Codex Cover
an Ork horde


7 ft.


700 lbs.


blades, guns

The Orks, sometimes called Greenskins, are a savage, war-like species of green-skinned humanoid aliens, and also the dominant species of the Orkoid race. They are seen by their enemies as savage, warlike and crude, but are probably the most successful species in the Milky Way galaxy, outnumbering possibly every other intelligent race, with the possible exception of the Tyranids. However, this massive population 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 the ensuing tsunami of green muscle. Luckily, the Orks enjoy killing each other every bit as much as they enjoy killing anything that isn't "orky".



Orks are green-skinned and red-blooded, a side effect of their symbiotic physiological and genetic relationship with fungi. Orks are extremely strong, and their squat bodies can withstand immense punishment. This is fortunate since the Painboyz (doctors) operate on a generally nineteenth-century level of surgical knowledge; unlike humans, though, Orks are quite capable of being beheaded, having the head sewn onto a different body, and surviving the experience to fight again.

Orks grow all throughout their lives; the effect is quite notable in successful Orks. As the Ork survives combats and wins trophies, the respect of other Orks will produce in him an effect somewhat similar to adolescence in the human male: He puts on muscle, becomes more aggressive and assertive, and generally throws his weight around. If he wins the ensuing challenges to single combat, he may become a Nob, a leader or chieftain of Orks, noticeably larger and tougher than the average Greenskin. Once he begins to grow, an Ork will generally keep getting bigger and stronger until he is beaten by a bigger or more cunning Ork. Warbosses and Warlords, the rulers of continents and Ork empires respectively, are noticably larger than any other Orks, hence they are "da boss".


Orks release fungal spores, which grow into a plant-like womb underground that nourishes the bodies of the various Orkoid species. This is the entire basis of the Orkoid ecosystem, producing first Squiqs, then Snotlings who cultivate the Squigs and the fungus they feed on, then Gretchins to build the settlements, and finally the Orks themselves. This means the Orks, wherever they go, will have an abundance of food, slaves and other resources, a moving Orkoid ecosystem that supports them as they go on their Waaaghs!

This also makes it extremely difficult to rid a planet of Orks, even if the initial invasion is defeated. Orks release spores throughout their lives, but release them massively at the moment of death or dismemberment. Without a nearby population of Orks, the fungus will eventually start the Orkoid life cycle anew. Decades after weathering an Ork Waaagh! settlements on a planet can find themselves faced with an unexpected attack from feral Ork tribes coming out of the wilderness. The only way to effectively remove all of the Orks on a planet is by a planetary Exterminatus order, which will effectively destroy all life on the planet.


Ork behavior is dominated by the WAAAGH!, a gestalt psychic field they generate that affects the Ork psyche, which allows Orks to instinctively recognize who is "bigga", and therefore who is in charge, since might makes right in Ork society. All Orks generate this field, and it grows stronger as the Orks enjoy themselves, generally while fighting, and as more of them congregate together in one geographical area. The WAAAGH! helps give momentum to the Orks' planetary assault campaigns, which are also known as WAAAGHs! (the Orks like to call a lot of things WAAAGH!s). Such a WAAAGH! is a cross between a holy crusade and a pub brawl, with a bit of genocide thrown in for good measure. Thousands of Orks will gather together, drawn to the power of a single dominant Ork called a Warboss or Warlord if the WAAAAGH! is particularly massive, who is bigger and more intelligent than the Orks around him. Then the Orks will set off to find an enemy to fight and defeat. Ork WAAAGHs! will sweep whole planetary systems away and destroy armies and fleets in tides of bloodlust and carnage, and only once the Orks have killed every available enemy will they start to fight amongst themselves again.

It is also believed that it is the WAAAGH! that allows Ork technology to work. The average Ork "Choppa" is about as dangerous as a meat cleaver, a severe disadvantage considering the armour their enemies usually utilize. However, in the hands of an Ork, it can cut through power armour like a hot knife through butter. Other examples include colouring (red is fast, purple is sneaky, blue is lucky, etc), vehicles (the basic Ork "Trukk" can be "gassed-up" just so long as the biggest Ork convinces the other's that it had a full tank before they left), and the abilities of the Wierdboyz (Ork shamans).


