They appeared as short, stocky orcs with bristly hair, horns, or ridges along the sides of their heads. They displayed razor-sharp teeth and tusks that jutted out prominently from their lower jaws. Tanarukks also had the distinctive smell of brimstone about them and in fact had a limited ability to manipulate fire.
They were nasty, brutish, and not terribly intelligent (despite being smarter than an average orc); they were, however, extremely dangerous fighters. In spite of their lack of personal magnetism, the tanarukks' instinctive ability to control flame led many to become sorcerers. More still could be found acting as muscle for cambions and other fiendish creatures.
Tanarukk rarely wore any form of armor, with the exception of gauntlets, viewing their thick skin as being sufficiently protective. High ranking members of society like lieutenants and chieftains were most likely to wear armor, but they often removed it when facing a challenger for supremacy.
Many were known to wield magic items of either orcish or fiendish origin. Some were known to even wielded ancient items looted from the bowels of Hellgate Keep. When it came to magic itself the tanarukk generally preferred to use spells that summoned outsiders, enhanced their own physical prowess, or involved the use of fire.
The tanarukks originated as orc–demon crossbreeds inside the tanar'ri controlled fortress of Hellgate Keep, the products of a breeding program between demons and orcs that had been captured and enslaved. After centuries of mixing blood the tanarukk began to breed true among themselves and were regarded by other creatures as a separate species, rather than simply an orc sub-race.
Over time, nine distinct tribes of tanarukk came to make up the inhabitants of the Keep. These tribes would serve as an army company, known as the Scoured Legion, under the balor Grintharke and later the cambion Kaanyr Vhok. Following the destruction of Hellgate Keep in 1369 DR, four of these nine tanarukk tribes abandoned the Keep's ruler Kaanyr Vhok and emigrated to the Nether Mountains. The other five - Hungerknives, Gorytusks, Scaleskulls, Balorclaws, and Bonefires - would rally around his aims to resurrect the Scoured Legion. This renewed force would emigrate into Ammarindar.
A few years later, in the summer of 1372 DR, the renewed Scourged Legion would lay siege to the city of Menzoberranzan alongside duergar from Gracklstugh as part of an alliance with Jaezred Chaulssin. The siege ultimately was a failure and the Scoured Legion were forced to retreat back into Ammarindar, dissolving not long after. Between then and 1480 DR, the tanarukk population would greatly multiply. In those intervening years three different tanarukks would arise to take the role of High Warchief over the Scoured Legion - by 1480 DR a fourth leader had arisen, known as Ghiirvox.
Within the confines of Hellgate Keep the tanarukk were isolated from their orc ancestors' tradition of animal husbandry. Once let loose upon the world they gradually began to engage in this practice, training boars and dire boars to be mounts.
Tanarukk society also differed from orcs in that they were far less patriarchal, treating their women better than their slaves. This was due to being influenced by the mariliths who were involved in Hellgate Keep's breeding program.
At some point following Kaanyr Vhok's disappearance, the tanarukk that made up the Scoured Legion adopted the worship of Garagos. From then on, in each generation a tanarukk would occasionally be born with an extra set of arms. These individuals were referred to as targaat and thought of as children of Garagos himself.
In general the tanarukks looked down upon any creatures they considered weaker than themselves and held a special enmity for elves. The only creatures they respected were demons and powerful fiend-touched beings, such as half-fiends. They viewed orcs and half-orcs as valuable allies, but did not consider them equals and would often coerce them into breeding with other tanarukk. Most other intelligent humanoid races that came across tanarukks were likely to be eaten and tortured, more often than not eaten alive.
- Ghiirvox, a tanarukk with an unusual violet-blue skin tone who was the fourth High Warchief to head the Scourged Legion.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 186. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 72–74. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 123–125. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ Richard Baker and James Wyatt (2004-03-13). Monster Update (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 5. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-10.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 978-0786907861.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 978-0786907861.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 71, 74. ISBN 978-0786960361.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-0786907861.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 31. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- ↑ Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 9, 12. ISBN 978-0786960361.
- ↑ Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 73. ISBN 978-0786960361.
Achaierai • Barghest • Hell hound • Howler • Larva • Maelephant • Night hag • Nightmare • Rakshasa • Succubus • Vargouille • Yeth hound
Fiendish creature • Half-fiend (Alu-fiend • Cambion • Draegloth • Durzagon) • Tiefling (Fey'ri • Maeluth • Tanarukk)