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Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





There are some brief mentions in the ork codex regarding them taking human slaves, who perform work such as manufacturing ammunition for them. This seems odd to me for two main reasons:

Orks already have slaves. They are called grots. Grots are inherently terrified of orks whilst also being largely dependent on them, plus they presumably have a better understanding of their illogical technology. Why enslave humans when you already have a better alternative?

Orks can't keep human slaves. Obviously they can physically bully people around, but they are way too dumb and have far too short attention spans to keep them under control for an extended period of time. Even human peasants from feral worlds should be able to figure out a dozen ways to escape from any shoddily-built ork prison, and that is assuming that the guards don't just get bored and wander off with the door open. It seems unlikely that humans can eat ork fugus, so do the orks organise hunting parties specifically to kill stuff so that they can feed their slaves? What ork or grot is going to stand there and explain to them how to make shoota rounds?

Obviously I can imagine orks temporarily kidnapping humans to torture and kill for laff, but are they really capable of keeping them captive for any significant length of time, let alone using them for forced labour?

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Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

Human slaves will also be terrified of orks - your average human in the 41st millennium is basically a poorly educated serf who often spends most of their days working long shifts with only just enough free time to eat, sleep and procreate. They also don't understand their own technology and some will have jobs that are highly menial on huge production runs for machinery and produce for the Imperium.

So it won't matter if they don't understand ork tech, they can still take a rivet and bolt it into a position they are shown. Or carry things from A to B.


Huge hulking orks who came in and stole you away whilst crushing your defences and settlement - yeah you're going to be scared.


As for keeping them in line, if an Ork can build a truck they can build a prison and likely keep most slaves pretty well trapped within. Sure it won't be a marvel of construction, but orks are odd in that whilst almost everything they build is ramshackle, it also works.

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Quick-fingered Warlord Moderatus




United Kingdom

 Bilge Rat wrote:
Orks can't keep human slaves. Obviously they can physically bully people around, but they are way too dumb and have far too short attention spans to keep them under control for an extended period of time.


Orks are as smart or dumb as the author wants them to be. Generally they're smart enough to build functional prison cells.

There are human 'slaves' in the Beast books - but they're mostly being kept as food. Slaves were taken after Armageddon - Yarrick was a slave for a while.
   
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God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

Ork Slavers, 'Runtherdz,' don't just deal in Grotz. They're just the most easily available.
   
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Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'





Dorset, England

Like Beast_gts says, it does depend on the author. However,I think you're taking the Imperial propaganda line on Orks too literally.
Humans dogma says Orks are too stupid to do stuff, but then you get stories where the Imperium is wrong footed by Ork finkin' and the witnesses get executed because the commissars don't believe them haha!

Here are some points I came up with regarding Orks and slaves;

1: Slavers are weirdboys like any other. They're pretty good at what they do, if a bit rough around the edges. Humans are quite flimsy compared to Orks so often don't last that long under Ork masters, but Slavers (along with their grots and squigs) would definitely be capable of keeping human slaves corralled.

2. Orks are intimately familiar with ruling through fear, it's essentially how Ork society works. They don't just mindlessly kill each other the whole time, they use violence in a specific way to cement their power and authority over those weaker than themselves.

3. Orks leaders are engaged in a constant power struggle, any action which will give them an advantage over their rivals will be considered. The cunning leaders tend to float to the top of Ork society.
However, there is (surprisingly!) a form of morality in Ork society know as 'orkiness'. Orks who stray too far from 'orkiness' tend to loose their moral authority (like the Bloodaxes clan or genestealer infected orks).
So slavery could certainly be employed by any Warboss, but probably wouldn't become a modus operandi unless he was a Blood Axe. Too much help from humans would be bad for his street cred.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/03 12:15:51


 
   
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Regular Dakkanaut




Orks are capable of interstellar travel, with a multilayered complex society. The imperials look down on them because they see all Xenos species as lesser. For orks specifically they’re portrayed as beastial savages. That isn’t wholly the case though.