Orks gather into various levels of organization. The first is the mob, a squad-level unit of Orks with similar ideas of how to act on the battlefield, generally led by a Nob (short for "noble," but pronounced "knob"). A number of mobs will gather together into a warband, led by a warboss. The largest Ork organizational unit is the klan, a group of numerous warbands all under the command of a Warboss. Different tribes can be united by a powerful Warboss known, as a Warlord, when he raises a WAAAGH!!


Orks have two gods: Gork, who is the god brutal cunning, and Mork, who is the god cunning brutallity. The difference is that one hits you when you're not looking at him, and the other hits you harder when you are. No one, not even Orks can tell the difference between Gork and Mork, leading to more infighting stopping them from overrunning the other races of the galaxy.


Ork use their teeth as currency. As Orks go through "teef" in a similar way to sharks, this system works fairly well. If an Ork is too poor to get himself a new trukk for the upcoming WAAAGH!, he'll go find another Ork and smash some of his teeth out until he's got enough. Not all Orks are willing to give up their teeth, though, resulting in yet more infighting.


The Klanz are the largest groups of Orks, made from multiple Ork mobs. Although they appear as tribes or clans of like-minded Orks, this is not the case. Rather than being separate ethnic communities or tribes as amongst human society, the Klanz are philosophical delineations of the different varieties of Ork. The main six Klanz are:

  • The Bad Moonz - The Bad Moonz are the richest Klan, and are very similar to a merchant caste in Ork society. The Bad Moonz are usually the first choice for an Ork in desperate need for some teef, as he can always knock one a Bad Moon and steal his.
  • The Blood Axes - The Blood Axes were the first Klan to encounter humanity and have picked up many human tactics, including camoflage and retreating when they're losing. They are also the only Klan to work with humans, trading with them and even working as mercenaries at times. This has left their reputation with the other klanz scarred, as they are seen as cowardly and "un-orky".
  • The Death Skulls - The Death Skulls are "thievin' gits" who grab whatever they can from corpses on the battlefield, although they are not above "acquiring" things from other Orks who are not watching. They collect anything that might be useful, as well as grisly trophies and various lucky trinkets and charms. They are superstitious even for Orks and often paint themselves and their wargear blue (which Orks feel is a lucky colour) to protect themselves from harm.
  • The Evil Sunz - The Evil Sunz are a group of "speed freaks", enjoying things that are either very fast or very loud. They are firm believers of the old Ork saying, "da red wuns go fasta", usually riding into battle on red-painted warbikes, warbuggies and trukks.
  • The Goffs - The Goffs are extremely violent, even by Ork standards. They are masters of hand-to-hand combat and will look for any excuse to fight, even if it means going toe-to-toe with a Deff Dread.
  • The Snakebites - The Snakebites prefer tradition over technology, charging into battle with no more than a choppa and some warpaint to protect them. They are rarely, if ever, use armoured vehicles or guns of any kind and in some cases, choose to remain as feral Orks even after the rest of "da boyz" have reach an industrial age. However, during a major WAAAGH!, the first place a warboss goes is to the Snakebites for their Squiggoth herds.


Ork culture is centered around combat. This comes out in their speech; they sound like British street thugs, and are thus able to speak with ' 'umies'. Also, part of their language is made up of punching each other. Other oddities in their speech-patterns include the fact they can't pronounce the 'h' at all, and replace the letters 'er' with 'ah', so a gunner turns into a 'gunnah' and a summer turns into a 'summah', they also tend to use the sounds a weapon makes, or its purpose into its name, so any close combat weapon is called a 'choppa' (chopper) since it's used to chop with whilst a gun becomes a 'shoota' (shooter).

Examples of Ork speech:

  • Choppa - Close combat weapon.
  • Dakka - Rapid fire (usually spoken multiple times in rapid succession e.g. "dakkadakkadakka")
  • Shoota - Gun
  • 'umie - Human
  • Waaagh - War, also used as substitute for "we" (e.g. WAAAGH, DA ORKZ!)
  • Boyz - Fellow Orks
  • Teef - Teeth
  • Deff - Death
  • Grot - Smaller Orkoid subspecies, i.e. Gretchins or Snotlings
  • Zog - a generic curse word (e.g. "Zoggin' 'umies blew up me new trukk!")

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