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Made in gb
Thunderhawk Pilot Dropping From Orbit






Northumberland, England

Yeah, this is quite a wild theory - but is it possible to 'educate' an Ork?

I've got a couple of Salamander Tac squads to plough through, so before I make a start, I was toying with the idea of a small Rogue Trader retinue. Now I had read, though I can't now remember where, that some Orks do hire themselves out as Mercenaries to various factions. It's probably an old outdated bit of fluff, but I kind of like the idea of a more radical Rogue Trader hanging around with a hulking great Ork bodyguard. In such a case, I gather there would be an understanding of sorts between the Trader and the Orky - indicating a certain level of Orkish intelligence.

In short, my question has three major points:

1. Are there any instances in the lore that would support the theory of an Ork intelligence being more nuanced than simply killing anything in sight?

2. Do Orks have the capacity to desire anything more than war? (Even if they are genetically constructed to do so - after all the Eldar have transcended the desire to fight, and they were created for the same purpose)

3. If the above are true, then could an Ork's perception of their place in the Galaxy be changed?

Feel free, to rubbish the idea - I'm well aware that it's a bit wild. However, all discussion welcome, I thought it's an interesting concept.

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1: As much as there is a Space Marine that has a desire more than just to kill everything in front of him. That is to say, of course there is. Orks of vision, drive, and ambition are actually very, very common. Orks love to build enormous machines, go extremely fast, acquire massive amounts of loot, and command legions of minions under their massive armored green fists. They also like to get drunk, have bar fights, make jokes, and pretty much everything else you'd expect war-loving asexual mushroom-people soccer hooligans to do.

2: Why would they? 40k is nothing but war. And in such a place, Orks are in heaven. Why would they want to leave heaven to enter hell?

3: Mind control probably makes such a thing possible. but his Orky nature would be constantly fighting against it.

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avoiding the lorax on Crion

One point for 3..

If a non orky ork met a orky ork. the orky ork would just kill it.
Also ernough maybe with a small waaargh feild may also help break it control.

Isolated yes... More orks.. Odds lower.

And orks are far more than fight. They love to fight but they also build, to help fight, scheme, use cunning, ar times brutaly but cunning none the less to fight...

They would not be threat they are if mindless. They just fight alot lol.


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Orks also love going fast, flashy trophies, and thrills as a whole. Boss Nazdreg is known as a particularly devious threat to the Imperium even if his ambitions for the most part have been to engage in petty piracy. By most accounts, he speaks fluent Imperial Gothic and is known to use reward as well as punishment to improve production quotas from worlds that pay tribute to him.

As far as anything else goes, some Orks are probably more interested in playing the empire-building game more than they are about proactively migrating towards a good scrap. It's why Octarius and Chardon remain stable empires despite all known Orkish behavior patterns implying otherwise.
   
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avoiding the lorax on Crion

 MagicJuggler wrote:
Orks also love going fast, flashy trophies, and thrills as a whole. Boss Nazdreg is known as a particularly devious threat to the Imperium even if his ambitions for the most part have been to engage in petty piracy. By most accounts, he speaks fluent Imperial Gothic and is known to use reward as well as punishment to improve production quotas from worlds that pay tribute to him.

As far as anything else goes, some Orks are probably more interested in playing the empire-building game more than they are about proactively migrating towards a good scrap. It's why Octarius and Chardon remain stable empires despite all known Orkish behavior patterns implying otherwise.


Also they have powerful warbosses who can keep orks in line.
Might is right.

If your big ernough orks tend to follow and tend to agree with you.

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"May the odds be ever in your favour"

Hybrid Son Of Oxayotl wrote:
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Beijing, China

Orks can be quite smart. They can learn a great number of skills, languages and remember lots of history.
They desire a great many things other than fighting, although fighting is a good way to get many of those things. A few more are things that lead to fighting.
Overall the Orkish worldview is that of a juvinile. Bigger, faster, stronger, shinier, redder, taller, did I mention bigger and faster?

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So many misguided posts.

There are orks called "oddboys" which are genetically gifted with certain caste abilities.

Mekboys and painboys fall into this category because they are born with innate and natural affinity for either mechanical aptitude or orkish medicine.