They have specialist slavers as mentioned before that would be more than capable of cowing a group of humans into menial tasks. As to feed, I’m sure there are squigs to eat or scraps from the boys table they can subsist on.

 
   
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Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

The answer is, Orks are not as stupid as you think they are, and Runtherds have endless attention spans for managing slaves. They are genetically engineered to enjoy it and be good at it.

And so what if some human slaves escape? Plenty more where they came from, and you gotta feed the sniffer squigs somehow!

   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





I know that orks are capable of pulling off feats of apparent cunning but I always thought that this was a combination of an instinctual affinity for strategy (despite not actually understanding it) and an uncanny ability to blunder their way into situations that give them an unexpected tactical advantage. This gives them an edge in battle situations but I don't think it would work for them the rest of the time, making them very easy to outwit.

Granted that in the 41st Millennium, it is entirely possible that escape from an ork prison camp might leave you as the only free human in your solar system, making rescue rather unlikely. I also did not consider that runtherds would have an affinity for capturing other species.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/03 14:59:05


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United Kingdom

 Bilge Rat wrote:
I know that orks are capable of pulling off feats of apparent cunning but I always thought that this was a combination of an instinctual affinity for strategy (despite not actually understanding it) and an uncanny ability to blunder their way into situations that give them an unexpected tactical advantage. This gives them an edge in battle situations but I don't think it would work for them the rest of the time, making them very easy to outwit.


Ork 'Oddboyz' (Mekboyz, Painboyz, Weirdboyz, Runtherds, etc.) are genetically engineered with the knowledge, skills & drive they need to fulfil their roles. While some Orks are easy to outwit, Blood Axes (and Kommandos) are full of surprises...
   
Made in se
Regular Dakkanaut






Here's some of the old fluff.

"Some slaves are chained to machines, serving as their perpetual operators. Others are forced to make weapons in Ork workshops under the beady eyes of Mekboyz and Gretchin overseers. Some rise rapidly in Ork status on account of their expertise and talent. In fact, a talented alien slave can often rise to a position of respect in Ork society more quickly than a free citizen can in his own society. This is due to the fact that a talented slave is a rare commodity. Orks are quick to recognize useful skills and are easily impressed by know-how, especially technical and administrative skills. Slaves with these talents get respect and rewards they might never get at home. In fact, some slaves willingly work for their Ork masters and become trusted advisors."

-Waargh the Orks


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Fixture of Dakka




I like that idea a lot. Being a respected slave for Orks is probably better than a fair bit of the Imperium.

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Halifax

Considering Runtherdz are prized for their ability to not accidentally beat their charges to death I'm on the fence about that.

It's worth noting that the Ullanor Crusade was fought to liberate humans from the yoke of Orkish oppression (and to exterminate Orks).
   
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Heroic Senior Officer





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The prologue of Gunheads is from the point of view of a captured ship crewman being enslaved by Orks, they'll capture children and threaten to kill or eat them to motivate parents to work, they'll fly into a murderous rage if someone looks at the in the eyes and its a generally very short life, with constant malnutrition and long work shifts.

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As others have said basically, the average boy is rather lazy and prone to violence but Runtherds are engineered to be able to manage non Orky captives along with the other sub species of Ork (grots, squids, snotlings, etc). That said grots are sneaky gitz and I'm sure Runtherds have their fair share of kunning Grots working for them to keep the prisoners contained and to root out any escape attempts. Those that try to escape probably won't get far when they release the squigs on them.

The Ork who will teach them to make bullets would probably be either a Runtherd, a Mek, or both. The grot who would explain such things is a grot who probably prefers to have a human slave doing the work than himself. Again grots are basically forced labor and to my knowledge aren't genetically predisposition to be loyal to Orks but are weedy gitz who the Orks force into submission. Its why grots who get put in a kan often go murder the particular Orks that where especially cruel to them.

