Orc, which has no alphabet of its own, uses Dwarven script on the rare occasions when someone writes something down. Orc writing turns up most frequently in graffiti.
The gray orcs speak a complex variant of the Orc tongue. Anyone who can speak Orc can understand this language, but many words, inflections, and pronunciations vary wildly between tribes and usually a period of a few days is required to sort out and get used to the idiosyncrasies of a new tribe. Gray orcs are not fond of learning new languages, but a tribes’s clerics typically know Common (to interrogate captives) and Giant and Goblin (to interact with possible allies). Gray orcs are not literate unless they have a level in a player character class other than barbarian.
Automatic Languages: Orc, Common.
Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
All half-orcs speak both Common and Orc. They are accepted on the fringes of both orc and human societies, and being able to communicate clearly with both dramatically increases a half-orc’s chance to find allies. Although they don’t particularly make gifted linguists, half-orcs learn a number of other languages simply as a result of their nomadic, wandering lifestyles. Other languages commonly learned by half-orcs include Damaran, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Illuskan, and Undercommon.
All half-orcs are literate except for barbarians, adepts, commoners, and warriors.
All mountain orc characters can speak Orc and Common. Unlike the gray orcs, the various northern tribes speak very similar dialects of Orc, most likely due to the fact that there is much more interaction among the various mountain tribes than there is among the independent tribes of the east. Mountain orcs often learn Giant and Goblin as well, so they can communicate with their like-minded neighbors, and Common so that they can interrogate prisoners.
All mountain orcs are illiterate, except for those who have a player character class other than barbarian.
Orog (Deep Orc)
Orogs speak Orc and Undercommon. Those few who have a knack for languages learn another tongue common in the Underdark, such as Dwarven or the drow dialect of Elven. Now that the orogs are exploring Anauroch, it’s likely some orog characters will learn the tongues of the surface world as well. All orogs are literate, except for barbarians, commoners, and warriors.