Those Imperial Orcs who have embraced the Way of Virtue and become priests are called preachers. They believe that by embracing the Virtues, the Imperial Orcs can strengthen themselves as well as creating a better future for their descendants.
Few orcs can argue that courage, vigilance, ambition, wisdom, prosperity, loyalty and pride represent fine traits for an orc or an ancestor to exhibit. The Virtues are seen as a good moral basis for all Imperial Orcs, a way to keep the legions strong and they are an extension of what it means to be Imperial. Many Preachers also believe that heroic Orcs who become ancestors after embracing the Imperial Virtues will probably find it easier to speak to their descendants if those descendants are also embracing the Virtues.
Most preachers become members of the Imperial Synod and tend to congregations in much the same way that humans do. Although preachers cannot learn to perform liao ceremonies, and cannot become dedicated to a particular virtue, they can still preach the virtues and vote as part of the Assembly of the Way. Preachers are usually respected by other Imperial Orcs, not least because they wield considerable influence in the Synod which might otherwise be hostile to the nation’s interests. Becoming a member of the Synod is a way to wield political power in pursuit of the plan.
It cannot be denied that Imperial Orcs face some prejudice from their fellow citizens. Part of a preacher's role is to attack that prejudice head on, serving almost as a missionary to the human nations. By showing that the Imperial Orcs can embrace the Way, they help to break down the walls of suspicion that have been built up against them. By explaining the role the ancestors play in the lives of Imperial Orcs, they can help dispel mistrust and misconceptions that otherwise breed fear and suspicion. Several preachers see it as their calling to include humans as well as orcs in their congregations, and actively seek out opportunities to preach to mixed groups such as those presented during meetings at Anvil.
A few Imperial Orcs believe that the Imperial Virtues alone may be powerful enough to guide them through the Howling Abyss, allowing them to become ancestors. It is possible that the Labyrinth of Ages might simply be a human metaphor for the farthest shores, and that being virtuous is what allows the humans to avoid the Abyss or pass through it to be reborn in some way, but teaching this idea as fact is dangerously close to heresy.
A tiny handful of Imperial Orcs have adopted the doctrine of reincarnation, and believe that they can escape the Howling Abyss in the same way that humans do. This view is rare, even amongst preachers; the majority take pride in the idea that one life is all you get and that you must make it count. The official view of the synod is that belief in a single life only does not constitute heresy provided it is only applied to orcs; it is only heresy to preach that humans also have one life only.
For most preachers, the ideal Imperial Orc ancestor would be an orc who embraced and lived their life by the tenets of the Imperial Virtues. Shaped by the path of virtue, such ancestors would help guide their descendants to a closer understanding of the imperial faith, and in turn help them to become virtuous ancestors themselves. Many preachers seek out prominent Imperial Orcs and try to counsel them in the Way of Virtue, to try to help them become virtuous ancestors.
The ideal outcome would be that one day, in the future, all orcs would be able to pass across the Howling Abyss due to their own strength of will and the virtuous lives they have lead, and no more Imperial Orc souls would be lost to oblivion. It is obviously a very ambitious undertaking.
The Bonewall Doctrines
During the Symposium of Revelation in Winter 380YE, two preachers - Bonewall Rek and Bonewall Cole - proposed that the Doctrines of the Faith be changed to incorporate an understanding of the orc's place in the Way. The Doctrine of the Howling Abyss and the Doctrine of the Ancestors were both accepted by the Imperial Synod. These two doctrines help to establish a place for the orcs, and for their spiritual beliefs, within the context of the Way.
Creating a Preacher
Imperial Orcs cannot purchase religious skills at character creation or in play. Orcs do not gain any benefit from using liao, so they can never use the religious skills. There is categorically no way to gain the use of these skills in play; you should not choose to play a preacher on the assumption that your character will gain some equivalent ability as this will not happen. Preachers who take a congregation still gain votes in the Synod and liao to dispose of as they choose.