Philip Sibbering


Wrath of Nature

This is a reworking/ reimage of the Orcs for Warhammer Fantasy. In particular the aim is to flesh out these monsters for Role-Play and to give the players and perhaps more importantly the GM a better understanding of what motivates an Orc what they are scared of and what they are not. The concept barrows heavily from the Orks of 40K, but with added twists to spice it all up and keep it fresh. I have also created a new career to use with these Orcs, that of the Tuberdour.


Orcs are closely tied to Mother Nature (Gork and Mork aspects), they see themselves as protectors of the Earth. They are ‘anti-civilization’ in outlook seeing buildings and agriculture as defiling the land and ugly. Any type of cultivation no matter how small is wrong in their eyes. All buildings have to be pulled down so that nature can consume and overgrow the stones.

Orcs despise all the civilized peoples of the Old World, even Elves which seem natural as they still cultivate and bring order. They see the bringing of order as binds on Nature, it is if the Elves has literally trying tied ropes around their Gods denying them their expression. The Orks see themselves as an expression of Gork’s will to overcome these binds and reassert the natural chaos of nature.

Original BI forum Thread: [page 1] [page 2]
Grand Theogonist's theory of 'fungus' Orcs: [page 1]
Athelassan's theory of 'mammal' Orcs: [page 1] [page 2]

Orc 101

In 40K I don’t see Orks as a fungus, but as an animal with a symbiont that can acts like a fungus during reproduction. But the symbiont also acts in other unusual ways, such as boosting the Orks toughness levels to insane levels. The symbiont cells are integrated into the Ork animal structure forming part of its physiology in a similar way that a genetic chimera can have different cell DNA within their body, but in the case of the Orks the cells are far more mixed.

I imagine that the symbiont grows throughout the flesh, even forming vital structures that hold the animal body together, and when the body is damaged the symbiont cells are pro-active it putting it back together - even if a limb is severed, I quite like the idea that the cut sprouts tendrils that lash about seeking the lost limb, if the Ork picks up him arm, and pushes it next to the wound the tendril will grip the arm and pull it back on, forming ‘tendril stitching’ and start the healing process (the same effect as having it surgically reattached). This ability also explains why Orks are good at integrating machine parts, because the symbiont is so pro-active it can even grab and attach treated metallic objects.

As for reproduction, I think the ‘earth womb’ is a good concept (similar to the Uruk-hai in LotR movie), and it ties the Orks into ‘Mother Nature’ where they are a force of nature rather than ‘evil’ more like an earthquake or hurricane.


It also opens up the possibility of Orcs being linked to Nurgle, and perhaps getting back to the original Orcs (way before Tolkien) being undead or sea monsters.

Source: (Sources of the name "orc")
In Beowulf, ll: 112,the zombie-like Grendel's race is described as Orc-néas, which seems to mean "corpses of Orcus." Orcus, in Roman mythology, was an alternative name for Pluto, Hades, or Dis Pater, god of the land of the dead. The name "Orcus" seems to have been given to his evil and punishing side, as the god who tormented evildoers in the afterlife. Like the name Hades (or the Northern Hel, for that matter), "Orcus" could also mean the land of the dead. Tolkien derived his 'Orcs' from this passage in Beowulf. (See below.)However, the word "orc" had long existed in English as the name of a type of sea monster. This derives ultimately from Pliny the Elder's description of the orca, modulated through the long tradition of Medieval Bestiaries. According to one medieval source, Charlemagne encountered and destroyed an orc that attacked his ship in the Mediterranean. In Orlando Furioso, an epic by Ludovico Ariosto, the name of "orc" was given to a sea monster that captured the damsel Angelica, and was fought by the hero Rogero riding a hippogriff. This orc was huge, scaly, tusked, pig-nosed, and bristled.

From this usage, the word "orc" made it into English by being used by Michael Drayton in his Polyolbion, an epic poem about Brutus the Trojan and the mythical founders of Britain, and also appears in the epic poem Paradise Lost, by John Milton.


Well, I have a soft spot for 40K Orks, and I think their archetype can be translated over to WHF. It would inject a lot of character into the Orcs if they were similar to Orks. Perhaps move them a little further away from the Tolkien and D&D versions. There would have to be some modifications, as 40K Orks would take over the Old World in no time. A slower growth rate would be a good start. The productivity of the earth womb could be linked to the soil type. So that in the mountains the PC’s would encounter (mostly) goblins because the earth wombs are starving on barren ground. Down in the Valleys (should goblins get there and die) the earth wombs thrive in the rich soil, growing to enormous size, and are far more productive. These fully developed earth wombs give rise to larger Orcoids, and is where the PC's a likely to encounter feral Orcs.

I really like the idea of Orcs as a force of nature. It moves them away from pantomime villain, being evil for the sake of being evil, towards a creature with alien motivations that result in far worse evil (in human eyes). It makes them seem like a natural disaster, an act of god, like a tornado or tsunami. They become a personification of Mother Nature's vengeance, the ultimate eco-warrior (and they’re green like plants so it just seems to fit). This can be linked into the legends old, like the Orc-néas, adapting the Undead angle to fit. The Orcs are like super tough rage-zombies (from 28 days later), except smarter, faster, and stronger. They could be highly resistant to arrows and bullets!

Orcs do not have to be just another generic bad guy. They do not have to be an evil 'human' wearing a scary mask.


