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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsAn Unexpectedly Green Journey (Orc life-simulator)
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Author Topic: An Unexpectedly Green Journey (Orc life-simulator)  (Read 5556 times)
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2023, 01:28:53 AM »

The dwarves' capital looks cool, I like the canisters and pipes and overall toxic fog!

James K. Isaac
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2023, 02:34:04 AM »

This week the elves of the Netherwood get their major settlement. Hidden in the depths of a forest, elven society had become increasingly risk-taking and militaristic. In a drawn-out war with the dwarves of the nearby Mountain, elves fly suicidal sorties across the peaks to keep the dwarves, ever fearful of the skies, couped up. However, modern elvish society has not gone down well with the trees, which constantly haunt elvish dreams as they grow twisted and ravenous.

At the centre of the Netherwood is the Tree Heart, worshipped as a virtual god. Cared for by the Tenders, the Tree Heart beats with growing corruption. The Tenders have become embedded in the tree, wracked with discordant emotions from the forest's resentment of the elves.

Elven buildings, once peaceful icons of beauty, shudder nervously with the increasing proximity of forest corruption in the form of haunted trees.

Above, notice the forest depths, where dead trees mingle with living trees.  Bones scatter the earth around an ominous-looking tree yearning to feast.

Here, we can see one of the wood and canvas biplanes readying itself for an attack run. Once long-lived, elves gladly volunteer for these missions, almost certainly meeting their demise.

With the dwarves and elves established on the North West section of the world map, I can now move on to developing stories, dialogues, quests and battles, furthering the story of your orc tribe. After this, I can move on to the human lands in the North East section of the map. Life has caught up to me. Progress may slow for the coming weeks. Hopefully, this will not be the case for too long.

This is a work in progress and everything is liable to change.
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2023, 01:53:11 PM »

I like your haunted trees! Also, you have some epic proportions in your game, like the giant tree in the first screenshot, which is cool. My two cents would be to consider making a second version with a thinner outline if you use it at this huge scale.

James K. Isaac
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« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2023, 08:38:59 AM »


This game has changed focus and format. As a homage to my love of Fighting Fantasy style adventures, An Unexpectedly Green Life has been turned into an Interactive Fiction adventure. The focus has shifted from a steampunk world to a fantasy world.

Using choicescript, I have been able to create a deep, wide-text adventure, where imagination takes the place of graphics (which is not my forte). I love the ability of Choicescript to help flesh out a lore-deep world. The game is an 'orc-life' simulator, with a focus on world-building and adventure, rather than romantic relationships, which many readers favour.

So far, I have gotten good feedback for this rather niche adventure. Here, and in the opening post, I will include the devlog updates. In future, I will also paste them here as they occur.

To play an extensive demo, please follow the link. https://dashingdon.com/play/numberedentity/an-unexpectedly-green-journey/mygame/

Since it's a text game, images are minimal- though this is the world map, divided up into various realms, each with its own customs and history.


UPDATE 6 (16th September 2023): 67k words added, totalling 677k)
-I have added an option on the starting screen where a playtester can skip straight to the demonic path. This will not be in the final game, but since this game is pretty large, it’ll help to find bugs and errors.
-You are the Darkness! Rise from the rank of demonic minion to a demon lord and desecrate the world! Start as a minion with little power and become the apocalypse!
-Manage your new demon powers, Mutate, Possess and Desecrate.
-As the world descends into ruins, read about the decline of civilization with a new page on the Stat screen, showing the diary of a pious monk.
-Diplomatic relations have been replaced with a Terror gauge.
-The map of your conquests had now been replaced to symbolize your spreading taint, showing a spreading fire.
-Build a new army with new demonic units.
-New lore will be revealed as you crush each imperial province.
-Can you take your seat among the thrones of the Powers Beyond and Below?

