Tanarukk (Races of Faerûn)
Regions: Silver Marches, Orc
Racial Feats: Fiendish Bloodline, Healing Flames, Improved Energy Resistance, Improved Natural Armor.
Racial Prestige Class: Orc warlord.
Racial Hit Dice: 5d8
Level Adjustment: +3
Bred from orc slaves and demons, tanarukks are a powerful and evil strain of planetouched who are spreading across the North. Because of their orc blood they breed rapidly, and there are more tanarukks than any other kind of planetouched. Entire tribes of the creatures have taken root in the Nether Mountains and continue to breed true, so in another twenty years they will be a serious threat to the tenuous peace in the North. With evil parentage on both sides of the family, tanarukks are almost always evil, without a drop of human blood in them to influence their disposition.
Tanarukks are the descendants of orcs and tanar'ri (vrocks, in particular). Similar to tieflings, tanarukks are a mortal Faerûnian creature with the bloodline of an evil outsider. They breed true with their own kind or with pureblooded orcs, and even orcs with one tanarukk grandparent have all the abilities of a tanarukk. Theoretically tanarukks could breed with goblinoids or even ogres and produce strange crossbreeds, although these are likely to be sterile.
Unlike most planetouched, tanarukks have a fairly uniform appearance, resembling short, stocky orcs with stooped postures. Their hair is coarse; whether on their heads or the odd patches that grow on other parts. of their bodies. They have sharp teeth and prominent lower tusks, with their lower jaw protruding farther than their small snouts. Their eyes are red and glow when angry. Their foreheads are low and ridged with horn or scales; their skin varies from gray-green to dun brown.
Tanarukks have the same life expectancy and age categories as an orc. They use the dwarf height and weight ranges in Dwarf.
The citadel now known as Hellgate Keep fell under the sway of demons nearly five hundred years ago. The Harpers placed wards around the site to prevent the demons from conjuring any more of their kind, so Grintharke the balor, the most powerful demon present, ordered his evil minions to breed with the ore slaves of the keep in order to produce fast-breeding but powerful creatures who would serve the demons as shock troops and guards. After a few hundred years, the fiendish bloodlines stabilized, and the race of tanarukks was born. In recent years, Grintharke was slain. His successors fell to infighting but managed to hold power until the keep itself was destroyed in 1369 DR by an extraplanar artifact known as the Gatekeeper's Crystal. A number of the surviving tanarukks fled to the Nether Mountains, while others remain under the command of one of the keep's cambions, thronging secret halls buried in the Underdark. The tanarukks of the Nether Mountains are mingling with local orc tribes and may soon branch out into the Spine of the World, where they will come into conflict with the tribe of King Obould Many-Arrows.
Tanarukks have the worst traits of orcs or half-orcs mixed with the temper and power of demons, Generally sullen and prone to rages, tanarukks would rather fight than ponder and would rather kill than argue. Their orc heritage impressed them with a respect for power, which was only reinforced by their tanar'ri mentors. They live recklessly and without moderation, feasting, drinking, and fighting if the opportunity presents itself. They are contemptuous of those weaker than themselves, and consider themselves a superior breed of orc. They are impressed by strength, and only a very powerful leader can convince them to settle down long enough to follow orders against a common enemy.
Among the typical rough-minded tanarukks are a few who are smarter or more moderate in their temperament, possibly because one of their demonic ancestors was a marilith or some other sort of demon prone to thinking before acting. It is these tanarukks who become leaders or, dissatisfied with the life available to them among their own kind, seek out other challenges in new places. These tanarukks can be the most dangerous but also have the greatest chance of being befriended by something other than an orc or tanarukk.
Most of the wiser tanarukks are barbarians or fighters, although a fair number are sorcerers. Leaders multiclass as barbarian/sorcerers, using their limited sorcerer ability to augment their physical prowess. Less rage-prone tanarukks tend to be fighters or rangers.