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Other times the grotz that get put in a kan just murder that ork for a laugh!
   
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 Bilge Rat wrote:
There are some brief mentions in the ork codex regarding them taking human slaves, who perform work such as manufacturing ammunition for them. This seems odd to me for two main reasons:

Orks already have slaves. They are called grots. Grots are inherently terrified of orks whilst also being largely dependent on them, plus they presumably have a better understanding of their illogical technology. Why enslave humans when you already have a better alternative?

Orks can't keep human slaves. Obviously they can physically bully people around, but they are way too dumb and have far too short attention spans to keep them under control for an extended period of time. Even human peasants from feral worlds should be able to figure out a dozen ways to escape from any shoddily-built ork prison, and that is assuming that the guards don't just get bored and wander off with the door open. It seems unlikely that humans can eat ork fugus, so do the orks organise hunting parties specifically to kill stuff so that they can feed their slaves? What ork or grot is going to stand there and explain to them how to make shoota rounds?

Obviously I can imagine orks temporarily kidnapping humans to torture and kill for laff, but are they really capable of keeping them. captive for any significant length of time, let alone using them for forced labour?


You have the wrong idea of ORKS probably from reading too much imperial propaganda. ORKS are more than capable of keeping slaves and building very complex structures and vehicles. All it takes to hold humans is some razor wire or some chains. Read the old original books on ORKS from RT and then read more novels, maybe the evil sun novella and see how clever and resourceful ORKS can be. They would keep humans as labour until they died and keep them as mobile food supplies. They would feed them scraps, waste including their own and any supplies taken when they captured them that they didn’t fancy. ORKS don’t live off fungus alone. It wouldn’t be a nice life for a human and would be shorter than usual but they wouldn’t worry if they accidentally beat one to death.

And don’t forget how happy a grot would be to have a slave to blame or mistreat himself. Don’t know where you have got this impression you have of ORKS but it’s very shallow and one dimensional. Not like ORKS at all.
   
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My understanding of Orks is that your average grunt Ork is basically an idiot but as you go up the chain of command they get smarter and smarter until they end up being very very clever. But because the majority are dumb the Imperium and most Xenos think they're all idiots then they get a really nasty surprise..

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I think its Gunheads where the Guard find slaughtered human slaves - they are brutalised, naked, branded, half starved and often mutliated - and these are the ones that survived until the Guard arrived.....

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pm713 wrote:
My understanding of Orks is that your average grunt Ork is basically an idiot but as you go up the chain of command they get smarter and smarter until they end up being very very clever. But because the majority are dumb the Imperium and most Xenos think they're all idiots then they get a really nasty surprise..


I really like that interpretation, it's cool being able to have dumb and smart orks at the same time. I imagine a bell curve with the peak shifted to 1 or 2 out of ten

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Douglasville, GA

I think it's more likely that they're just considered dumb because the things that are important for a human or Eldar or what have you are things that Orkz don't care about in the slightest. Or, as has been quoted on the internet for some time: "Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life thinking it's an idiot." Orkz are no more "stupid" than any other sapient being in the galaxy. They just don't really value "book learnin'", "politikz", or "fancy tings".


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Also, remember that humanity has a history of calling cultures different from their own "crude" and "primitive".

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/03 22:20:47


 
   
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Cary, NC

Even if you were completely unaware of all of the old fluff, and all of the novels, and ONLY had an understanding of Orks based on the very latest Codex for orks,

how could you possibly come to the idea that a galaxy-spanning, warp-capable, interstellar travelling race which has force field, tractor beam, AND teleportation technology is ''too dumb to keep slaves".

It's like arguing that Klingons are too dumb to be able to tie their shoes.

I can't see how anyone who has ever even seen the Codex could seriously think it, so I'm presuming this is trolling.

 
   
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All their technology is instinctual / faith-based. They don't have the first idea about how it works, they just bodge stuff together until it (sort of) does.

