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My players recently turned a slaughter of low-level orcs & ogres (separate situations) into a massive recruitment drive. Given the choice between death and lucrative mercenary work, most chose to sign up. I'm planning on giving the PCs challenges related to managing this new mercenary company, especially given the chaotic leanings of the two groups, but what I really need help with is this: how do I make these 300+ creatures engaging? That is, at least giving them names would probably help (hopefully I can figure out a good way to generate a crap-ton of names), but I'd like to efficiently introduce some variety among the orcs and ogres.

Are there any copy-paste or auto-generating resources I could use? Or am I left with building a massive list? Also, are there any Pathfinder or D&D books/resources that recommend the breakdown of special abilities/classes/level of an orc (or ogre) tribe?

Edit:

I've changed my question title.

  • I want to figure out the outliers in the horde. When the players ask about any members that stand out, I want to answer without preventing myself from providing a decent response to future questions.
  • There are 52 ogres and 245 orcs. The orcs and ogres want to kill each other, because of their history.
  • I want to have a general breakdown of demographics, since there will presumably be elders, adults, adolescents, and children. How many are mothers? If they say, "mothers with children will stay behind while the rest of the tribe must follow us," just how many orcs stay behind? I'd love some guidelines that would anticipate these things so that my percentages/numbers don't imply things I wasn't expecting (like that orcs are apparently one-child families because I said that there were 20 orcs with children, but only 20 children).
  • I'd like to know how the horde reacts to various threats/situations by having an idea about the various skills/classes/professions present among them. For example, if the players ask if there are any healers among the tribe, I don't want to be stuck because I previously mentioned an injured orc being left for dead. While I might be able to dance and make things fit, I would prefer to have a reference that mentions the various things that the tribe can handle before I start answering questions about the tribe.
  • I asked about "interesting" or "engaging" because I could just say, "They're 100% unskilled orcs without class levels and they can't do anything other than what the sample orc in the monster manual can do," but not only isn't that "realistic" (for certain values of realism), but it's also boring. If they have a chief, you'd expect the chief to be stronger/wiser/more-cunning/fatter/something.
  • The advice on factions, conflicts, etc. is great advice, but not what I'm looking for. I already have plenty of plans on all of that (they're probably going to try to kill the PCs in their sleep or turn on them in battle at the first opportunity, unless the PCs do a little more to discipline them and boost their morale).

Clarification:

I'm not asking anyone on RPG.SE to do my prep work for me. I'm looking for resources, either online or in books. My Google searches have been fruitless. The name/trait generators are nice for the flavor, but I'm looking for looking for something a bit more crunchy (age/sex/class/skills). At this point, I'm getting the feeling that it really is just up to me to detail this tribe as best I can and hope I don't miss something huge. The answers so far really are good and useful, but just not the life-saver I was looking for.

What I've Done:

You can see my Google Docs spreadsheet if you want to see what I've done for the orc tribe. As you can see, I play D&D like it's Accounting: The Game.

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1e and 2e AD&D monster/ous manuals had a lot of information on the biology and sociology of monsters, especially orcs. How war parties are armed, ratios for various lieutenant and chieftain types, numbers of young and females. Other "outliers" - clerics, witch doctors, thieves, and so forth - you should probably craft custom for the group, since their existence can drastically affect the dynamics of the group. –  Robotman Mar 6 at 18:15
    
In that case I believe my newest answer (modified with input from your comment) is the best "the book" can answer your question. Ofcourse individual NPC "flair" will still have to be gathered through the means mentioned in my 1st answer. –  Ben-Jamin Mar 6 at 21:00
    
That's a pretty major question change. You're looking for demographic details about culture and lifestyle now, not "how to keep it engaging". Ben-Jamin is jammin'. –  As If Mar 7 at 0:52
    
@AsIf I can see how badly I communicated my question in the first version. I'd like to think that my game is generally engaging for my players, which involves three-dimensional NPCs, group dynamics, and conflicts at various levels. This often involves creating detail as the PCs look closer at someone or something. I should have made these assumptions clear. I was specifically looking at making the group as a group engaging. –  Dane Mar 7 at 15:35
    
