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Highly aggressive humanoids, Orks are a member of the Orkoid race which compose one of the primary species in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe.

Description

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Although humanoid in appearance, Orks are hunched green creatures whose entire body is composed of massive slabs of muscle. Not the most intelligent of species by any stretch of the imagination, Orks are nevertheless capable of creating and employing complex machinery and weapons, whilst their sheer physical strength makes them more than a match for most men in hand-to-hand combat. This, combined with their extremely warlike nature, makes an Ork horde a dangerous enemy indeed.

Ork biology, like that of their smaller cousins the Gretchin and Snotlings, is an unusual marriage of animal and fungoid elements, a combination which gives them their particularly strong constitution. The fungoid component allows Orks to shrug off what would be a fatal injury to a lesser creature whilst healing at a highly accelerated rate, and the animal side gives them the intelligence to operate as thinking individuals.

Throughout their entire lives, Orks release spores in order to propagate, although they release far more spores than usual at the moment of death. These spores burrow themselves beneath the surface of a world and gestate into fully grown Orks who then claw their way to the surface and go about doing what Orks do best: fighting whoever happens to be nearby.

Origins

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The origins of the Orkoid races are unknown, however every corner of the galaxy so far explored by the Imperium of Man has contained Orks on some planet or other. Imperial biologists have theorised that the Orks were initially created by some race long lost to the winds of time as a warrior caste to be used and discarded as needed. These scholars posit that the Orks turned out to be far better at their job than their creators ever imagined, and eventually turned on their masters and wiped them out, subsequently spreading across the galaxy to indulge their thirst for battle.

Culture and Society

As previously stated, Orks are an extremely hostile and violent race, even to members of their own kind. It is this fact alone that has prevented Orks from conquering the entire galaxy, as they are by far the most prolific species in the Milky Way; if the Orks ceased fighting each other and concentrated their efforts on the other races, there would be no sentient creatures left within a few centuries. However, they do have a tendency to gather together in groups known as Warbands, which are composed of anywhere from a few dozen to several thousand Orks, under the nominal leadership of a Warboss.

Each of these Warbands operates under a strict hierarchy which is easily seen from the outside; as an Ork wins more battles, what passes for its brain releases chemicals which accelerate the growth of muscle mass in the creature, and thus the Orks who are the best warriors are also the largest. This enables them to fight in leadership challenges, where the best warrior wins, and is able to kick in the heads of smaller, less capable Orks until the ones who are left agree to follow him. These larger Orks are known as nobles, or simply Nobz, and as is the case with the smaller Orks, there is a pecking order amongst the Nobz, all the way up to the Warboss.

However, as has been previously stated, Orks live for the act of making war, and a Warboss who does not deliver on his promise of getting his Warband into as many fights as possible may just find that his Nobz get together and stomp in his head before fighting it out amongst themselves on who gets to be the new Boss.

Oddboyz

In addition to the regular Orks (or simply “Boyz” as they are referred to), Nobz and Warbosses, there exist amongst the Orks several types of Ork who fall outside of these classifications. These Orks are collectively known as “Oddboyz.”

Mekaniaks

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  • These Orks, usually simply referred to as Meks, are the builders and engineers of the species. They possess an innate sense of how to build and maintain equipment, and are much sought-after by Warbosses. A Mek might simply look at a piece of alien technology and be able to not only guess its function, but also how to replicate its effect; this is not a learned ability, but an instinctual sense that the Ork possesses, and the biologists of other races are at a complete loss as to how the Ork achieves this.

Painboyz

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  • Painboyz are the surgeons and medics of the Orks and, should an Ork suffer a wound which even their enhanced biology is unable to compensate for, a Painboy will usually come up with some solution, whether it be the attachment of a functional bionic limb, the grafting of alien parts onto the patient, or simply the injection of some experimental serum into the unsuspecting Ork.

Weirdboyz

  • The shamans of the Ork race, Weirdboyz channel the latent psychic power of a group of angry Orks into blasts of sheer warp-energy which can immolate whole squads of enemy troopers. An unfortunate side-effect of this is that too much power will cause the Weirdboyz’ head to explode, a fact which necessitates an accompanying cadre of Minderz, Ork “bodyguards” who ensure that the Weirdboy doesn’t just simply run away from a battle to keep his cranium intact.

The Clans

Whilst Orks organise themselves into Warbands, each Ork is naturally affiliated with his own Clan, subdivisions of the Ork species with their own genetic affinities. The members of these Clans will organise themselves into households of the same type, led by a Nob from that Clan.

Goffs

  • The most violent and vicious Orks of a violent and vicious race, the Goffs prefer to close with their enemies and smash their heads in with blunt instruments if at all possible. The Goffs tend to have an unusually high number of Nobz amongst their ranks, and are the Orks most likely to ascend to the rank of Warboss.

Evil Sunz

  • A Clan whose members have an unnatural craving for speed, the Evil Sunz boast a larger proportion of Meks than the other Clans, and thus possess more vehicles. The ultimate objective of any Evil Sunz Ork is to own a bike or buggy of his own, with which to crash through the ranks of his enemies.

Death Skulls

  • A sneaky clan of looters and thieves, the Death Skulls possess a large amount of exotic weaponry “acquired” from both battlefield scrounging and other Orks who don’t pay close enough attention to where they left their equipment.

Snakebites

  • The most traditional-minded of the Clans, The Snakebites tend to eschew technology, relying on more “Orky” methods to wage war. To this effect, the Snakebite Clan is more likely than others to be found riding powerful boars, or even the mighty Squiggoths, into battle.

Bad Moons

  • Orks shed their teeth and grow new ones every few months, which they use as a form of currency. As the Bad Moons have a quicker rate of shed and regrowth, they are the wealthiest of all the Clans, able to afford the very best equipment and armour. They also boast an unusually high percentage of Weirdboyz amongst their number.

Blood Axes

  • Distrusted by other Ork Clans, the Death Skulls are known to hire out their services to humans (or any other race who will pay, for that matter), and as a result have an access to alien vehicles and equipment which the other clans do not. They have also been known to adopt certain human ways of fighting, such as in disciplined squads, and this has led the other Clans to view them as distinctly “un-Orky.”
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The Waaagh!

Sometimes, for unknown reasons, several Warbands will gather together under the leadership of a particularly powerful and charismatic Warboss. These Orks will find themselves gripped with a battlelust far beyond their usual conditions, and a frenzy of building and arming will occur. Constructing the towering war machines known as Gargants, and assembling vast armadas of ships to transport themselves through space, these invasions are known as Waaaghs! and are particularly feared by the other races. As the Waaagh! takes more planets, the inherent psychic signature of the Ork consciousness calls others of their species to war, and a successful Waaagh! can consume many, many systems before finally being put down, usually at great cost to their opponents.

Notable Orks

  • The Beast, an Ork which nearly toppled the Imperium of Man.
  • Ghazghkhull Thraka, an Ork who united half of the galaxy in a great Waaagh!

Gallery