In fleshing out the Orcs, I wish to explore an inhuman mind set, and design a culture around it. Their 'Ork like' reproductive cycle can be used as a justification to change their base motivations, to make them very different from us. They may still have desire and drives, but the object of these drives and desires are not the same as ours. Orcs and humans to not share common ground on what they want, for what they fear.

When an Orc dies; it will be seeding the ground they fall upon, and give rise to many more Orcs later. It is therefore it is in the Orcs interests to die on good ground. The Orcs desire the best ground they can find, and to eliminate all possible threats to the earth wombs to come. Orcs see the damage humans do to nature, the more industrialised the worse the damage, and assume humans are a danger to the earth wombs. True to form, humans will burn the Orc bodies, salt the ground, use dogs to find the earth wombs, and dig up them up.

I would imagine some Orcs would stand guard, and if in a particularly fertile ground area, the new Orcs will be very large and massive, the first thing they may do is kill the guards (return them to the soil to re-grow into new Orcs).

As such, Orc have fundamentally different, yet have understandable motivations. The biggest aspect of Ork/ Humans conflict would be for ‘good ground’. Where humans grow food, Orcs grow to. So Orcs are literally fighting for ‘breeding ground’, the earth is their ‘mate’ (Mother Nature ). This drive is very strong, and therefore Orcs will not retreat, they will fight until they die and are happy to do so. Ground is all important to the Orc mind (as it is to humans!), and if the enemy flees they may not even give chase! Being quite happy with the ground they have won, and the dead they have collected. If the Orc army is really big they may chase a routing enemy, but that because they do not have enough land yet.


Goblins pose and interesting question. Would a goblin dying on good ground give rise to an Orc? If it did, then Goblins are very dangerous, and would act as infiltrators.

I can well imagine a goblin climbing into the foundations of a house, under the floorboards and just lay their until they die. The earth womb would grow in the darkness under the house, sending out tendrils to extract moisture and nutrients much like ‘dry rot’ (ties into fungus aspect), the goblin may even take a few sacrifices of blood to get the ground really rich (tie into Grimm like fairy stories, where children are kidnapped by Goblins! Missing pets may mean a goblin under the floorboards).

Slowly an Orc will grow inside the earth womb, and when ready: burst out of the ground! One minute you could be sitting down in your favourite arm chair next to the fire, reading the paper and sucking on your best pipe to keep the chill of winter's night out, and the next: Bam! You have a 2m tall, 800lbs ravenous Orc breathing snot all over you.

Old thread on BI
I was thinking about it just now; some of the stuff Colin was saying about being a teacher, and having younger Players, and parents playing games with their kids (seeing as everyone in computer game land is banging on about the family gaming together I thought I’d jump on the band wagon).

In to old days children used to work for a living (lazy so-an-sos they are today!), they used to clean chimneys, and run errands without any back-chat. So I was thinking of some careers for younger PCs.

One aspect of working out the fundamentals of Orcs and how they (could) work, is that is presents ideas on how the game world accommodates them. The idea that Goblins steal cats and make nests under floor boards is not only great for scaring the hell out of younger kids, but also presents a bit of a dilemma. Adults are too large to go chasing Goblins and Snotlings around under the house, dogs could work but goblins are sneaky, can hide and make defences, and they are armed - so why not get some kids to do it!

If they can clean chimneys they can hunt goblins. At the very least they could set some Goblin traps. Not sure what to call this career, perhaps ‘Snotling trapper’ then ‘Goblin trapper’?

Orc's Thoughts

Orcs are closely tied to Mother Nature (Gork and Mork aspects), they see themselves as protectors of the Earth. They are ‘anti-civilization’ in outlook seeing buildings and agriculture as defiling the land and ugly. Any type of cultivation no matter how small is wrong in their eyes. All buildings have to be pulled down so that nature can consume and overgrow the stones.

Orcs despise all the civilized peoples of the Old World, even Elves which seem natural as they still cultivate and bring order. They see the bringing of order as binds on Nature, it is if the Elves has literally trying tied ropes around their Gods denying them their expression. The Orks see themselves as an expression of Gork’s will to overcome these binds and reassert the natural chaos of nature.

