Savage Orcs are a notorious sub-species of the Greenskin race who have devolved back into a stone-age society that revolves around the ideals of the "Old Way".
Long ages ago, all Orcs were savages with no means of manufacturing metal weapons, armour or war machines. These primitive brutes lived a nomadic existence using rudimentary weapons to stalk their prey. It is no easy task to bludgeon to death a great land leviathan using only simple clubs, yet such contests proved immensely satisfying to the low-browed warriors. A full day of fighting mammoth creatures followed by eating them was proper living!
When early Orc tribes encountered (and fought) more advanced races, they coveted the superior metal armour and weapons of their foes. Captured gear was hotly contested, though some tribes shunned the shiny contraptions, preferring traditional weapons of bone, wood and stone. When some Orc slaves escaped their bondage under the Chaos Dwarfs, they returned to the tribes with a knowledge of metal working. Soon most Orc tribes could make their own metal weapons and those that refrained from such advancements became increasingly distinct.
Over the long years, the Savage Orcs, as they are now known, have kept to the 'old ways'. These Orcs wear little or no clothing and their grunt-heavy language is significantly cruder than other Orcs (which is saying something). When they cannot get their limited thoughts across, Savage Orcs resort to wild gesticulation or even scribble simple stick-figures in the mud or upon cave walls.
Savage Orc tribes observe all manner of odd rituals and include many Shamans. It is the Savage Orc Shamans who bestow the tribal markings such as warpaint or tattoos upon the assembled warriors. The Savage Orcs believe so strongly that these signs of Gork and Mork's favour offer protection that enemy sword blows and arrows really can be deflected by the Orcs' self-generated aura of faith. This is a wondrous thing and confirms the Savage Orcs' belief in their old ways. In battle, the bare flesh of the primitive Orcs and their striking tattoos is a disturbing sight. Some tribes, like the Bone Clubz, use patterns smeared across portions of their bodies, while others use pictograms, like the lightning bolt glyphs borne by the Ooogah Ogaz tribe. A Savage Orc's clothing (if any) is made of animal skins, which adds to their wild appearance. The Boneklubbers tribe favours tiger pelts, while the Snakeskinz famously wear the brightly patterned hides of enormous serpents.
It isn't just their appearance that is wild, for Savage Orcs drum and chant themselves into a bloodthirsty rage before a battle. While other Greenskins might find their backward customs odd, all agree that Savage Orcs are ferocious fighters. Once engaged in combat, Savage Orcs beat foes enthusiastically with hefty clubs and stone axes, or stab at them with flint-tipped spears. Some Savage Orcs use bows, firing stone-tipped arrows to fell enemies from afar. Savage Orcs are also known to employ a Big Stabba, a two-Orc team carrying a log-sized spear. This, traditionally, has been used for hunting since the lands were full of enormous reptilian beasts. Back then, Savage Orcs like to recall, 'Orcs wuz Orcs and beasts wuz big!' Some tribes can boast of a mob of Savage Orc Big 'Uns, the fiercest fighters who are often marked with the most outlandish warpaint or bear a larger amount of shrunken heads, bangles or other fetishes.
Savage Orcs fight in mobs of at least 10 warriors, one of which can be a Boss, another a musician and a third a standard bearer. They may be armed with simple hand weapons, spears or bows, and they can carry shields. Some of them can also form teams to wield Big Stabbas. Only one mob in the army can be formed of Big 'Uns.[4d]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins (4th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins (6th Edition)
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins (7th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 21
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Orcs and Goblins (8th Edition)