- "Brute force not work? It because you not use enough of it!"
- — Karg, Ogryn Bone'ead
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 restricts 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 standard 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.
Anatomy and Physiology
The adaptation to the high-gravity environment as 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, 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.
Imperial Guard Service
When the Ogryns were rediscovered on their homeworlds during the Great Crusade, the Imperial Army saw their military potential and began recruiting the Ogryns as close combat soldiers. The recruitment process was relatively easy by Imperial standards as Ogryns hardly needed any training; most Ogryns are quite capable of bringing down almost any enemy and their natural combat skills make them good assault troops. The officers of the Imperial Army, and, after the Horus Heresy reshaped the Imperium, those of the Imperial Guard, also found that Ogryns were extremely loyal once introduced to the Imperial state religion of faith in the Emperor of Mankind -- the Imperial Cult. They are known to believe and do anything their leaders say and ask, and see the orders they receive as having come down the chain of command from the beloved God-Emperor Himself. On the other hand, Ogryns are known for their inability to understand 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 in the Vraksian Traitor Militia during the infamous Siege of Vraks.
Their skin is extremely thick and Ogryns can ignore wounds that would cripple or kill a normal man. As they are brutal and direct, they favour knuckle dusters and knives for close combat. Ogryns in Imperial service are issued with special, large auto-shotguns known as Ripper Guns for ranged combat and clubbing at melee. The use of Frag Grenades is also popular among Ogryns.
Although believed to possess 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, unaugmented Ogryns.
- "So I asks meself, what would Colonel Stracker do? Easy I says, ed' probably yell at me for bloody standin' about and not smashin' things with me mates. So that's what I did. They even gave me this ere shiny medal when I was through."
- — Specialist Nift, Bone'ead 1st class, speaking candidly about his promotion
Among the dim-witted Ogryn species there exist certain rare individuals who, despite their primitive mind-set, exhibit a rare glimmer of intelligence, problem solving capabilities, memory, or natural drive. Such individuals quickly stand out among their bretheren, making them ideal candidates for Biochemical Ogryn Neural Enhancement. Recipients of such procedures generally refer to themselves as Bone'eads and possess enhanced cognitive capabilities well beyond those of an unaltered specimen/ Many are able to remember thieir own names, count some of their fingers, or even make tactical decisions beyond hitting things -- capabilities that quickly mark them as eligible for positions of limited authority.
Bone'eads are often the brains of their units, and other Ogryns look to them for leadership both on and off the battelfield. To other Ogryns, the fact that a Bone'ead even holds his rank is often reason enough to obey, and most are content to trust that anyone who remembers as much as a Bone'ead probably knows best anyway. As such a Bone'ead's unit often has little disciplinary problems and a clearly established hierarchy, assuming everyone remembers what they are supposed to be doing at any given time. Bone'eads are brutal but effective leaders, bellowing orders over the din of combat and punctuating their shouts with vicious blows from their oversized weapons. When the average Ogryn is clumsy and ungainly, Bone'eads are much more coordinated then their primitive brethren and able to wield weapons with surprising dexterity, though their inherent clumsiness can never be completely eradicated. Despite their abilities, they are not particularly well-equipped compared to other Guard units, often fighting with the same weaponry as their unaugmented brethren.
The main difference between a Bone'ead and his squad mates is the cerebral implants and modifications to their thick skulls. Despite their crude and sturdy appearance, these implants are actually quite sophisticated and capable of withstanding a fairly substantial amount of punishment -- particularly useful when such a device is borne by an Ogryn. In combat, the procedures enacted upon a Bone'eads brain are put to the ultimate test as they confront numerous decisions and obstacles of command head on. However, their determination and inhuman stubbornness often see them through such situations, while their unique physiology more than compensates for any lapses in discretion or judgement. As a result, an experienced Bone'ead is often capable of leading his fellow Abhumans more or less where he is told with a little practice.
