- "Humies is all weak scum that deserve ta get stomped. 'Cept for One-Eye Yarrick. He knows how ter fight."
- — Attributed to Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka
Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka (usually shortened to Ghazghkull Thraka) is an Ork Warlord who launched both the Second and Third Wars for Armageddon against the Imperium of Man in which he led the largest Ork WAAAGH!s ever seen by humanity to try to seize the the hive world of Armageddon during the late 41st Millennium. Ghazghkull's greatest nemesis was Imperial Commissar Yarrick.
Ghazghkull started off as a common Ork of the Goff Klan on the world of Urk. During a raid, Ghazghkull suffered extensive brain damage from a bolter round to the head. He was tended to by an Ork Painboy known as Mad Dok Grotsnik, who used a bionic device made from adamantium to replace Ghazghkull's cerebellum. Ever since that operation, (although it is unknown if it was because the implant triggered latent psychic powers, or Ghazghkull was just delusional), Ghazghkull began to claim that he was the recipient of visions from the Ork Gods, Gork and Mork. From this point, Ghazghkull rose through the Ork power structure in an ascent that has been described as "meteoric". His strength and courage earned him the respect of other Orks. Ghazghkull also possessed something most Orks lacked - vision. His speeches concerned the Orks' mission to conquer the galaxy. He granted the Orks a sense of unity and purpose (as much as these words can be used to describe Orks and their actions). Ghazghkull also had a banner carrier known as Makari the Grot. Makari is thought to be one of the luckiest Gretchin in Orkish history as he managed to survive for nine years before Ghazghkull sat on him and then fed him to a Squig.
The Second War for Armageddon
- "He was an avalanche from an unexpected quarter. He was a thunderbolt from a clear sky."
At the time Ghazghkull reached the peak of his influence on the world of Urk, the star the world orbited began to show signs of entering the final stages of its life cycle. Ghazghkull claimed that this was a sign from the Ork God Gork, proclaiming that it was time to launch a great WAAAGH!. The Orks of Urk were given a choice: follow Ghazghkull on a WAAAGH!, or die. They followed Ghazghkull to the last Ork, determined to claim the galaxy or die in the attempt. The first planet to be attacked by the WAAAGH! was the strategic hive world of Armageddon in the Segmentum Solar, creating a massive conflict that would come to be known in the Imperium as the Second War for Armageddon. Many Chapters of Space Marines, along with dozens of regiments of the Imperial Guard, were all called on to stop the Orks' bloody warpath. Despite the Orks' initial successes, Ghazghkull was ultimately defeated, and retreated from the system. A notable effect of this invasion resulted in Ghazghkull earning the wrath of Commissar Yarrick, who dedicated his efforts after the Second War to hunting down Ghazghkull, with little success.
Between the Wars for Armageddon
After failing to conquer Armageddon the first time, Ghazghkull's situation as a Warlord deteriorated, as his defeat diminished his standing and challengers to his position started to manifest. Ghazghkull proclaimed that as the chosen of Gork and Mork, he was the only one who could defeat the 'umie wiv the evil eye. Unlike his underlings, Ghazghkull was canny enough to understand that attempting to stop the pursuing humans was doomed to failure: not unlike an Ork WAAAGH!, a human crusade thrived on strife and victory, and needed to be exhausted first. Ghazghkull achieved this by seemingly running away and remaining tantalisingly just out of reach of his pursuers, sacrificing to Yarrick those of his underlings who disobeyed or challenged him. This he did for 10 standard years until he could spring his trap on his pursuers. Luring them to the planet of Golgotha, he blinded the exhausted and over-stretched human commanders with a chance for victory over his seemingly depleted Ork forces. Unkown to the Imperium, a large Space Hulk had deposited a second, lesser WAAAGH! on Golgotha, which was waiting in large underground cave complexes. Ghazghkull had a base constructed that was intended to give to the Imperial attackers the impression that he was organising a last stand. The Ork Warlord went as far as to sacrifice his remaining Gargants to a pointless flanking manoeuvre, all in order to make the humans commit fully to the field against him on Golgotha. Once they did, Ghazghkull caught them between the hammer of his hidden Greenskin troops and the anvil of his base, while his Space Hulk drove off the forces of the Imperial Navy orbiting the world. Ghazghkull wanted to confront Yarrick himself, but when he found the elderly Commissar making a last stand at the wreck of his Baneblade (which had deliberately rammed one of the Gargants), Ghazghkull saw an opportunity to finally display his dominance over the other Greenskins, and he ordered the human captured instead.
