Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


Submitted on
August 9, 2013
Image Size
1.0 MB


51,086 (15 today)
2,174 (who?)
Fantasy Races: [4/4] Orcs by Tyshea Fantasy Races: [4/4] Orcs by Tyshea

WOW THIS TOOK LIKE TWO WEEKS? Well maybe more like 4 days overall, since I only worked on them over the weekends.

I'll probably be making more (as well as environments and creatures), but first I wanted to explore the races I had in mind for the world me and *Ai-Bee are building for this.
This project is currently unnamed, but it's something I've wanted to do ever since I was in middle school.

A lot of High Fantasy is very overdone and all the designs are inbred, so as a kid I wanted to see a fantasy world that was more diverse, but used a lot of familiar things from the genre.
I realize I'm taking a lot of liberties with the typical interpretations of High Fantasy...but it's fucking fantasy, dude.
What's fantasy without imagination? I always thought the "rules" some people ascribe to were bullshit anyway.
(sorry any Tolkien/D&D-die-hards, this project probably isn't for you)

I reference a lot of cultures and plan to mix them with more typical fantasy elements, but if anyone who belongs to the cultures that inspired me, by all means please let me know if I've done anything seriously wrong or offensive and I will look into it and fix it as best as I can. And yes, I know where the names I'm using came from.

No body shaming will be tolerated. (ʘ‿ʘ✿)

So without any further ado, here is some thought-vomit on each of the races and sub-races!


Ogres: Despite their hulking, brutish appearance, the Northern Orcs are very family-oriented, and tend to have houses overrun with children. It’s common to see both parents with babies strapped to their backs and stomachs while they continue their daily routine. Marriage infidelity is severely frowned on. Like the Jotuns, they live in underground communities in houses they’ve hollowed out of the cave walls. They’re a loud and hearty culture that loves festivities, so flashy celebrations and ceremonies are common. They wear very little due to their immunity to the cold, and are experts at tanning and curing leather. Like all Northern races, their love of music is well known, specializing in percussion and lyrical chanting.
Inspirations and notes: Native American cultures, focus on Hopi. Bulky, powerful bodies. American Native, Central American, and Latin@ features.

Goblins: Once a proud nation, the Goblins have suffered from enslavement ever since they were defeated in a war centuries ago. Since then, their culture has grown in many different directions, usually adopting qualities from the country they’re employed in. They’ve started gaining independence in recent years, building small communities and districts within the Naiad, Myr, and Gnome Nations, and are slowly rebuilding relations with the Dwarves. Well known for their dexterity and intelligence, the Goblins are famous for their vehicles and automated tools, having some of the best repairmen and smiths in the world.
Inspirations and notes: Gaelic/16th century Scottish culture, mixed with contemporary Gothic fashion and dieselpunk. Thin bodies, shortest orc race. Western European features.

Trolls: Unlike the other Eastern races, the Trolls live outside of the Marshes, among various scattered islands. Ruled by separate clans and families, the Trolls are surprisingly at peace with one another, gathering often for big festivals and merry-making. Renowned for some of the most sought-after cuisine, their seafood dishes are considered delicacies across the world. Their fishing villages populate the coasts while the cities further inland are hubs for trading among the clans. Famous for their seafaring lifestyle, wood-work and craft, they range from fishermen to pirates and sailors. Crude and rowdy, the Trolls are well-liked for their humor, though they don’t prefer the company of any of the other Eastern races, preferring trade with the Northern countries.
Inspirations and notes: Ainu mixed with some Feudal Japanese culture. Tall, lanky bodies. North to East Asian features.

Gorgons: A powerful race of warriors, the Sourthern Orcs are a vicious and militant people who are known for their fighting prowess and invention of many competitive sports. Honor and physical abilities are held in the highest esteem, so their leaders are chosen from fighting and wrestling competitions. Despite their belligerence, their culture is very just, ruled by a council of generals. They’ve become reclusive after an unsuccessful siege on the Giant’s capital, but are patching up relations with the other southern races, mainly the Kobolds. The Gorgons have some of the best metalwork in the south, and have an impressive variety of tamed animals for both work and entertainment— mainly recognized for their pet trade and traveling circuses.
Inspirations and notes: ancient Roman culture, focus on gladiatorial aesthetics and ancient Sparta. Built, muscular bodies, usually thick necks. Mediterranean to North African features.

Also to answer everyone's question about why they glow:
The Orcs are the most in-touch with their magic on a physical level, so their elements manifest in their eyes and mouth

The other races:
Fantasy Races: [1/4] Humans by TysheaFantasy Races: [2/4] Elves by TysheaFantasy Races: [3/4] Halflings by Tyshea

To see more of this world, please visit this gallery!

