Tanarukks were orcs whose blood had been tainted by an evil outsider, in many cases a tanar'ri demon.[3]


They appeared as short, stocky orcs with bristly hair, horns, or ridges along the sides of their heads. Tanarukks also had the distinctive smell of brimstone about them and in fact had a limited ability to manipulate fire.[3]


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.[3]


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.[3]

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.[3]


The tanarukks originated as orc–demon crossbreeds in the region around Hellgate Keep. However, years of dwelling on Faerûn led to them being regarded as a separate species, rather than simply as a subrace.[3]


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.[3]

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.[3]

Many tribes were known to ritually scar their young, either during rites of passage or when they became full-fledged warriors.[5] This was often done with acid or jagged weapons.[3]


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.[3]



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