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Orcish Castes

Nenicirene's picture
Posted in

In my travels around Outland, I've had the misfortune of encountering far too many fel orcs, whose flame-red skin, enormous tusks, and featureless eyes immediately distinguish them from the orcs to whom I have grown accustomed back home on Azeroth. (Strange that I now consider two whole continents to be "home"; how my world has grown.) In our repeated mutual murderings, it's come to my attention that I can't recall a single one of them being female. During my assault on Hellfire Citadel, I discovered that most of them seem to be cloned in tanks instead of natural births, so perhaps they really are nearly-all male.

However, this would not be the first case of orcs displaying something other than the two-gender biology to which we are accustomed. There is the outstanding issue of peons—I guess they could be a form of pre-pubescent orc, with the biological change into adulthood leading to increased body mass, assertiveness, and intelligence, but that doesn't seem to mesh with orcish cultural attitudes towards peons. Cultures tend to treat their young more protectively than the orcish warrior caste (in the generic sense, not the WoW class) treats the peons. Further discrediting this theory, peons seem to be fairly neuter in terms of gender. While it might be interesting to have a species that sexually differentiates late in life upon entering the warrior caste, the presence of gender-differentiated orcish children in Orgrimmar rules this out.

Thus, I think being a peon is for life. The question, then, is are they a caste or a morph. By this I mean, does peonism breed true? Are there effectively two orc subspecies that live together but don't interbreed, or can peons be born to warrior caste parents? I personally think the latter is more likely, given how peons seem to be neuter. I suspect they are incapable of reproducing and are effectively a third gender of orc adapted for manual labor. Their decreased intelligence is actually beneficial to them, as it keeps them from getting bored while doing work that is necessary for the tribe. In this case, I don't think there would be any stigma attached to a pair of orcish parents who give birth to a peon, as it would be recognized that they are a vital part of society. Further speculating, perhaps orcs are always born as twins, with one being warrior caste and the other a peon, the product of a single zygote that splits asymmetrically (not unlike the movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito).

What's that on your face?

Nenicirene's picture
Posted in

As I've come to know night elves in general and a certain priestess in particular, I've noticed that many of them have curious markings on their faces in a variety of shapes, but this is strictly limited to the women, though not universal among them.

Given how they never seem to change, that would rule out makeup, and it seems very odd for a naturally-occuring coloration, so the night elf facial markings must be tattoos. Given their gender distribution and the lopsided gender roles night elves traditionally occupied, I suspect the tattoo's presence and meaning might break down along former societal roles. Perhaps those who were soldiers and huntresses generally didn't have them, while those with more religious roles tied to Elune did. Given that Elune-worship appears to have been an exclusively female role during historical night elf periods, that would explain why the tattoos are only found on women and not men, as, while they might like Elune, they were expected to engage in the manly worship of Cenarius as their primary duty.

This, of course, brings up the question of how night elf society has coped with the dissolving divide in gender roles the modern era has brought about. Are female druids and male priests looked at as freaks by more traditionalist elves? Even if they are, I doubt it's due to conflation with homosexuality. Given how the elvish men were locked in the Emerald Dream for millennia with only occasional visitation rights, and given how horny real-life humans are, we can only assume there was extensive same-sex sex going during that time (gives new meaning to "bears"). This was probably considered tacitly acceptable, though not necessarily something you should be talking about in public.

Arochi's picture

You could just ask, you know? Yes, they're tattoos. They represent different degrees and modes of service to Elune, I got them upon being inducted into the priesthood, and it hurt like a bitch for days, the eyelids especially.

As to sex while we were separated, hell yes! Elune requires it, you know? Plus, it's fun!

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