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Warhammer 40k Lore – The Orks


The Orks are a brutal and relentless race, driven by their insatiable love for violence, combat, and destruction. These green-skinned xenos are savage, resilient, and wildly unpredictable, making them both a formidable and amusing presence in the galaxy.

Origins and Nature

The origins of the Orks are shrouded in mystery. They are believed to be an artificially created race, possibly designed by the Old Ones, an ancient and powerful race. The Orks were designed as a warrior race, hardwired for combat and reproduction, and capable of surviving in the harshest of environments.

One of the defining features of the Orks is their latent psychic ability known as the Waaagh! This psychic gestalt is fueled by the collective belief and enthusiasm of Orks, and it can have tangible effects on the physical world. The more Orks believe in something, the more likely it is to happen, making their technology and abilities surprisingly effective.

Brutal Biology

Orks are large, muscular, and green-skinned creatures, standing between seven and eight feet tall on average. Their physiology is hardy and regenerative, allowing them to survive grievous injuries that would be fatal to other species.

One of the most notable aspects of Ork biology is their ability to reproduce asexually through spores. When an Ork dies, its body releases millions of spores into the environment. These spores can grow into various forms of Orkoid life, from smaller fungi-like creatures known as Snotlings to larger Gretchin, which are often used as labourers, and eventually into full-grown Orks.

This reproductive cycle ensures that Orks are a nearly inexhaustible and resilient race, constantly replenishing their numbers.

Social Structure

Ork society is tribal and hierarchal, with the most powerful Ork in a group typically assuming the role of Warboss. The Warboss is the leader and is typically the biggest and meanest Ork in the group. Ork culture values strength, brutality, and cunning. As such, challenges to the Warboss’s authority are common, and Ork society is rife with infighting and competition.

Smaller Orks, known as Boyz, make up the bulk of an Ork warband. These Orks are the frontline troops and come in various specialised forms, from Shoota Boyz armed with firearms to Choppa Boyz wielding close combat weapons.

Clans and Factions

Ork society is divided into various clans and factions, each with its unique culture, iconography, and specialties. Some of the most well-known clans include:

Goffs: Goffs are brutal and combat-focused Orks, known for their preference for melee combat and the color black.

Bad Moons: Bad Moons are the richest Orks, obsessed with wealth and flashy equipment. They often field the shiniest and most advanced weaponry.

Evil Sunz: Evil Sunz are speed-obsessed, using red-painted vehicles and bikes to engage their enemies in high-speed charges.

Deathskulls: Deathskulls are scavengers and looters, known for their predilection for pilfering and making use of salvaged equipment.

Snakebites: Snakebites are a more primitive faction, often seen as superstitious and traditional. They use melee weapons and rely on older, less advanced technology.

Combat and Warfare

Orks are born for battle, and combat is at the core of their existence. They have a crude but functional understanding of technology, often relying on brute force and belief to make their inventions work. Ork weaponry is loud, brutal, and effective, often relying on sheer volume of fire rather than precision.

Ork vehicles, such as Battlewagons and Warbuggies, are often crude but heavily armoured and armed to the teeth. Ork combat doctrine emphasises getting up close and personal, charging headlong into the enemy with a wild and chaotic fervor.


The Waaagh! is the term used to describe the collective psychic energy and enthusiasm of Orks. It is a powerful force that can have real-world effects, making Orks more brutal, resilient, and deadly in battle. A Waaagh! is typically led by a Warboss and can be an unstoppable force in the hands of an experienced and charismatic leader.

When a Waaagh! is declared, it can draw in Orks from across a planetary system or even from different parts of the galaxy. The Orks are unified by their collective desire for combat, and they follow the Waaagh! leader with single-minded purpose.

Ork Gods

The Orks believe in a pantheon of deities known as the Ork Gods. These gods are often whimsical and volatile, reflecting the capricious nature of the Orks. Gork and Mork are the two primary Ork gods, representing brutal cunning and cunning brutality, respectively. Orks often invoke the blessings of these gods in battle, hoping for good luck and a big Waaagh!

Gargants and Stompas

Orks are known for their massive war machines, particularly Gargants and Stompas. Gargants are colossal walking war engines, often bristling with weapons and capable of devastating firepower. Stompas are similar but are slightly smaller and more numerous.

These machines are often created through a combination of Ork ingenuity, scavenged parts, and the Waaagh!’s psychic influence. Gargants and Stompas are used as both symbols of Ork power and devastating weapons on the battlefield.

In-Game Representation

Orks are a popular and distinctive faction in the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame. Players can field armies composed of various Ork units, including Boyz, Warbosses, and an array of vehicles like the mighty Gorkanauts and Morkanauts.

Ork armies emphasise close combat, sheer numbers, and a high degree of randomness. Ork weaponry and vehicles are known for their dakka, a term that represents the volume of fire and bullets Orks can unleash. Ork players often embrace the unpredictable and chaotic nature of their faction, making for exciting and entertaining games on the tabletop.


In the grim and war-torn galaxy of Warhammer 40,000, the Orks bring a unique and brutal sense of humour to the never-ending battles. They are savage, boisterous, and driven by an insatiable thirst for violence, making them a memorable and enduring presence in the grimdark setting.