Sure, it happens. :-) Ben's second answer goes deeper than mine as far as the demographic stuff goes. –  As If Mar 7 at 15:42

5 Answers 5

  1. Figure out how relations are between the orcs and the ogres in the camp.
  2. Give these two groups tribal names, flags, distinctive armor, etc. Are there members of more than one clan within either tribe? If so, give each clan a name and a flag, and figure out the relations between the clans. Is there tension there? History? Pride?
  3. Think about how labor is divided in the camp. Are some leaders, some guards, some cooks, some porters, etc? Are jobs divided on a racial basis? Is there any resentment or ill-will there? Insubordination? Sabotage?
  4. Come up with one "representative" from each clan, tribe, or laborer group. This will be the one your PCs interact with, who will represent the opinions of his group. Give him a name. What does he want? What does he hate? Is he loyal to his group, or is he looking out for his own gain?

Orc name generator: http://www.rpginspiration.com/tables/OrcName.ipt

Clan name generator: http://www.rpginspiration.com/tables/OrcClanName.ipt

Ideas on Orc culture, etc: https://okam.obsidianportal.com/wikis/orcish-culture

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What level PCs can manage a horde of 300+ orcs & ogres!?

Challenge

  1. I think their biggest problem will be the infighting/challenges for leadership from their followers!
  2. Other civilized cities & adventurers attacking your horde (even if you've been friendly, I'd take you out before you become a threat)

Engaging

  1. I think you'd only need a few Generals of each Tribe to flesh out. This is who the PCs give their orders to. The less NPCs you have to flesh out, the more detailed you can get with each one!

    1a. The DMG has quirks/motivations/physical attributes etc

    1b. Make sure you have several additional General's prepared so when one is lost (attacked, challenged, challenges/killed by your players) you can have his replacement ready.

  2. Then give the tribe overall generic but similar attributes/behaviors.


Note on Hordes: Even though you may have only taken out 1 "encampment" of orcs & ogres each, when you get to large numbers like that, they most likely have multiple tribes or factions within the settlements. Use the term faction if it fits in better with your setup.

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I was writing up (almost) exactly this. The takeaway for me is "start small". Introduce only a few of the creatures at a time. If you try to come up with all 300 names and backgrounds, you'll burn yourself out and overload your players. –  GamerJosh Mar 4 at 22:26
    
I'm thinking about what I feel like I need to do with "all" of them. I think part of what I want to figure out now are the outliers in the horde so I can answer when the players about any members that stand out, as well as figuring out how the horde responds to events. So, for example, whether there are healers or magic users or rogues to handle injuries or enchantments or locks. –  Dane Mar 5 at 0:45
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Turns out our brain can't really handle 300 relations anyway. –  Roflo Mar 5 at 15:05

I'm adding a 2nd answer instead of editing for 2 reasons:

  1. I believe the previous answer is good enough to stand on it's own (for the original question anyway)
  2. I think the points there remain valid and need not be removed, however, adding this section to the previous answer would only convolute the entire thing.

Edit: The below information is gathered from the following sources:

  1. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/orc.htm
  2. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/ogre.htm

Demographics

To get this information, we look at the "Organization" section in the monster entry.

Orcs

  1. Gang (2-4),
  2. Squad (11-20 plus 2 3rd-level sergeants and 1 leader of 3rd-6th level), or
  3. Band (30-100 plus 150% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 10 adults, 5 5th-level lieutenants, and 3 7th-level captains)

For your purposes (Horde of 300) we are going to go with a band. This gets us:

100 Orcs (Combat statistics in MM)
100-150% Non-combatants: We'll choose 127 to go with your comment (Non-Combatants note at end of section)
1 3rd-Level Sergeant per 10 adults = Total of 10 3rd-Level Sergeants
5 5th-Level Lieutenants
3 7th-Level Captains
(It doesn't mention Chief, but if you want one to fill the roll take a 7th-level Captain and give him a class level or 2 to make him even higher...personally, I might suggest Shaman to be unexpected twist on the players. However, it is most likely any chief would be killed, either by PCs during takeover or by orcs for allowing the tribe to be overrun)

Total Orc Count: 245 Orcs, you could also substitute one orc for the chief if you wanted.