Ghazghkull wanted to use Yarrick to assert his dominance over the other Orks, and to prove he understood how humans "worked". He first had Yarrick thrown down the garbage chute of his Space Hulk, proclaiming the human would escape. The other Orks were doubtful, since none of them had ever managed to survive the ordeal, but Yarrick would indeed resurface a few solar days later. Ghazghkull then had Yarrick thrown amongst the other Imperial prisoners, foretelling that the human would find a way to strike back and kill them all. True enough, Yarrick soon instigated a revolt and managed to reach the Space Hulk's bridge, where he sought to initiate its self-destruction by activating all the vessel's propulsion systems at once. He nearly succeeded at this endeavour before the Orks stopped him. This time, the other Orks were convinced that Ghazghkull could indeed predict the human's behaviour, and Ghazghkull ordered his Painboy Grotsnik to return the human's bionics. Ghazghkull then had Yarrick escorted by his Boyz to an intact shuttlecraft, where he allowed the human to leave the Space Hulk, telling him to prepare for the Orks' return to Armageddon. This nonchalant show of dominance firmly cemented Ghazghkull's place as Warlord of his massive WAAAGH!, and he would go on to prepare his second and far larger invasion of Armageddon over the next forty standard years.
The Third War for Armageddon
During the fifty seven years following the Second War for Armageddon, Ghazghkull regrouped his forces, and reassessed his strategy. Remembering his defeat at Hades Hive on Armageddon 57 years before, he was not eager to repeat his mistake. he intended that Hades Hive would be one of the first places to fall. He led several small attacks on Imperial worlds to test his new methods and technology, and fifty seven years to the day of the previous invasion, he again led the Orks to the Armageddon System in the largest Ork WAAAGH! ever unleashed on the Imperium of Man. The Third War for Armageddon waged by both sides was long and bloody, leaving the vital world of Armageddon in a continual state of war. After the Third War had been fought for a year, Ghazghkull left his forces behind, leaving the system in a modified Space Hulk. He was pursued by High Marshal Helbrecht and an entire Crusade of the Black Templars Space Marines, along with Commissar Yarrick. The whereabouts and fate of Ghazghkull and this pursuit force are currently unknown.
Character Game History
Ghazghkull first appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #134. He was the "Warboss" of Andy Chambers' sample Goff army list (notably the weaker of two possible choices for the leader of an Ork army at the time, the other being a 'Warlord'); his 'attributes' of an admanatium skull and the ability to call on the WAAAGH! were randomly generated - although at the time they merely conferred an extra headbutt attack in close combat and a minor psychic power, called Hammerhand, that doubled his attacks once per game. The first Ghazghkull model was an in-house conversion. Ghazghkull's next appearance was in the Battle for Armageddon board game, based around the events of the Second War for Armageddon, featured opposite Commissar Yarrick. Inspired by the game's backstory, Jervis Johnson wrote up special rules for the two characters' use in Warhammer 40,000 and Epic 40,000 games, making Ghazghkull one of the first two :special characters" ever released by Games Workshop. The special rules were based on the random attributes selected by Andy Chambers back at Ghazghkull's first appearance. Rules for Ghazghkull appeared in the Third Edition of Warhammer 40,000, and a new model was created for the worldwide campaign organised around the the Third War for Armageddon. The rules were updated to reflect Ghazghkull at a point just prior to the outbreak of the Third War for Armageddon.
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pp. 24-25
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), p. 63
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), p. 58
- Codex: Orks (3rd Edition), p. 40
- Ere' We Go (1st Edition), pp. 34, 36-37, 48,
- Epic Armageddon, pp. 62-69, 136-139
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), p. 193
- Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha (Novel) by David Annandale
- White Dwarf 249 (AUS), "Best of Enemies"
- White Dwarf 248 (AUS), "Power of Da Waaagh!"
- White Dwarf 227 (US), "Chapter Approved: Orks - Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, Mighty Goff Warlord and Leader of the Waaagh!: Warboss," pp. 73-80
- White Dwarf 176 (US), "Ork Special Characters: Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka," pp. 38-43
- White Dwarf 152 (US), "Commissar Yarrick and Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka," pp. 14-22
- White Dwarf 134 (US), "Waa Ghazghkull Tarknash: Sample Goff Ork Warband - The Warboss and Retinue, Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka," by Andy Chambers, pp. 35-43