Games Workshop invention.

Orks are from Warhammer 40k, while Orcs are from Warhammer, Tolkien and others. GW's great innovation was to put them in space.

The Species
Orks are asexual, bipedal, and roughly humanoid, orks are slightly taller than the average human, and much more heavily built. They have green skin, due to large numbers of symbiotic algae in the ork's bloodstream. These algae give the orks tremendous recuperative abilities, meaning that orks can lose limbs, organs, and even their head with no immediate threat to their life. This regenerative ability makes it easy to bolt on crude prosthetics and bionic bits without having to worry about rejection or nerve damage. Orks seem to carry a vast body of knowledge as part of their genetic code, eliminating the need for an education system. Young orks are born to a dead parent, and must fend for themselves until fully grown.

Related to orks are the smaller Gretchin, 3-4 foot tall, with the same rugged constitution as their larger cousins. Gretchin love to hang around with da boyz, and play war; Orks treat them as slaves and gofers, giving them all the jobs they can't be bothered with, often using them for target practice, or to clear minefields (see Gretchin in battles).

Even smaller are Snotlings, with limitless enthusiasm, and the intelligence of a small puppy. They are of little battlefield use, aside from ammunition for shokk attack guns, but mekboyz find them useful for their small size and expendability, allowing them to get into small spaces, and clear jammed machinery.

Squigs are genetically modified orks, created by the tyranids (GW fluff retrofit). Squigs come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiny Hair Squig to the enormous Squiggoth. Squigs are used for everything: food, transportation, ornamentation, even weaponry (the Squig catapult, and Squig Attack Arm.

The Society
Orks are always at war, either amongst themselves, or embarking on huge crusades known as Waaghs. The largest waaghs can last for decades, and involve hundreds of planets. Consequently, ork society places great emphasis on physical strength, and prowess in battle. The oldest, toughest orks attain dominant positions in society, they become Nobz, the nobles. Orks of every clan look up to Nobz, and the nobz feel it is their duty to look after the boyz on the battlefield, giving them the benefit of their experience and wisdom. The strongest of the nobz become bosses, rulers of an entire clan. During a Waaagh their leader is known as the Warboss, the toughest ork of them all. The waagh is named after him (Waaagh Ghazghkull, for example). A very old ork will eventually head for the wilderness, in order to bud and produce new orks, before dying of old age.
Young orks grow up outside of ork society, as Wildboyz, using primitive weapons, and surviving on their instincts, until their inherited knowledge asserts itself, and they can become one of the boyz. Often pubescent orks will go through a phase where, as their knowledge begins to assert itself, they become obsessed with parading, drills and other military nonsense that no self-respecting grown ork would be caught doing. Not yet ready to join society, they travel as bands of Stormboyz.
As orks inherit their language genetically, it is the same throughout the galaxy. It is guttural and crude, as necessitated by their huge jaws and ever growing teeth. It has long, pronounced vowels, and a long, slurred, 'S' sound. Ork language is romanized using a large number of vowels, and 's' and 'z' used interchangeably (see gitz, boyz, waaagh). Orks write using a series of glyphs, each representing a sound or a concept, depending on context. They are mostly square, with many filled areas and sharp corners.

Orks teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, and broken teeth are soon replaced. Orks use these teeth as currency, as they signify that the owner has defeated many orks in combat, or survived for a long time due to his skill. It is a common practice for Painboyz to extract teeth in payment while their patient is out cold on the operating table.

The Orks have two gods, Gork, and Mork. They are seen as gigantic orks, stomping across worlds, smashing their enemies asunder, and generally having a good time. Gargants, the largest of their war machines, are enormous steam powered effigies of Gork and Mork, crewed by hundreds of boyz, grotz and snotz, armed with huge cannons, giant hydraulic claws, and gigantic flame-throwers. The orks worship these Gargants as the gods themselves.

While most orks inherit only the basic skills to be functional adults (language, use of tools, basic numeracy etc.), and become one of da boyz, some orks inherit other recessive genes, and grow up to be specialist oddboyz.

Oddboyz include:
Mekboyz - with a natural aptitude with weapons and machines.
Runtherdz - skilled in the care of Snotlings. Gretchins and Squigs
Weirdboyz - powerfully and dangerously psychic
Painboyz - with an intuitive (and enthusiastic) talent for medicine

Occasionally skill genes mutate, or interact badly, and the ork is profoundly affected. The conflicting impulses from these damaged genes drive the ork insane, producing a Madboy. Madboys are considered a blessing from Gork (usually when far away), and are a potent source of psychic energy. Weirdboyz take a large retinue of Madboyz into battle.

The Clans

As a result of their genetic inheritance, Orks naturally divide into six clans:
  • Evil Sunz are obsessed with speed, guns and tanks. Their clothing and equipment is mostly red, as Red Wunz Go Fasta. The most obsessive of the Evil sunz often leave the clan, to join with other speed freaks, as the Cult of Speed.
  • Goffs are the hardest of the clans. They carry the most brutal weapons, and love to get stuck in in close combat. They wear black, often with white checks, as it is the only 'proper orky colour'.
  • Bad Moons teeth grow faster than any other orks, and the rich gitz have the most expensive hardware. Bad moons love to hang back and blast away with their posh, shooty guns. Bad Moons usually dress in yellow, and love to decorate their clothes and equipment with spotted squigskin, and expensive rare metals. Very swish.
  • Death Skulls are born scavengers, with piecemeal equipment, and ragged clothing. They go to war equipped with a wide range of 'borrowed' equipment, and paint their faces blue for good luck.
  • Snakebites are deeply mistrustful of all this new-fangled technology, and embrace traditional orky values. They have unusually high numbers of runtherdz, and virtually no mekboyz. Snakebites ride to war on gigantic Cyboars, and Squiggoths.
  • Blood Axes are shunned by other orks, as they associate with other races, chiefly humans. They have the audacity to trundle around in human Rhinos, and are even rumoured to trade with the Imperium. No real ork will take orders from a blood-axe.

The Technology
Orks have a bizarre mix of incredibly crude and incredibly sophisticated technology. Ork bionic bitz often include hydraulics, internal combustion engines, and even caged squigs. The favourite weapon of the orks is the bolter because of the size ('all shooty'), and the noise and smoke produced upon firing ('dakka dakka'). Despite this, orks produce weapons like the shokk attack gun, which uses a tunnel through the warp to materialise snotling inside tanks, titans, and suits of powered armour, the Bubble Chuckka, which encases enemy tanks in invisible force bubbles, reflecting their shots back at them. Ork hulks are haphazardly welded metal boxes, made airtight and propelled through space using forcefields not yet understood by the adeptus mechanicus.

Ork (?), n. Zool.

See Orc.


© Webster 1913.

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