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"Middle Earth HOTT. Orc units?" Topic

Hordes of the Things

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Weasel20 Dec 2016 7:05 p.m. PST

How do you rate your orcs in Hordes of the things?

Horde as the book suggests?

My gut feeling is that book Uruk-Hai might be warbands, while movie Uruk-Hai are blades or spears.
If using the latter, you can use the "goblin-men" as warbands.

Nazgul? Flying hero? Magician?

DesertScrb20 Dec 2016 7:55 p.m. PST

Denizens of Moria and Goblintown are Hordes. Mordor and Isengard Orcs are Warbands. Uruk Hai are Blades. Nazgul can be Heroes or Aerial Heroes.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian20 Dec 2016 8:08 p.m. PST

The old 'weak Orc' vs 'strong Orc' argument?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2016 9:25 p.m. PST

I think it is more about discipline, training and organization instead of 'weak' or 'strong.'

Weddier20 Dec 2016 9:58 p.m. PST

Check out Luke Ueda-Sarson's pages at
He has researched this very well.

Hafen von Schlockenberg20 Dec 2016 10:02 p.m. PST

The Isengarders jeeringly call the Northerners "maggots" and "little swine"; I don't think that's just slander.

BTW, in the same section of "The Two Towers" Tolkien emphasizes the "long arms and crooked legs" of the Mordor orcs.

Weddier--Fascinating site,thanks! You should post more!

Piyan Glupak21 Dec 2016 12:21 a.m. PST

Most of my Orcs are hordes, but I have a small number (maximum 3 elements per army) as blades. These represent either picked bodyguards for the leader, or Uruk-Hai and similar larger types.

From my reading of Tolkien I gained the impression that the majority of Orcs and Goblins would be at a disadvantage compared to most competent Human, Elf or Dwarf soldiers in close combat. This would not be the case for the Uruk-Hai and some other large types (which, it is implied, might have partial Human ancestry).

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 6:30 a.m. PST

The old 'weak Orc' vs 'strong Orc' argument?

When Aragorn tries to parley with the Isengard Orcs at Helms Deep he is given short shrift. From memory something like :

"What of the dawn ? We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We do not stop for rain or sun. What of the dawn ?"

Whereas it is quite clear that lesser Orcs "quail at the sun" as when the dark cloud sent forth by Mordor to cover the fields of the Pelennor starts to break up too soon.

And the Snaga orcs of Mordor are treated with contempt by Sauron's Uruks. Sam & Frodo manage to find goblin gear that they can wear as they cross Golgaroth they are hobbits, so there must be hobbit-sized goblins in Mordor as well as Orcs that stand as tall as a man.

I'd go for mostly hordes of goblins/Snage orcs, but like the idea of some Uruk-Hai as blades and some Orcs and half-orcs as warbands. Makes for some variation at least!

wminsing21 Dec 2016 9:05 a.m. PST

I think there's both physiology and sociology at play in Orc military classification in Middle Earth. As others point out, there's at least a distinction between large orcs (Uruks) and smaller varieties (Snaga). I believe that Tolkien discussed in some of his letters that most regular Orcs are too small/crooked to really form an effective shieldwall like men/dwarves/elves can, so in this model a man is worth more than an orc in combat. The larger kinds of Orcs are more capable of standing toe-to-toe with a man in combat.

Then there's the factor that there's various Orc societies that have existed for various lengths of time more or less independently of each other. The Misty Mountain orcs have been doing their own thing for quite awhile, while the Morder and Isengard orcs are under much tighter control and hence discipline.

The 'too long, didn't read' version of this is that I agree with the 'mostly Hordes, the bigger and better disciplined orcs are Warbands or Blades' stance.


Kropotkin303 Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 3:08 p.m. PST

I tried Nazgul as magicians, but went for them an anti-heroes.Teamed them up with Trolls as behemoths. Then had most orcs/goblins as replenishing hordes with a body guard of warband larger orc.

I lost the nazgul as magicians because I needed to resupply my hordes with pips. Hope that makes sense,

The hero/behemoth are my puncturing force and the hordes my out-flanking force.

Hope that helps with HOTT.

Weasel21 Dec 2016 5:03 p.m. PST

I like the idea of the Nazgul being evil heroes.

Crazyivanov22 Dec 2016 5:27 p.m. PST

My thoughts: the vast majority of of Orcs as horde. Better organized Orcs fighting as Shooters or Warband (Bodyguard of Bolg especially Warband. There being an infamous quick kill vs Blades moment in the Battle of Five Armies)

Regarding Saruman's army, I think leaving the Uruk-hai as Warband and Shooters, with Blades commander might be a better option than Uruks as solo Blades. The Uruk-Hai's most notable victory was with arrows. Then again, running Blades Uruk-Hai would leave the Dunlendings open to cover the Warband slots.

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