Despite their intelligence, Bone'eads naturally exhibit many qualities that define a good leader. They tend to be driven individuals, stubborn to a fault and unwilling to back down or admit defeat in even the most hopeless situations. Such dedication is often born of absolute faith in their superiors, whom Bone'eads trust implicitly and without reservation. They are also not afraid to lead from the front, providing an example to their fellow Ogryn and encouraging them with simple, intuitive commands accompanied by bursts of fire from their ranged weapons. It is debatable whether this is learned behaviour or simple necessity, however, as the stupidity of many Ogryn recruits may render all but the simplest orders incomprehensible. However, despite their training and modifications, no amount of cerebral tinkering can completely eliminate the Bone'ead's base instincts, and even the most intelligent individuals suffer from bouts of savagery. Some Bone'eads are even equipped with implants to magnify or enhance these tendencies, turning them into engines of destruction once certain criteria are met or trigger-phrases uttered via their vox-links. Regardless, a Bone'ead's rages are truly terrifying to behold.
- "Wot one, sah? Oh, dat one dere? 'E ain't so tough lookin' ta me. Don't you worry none, sah, I'll fix em."
An Ogryn's primitive nature is the direct result of the harsh environment in which they develop; the cold, feral worlds of ice and death that the Ogryn species calls home providing little incentive for mental development. As such, an Ogryn embodies the most primitive aspects of humanity, though greatly enhanced and exaggerated due to their severe retrogression. Yet, in spite of their dimwittedness, they possess an underlying savagery and hardy physique that makes them incredibly useful on the battlefields of the 41st Millennium. The Imperium of Man often recruits these massive creatures as shock troops, arming them with crude and simple weapons before pointing them at the enemy and unleashing them on their foes. Ogryn are well suited to such tactics, their underdeveloped brains rarely registering pain and injury as they smash into the enemy’s lines. Though equipped with powerful Ripper Guns, every Ogryn is highly capable in close combat, their primitive brutality and massive physiques allowing them to crush their foes with a savagery few adversaries can match.
Yet, despite this universal proficiency, there are individuals to whom the allure of smashing their enemies to a pulp and breaking their bones with blows from their massive fists is particularly appealing. These are the Ogryns who are always near the front of their unit, eagerly wading into combat with whatever weapon happens to be at hand. Some simply enjoy crushing enemy skulls to powder or tearing off limbs with their bare hands, while others may rely on their volatile temperament, flying off into a killing rage at the mere mention of their hated enemy. Some are so stupid they cannot truly comprehend the nature of their situation, delighting in what they consider an enjoyable game as they revel in the shouts of encouragement and support from their comrades. However, many simply resort to close combat because they can, their primitive brains falling back on their natural instincts in the heat of battle. These sorts of Ogryns are always found at the forefront of battle, eagerly overwhelming their opponents with devastating blows from their massive fists and oversized weapons. Many tend to have little understanding of ranged warfare, either having forgone much of the training required to further their combat abilities or simply being too dense to comprehend such tactics. This makes them generally savage even by Ogryn standards, while their size and feral aspect serves only to magnify their combat effectiveness.
As with all Ogryns, the line between placid stupidity and mindless rage is a fine one, and easily crossed in the rush of combat. The death of a companion, the harsh words of a commander, wounds inflicted by an enemy, any of these may be enough to drive such an Ogryn into paroxysms of rage at the mere sight of a foe. However, the rages of such a savage individual are a thing to behold as their primitive minds aggressively lash out at the source of their ire. This propensity towards violence often serves to make their legendarily short tempers even shorter, while a Bulwark at the height of his anger is a rampaging whirlwind of destruction that dashes his foes to pieces with the sheer force of his blows.
In combat, a Bulwark is the embodiment of primitive savagery and rage, fighting without thought of restraint or self-preservation. They instinctively attack every enemy within range, swinging their weapons with such bonecrunching force that armour buckles and bodies shatter in their wake. So intent are they on crushing their foes, they are immune to pain, injury, and fear, blindly charging through whatever obstacle stands between them and their enemy. The sight of a Bulwark on the battlefield often provides tremendous encouragement and inspiration to his comrades as he smashes through all who stand before him. Some regiments view their Ogryn's as a sort of champion, sending them forward whenever a particularly vicious adversary appears and looking to him when all seems lost and the unit is on the verge of being overwhelmed. Time and again, as the Bulwark's mighty blows split his adversaries apart and his massive physique ignores all but the most grievous of injuries his comrades take strength from his steadfast example and push on into the bloody conflict. At other times the Bulwark may instead serve as the rock upon which the unit is grounded; an unbreakable foundation for his comrades to cling to and an endearing example of faith and devotion.