UPDATE 5 (27th August 2023): 166k words added, totalling 610k
-It is time to face the wrath of the cyclopes. Fall to defeat or rise as an epic hero of legend to save the world.
-Added a war report screen that you can access at the outbreak of general war with the cyclopes. This will follow the advance of the enemy’s armies across the continent, while you prepare for the inevitable final stand.
-Before the conflict, set about forming the policies and character of your kingdom, including your succession policy. This will affect your end-game legacy.
-If you choose to focus on culture or diplomacy, over war and your army, meet many visitors to your throne room. You might even be able to get a dragon!

UPDATE 4 (25th July 2023): 57k words added, totalling 444k
-Finally take on The Empire for good, either through diplomacy or war, to conquer the whole continent.
- Added a few more achievements.
- Added descriptions of your army in the stats screen, to help players keep track of the new units they’ve acquired.
- From the stats screen, you can now access a separate screen with a map and description of the places and political bodies on the continent, at the time of your birth.

UPDATE 3 (14th July 2023): 60k words added, totalling 387k
-60k worth of new content on the war chief path.
-Finally meet Emperor Callistus V, of the human realms. (Tip: Be truthful)
-Deal with the New Shires, the halfling lands, through conquest or diplomacy.
-Build a navy after acquiring the harbour in the New Shires and explore mysterious eastern islands.
-Added Battle Reports, recording your victories and defeats in major battles, on the stats screen.
-Added several achievements.
-Any help with typos very much appreciated.
UPDATE 2.1 (1st July 2023) (Just a quick one)
-Since the shaman @Lance_Heyen found some of the keyboard-gremlin droppings during his playthrough, I have swept them away. Thanks, Lance, for helping me catch a few of those typos!
-Added flavour text for diplomacy with other nations on the stats screen. It should be dynamic and change reflecting other nations’ opinion of you.

UPDATE 2 (30th June 2023): 57k words added, totalling 327k
-Expanded the War Chief path in this update (which I will focus on for now until I reach the first story conclusions). After rising to be War Chief you will spend your time dealing with the surrounding lands through war and diplomacy with the goal of becoming a King. After this, you can finally deal with the elves, perhaps becoming an Emperor.
-Added a checkpoint save system for use when the game is released since, as far as I know, Choice Of Games doesn’t have an inherent save system. In certain hub areas, you will be given the option to save your progress. At each new relevant hub, your game will be automatically saved. You will then get an option to SAVE or RESTART from your last saved position. This will mean that if you die, you don’t lose all your stats. In death scenes, you’ll also be given the option to RESTART your last save point (unless I missed a death scene.) This should not affect DashingDon saves.
-To facilitate those orcs who wish to relish their conquests, I have added a map to the stats screen which should show the progress of your conquests after you have become a king. If you do not want to pursue the king’s path, the map will just show the continent as is.
- Added the ability to keep your old epithet if you don’t like the new one offered.
-Fixed a few issues with earlier scenes. Added a few new achievements.
-Please feel free to point out any typos you find!!! :pray:

UPDATE 1 (9th June 2023): 50k words added, totalling 270k
-31 initial achievements implemented.
-Fixed the Western Hills battle so it works correctly.
-Added the beginnings of later game paths. You can now start to build an orc city. Or, become your clan’s chief, conquer the surrounding lands and rise to be the King of the Orcs. There is a Dark Chief path where you can use necromantic arts to begin your demonic schemes if you are corrupted. You can also become the de-facto shaman of the Dust Clan.
-Some typos have been fixed, although I am sure many remain.

Become an orc! From your first step as a whining infant, through mischievous childhood, to a battle-hardened brute, shape your destiny and that of the world. Break the mould or become the beast you were born to be.

In an Unexpectedly Green Journey, you take an orc from the instance of birth, through to old age, in a lore-rich fantasy world. As you grow, you’ll set your own goals; take part in adventures across the world, dedicate your life to the arts of a shaman and serve the orc god Krog, become a famed Big Belly and engage in epic feats of digestion, rise to the position of chief and lead armies and plot to conquer the world, or fall to darkness and embrace the Powers of Beyond and Below. As you age, new decisions and paths open and friends and enemies are made, allowing a rise to glory or a fall, like so many orcs before, to ignominious defeat.

