“One life - make it count”

Two generations ago they were slaves. They won their freedom by strength and indomitable will, forcing the Empire to recognise the injustice it perpetrated against them. Now they choose to fight as part of the Empire that once they were forced to serve. Bereft of a homeland, they strive to carve out a land for themselves and their children.

Like battle, loyalty is part of the orc soul. The barbarian orcs feel a powerful instinctive loyalty towards their tribe; they need to feel as if they are part of something larger than themselves. For the Imperial Orcs, the Empire itself has become their tribe. They fought - and still fight - to be accepted and prove themselves the equal of any Freeborn, Highborn or Winterfolk. While they have no land, the Imperial Orcs consider themselves to be part of a single nation, each legion being a tight-knit family that works and lives together but ultimately knows it is part of a great Empire.

Orcs love to fight, but the Imperial Orcs temper their primal instincts with military discipline. Most are professional soldiers serving with their legions to secure the Empire’s borders, but the Imperial Orcs work throughout the Empire to strengthen it and to carve out a role for themselves within it. Some work closely with the Magistrates, their uncompromising adherence to order making them natural supporters of Empire's laws. Their preachers are active in the Synod, proving to their critics that the orcs not only have souls, but that they can embrace the Way as fervently as any humans.

They are creatures of two worlds; every orc hears the whisper of those who have gone before in their souls. The ancestors are with them, but they present a great challenge. Their ancestors are old, spiteful barbarians and hateful slaves, who cannot understand the choices their descendants have made. They need to find new voices to listen to,

Finally, they are a people without a homeland. The other nations look down on them as a vagabond people, fighting in the Empire's wars but having no land of their own. They have no voice in the Senate, and so cannot hope to guide the destiny of the Empire they have embraced.

Orcs believe they have only one life to live; they strive to burn brightly and leave a better world for their children to inherit.

Five things to know about the Imperial Orcs

  • Loyal to the core. Our loyalty to our legion, our nation and our Empire makes us who we are.
  • We are citizens. We won the right to be part of this Empire and we are proud of our place in it.
  • We are building a nation. We have no lands and no senators - it is down to us to win these things in battle.
  • War is in our soul. Fighting is spiritual and it allows us to hear our ancestors.
  • Life is precious. You have just one chance to make your mark. Do not squander it.

What the Imperial Orcs are not

  • Traditional orcs. While the Imperial Orcs draw on some ideas found in other settings, they have their own unique culture and background. They are not the orcs of Lord of the Rings or Games Workshop's Warhammer setting; many elements of those settings do not fit and have been deliberately excluded.
  • Brutal or callous savages. Imperial Orcs are few in number and if they are to build a nation they cannot afford to lose warriors every time they fight. They enjoy battle, but they strive to minimize losses and they take no particular pleasure in killing.

If you are planning to play an Imperial Orc please read the race brief as well as this page

The nation

Core Brief

Further reading

This selection of articles can be downloaded as a PDF book (or as html only)