Favored Class: Barbarian. A tanarukk's potent physical ability becomes downright frightening when he gains the benefits of barbarian rage.
Prestige Classes: Tanarukk blackguards and assassins are fearsome foes indeed. Tanarukks can also become >orc warlords.
Of all the planetouched, tanarukks are the only ones with a large and thriving society, for not even the fey'ri have numbers comparable to the tribes of fiend-touched orcs. Of course, tanarukk society is a mixture of orc and demon society, which means that they act like orcs infused with supernatural evil power. However, unlike typical orc society, the strong influence of the marilith involved in the breeding program has moderated the patriarchal tendencies, resulting in a culture where females are treated much better than slaves. Tanarukk females who give birth to many strong young can earn a measure of respect for themselves and carry some influence over their mates.
Like orcs, tanarukks perform ritual scarring on themselves and each other, particularly as part of adulthood rites. Because they are resistant to fire, many scarring rituals use acid or jagged weapons. Others have iron jewelry or weapons (such as tanarukk battle gauntlets) hammered into place around their limbs while still hot, fusing the item in place when it cools, which prevents theft without killing the tanarukk first.
Language and Literacy
Tanarukks speak orc and Abyssal, using the former for most conversations but inserting words from the latter when more sophisticated concepts need to be communicated. Smart tanarukks usually learn Common so they can more easily interrogate prisoners.
Tanarukks are illiterate, except for those who acquire levels in a player character class other than barbarian.
Abilities and Racial features
Tanarukks have the following racial traits:
- +4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma. Tanarukks are strong and agile, but have short attention spans and aggressive natures.
- Medium-size. Tanarukks are squat, but broad, like a dwarf.
- Tanarukk land speed is 20 feet.
- Darkvision up to 60 feet.
- Fire resistance 10.
- Spell resistance of 14 + class level.
- +4 natural armor.
- Proficient with all martial weapons.
- Outsider Hit Dice: A tanarukk has 5d8 racial Hit Dice from his demonic heritage. A tanarukk character receives maximum hit points for his first outsider Hit Die, and rolls his other outsider Hit Dice normally. He rolls all Hit Dice from class levels and does not automatically get maximum hit points on his first class level Hit Die. A tanarukk's racial Hit Dice also provide a -4 base attack bonus. and saving throws of Fort +4, Ref +4, and Will +4. Tanarukks with class levels add their class attack bonus and save bonuses to their racial attack bonus and saves.
- Outsider Skills: A tanarukk's outsider Hit Dice grant him skill points equal to (8 + Int modifier) x8. Class skills for these skill points are Hide, Intimidate, Listen, Search, and Spot. A tanarukk does not get the x4. multiplier for skill points acquired from his first class level.
- Outsider Feats: A tanarukk's demonic Hit Dice grant him two feats. A typical tanarukk chooses Alertness and Weapon Focus (battleaxe). A tanarukk with class levels gains feats based on his total Hit Dice, as shown in Ability Modifiers and Level Benefits.
- Natural Attack: A tanarukk may use his bite as a natural weapon, dealing 1d6 points of damage. A tanarukk can attack with a weapon at his normal attack bonus, and make a bite attack as a secondary attack (-1 penalty on the attack roll and half Strength bonus on the damage roll).
- Control Flame (Sp): Tanarukks can cause a nonmagical fire within 10 feet of them to diminish to the level of coals or flare to the brightness of daylight and double the normal radius of illumination. This ability does not change the heat output or fuel consumption of the fire source, lasts 5 minutes, and may be done once per day. They use this ability as 5th-level sorcerers.
- Orc Blood: Despite all their special abilities and effects, tanarukks are still basically orcs. Thus tanarukks can use or create orc weapons and magic items with racially specific orc powers as if they were orcs.
- Outsider: Tanarukks are native outsiders.
- Automatic Languages: Abyssal, orc, home region. Bonus Languages: By region.