Based on an old game, but massively expanded, An Unexpectedly Green Journey is currently creeping towards 80% completion.

Once you have emerged from orc infancy, you will take part in a naming ceremony in which you can name your orc. Names must be earned. You can take your orc from childhood to old age, with ever greater choices and consequences. You can currently live a whole lifetime if you take the kingdom-building/war chief path. Other paths still need to be written.

*Note on gender: In this fantasy world, orcs are born from cabbage-like plants called baborcs and are thus hulking, brawling and eating genderless organisms. The world refers to them as the masculine gender due to their stereotypical proclivities.

« Last Edit: October 01, 2023, 10:28:42 AM by James K. Isaac » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2023, 05:29:25 AM »

The storytelling value is high in this one.

Planning to add any 40k or warcraft easter eggs?
James K. Isaac
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« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2023, 12:26:49 PM »

Hi Beastboy,

This version of orcs is a mixed-up version, lots of Tolkien, a pinch of Warhammer and my own take too.

One of the comments on the Choice Script forums said that the Dark Path, in the game, reminded them of Warcraft’s First Lich King. I imagine lots of the fantasy tropes are inescapable!

Still, if you like orcs, there's plenty of green goodness to enjoy.

Thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy your adventure, if you give it a go.


James K. Isaac
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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2023, 05:26:33 AM »

UPDATE 7 (5th October 2023): 126k words added, totalling 803k)
-I have added an option on the starting screen where a playtester can skip straight to the mature orc hub. Here, decline to become a shaman and choose to adventure away from the tribe to become an arena fighter.
-Added a fighting-heavy arena path, complete with a fighter system which gradually increases in difficulty.
-Fight across Arbit, winning and losing bouts against the best, and worst, the continent has to offer on your road to becoming the Grand Champion
-If you choose to become an arena fighter, the stat screen will change to record your victories and defeats and fame level, as well as the current champion.
- Train your skills to maintain your competitiveness.
-Follow the rise of your rival, the notorious Bloody Bhlatair.
- This was tricky for me, any help finding logic errors and typos, always much appreciated.

For you battling orcs, here is one of the non-epic, later-life paths. In the full game, you will be able to have fights but also take part in other adventures. These are yet to be implemented.

Lots of the word count has been used to make a basic fighting system. It does increase in difficulty, but if you train your orc, focusing on strength and presence or cunning and presence, you can make it all the way to the Grand Arena and fight in front of Emperor Callistus V.

This will not end the game, if you survive, merely place you into the old orc events, yet to be implemented.

I found it difficult this time, having to play with code to set up systems. As far as I know, things work well, but errors could have slipped in.

I am increasingly rubbish at guessing word counts. When I started this project and posted it here, it was 220k words and I said it was half done. It might well be around the million mark when I get everything down. I thought I could get all the mature orc paths and jobs done within 100k words!!!

Next, I will work on the adventuring path, which will see greater branching than the somewhat linear arena path.

I hope you all enjoy the update, feedback always welcome.
nathy after dark
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« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2023, 08:46:59 AM »

Pretty cool reporting back with such a big change in genre and format! Hope this unlocks good things for you.

James K. Isaac
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« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2023, 09:16:39 AM »

Hi Nathy,

Thanks so much for such an uplifting comment. I felt I couldn't tell the story I wanted before, my graphics skills were too limited and everything was grinding to below a snail's pace.

Interactive Fiction is very niche nowadays, but potentially the most timeless medium for story games. I truly think our imaginations can be the best GPU going. More than this, switching to choice script allowed me to handle more variables and go deeper into the world and story than I could manage before.

A big change for sure, but much of that original game exists in altered-skeleton form beneath the new one, though twisted and manipulated to fit a more classic medieval-fantasy setting.

I appreciate your interest!