- "See this dent here? That was made by an Ork skull. By the Emperor, I'd swear some of them are as thick as a Chimera's tread guard, but that didn't stop Krund from splitting its head open like a new Grox egg, no sir. And see that warping there, by the shell extractor? Apparently that’s what happens when you fire 5,000 continuous rounds without a recharge."
- — Guardsman Leisse explaining the poor state of an Ogryn Specialist's firearm to the Regimental Quartermaster
An Ogryn's ranged weapon proficiency may vary greatly from individual to individual; often coming down to the Ogryn's individual dexterity and whether or not he is able remember how to operate the firearm in combat. Regardless, Ogryns are markedly uncoordinated as a rule, and any attempts at accuracy often produce results that are mixed at best. Even the most skilled Ogryn "marksman" rarely approaches the exacting degree of precision expected of the average Imperial Guardsman. However, there are many Ogryn who derive substantial enjoyment from the mere act of firing their weapon regardless of accuracy, instead revelling in the raw destructive power in their hands as they thoughtlessly expend countless rounds of ammunition downrange. Such Ogryns are usually are truly colossal creatures, whose bulging muscles and gigantic stature allow them to manipulate their oversized weapons as effortlessly as a normal man might wield a Lasgun while relying on their immense bulk to compensate for any recoil. Many are even large enough to fire their weapons on the move, acting like a sort of mobile fire support platform for their fellow soldiers while eagerly charging into the fray.
Once they begin firing, Gun Luggers rarely stop until they either run out of either ammo or opponents. Though the weapons they wield in combat often vary, the child-like glee these individuals exhibit for their battlefield roles is unmistakable. They are often seen sweeping their great weapons back and forth in wide arcs during a battle, grinning stupidly as they pulverise their targets with concentrated streams of high calibre fire. Most tend to lag slightly behind the other members of their unit, stopping whenever a shot presents itself and only continuing to advance at the bidding of a superior officer or when they no longer have anything at which to shoot. They are usually eager to come to grips with their foes, habitually disregarding enemy fire or any considerations of personal safety in order to discharge their weapons at their targets. In addition, the expenditure of all their ammo or the occasional weapon jam is a frequent cause of wildly destructive tantrums among these trigger-happy brutes, and many choose to vent their savage rage by charging headlong into the enemy's ranks and bashing their adversaries to bits with the offending weapon.
Other members of these units often rely on the relentless fire of an Gun Lugger, advancing forward while their large comrade empties round after round at every enemy in sight. Gun Luggers are also particularly useful among squads of other Ogryn or similarly equipped assault units, providing crucial fire support until their more "hands on" companions can close the distance to their foe. Even those armed with Ripper Guns tend to wield them to greater effect than other Ogryn, and often the newest and most reliable models within an Ogryn squad are reserved for their use.
Due to their constant exposure to enemy fire some Gun Luggers hold reputations for outstanding bravery and stalwart determination among the units they fight beside, serving as mobile rallying points and potent examples of bravery to any faltering allies. They are generally battered in appearance, their thick hides scarred and pitted from countless impacts that would have severely incapacitated an average soldier. Yet their remarkably resilient physiology often allows them to shrug of such blows without difficulty, ignoring small arms fire and shrapnel as a man might ignore the buzzing of corpse flies.
Many Gun Luggers carry other items to add to their destructive capabilities in addition to their firearms including: grenades, anti-tank bombs, incendiary devices and other simple explosives which they may hurl at enemy positions. These weapons are often quite effective in the hands of an Gun Lugger, assuming he knows how to properly arm the device or remembers to use it in the frenzy of battle. Some compensate for such errors by hurling multiple charges at once or expending their bandoliers as rapidly as possible, laughing with delight as huge swathes of the battlefield erupt in fire and death. Though rarely landing where the Ogryn intends, the volatile payloads of such weapons frequently remedy any concerns regarding the Ogryn's accuracy.