  • Orcs love all natural landscapes, and can be quite placid in the wild forests in the Old World. They like the deep forests and rich soils, anywhere vegetation is lush, conversely the dislike the deserts as much as they dislike fire. Places devoid of vegetation make Orcs aggressive, the hotter it is the angrier they are. Those who destroy vegetation make Orc angry too. Even explorers cutting a path through think vegetation will get their back up.
  • Orcs hate fire, they see it as a destroyer of vegetation and killer of their spores. They don’t fear fire and waving a torch in front of an Orc is like waving a red rag to a Bull. The sight of fire makes Orcs frenzied, and they will hurl themselves at anyone who is near fire (watch out charcoal burners!). They will rush to a point where there is smoke, and a camp fire can draw many Orcs (camp fire ward of animals like wolves but attract Orcs – damned if you do, damned if you don’t). This is one of the main reasons Orcs attack cottages near forests is because they see the smoke and go nuts. They will pull a cottage down and stamp the stones into the mud. Orcs will even dive on fires to put them out.As a side note: they don’t mind fires on barren ground, they instinctively know that the burnt fuel is enriching the soil. However they will attack anyone on barren ground, because the dead bodies will also enrich the ground. So setting up camp on stony ground will not save you, they may not be frenzied, but they will still attack.
  • Orcs are predators and will eat any animal, their favourite being all the civilized folk, but if none are about they look for structures, such and nests and warrens and destroy them and eat what they find inside. Orcs are on the side of trees and plants and bacteria, anything that isn’t an animal, and all animals are food (fav plant Venus flytraps, and the larger mantraps)
  • Another aspect of Orcs is that they are as smart as they need to be, when fighting humans with tactics, Orks amy suddenly get smarter and fight differently to optimise natures re-colonization of civilized lands, the are as fast and adaptable as a bacteria/ virus, and just like a bacteria/ virus those who survive antibiotics/ treatment are changed and more adapted to a particular immune system (enemy).Orks are infested with disease and spores, if a person breathed in these spores they can cause serious illness, but what is truly disturbing is that if the person dies, the spores will take root inside the body and start to make an earth womb. If buried in a grave the earth womb will grow, feeding of the corpse fluids and will birth an Ork (design note: this ties in with the old ledged of Orcs being related to the undead).Sometimes this process is only half complete and a person may survive but have a serious lung infection, and a small earth womb growing in one lung on necrotic tissue inside their bodies! When ready a person will go into a coughing fit and will bring up a small malformed Orc called a Snotling (for obvious reasons). The Snotling can be very small, often no bigger than a thumb and covered in mucus. On other occasions the Snotling may grow to big to escape through the mouth or nose and have to eat their way out, this is fatal, sometime the Snotling may die and give rise to spores which the person then coughs out all over the place infecting new people.

    Treatments for Snotling infestation usually involve breathing in volatile compounds, the ill person places their head over a bowl of steaming hot water infused with noxious spirits like turpentine and consume much alcohol, this treatment can be fatal. Another treatment is smoking, Snotling hate smoke and this can bring up a Snotling early before it has formed properly. This is why smoking is popular in the Old World and view as a sensible precaution against spore infection, and not smoking is seen as suspicious and may even provoke and attack in areas where Orcs are common. The only way to calm wild eye villages if not smoking is to carry a bottle of turps.

  • In essence they are agents of Nurgle. Gork is the destructive force of nature side. Mork is the life giving rebirth side, and ties into how they are reborn in death (via spores) and rise like the phoenix stronger and more powerful than before.


Ecology of the Orc

The ground where an Orc grows determines their initial size. The more fertile the ground the bigger and smarter the Orc. The Stat line is derived from the size of the Orc, humans have categories Orcs into different classes, Snotling/ Goblin/ Orc but these categories are subjective, as a very large Goblin may act exactly like a small Orc (because they are literally half and half).

As these Orcs are a force of nature I’ve taken the rule for elements from the old WHB rules.

Orcoid Base profile 1

The profiles for all Orciods is worked out according to a simple pattern based on a standard profile muliplied by their size.


WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel
10 10 10 10 10 5 10 10
1 4 +1 +1 1 * 0 0

This would would be a very small Goblin or large Snotling.

This base profile is then muliplied by the size of the Orcoid. The sizes are dealt with under Demographics.

Example: Orcoid Base profile 3

Therefore an Orcoid of size 3 would have the following base profile.

WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel
30 30 30 30 30 15 30 30
3 12 +3 +3 3 * 0 0

This is the basic start point for what the Empire classifies as an Orc.


The Profile is then individualized by applying the following modifiers.

WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel
+D10 +D10 +D10 +D10 +D10 +D5 +D10 +D10
/2* +D5 - +1** +1 * 0 0
  • Divide by 2 and round down
    ** Very tough talent

Example: Gorsnick Face Biter (size=3)

WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel
36 32 34 37 32 17 31 33
1 14 +3 +3 4 * 0 0

This is an example of an Orcoid based on the size 3 base profile and modifered with random results. Gorsnick is kinda small for a full blooded Orc, but definately larger than a Goblin, and shares the characteristics of both - which tend to cancel each other other out: the large pointy nose of the goblin + the small nose (missing nose) of the Orc gives and almost human type of nose. This type of Orcoid is refered to by many names in the Empire: Hobgoblin and Half-Orc are but two.


The area affects the type of Orcoid which develop in a given area. The more fertile the ground in which they germinate the larger and more powerful the Orcoid that emerges.

Area Size

  • 0 - Desert (even with the body as fuel it fails - needs a lot of bodies/ rotting matter and water)
  • 1 - Harsh mountains, very cold
  • 2 - Hills
  • 3 - Plains and fields
  • 4 - Deep Forests, mash, valleys
  • 5 - Enriched soil (dead) Graves


Human Scholars of the great universities of the Olde World who study Orcs has categorised them using human names. The names of Orc or Goblin are not the names these creatures use for themselves, they have a guttural, grunting, snarling language that make little sense and defies translation. However, exceptionally large Orcs have been known to speak 'Norse' and Reikspiel' in the old legends of the time of Sigmar and the names used are a version found in the records. What is most disturbing is that these huge Orcs, simply known as 'Big uns' seem to speak all languages and were exceptionally cunning. The name below are English translations of the Norse names.