James K. Isaac
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« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2023, 06:17:49 AM »

UPDATE 10 (15th December 2023): 230k words added, totalling 1.2 Million)
-Lead your warband against rivals across The Plains
-Engage in the tactical use of your boar cavalry, goblin skirmishers and orc infantry to slaughter and loot your foe.
-Increase your Raid Boss ranking to gain fame amongst your tribe
-Your foes are procedurally generated from different areas of The Plains, each with their strengths and weaknesses.
-Enslave your defeated enemy, or buy up slave stocks from Seraka the Shackla to supplement your horde.
-Your victories and defeats are added to your battle record on the stats screen.

UPDATE 9 (1st December 2023): 97k words added, totalling 972k)
-Continue your adventures in the Royal Road Adventurers Guild.
-As your adventuring band rises in fame, deal with ever more important and dangerous quests.
-Find the link between your adventures and, if you can, defeat the demonic powers behind recent upheavals to be proclaimed a Light of the Empire.
-Further befriend and get to know your potential companions. If you get on with them well enough, perhaps you may see them during your old age, when all adventuring is done.

UPDATE 8 (30th October 2023): 72k words added, totalling 875k)
-Uploaded the initial starting quests of the mature orc adventurer path. In total, the path is about half done.
-As long as you are not demonically corrupted (and have not had one of the murderous ‘funny turns’), your mature orc can join the Royal Road Adventurers Guild.
-Choose from a variety of quests, gradually increasing in complexity as you gain more experience.
-Pick from a waiting group of warriors, thieves, clerics or mages to join your band. Each has their own backstory and powers which can aid or hinder your quest. Each will form an opinion on your orc, based on your behaviour during quests and if you can actually succeed in completing them.
-Your best orc or goblin pal, from your youth, can join your adventuring band!
-Once you’ve picked your party, read about them in the stats screen as their experience level increases and they gain greater control over their abilities. Track the fame of your adventuring band, depending on how many quests you’ve taken part in and completed.

You can engage in the raid boss battle as a young orc, if you meet the requirements, although it will be harder and you are limited to the amount of battles you can take part in. However, as a mature orc, you can fight in up to 25 raid battles.

A great chunk of this update’s word count is code (maybe 100k). I have pushed my neophyte coding abilities to the limit here!

These events are procedural and give your rival Chief differing names, surnames or epithets, different tribe names and place names, and differing casus belli, depending on which part of The Plains they hail from. Refusing a fight does not result in a defeat, but fleeing from a fight you start does. Sometimes it is better to flee if a battle isn’t going your way, or else you’ll almost certainly be killed.

There is no wider narrative to these battles. Raiding is a bread-and-butter part of orc life. I felt I needed to add these battles to add more orciness to the game. A successful raid boss may well have different options when he reaches old age )yet to be implemented).


This game has become huge, far larger than anything I first imagined. I have decided to not implement a Thieves Guild path. To me, this seems a bit like throwing the kitchen sink in. If this was a goblin life simulator, I would, however, I don’t feel this path would suit an orc. Orcs would be the muscle, the thug or brute, used for intimidation and not really suited to the sneaky aspect of thievery. It would limit the enjoyment of a thief’s path. Perhaps, in a later game, I might use many of my ideas for a more fitting character and wider narrative.

My next update will flesh out mundane jobs for orcs, those who do not wish to engage in battles and adventure. I imagine a wandering orc passing from town to town doing more menial activities. Of course, this can be done between other events in a mature orc’s life. As a whole, this should give the player the impression of taking part in a world where not everything is ‘epic’ in nature.

After this, I will work on the city paths. Perhaps, at the same time, I will work on the shaman path, or do it after. The shaman path will potentially be the last big hurrah, a game path which diverts from others, as you rule your holy city around Krog’'s Rock.

When this is done, I will venture into the old orcs paths. This will be a more gentile affair, but hopefully, give satisfaction to readers and players by tying some events back to your younger life.


