Looking at the lore of the Orcs presented in the 5E (Monster Manual, pgs. 244–245 & Volo's Guide to Monsters, pgs. 82–91), it seems clear to me that there isn't different subraces among orcs in D&D 5E.

No more gray or mountain orcs, just orcs and orogs, the latter no longer treated like the orcs of Underdark; now they are just regular orcs born with an intellectual gift.

Are there any official sourcebooks of 5E (adventures or rulebooks) that distinguish the orcs like the Races of Faerûn book did back in the 3.X editions or the subraces of orcs were simply discarded in 5E for now?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Person who downvoted, care to share why? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kuerten
    Feb 13, 2019 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ What chapter is that Volo's Guide page range? I only have the digital copy, and I'm trying to figure out if you are referring to the orc playable race or the orc lore section. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2019 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PinkSweetener I'm talking about the orc lore section. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kuerten
    Feb 13, 2019 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Orc sub-races are not yet in 5e

As you noted, Volo's Guide to Monsters doesn't do this but a future supplement might. Given how orcs have become more humanized in recent editions, in terms of their background and culture getting a little more meat on them than "big humanoids with axes and fangs," it would make as much sense to make sub-races of orcs as it does to make sub-races of humans - which 5e doesn't do either.

The game doesn't need them, but any of us as a DM or world builder can expand on their basic features in our own campaigns. I played in a friend's game a couple of years ago where the orcs were a high plains culture who often rode on aurochs - great fun. Borrow what you like from previous editions and fold them into your D&D 5e campaign. DMG pages 285-288 provide some guidance there, as do pages 273-282.


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