Human classification of Orcoids (size)

  1. Snotlings, very stupid*
  2. Mountain Goblin
  3. Hill Goblin small Orc depending on point of view - also Hobgoblin (east) or Half-Orc (west)
  4. Orc
  5. Big ‘un
  • Tendency to be a bit 'lemming'.


Snotlings are formed from dead Goblin bodies that fall on stony ground, as such the earth womb only has the body of the goblin to create new life and so the resultant rebirth is smaller than a mountain goblin. The are also formed fro the lung infect of breathing in spores. Snotlings are very small and malformed, looking very sickly and pale yellowish whitish translucent skin (well under all the muck). They are incredibly stupid, but can be dangerous are they will push and throw stones at the PCs. Sometime they just ‘do a lemming’ and hurl themselves of cliffs or building and land of the PCs. Snotling formed in the mountains will always be heading down hill, and will jump of cliffs so their dead bodies get to the better ground below, with the hope of a better rebirth.

Mountain Goblin [Goblin]

Mountain Goblins are what most consider proper Goblins and are the Goblins that appear in the dusty old text books of the Old World’s universities. Mountain Goblins are normally found in the lower part of the mountain ranges and are most often encountered by Dwarfs (who detest them), they aren’t very smart but will throw stones and be a real nascence. They aren’t very brave and will run away rather than fight, and Dwarf get really annoyed chasing them about but it has to be done; All Mountain Goblins head for caves to shelter from the weather, there they die, and as more and more migrate to the caves (sorta like an Elephant graveyard for Goblins) the ground becomes enriched and may give rise to bigger Orcoid, maybe even real Orcs. So the Dwarfs have to clear them out, one by one. Mountain Goblins start to show the vaguest characteristics of Orcoids and their skin is a sickly pale greenish light grey.

Hill Goblin/ Orc [Hobgoblin] [Half-Orc]

Bit of a mixed bag, as the two phenotypes of Goblin and Orc combine to cancel out the most extreme characteristics of each to yield something vaguely 'human'. They’re reasonably smart, they can use bows to great effect, and they are very sneaky and cunning with excellent stealth skills. The Orcoids are a balance point and inherit the greater mind of the Orc, but retain the sneak cowardly ways of the Goblin. The other aspect of these Orcoids is that they are human size hands, and can craft materials. The excel at simple repetitive tasks, such as scale armour. Under the direction of the larger Orcs or greater, combined with their stamina, they can produce a lot of weapons and armour in a relatively short time.


What most consider true Orcs, and all the characteristics of what make Orcs scary. These are insane fighters and show no fear and will charge anyone in combat. However it would be a mistake to think they are stupid, far from it, they show great cunning in combat ability (two attacks weapon and fist/ butt) and can from units (which goblin will imitate). These Orcs have browny-green skin and the characteristic full jaw and tusks. Their noses are small and pig like.

Big Uns [AKA 40K 'ORKS']

Smart and dangerous. Bright green on colour and mean as hell. As smart as most humans, they can understand much of the world around them and even complex concepts like tactics in war, but what makes them truly dangerous is they can instinctively read flow of battle and change accordingly, these Orcs can act with ‘one mind’ and to the observer is looks as if they are being guided by unseen hands, and this make them hard to trap and they always seem to go in the place the enemy commander really doesn't want them. They are massively muscled, with thick necks and massive tusks that curl backward, their noses are like pits and their eyes are blood red.


Any Orcoid that dies will be reborn in time, the new life they receive depends on the ground the fall on, and therefore how much extra nutrients the earth womb can extract from the soil to boost the Orc. To work out the type of ground relative to the Orcoid, see the above demographics and match the area to the fallen Orcoid's size. If they match it's considered 'neutral ground'. If the Orcoid's size is greater than the ground's usual yield, that is 'bad ground', whereas if the the size is lower than the ground's usual yield that is considered 'good ground'.

  • Bad ground = Reborn Orcoid drops one size, is this results in ‘0’ then they are not reborn. So a Snotling that dies on a mountain trail will not come back. A Mountain Goblin that dies on a mountain trail will become a Snotling at rebirth (goes from size=2 to size=1)
  • Neutral ground = Reborn as is, the dead Orciod will arise from it’s grave.
  • Good ground = The reborn Orcoid is boosted by the rich soil and gains a size rank, a Hill Goblin will rise as an Orc, and Orc will be massive Big ‘un and so on.


When a Big ‘un (big nasty tusky Orcs) get to a place of good soil, somewhere that is perfect for rebirth they undergo a change and get ‘dusty’, the start to shed more and more spores which wil take root in the ground. The spores are tiny, but they grow into little earth wombs which extract all the nutrients they can from the lush soil. From these tiny earth wombs little Snotling will crawl, like maggots out of the ground. Most are weak and shivery and the Orcs squash then to ‘make them tougher’ the body matter going back into the ground to be reborn as something stronger. Some Snotlings are fast and or don’t get noticed and they scamper off hiding under fallen tree and fox holes, they fear Orcs and will run away (hide under your PC’s house!).

The Snotlings that are crushed, are reborn as ‘mountain’ goblins, the Orcs kick these to death so they can be reborn. To help things along the Orcs go on hunts to abduct/ kill people and bring their corpses back to feed the pit. The next rebirth will result in ‘hill’ Goblins, which once again the Orcs beat to death. However hill Goblins are cunning and smart and fresh out of the womb are as slippery as hell, so some escape (being cowardly), those that don’t return to the earth’s loving embrace. More pit feeding later, the next incarnation is born and it is pure Orc, and while the original Orcs will try and beat them to death, these Orcs will fight back, add it’s pretty much ally onto ally, and it’s an even match. Only weak Orcs get put back (they’re not done yet).