Ogryns make excellent bodyguards for they are loyal, determined, and extremely hard to kill. Among the officer cadres of Imperial Gaurd regimental commands, it is considered a great honour to have an oath-bound Ogryn bodyguard. Normally, Ogryns are such a valuable asset that they are formed into squads and used as shock troops or blocking detachments, but sometimes a high-ranking officer manages to requisition one for his own personal retinue. In the same way that officers sometimes have advisors from other arms of a crusade or Imperial force, an Ogryn can end up shadowing a captain, colonel, or general as they take a journey to the front to inspect the war. Imperial officers also take great pleasure in the intimidation factor that an Ogryn brings to any tactical briefing or even social engagement, the towering abhumans making everyone in the room painfully aware of their own insignificance. Rarer still are those instances where an Ogryn will form a bond of fellowship with a low-ranking officer or even regular guardsmen. The simple minds of these hulking abhumans can for reasons unknown become fixated upon a particular human, especially if that human shows them kindness (or just happens to be in the right place at the right time). Once an Ogryn connects with an Imperial soldier in this way, the bond becomes almost unbreakable. Reports from various warzones confirm that this has happened on several occasions, with charismatic and courageous junior officers acquiring for themselves the undying loyalty of one of the abhuman shock troopers.
Bullgryns are clad in custom-made Carapace Armour made out of discarded tank tracks, and carry crude assault weaponry intended to capitalise on the Abhumans' stature and resilience. While some wield Power Mauls and buckler-like Brute Shields, the simple but effective Slabshields are their trademark, locking together to form a mobile defence line. So deployed, these Bullgryn units provide their comrades with a wall of walking cover as they advance across the battlefield, soaking up vast volumes of enemy fire in the process. The Ogryns take their protective duties very seriously and will often form a line at the slightest sound of gunfire, which can be most inconvenient in crowded trenches. Yet Imperial Guardsmen advancing behind a Bullgryn squad swiftly forget such mishaps as shots whine harmlessly from the Ogryns' shields, leaving those soldiers crouched in their lee unharmed. Needless to say, casualties are high among the Abhumans themselves, but the close range bombardments of the Ogryns' Grenade Gauntlets exact brutal revenge soon enough. The foe are left reeling and shell-shocked even before the maul-wielding Ogryns charge into their midst and bludgeon the survivors to a red paste.
These simplistic Abhumans dwell on worlds far from the Emperor's light, and sadly, often fall into the worship of the Ruinous Powers. The Forces of Chaos often forcibly conscript Ogryns into their ranks. Known as Ogryn Brutes, the servants of the Dark Gods will utilise crude surgical procedures, forbidden combat drugs and sorcerous rituals in order to control the beasts and set them upon their enemies. Through the use of further modification and forbidden methods, Chaos Renegades have also created two distinct variations of Ogryn Brutes:
- Ogryn Berserkers - These Ogryns are heavily surgically altered using proscribed neurological and bio-chemical processes. This crude adaptation starts by lobotomising the Ogryn, turning it into an imbecilic, docile creature, unable to even feed itself and becoming utterly enslaved to its masters -- until the chemical injectors installed directly into its upper back are activated. The injectors deliver a cocktail of potent, highly dangerous drugs, including the banned combat drug called "Slaught" into the Ogryn's bloodstream and muscles. "Slaught," once favoured by the notorious Flesh Tearers Space Marine Chapter and the World Eaters Traitor Legion, stimulates the subject's adrenaline glands and the neural pathways to the areas of the brain that govern aggression. With these driven into overdrive, the user becomes a raging psychopath, driven by bloodlust that cannot be sated. Other drugs are also injected, including various phencyclidines that give the user massively increased strength and an almost superhuman ability to block pain -- with side effects such as induced hallucinations and a desire for self-mutilation. Strong beta-adrenoreceptor blocking drugs augment this, allowing the Ogryn to fight on with terrible wounds that would usually kill it outright. The downside of this drug-fuelled rampage is that the body's system is not likely to be able to cope with the drugs for long, and vital internal organs will quickly start to fail. Ogryn Berserkers were used as expendable troops during the Siege of Vraks by the Vraksian Traitor Militia, and were not supposed to survive their first encounter with the enemy. They were a one-use weapon, hurled into the enemy in furious counterattacks with the single aim of inflicting as much damage as possible before collapsing or being slain.
- Plague Ogryns - Plague Ogryns are hideously distorted creatures; hulking masses of bloated, diseased flesh and twisted mutations. The effects of Nurgle's "gifts" on the already massively strong and hardy Ogryn frame are particularly foul and they prove ideal breeding grounds for nightmarish plagues of all kinds. In battle these creatures can prove almost impossible to kill and their merest touch brings a horrific death. The first Plague Ogryns are believed to have been created by the mysterious Renegade Astartes warband known as The Tainted on Vraks Prime during the infamous Siege of Vraks. A faction devoted to Nurgle in his aspect as a mortifier of flesh, they are said to have worked the darkest of their sorcerous arts on the already distorted and chem-augmented Ogryn slave stock being used by the rebel forces on Vraks. Since that war, Ordo Malleus savants believe the secrets of creating Plague Ogryns have been refined further by The Tainted deep within the Eye of Terror, and they now trade these vile beasts among the servants of the Lord of Decay in return for fresh subjects on which to practice their twisted craft.
