posted: 12th Aug, 2007 - updated: 1st Feb, 2013

Warrior Born

Ogryn are humans that are native to the world of Org and the Great Ogryn Empire, a warrior lodge based society. Since their assimilation into the Imperium they have proved to be effective warriors in certain conditions. However, the Ogryn are fiercely independent with their own traditions and philosophies and totally reject the Imperial Creed. This has lead to much conflict and strife, but the Ogryn have endured as their original treaty is with the Emperor not the Imperium. As long as he lives, the Ogryn are free.

Female Ogryn


Ogryns prize physical ability and 'perfection' above all else, I guess living on a Death World like Catachan that being physically capable, cunning and smart come as top priorities. They are a bit like really big 'Klingons' (ik) but without the two face backstabbing nature, Ogryns like fist fights – they see it as 'civilized' compared to other humans who cut each other up with weapons. They are highly capable warriors who excel in close-quarters fighting where there natural power, speed and wits give them a huge advantage over many regular humans. There favourite weapons are the Caltorque Sword-Spear, used as a potent trusting weapon and half-staff grapple bar in close.

They train hard, as nearly all Ogryn have a natural psychological dysfunction of obsessive compulsive disorder in regard to martial arts. They can become quite agitated and hyper if they are denied the opportunity to train for at least six hours a day. The women tend towards endurance and acrobatic training and specialize in evasive combat, the men tend towards power blitzing technique emphasising locks and joint manipulation. Both sexes train together and forming teams, and it is the team cooperation and unity that the Ogryn love. It is as much social with wit and cussing and even flirting. Both fight 'dirty', and being cunning in a take down is much prized.


[Named after the Remembrance Day - in case anyone wanted to know. In Ogryn the name of 'Poppy', means 'she (flower) who remembers the dead'. I thought is sounded cute, but with a tough and thoughtful undercurrent]

Catachan Jungle fighters are descendants of Ogryn (Human), Poppy is about 7'4"

Ogryn Wisdom

‘Weapons is for killing aliens, fists is for making friends, you never use weapons on another human because in the end even if you win your bloodline is doomed'

'The foundation of any decent civilization is freedom of the mind from fear, and proficiency in personal combat is the key stone of that foundation. It is through the learning of the Arts of Mars that one matures into a full human being.'


To the Ogryn mind the idea of winning against a human at all costs by using weapons to kill is abhorrent, as they say 'nothing a slap can't solve'. Technology is something the Ogryn is very wary off, as they see it as weakening humans and making humans over dependant on machine 'slaves'. Ogryn pride themselves on being self-sufficient and being capable and have a wealth of survival knowledge but also about living in harmony with nature.

The Arts of Mars (Martial Artist)

This tends to make Ogryn sound peaceful in nature and by and large they are, but they also love a good tear up and enjoy fighting. Most Ogryn will fight every day and when it comes to impressing a mate both sexes fight and show of combative technique. This expression of technique has kept the Ogryn size to a reasonable level, and too much size gives diminishing returns of power over agility. Ogryn are close combat exponents extraordinaire, it's very difficult to beat an Ogryn in unarmed close combat, and when armed even the dreaded Eldar have trouble.

A daily routine of combat exercise, and regular unarmed combat practice keep the Ogryn sharp. They can move with surprising speed, as unlike a human who has grown large due to genetic abnormalities, the Ogryn are naturally large and have the bones and structure to make full use of the size. Their structure has a lot in common with the Adeptus Astartes design, and indeed human populations that are less than full Ogryn (and still within general human population norms) make excellent recruits.

The Ogryn have a number of styles of combat, with Females favouring kicking styles (bloody long legs!) and the males tending towards grappling and locks. However this should not be taken to mean that females do not practice grappling techniques, though it tends toward 'dirty tricks'. Bull (males) Ogryn find female Ogryn that are particularly vicious dirty fighters as highly desirable! (Bull: 'I'd grapple that!' <- Common Ogryn expression of attraction).


Most disputes are resolved with 'play fighting', which tends to be light hearted in nature and is always accompanied by jokes and witty put downs. Often the winner of a fight with help the looser, and will go through their opponent's failures of technique seeking to correct weakness (thus making the next fight more challenging and enjoyable). There are also many physical games Ogryn play, like 'shin-kicking' (with hob-nail boots!) and 'arm-wrestling' (over a tank of jumping snapper fish - which usually result in both parties covered in bites and attached fish).


