Gretchin or Grotz are basically a smaller subspecies of Orks, who are more cowardly than normal Orks and are usually used as living shields, to clear mine fields, are stepped on to get through difficult terrain, and sometimes even as emergency rations. Gretchins are quite low in the strict hierarchy of Ork society because of their small size (the lowest Orkoids being the Snotlings) and are often used for the dirtiest jobs like scavenging and being used as the football when the bigger Orks get bored.
While they are not as aggressive as standard Orks, they enjoy fighting weaker opponents and are less likely to flee if they comfortably outnumber their opponents. If a Gretchin is particularly wealthy, he may purchase a second-hand, worn-down, low-tech gun. These guns are mainly to reassure the Gretchin that they have a chance of killing something, provided they remember which way to hold the gun. Even so, Gretchin have to be forced into battle by Runtherds who utilize grabba sticks in order to ensure that the Gretchin stay in battle. A skilled Runtherd can grab a fleeing Gretchin and hurl him into a minefield with one smooth motion. The more tech-savvy of the Runtherdz use a grot prod which delivers an electric charge to a Gretchin's vulnerable parts. Basically all Gretchin work as slaves for Orks, although there is a faction of revolutionary Rebel Grots that developed in the chaos of the Ork World of Gorkamorka. As they are a bit more organised than the larger Orks, Gretchin are often used to maintain Greenskin war machines and artillery. Such work is considered highly undesirable by most Orks, because it prevents them from being in the heart of the battle. Gretchin also serve as attendants or "ammo runts" to Ork Warbosses, assistants to Ork Mekboyz, and orderlies to Ork Mad Doks.
Roles in Orkish SocietyEdit
Due to their small stature and low physical strength, the Gretchin are looked down upon by the larger Orks, and forced to perform all the menial tasks their larger cousins are disinclined to do. Grots tend to be happy with their lot, as they are cunning enough to understand that obeying the commands of one of the larger Orks to his satisfaction will grant them a measure of protection from the other Orks and their fellow Gretchins. Most Gretchins are also possessed of a rudimentary entrepreneurial spirit, and many Gretchin operate their own black-market businesses on the side, such as selling fungus-beer, roasting Squigs on sticks and selling them as quick snacks, coordinating the bets when a fight breaks out or looting corpses for fun and profit. Even when faced with the ferocious competition of his fellows, a successful Gretchin can enjoy a relatively easy life despite his status as a de facto slave to the larger Orkoids.
When the Orks go to war, the Gretchins follow them, either because they are forced to or because they sense an opportunity for profit. Those Gretchins who serve a powerful protector tend to stick close to the larger Ork and assist their master in any way they can. Other Gretchins enjoy the relative luxury of operating the Orkish artillery pieces, or serve as "Repair Krewz" on the larger Orkish vehicles. Those unlucky enough to have neither a protector, nor a place amongst the vehicle or artillery crews are rounded up in large bands and pressed into service on the frontline by the Runtherdz, to serve as living shields and mine detectors for the Boyz of the various mobs.
The diverse roles that Gretchin play in Orkoid society include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ammo Runt - A Gretchin Ammo Runt serves a powerful Ork master, and assist their master by carrying spare ammunition for his weapon(s), ensuring he does not run out of ammunition, or at least not too fast to enjoy the fighting.
- Grot Bomb Pilot - The Gretchins who serve as Grot Bomb Pilots only appear amongst those tribes of orks known as Speed Freeks. They are trained by the Mekboyz to operate a glider in a rudimentary fashion, and on the day of battle, they are installed in command of a large bomb capable of gliding known colloquially to the Orks as a "Grot Bomm" with the instruction to fly it to an enemy target. Gretchins are actually quite eager to man these one-way vehicles, for it grants them a lofty, if brief, position of respect and admiration amongst their peers, and the occasion to both fly and be part of a massive explosion, both exhilarating experiences to the average Greenskin.
- Gun Krew - A Gretchin Gun Krew member operates an Orkish artillery piece, whether as a static emplacement or as part of a vehicle. Although this might be seen as the safest place in an Ork tribe that has gone to war by many Gretchins because they are either far, far away from the frontlines or inside the armoured confines of a vehicle, the notorious unreliability of Ork weapons ensures that mortality amongst Gun Krewz remains high.
- Killa Kan Pilot - A lucky few Gretchins are singled out by their Mekboy master to get hard-wired into a Killa Kan combat walker. Gretchins are all too eager to get the chance to pilot these war engines, and after the implantation they will usually celebrate their new life by stomping whoever had previously bullied them into a fine paste. However, even with the increased firepower, Killa Kan pilots are still cowards at heart, and some Kans have been known to run from the battlefield at the first sign of danger.
- Mob Member - These are the Gretchins who are either too stupid, too brave or too unlucky not to find a safer place in an Ork tribe. They are pressed onto the frontline by the Runtherdz. Their life expectancy is minimal, as Gretchin Mobs are mostly used as living shields for the Ork Boyz, living mine detectors, or as cannon fodder.
- Orderly - A Gretchin Orderly is the assistant of an Ork Painboy, often carrying the Mad Dok's many sharp implements, and performing simple, menial tasks to assist his master; like holding up a limb or setting crude bandages.
- Pet - Not unlike Squigs, some Gretchin simply catch the fancy of an Ork, and are kept by their larger counterpart as a form of pet, companion, lucky talisman or amusing buffoon.
- Repair Krew - A Repair Krew is composed of those Gretchins who serve an Ork Mekboy, and either embark on one of the many vehicles to keep an eye on its systems, and perform very basic emergency repairs when necessary, or gather around their Orkish master to provide him with enthusiastic but inept assistance.
- Styboy - A Styboy is a Gretchin who has been trained to perform as a messenger of sorts. Using multiple small rods fitted with Orkish glyphs and signs, they climb on their master's shoulders (often the mob's Nob) and wave the symbols at each other to relay any order or information from one warband to the next. This "long range communication system" is very crude, but allows a measure of coordination between Ork mobs out of shouting range.
- Da Red Gobbo - Da Red Gobbo is the leader of the Rebel Grots on Gorkamorka and is the head of the Grethcin Revolutionary Committee. He is known to wear a red cape to show his support of "Da Revolushun".
- Makari the Grot - Makari the Grot is thought to be the luckiest Gretchin ever, surviving for nine standard years before being sat on by his master, the notorious Goff Warboss Ghazghkull Thraka and subsequently fed to a rampaging Squiggoth.
- Fixit - Fixit is the Grot assistant of the legendary Ork Mekboy Wazdakka Gutsmek. Wazdakka's warbike is always kept clean and shiny by his Gretchin assistant.
- Codex: Orks (3rd Edition) pp. 8-36
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition) pp. 6-98
- Gorkamorka (Specialist Game)
- White Dwarf 390, pp. 94-95