One of the ‘creations’ from AD&D that made it’s way into Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) was the Half Orc.
Supposedly a product of *ahem* ‘union’ between Humans and Orcs, there was also the possibility of gene pools being mixed further with Goblin and Hobgoblins also supposedly able to procreate with Humans. These individuals still tended to be classed as Goblins, Hobgoblins or Half Orcs in Warhammer terms, Gary Gygax would have written them up as eleven new races for AD&D if he’d had the time…
In WFB Orcs and Goblins raid Human settlements and take cattle and captives for food, often to take back to their homelands. It appears in the earlier editions though that Goblinoids weren’t as asexual as later incarnations and it was implied that some of the female captives suffered fates worse than death by Orcish cooking pot.
Tolkien had Half Orcs in his stories of course but these creatures were created by Saruman to work as slaves and warriors for his own nefarious purposes. Tolkien’s stories aren’t known for their high copulation count so I think it’s fair to say he envisaged Saruman’s Half Orcs being manufactured by some sort of magical in vitro process rather than by the violation of women by Orcs.
The Half Orc PC in 1st Ed AD&D typically became a bit of a one trick pony, the stereotypical fighter hampered by low intelligence and even lower charisma. They weren’t particularly liked by other PC races. They weren’t particularly liked by anyone.
The Half Orcs of 1st and 2nd Ed WFB were also outsiders used to fighting against the world, unwelcome in both Orc or Human society. They formed Mercenary units like RR9 Regiments of Renown ‘Mudat’s Mercenary Half Orc Maniacs’ – incidentally the fluff for which includes the first possible mention of the city of Nuln, later detailed extensively in WFRP and later Editions of WFB.
The Half Orc found itself relegated in 3rd Ed WFB. Small numbers were allowed in Orc and Goblin armies and they were still available as Mercenary units – I didn’t know anybody that used them and I never had any despite owning a large Orc and Goblin army at the time. Miniatures were still being produced, although nothing new was added to the range.
By 4th Ed WFB they had completely disappeared, probably due as much to their unpopularity with players as to the uncomfortable back story of how they came into existence being too difficult to explain to the younger audience 4th Ed was aimed at.
I always had a soft spot for them. The use of mercenaries seemed under explored in WFB at the time despite several of the Regiments of Renown being pay sword units. I think Half Orc mercenaries would be perfect in narrative based skirmish games and an uneasy alliance of Humans paying for their services against an Orc raiding party could have all sorts of twists and turns – not just financially but also possible intrigue from filial, agnate or cognate relationships.
Here’s a Half Orc mounted on a pony quickly painted up as part of my ‘break from regiment painting’.
The observant amongst you will notice that this isn’t in fact a Half Orc at all but was sold by Ral Partha/ Elmore Masterworks/Dark Sword Miniatures as a Chaos Warrior, originally mounted on a lizard. I bought it as I wanted to use the lizard for another project but the Chaos Warrior is very Goblinoid. The pony is from Citadel’s C33 Half Orc Hero set. I bought the pony on it’s own cheaply to use with the Chaos Warrior rather than consign him to my bits box.