The Ogryn derive their name from the home world of the Ogryn empire; 'Og', a high gravity tidal locked, with the hemisphere facing the sun baked dry and arid, the opposite dark side cold as ice. In between there is the 'twilight' the space between the two extreme hemisphere teeming with life and lush jungle. Technically it would be classed as a Paradise World were it not for the high gravity.

When the great crusade encountered the Og Empire the ambassadors came face to face with a technically accomplished and liberal society. The Ogryn were of a similar height to most humans with a far more massive frame and 'squat'. They seemed similar to humans yet they were 'obviously' alien. The Ogryn resisted scans via suppression tech, and refused to give DNA samples on the ground of 'privacy'. The Imperium took this secrecy as active subversion and the Ogryn ability to stop their scans are aggressive. Thus the 3rd defence war started (1-2 were alien), a massive ground war with the Adeptus Mechanicus suppressing the Ogryn technology using arcane tech the likes the Ogryn had never seen. The main objective of the Imperium was to capture their technology which seemed 'STC' like and they would sacrifice millions in refraining to use nukes or more potent weapons.

Much of the captured technology was intact and the Adeptus Mechanicus quickly confirmed that this tech was indeed derivative of STC, but they also confirmed through DNA tests on corpses that the Ogryn were in fact 100% human! The Adeptus Mechanicus also confirmed a lack of mutation and confirmed the Ogryn population parameters against the database of the human morph cline. The Ogryn parameters matched high gravity adaptation and included Dark Age modified genes to allow the process. Shocked by this revelation the Imperium immediately called a cease fire and back off, but by then much damage had been done.(> fill in reason and detail later <).

The Og Empire was massively damaged, millions had died, and most of the technology was uprooted and shipped away by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Worst still the Adeptus Mechanicus declared the world of Og as unfit for human habitation due to the high gravity, falling outside specified standards of Paradise classification. Yet the Ogryn were human, and so were allowed to join the Imperium. Og was bombed into oblivion and no longer exists.

Off world

Once off worlds the Ogryn adapted quickly to 'low gravity' of the Terra standard. They were fast and powerful and quickly gained work as labourers, loaders, and combat specialists. A select few even managed to join the Cult Mechanicus.

The Next Generation

The next generation born to Ogryn immigrants on many worlds and ships throughout the Imperium were much taller than their parents. Without the influence of the high gravity of their home world the children shot up and grew heights of 7'. Their frame was still bulky and squat, but taller than their parents. Many weighed in excess of 500lbs.

This was not the end of it, as through the generations the Ogryn mixed with the rest of human society, and it was only a matter of time before the clines mixed. However the children of Ogryn and non-Ogryn humans of the Imperium produce children that often grew taller, some getting on for 8'. These super tall offspring became heroes on many worlds, and as their offspring continue to mix with the population they averaged out. Catachan is a world where this can be seen in the current Imperium, as the Catachan jungle fighters (who love the jungle and feel spiritually connected with it) are far more massive than the Imperial average.

However on one world, in the outback of space, on the hive [Ogre] the humans carried a chance mutation that was considered inconsequential. Yet it is here that the first 'Ogryn' as the Imperial Guard knows them were born. Here the Ogryn hybrid children grew to 9 and 10 feet tall, were massively powerful, an even relatively fast. Yet in some cases the rapid growth seems to have retarded mental development where the mother was too small, and had to be delivered via C-section.

This posed a problem for some of these children as they were taller than the STC doors. It was very hard for them to more about the hive without stooping and this gave many a hump-back.

To be continued when I get the chance!

The Ogryn Cline [Marked for edit]

Ogryns are part of the human population cline. All the DNA in Ogryns are in humans (right now!). Ogynisation is a natural skewing of the human gene pool of humans in certain conditions.

Human > Catachan > Ogryn

Gene Pool: The Ogryn do not arise due to 'mutation' but are merely a population of humans where certain gene combinations have been reduced via death, leaving combinations which give an advantage in the Death World environment to survive on in families and to continue in their progeny. The name 'Ogryn' is applied to this particular type of skewing of the gene concentrations within a gene pool, The genes that appear in high frequencies with the Ogryn population are classed 'Ogryn' and they appear in regular humans; though no all of the genes appear in any given 'regular' human, the 'Ogryn' genes are spread out among the regular population (as in one person may have gene 1, but not gene 2 or 3, another has gene 3 but not 1 and 2 and so on. There are hundreds of 'Ogryn' genes).