As far as orks "learning" or realizing, I would suggest you look at The Beast Arises series or look into Ghazghkull Thraka/Nazdreg. The Beast Arises depicts a warboss that can speak common and communicate directly with humans. Ghazghkull started as a lowly ork boy, received a bolter shell to the brain and then had an adamantium plate welded onto his skull which gave him visions of Gork and Mork. With this newfound vision he is building what may become a galaxy spanning waaagh. In the WAAAAGH: Ghazghkull codex supplement, Ghazghkull is described as witnessing a direct revelation from Gork and Mork with instructions to conquer the universe.

Kommandos are an example of Orks that are not oddboys learning and adapting. There is a quote in the 4th edition codex to the effect that Imperials do not expect orks to be able to use low cunning tactics like stealth and ambush techniques, which catches the Guard offguard.

Certain warbosses like Nazdreg and Ghazghkull Thraka have come up with low cunning plans that incorporate new oddboy techologies like tellyportas to deliver rapid strikes into imperial space. This demonstrates at least an ability to learn and adapt.

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If you ever get a chance to look at the 3rd edition codex (although I think it appeared in other places as well), I think that Genetor-Magus Lukas Anzion made a point of noting that there was no indication that Orkish intelligence was less than human intelligence, but simply oriented more towards the practical than the theoretical.

So, not only are 'educated orks' possible, but really, no less common than educated humans! However, their knowledge might appear extremely haphazard to human eyes, simply because they don't tend to learn anything that doesn't immediately concern them.

 
   
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Exactly. Orks aren't stupid.
Aggressive, short-tempered, prone to using direct action as their first response, somewhat manaical in their enthusiasm for everything they do and with truly breathtaking personal hygiene issues, but not actually stupid....

Ork bodyguards are not an uncommon trope in the fluff, and are even a character option for the player in the rogue trader RPG.

An important thing to note is that just "killing everyone" has never been an orky thing. The big difference between orks and, say, khorne bezerkers, is that the latter live for killing but the former live for fighting. There's a famous example of ghazgkhull letting yarrick go because you don't find really good enemies that often...

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Outer Space, Apparently

 Warpig1815 wrote:
I've got a couple of Salamander Tac squads to plough through, so before I make a start, I was toying with the idea of a small Rogue Trader retinue. Now I had read, though I can't now remember where, that some Orks do hire themselves out as Mercenaries to various factions. It's probably an old outdated bit of fluff, but I kind of like the idea of a more radical Rogue Trader hanging around with a hulking great Ork bodyguard. In such a case, I gather there would be an understanding of sorts between the Trader and the Orky - indicating a certain level of Orkish intelligence.


Ork mercenaries are commonly called Freebooterz; they're typically Orks who've abandoned their tribe (and possibly their Klan too) to live amongst the stars as pirates, lured by the possibilities of finding battles that most Orks couldn't even dream of. They're well known for hiring themselves out to anyone who can pay their fees, which causes a lot of distrust between them and regular Orks.

1. Are there any instances in the lore that would support the theory of an Ork intelligence being more nuanced than simply killing anything in sight?


Pretty much covered beforehand here; Oddboyz such as the Meks can manufacture incredibly advanced technology from nothing but rust and junk, claiming that they just know they can do it. However, their creations are only the tip of their potential genius, as everything they make is used for causing more violence one war or another.

There are some Ork warlords who adopt a higher level of battle strategy than usual. Ghazgkull Thraka is a good example, as is Grog Ironteef in the War of Dakka, where he used the nearly unheard concept of "retreating" to overextend Tau Hunter Killer teams before encircling them in ambushes and eliminating them. Such Orks are rare, but they exist.

2. Do Orks have the capacity to desire anything more than war? (Even if they are genetically constructed to do so - after all the Eldar have transcended the desire to fight, and they were created for the same purpose)


No regular Ork would ever desire anything more than war, no. There might be certain Oddboyz who may have found something else to desire other than looting or killing, but none that I am aware of.

3. If the above are true, then could an Ork's perception of their place in the Galaxy be changed?


Possibly, but unlikely. Orks are even more mysterious to the Imperium than the Eldar at times, with some behaviours exhibited by them being ever more shocking and confusing to even those who have dedicated their lives to studying them. Orks have been captured and interrogated before, but never reasoned with or attempted to be educated. At the end of the day, they're still foul xenos who will threaten the Imperium to no end, and are dealt with as such.

