Warrior Orcs: Once human, left mutated at the molecular level by the first pathogen
Artwork for the 3rd edition of the post-apocalyptic, Cyberpunk and Cthulhu Mythos role-playing game “YELLOW DAWN – The Age of Hastur“.
This is a sneak peek, a cropped sample of the full page image I commissioned from illustrator Jason Engle. It shows a number of Warrior Orcs putting together a raiding party. Warrior Orcs are a horrific example of the Changed, mutated to an extreme level. One of them is riding a winged steed from the Cthulhu Mythos, summoned almost at will by their metaphysical connection to the Outer Void – a consequence of becoming a Star Whisperer. You can read about The Changed within the post-apocalyptic novel, The Social Club.
The Changed (Orcs) – Mutated humans, victims of the first wave pathogen: survivors left altered at the molecular level. They are commonly called ‘Orcs’ (derogatory) because of the association between their mutated appearance and the humanoid creatures of Fantasy Fiction. Adjusted personality syndrome makes them more feral and emotionally blunt – but not any less intelligent. Enhanced physical strength and constitution; able to cope with cold and wet weather and shrug off exposure when out in the wilderness.
A small subset within the Changed are more “changed” than others. A consequence of unknown factors within the 1st pathogen – which on its own has no immediate effect, but in individuals with a naturally high sensitivity leads to an obsessive compulsion: to become a Star Whisperer. The result is that a member of the Changed becomes increasingly isolated; then goes journeying, seeking something; before turning to the worship of the Great Old One, Hastur; communion with the non-human species Byakhee; and finally a physical transformation.
A few Orc Settlements have them; afflicted Changed who’ve chosen not to seek out a clan… just yet. They remain in place and adopt a role similar to the Shaman of Native American Indians.
Whether they choose to leave or not – most Changed communities recognise the symptoms when one of their own begin the path. The path sees an individual become a Star Whisperer and then eventually leave the community where they later transform into the murderous creatures we know as Warrior Orcs.
Many Changed see Warrior Orcs as a curse, none discuss this outside the Changed community. Meanwhile, those who begin the path to become a Star Whisperer are considered reverent and sacred by most Changed within that locale. This has a lot to do with the ‘hive’ mentality wired into the genetic re-coding that took place as a result of the 1st pathogen. Rational thoughts and personal beliefs are mainly subsumed by the powerful genetic influence: those who are gifted with the status of becoming a Star Whisperer are blessed and important, regardless of the monster they may become later in the process.
For the individual becoming a Star Whisperer a compulsion begins to form. There are fragmentary and fleeting glimpses of a recurring vision. At first it is impossible to decipher yet alone describe to anybody else. Perceptions become different, an evolving sense of purpose – no longer a victim but something important, beyond the context of being a human. The night sky starts to hold a special significance. The individual begins to spend a lot of time contemplating the darkness above and often goes into fever-like trances, where they commune with ‘something’ else and perceive a new understanding of the cosmos, and their place within it.
They build smelting forges and undertake the task of shaping themselves into the physical incarnation of their visions. Visions that each of them has shared. They layer their bodies in metal armour. The metal is heated, pummeled and crafted with curious bumps, pittings and spikes – in emulation of the strange creatures that pervade their half-waking dreams.
They create outdoor temples from large rocks, placed in particular patterns – daubed in the blood and entrails of victims they capture and drag back for sacrifice.
Then the winged monsters come – and so a strange union between things that were once men and monsters from the Outer Void takes place within the remote shadows of Earth.
Learn more in the 3rd Edition rulebook (currently in development)…
YELLOW DAWN – The Age of Hastur is an RPG I wrote during the noughties and published in 2008. Currently in 2nd edition ( 2.5) I am now working towards a 3rd edition, adapting YELLOW DAWN to be used with 7th edition Call of Cthulhu. This follows Chaosium giving me a green light to proceed with a proposed publishing deal with Modiphius (the folks behind Achtung! Cthulhu).
YELLOW DAWN – The Age of Hastur, is a post-apocalyptic setting for action adventure, survival and Lovecraftian roleplaying, where player characters explore a New Wilderness, investigate the dark machinations of madmen and monsters, unfold high-tech mysteries in the Living Cities, and try to survive in a world that has been changed forever by the Infection.
If you want to read a FREE introduction to Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, you can download the PDF here.
YELLOW DAWN 3rd Edition will allow Call of Cthulhu players to drop their scenarios into the post-apocalyptic horror and action adventures of my novels.
You know all there is about what happens after an apocalypse, right? Buy these novels today!
3 NOVELS FROM THE YELLOW DAWN APOCALYPSE
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