Heroes of the New Day
Usually the product of rape or forced mergers between orcs and human slaves, most half-orcs (unlike half-elves) are truly half-and-half. Also unlike half-elves, the breeding potential for half-orcs does not tend towards creating more. When an orc and a human mate, assuming the pregancy lasts, a half-orc is born. When half-orcs mate with half-orcs, a half-orc is born… and that’s it. Human/Half-orc combos produce humans, and orc/half-orc combos produce orcs.
The only reason half-orcs have been able to survive as a semi-separate species is because they’ve been so ostracized by both parent cultures, so often the only people they have available to mate with are other half-orcs living in the same slums and outskirt hovels they’ve been forced into.
Despite this general mistreatment by their parent races, many half-orcs aspire to be something better than either of their component parts. They see themselves as stronger than humans and smarter than orcs. They have the ambition and adaptability of humans paired with the power and overwhelming presence of orcs. Some even aspire to help humans and/or orcs to climb higher and reach beyond themselves.
There are few jobs that half-orcs can find in mixed societies. Laborers and soldiers are two of the more popular (and available) ones. Of course, many half-orcs can’t keep up the proud face in the midst of so much societal pressure (you should see the way elfish folks treat them), so many have also fallen to thievery, banditry, mercanary trades, and other less savory occupations. This, of course, has only strengthened the racial profiling done by pretty much everyone else, so all half-orcs are looked at with suspicion in most places. This is especially bad in the Alliance of Eastern Nations, which is at war with the Orcish hordes in the north. In these places, half-orcs are seen as potential spies and rabble-rousers, and often rounded up into ghettos or camps or “protected areas” where they can be watched. A few nations even have registration requirements for those of orcish blood. Not everyone is as open-minded as the folks in Ionia, and even Ionians aren’t likely to instantly trust a half-orc.