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Northumberland, England

Well, this has been an eye-opener. I'll be the first to admit that I'm by no means totally clued up on Orks - I really just know the basics. It's interesting then, to hear that the common trope of a 'Brutal Orks' is more of a generalisation than a rule. Obviously, I am aware of outliers such Ghazghull and Nazdreg and the various castes of Boyz, but I suppose I hadn't really made a connection with the fact that most of them will just be average Boyz before taking a particular route. The Oddboyz in particular sound pretty cool. I guess I should have clarified that I didn't necessarily think they were 'stupid' per se, but rather one-track minded. I like the idea that they're just as intelligent as a standard human, but simply channelled into one particular aspect - it almost sounds like an Eldar path. The Path of more Dakka?

Anyway, thanks for all the enlightening answers so far - much appreciated.

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He bare a bent bow in his hand,
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Outer Space, Apparently

 Warpig1815 wrote:
The Oddboyz in particular sound pretty cool. I guess I should have clarified that I didn't necessarily think they were 'stupid' per se, but rather one-track minded. I like the idea that they're just as intelligent as a standard human, but simply channelled into one particular aspect - it almost sounds like an Eldar path. The Path of more Dakka?


That's a good comparison to make, actually; much like the Eldar, certain Orks are naturally drawn to a particular aspect of fighting, which creates Oddboyz. Some Oddboyz like Weirdboyz or Meks are known from a young age to be Oddboyz, whereas others may take time; an Ork might pick up a Burna one day, and like burning things so much that he decides to join a group of Burna Boyz.

A particular group of Oddboyz you might want to look into are Stormboyz - they're even more anomalous than usual, since they regiment themselves in boot camps, and are typically for Orks who "don't like being able to do whatever they want".

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There's a flavour text from MtG that kind of sits well here. It's how I view Orks at any rate.

"Of the eleven tribes of Minotaur some value their scribes and poets
Spoiler:
Others just like to hit stuff.

Gorehorn Minotaurs.

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You're really missing the point, which is that Oddboyz don't "learn." They are born with technical skills imprinted into their DNA, presumably from the brainboys that invented the orks.

Fang, son of Great Fang, the traitor we seek, The laws of the brethren say this: That only the king sees the crown of the gods, And he, the usurper, must die.
Mother earth is pregnant for the third time, for y'all have knocked her up. I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe, but I was not offended. For I knew I had to rise above it all, or drown in my own gak. 
   
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Outer Space, Apparently

 TedNugent wrote:
You're really missing the point, which is that Oddboyz don't "learn." They are born with technical skills imprinted into their DNA, presumably from the brainboys that invented the orks.


Not sure who this is aimed at, but that's the crux of it, at least when we're talking about Painboyz and Meks. Oddboyz like Kommandos and Lootas may not become so for quite some time, whereas a Mekboy or a Painboy knows from when they're a whelp that they have an affinity for building stuff, or stitching limbs back onto Orks in the right direction.

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 TedNugent wrote:
You're really missing the point, which is that Oddboyz don't "learn." They are born with technical skills imprinted into their DNA, presumably from the brainboys that invented the orks.


I think it's a combination of both.

Orks (and Oddboyz) come with an understanding of physics, mechanics, biology and warp shenanigans hardwired into their brains. They're not hardwired to be able to make a type of tank like some sort of inbuilt STC (or else they'd all look identical). It's more they have an innate understanding of how to make something that does work, and go off on one from there based on what they've experienced and what they've learnt. Like a toolkit rather than a set of instructions.

This concept is supported by a number of things in the fluff and models.

1. Ork constructions all look slightly different
2. There's a story floating out there about a Mekboy seeing a Dreadnought for the first time and being so inspired that he made his own. With blackjack, and hookers. That's how Deff Dreads came into being
3. The Bloodaxes are specifically stated to have learnt their tactics directly from humans

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Orks have the knowledge imprinted in their DNA. Fluff also shows time and time again that orks learn and adapt to every kind of condit in thrown their way. In fact I've come to love their simple elegant solutions to problems that other races fume and fuss into some big over complicated mess. And I'd dare say that this is before getting into their tactical acumen. There has been multiple warbosses in the fluff whom are described as geniuses by Human Standards. The Beast, Ghazzy, Nazdreg and Badrukk come to mind and I'm sure there are others.
   