Orcs find it quite difficult to beat another Orc in hand to hand combat, so it’s an inbuilt quality control, once an Orc can survive his family, its ok, and the ranks of Orcs swell. They battle amongst each other for power and position, the process builds their power, they can fight day and night non-stop, to them it’s great fun. All this combat will forge one Orc into a super bad Orc, a Big ‘Un. When the time comes the change can be quite rapid the Orc literarily swelling and growing before the other Orc eyes, the other Orcs know when one of them is a Big ‘un because the punches start to hurt! Tuskes get knocked out, skulls crushed as the Big ‘un imposes order. It then goes off to look for something to eat, because it is really hungry and the rest follow.

Spores only germinate in rich spoil.

The PC’s lungs count as rich soil.

Civilization of Violence

Each injury the Orc receives toughens them; their physiology kicks in to rebuild the injured area to withstand a similar punishment. Orcs love inflicting injuries on each other and also receiving injuries in return which reshapes their bodies, their bones become thicker, their skin leathery the flesh underneath as tough and resilient as a bracket fungus. Orcs are immune to most blunt trauma unless fantastically powerful.

To the Orc mind violence is an expression of Orcness, it is a social bonding mechanism. The giving and receiving violence is a fundamental cornerstone of Orc society. They fight all day, they hunt in packs and when tied and can’t fight anymore the gouge each others shoulders with their tusks before sleeping (could ‘nibblin’). These slash wounds heal over night, the re-growth helping to form armour plates around the shoulders and neck.

Orcs do not fear death, because if they die and the ground on which the fall is good; they just come back to life.

All this violence toughness them up, and soon they are so tough that even nibbling wont open up wounds. This is when Orcs can get bored and start acting really crazy and look for external sources of pain and innovative ways to injure themselves; they may charge tree, punch rocks, headbutt each other with frenzied fervour and even jump off cliffs. Anything to feel the enjoyment of pain.

The Wandering

The Orcs fight for many days, until they are knackered and fall down asleep. Having been fighting for days on end they haven’t been out hunting so when they awake they are famished. They all leave the pit en mass and go looking for food. Each kill result in copious amounts of violence, and they are driven on looking for food. It is this time in the Orc cycle they will take on towns and even cities looking for fresh meat.

Side tracked by humans

As soon as they encounter armed human warriors (usually sent out to avenge their ransacking and devouring of a village) the Orcs become highly excitable and energetic. Humans armed with swords and armour are quite tough and they bring the greatest gift of all to Orcs, the gift of pain. The Orcs are overjoyed at this, and are more than happy to give as good as they get. The Orcs play with their new friends until the friends stop moving, then they devour the corpses as such good friends shouldn’t go to waste!

Though they don’t always eat them, it has been know that when a great human warrior has been slain, that the Orcs gather around the corpse and start covering it with earth, and placing dead bodies on the top (Scholars believe that in these cases the Orc think the humans warrior is an Orc and fully expect for the warrior to rise like an Orc!) Orcs do not forget these burial spots and if in the neighbourhood will pass by these graves to see if the warrior has popped up yet, they may even dump more bodies on top in a great pile, hoping the rotting corpses will feed the warriors earth womb (it is possible a spore will flourish in and among the rotting carcasses, this makes some Orc think that the Human has been transformed into a Snotling, and is now treading on the path of the Orc. To help out they stamp it into the ground!)

The Carnival of Pain

The Orcs then go on the rampage, they are over excitable. The more the humans they encounter are violent and threatening the more the Orcs love it. Spurred on with rumours of ‘cannon’ and engines of pain from scouts the Orc can’t wait to engage the human armies of the Old World. Their behaviour become erratic and they can act in silly ways, only to suddenly snap into violent burst of extreme rage, then snap back to acting like clowns. The dance about, spin round in circles, back flip (like chimps), charge each other with flying head butts and race in circles. It all looks very comical, but as soon as they engage they change in demeanour as they want to put on a good show of violence to impress their new friends. (Orcs equate fun with pain, so if a human laughs, they take it to me they want to join in, that the want o exchange pain and join the group)

In the vein of the brother grim fairy stories:
Orcs really don’t understand that violent humans aren’t Orcs, they have a simple view of ‘if it runs it’s food’, ‘if it fights it Orc’ or has Orc like tendencies. As Orcs don’t have females they instantly assume females are prey unless they fight (and that the humans warriors are hogging all the food, so the Orcs feel they have to prove they are worth to eat with the soldiers), the other aspect is that Orcs stamp Snotlings and goblins into the dirt so they can be reborn. Obviously when Orcs see children they think the same thing, and will stamp the children into the ground so they can re-grow. This act usually brings out wailing prey (mothers) which the Orcs eat or pile onto of the stamped children to help the ‘Snotlings’ re-grow.

Such hideous acts drive the men of the Old World to despise Orcs above nearly any other creature, the Men of the Old World know what will happen to their families if they fail to stop the Orcs, everything will die; their family are at stake, and there is no retreat and no surrender, the Orc will not stop, they can’t be cowed they can’t be talked to, and they will fight to the last Orc. There are no options when fighting Orcs, you have to kill them all, and burn the corpses and salt the ground.