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 Bilge Rat wrote:
All their technology is instinctual / faith-based. They don't have the first idea about how it works, they just bodge stuff together until it (sort of) does.


ORKS have a better idea how anything works than a tech priest does. A mek is hardwired to build and improve things but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand it. You seem to mixing ORKS up with chimps. And that “faith based” rubbish thankfully has gone away and was a very silly bit of fluff that has thankfully stopped being peddled.

Seriously mate, go get your head in the old books with real background in them. The ORKS are a very sophisticated and complex race. They just don’t care about things other races do. But they are far from thick.
   
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Kildare, Ireland

A secondary reason an Ork would take alien slaves is to demonstrate Ork dominance.

Humans and Eldar are rivals for dominance of the galaxy, forcing them beneath the boot and making them serve in some mek shop or kitchen, tormented by grots is a great way to show where the other races stand in the heirarchy.
   
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Nuremberg

The "ork tech only works because they believe in it" was presented as a small paragraph from the POV of an Imperial Agent trying to make sense of Ork tech. They could not understand it, and so proposed this theory. It is in universe POV stuff, not "word of god" style stuff.

The average Boy is not very technically inclined, but the various Oddboyz have pretty advanced understandings of their fields, and Meks are geniuses when it comes to creative technology. Like the others have said, Orks appear stupid because they have a completely different outlook on life to humans, but that does not mean they are too stupid to keep slaves.

An average Boy might not see the point in that, but a Warboss would understand why it was useful and get his Runtherds to do it for him, and a particularly ferocious runtherd could bully said boyz into helping him. That is not to say Orks would be good at keeping slaves alive, or even care about it very much. But the best Runtherds are probably pretty good at it.

I would say the OP has a pretty limited view of the Orks. This likely comes from most of the background being written from an Imperial POV.

   
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Da Butcha wrote:
Even if you were completely unaware of all of the old fluff, and all of the novels, and ONLY had an understanding of Orks based on the very latest Codex for orks,

how could you possibly come to the idea that a galaxy-spanning, warp-capable, interstellar travelling race which has force field, tractor beam, AND teleportation technology is ''too dumb to keep slaves".

It's like arguing that Klingons are too dumb to be able to tie their shoes.

I can't see how anyone who has ever even seen the Codex could seriously think it, so I'm presuming this is trolling.

Most of their technology is ramshackle and they travel in things like asteroids with rockets attached and by drifting through the Warp. It's very easy to see them as stupid.

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Cain once singlehandedly (ran into a few PDF soldiers who without his knowledge) rescued a big pen full of human slaves deep behind ork lines.

They banded together, stole some ork vehicles, and Fury Roaded their way to the Imperial lines.

   
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Douglasville, GA

It bears nothing that, in 40k lore, the people who've underestimated Ork intellect generally don't live to regret it. Being crude and lazy doesn't necessarily mean you're dumb.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/04 17:36:19


 
   
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Gimlet-Eyed Inquisitorial Acolyte






It's mentioned a fair bit in the Cain books that Orks will take slaves if they possess skills the Orks generally dont.

An example from the books being the safe operation of a geothermal power plant. Orks turn up and start butchering the workers, but keep some alive to keep the place running because the meks either don't know how or can't be bothered to do it themselves and don't trust any other ork to not screw it up.
   
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And all the while they're still having stupid violent fun at the expense of anything they can catch through out those same Cain books. Which could absolutely give the casual observer the impression they're stupid, until the instinctive urge to join in from other orks in the area results in the casual observer being flanked and becoming part of the stupid violent fun.

Orks aren't often smart individuals because they don't have to be. They were created as a race to be a self perpetuating weapon, their instincts drive them to reasonably effective combat behaviors and their resilience means even reasonably effective can be damned scary. And the more of them you have, better odds you get a smart one, or worse yet, one they think is smart, and as such the ork gestalt results in them actually becoming smart. Maybe, no one really knows.
   
 
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