Non-Combatants: This is probably where you'll have to most opportunities for "interesting & engaging NPCs. The book doesn't elaborate on who this entails; it's probably mostly women & children with possibly a few lightly injured male orcs, however, based on Orc's way of life a seriously injured Orc is probably only moments-days away from death one way or another. Also, for the same reason, there probably aren't very many "old/infirm" orcs. And before I get accused of being sexist, that's just traditional verbiage as mothers would normally be the ones protecting the children. There could also be craftsmen/craftswomen making/repairing weapons/armor etc, hopefully you have a few hunters/cooks in this group or they'll starve pretty fast! Non-Combatants, if you assume they have these "tradesmen" have lots of opportunities for "interesting" & "engaging" NPCs.

Common Description for nearly all of your horde:
Black Hair, wolf-like ears & reddish eyes.
Males are just over 6' tall & weigh just over 200lbs with females being slightly smaller
Their equipment is dirty and unkempt &
They usually wear vivid colors such as blood red, mustard yellow, yellow-green, and deep purple.


Ogres

  1. Solitary,
  2. Pair,
  3. Gang (3-4), or
  4. Band (5-8)

This doesn't quite get us the "Band" we were looking for. However, you can add the 4th-level Barbarian listed in the entry to be their (previous) leader/(new) "General" and bolster their numbers by making 5-6 bands instead of 1 to get the requisite 52 Ogres you're after.

Note that Ogres have no entries for non-combatants; since it's explicitly mentioned in the previous entry and ignored here I would take that to mean they simply don't have non-combatants. Honestly, whoever heard of an ogre chef anyway!?

Common Description for most of your Ogres:
Adults are 9-10 feet tall & weigh between 600 & 650lbs
Skin color ranges from dull yellow to dull brown
Their clothing consists of poorly cured furs and hides, which add to their "naturally repellent odor"

Note# This section is why I would recommend against having a 300 mbr horde of ogres. Feeding 300 creatures who way 600lbs themselves would take an entire country! The smell of just themselves would be enough to require a fortitude save & this is before we get into their unsanitary hygiene conditions! (I've never seen an orgre sized toilet, and I doubt they care too much where they go)

Edit 2: I modified/updated numbers to reflect Dane's comments about total size of the entire horde

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Heroes of Battle is a good resource.

Heroes of Battle contains information for DMs and players alike. The book starts by showing what an adventure on the battlefield is like, giving players an idea of what to expect and handing the DM a construction kit to bring massive battles to life. Later chapters provide the nitty-gritty tools that increase the chance of PCs and NPCs surviving and thriving on a fantasy battlefield.

  1. The War Campaign
  2. Building Adventures
  3. Battlefield Encounters
  4. Rules of War
  5. The Military Character
  6. Magic of War
  7. Sample Armies
  8. Sample Soldiers
  9. Battlefield Steeds

Since it isn't OGL - I can't copy and paste too much I don't think - But there is information from how to implement mass combat, what a small group adventurers can do to support mass combat, spells that effect an entire army, and it even goes down into organization, positions of leadership, titles, and siege warfare.

It brings an interesting take of Warhammer into d20.

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A link-only answer won't be any good if the link goes dead (which it might, since D&D Tools is walking all over Wizards' IP). Would you summarize the most useful information from that link here, in your own words? –  Paul Marshall Mar 9 at 2:46
    
Hopefully I did a little better with my edit. –  Ruut Mar 9 at 3:09

You can also reduce your effort by reducing the horde size. For that let your players feel the responsibility they have. How to get enough food, clean water, latrines. Less fighting, more organizing ...yawn...

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