Long ago, Orcs prided themselves on their skill as marauding raiders. At first, raiding was simply the only way that they could get by. Their homeland was resource-scarce so it was only by raiding established settlements that they could gather any resources. For centuries, Orcs roamed the land pillaging everything they could. But, such a lifestyle cannot be maintained forever, so something had to change eventually.
Over the generations, Orcish culture began to highly value many of the things that came with being a culture of nomadic raiders. The closeness that came between comrades as they worked together was a bond valued above all others. The bravery needed for risking one’s life for the good of the group was treated as a pious virtue. The feats of physical strength needed for a raid something for all to aspire to. The skill with an ax something for even the youngest child to train and master.
However, during this time as raiders, something frustrated the Orcs. They were not dumb and realized that the people they raided did not hold the kind of respect for the Orcs that the Orcs thought they deserved. Even when Orcs expressed respect for the warriors of the Humans, Elves, and other races, that respect was not reciprocated.
Then, one day everything changed. A single Orc became separated from their clan and stumbled across a group of Druids. They had a problem. A group of corrupted Treants had begun to run rampant and was causing destruction to the forest. But, these Druids had found themselves overwhelmed and beaten back. They needed help. Seeing a big strong Orc with an ax hefted on their shoulder, the Druids turned to the Orc and begged for their assistance. Rich rewards were offered if the Orc could clear out the Treants, more so if they could bring back some of the valuable lumber.
The Orc happily agreed and made quick work of the Treants. Upon returning to their tribe, they told the story of how the Druids had hired the Orc to help clean up the forest. They showered the tribe in the riches they had returned with. The Orcs may have been brutal, but they were not dumb. Many saw an opportunity. So, as a coordinated group, they returned to the forest.
Upon returning to the Druids, the Orcs offered a deal. The Druids would guide them in knowing which trees needed to come down and the Orcs would help them maintain the forest. With the new arrangement, the Orcs no longer needed to raid to support their tribe.
However, they found themselves with a new opportunity. They had detailed maps of the settlements of other races and detailed knowledge of what resources each of them had access to. It was well known that if there was anything almost any settlement needed more of, it was quality lumber. On top of this, the Orcs had intimate knowledge of routes that could be traveled quickly while carrying supplies thanks to their generations of nomadic life.
So, Orcs now set forth to sell the lumber that the Druids did not need. At first, their presence was taken skeptically, but with time the other races grew comfortable trading with the Orcs. It soon became known that if you wanted to buy good lumber, you needed to talk to the Orcs.
In their new lifestyle, the Orcs found themselves maintaining all of the things they valued from the raiding lifestyle. They still had the tight coordination within their small teams, though now there were Druids involved as well. They still had to show bravery as even a non-magical tree could easily kill the most powerful Orcs if it fell wrong. They still needed great feats of physical strength to move the logs and equipment around. They still needed the skill with an ax in order to fell a tree quickly and in a controlled manner. Though skill with a saw and rigging was soon added to the kinds of tools that Orcs drew pride in. Most importantly, now instead of being hated by other races, a degree of respect was granted to the new Orcish lifestyle that they had never held before.
As word of their new approach grew, other Orcish tribs flocked to this first tribe. They wanted in on the success. The operation soon expanded to support almost all Orcs. Some were even inducted into Druid Orders and helped guide others through managing the forests. Even those who did not become Druids learned some of the basic tenets and skills involved with working the woodlands.
To this day, Orcs remain the premier lumberjacks in all the realm. It has been many generations but no Orc would even think about changing. The lumber industry has led to an Orcish Golden Age. Orcs are rich, respected, and truly enjoy their lifestyle. It isn’t uncommon for Orcs, Druids, and Dryads to all be seen together working in close coordination to achieve much greater goals.
In addition, the Orcs hold an annual competition to showcase their talents. Officially, different Orc tribes are competing with each other, but in truth, it is more about showing the best Orcs competing as individuals. Here, they show their skills in swinging an ax, working a saw, climbing trees, and moving logs in a series of challenges known as The Lumberjack Games. Officially, any race is welcome to compete, but typically it is left to the Orcs. The other races are content to watch in amazement and respect as the Orcs show off the skills they have gathered through generations of hard work in the forests.