One of my players wants to play an orc that has broken away from its original tribe and is trying to establish a new tribe on its own. Are there rules for attracting members to this new tribe, finding a location for the new tribe's lair, and so on? I'd prefer D&D 5e rules, but if rules from another edition can be tweaked to fit 5e, that'd be fine, and, if neither of these are options, playtested tribe management house rules are acceptable.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Answerers may wish to consider that there is a section in the newish 5e source book Volo's Guide to Monsters pertaining to orc society and culture. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


It is going to be hard to find general rules.

Given the player driven nature and history telling structure of D&D some part of the management are more subjective and not bound to specific rules. For example, getting members can be driven by fame (I want to live in the hero town), saving people from slave traders, buying slaves, hiring mercenaries to kill townsfolk and rescue them to gain their trust, etc. Lands are more or less the same, they can be obtained as a quest reward, part of a noble title, stolen from the big bad guy, or some good guys, or tribes. But not everything is lost, we can start with some basic guidelines.

I'm making this guideline from my own experience dealing with a similar case.

The best strategy is to establish basic rules from the beginning.

The idea is to delimit the rules in which the "game" is going to be played.

  • The first thing that you want to decide is when the tribe reconstruction is going to happen; e.g. as the epilogue of the story or as a driving force during the story. You really want to make it clear when this is going to happen, since it is extremely important that his goals does not clash with your story telling goals.

  • Secondly, if its while you are playing, you have to make it clear how important the reconstruction is for the story. Will it be between adventure? Would it be the main force of the story, in which the adventure is to reconstruct the tribe? What about NPC, are they going to be famous NPC joining the tribe? And so on.

  • Finally, the third thing that you want to achieve is the understanding on the geopolitical situation of the tribes. This is very important from the story telling perspective, since this give cohesion to the story. To put it simple, you just want to make it clear the position of the main political force in the country and its standing with the orcs tribe/hero. No government would want to give lands to a race that want to kill. It also put in perspective how the player may be rewarded or obtain land if there are some antagonism.

Decide the reward system.

Although in the DMG are some guidelines on how to get lands and hire helpers (DMG 127-129 and 229), most of the details are left for you to figured out. Depending on when the reconstruction is going to happen, you can simplify the reward system. Simply put, you want a reward system that works with your story. For example, the one that I've been using and can be adjusted somewhat easily is a point system based on "fame".

  • Fame is just how well received an action is. It can be tailored for different races: Orcs might value more "aggression or militaristic approaches" and mission finished with violence are the ones that yield fame (or more fame) while a more peaceful approach might even have the opposite effect.
  • Give (or take) one or more fame points based on the task or objective completed and how they were completed.
  • Hide how many fame points the player have, this make more interesting things when the rewards come.

This system let me adjust, for example how many clan members he might get. I usually let the players roll a d6 for each fame point to determine how many clan members they get (or lose). This can be used after a milestone or as the epilogue of an adventure, where I let them decide (with a dice, evil grin) how many "followers" they get. The size of the land can be determined in the same fashion, but I prefer to give a set amount after big milestones in the story.

While in doubt, talk with the player

The player might have envisioned a way to rebuild his clan, you may want to hear him out. Or you might not be sure on how he wants to get members, or you want that he use role playing to get members.

You are the DM

If something does not work as you expected, change it. You have the right to revert a decision as you please.


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