As they destroy and fight and get excited, this triggers their physiology and they grow bigger and bigger, each sword wound makes their physiology react into reinforcing their hides until they are tougher than any plate mail. They start to transform as the body count mounts, the more they devour the more the fight - they grow and mature. Their skin becomes so thick that the outer layers die and sheds and they get dusty.

The Pit

It is in the aftermath of war that the Orcs will make their home, in the centre of town the tear up the stones to get to the good ground underneath (as all towns are unusually built on good ground, that’s why the first human settlers picked that spot to build the first homes in the first place). The Orcs dig frantically with their massive shovel hands, until they hollow out a great pit into which they then bring all the dead bodies and pile them into the pit. As a bonus many larger cities have sewers which Orcs think are great and the filth brings extra nutrients as it fill the lower part of the pit and helps to rot the bodies.

The cycle restarts.


The Orcs are the personification of an aspect of ideal Nurgle life. The Big Orcs are champions of Nurgle, each one is a champion because like Nurgle’s favourite life forms (bacteria) none is more important than the other. As they mature the transform, they become dusty and start to rot on the outer layers, in the pits flies swarm and maggot crawls, the emerging Snotling and goblins eat the maggots, and those new births who escape the stamping and beatings flee to start new lives (well, Snotling crawl under houses and sleep, several group together form warmth, there they die and may produce an earth womb big enough to make a goblin or Orc). Nurgle blesses the Orc with a love of pain and great toughness and resilience. Orcs are infected with disease and viruses. As they develop they become living personifications of Nurlge’s ideals; a lifeform at one with the earth, is destructive; yet from the asses of death springs new life.

Spin offs..

Goblin notes

Goblins come about in many ways, they escape the pits, they are reborn from Orcs that fell on hard ground in battles in the mountains or they are born of several Snotlings huddling together for warmth under a house or in a dark place.

However they come about they have one thing in common; they all fear Orcs. Goblins don’t know they are immature Orcs, they just understand that Orcs kill them on sight, so the Goblins run screaming when ever they see Orcs (unless in the mountains, Orc wont kill them in the mountains, because Orc instinct tells them that the rebirth will be weak, so Orc will be nice and entice them to better ground ). It is this instinct to run that from Orc which makes Goblins seem so cowardly, but most humans would run from an full on Orc. To the short Goblins, Humans look tall and therefore ‘Orc sized’.

The group together and from gangs, they steal rotting food and scavenge scraps.

However they are fundamentally Orcs inside. They have Orc instincts deep down, so if cornered their fear makes them flip out. Insanity takes them and lash out in a frenzied manner, convinced that whoever cornered them will kill them. If the Goblin wins the combat, if they kill while in a frenzied they change as they eat and put on muscle, and they become a little bolder and get ideas. They like flesh, it tastes good but they don’t want o fight in Hand to Hand, they have a really strong aversion to it, and a crippling fear of pain. Necessity is the mother of invention and they will try and take prey down from a distance and they start to develop missile weapons to hunt. The most common is hurling stones (which they are very good at) but it’s not long before they develop sling, it seems to be a natural progression to the way the think. The don’t invent bows, but they will take bow and know how to use them, they are great imitators, they are like Mynah birds and can imitate speech and calls. Living in constant fear for their lives (and a dread of Orcs) makes Goblins spiteful, in order to make themselves feel better about themselves they take it out on others. They enjoy pranks, pushing each other over and such but the real fun is causing minor injury on humans. The will imitate cat, dogs and children crying to lure lone humans into an ambush, attacking with missile (stones, rotten veg) weapons and run away laughing their asses off.


Running from the forests and the murderous Orcs, and attracted by the stench of filth which they love, the Goblins flock to sewer systems and cess pits of the Old World. To Goblins these dark places are Goblin nirvana, the narrow tunnels are too small for Orcs to get into, so the Goblin feel safe. There the play in the excrement having great fun, playing pranks on each other, crazily chasing rats to whoops of delight before eating them (unless they meet Skaven, then they run like crazy).

Goblin Adventures

It is from the sewers that they will venture into the cities of the Old World, they come out at night and are very stealthy, but they find it exciting being chased and do it for a lark. They usually try to separate humans out from each other with mimicry and ambush them before running away laughing. The single humans out because they are cowardly and don’t want to take on more than one at a time, but this has the effect that no one can corroborate a person’s story, and seeing that most humans the Goblins single out in the night are blind drunk, just makes the wild stories sound even more unbeliveable. Goblins also rob drunks, and on occasion will attack a drunk and drag them to the sewers. There they cut the face skin of the corpses and devour the bodies. The Goblins wear the face skin like masks in an effort to blend in and enhance their mimicry skills. They will try to pass themselves of as humans, but they only know the drunks so they stagger about acting drunk, singing the songs drunks sing in discordant notes, taking the bleep. To humans who encounter them they look like drunken children at first glance, a mistake that can cost a person dear. If the person is conscious the ‘children’ will throw stuff at them and try to knock them to the ground before running off laughing. If the person is so drunk they fall and can’t get up, the Goblin will stop running and come back and surround the person, and this is when a human is in real danger.

