, at level four they receive a bonus to hit and damage on all attacks while mounted. Such training comes at the exclusion of other forms of combat, so the Worg Riders receives a -1 penalty to hit on all unmounted attacks. These bonuses to attacks and damage increase to +2 at level 6 and +3 at level 8. He never suffers more than a -1 to hit while unmounted, however.

Close the Gap: Through intensive practice and an inherent killer instinct, the Worg Rider has learned to close on his enemies quickly. This ability allows the mounted Worg Rider to charge at x3 his movement rate. Note that the charge still must occur in a straight line as per the normal charge rules.

Stunning Charge: At level 10, the Worg Rider learns to use his mount's weight and speed to vicious effect. Once per combat the Worg Rider may charge with his mount and make a stunning attack on a victim. The Rider must be at least 30 feet from the victim and have a straight line of attack. The Worg Rider must make an attack roll with no bonus from the charge. If he hits, the victim makes a FORT save with the DC being the number of ranks the Worg Rider has in his ride skill; failure means that the target is knocked prone and stunned for 2d4 rounds. This attack is a full round action similar to a charge, although neither the mount nor rider get an attack bonus or an AC penalty. If the attack misses, the use is lost, and if a creature is immune to stuns, it is immune to Stunning Charge. Mounts cannot use Stunning Charge if carrying heavy loads. A Stunning Charge can be combined with any of the other Worg Rider's class abilities.

Level Abilities: The Worg Rider
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Intimidating Charge
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Don't Spare the Whip
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Intimidating Charge +1
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Mounted Fighting, Close the Gap
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Intimidating Charge +2
6th +6 +5 +5 +2 Mounted Fighting +2
7th +7 +5 +5 +2 Intimidating Charge +3
8th +8 +6 +6 +2 Mounted Fighting +3
9th +9 +6 +6 +3 Intimidating Charge +4
10th +10 +7 +7 +3 Stunning Charge


Dark Folk are renown for their use of substances that either enhance their natural abilites or simply provide a pleasurable sensation. Some of these substances are liquors, and orcs and oluks are known for their use and abuse of Blood Grog, a strong spirit fermented from the blood of sentient creatures. Other substances created by dark folk are much more noxious. Pixie Dust is a rare but potent drug that enhances its user's speed while often leaving him addicted. Corpse Flesh is a drug pickled from dead bodies. It decreases fatigue in the user. Battle Grog, a derivative of Blood Grog, inhibits the user's fear; Rotgut allows the user to continue to fight even while suffering horrendous wounds, and the disgusting Solvotukan Beans, made from a gland in human children, increases the reactions of the user. The Lords of Sin know the weakness that many dark folk have for drugs, and they sometimes employ these substances to cement their control over unruly goblinoids, when they do not use the dark will.

The Dark Will

Dark Folk in Farland are unique because they apparently have a built in capacity to be directed or controlled from a distance. Each Lord of Sin has been instilled by the Book of Seven with a power that has come to be known as the Dark Will, the ability to send general orders to all evil creatures in his respective domain. The Will cannot give specific orders, such as to recover a certain item, but it can direct groups of dark folk to head in a certain direction or gather in a certain spot, to go to war, to harry travelers, or to loot and burn. When dark folk (except Oluks and Hobgoblins) under the dark will are directed to go to war, they begin to breed at an increased rate, producing massive amounts of soldiers for the evil armies; their gestation period is reduced by one to three months depending on the race. (Dark Folk may attempt once per day to resist the Dark Will. If they choose, they may make a WILL save DC 10. Even dark folk PCs are affected by it, but PCs save at a +2 and dark folk that are not of evil alignment are unaffected by it).