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What is Orctober?

Howdy, y’all. I’m Ashe Armstrong, author of the Grimluk, Demon Hunter series. Welcome to Orctober.

I know some of you are probably asking just what the hell that is. And if you’re not, I’m going to pretend you are because it’s central to writing this little thing. Did I make a typo? Is it some sort of new age thing? I assure you, it is neither. It is merely a fun portmanteau. For what, you may ask?

Orcs.

Since Tolkien, the fearsome orc has remained a facet to fantasy media across the board. They featured heavily in the Lord of the Rings, even gaining the mighty Uruk Hai among their number. They probably achieved the basis of their status in pop culture today thanks to Dungeons & Dragons, however.

With Tolkien, orcs were smaller, spindlier, savages and cowards. In D&D, they were a race of boar-men, with snouts and tusks and no discernible other traits save for a desire for violence. Warhammer made them bigger, and the common green skin came about through an accident with Warhammer minis. The Elder Scrolls series followed that view of tusked humanoids with green skin, as did the Warcraft series, which, due to its beginning as a Warhammer adaptation, kept the size of and look of the orcs, while Elder Scrolls opted to make them a touch more realistic.

Demon Haunted (Grimluk, Demon Hunter) by Ashe Armstrong

Orctober seeks, as you may have guessed by now, to celebrate the orc. With the Elder Scrolls and Warcraft blowing up like they have, thanks to World of Warcraft and Skyrim, orcs have started to be viewed differently. While there are still those who love the old vision of them, grimy and lanky and full of malice, many of us are embracing a changing view of them. Orcs can be just as varied as the other races. They’re no longer an Evil Race of Evil, or at least not just that. It even happened with the Forgotten Realms books, with Drizzt and the orc, Obould Many-Arrows. In Warcraft, you had Thrall and Durotan. The Elder Scrolls had Gortwog go-Nagorm, who sought to reclaim the lands of Orsinium and help his people find respect.

Now, mostly, Orctober has coincided with Inktober, thus making it more focused on visual arts. Sketches and inkings and digital paintings galore. I’m attempting to expand that. Last year, I gathered a slew of other authors, including Stan Nicholls and Scott Oden, to talk about orcs. What they love, why they’ve used them. I did various entries on lore, as well.

This year, I’m once again joined by most everyone who joined me last year and we’ll be doing more of that. I decided to center this year on D&D, as I’ve been playing my first campaign this year, and there’s just a lot to talk about. We’ll also be recording a one shot campaign for folks to listen to, ala The Adventure Zone and the like.

If all of that sounds interesting, if you find yourself drawn to the orc, join the festivities over on www.ashearmstrong.com. You’ll find a group of authors you might want to read, as well as some new stuff for D&D. And, if you’re familiar with me already, and have read my books, you’ll see I’m also running the Kickstarter for the third Grimluk book, The Demons Within.

I hope you’ll join us. I hope you’ll read us. I hope you’ll come to love orcs as much as I do. Just because something looks like a monster, doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve love, right?

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