Hello 40k fans! Chris Morgan, Chief Librarian of the Forge the Narrative Podcast, is here again with the next weekly segment of Tomes of the Librarius. Also, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
Just as a reminder, in this series we will explore facets of the history and legends of the Grimdark. This is meant to be an easy summary and introduction geared towards new players or people unfamiliar with the setting, but should still be an interesting read or fun refresher for those already familiar. There’s so much detail in this lore that a bare summary seems so inadequate, but for new people this should be the right portion to get a feel for the history of the universe we enjoy our games in.
Let’s face it, it’s Orktober and I would be remiss to not pay attention to the biggest, baddest, and greenest Ork in the 40k universe: Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka. The most significant Ork threat to the Imperium and the galaxy at large since the Beast in M32, Ghaz has quieter origins than one might think, and a crazy brilliance that could set the galaxy aflame as Orks across the galaxy flock to his banner.
Of Humble Origins
Ghazghkull comes from a once-prosperous planet now known as Urk. Urk once sat as a hub of intergalactic trade due to favorable warp channels. This, of course, brought Orks and many other races to the system to exploit the trade lanes and resources available there. At some point, the warp lanes shifted and Urk became a breeding ground for Orkish Klan wars. Monitored by the Dark Angels who would pop by for regular culling of Orkish aggression, Urk was of no large import to the Imperium or anyone else. One day, when a monitoring station came under fire, a bolt shell struck the head of one of the orks in the assault. Showing respectable toughness, the ork stood back up, and the mob of boyz decided to sell him (stumbling and holding what was left of his brains in with his hands) to a nearby mad dok out of respect for his toughness. Dok Grotsnik gleefully went to work, using a mess of cables, sinews, and adamantite plating to patch the ork’s head up.
Upon awakening, Ghaz promptly killed the camp’s warboss and took it over after a series of scuffles. He declared himself the prophet of Waaagh! and said he had visions of Gork and Mork (the Orkish gods) that would lead a Waaagh! across the galaxy the likes of which had never been seen. It would not be long until the whole planet fell under his control, and he set his sights beyond its surface. With the arrival of a Space Hulk, Ghaz ordered his Meks to drag it in closer so they could hitch a ride to the next big fight. As it turned out, the Space Hulk itself was the next big fight.
Swarming with chaos demons, Waaagh! Ghazghkull had to fight their way into dominance aboard the giant garbage-conglomeration. Taking control and naming it the Wurld Killa, the orks set to turning the garbage into war material, creating stompas and massive machines of war out of the hull of their ride as it raced through the warp (sometimes even cutting it apart so thoroughly that they were sucked into the raging warp outside). Their destination was Armageddon, an important trade world and factory that fueled the Imperial war machine throughout the segmentum Solar.
Armageddon (previously known as Ullanor) was not prepared for the war that came inside Wurld Killa. Like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky, it crashed into the world with devastating power, unleashing a green tide of destruction on the beleaguered defenders. The incompetence of the planetary governor and the brilliant ferocity of Ghazghkull nearly saw the planet fall into the hands of the Ork. If not for the decisive defense led by Commissar Yarrick and the intervention of several Space Marine chapters, it certainly would have. The war took a heavy toll, and while eventually Ghaz was persuaded to leave, he wasn’t finished with Armageddon yet. Still dreaming of glory with Gork and Mork’s voices in his head, he set about consolidating his power in preparation for the next great Waaagh!
The Intervening Years
Ghazghkull was pursued by Yarrick across the galaxy in the years that followed, and the two formed a rivalry that would see planets burn and systems fall. Ghazghkull’s tactics led to Yarrick’s capture, where he used the Commissar as a tool to show the other Orks how well he could predict how humans would behave. Eventually releasing Yarrick, Ghaz told him to prepare for the next war that would come.
From there, Ghazghkull consolidated his power among several Ork Waaaghs! and began building up a vast array of technological advancements. He warred with the Imperium (even beating down Belial of the Dark Angels), with the Tau, and with anyone who would put up a fight, but his eye was always on the prize. The prize was Armageddon, and his return to that world would be catastrophic.
The Third War for Armageddon
Described as the single largest Ork invasion in Imperial records, the third war for Armageddon saw a renaissance of Ork warfare coalesce into a perpetual conflict for both species involved. Using submarines, massive war machines, tellyportas, and a gigantic fleet of warships, Ghazghkull set the Armageddon system into a state of eternal war, with neither side able to gain a clear advantage. The Imperium devoted more and more of its resources to combat the massive conflict. The Orks of the galaxy looked at Armageddon as a pilgrimage of war set up by their prophet, and swarmed the system in their billions. It stayed that way until the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum, and the arrival of the demons that upset the years-long stalemate. As for Ghaz, he moved on to pursue his greatest agenda: to unite all the Orks and set the galaxy ablaze with the greatest Waaagh! in its history.
What Does the Future Hold?
With the Cicatrix Maledictum and the advent of Guilliman’s new Imperium, we haven’t heard much from Ghazghkull. I for one am very excited to see what the new Ork codex has to say about what the big boss has been up to. What are you most excited for in the Ork lore? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!
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