Orc Ale
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Basic Information

Beer … made by orcs (or whatever fills their slot in your campaign world). Traditionally played for laughs and represented as as foul as its creators it may just be very bad beer or it may turn out to be something completely different. It may be drinkable by PCs (if only in the technical sense) or toxic … in rule of funny campaigns it may eat through many kinds of container.

If you are playing a less stereotyped campaign then orc beer may just be a more primitive form of small beer, possibly with a different grain base to the human norm and therefore unpleasant to people who aren't used to sludgy porridge or it could be a fermented milk drink or something else suitable alien. This arcanist has also plotted in 'orc ale' as being fermented barley, but brewed with bacteria rather than yeast giving a complex mix of short alcohols that was toxic to humans and tasted … off.

Alternatively, you could move things into higher fantasy mode and assign this as an equivalent of the wierd energy drink that the Uruk-hai give to their hobbit prisoners on the road to Isengard in The Two Towers

Orcs may or may not drink regular beer as well if they can get it…


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • The barrel of beer the orcs are guarding in the 20'x20' room may turn out to be this, making it even less use as treasure.
  • Particularly cheap beer purchased by mean characters (perhaps after a botched haggling roll) may turn out to be orc beer … it may also be a popular con trick, passing orc beer as human.
  • Drinking the stuff whilst on a bar crawl may be an occupational hazard of heavy drinkers if your city is sufficiently 'multicultural'. Alternatively, finding a bar that serves the stuff may be a sign that you have come to a bad part of town.
  • If the stuff isn't toxic, a tolerance or liking for it could be an interesting character trait for someone who has been a prisoner of orcs … or the fantasy equivalent of a mountain man who occasionally trades into orcish territory. (This arcanist has occasionally used Amerindian themed orcish tribes, particularly in 'frontier' style games)
  • Just one more occupational hazard for your local ale-conner.
  • Orkish coffee is pretty vile too; only without the hangovers and periods of memory loss.
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