Back in the days of my AD&D campaign, orcs were warrior / slaves (Ogre Magi pulled their strings) that were evil by nurture, not nature. Sure, if you encountered a wandering group of orcs, chances are they were going to attack - there is that whole issue of "group mentality" and upbringing. But if you can get one or two alone, away from the pack, things may work out differently.
The party found 2 lone orcs rummaging thru their camp one nite, and quick actions lead to the capture of the two (instead of the usual AD&D killing of all threats). With the rest of their hunting pack killed by an armed patrol, these two had decided to try their luck on their own... scavenging, hunting, thieving, but avoiding violence where possible.
The orcs started as prisoners, but reached hireling status with decent treatment by the party. One of the two died fairly quickly, but the other became a trusted party member. This also changed the party's idea of intelligent monsters - if orcs could be loyal and non-evil, what about the other "evil" races? Were the young offspring of these races "savable"?
It added a nice twist of grey morality to the usual black and white of AD&D.
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