Orcish Baby Names

Among many of the smaller orcish tribes, ancient traditions related to the rearing of children still endure from time immemorial. While each tribe’s details differ, in the broad stroke they are often startlingly similar, pointing to a shared origin in the orcish people’s war-torn past.

The tribe of Akra, who live in the barren shadows of Ka’Sador, still hold to some of the earliest, most primitive forms of these traditions. The most important is the ritual of naming: no child is to be given a name or referred to by name, until at least three years of age. The high rates of infant mortality in the orcish world demanded a certain emotional numbness, a resistance to being too attached to the horribly fragile newborns that often had inadequate food or fell prey to sickness or exposure. By refusing to name them until they were old enough to endure, many a family avoided repeated heartache.

Over time, this policy accrued a number of mystical explanations, reasons for it to perpetuate even when conditions improved and infant mortality began to diminish. Chief among these new reasons is the belief that names hold power, and can identify one in the Shadowlands, the spirit’s world; to speak someone’s name is to make aware of that person every neighboring spirit, who, drawn by greed or curiosity, will proceed to pay them attention. An older orc might be strong enough to resist them, but a newborn is susceptible to even the most benign of spiritual prodding, as their own nascent spirits have barely blossomed.

When a child reaches the age of three – or close enough – a tribe-wide naming ceremony is held, where all the children born near one another receive names and are given the first of their ritual scars, a small cut made near the shoulder. Unlike the scars they will gain as adults, meant to absorb the spiritual power of others, this is a mere ceremony, an acknowledgment that they are now truly tribe members.

Akra’s naming scheme is a simple one. All children’s names are a combination of a given name and their clan name, based on gender; male names typically begin with G, H, or K, and are monosyllablic, while female names often begin with vowels and are two.

Male examples: Gothakra, Huzakra, Kothakra.
Female examples: Agrobakra, Ushugakra.