The Upstart Orcs of Golarion
The Upstart Orcs of Golarion

The Upstart Orcs of Golarion

The Upstart Orcish Demipowers of Golarion

In the tumultuous Limboan realm of Volkorgoth, amidst the ceaseless clash of steel and the roar of battle, dwell the Upstart Orc Gods. These demipowers, lurking on the fringes of orcish spirituality, are a brooding storm waiting to break. These powers are biding their time and amassing followers before they can challenge the First Family of Gruumsh.

  • Dretha (power of birth, fertility and tribes)
  • Lanishra (power of slavery, subjugation and tyranny)
  • Nulgreth (power of anger, rage and strength)
  • Rull (power of lightning, storms and thunder)
  • Sezelrian (power of fire, magic and revenge)
  • Varg (power of iron, siege engines and war)
  • Verex (power of lust, pillage and plunder)
  • Zagresh (power of death, destruction and disaster)

Philosophies and Goals

The Upstarts are as diverse in their ambitions as they are in their domains, yet they share a common thread of defiance and a hunger for power. In their own ways they seek to carve out their own niche within the pantheon, to wield influence and demand respect among the orcish tribes and the other Upstarts. And then to use that power to crush their complacent opposition and wrestle control of the Orcish Pantheon, at the right time.

Troubles and Struggles

The journey from obscurity to prominence is fraught with challenges for the emerging deities. Their greatest obstacle lies in garnering enough worship and belief to ascend from demigod status to full powerhood capable of challenging the established order, without earning the pre-emptive wrath of Gruumsh and his family. Using the realm of Volkorgoth in Limbo as a base makes it easier to remain hidden in the swirling chaos, and it’s a far cry from the battlefields of Acheron where Gruumsh focuses most of his attention on eternal futile war. So far then, the Uspstarts have largely escaped the notice, and vengeful hand, of Grummsh’s cronies.

It’s not all Limboan roses, however. The volatile nature of Volkorgoth means alliances between the Upstarts are as brittle as bone, and infighting is as common as slaad. The Upstart powers often find themselves embroiled in conflicts not only with each other but also with established orc deities when they’ve carelessly attracted unwanted attention with one scheme or other, who view them as threats to their dominion.

Winning the hearts and minds of the fiercely independent orc tribes on the Prime is no small feat. In order to gain the worship of mortal orcs, the Upstarts face an uphill battle to navigate the labyrinth of orcish religious culture, where tradition weighs heavy and change is met with suspicion. Powers looking to win worshippers amongst the mortal orcs are forced to make grand promises, or make terrible threats.

Beyond the internal politics of the pantheon, the Upstart Orc Gods must also contend with external forces that seek to exploit their aspirations for their ends. Be it other races’ deities or meddling adventurers, the path to power is never a straight one. The slaad are an ever-present menace on Volkorgoth, of course—but battling slaadi is also a favourite pastime for the more warlife of the Upstarts. More troubling perhaps are the proteans, that mysterious race of chaotic creators who are impossible to predict, but might just be the key to getting and edge over Gruumsh. If only there was a way to tempt them…

Despite these hurdles, the Upstart orc powers continue their faltering ascent, driven by a relentless lust for power and their unshakeable hubris that their time will come. Nurva has already predicted that these bloods represent a future dynamic shift in the orcish pantheon, a promise of evolution, or perhaps more likely, bloody revolution. For now, the Upstarts wait, gathering strength and allies, and plot their ascension.

See Also: The Orcish Pantheon


  • Inner Sea Gods [PF1e] p187, a brief overview of the orc powers of Golarion
  • Jon Winter-Holt, Canonwatch: How to integrate the orcish demipowers of Golarion into Planescape? I decided to keep them as separate individuals rather than trying to align each power as an aspect of the existing D&D orcish pantheon led by Gruumsh. This adds more opportunities for intrigue and conflict, and also helps to explain where the Interloper poers Shargaas and Yurtrus might have come from. Pathfinder’s Maelstrom corresponds to Limbo, so I placed the shared realm of Volkorgoth there.

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