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Orcs, from Ultima V manual
First appearance: Ultima I
Last appearance: Ultima V

Orcs are a race of monstrous pig/human hybrids which may be encountered in Sosaria, Britannia and within the altered time stream of Minax's Earth. They appear in Akalabeth, Ultima I, II, III, IV and V.


An orc from the FM-Towns port of Ultima II.
Primitive, porcine humanoids created by magical experiments in the Age of Darkness, the orcs of Sosaria are not particularly strong or intelligent, but often travel in packs, waylaying and murdering travelers while they steal what they can. Usually little more than a nuisance to a well-equipped adventuring party, the Sosarian orcish band typically attacks above ground, although subterranean enclaves of these creatures have been encountered.


Age of Darkness[edit]

During the heyday of the Age of Darkness demented magicians started to experiment with magical mutations and created these hybrid creatures by mating humans with boars. As the power of Mondain grew, these pig-visaged humanoids became his vanguard of first advance. Although, the forces of Good tried to exterminate these creatures after the death of Mondain, they actually bred as rabbits and joined the forces of Minax who traveled through the time doors to the era outside of time known as "Time of Legends".

Once more they were destroyed. However, they started to appear as Exodus is preparing his plans. These primitive roadside-robbers changed little over the ages, although it was eventually discovered, around the time of the events of Ultima III, that their connection to the physical world was still fragile enough that a simple cantrip could dispel them -- a weakness they shared with their cousins, goblins and trolls.

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

The creatures continued to be a threat to travelers well into the Age of Enlightenment. However, they disappeared from Britannia sometime after the exile of Lord Blackthorn, having either been driven at last into extinction or into hiding.

Benevolent Terran Orcs[edit]

Orcs behind the "Mc Donnals" counter, Ultima II

On the ahistorical Earth created by Minax's manipulation of time, orcs were at one point a common part of Terran reality, although they were eventually destroyed. During the opening wave of the enchantress' machinations, these creatures reappeared dramatically, with the first herald of Minax's plans being a single orc which wandered, injured, into a farmer's field.

The humans who found the beast took pity on it, although they were shocked by its existence. After being tended to by mankind's medicine, the bestial creature grew affectionate towards its caretakers, overcoming its evil nature. From this one individual, a lineage of peaceable orcs eventually descended. These beings, although mute and of limited intelligence, co-existed with humanity admirably, taking on simple tasks (such as fast food shift work) within society.[1]


Small, pig-visaged humanoids, the Orcs were the vanguard of Mondain's first advance. Tribal by nature, they are sub-human at best, just a slight cut above true bestiality. They abhor all things human and cultured and will lay waste to anything fashioned by human hands. 'Tis said that they relish the taste of human flesh.
More pest than peril, the not-bright orc is the prolific product of a foolish experimental genetic mating of human and boar.
These creatures of evil are the result of long ago mutations wrong by magic. As they were created by magic, so can a wizard's spell dispell them from this plane.
Would that every Orc had been destroyed with the fall of the Triad of Evil! They breed like rabbits and still infest the woods and hills, though in much smaller numbers than before.
I decided that the orcs in Britannia must be related because they all looked the same. Their faces were grey-green, broad and flat, with ugly, pushed up, piggy noses. Dark circles underscored their small, deep-set eyes. Thick rubbery lips framed darkened teeth and receding gums. The sloping forehead and shaggy hair didn't help matters. No, these were some sorry looking creatures.
Orcs are often more annoying than dangerous to the seasoned adventurer, but they can be a grave threat to the novice, especially when they travel in large groups or accompanied by a giant or two. Generally, they are fairly easy to defeat, do a modicum of damage if they hit, and carry meagre belongings.

Notable Examples[edit]

  • Boris: a smuggler who dealt in black market items for the Guild of Thieves in Buccaneer's Den during the Ultima IV; capable of human speech and eager to speak of his work, Boris seemed more civilized than the rest of his kind, somewhat similar to the benevolent orcs of Earth.


  • Along with elves, orcs were scheduled to make a reappearance in the canceled Ultima X. A detailed historical write-up was prepared for them and may be read here.

See Also[edit]



  1. Rollo, Mary Taylor. "The Story of Minax". The Second Age of Darkness (Ultima II). Sierra On-Line, Inc.: 1983. Page 14.