The Avenan Empire
Leader of the Green Skull orcs
Gripash, like most orc leaders, is bigger, stronger and more intelligent than other orcs. He maintains his leadership through a combination of intimidation and the promise that those who serve him will get the chance to kill and pillage.
Until recently, he was a minor figure in the Green Skull tribe. He spent his youth making his reputation as a raider, gathering around him a small cadre of loyal warriors – the personal guard that most orc leaders refer to as their “brute squad.” He saw moderate success, but his ambition was limited by the remoteness of the Green Skull tribe’s lair deep in the mountains. Even raids against other orc tribes required several days journey through dangerous terrain, and raids against Angelsey’s outlying forts required so much travel as to be pointless.
Though he advocated to his chief for a Hording Call, cooler heads among the orc warriors and holy men prevailed. Few in the tribe were old enough to recall the long flight from Anglesey forty years earlier, but there were enough to remind the chief that the Green Skull tribe had been one of the most powerful and numerous tribes in the area before Snargash led a Horde against the human city.
It was Gripash who captured the half-elf cleric Vignar on the outskirts of Green Skull lands, which was lucky for both of them. Most orc warriors would have killed and eaten the half-elf immediately, but Gripash was more than willing to listen to the half-elf’s plan for destroying Anglesey. When the cleric revealed his knowledge of a magical plague hidden in an abandoned castle deep in the mountains, Gripash knew immediately what he must do.
No one knows for sure what happened at the Castle Balbannon, but when Gripash and his brute squad returned to the Green Skull village, they carried weapons unlike any others in the tribe. The other treasure they brought, and the tales they told of their prowess, won the loyalty of other warrior groups in the tribe, and soon, with the support of Vignar, Gripash attacked and killed the chief of the Green Skull tribe.
As chief, Gripash quickly came to depend on Vignar. The half-elf was the only one capable of working with the disease that would be their secret weapon against the hated humans of Anglesey – but more than that, he proved invaluable in negotiating the assistance of the ogre, goblin and yak folk tribes nearby.
The army gathered by Gripash’s Hording Call was second in size only to the one assembled by Snargash, and though it lacked the magical might of the previous Horde, Vignar assured Gripash that his Screaming Sickness would more than make up for the difference in power – Anglesey would drown in blood before the first orc mounted the wall. The orc tribes, united under the Green Skull banner, would retake their ancestral lands, and feast on the tender flesh of the sons and daughters of Anglesey.
With the assassination of Vignar by agents of Anglesey, Gripash’s grip on his Horde immediately began to slip. His chief negotiator with the leaders of the other monster races was dead, and the invaluable and difficult to control disease had been destroyed by fire. Gripash suddenly had the chance of letting the Horde disperse and making himself a target for every other ambitious warrior in the tribe, or marching on Anglesey immediately.