(sorry for anyone who got this twice, dA deleted it for some reason?? wtf)

Add a Comment:
SithLordLiisa Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I thought that Gorgons was thename for the ½snake ½human breed with snake hair. O_o

I like your idea on the trolls, rusty red is a nice colour... and it's always fun to see them look pretty like that. :D
Tyshea Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I've used a lot of names that are being re-interpreted as something else. Gorgons are just the more well-known ones :P

Thank you though!
sunshineLEMONAID Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Maybe instead of using Hispanic, you could use Latin@ :) Hispanic tends to lean more towards the Spain cultural aspects of different Latin American countries, and Latin@ is the "original" culture. But that's just how I see it, being a Mexican-American!
Tyshea Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I...I'm honestly SUPER SURPRISED I USED HISPANIC, thank you so much for pointing that out! Wow what kind of brainfart did I have? I REALLY APPRECIATE IT
sunshineLEMONAID Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, well I'm glad I could help! :D
adam-ant2 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014
I really like the haircut you gave the lady Gorgon.
Tyshea Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Sonja-from-Finland Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014
I like that the orcs have really mostrous looks, with the tusks, glowing eyes and unnatural skin colors, but you actually made them have just as realistic and varied cultures as the other races and that they aren't evil, but not misunderstood either, since that's almost as bad stereotype. I'm kind of wondering about the glowy breath. Do they breath extremely hot/cold air that steams and glows from the glow of their eyes, or do they actually exhale some glowy gas? I'm also wondering about the men and women having different colored glowy eyes, is that gender based, or to show that they come with different glowy colors?

Ogres are my favorite of the orc cultures, mostly because they are kind of removed from the stereotypical orcs, but retain the looks and their culture kind of makes sense based on stereotypical orcs, so they kind of are more recognisably orcish than the others. I think the female ogre could use little wider jaw, since she just looks so completely different from the male ogre because of her narrow and pointy chin. Maybe the clothes you have planned for them are more similar to Hopi, but the Hopi women just have very distinctive hairstyles for both married and unmarried women, so the lack of them kind of just makes Ogres look like generic orcs with vaguely Native America inspiration. Though the unmarried womens hairstyle probably would look pretty comical on the Ogre woman with her muscular physigue, underbite and huge pointy ears, so maybe that's why you didn't use the hairstyles.

Goblins have good design, but the history and Scottish inspiration just kind of makes them unappealing to me personally. Probably because they kind of remind me of leprechauns and other "halfling" types of races with strong Brittish Isles cultural basis, which because of Tolkien is kind of expected of them.

I don't really know much about the Ainu people, but since usually Japanese culture, which was also used as an inspiration, is reserved for more appealing and attractive looking people, I'm kind of liking them already. They do kind of remind me of the Japanese oni, so they actually fit in very well in my opinion.

The Gorgons hairstyle actually reminds me of the snakehaired mythical Gorgons and it suits their Roman inspired culture very well, since Romans copycatted Greek mythology enough for Greek cultural aspects to fit in a Roman based fictional culture. I also love how you are using the gladiators and Spartans as inspiration for their culture and I prefer the focus on the more war like aspects of both Greek and Rome, since those usually tend to be ignored in cultures based on them and only the positive aspects get adapted.
Tyshea Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
The Orcs are the most in-touch with their magic on a physical level, so their elements manifest in their eyes and mouth. This world has it so everyone gets an elemental alignment depending on when they're born, sort of like an astrological sign.

I didn't know about Hopi women having different hairstyles based on marriage! Thanks for bringing that up, I'll definitely look into it. I'm trying to avoid super direct influences, since I still want a creative aspect to the designs (and not outright cultural theft), but I really love the idea :)

I honestly can't recall a lot of goblin designs with such an obvious Gaelic interpretation. You're totally free to not like them as much though!
The Trolls are based on Oni, good catch! And yess, I wanted to take a culture that's usually idolized and put it on a typically demonized fantasy race. Glad you like it!

And I'm happy you like these guys overall! I've always hated the treatment of Orcs in fantasy as monsters and ubiquitously evil creatures
Sonja-from-Finland Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014
Both of the magical explanations make total sense and are really unique ideas. I haven't ever really seen anyone come up with a setting where every single person would have some kind of elemental alignment and I like that you are tying it to the birth moment, since often it just feels like people get powers and there is no explanation or logic to them. Are all orcs able to use their elemental alignments if classic elemental magic kind of way, or is it more of orc with ice alignment being more resistant to cold etc.?

I know barely anything about the Hopi, but the hairstyles are really distinctive and I'm very interested in such things so I ended up looking them up as well at some point. Too direct influences are bad, but I do like the idea of taking an aspect of the culture and using it in slightly different way so it reminds people of the culture, but is different enough for the fantasy culture to not feel like a direct copy.

Something about the goblins just reminds me of some other goblins, but I can't recall where I have seen the Gaelic goblins before, so maybe it was another fan in different parts of the internet who also came up with the idea or some really obscure fantasy book I started, but never finished because of poor writing.

The moment I read that Trolls were inspired by the Japanese culture, I noticed all the similarities to the Oni. People are far too much Japan-fans these days, the manga and anime are interesting, but Japan is not a perfect culture and the idolazation has gotten kind of creepy by now. I also like the idea of using a romantized and idolazed culture as a basis for typically more nefarious people.

The evil Orcs don't work in most fantasy worlds, because there isn't Tolkien level of world building where the Orcs are the result of evil god corrupting them, or if that aspect has been copied, it's never made into the thing that makes the evil god utterly despicable and the evil gods influence has left the world long ago and no-one should be able to remember the evil god any more. With Tolkien it works, because Morgoths influence over the world still exists very much and there are beings like elves and ents who lived while Morgoth was in power. And even Tolkien wasn't very good with them, but he at least tried to make the orcs redeemable, since he didn't want to believe in absolutely evil beings and tried to offer the explanation of the dark lords leading the orcs towards evil.
Add a Comment: