The Ogryn (Homo sapiens gigantus) are a huge and physically powerful Abhuman mutant subspecies of humans, often employed as shock troopers in the Imperial Guard by the Imperium of Man. Ogryns possess many traits prized by the Imperium; they are brutally strong and completely loyal, although extremely limited intellectually, which limits their battlefield role to simple and direct assaults. They come from cold and barren planets in the galaxy with high gravity, such as Anark Zeta, which is why they appear larger, heavier and bulkier compared to baseline humans. An Ogryn's speech is much the same as an Ork's. The most famous Ogryn in Imperial service is Nork Deddog.
The Ogryns are the toughest and largest soldiers commonly used by the regiments of the Imperial Guard. Originating from cold, barren, high-gravity prison planets settled many millennia before the founding of the Imperium of Man, the Ogryns' distant ancestors were once normal humans during the Dark Age of Technology. Thousands of years in the harsh terrains and brutal living conditions of their prison worlds, after the start of the Age of Strife caused the fall of the first interstellar civilisation of Mankind, forced their ancestors' bodies to adapt to their hostile environment.
The adaptation to the high-gravity environment described above is the reason for the Ogryns' thick skin, powerfully muscular build and resulting monstrous size. Though their adaptations led them to increase in physical size and strength, the Ogryns' intelligence declined to below average human levels. As the planetary conditions (barren, cold, harsh worlds with little food and long periods of starvation) that caused their mutation required only primitive survival instincts, part of their adaptation involved the loss of the ability for more complex intellectual thought since philosophical matters were unnecessary in an environment marked by starvation and a constant fight for life. Ogryns are said to be even less intelligent than some Orks. However, the truth is that their intellects did not actually devolve, but became much more focused on matters such as survival. Ogryns are claustrophobic, which means that they can only with great difficulty be loaded into armoured carrier vehicles to be transported to the battlefield, and can only ride in vehicles if a commanding officer is present. As many as half a squad may be mounted on a Chimera. This slightly slows their deployment speed.
The Tithes Chamber Notaries, sub. Planetary Census (Abhuman) is a sub-division of the Adeptus Administratum that oversees the classification and recognition of stable Abhuman strains within the Imperium. Of these, forty-six types are now listed as extinct, and no records have been received of a further twelve strains for over a generation, suggesting that they too have died out or been assimilated back into the general population of Mankind. The status of the remaining fifteen Abhuman races is quite varied and there is permanent disagreement about their specific classification amongst the Adepts of the Tithes Chamber Notaries. The most noteworthy and contentious matter concerning the Adepts is the Ogryn matrix of Abhuman strains. This complex group is currently officially listed as seven distinct types (Alpha, Theta, Type IV, Type VIIA, H.S. gigantus gigantus, H.S. gigantus cranopus and the mysterious Grey Ogryns), but many in the Chamber doubt that these are all separate subspecies, and yet another official revision of the classification is therefore pending -- in a few standard decades.
When the Ogryns were rediscovered on their homeworlds during the Great Crusade, the Imperial Army started recruiting the Ogryns into the Imperial Guard as close combat soldiers. Their recruitment was easy because they hardly need any training, as most Ogryn are quite capable of bringing down almost any enemy and their combat skills make them good assault troops. The Imperial Guard's officers also found that Ogryn are extremely loyal once introduced to the Imperial religion of faith in the Emperor of Mankind. They are known to believe and do anything their leaders say and ask. They see the orders they receive as having come down the chain of command ultimately from the beloved God-Emperor himself. On the other hand, Ogryn are known for their inability to understand any complex commands and tactics. This simple-mindedness has also contributed to the big Abhumans' reputation as being notoriously easy to corrupt to the service of Chaos, particularly by the temptations of the Blood God Khorne. Many Ogryns, for example, fought on the Vraksian Traitor Militia side in the Siege of Vraks.
Their skin is extremely thick and Ogryn can ignore wounds that would cripple or kill a normal man. As they are brutal and direct, they favor knuckle dusters and knives for close combat. They are issued special, large auto-shotguns known as Ripper Guns, for shooting and clubbing. Frag grenades are also popular among Ogryn.
Although possessing extremely low intelligence, some Ogryn may have a slightly higher level of intellect than others. This boosts their chances to be chosen as candidates for the Biochemical Ogryn Neural Enhancement procedure, also known as BONE; which raises their intelligence further. These relatively smart Ogryn are given the title Bone'eads, and as they are able to understand more complex orders they are placed in command of a squad of normal Ogryns.
Imperial Guard Regiments with Ogryns
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (4th Edition)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, Revised Codex)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium
- Warhammer: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 404-405