Orks are a widespread, humanoid sapient species known for aggression and violence. They plague many thousands of worlds across the galaxy, and could easily crush all life in the galaxy, were they ever to unite. So far, this has been largely impossible due to their contentious nature. The vast majority of species who develop space travel will invariably encounter the Orks.
Ork biology is quite unique: it is a symbiotic fusion of fungus and animal. They fight, eat, and move as animals, while they reproduce similarly to fungus. While Orks invariably appear to be male, they are in fact asexual; and each member of the orkoid species passively releases spores throughout its life and en masse upon death. They spores will grow underground and, upon maturation, will release a Squigs, Snotlings, Gretchen, or Ork Boyz. During a festering Ork infestation, the various subspecies will develop over time in the above order. The greatest strength of this method of reproduction is the robustness of Ork spores and their sheer numbers make Ork populations incredibly difficult to completely eradicate. It is not unheard of for them to be wiped out to an Ork on a planet, only for tribes of Feral Orks to attack a colonist population a few decades later.
Orks also have a very robust physiology. Simplified and redundant biological components allow them to survive what would otherwise be grievous wounds, accept transplants from virtually any donor with little to no complications, and allow cybernetic augments to be grafted on with little trouble. Confirmed reports of Orks surviving serious injuries include one particular boy coming to a medic holding his brain in with both hands and having his skull repaired with metal plates being riveted in place. More apocryphal tales involve Orks briefly continuing to fight on even after being clinically dead, and surviving decapitation long enough for the head to be grafted onto a new body.
Most Ork "Boyz" are concerned with the simple pursuits of seeking out violence for entertainment. However, some Orks who naturally develop other interests are called "Oddboyz", the most infamous of which and most important to the Orks are "Mekz" (or Mekboyz or Mekaniakz) and "Dokz" (or Painboyz), who serve as engineers and medics, respectively. Other Oddboyz serve as specialists in various fields. Mekboyz and Painboyz both have basic science understanding in their fields encoded into genetic code. This factor, along with their biology and their species' combat potential has led to speculation that they were created as some sort of biological weapon for a long forgotten conflict.
Orks also live indefinitely, the natural span of their lifetime being unknown and practically unreachable due to their high attrition rates. Orks also don't appear to grow old, simply growing throughout their lives. When Orks gain combat experience or prestige, they undergo a process not unlike human puberty, they grow rapidly and become more belligerent, climbing the Ork social strata in the process. Ork veterans are known to become huge creatures over the course of their lives, more than twice the height of a human.
Ork culture is centered around violence; when not involving war and combat, the few remaining Ork pursuits are centered around destruction. As such, Ork culture revolves around its military capacity, and it is an Ork's instinct to enter into combat, and every ork agrees that there is nothing more enjoyable than " 'aving a good fight!" All Orks will either fight or contribute to their military capacity, with Mekz and Dokz working to produce military hardware. Beyond trying to make things look intimidating or as an effigy of their gods, Orks have no concept of art or aesthetics; and they have no higher concepts of science, literature, cuisine, or theology beyond the fundamentals.
Orks have a loose hierarchy based on physical size, ascending from Ork Boyz, to the burlier Nobz (thought to be a play on the human world Noble), to the Warbosses. This hierarchy has an unexpected nuance, as it serves as a combination of gerontocratic and meritocratic system. A short, an relatively slender Ork who has killed many opponents is still subject to a taller, broader Ork who has killed fewer opponents; however, the more fighting an Ork endures, the bigger he gets.
Orks naturally organize themselves into Mobs, simultaneously a social group and the equivalent of a squad, with a Nob at the head to serve as oppressor and role model. A number of mobs within a certain circle will create a tribe to control territory and assets, and when not organized into a larger collective, typically go to war with other tribes for land, resources, and the fun of it. A tribe may or may not have a Warboss as its supreme leader.
This comes out in their speech, they sound like British street thugs, and are thus able to speak with ' 'umies' and 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), and any rifle-like weapon is a 'shootah' (shooter). Orks also appear to be unable to pronounce the 's' either, meaning that words such as guns or ships would become gunz or shipz in their odd dialect.
Ork language itself depends on the work they appear in, either speaking in the human language of Low Gothic, or speaking Orkish, which is consistently described by nonspeakers as a language of monosyllables, grunts, and growls.
Orks have 'iron stomachs'. They will generally eat their meat raw or in some cases, still alive, and they will eat any mushroom that looks tasty, even the poison ones. They also enjoy a powerful liquor, "fungus beer". Since their fuel is usually ethanol-based, it's safe (for them) to drink.
Orks worship two gods: Gork and Mork. One is the god of Cunning Brutality, the other the god of Brutal Cunning. Nobody (not even the Orks) can tell who is who. Psychic Oddboyz, called Weirdboyz, can summon a manifestation of these two, usually a Monty Python-esque foot or hand to crush their enemies. they also have street-preacher analogues called "Yellerz".
The WAAAGH! is a name for a number of Ork-related phenomena. It is quite possible that the Orks unify these phenomena into a single, relatively complicated concept.