James K. Isaac
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2024, 04:12:46 AM »

UPDATE 11 (23rd January 2024): 130k words added, totalling 1.33 Million)
-Journey along the Odd Job trial, passing through 5 settlements on the Royal Road, and become gainfully employed in a variety of tasks, from performing dentistry on an ogre to being the muse for an aspiring bard.
-Arrive in Grandardgard, the Imperial Capital, to take part in higher paying jobs, from cleaning the city sewers to investigating suspicious rumours about a dragon-blooded noble and crewing the maiden flight of the first Imperial Airship.
-If of good character, venture into the New Shires to work for the halflings, from mundane jobs such as farming or gardening to taking part in a sideshow.
-Most jobs are one-time only though some are repeatable, with varying outcomes.
- Added a highly suspicious Imperial Works Record CV on the stats screen, available once you take your first non-tribal job, recording your experiences along the Royal Road, in the New Shires and Grandardgard.

This update is more back to basics. Your orc will wander the world and take part in more mundane tasks, though some have a smattering of ‘epic’ flavour, available to mature orcs, though tribal jobs are available to young orcs too.

Lots of events, so I will greatly appreciate the work of typo hunters and searchers of logic errors.

Next, I am planning to delve into the shaman path, one of the more epic and consequential paths for your orc.

After that I will flesh out the general city builder path before moving to the final section(s), the conclusion to non-epic orc lives, in the old orc part.
James K. Isaac
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« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2024, 08:35:08 AM »

UPDATE 12: 160k words added, totalling 1.49 Million

-Added a Dark Mode to heal your eyes from bright backgrounds. Select it in the game menus.​

-Become the chosen shaman of the Krog faith and build a holy city around Krog’s Rock.

-Follow Krog’s guidance and create a glorious settlement for the ages.

-Or stray from the path and watch your city crumble or fall into the abyss as a place for demons.

-Decide what to build and who to hire while keeping track of your city’s Faith, Defence, Law and Wealth.

-Visit your citizens for minor quests and research great powers.

-Face off against an imperial crusade or travel beyond the ether to battle the gods themselves.

- Added a new stats screen where you can peruse the current state of your city, accessible once you rise to the position of shaman.


Okay, I feel with the game being so large, other city paths will be redundant. The shaman and chief paths, in my opinion, offer different styles of playthrough to not make the game repetitive and feel rewarding. So this means one final section is left- Old Age.

I do not plan for this to be a huge section, more of a conclusion to your orcs’ lives (those who don’t become chiefs and shamans. I hope to validate earlier choices and give options to spend the loot. I like the idea of your old orc taking interest in an orcling or pup and offering guidance to him, to give you a sense of legacy, if you so wish. The largest problem is setting the boundary for when to transport your orc to old age. I’ll try and figure it out.

After this, I want to go through everything, take out the skeletons of unused events, rebalance a few things and implement some of the testers’ suggestions- the list is quite long.
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« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2024, 08:51:25 AM »

UPDATE FULL BETA TEST v0.9, (27th March 2024):55k words added, totalling 1.54 million
-Play the final act of your orc’s life into old age.
- ‘Adopt’ a pup and help to influence and raise him into, perhaps, becoming a chief.
-Keep track of your pup’s development on the stats screen.
*-Contact old acquaintances, if they still live, to shape your pup.
-Spend you loot improving the tribe or influencing the current chief’s entourage.
-Decide on how you meet your fate, in exile, as a chief maker or idling away your years.
-Receive a final judgement on your orc’s life.
-Added a tester option to jump straight into old age, using a pre-made orc.
-Expanded the ending screen for Big Bellies who complete their path.
-Added a cheat mode which, in the finished game, you will have to track down. However, for testing purposes, you can find it on the stats screen at any point, except for old age. -Old orcs lose the blessing of the Crone of Fate and cannot cheat, for narrative and game balance.

If you haven’t become a Big Belly, Shaman of chief, now is the time to forge the end of your orc’s story. No longer full of vigour, you face a more sedentary existence, beset by the ravages of time- but, your influence can still affect the future.


The game is now complete. I now will go through everything again and try to catch the typos and fix and bugs I encounter. Some unused events will be taken out. I will probably add flavour to existing events and perhaps make a few additions from my pile of notes collected from the suggestions players have made on this forum.

Please note, I will not be looking to make extensive additions but to polish off what is there. This is now my priority. As I have mentioned before, I may look into adding dlc, or updates, once the game is released and if there is a high enough demand.

