|Environment||Temperate hills, mountains, or underground|
Source: Last Watch, pg(s). 80
Lifeleechers resemble orcs with lifeless eyes and ashen grey skin, signalling their connection to death. Their nails resemble a bird of prey's talons, and the sharp tusks jutting from their lower lip reach just below their eyes. Like orcs, lifeleechers practise ritual scarification and tattooing, and especially value the scar of the wound that failed to kill them, instead turning them from a normal orc to a lifeleecher. Lifeleechers are roughly six feet tall and weigh around 230 pounds.
Lifeleechers are born as normal orcs; their mortic powers only manifest when they receive a mortal wound that should have slain a creature far more resilient than an orc.
When grievously injured, while other humanoids would fall, lifeleechers continue to fight on furiously. In this trance, they are driven by feral instinct and forgo weapons, preferring to ravage foes with their maw, which can consume their foes' life energy and temporarily turn them into wights. As a result, many lifeleechers are cannibals, and even non-cannibal lifeleechers still prefer raw meat.
Lifeleechers prefer to take other lifeleechers as mates, but, being orcs, can also produce offspring with humans and other orcs. These offspring, whether full orc or half-orc, all have the potential to become lifeleechers, but young orcs born to lifeleechers tend to die more often than becoming lifeleechers when their tribes try to push their transformation.
Lifeleechers are feared and respected by normal orcs for their ability to fight on despite fatal wounds. In orc society, where survival of the fittest is the norm, lifeleechers quickly gain prestige and prove themselves worthy rulers. In other cases, they find employment in the arenas of the Hold of Belkzen, the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, or the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. Their prolonged fights and mortic powers often create gruesome, awesome, terrifying spectacles talked about for many seasons after, leading many employers to greatly value a lifeleecher gladiator.
Due to the lifeleechers' ability to turn their victims into wights, many superstitious orcs whisper that they are undead or possessed by fiends. However, they never say this to the lifeleecher's face, preferring to grovel before them. Many shamans, oracles, and witches believe that lifeleechers are reincarnations of orc heroes who fell before fulfilling their destiny, and are driven by this power.
In non-orc societies, lifeleechers quickly find themselves marginalised due to their dead eyes, creepy mannerisms, and penchant for cannibalism, before being exiled for their heritage and diet. If they do not become gladiators, these lifeleechers live lonely lives as explorers, big-game hunters and guerrilla fighters.