Reading from Tower in Your Pocket
- The green skin of orcs does not tolerate high and humid conditions - it quickly loses its pigment. This is the reason why orcs prefer to rub themselves with alcohol rather than taking a bath. This fact is the cause of the major misconception that an orc cannot be clean and sober at the same time.
- Orcs revere ogres as their ancestors though it is not known for sure that these two races are related. The sudden disappearance of ogres two hundred years before of the Great Magic War is a source of many orcish myths and legends.
- The supreme deity of orcs is Orcus who is thought to be a benevolent being living in total darkness. Because of this darkness, Orcus sometimes doesn't see what he's doing and makes terrible mistakes.
- Orcs claim that they have invented all the martial arts in the world. While it is true that they are usually very skillful at hand-to-hand fighting, history supports only that they invented modern boxing and catch wrestling rules (by the famous orc Baron Win MgMgon in 3589).
- The game known to humans under the Uhaydokan name of "ping pong" and known to orcs as "hiffaf" was used by orcs for centuries as a major means of settling judicial arguments. Sometimes up to 500 orcs would participate on each side and the winner in the game won the case as well. Only in the past five centuries have the orcs abandoned this practice in favor of regular courts, although there are still some traditional clans who practice "hiffaf" games to settle inheritance cases.
- The word "orchestra" is not of orcish origin but it indeed means "orc musicians" in the Fyrgian language.
- Having very different vocal folds from other races, orcs have trouble speaking foreign languages. That is why they prefer written forms of communication, though their handwriting is often unintelligible. The invention of the typewriter by the orc Tonrem of Beraquel was supposed to solve this problem.
- Orcs are the only intelligent race that uses snakes and different kinds of lizards as their pets. Arguments about their pets' qualities often lead to major hand-to-hand fighting between orcs. Orcs who own geckos are especially infamous for such fights (which has led to another common misconception that orcs often fight for geckos as food).
- Orcs are avid gardeners but due to the differences in color vision between orcs and humans, orcish gardens can look quite amusing to humans.
- Male orcs can have facial hair as humans, dwarves and elves do, however, it is considered to be very ugly and young orcs use special herbal ointments to destroy all their facial hair before puberty
Ancient History of Staunton
The year of 1000 P.E. was an extremely dangerous year to live in: Giants launched their biggest campaign to purge humans from the Xanadian Continent, changes in the ocean current LaBisabuela caused a major drought in Oenotria, vampires left their frozen polar archipelago and landed in modern Freymore, elves developed a new virus that would kill dwarves selectively etc.
In addition to that, the Royal Astronomer of the Pelasgian Empire, Bootmakerios, spotted in the skies a large asteroid that was rapidly approaching the world. His calculations were rechecked by the world's best scholars and wizards and all agreed that the end was inevitable unless the asteroid could be somehow destroyed. The international community of wizards had never seen such a level of collaboration. Human wizards and dwarvish warlocks worked alongside elvish spellweavers and orcish shamans to find a solution to the crisis.
On a hot winter day in 1001, as the asteroid approached the atmosphere and the sky turned red, thousands of magic users gathered in a field near the Pelasgian capital, Pella, to cast the Ultimate Spell. Either someone misread the spell or it couldn't work from the beginning, but the collision was not diverted. Everyone was expecting that huge tidal waves and a chain of earthquakes in the next several hours would destroy civilization but nothing happened.
When puzzled wizards came to visit the jungles of the Satutan Peninsula, where the asteroid did hit, they found that this celestial body not only became buried in the soil but turned into a gigantic megachunk of cheese (or rather cheeses, as it was found later).
In a matter of several days, this peculiar artifact of the most powerful magic ever performed in the world was discovered by rats and mice from neighboring countries and they made their living in this perfect environment. (How magical emanations from the cheese caused rodents to develop intelligence and significantly change their appearance is a different story.) Human explorers soon also settled in Satutan mining the cheese and selling it all over the world.
There are several different kinds of cheese mined in the modern country of Staunton - hard cheese from Fromaggia, semi-soft cheese from the Feta Swamps and soft cheese from the Ricotta Marshes.
The Iron Knob Mountains
The northern border of the Kingdom of Staunton lies at the foothills of the Iron Knob Mountains. Historically these mountains were mined for high quality iron ore and small towns with an iron smelting industry sprung up on both sides of mountains. This came to the end at the beginning of the sixth millennia when giants, purged from other parts of the continent, came to the Iron Knob Mountains and drove away all humans.
Pockets of dwarf resistance lasted for several centuries in this area until the giantess Oria the Iron Maiden led her people to the final victory. Oria signed the Cheddar Peace in 5589 stating that Iron Knob Country remains free and peaceful and trades iron ore with its neighbors while not allowing other races to settle there.
Iron Knob cities such as Whyoria and Smeltown became known for their magnificent architecture and sophisticated night life. The previously belligerent giants became an important part of the regional economy and culture. By the time of Oria XVI (6770-6833), humans were finally allowed to live in Iron Knob which, unexpectedly, brought its culture to an end when new settlers brought with them Trimithian Flu, mortal to giants.
Soon after the epidemics of sickness broke out, the Staunton King, Victor V, offered giants refuge in his country but it did not help. The giant population died out in a matter of three years. Then King Victor tried to claim Iron Knob Country for Staunton but his army was defeated by some strange invincible warriors and King Victor himself was captured. When he was ransomed and came back to Cheddar, he revealed how Iron Knob was now occupied by a group of wizards who could animate anything. The next year, the Iron Army invaded Staunton and made King Victor and his descendants pay annual tribute to the Club of Omnipresent Life for centuries to come.
King Manuil II, the grandfather of King Henry, paid a lump sum of 10 million in gold to the Order of the Sword to find a solution for his problem. Fifty years ago wizards of that Order cast a Massive Rust spell over Iron Knob and then invaded the mountains. They found rusty remains of the Iron Army - pieces of metal brought to life by strange magic. However, the Massive Rust spell backfired as the Order's weapons also turned to powder and the attempt to storm the main castle of the Club, the former royal palace of giants, miserably failed.
For the next few decades malicious magic from Iron Knob plagued Staunton but, with every year, its magnitude has decreased. Recently, people and dwarves have found that they can settle in most of the mountainous area with the exception of the Castle Whyoria neighborhood where the magic of the Club of Omnipresent Life remains strong.
The ruler of this castle is known as the Iron Witch but it is suspected that she is the last remnant of the Club's might. She is known for causing things to break and hit their owners, sometimes seriously damaging people. Locals prefer to pay some small tribute in produce and iron ore from the newly re-opened mines to avoid this nuisance. Iron Knob ore has become known again as the best ore to produce weapons and armor and the black smithy of Felqi has received numerous orders for high quality swords and mail from all over the world.
However, recently sightings of newly made Iron Soldiers have been reported in the mines which might mean that the Club's Iron Army might become a new danger to the Kingdom of Staunton. Half a year ago, Iron Soldiers killed several dozen miners, including the dwarf miners' foreman Uarter, which forced the dwarves to shut down all mining until the problem is solved. The black smithy of Felqi has announced a large prize to the hero who can purge the mines.