Today gamers we are headed back to 1989 to the birth of the Ork Race, when GW gave away who REALLY created the greenskins.
Today we step back to October 1989 and White Dwarf 118. It was a jam-packed issue with everything from Ork Warbikes, to the original Vindicator, to Genestealer Patriarchs. But we are here to look upon an origin story. This issue gave us the Orks. This was the issue that rolled out the race in detail in their 40k incarnations and delved into their sub-races. Critically, it laid out in black and white for the first and only time exactly how the Orks came to be a galactic spanning civilization.
We got all the basics on the Orks, Gretchin, and Snotlings. The basics of physiology and societal roles for each. But it was the next section that makes the Orks something special and uniquely GW.
The Brain Boyz
Now that is a Greek Tragedy writ large on a galactic scale right there. It was the Snotlings who were intelligent, invented all the technology, and spread their race across the galaxy. But then at the height of their power, their Ork muscle ate the critical and irreplaceable fungus and doomed their entire species. Overnight the Brainboyz revert to their innocent Snotling roots and the Orks take over, having to figure out how to deal with the remnants of empire around them. It is interesting to note that the Gretchin have always filled the middle-role in Ork society regardless of who was in charge.
Much later GW would add in ties to the Old Ones, and work the Orks into the War in Heaven with its Eldar and Necron tie-ins. But here in 1989 we get the unvarnished pre retcon first pass of how it all went down. My favorite part is the expression on the Brainboy’s face in the drawing as he walks in on the doom of his race.
While you are reeling in the years, enjoy some White Dwarf 118 Orks and other minis to get you in the mood of what hobbying in 1989 was like. Long live Heroquest minis!
~I’m sure you can come up with all kinds of narrative campaigns where pockets of the Brainboyz survived and are trying to reclaim their empire. Who knows what would happen if some Brainboys, Slann and Umbra teamed up…