Ugluki — Half-Orc fighter
A Dungeons & Dragons Character backstory.
Ugluki is a middle-aged half-orc somewhere between 40 and 50 years old. He is approximately 7 feet tall, or would be if he ever stood up straight, and very large all over. He is also exceptionally unattractive, grey-green, tuskless, hairless, and red-eyed with a deep scar across his bald skull held together by rusty staples. His horrific head wound probably explains his patchy memory and appalling social skills.
Prone to extended bouts of morose drunkenness, Ugluki will regale anyone who can stand to listen or is too slow to escape, with unintelligible, incoherent, and inconsistent tales of his miserable life. I pieced together the following unreliable life history from the ear witness accounts of several traumatized tavern victims.
Ugluki was born into a remote tribe of mountain orcs thanks to the immoral activities of his Orc mother when she took part in the traditional Autumn raids upon local human farming villages to steal supplies for Winter, enjoy a spot of casual murder and have a bit of fun before the snows set in. The half-orc boy had a tough childhood in the orc clan because of his obvious mixed parentage, cheerfully negligent mother, and lack of tusks. The long winters were hard for him when boredom among the bigger orc children resulted in games where he played the part of either a football, a target for shooting practice, or a doll for dressing up.
Somewhere in his early teens, Ugluki’s miserable existence turned around when a large force of mercenaries, hired by the humans of small farming villages they had preyed on for generations, attacked his village. The mercenaries ruthlessly killed all the orcs, as their contract demanded, but a few of them were themselves half-orcs who persuaded the others to spare Ugluki and take him into their ranks.
At first, Ugluki was little more than a servant, helping to set up camp, digging latrines and peeling vegetables, but as he grew he trained in martial arts where he soon showed great promise thanks to his large size, superhuman strength and reckless disregard for personal safety. Despite his size, he was naturally good with weapons and quick on his feet. He learned to carry himself well in heavy plate armor and wield two-handed weapons with skill approaching finesse. It was not long before Ugluki earned a name for himself in the mercenary army as a reliable front line heavy. He took part in many battles during his twenties and thirties, honing his skills and collecting scars along the way.
This was the best time of Ugluki’s life. He lived with the other half-orcs, somewhat apart from the rest of the mercenaries, who were mostly human with a few other races mixed in. The half-orcs were the shock troops, always at the front of the attack, facing the greatest risks, suffering the highest damage and taking the most casualties. They took enormous pride in this, but over time their numbers dwindled.
Eventually, when Ugluki was in his late thirties, the inevitable happened when his mercenary army faced a foe they could not defeat. A group of human villages hired them to destroy an orc clan that had been raiding them for generations.
Despite his heritage, Ugluki had no misgivings about the contract. The mercenary army were his family, far more than his mother’s orc clan ever was. He had no qualms about killing orcs.
But the humans fatally mistimed their retaliation to coincide with a once in a generation gathering of orc clans. It was not until they approached the orc village that the mercenaries discovered their mistake. Instead of massacring a single orc clan, they faced twenty clans. Outnumbered ten to one, they did not stand a chance. Many fled the battle, but Ugluki was at the front as always and an axe blow to the head almost split his skull in two. That he survived the wound was a miracle.
When he recovered consciousness, Ugluki found himself bandaged on the floor of an orc tent. He heard that half-orcs belonging to one of the gathered orc tribes had discovered him alive on the battlefield. One of these was a wizened old shaman with a few crude healing powers. Because of their respect for the ancient shaman, the orcs agreed to spare Ugluki, who she said would perform some mysterious future act of significant benefit to orc kind. The shaman roughly stapled Ugluki’s skull and tended him with magic until, after several weeks, he was well enough to get up and move about. However, it quickly became clear to Ugluki, when he woke in the night to find the shaman gleefully bouncing on his lap, that her idea of benefiting orc kind was entirely self-indulgent.
As soon as he was physically able, Ugluki crept away in the dark and returned to the human villages looking for his mercenary family. The villagers met him with fear, disbelief, and distrust. The orcs had decimated the mercenaries, most of the leaders were dead, so they had disbanded. Ugluki could not find a word of any half-orc comrades, so assumed they had all died.
Over the next decade, Ugluki travelled widely, using his imposing size and martial skills to earning a living as an occasional bodyguard, bouncer or mercenary. He was never very welcome for his unfavourable appearance, but also his moody and miserable nature which, if pushed, could explode into startlingly efficient violence. He never stayed in the same place for long and resented and distrusted everybody, even his own kind, but especially humans. In particular, humans from small farming villages.
Over the years his reputation grew, and they banned him from more and more taverns and towns until one day…