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Gharsh

Ghârsh

The Slave-folk constituted the largest Orc-tribe in the Black Chasm. Moria's upper Deeps served as home to over nine hundred Snagahai (B.S. "Slave-folk"), including six

hundred or so Snaga warriors. Despite their numbers, though, they were also the weakest and least unified of the three nations of local Yrch. They suffered accordingly. Frequent but erratic attacks by the neighboring Durbaghash sapping Snaga strength and trimming their territories. Always on the defensive and often facing defeat, the Slave-folk appeared (at least ultimately) to face eventual extinction. A number of reasons accounted for the Snagahai's plight. First, the average warrior was little match for his bigger brethren. Standing only three to three and a half feet tall, a Snaga fighter was small by any Orc standard. Other Yrch considered them "Gongi," or "Lesser Goblins," and counted them (as their moniker suggests) as fodder or potential slaves. Second, the Snagahai were an ancient, highly-inbred, and exceedingly dim-witted race. They quarreled constantly amongst themselves and frequently engaged in bloody infighting. Fratricide was commonplace. Effective Snaga governance and organization was at best occasional. Their loose tribal structure revolved around an unsteady balance between six jealous Orc-lords.

Third, cowardice was prevalent among the Snagahai. The Slave-folk lacked the fearless mettle associated with both the Durbagbash and the Uruk-Ungingurz, and fled unless compelled into battle. Snaga warriors were notoriously unreliable and required careful control. Ulzog, the five foot tall Uruk "Ugong," was first among the six Snaga chieftains. He called himself High-king of the Slave-folk. His five sons, however, generally ignored or challenged his edicts. The eldest, Snagul, openly opposed his father's claim. Two others, Gorthak and Shagog, often conspired to kill both Ulzog and Snagul and then seize control of the shrinking domain. Shagla and Ulthob, the youngest pair, frequently supported Ulzog, but rarely stayed committed to any policy or faction for more than a few weeks. Still, Ulzog prevailed despite all this plotting and chicanery because of luck and the threat from the Durbaghash. The Snagahai wore crude chain mail shirts and carried black round-shields emblazoned with a pair of crossed, reddish-orange scimitars, the ageless symbol of the Slavefolk. Most bore one or two curved swords and a small, stout spear or short-bow. Relatively capable hunters and fishermen, these Orcs handled missiles with a startling acumen. They made poor hand-to-hand combatants and avoided melees with conspicuous abandon.

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