One of my "policies" with 4E is to reduce the levels of the monsters to match that of their 1E hit dice. Besides better fitting my sense of the relative power levels of the world, it gives me a much larger monster roster to work with in the Heroic Tier campaigns I prefer.
This is my latest version of a basic orc from the Nether Mountains in the Silver Marches:
If you're looking at the critical damage - and the brutal critical trait - and thinking that it is really high, you may be right but I will say it results in the correct average damage for a level 1 brute. I don't normally include extra damage on a critical but I wanted to make these orcs brutal. After all, people are scared of orcs so now I am giving my players a numbers-based reason for thinking carefully about tangling with an orc warband.
I've also created a level 1 minion version of the same:
And now for the fluff.
Dragon 429 included a fairly interesting article History Check: Dark Arrow Keep about the orcs of the Silver Marches, and specifically those of the Many-Arrows tribe who have organised themselves into a kingdom which, more or less, lives at peace with its neighbours.
And that is not the orc way.
Many orcs, even some in Dark Arrow Keep, find this to be absolutely heretical and these Nether Mountain orc represent the orcs of the more traditional tribes.
I see these orcs as being fanatical worshippers of Gruumsh and, as a result, each has plucked out one of his eyes. That's why they also carry no missile weapons. The youths are newly of age and so their eyes have been freshly removed. Most, if not all, will have their eye sockets stuffed with herbs to stop infection held in place with crude bandages. I think this visual is a great way to show the players the fanaticism of these orcs.
When these two types of orcs are encountered, they're not so much warbands but raids carried out as part of the initiation rites for the youths. The youths want a kill - and, even better, a trophy - to prove to their tribe their orc-hood and their right to be counted amongst the tribe's warriors. In metagame terms, it may also signal their "upgrade" from level 1 minion brute to level 1 brute.
While I don't have a tribe name in mind yet - canonically, 3E's Silver Marches provides a few names with Thousand Fists the most geographically appropriate - I want to focus on the symbol of the eye both to match their distinctive appearance and also because I am thinking of having a beholder as the Voice of Gruumsh responsible for inciting these orcs to take up their more traditional marauding ways. (The Voice of Gruumsh idea is, at least subconciously, a nod to the part a beholder played as the Voice of Bane in the Temple in the Sky above the Burning Tower in the 2E Realms.) Oh, and that's likely to be part of a Zhentarim plot, but I digress....
I'll stat up some leader-types at some point.
I've also created an ettin NPC that I want to use in my opening adventure. An ettin in 1E had 10 hit dice so I started with the ettin being a level 10 brute. A level 10 brute has the same XP value as a level 6 elite brute or a level 1 solo brute, and the latter suited my purposes better for an introductory adventure:
A level 1 brute should do an average of 11 damage per round. A solo should possess three attacks doing that. I went a slightly different route. I started with average damage of 33 per round and then split it into two attacks which take place on each of the the two heads' individual turns. On top of that, once this ettin is bloodied, it starts attacking everything around it making it a true solo threat.
There is still a chance of locking it down with a dominate or stun effect but an attacker has to roll twice and take the worse result when targeting the ettin's Will plus the ettin gets four saving throws with a +5 bonus per round. Hopefully I have given it enough to pose a decent threat.