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YnneadWraith is substantially correct .

A Mekboy doesn't 'know' how to make a Battlewagon. What a Mekboy does know, however, is the physics of a Battlewagon, in that he knows physics n general. In order to actually MAKE a Battlewagon, the Mekboy must learn to apply his innate understanding of physics, through experimentation, to create things to the point that he is able to create something we'd call a Battlewagon.

Good faith is a prerequisite for civility. In its absence, "Go Feth Yourself" is not only an acceptable response, it is the only appropriate response and, really, the only possible response. Social media isn’t characterized by rampant incivility because people have bad manners. It looks like that because epidemic bad faith makes nicer manners impossible. So stop arguing in bad faith, or don't be surprised when people tell you to go feth yourself.
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It's worth mentioning the importance of the "Waaagh."

That is, Orks seem to have have gestalt psychic presence. When a lot of them gather in one place, they become ever more violent, expansionist, and war-like. This expresses itself in the form of Ork klanz putting aside their differences, uniting under the biggest, meanest Ork, and going on great migrations/crusades/all out wars the universe knows as "Waaaghs." Most depictions of Orks in 40k depict them when a Waaagh is under way. This means they are at their most brutal and warlike, and their whole civilization is dedicated to conflict.

But, for roleplaying and fluff writing purposes, it stands to reason Orks work the other way as well - if you're dealing with a small mercenary band, they're not under the sway of that gestalt psychic excitement. It's the difference between a handful of soccer hooligans watching a game on the telly, versus a stadium of ten thousand soccer hooligans who's team just lost. They'll still be aggressive and Ork-like, but they may be more prone to reasoning, such that their inherent Ork intellect can actually be harnessed for something constructive.

I'd expand that, to say that if Orks are with humans for a long time, denied massive conflicts to participate in, they'd likely become smaller than your average Waaagh boy, but would be more intelligent, and likely to follow a human commander's orders. (Especially if the human in question is wearing power armor big enough to make him larger than his or her Ork employees, and has duffed a few over to establish their dominance)

The real problem, would be if that mercenary unit encountered an Ork Waaagh in process. The sudden rush of Ork psychic presence would surely wear on them. And, on a fundamental level, the desire to go native and be one uv' da boyz' again might be too hard for them to resist.
   
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Beijing, China

 TedNugent wrote:
You're really missing the point, which is that Oddboyz don't "learn." They are born with technical skills imprinted into their DNA, presumably from the brainboys that invented the orks.


but they do learn. While a lot of the stuff is imprinted in the DNA, not all of it is accessable to all orks or even all meks. But when one of them does come up with some new gizmo(possibly through a new bit of DNA becoming prominent) the others learn how to build that technology too.

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avoiding the lorax on Crion

 Exergy wrote:
 TedNugent wrote:
You're really missing the point, which is that Oddboyz don't "learn." They are born with technical skills imprinted into their DNA, presumably from the brainboys that invented the orks.


but they do learn. While a lot of the stuff is imprinted in the DNA, not all of it is accessable to all orks or even all meks. But when one of them does come up with some new gizmo(possibly through a new bit of DNA becoming prominent) the others learn how to build that technology too.


They can learn and adapt. Often its combat related but they do learn.
If one tactic fails a ork may have a "finking momment" and work out how to better get thr boyz into a good old scrap.

The older and more powerful they grow, the more they seem to learn.
Some warboss are very compatent, learning, adapting battlefiled commandors. Brutal but nonidiots.

The beast master minded a warrgh so powerful not evene gazzy could rival him yet.

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A lot of good points raised. The one thing I would say in counter to Orks having genetic knowledge of how to do things - whilst the 40k explanation may be due to them being a construct of the Old Ones, to an extent all races are the same. Even humans have in built aptitudes and inclinations towards certain things. There are some of us who are incredibly academic, but useless at thinking on their feet. Others may have absolutely no knowledge retention, but have an innate sense of how to problem solve. Others yet may have neither trait, but are excellent at performing routine tasks fast and precisely. In that sense, even though a Mekboy may have an innate sense of how to create or fix machines, can you really say it's any different to some Humans having a natural aptitude for mechanics or engineering?