The leader returns from death

As Goblins go about they business they do get tougher, but sooner of later one will get injured or die naturally usually the boldest instigator, their body will be dragged back to the sewer and the other Goblins will be very sad, the corpse will start to rot and the earth womb will begin to grow. In the filth and nutrients of the effluent of the sewers the earth womb will grow big and grow rapidly. The Goblins see the water backing up behind the growth so the drag it to one of the larger chambers in the sewers. The Goblins have no idea what it is, but find it fascinating, and when the womb start to move and squirm they stare in anticipation. When is explodes open they get the shock of their lives as they are confronted with a Hobgoblin! Hobgoblins are like large Goblins with Orc like characteristics, at first the Goblins are terrified, but Hobgoblins aren’t the aggressive, lovers of pain like the Orcs and they don’t feel the instinct to beat everything they meet to a bloody pulp. The Goblins soon realise this Hobgoblin is some kind of super goblin, which they find very interesting and ‘charismatic’. Hobgoblins are similar in many ways to humans, they are intelligent and inventive and can speak.

Hobgoblins aren’t as large as Orcs, so they can move about the sewers, thought hey have to stoop in some of the smaller tunnels. They will go on raids, but unlike goblins will actually attack humans in hand to hand, and with their Goblin cronies they act as blockers, training the Goblins to herd or lure the human to them. Hobgoblins use bows, and can make bows, they will leave the sewers and collect wood and make crude bows in imitation of human weapons. It will then arm the Goblins with these weapons.

Hobgoblins like pranks and they will play, but they are bigger and stronger than Goblins and sometimes thing go wrong and a Goblin dies. When this Goblin is reborn as a Hobgoblin, the first Hobgoblin is their to see it, and it is smart enough to put two and two together. After that, Goblins will have ‘accidents’, the Hobgoblin will not kill outright as this will make the other Goblins run, instead it works with their trust, slowly knocking them off one by one.

As the number of Hobgoblins mounts, they will venture out of the dark places and roam the hill and fields hunting, they like hunting but in the cities it causes to much commotion and the Hobgoblin understand that this is not good in the long run, it is better to remain hidden. Hobgoblins are often encountered but humans in the Hill about big cities, and this has lead humans to think of them as ‘Hill Goblins’

Traitors in their midst

As the Hobgoblins become more successful they get stronger and more Orc tendencies start to develop. They start to squabble among themselves rather than joking, shouting at each other and pushing. These blazing rows upset the Goblins who are fearful. It’s not the fun fighting of Orcs because Hobgoblins feel pain, so it is vitriolic and bitter and they harbour malice. They start to fight for position, but the fights stop short of serious injury because they can’t take the pain.

The Hobgoblins have been killing off the Goblin for a while by now by using sneak ploys and deception; it is only a matter of time before one of the Hobgoblins ‘murders’ another Hobgoblin.

Rebirth of the Murdered

The dead Hobgoblin will become a massive earth womb, the murdering Hobgoblin thinks the Hobgoblin will come back as a new Hobgoblin with blank memories just like it was, as it doesn’t remember being a Goblin - but what emerges terrifies all, for it is an Orc, something the Hobgoblins have never seen before (or heard about because Goblins don’t use language), but something the Goblins will remember and flee.

The sewers are too small for the Orc to move about in, and the Orc is trapped usually in larger chambers of the sewers.

The Hobgoblins are terrified as they are no match for an Orc, and the Orc is extremely brutal and a lover of pain. If they attack it the Orc loves it and attacks back, this can result in the death of another Hobgoblin.

In the primitive social structure that is forming, the other Hobgoblins see this as a punishment from ‘The great Hobgoblin’ a nascent Hobgoblin God for not looking after their fellow Hobgoblin, and the great punisher (Orc as the devil) has been sent to kill them for their wrong doing. The Hobgoblin vow not to kill each other, and become highly co-operative and try to placate the Orc by feeding it. Now when another dies they throw the body in with the Orc, dumping the bodies into the larger tunnels and chambers. It this body was a Goblin, it will be reborn as an Orc, and the Orcs will attack it.

The Orcs grow in number, and go insane in their confined space, the rapidly develop from fighting between themselves into full and powerful Orcs, they damage the sewers from pounding on the walls, they try to pull out stones trying to make the tunnels bigger but this can cause cave in. Fortunately the sewers of the Old World are built by the Dwarfs and are exceptionally tough, so quite often the Orcs remain trapped in their underground prison.

The Hobgoblin as a penance bring food to the Orcs to try and calm them, for when they are eating they relax, but the Orcs just get bigger, meaner and noisier. It is only a matter of time before they are discovered by the humans, who will investigate the deep thuds and howls that echo up form the sewers.

Back to Orcs

The goblin mimicry and prankster side lives on in the Orcs, and after they encounter and defeat a human army of the empire, the will imitate their enemies and start to use weapons.

Orcs breed up over the winter and are very much spring and summer fighters, they have a lot of chlorophyll in their skin which under the hot sun boosts growth, feeding them to a certain extent (and the hot weather make them aggressive and over playful) after war they eat big on the dead and reveal in death, the play with the dead bodies make sculpture of the bones and use the guts for party streamers (like humans when drunk throwing loo rolls into trees). In the hot summer sun the guts dry on the trees and buildings and turn into tough ‘cat gut’ from which they hang bones from in perverse decorations.

