Name: Grok'thol Battleaxe the Forceful
Race: Wild Orc
Profession: Warchief of the Black Skull clan
Appearance/Gear: Standing at just over 7 and a half feet tall and weighing nearly 350 pounds, Grok'thol towers over most of his Orcish underlings within the Black Skull clan. However, he is still only mediocre in size compared to the forest trolls of his clan. Grok'thol wears a set of plate armor mostly bearing the clan colors black and dark purple. Black symbolizing death and destruction, the two chief exports of the Black Skull clan, while purple symbolizes loyalty and honor, two values the clan upholds most in their society. Purple is also a symbol of royalty, implying the Black Skull clan to be the supreme empire of Dereth.
Under Grok'thol's helm is thick black hair which cascades down just passed his shoulders when the helm is removed. His face is mostly shaven or stubble, with the exception of a 20 inch braid dropping off his chin. The end of the braid is held together with the charred skull of Dargoth Gorebringer, the late leader of the former Putrid Flesh clan. The Black Skull and the Putrid Flesh clans had been at war for centuries before Grok'thol led the Black Skull to victory 6 years ago. To prevent the Putrid Flesh clan from ever bothering the Black Skull again, he ordered every man, woman, and child slaughtered and every stronghold pillaged and razed.
Abilities/Weapons: The only weapon always at the side of Grok'thol is the Axe of Honor's Wrath, a gargantuan double-bladed battle axe forged by the expert weaponsmiths of the Black Skull. The blade was said to have been crafted with the assitance of the clans high shaman, who fused the blade with the spirits of the land and with Grok'thol's very soul. Grok'thol was a student of shamanism, but was never chosen by the spirits of the land to reach the point of mastery. He perfected no spells, and wields only the shamanistic powers he is granted by his axe; the spirits of earth, wind, lightning, fire, and water.
With the binding of the axe to the soul of Grok'thol, only he may wield it. When any other soul makes an attempt to hold it, it is far too heavy for them to lift. Only Grok'thol and his high shaman know what one needs to lift the axe.
Personality: Grok'thol hates anyone who isn't a dark green skinned wild orc or forest troll. He believes the dark green wild orc to be the master race of Dereth, and has persuaded many to follow his beliefs. The core values of the Black Skull are honor, loyalty, wisdom, and death. In recent years he has erected a number of schools within the Black Skull's territory. For too long orcs have been too ignorant and stupid in his opinion, Grok'thol believes it is now time for orcs choosing to follow him be taught basic knowledge and shamanism.
Grok'thol is a very informed orc by orcish standards. Above average by human standards. The majority of his clan is still far below average by human standards, with his superior officers about equal with their human adversaries. He is calm, and never lets his bloodlust interfere with his thinking. Grok'thol has learned time and time again that a clear minded general has an obvious advantage over a general with thoughts clouded by anger, greed, and ignorance. There is still, however, a racial barrier that prevents his underlings from learning. Grok'thol has overcome this barrier, but most orcs simply do not have the capacity to comprehend so much information.
Detailed Biography: Grok'thol Battleaxe the Forceful received his name from 3 sources. Grok'thol, his birthname; Battleaxe was given to him upon the soul-binding of The Axe of Honor's Wrath; Lastly, he was awarded the title 'the Forceful' when his campaigns against the Putrid Flesh were masterminded and almost flawlessly executed in staggeringly impressive time. The clans had been at war for centuries, and Grok'thol brought the Black Skull to victory in only 12 years. He was awarded the rank of Warchief and supreme leader of the Black Skull clan for his achievements. He now continues to expand his empire within the 'Black Morass', the swamps in which the Black Skull have made their home.
Skill in battle is one way for Black Skull orcs to bring honor to themselves. Although brutal in combat, Black Skull orcs fight with a surprising style and grace that is every bit as deadly and efficient as an elven noble. And despite their warrior culture and admiration of courage, they do not recklessly throw away their own lives. They trust that their honor and skill will help them to survive most conflicts, but know that sometimes retreat is necessary in the face of overwhelming odds.
Social standing in Black Skull society is based upon deeds rather than heritage or gender. Physical strength, martial skill, tenacity, wisdom, character, and spirit are all considered admirable traits and those who display them are capable of attaining positions of great prestige and honor. Weakness is considered a liability to the clan, and those who are inept and unmotivated are called "peons" and struck with menial labor. Failure to prove oneself even as a peon often results in exile from the clan. Despite the belief of other races that the orcs are uncivilized brutes, the orcs under the leadership of Grok'thol have clearly managed to establish a complex society with its own distinctive culture.
The Black Skull orcs do not worship a pantheon of gods, but rather practice a shamanistic religion which focuses on the spirits of the elements (water, earth, wind, electricity, and fire) as well as the spirits of deceased ancestors. Shamans serve as the spiritual leaders of the Black Skull Clan and draw their power from the elemental spirits, which also helps the shaman to develop an intimate connection with the natural world. The wisdom and knowledge gained by the shamans have helped the Black Skull Clan to better live in harmony with the natural world around them, and to grow far from the savages most other orc clans of Dereth have always been.