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Oloch, iconic dromaar warpriest.

Dromaars, also known as half-orcs, are the descendants of relationships between orcs and other humanoid races. The word dromaar in Orcish refers to war drummers, which dromaars have adopted as the vanguard of changing relations between orcs and other ancestries in the Inner Sea region.1 While all known dromaars in the Inner Sea region are descended from humans, it is possible that those descended from other humanoids exist.2


Dromaars vary widely in appearance, ranging from more orc-like features such as greenish skin and protruding lower tusks to nearly human with little more to distinguish them as dromaars than prominent noses, jawlines, and brows. Some offspring of orcs and humans have dominant human traits that make them appear completely human.3

Regardless of facial appearance, virtually every dromaar has a stature far larger than that of the average human. Their hair most often is dark, favoring shades of brown, gray, or even dark red, although black is the most common. Their eyes are often small and beady, while their ears are almost always pointed.4

The typical natural lifespan of a dromaar with a human parent is approximately 70 years.1


Dromaars are often proud of their martial prowess.

Half-orcs have existed ever since the waning days of the Age of Darkness, when orcs first appeared on the surface fleeing the migration of the dwarves during their Quest for Sky. The orcs of that age found the primitive humans a much easier target than the dwarves they had been fighting for centuries, and quickly spread throughout much of Avistan.4

Only after the return of the sun in the Age of Anguish did humanity slowly begin to effectively fight back against this new invader, and with the help of other peoples eventually drove the orcs back to the wild places of the world, most especially the lands now called the Hold of Belkzen. Here the orcs united under a powerful leader and established a homeland of their own. It is also from here that most dromaars of today originally hale.4

After centuries of violence between orcs and the other peoples of the Inner Sea region, in 4719 AR the orcs of the Hold of Belkzen faced a common threat with the rest of the region in the resurgent Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant. Ancient orcs had once served Tar-Baphon as thralls, but the orcs of Belkzen resisted him upon his return, unified behind the warlord Ardax the White-Hair, and defeated his forces in the Battle of Nine Broken Skulls.5 In the ensuing war against Tar-Baphon, orcs served alongside allies from other ancestries, and this intermingling resulted in a surge of mixed-ancestry births and the adoption of the term dromaar.1

Dromaar heritages

Most dromaars have a generic orc heritage, but in some cases the orc ancestry is specific enough to result in distinctive features and attributes. These dromaar heritages include:6

Habitat and society

Dromaars are the target of pronounced and often violent prejudice throughout much of Golarion. They are seen as the offspring of violence or perversion, and are shunned because of it.14 Their bestial facial features also inspire terror and revulsion in many humanoids.7 This is most true in the regions bordering the Hold of Belkzen, where the greatest concentration of orcs can be found, as these areas most frequently suffer under the warlike and brutal thumb of the orcs. Further south and east, dromaars are given more benefit of the doubt, especially in Garund and the major cosmopolitan cities surrounding the Inner Sea. They are most commonly found in the city of Absalom, and in the nations of Belkzen, Katapesh, the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, Nidal, the River Kingdoms, the Shackles, and Varisia.4

Dromaars in human-dominated societies often excel in professions where strength and intimidation are a boon, such as bodyguards, caravan guards, and enforcers.7

Life in the horde

Dromaarss living in orc societies generally find that they are smarter, but considerably weaker, than those around them. Those who excel in warfare and skill at arms often find themselves reaching positions of leadership. These individuals are very rare, and only one of the many orc tribes in Belkzen is led by a dromaar: Hundrux Half-Man of the Murdered Child tribe.89 Orc holds appreciate the unique traits of other ancestries that dromaars bring to their communities.10 Others become witch doctors or shamans, masking their true nature behind elaborate masks that they must always wear.8

Life in human societies

A Katapeshi dromaar.

Dromaars living in majority human societies often have a hard time fully integrating, partially because of the prejudice directed towards them. Some human societies particularly assume dromaars are inherently monstrous, savage, or less intelligent, which can drive dromaars toward the fringes of such communities or away from them altogether.4111


Dromaar societies are generally unknown in the Inner Sea region. A rare exception to this rule is the settlement of Averaka on the isle of Flintyreach in the Ironbound Islands.12

Tattoos and brands

Many dromaars display various brands and tattoos given to them by others, whether through slavery or punishment. Some have transformed these marks of shame and subjugation into beautiful works of art, turning their painful past into a symbol of pride and survival.413


Most dromaars either grow up alone on the streets or raised by their orc parent, leading few to have human-sounding names. When humans do raise them, they most-often have harsh or guttural names, reflecting their parent's anger at having sired such an offspring.4


Even though dromaars worship a wide range of deities, most pay at least passing respect to Gorum, Lord of Battle. They do so not only because of the god's martial prowess (a skill that many dromaars find themselves pursuing), but also his great strength, often considered a dromaar's greatest asset. They also assume that Gorum is secretly a dromaar himself, who only hides within his armor to keep the terrifying truth from his many human followers. Dromaars who hate human civilization and wish to bring about its downfall naturally find themselves drawn to Rovagug. They see the anarchy the god strives for as the ultimate equalizer of all peoples. Those with a more generous bent worship Cayden Cailean, drawn especially to his embrace of freedom and bravery, while others with a more sinister or morbid outlook venerate Norgorber (especially his embrace of greed and murder), and Pharasma.4


Paizo published Bastards of Golarion, a sourcebook featuring half-orcs.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Logan Bonner, et al. Ancestries & Backgrounds” in Player Core, 83. Paizo Inc., 2023
  2. Logan Bonner, et al. Ancestries & Backgrounds” in Player Core, 75. Paizo Inc., 2023
  3. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 219. Paizo Inc., 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 29. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. Erik Mona, et al. Eye of Dread” in World Guide, 39. Paizo Inc., 2019
  6. Judy Bauer, et al. “Half-Orc Heritages” in Bastards of Golarion, 11ff. Paizo Inc., 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 James Jacobs & Patrick Renie. Jade Regent Player's Guide, 4. Paizo Inc., 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 Steve Kenson, et al. Orcs of Golarion” in Orcs of Golarion, 8. Paizo Inc., 2010
  9. Steve Kenson, et al. Orcs of Golarion” in Orcs of Golarion, 15. Paizo Inc., 2010
  10. Orcs of Golarion suggested that many weaker half-orcs were enslaved by orc communities. Player Core states that while dromaars might struggle to establish themselves, orc communities are generally welcoming to dromaars, consider physically weaker dromaars to be valuable members of their communities, and can be more tolerant of dromaars than some human societies; it does not mention orcs enslaving dromaars.
  11. The Inner Sea World Guide suggested that half-orcs are innately savage, impulsive, impatient, greedy, and violent. Player Core establishes that such views are stereotypes or the product of active intolerance.
  12. Matthew Goodall, et al. “The Linnorm Kingdoms” in Lands of the Linnorm Kings, 23. Paizo Inc., 2011
  13. Steve Kenson, et al. Orcs of Golarion” in Orcs of Golarion, 20. Paizo Inc., 2010