While parting and playing with the bodies they also start to play with the enemies weapons, with these that can start to cause injury to each other and feel pain once more with drives them into frenzies of excitement. They have food and pain what more could a growing Orc need? They keep hitting each other testing out weapons and modifying to make them easier to wield by the large Orc hands. Any Orcs that are reborn will emerge into a party atmosphere were Orcs are wild and having fun.

Orc Weapons

Orcs like Halberds, the snap them in half and use them as hand weapons, usually two at a time (Orcs have two attacks).
They make clubs from tree branches, and take daggers and bang them through the club to make a spiked clubs and bind them to the club with the dried out ‘party streamers’.

They do a similar thing to swords, to make giant picks (which are very good at going through armour).

They take bows and arrows, but they see these as fun and spend most of their time shooting each other in the butt for fun!


They don’t bother with shields or armour as such, they don’t need protection, but the Goblin’s mimicry side is still in the Orcs and the Orcs do want to make friends with any new Humans they meet, so they will put on bits of clothing, but they don’t really understand ‘clothing’ so that wrap it about themselves like togas or tie it about the waste. As long as it’s on them and not in the way they think it’s a complete fashion success, and that any humans they meet will see they are just like them.

Obviously Humans will be shocked when they see the Orcs, dressed in rags of another Empire army, wearing the standards like togas, surcoats like kilts, cuirasses on their shoulders all caked in blood and armed with weapons made out of Empire arms. The humans get the wrong idea about the Orcs intent, and are usually horrified and take it as goading and blatant provocation. Orcs also usually take the heads of the most powerful adversaries as tokens (once they have sucked the brains out) with them as a sign of respect and throw them at the humans to show their good intent and that they have come for a pain party and that they are all friends. The humans are spurred into action and charge the Orc, the Orcs just think the party has started early (Humans as so eager for pain! Lets put on a good show, think the Orcs). And a horrific battle breaks out with no quarter given, or from the Orc point of view, one of the best parties they have ever been too and they can’t wait for the next!

Killing Orcs

Orcs are tough to the point of stupidity, the only way to kill them is to carve them up, blunt weapons are useless against them as a humans armed with a mace can’t actually hit an Orc harder than another Orc can hit an Orc. Orcs are already toughed to that type of injury and can deal with it.

Swords and Halberds are the way to go, to carve the Orcs limbs off to immobilize them, and then run them trough several times to stop them moving. Then after battle if all the Orcs are down, pile up the bodies and burn them, and then salt the ground where the Orcs have been, cordon off the area and post an ‘Orc watch’ to guard it and attack any Orcs that rise from the ground.

If the humans fail

It the humans fail to win the Orcs will go on the rampage, now armed to the teeth, the high levels of pain they endure and copious amounts of combat makes them very strong and sooner of later they will head for a major population centre when the start to get dusty. This is when they will spore and make the great pit.

Keeping up numbers before the pit

All Orcs that die in battle will rise again reborn, so their number never diminishes if they win.

Once they win a battle the next attack is the town the Empire Army was protecting, and in a few weeks as the Orcs arm up and the reborn start popping up, the towns have and reprieve and time to barricade and prepare defences. It is a terrifying time for humans, they can hear the cries of laughter and merriment as the Orcs play, there incessant howling at the moon and barks

Orcs and 40k

Orks in 40K are a different species of Orc, Orcs are a much earlier version, the evolved Ork has a new trick up it’s sleeve (or not, as the don’t have sleeves!). The trick is foliage, the earth wombs of the Orks sprout leaves and photosynthesise to produce food, the leaves vary depending on conditions, they will even grow cactus like structure in the desert and will grow there even though an Orc based earth womb could never survive in the dry conditions of a desert.

This makes Ork more adaptable, and will always be reborn no matter where they fall, but the real evolution is the spores. The spores of Orks using the foliage trick are like seeds and grow what is tantamount to Orc tree, but like potatoes these trees can have multiple earth wombs and each spore has the potential to give rise to several Orks at once which will all emerge at once, a fully functional unit.


Orcs form full armies, consisting of Orcs, Orcs and larger Orcs. If Orcs see Hobgolins, Goblins or Snotlings they will attack them of sight and kill them.

Goblins form small skirmish army groups with a core of Hobgoblins as command, Goblins only use missile weapons and will run away if charged (then turn around and shoot!).

Can these to get on?

Hobgoblins will follow Orcs, and Goblins will follow Hobgoblins. The Hobgoblin will keep their distance from the Orcs, but while the Orcs are focused an Empire Army Hobgoblins will get a bit closers, and their Goblins will provide fire support. The goblins will flee is changed, but if caught short, the Hobgoblin will fight while the Goblins run (dwarfs hate Goblins becuase they have to chase them, and Dwarfs really hate that)

This means that Hobgoblin units are flankers and will always remain at least 12” from any Orc, Hobgoblins will brake of from combat of the Orcs get close. If Orcs get closer than 12” to Goblins or Hobgoblins they have to test for ‘Animosity’ and if fail they will charge them. Hobgoblins test for fear, Goblins for terror.

In campaigns any casualties are reborn depending on ground.

Original BI forum Thread: [page 1] [page 2]
Grand Theogonist's theory of 'fungus' Orcs: [page 1]
Athelassan's theory of 'mammal' Orcs: [page 1] [page 2]


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