I think I have been saying we are nearing the end for the last 6 months, but we really are now. I want to thank everyone who has played my game and given me help and support, through encouragement, praise and constructive criticisms. You have all helped to make this adventure of mine a pleasure to create.

For those who wish to continue helping to fine tune this game, the biggest help will be to find typos. It is a large game and my typing agility skill is barely %20- though speed I can do, sometimes.

I plan to add a credits page where those who have helped, particularly with editing, will be credited- if you don’t wish for this, just say. I do believe that people giving of their time to help others should, in the very least, be acknowledged.

(I hope this update is smoother than the last few, the old age section is less complex than the shaman-city path by a mile.)

Krog’s blessings to you all!
James K. Isaac
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« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2024, 07:22:26 AM »

Games has now been submitted to Hosted Games. Much of the last week or so has been spent preparing the text, titles and screenshot scenes for eventual publication. -As I have mentioned, I do plan future updates, once the game is released. This will depend, somewhat, on the reception. I also have some ideas for future DLC- though I will soon start a new project which will take immediate priority.

The full draft of the full game description:

Called stupid brutes, orcs are hated and looked down upon by all the GITS! If only an orc could unify the clans and turn the hordes against their enemies. Harness your might, and the power of gods and demons, to remake the world in the visage of an orc!

“An Unexpectedly Green Journey— An Orc Life Simulator” is an interactive novel by James Isaac. It’s entirely text-based—1.5 million words, without graphics or sound effects—and fuelled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Born in the baked, dusty plains, you emerge into a world of stagnation and decline. Orcs simmer in this backwater, a hopeless people dismissed as culturally stunted and irrelevant barbarians. Once, an age ago, orcs had the briefest glint of a place in the sun and held the continent of Behatland by the throat, only to fall before the united forces of the world. What hope have you to make something of your life beyond scrabbling for meagre survival?

But the fates have conspired and presented you with an opportunity. The elves are in perpetual retreat to match their ever-diminishing forests. The time of dwarven glory has long passed. The great human empire totters on the edge of decadence and the unravelling of the traditions of their ancestors. Demons tempt those of wayward faith. Worse, there are whispers and sightings of something far more sinister stirring in the Ashland to the west…

The world slumbers fitfully before the tantalizing tendrils of an encroaching nightmare. Someone needs to kick this world awake, wring its neck, roar in its face and hack at it with an axe before eating it! IT IS TIME FOR THE ORCS TO RISE AGAIN!

From the moment you first open your eyes to the instance of your last croaking breath, you will take the role of a mighty orc. Become anything from a bone idle glutton, fit only to be forgotten, to the ruler of the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Wield your influence and connections to build great armies or a holy city. Usher in an age of peace or demonic devastation. Make a mess and eat a load of halfling offal!

Explore an open world full of danger, opportunity and adventure.

Grow your orc through every stage of their life, from the moment of birth, through childhood to adolescence, from youth to maturity and, finally, into old age.

Rise to become the chief of your tribe, the king of all orcs or the emperor of an entire continent. Then face off against a final threat powerful enough to challenge even an emperor.

Command vast armies, with a diversity of units, and crush dwarves, elves, humans and halflings too!
Raid rival warbands riding atop your ferocious boar.

Master the arts of a shaman. Wield the will and magic of the orc god to build and manage a Holy City and breach the realm of divinity.

Succumb to temptation and devote your soul to the Powers Beyond and Below. Weave demonic taint across the world and burn it to a cinder as you become the Dark Lord itself.

Devote your life to gluttony and join the fabled Big Bellies in epic feats of gut-busting consumption.

Fight in arenas across the land to earn wealth and glory. Perhaps, one day, you will claim the title of Grand Champion.

Join an adventuring guild and go questing with a party of brave heroes across the land.

Or live a life of simple mediocrity and leave all the fighting to the stupid gits who want to die young.

20% Grub. 30% Glory. 50% Slaughter. 100% Orc.
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