- Nork Deddog - Nork Deddog is a legend in his own lifetime, an Ogryn whose fighting abilities as an Imperial Guard soldier are almost as astonishing as mental development that can only be called precocious for one of his race. Due to his unusual mental acuity, he quickly came to the attention of the Commissars of the Imperial Guard and Nork soon found himself placed on special duties. Nork's reputation for loyalty is unsurpassed and his skills as a bodyguard have been in high demand by Imperial officers across the galaxy.
Imperial Guard Regiments with Ogryns
- 51st Abhuman Penal Suppression Detachment - The 51st Abhuman Penal Suppression Detachment is made up of those Ogryns deemed unfit for frontline duty, either due to permanent injury, or exceptionally limited intellect (even for Ogryns) The Administratum within the Spinward Front has put these "damaged" Ogryns to work aboard the prison barge Oath of Judgement as wardens. The vessel routinely travels around the sector taking on military prisoners, guardsmen who have failed to adhere to the strict regulations of their regiment or committed some minor crime that was undeserving of summary execution. The upper decks of the vessel remain sealed at all times and the Ogryns patrol the lower decks with the prisoners, told to keep anyone smaller than themselves from causing trouble. So far this practice has worked, with the prisoners for the most part intimidated by the abhumans and the Ogryns too stupid to fall for any of their tricks. On occasion the Suppression Detachment is also used in a policing role on Imperial Navy vessels or Imperial Guard bases, where their heavy handed tactics can be used to quell riots and round up criminals.
- 1636th Ironarm Bulwark Squad - The Imperial Guard regiments of Cadia constitute a large proportion of those forces fighting in the Spinward Front. Many of these Shock Troop formations arrive with their own abhuman detachments in tow, having served alongside them in other sectors. The 1636th Ironarm Bulwark Squad has fought with the Cadian 818th Shock Troops for at least a decade, the lumbering Ogryn's of the squad forming fast bonds with the guardsmen. In battle, the Ironarm Bulwark Squad is used for holding actions and shock assaults, their mighty slab shields and mauls smashing into enemy formations or holding them at bay. In the Battle for Bridge 212, the Ironarms proved their worth time and again as they held back the rampaging Ork forces of WAAAGH! Grimtoof. Three times the Goff warbands tried to cross the bridge and three times the Ogryns threw them back, the towering abhumans cracking green skulls in a brutally efficient fashion.
- Krourk Ogryn Auxilia
- Monglor Ogryn Auxilia
- Orcan Stonecrushers
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Ebook), pp. 114-116, 160-162, 273-282, 325
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 42, 67
- Codex: Imperial Guard (4th Edition)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, Revised Codex), pg. 42
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pp. 15, 25
- Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II, pp. 74-75
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks: Part One, pg. 168-170
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 23-24, 90-91
- Only War: Shield of Humanity (RPG), pp. 10-11, 58-59, 62-63, 66-67
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium, "Ogryns," by Ivan Weeds & Graeme Davis, pp. 46-52
- Warhammer 40,000: How to Paint Citadel Miniatures: Bullgryns (Interactive iBook Edition)
- Warhammer: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 404-405
- Forge World: Khornate Ogryn w/Hounds of Xaphan
- Forge World: Renegade Ogryn w/Axe
- Forge World: Renegade Ogryn Berserker Boss w/Drill
- Forge World: Renegade Ogryn w/Hammer
- Forge World: Renegade Ogryn w/Pick
- Forge World: Renegade Ogryn Berserker w/Post
- Forge World: Chaos Renegades - Plauge Ogryn Leader
- Forge World: Chaos Renegades - Plague Ogryn 1
- Forge World: Chaos Renegades - Plague Ogryn 2
- Games Workshop Online Catalogue - Militarum Auxillia: Nork Deddog
- Games Workshop Online Catalogue - Militarum Auxillia: Ogryns
- Games Workshop Online Catalogue - Military Auxillia: Bulgryns