- Favored Class: Barbarian.
- Level Adjustment: +3. Due to his racial Hit Dice, plus his spell resistance, fire resistance, natural armor, and advantageous ability score modifiers, a tanarukk has an effective character level of 8 plus his class levels. Thus, a 2nd-level tanarukk barbarian would have an ECL of 10. See Powerful Races for more information.
Tanarukk Magic and Lore
Tanarukks have few wizards, preferring the ease of sorcery. Since few have the talent for sorcery either, most tanarukk spellcasters are clerics.
Spells and Spellcasting
Tanarukk spellcasters prefer magic that summons outsiders, blasts enemies with fire, or makes the spellcaster physically more powerful (such as bull's strength, divine power, and righteous might).
Tanarukk Magic Items
Tanarukks rarely have the skill to make their own unique kinds of magic items, but many wear burning battle gauntlets made for them by their demonic masters. They otherwise use orc magic items or those provided by the fiends. A few lucky tanarukks carry ancient magic items looted from Hellgate Keep, such as roaring armor of Ammarindar.
Like their pureblooded orc ancestors, tanarukks worship the orc pantheon. Despite the influence of their fiendish mentors, tanarukk tribes do not worship demons. Tanarukks who are content to use their physical prowess in the service of an orc leader (without thinking too much) lean to the worship of Bahgtru. More than any other tanarukks, the worshipers of Bahgtru rarely wear armor, considering it a weakness. They tend to be the strongest and most aggressive members of the tribe.
Gruumsh, He Who Never Sleeps, is revered by all tanarukks and is especially close to the hearts of the tribal and clan chieftains. They see their demonic blood as a reward from Gruumsh for their long service, and mercilessly kill the weakest young of the tribe or those who manifest no true tanarukk abilities. Allowing one who has spurned the gifts of the One-Eyed God to live is an affront to his worship.
Tanarukks consider Ilneval, the god of orc crossbreeds and martial skill, to be their special patron, and Ilneval is worshiped almost as an equal to Gruumsh. If this new race continues to expand, he is likely to supplant Gruumsh in the eyes of the tanarukks. Ilneval is a favorite of the wiser tanarukks as well as officers in orc armies. His worshipers are more likely to become fighters or rangers than barbarians.
Relations with other Races
Even more so than common orcs, tanarukks consider other races weaker than themselves. Only demons (and, to a lesser extent, powerful fiend-touched creatures such as half-fiends) gain any respect from the tanarukks, and only because they usually have power to back up their commands.
Tanarukks are prone to torture and then eat any intelligent humanoid that crosses their path. After centuries of service to the tanar'ri, they are quite conversant with painful methods of torture and not above eating parts of their victim while it is still alive. Tanarukks are particularly hateful toward elves, given that the weakest tanarukk is more than a match for a half dozen common elves.
Tanarukks see orcs and half-orcs as valuable allies but of lesser status than the tanarukks themselves. Any such allies usually end up coerced into mixing with the tanarukk tribe to create an even more numerous next generation of demonic progeny.
Common tanarukks rarely wear armor, content with their own thick skins. Lieutenants and chieftains wear armor, but when forced to fight a challenger for supremacy they remove it in order to prove they are powerful without the metal skin.
Many tanarukks wear what they call "battle gauntlets" - thick bands of metal that cover the forearms and parts of the hands. Some of the more sadistic ones hold their hands in fire for several minutes before battle, heating the gauntlets so they deal 1 point of fire damage in addition to the unarmed strike damage (the tanarukk resistance to fire means this heat does not affect them at all). Battle gauntlets are not considered armor by tanarukks, and so there is no stigma of weakness in wearing them.
Animals and Pets
During their confinement within Hellgate Keep, tanarukks have fallen out of practice in training animals and have only recently begun training boats and dire boars as mounts. Ideally, fiendish varieties would suit their needs and temperament, but they lack the means to acquire many of these creatures.