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He bare a bent bow in his hand,
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 Warpig1815 wrote:
A lot of good points raised. The one thing I would say in counter to Orks having genetic knowledge of how to do things - whilst the 40k explanation may be due to them being a construct of the Old Ones, to an extent all races are the same. Even humans have in built aptitudes and inclinations towards certain things. There are some of us who are incredibly academic, but useless at thinking on their feet. Others may have absolutely no knowledge retention, but have an innate sense of how to problem solve. Others yet may have neither trait, but are excellent at performing routine tasks fast and precisely. In that sense, even though a Mekboy may have an innate sense of how to create or fix machines, can you really say it's any different to some Humans having a natural aptitude for mechanics or engineering?


While I do agree with you, I don't think humans are in the same league. It's taken hundreds of years for humans to build themselves up to the technological capability that we have today, not from any sort of innate understanding but from building on the previous work of others. Orks are able to go from boar-riding savages to constructing guns, space-ships and warp teleporters within a few generations, which suggests that they possess a more innate understanding of the mechanics of the universe.

Check out may pan-Eldar projects http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/702683.page

Also my Rogue Trader-esque spaceport factions http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/709686.page

Oh, and I've come up with a semi-expanded Shadow War idea and need some feedback! https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/726439.page

Lastly I contribute to a blog too! http://objectivesecured.blogspot.co.uk/ Check it out! It's not just me  
   
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Northumberland, England

@Ynneadwraith - So I'm guessing it's a sort of fully realised instinct, what we would call second nature. I did read though, that some Orks aren't capable of assimilating knowledge of new tech as well as others and go sort of crazy - Madboyz I think (Don't know if they're still a thing). I guess then that not all Orks can learn as well as each other.

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The Beast was amazingly clever, and actually had Orc Diplomats speak with the high lords of terra, so I guess the answer is yes, but we've only seen it in the beast arises books.

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Orks cannot exist without conflict in some capacity. Their reproduction is tied to it.

   
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Some orks will work for pay-- freebootas. As for educating one, we have seen intelligent orks like Ghaz, Nazdreg, Morgrok, etc. However, they seem to be statistical anomalies. My theory is that orks can educate themselves with sufficient motivation, but trying to educate one forcibly will end in tears.

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I do wish people wouldn't underestimate the Orks. Yes, they have historically been a comedy army for non-serious people, but in the fluff they remain one of the biggest nascent threats to the Imperium. This is not just because of their numbers, it's because of their biology and social structure. In other words, they are a complex and nuanced enemy that we should not dismiss, even though in more recent fluff they are typically used as a distraction from other more 'serious' foes.

While Ork intelligence is primal, instinctual and largely unchanging, we have to remember that they have extremely successful Meks, Doks and Warbosses who are consistently able to out-build, out-medic and out-strategy their human equivalents. We have a tendency to dismiss this as 'just that Orky psychic thing', because it lets us believe that the threat is less 'real' and that their superiority to us as a race ' doesn't count' because they 'cheated'.

The fact is, however, that the root of it is largely irrelevant. Psychic or not, genetically determined or not, instinctual or not, Ork intelligence is formidable, elegant, dangerous, and broad enough to cover everything from animal husbandry to an understanding of Chaos. An Ork Warboss, even a very typical one, knows most of his Boyz by name, and can command vast armies of infantry, artillery and motorised cavalry with ease. He can also be a head of state, an historian, an economist, and a religious leader as well as a tactician, and has the skill (not just the brute force) to best a fine Imperial swordsman in single combat.

My point is, stop underesting Orks. If you want GW to bring them up to the tactical standard of other armies, give them more fluff, better models, and a greater degree of importance in the 40k canon, it has to be we the players who take them more seriously. They can still be a fun army, but there has to be more than one facet to them in the eyes of the community.

   
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 Spineyguy wrote:
My point is, stop underestimating Orks.


I don't think anyone here was saying that

If you want GW to bring them up to the tactical standard of other armies, give them more fluff, better models, and a greater degree of importance in the 40k canon, it has to be we the players who take them more seriously. They can still be a fun army, but there has to be more than one facet to them in the eyes of the community.


Anyone who thinks that Orks are only hanging about for comedy relief are being silly. People who are also demanding that they be taken more seriously, when the Orks are already known for being responsible for some of the most horrific massacres in Imperial history, who enslave and murder wherever they go, and plague the galaxy from top to bottom, are just as silly.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/02/19 11:06:44


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