- The first is the gestalt psychic field generated by individual Orks, which grows stronger with the more Orks present, and based on how much fighting is occurring. Passively, it allows for Orks to know who is "bigga" and thus a boy will know his or a peer's place in the Ork hierarchy. Also, it allows Orks to subconsciously influence their environment. Ork technology is able to function to a much greater degree that they should be able to mechanically, to the point that other species will find that some Ork technology and weapons simply won't function if not wielded by an Orkoid. The environmental effect also generates some bizarre effects, the most famous being if they believe that vehicles painted red will go faster, the vehicles will indeed go faster. Finally, Weirdboyz, Ork Psykers, can actively bend the power of the WAAAGH! to create many devastating effects, making them potent weapons on the battlefield.
- Secondly, any single Ork Warboss who is charismatic, domineering, and big enough can become a Warboss as gathers his fellow Orks into enormous collectives called a WAAAGH!. A singular WAAAGH! which is gathered and united from numerous Ork tribes who set aside rivalries, at least for a time, to go fight other wars across the galaxy. WAAAGHs of this type have been known to swallow entire star systems and clusters, with anywhere between millions to billions of Orks; and it is essentially a cross between a religious crusade, mass migration, and a giant pub brawl, with a bit of genocide thrown in for good measure. Ork WAAAGHs are named after the Warboss leading them (i.e. WAAAGH! Irontoof, WAAAGH! Skullkrak). Once the Warboss has been killed, the disparate Ork groups within a WAAAGH! will typically turn on one another, sometimes in an attempt to seize power over one another, often simply as the unifying force and threat of reprisal has been removed. Most WAAAGHs simply split apart as the Warboss is eventually killed or runs out of enemies to fight, but sometimes a Warboss can keep a WAAAGH! coherent enough to carve out a small interstellar empire.
- Finally, WAAAGH! is the Orks' ubiquitous warcry, used by Orkoids from one end of the galaxy to another, since time immemorial.
Orks and associated species reproduce via spores that can form into any of the Orkoid species, meaning that each Ork and spore contain the collective genome of each species. As an Orkoid infestation cultivates, the Orkoid species arise in a specific order.
- Fungal species: Various species of fungi that start to convert an environment to be more optimized to support an Ork population. They provide a steady source of food and basic components for Ork consumables (refined food and alcohol).
- Squigs: Or "squiggly beasts", a dizzying variety of beasts used by Orks for all odds and ends. They are usually ovoid and bipedal with short legs, and with a large mouth full of fangs. Mostly used by Orkz as a means to consume bodily wastes and as a source of meat. Certain squigs are kept as pets and as "attack dogs", while the largest, such as the gargantuan Squiggoths are used as beasts of war.
- Snotlings: The first of the sentient Orkoid species to arise during an infestation. Snotlings are tiny, gangly goblinoids, the smallest and dimmest of the Orkoids and barely sapient. They are used as slave labor to tend to a tribe's Squig population, and are tended by Ork Oddboyz called Runtherdz, who see to it that only a relative few of the Snotlings are eaten each day. Being the smallest and weakest Orkoids, they're bullied and disrespected by all, to the point of not even seeing a place on the battlefield aside from being ammunition, even in an emergency.
- According to some accounts in Ork lore, Snotlings were the original Orkoids, and a fungus native to their homeworld gave them a high intellect, which they used to create the Orks as soldiers and laborers. When the Orks ate the native fungus to extinction, Snotlings regressed to their current state, allowing Orks to assert dominance. This account is apocryphal, and likely has little supporting evidence beyond being simple legend.
- Gretchen: Also disparagingly called "Grots", Gretchen are small humanoids, about a meter tall and with Goblinoid features. They are brighter and more cunning than Orks, but smaller, weaker, and cowardly; in a society that respects only strength and combat ability, they are often kept as second class citizens, at best. Gretchen are often kept as personal slaves to Orks, such as providing basic labor or serving as ordlies to Dokz and technicians to Mekz. Gretchen are sometimes brought onto the battlefield to hold objectives or as gun fodder; while cowardly, Gretchen will actually fight if they believe they have a chance to kill something and are better shots than Orks. Mobs of Gretchen need to be tended by several Runtherds to make sure that they don't break when casualties start mounting. They are also sometimes hardwired into walker units called Killa Kanz to be used as light support units.
- Orks: Once an infestation has fully matured, Orks start to appear and they begin conglomerating.
- Shoota and Slugga: A pistol or autorifle that fires explosive bullets.
- Choppa: A large battle axe, usually forged from bulkhead plating, but they have been known to steal the fancier close-combat chain and power weapons from other races.
- Burna: A flamethrower that is often used as a tiger-torch by their mechanics, giving it more damage against vehicles.
- Zzap! Gun: A tesla coil-like electricity projector.
- Shokk Attack Gun: A large weapon with an impressive warp disruptor on the end. It is used to fire a stream of a smaller sub-species of orkoid through the warp (Hyperspace, the alternate dimension where Daemons manifest), where they are invariably driven mad with fear. When the beam makes contact with a solid surface, the unfortunate little monster pops back into real-space (much of the time INSIDE the target), flailing and biting, and writhing with extra-dimensional energies.
- Mega Blasta: A crude and unreliable plasma cannon.