The Orks, also called Greenskins, are a savage, warlike, green-skinned race of humanoids who are spread all across the Milky Way Galaxy. They share many features with Warhammer Fantasy Orcs (and were initially called Space Orcs to distinguish them). They are seen by their enemies (pretty much everyone else in the galaxy) as savage, warlike, and crude, but they are the most successful species in the whole galaxy, outnumbering possibly every other intelligent race, even Mankind (with the very plausible exception of the Tyranids, who are split between thousands of subspecies genetically engineered for specific purposes). However, this massive population of Orks is split into hundreds of tiny empires, often warring between themselves. It has been speculated that were the Orks ever to unite as a single racial entity, they would undoubtedly crush any opposition that would dare to stand against such a tsunami of green muscle. Luckily, the Orks enjoy killing each other every bit as much as they savour shedding the blood of the galaxy’s other peoples.

The Orks were created more than 60 million Terran years ago as a warrior race originally called the Krork by the long-vanished reptilian alien species known as the Old Ones, whom the Orks refer to as the Brain Boyz. The Orks were created by the Brain Boyz to fight the Necrons and their C’tan masters in the great interstellar conflict called the War in Heaven over 60 million Terran years ago that shattered the galactic civilisation of the Old Ones that existed prior to the rise of the Eldar.
Orks are thus genetically engineered to be muscular, aggressive, and none too bright; their technology is maintained by a caste of Oddboyz who have genetic dispositions to be unusually skilled with maintaining and developing technology, though this skill is an unconscious one preserved through genetic memories hard-wired into the Oddboyz’ DNA by the Brain Boyz millions of years ago. Indeed, the Brain Boyz were apparently able to encode information on how to build simple machinery into the genomes of the Orks; thus Mekboyz require very little training in their function, since they understand mechanical principles at a fully instinctive level.

Orks lack individual psychic power, being denied such abilities by the Old Ones. However, they do have a sort of collaborative, collective psychic ability, meaning that if enough Orks believe something is true, then it will actually become so, brought into power by their gestalt psychic ability. For example, Ork rockets painted yellow create bigger explosions, simply because the vast majority of Orks think they do. This is also why much of the Orks’ seemingly ramshackle technology will do terrible damage in the hands of Orks, but will cease to function when used by other races.

Other castes include Painboyz (or Mad Doks) who heal Orks wounded in battle and Runtherdz (later renamed “Slaverz”) who direct the efforts of the small, Goblin-like Orkoids called Gretchin. There also exist more specialized Ork castes such as Diggaboyz and Brewerz; however, the Imperium currently possesses no information on them other than their bare existence; it may be assumed that when the Orks go to war, these castes fight as an ordinary mob of Shoota-armed Boyz.

The Ork language literally has no word for “diplomacy”; they solve almost all of their disputes by fighting. Indeed, many intelligent races believe that violence itself is a language amongst the Orks, since they use pain and brutality to get their points across to each other. Orks are not very intelligent or clever, and they even label the use of strategy and fleeing from battle as ‘un-Orky’.

Adult Orks are constantly giving off fungus-like spores which lie in the ground of worlds they invade or settle, often for years, waiting to develop into Orks or Gretchin. Thus a world invaded by Orks will be troubled by them for hundreds of years to come, even if the original assault is beaten off.


Rogue Trader: Season One bscarbeau