Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
Race Play Stats:
Aspects: 1 Supernatural Fire
Trait: Bloodlust – Uruk gain double an opponent’s APL in karma when they personally fell an opponent in combat (normally, races gain 1x opponent APL).
Uruk, also called Orks, are the most numerous sentient race on Taan, with some 1,100,000,000 individuals measured by censuses in the last decade.Some 380 million reside in the Sacred Empire’s lands; a further 320 million within the boundaries of the Cyraean Republic; roughly 230 million in the League of Transarbina; and the remaining 170 million are spread across the minor nations of the world.
The global population has risen rapidly in the last millennium; traditional Uruk family structure creates a social expectation that Uruk parents have upwards of 3 children each, and the Orks are resilient creatures – resistant to disease and injury, extending life expectancy significantly even before the steady march of medical knowledge extended lifespans yet further. Though modernity has also brought with it a disruption to traditional family structure and a reduction of population growth rates, there is growing pressure to expand into the virgin territories beyond Uruk borders – with the Treaty of Grelda due for its first millennial review, Uruk diplomats are quietly hopeful of persuading the Elves to relax the forbiddance on expansion. But, with the review now four years overdue and the Elves still dragging their heels to organise a global conference to discuss the Treaty, Uruk supremecists are becoming steadily more empowered as resentments build.
Uruk history is disputed; many different religious sects, nations and political organisations have an interest in distorting and concealing the truth, making it hard to determine. However, a few facts are definitely known; the first is that, although modern Uruk had spread over the Arbina continent some 2,000 years ago, they had not left it – the ocean was generally assumed impassable, and both social and technical limitations meant that oceangoing ships were as good as impossible to create. Prior to this, though, Uruk had once lived in a great, united Empire called, logically enough, the “First Empire”; and this Empire fell apart in a series of disasters and internecine conflicts around 3000 years ago; in the thousand years before the Sacred Empire formed and claimed itself a true successor-state, Uruk society reverted heavily to more primitive roots. It is widely believed that the Wastes of Arbina were once fertile terrain, and that the desert formed over centuries in the dying years of the First Empire; but proof is difficult to come by, and it is a matter of religious faith that the First Empire was destroyed by sin, not by external calamities – making much research taboo, especially in the Sacred Empire.
Uruk average a little above 6’4" feet in height, and tend to be broad-shouldered and muscular, with extended canine teeth that often protrude a little above the lower lip; their females are less muscular, but still bulkier than the lithe Elves (who infamously made the mistake of referring to Uruk women as “very masculine” in an early meeting – a remark still a source of scorn centuries later). Uruk skins are usually a dark grey, almost granite-like; though green-tinted variants are known, and are most common in the southern Cis-Arbinan provinces of the Sacred Empire; this is considered lucky, as the God-Emperor Bartus also possesses a greener tinted skin; males of the Imperial Family, the Augustins, are sometimes born with greener skin, and these become the favoured heirs to the throne (and are often termed “God-Blooded”).
Uruk psychology tends towards the exploitative and combative; though this is very far from universal. Many Uruk in the modern age actively pursue progressive ideas and ideals in an intellectual and philosophical movement called ‘the illumination’, and a great many such philosophers beyond the Sacred Empire’s borders blame the Empire itself, with its doctrines of Manifest Destiny and Grand Reunification, for biasing Uruk culture and thinking towards ruthlessness, war and selfish entitlement. The Empire, of course, officially refers to such pacifist criticisms as ‘spineless propaganda’.
Uruk religions gravitate heavily (but not exclusively) towards a belief in a great creator-deity, Urakan, who does not manifest directly in the world but who works subtly through faithful Uruk – and his empowered deific underlings, the Gods of Taan. Three of these – Kitantha, Bartus, and Talras – once made a united pantheon of the Sacred Empire, but Kitantha fell out of favour in the centuries before first contact with the Elves and is now quietly airbrushed out of the Pantheon, amidst a hastily-discovered doctrine that even Gods can make mistakes.
Uruk have an ingenious, technical streak, and this has helped them advance rapidly over the 2,000 years since seafaring technology allowed them to expand across the world and grow as never before; in the 100 years since steam technology became commercialised, they have developed ironclad ships, rail transport, and manufacturies that have caused immense social upheaval, for better and for worse.
Uruk religion predisposes them towards supremacism, and this in large part helps explain the ruthless slavery practised against the Dragonborn. Of Elves, they say they are interfering, arrogant hypocrites – Uruk histories make a point of detailing Elven ‘war crimes’ and label the Elves’ enforcement of the ban on new colonisation as a war of aggression against a rival (and superior) species; many are saying that surely Elven magic would not swing the tides of battle against modern warships and long-range artillery, so perhaps it’s time they be tested if they insist on trying to stand in the way of the Uruk…