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"Where then do they come from, these iron savages who frighten other Orcs into awestruck obedience, these ‘Black Orcs’? That is a grim tale best suited for long winter nights, but I will impart the substance of it. Long ago, the fell Chaos kindred of the Dwarfs needed a steady source of reliable troops. The Greenskin races that they had to deal with at the time they deemed less than adequate, so using their sorcery and a carefully applied breeding program, they set about creating a new strain of Orc. They sought to make them stronger, hardier and more intelligent that they could better carry out the will of the Chaos Dwarfs. They succeeded far beyond their expectations and desires."

—Waldemarr, Scholar of Nuln[2a]
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A massive Black Orc in combat against a Dwarf Longbeard.

A Black Orc is amongst the biggest, meanest, strongest, most intelligent and most brutal of all the Greenskin races.[1a]

Named for the darker shade of green that colours their skin, their thick, black armour and their horrendously foul odour, the Black Orcs consider themselves the ultimate Greenskin warrior. Due to this air of superiority, most Black Orcs usually band together in their own mobs or warbands that are usually totally independent from the rest of the army. These beasts are grim and singularly focused on war, an occupation that they take far more seriously than even others of their own kind.[1c]

Being militaristic and spartan in nature, Black Orcs would find any way to either improve on their combat skills or to appear bigger or meaner as they possibly can. Equipped with some of the best weapons and armour in the tribe, these fierce fighters provide their race with a much more reliable source of elite, powerful fighters. Since they are the best fighters, the Black Orcs receive the lion's share of the loot after battle.[1c]

History

"Black Orcs are more disciplined, armoured and deadly than other Orcs, ripping through enemies with their heavy weapons for fun."

—Description of the Black Orcs in Total War: Warhammer.[3]
Black Orc

A typical Black Orc outfitted in an immense suit of heavy plate armour.

The origins of the Black Orcs are still highly debated, but the most widely-known story is that of the Chaos Dwarfs and their ill-fated attempt to create a new breed of Orcs the likes of which the Known World had never seen before.[1c]

During that forgotten age, the Chaos Dwarfs grew wary of the constant animosity and infighting of their Greenskin slaves, and so sought a solution that would make them much more obedient towards their tyrannical masters. With the aid of Dark Magic and the selection of the largest and strongest of their Greenskin slaves, they magically bred the first Black Orc into existence.[1c]

If this story is true, then the Dawi-Zharr's experiment turned into a complete catastrophe, for their ill-fated attempt to create a more disciplined and highly coordinated Greenskin slave-force only made them the perfect leaders for their brethren to rise up and topple the Chaos Dwarfs' sadistic rule. The magical abilities of the Chaos Dwarf Master Sorcerers could never erase the strong sense of independence that all Orcs possess, and when the Greenskins rose up in rebellion, the great uprising that followed almost led to the complete destruction of their entire empire, as the Greenskins made it as far as the doors to the Temple of Hashut at the heart of the great city of Zharr-Naggrund, the dark nexus of the Chaos Dwarf empire.[1c]

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A Black Orc as rendered for Total War: Warhammer.

However, in their hour of triumph, only the timely betrayal of their Hobgoblin allies spared the Chaos Dwarfs from their complete and total annihilation. Although many of the slaves were put to the sword or dragged back into the slave-pits, the Black Orcs were able to escape and have since been accepted into normal Greenskin society.[1c]

Since that time the Chaos Dwarfs have chosen to rely upon the craven but easily led Hobgoblins rather than the powerful but independently-minded Black Orcs as their primary Greenskin overseers. A few Black Orcs remain in the service of the masters of Zharr-Naggrund, though they are not permitted to enter the city itself.[5a]

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Black Orc helmets as rendered for Total War: Warhammer.

Ever since then, the Black Orcs pride themselves on being the best fighters in their tribe, and in their case the whole Greenskin race. Only the strongest of the Greenskins, such as the Big 'Uns or an Orc Warboss can ever hope to match the skill and strength of a typical Black Orc in combat.[1c]

The pride these brutes have is due in part to the nature of Greenskin animosity. The Black Orcs are highly disciplined and martial in their behaviour, and as such they would often look down upon their brethren's ceaseless squabbling, believing that they should use all that energy in fighting the enemies of the Greenskin race rather then be used to fight each other. The Black Orcs' opinion of Goblins is considerably worse, thinking them nothing more than nuisances unfit to even carry their spare equipment, much less fight in open battle.[1c]

Role

"These were no Goblins, but the ultimate Orcs, bred by magic in the slave pits of Zharr-naggrund..."

—Description of the mightiest Greenskins[4]
Wh main grn black orc

A Black Orc as depicted in Total War: Warhammer.

In battle, the Black Orcs act as the ultimate elite infantry whose duty is to fight and endure the thickest of enemy fighting. In addition to wearing immensely huge armour, Black Orcs usually have the best weapons around, often hefting multiple choppas of various sizes. They have even been known to clean and repair their gear after battle or begin their occasional military drills that would help them prepare for the next conflict.[1c]

Such unnatural activities often leads to constant discrimination by their Greenskin brethren. Most Greenskins can never comprehend the Black Orcs killjoy behaviour, preferring instead to whoop and revel in jubilant victory celebrations, such as Skull-Stacking contests or seeking out every opportunity to engage in a brawl or pit-fight. Such misunderstandings have only led the Black Orcs to further distance themselves from their dull-witted cousins, but when battle looms over the horizon, you can always be sure that the Black Orcs would always be the ones in the thickest of the fighting.[1c]

Black Orc Barracks

"The meanest and strongest of their kind, the Black Orcs rarely mix with others, preferring their own barracks."

—Descritpion of the Black Orc Barracks from Total War: Warhammer.[3]

Black Orcs are not interested in the frivolous behaviour of lesser Greenskins, they only care about food, fighting and gear. Orc warbosses that have regiments of Black Orcs soon learn to give them their own barracks where they can store their vast array of choppas and hang about with their own kind, because if they don't they quickly find their mobs of greener boyz dying![3]

Black Orc Forge

"Da Black Orcs don't mix with da other gits and prefer ta 'ave dere own fire ta throw stuff into."

—Description of the Black Orc Forge from Total War: Warhammer.[3]

Black Orcs are very particular when it comes to their weapons. They are normally "armed to da teef" but their choppas are the best, plundered from Dwarfs or Men.[3]

They don't like the ill-made crud other Orcs and especially Goblins insist on using in a fight, preferring to use their own forge where they bash stolen metal into the biggest choppas possible![3]

Notable Black Orcs

Notable Regiments

  • Krimson Killerz - "Armed to da teef" and always ready for a scrap, this elite regiment of Black Orcs is known for marching into battle clad in distinctive, red armour.[3]

Miniatures

Trivia

The Black Orcs of Warhammer take their inspiration, like so much else in the Known World, from the Uruk-hai of J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings' universe. The Uruk-hai, or "Black Uruks," were considered the strongest breed of Orc and had distinctly black skin, from which they took their name. The Uruk-hai wore heavier armor and weapons than other Orc breeds, and were considered more savage, disciplined and intelligent.

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Orcs and Goblins (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 10
    • 1b: pg. 26
    • 1c: pg. 39
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Old World Bestiary (RPG)
    • 2a: pg. 19
  • 3: Total War: Warhammer (PC Game)
  • 4: Warhammer: The End Times Collection (Omnibus Novel)
  • 5 Warhammer Armies: Chaos Dwarf (4th Edition)
    • 5a: pg. 60
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