Killer whales used their echolocation by emitting high-pitched sound to detect objects and other creatures. This ability did not work if the whale's hearing were to be impaired or if its detecting area was under the effect of a silence spell.
They were also intelligent animals that could be communicated with.
Despite being aggressive hunters, killer whales had a caring family structure, fiercely defending their calves, and sometimes even other whales, against threats. They were also known to ally themselves with aquatic elves.
Killer whales were typically known to hunt fish and squids, as well as several kinds of warm-blooded animals, including seals, other whales, porpoises, dolphins, walruses, and penguins. They were resourceful hunters that employed sophisticated hunting strategies such as breaking ice sheets to knock their occupants into freezing cold water. A pod of killer whales was capable of collaborating to bring down much larger prey.
Beyond Toril, orcas were commonly found in the temperate latitudes of the planet Karpri. Whales native to that planet were unusually calm and graceful, a trait which caused them to be heavily hunted by outsiders.
Notable Killer Whales
- The storm giant princesses Nym, Serissa, and Mirran each had a killer whale pet. Nym used hers, an enormous specimen, as her mount.
- No specific stats are given for orcas in Monster Manual 1st edition, but it is mentioned that they share these common stats with all whales.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 331. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 282–283. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), pp. 358–359. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 100. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
- Gregory Detwiler (December 1986). “By Tooth and Claw”. Dragon #116 (TSR, Inc.), p. 64.
- Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 42, 162. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 33. ISBN 1-56076-052-4.
- Christopher Perkins (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 204–206. ISBN 978-0786966004.