For millennia, “Gath” referred only to the arid and rocky lands to the south, home to nomadic orcs, mercenary trolls, and scavenging goblins. Though militaristic, they fought mostly among themselves, disinterested in the land or affairs of other factions. This changed abruptly and without warning at the end of the Second Millennium. Reports of Gath’s first assault were remarkable: “Relentless and unforgiving. An army of pure destruction. They do not know pain, fear, or retreat. No warrior or beast are they unwilling to sacrifice to secure victory.” What could persuade orcs and trolls to put aside their clan disputes and fight alongside one another? What could summon dragons, behemoths, wyverns, and manticores out of their mountain lairs? The Councils ignored the rumors and whispers until it was too late. The demon-kings had returned, bent on destroying anyone who refuses to submit to their hellish idolatry.
Kaar’thul, Orc High Wizard
Kaar’thul remembers what the unprovoked human wizards did to his tribe years ago. He remembers the utter casualness with which the murderers decimated everything he knew and loved. Unlike his kinsmen who fight with blade and axe, the scrawny orc-boy determined to destroy his enemies with their own weather-based magic. He trained for decades, yet without spellbooks (for the orcs have no written language) he knew his prowess would never match Arengard’s finest mages. Alone he traveled to the Crucible of Planes to find the demon cult known as Skorg. Gladly they taught him unfathomable magic to undo his wizard adversaries, for long had they awaited an instrument of destruction against God-fearing Arengard. The more Kaar’thul grew in power, the more his hatred grew, and the more the Skorg controlled him. When he returned to Gath to form an army, no creature could resist such power, fury, and novelty. The first orc high wizard had arrived.
Argog, the Blademaster
Born in the outskirts of Ushbo, Arlak Darogog knew only one love from youth: swordplay. Stories of ancient orcish blademasters fueled his obsession with all forms of the craft, especially the most artistic form: bladedancing. At only sixteen harvests old, he begged his father to let him participate in the village competition. Arlak humiliated every one of his opponents. Expecting praise and honor, the elders denounced his prodigious display as the work of demonic influence. Devastated and ashamed, he ran away to live as a pariah in the nearby mountains, until a roving band of troll mercenaries captured him. Forced to the front lines during their next assignment, his dazzling swordplay immediately won their respect. “Argog” they called him. Their doctors taught him healing magic, cementing his reputation as one of the most formidable warriors in Gath. News of his talents spread quickly. Too quickly.