Orcs are one of the Evil Races of Middle-earth. They were bred by Morgoth in the First Age, in the pits of his stronghold, Utumno. Orcs were originally Elves that he ensnared and corrupted in his dungeons. When Morgoth was captured by the Valar and chained, his Orc armies grew in number, and by the Third Age of The Chaining of Morgoth, they were very numerous. Orcs appeared in great numbers during the first of the Wars of Beleriand. Orcs were the most numerous of Morgoth's servants, so that even after his defeat, some dwelt still in the Misty Mountains, and in the Second and Third Ages, the Orcs became the chief servants of Sauron. Some Orcs did, however, act independently of Sauron, and some became the servants of Saruman the White, while others, bred specially by Sauron, became the Uruk-Hai, the strongest and most fearsome of all Orcs.

By the Third Age, Orcs seemed to have multiplied greatly. By 1300, there seemed to have been Orcs in all the Dark Places of the world, such as Mordor, Mirkwood, and Minas Morgul, not to mention the Misty Mountains. Orcs also took over Khazad-Dűm, and thenceforth it was called Moria, the Dark Abyss. Orcs grew bolder in the Third Age, attacking places such as Minas Tirth, Balin's colony in Moria, and even the Shire. During the War of the Ring they were even so bold as to attack Lothlórien. Two major Orc defeats were in the War of Dwarves and Orcs in 2793 to 2799, and the Battle of Five Armies in 2941, both of which claimed the lives of many of these foul beasts.

Orcs were bred primarily to mock the Elves, and thus they were somewhat similar. They did not die of any cause save by weaponry or enchantment (Orcs knew no grief), and they were fierce warriors much like the Elves. They were, however, in aught else, different. Orcs were short, and above all they were ugly. They were bow legged and had many gross deformities. They had an almost ape-like posture, and they were, save for the Uruk-Hai, weakened dreadfully by the light of the Sun. Orcs were skilled in tunnelling, and thus would live primarily in dark caves, made crude but deadly weapons and strong mail, and had high medical skills. Their medicines were painfully horrid, but unbelievably effective. Orcs hated anything of beauty, and they loved to kill and destroy things. Also, unlike Elves, Orcs used curved, scimitar like swords, were as Elves were known for beautiful, straight blades.

Orcs were organized into different tribes. Orcs within these tribes sometimes got along, but between two tribes there would never be peace of tranquility, for Orcs hated other Orcs. Only in times of war would different tribes get along, and usually only when Sauron ordered in to be so. Otherwise, an Orc would just as happily slay and Orc from another tribe as an Elf or a Man. There were no female Orcs, for Orcs were spawned.

Orcs spoke only a horrid language, either a very crude, curse filled form of Westron, or their own tribal variation of the Black Speach of Mordor. Note: When describing the language of Orcs, it is written as Orkish, not Orcish.

A Typical Mordor Orc

By Tim Kirk.