Orcs are the largest and strongest of the Greenskin races, the biggest members of which naturally dominate the others. Pecking order is established by constant fighting, so only the meanest and nastiest Orcs get to the very top of the tribal ladder.
Appearance and biology
Even the smallest Orc packs a great deal of bone, muscle and bloody-mindedness into a body no taller than a Man's, but which is substantially broader. Orcs have huge jaws, and tiny foreheads behind which lurk a thick skull and not much in the way of brain.
They have a tough, waxy green skin that becomes tougher, more gnarled and inevitably scared as they grow older whilst their thick, sticky blood varies in colour from red to purple or black. They feel little pain compared to humans and a serious wound is required to stop an orc from fighting. [5a]
Orcs are rather more susceptible to heatstroke than humans. If an Orc is exposed to extreme heat for extended periods of time, its brain will eventually be so damaged that what little semblance of intellect it might have once possessed disappears altogether. Orcs who suffer from this are referred to as Savage Orcs, and are amongst the most savage of their race.
Although they can be found all over the Old World, their homeland can be said to be the area known as the Badlands which is infested with Orc tribes. Those in the Old World usually dwell in the deep forests and mountain passes. [5a]
All greenskins, worship two gods, Gork & Mork - the former "fighty but kunnin", the latter "kunnin' but fighty". Their faith in their gods is made terrifyingly real through the phenomenon of the Waaagh! During the intense excitement of battle this magical field, unconsciously focused by all greenskins, becomes stronger until the horde is swept up in an explosion of violence so intense that it will only begin to abate when every last enemy (or Orc) is slain.
Orcs live in tribes[5a], a collection of greenskins ruled over by the largest, strongest and loudest individual, who is either known as a Boss, Big Boss or a Warboss, depending on his stature. These tribes might only exist as long as the Orc leading them can hold their fractious elements together, or until a challenger usurps power, invariably slaying the old Boss in a leadership challenge, and moulding the tribe after his own, unique vision.
There are many tribes, and they are often colourfully named, after their leader, their deeds or some unusual characteristic or custom exhibited by them. Some particularly infamous tribes include the Ironclaw Orcs, the Red Fang Orcs, the Orcs of the Bloody Hand, and the rarely seen White Orcs of Mount Grimfang.
Orc and Goblin tribes will ally and trade with other greenskin tribes and hire Mercenary Ogre warbands and often both Snotlings and Trolls can be found in their camps - although they are closer to animals and seen as food or mascots. [5a]
The power of the Waaagh! serves not only to drive the Orcs and Goblins forward in battle, but also to fuel the magic of their crazed Shamans. The Waaagh! always discharges through the most receptive mind, that of an Orc or Goblin Shaman. In immature Orcs this takes the form of random visions and crackling green energy, but mature Shamans have learned how to control these powers and turn them to their advantage in the form of powerful blasts and awesome spells of destruction.
Orc Choppas are particurarly unhinged orcs who act as berserkers in battle.
Weapons and Equipment
While most Orcs prefer to use sharp and heavy handweapons called Choppas (one or two at a time), they also utilise spears and - uncaring of their mediocre skill with them - bows. Most Orcs bear shields and/or light armour. A Regiment of Renown - Ruglud's Armoured Orcs - even use looted crossbows. Some Orcs ride boars, or use them to draw chariots into battle.
- 2nd Edition: Orcs: Hand Weapon, Shield. May have Additional Hand Weapon, Chainmail, Polearm. [2a]
- 3rd Edition: Hand Weapon, Light Armour, Shield. May have Additional Hand Weapon, Spear. May have Musician, Standard Bearer. One unit may have Double Handed Weapon, Magic Standard. [1a]
- 6th Edition: Choppa, Light Armour. May have Additional Hand Weapon or Spear. May have Shield. May be Big 'Uns. May have Musician, Orc Boss and Standard Bearer. [4a]
Orc Boyz for Warmaster
|We iz strong an' tough. Da strong onez win an' then eat the weak. Some of dem Gobbos is awright to keep for slaves or ter catch humie cannonballs in the heads, but most is best fer the pot. One day we eats all of youse. One day soon.
~ Galnast, Orc Boss.[3a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies (3rd Edition)
- 1a: Orc & Goblin Army List, pg. 93
- 2: Ravening Hordes (2nd Edition)
- 2a: Orcs & Goblins Army List, pg. 18
- 3: Old World Bestiary
- 3a: Greenskins, pg. 23
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins (6th Edition)
- 4a: Core Units, pg. 42
- 5: White Dwarf 153 (UK)
- 5a: Night Goblins, pg. 33