Generations: The more generations that continue while confined to the Death World environment the great the skewing of gene concentrations in favour of the Ogryn class genes. New Ogryn populations often have humans with a high number of Ogryn specific genes, but not all of them appear in any one Ogryn. As the population continues, the Ogryn who survive give rise to new generations with higher numbers of Ogryn genes, and a very old population may have members with nearly all the Ogryn genes. It is rare for an 'old' population to have members with all the Ogryn genes, as this requires a very harsh Death World, and most regular human would never survive on such a world to become Ogryn, though it has happened; usually where a relative safe zone was found, and the population expanded outside the safe zone.

As such, an Ogryn is as human as a human can be.

Hybrids: Humans can mate with Ogryns and produce viable offspring who are also classed human. Though it would usually be a human male and Ogryn female who are most likely to produce a child, because usually the child will be too large for a non-Ogryn to carry to term. More importantly they child will grow so fast and be too large for the mother, yet not developed enough to survive outside the mother (an exploding mother is not good in anyone's book!).

Adeptus Mechanicus: Because Ogryn are genetically human they have avoided the wrath of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and as such have not been exterminated. If the Adeptus Mechanicus says they are 'human' then they are human as far as everyone else is concerned. That is not to say Ogryn have not been exterminated in droves, as at the extremes of the cline some new mutations appear that the Adeptus Mechanicus do not tolerate. However this is also true of regular human populations, and looking at it from a percentage angle, a far smaller percentage of the Ogryn population have been exterminated than the percentage of the regular human population. The Adeptus Mechanicus have put this down to the Ogryn 'natural' resistance to radiation damage.

Human: Ogryn are human. They have their own culture and philosophies born out of the harsh struggle and constant loss that is normal for life on a Death Worlds they inhabit. This often put them at odds with other human cultures who have no idea what a Death World is like, often thinking a hive slum is the worst it can get. This leads to misunderstandings (when doesn't it?)

Others attitude towards Ogryn.

Many humans do not consider Ogryn human - even if told they are by the Adeptus Mechanicus (as in: "Look at them! It's obvious they're not human >:( " ). Many consider the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Imperium as protecting a 'human like xenos', tolerating them because they make good point men in the Imperial Guard. As such they see the Ogryn as being used by the Imperium not one of the Imperium. No more than beasts of burden, but a beast that has the audacity to think it is human, and so deserves nothing but utmost contempt. Regular humans who do not know any Ogryn (well) almost feel a compulsion to constantly put down Ogryn, and belittle them. (Prejudice is still rampant in 40K, and just because the Imperium knows better doesn't mean all its citizens do.)

However, those who get to know (survive long enough in the guard) start to see the Ogryn as very brave and humanitarian: they are usually the first into combat, they wont ask another to do something they wouldn't and will try to save other humans at all costs. After a while this brings about respect. Though many fresh officer will never know.

Rank: Due to officer prejudice and the Ogryn's inappropriate personality (innate humanity, forthright in speech, violence to solve unresolvable arguments and basic honesty) it is very rare for an Ogryn to become an officer, the highest rank they obtain is usually a sergeant or instructor and these will usually be female (often beloved by their men). However, some Ogryn via a fortunate series of events have risen higher, though only in conflicts where the enemy were xenos. Once the fighting switches to human vs. human, high ranking Ogryn usually loose their command, suspended or transferred.

Lies: Their low ranks, and their refusal to lie, is often taken by many (who don't know any better) as proof that Ogryns are dim witted. However just because they don't lie doesn't mean they can't understand the concept and are quite capable of lying, it's just that due to their conviction in their philosophies they refuse to do it (often taken as an excuse) in regard to humans. Ogryn will take it as being a 'martyr', and refusing to lie even when facing death is considered a true test of an Ogryn and gains much respect by other Ogryn.


It is well known that Ogryn will refuse to use weapons to fight traitor humans. This has lead to summery executions in such instances, or Ogryn changing into hand to hand combat unarmed!

BONE: The Imperium has found a way around this by altering the Ogryn personality with Ad-Mec medical treatments, known as BONE treatment. This turns the Ogryn into a semi-servitor, and is something Ogryn find deeply offensive. What is more troublesome for the Imperium is that such treatments usually only work for a short time before the Ogryn starts to exhibit serious psychotic behaviours. Therefore BONE treatment is temporary, and hence 'treatment' rather than 'implant'. It is usually a re-patterning of the synapses, rather than a full implant. Ogryn as resistant to artificial implants/ bionics resulting in rejection or illness.

Most often, Ogryn as not used in Imperial wars where humans are the enemy.

Ogryn make excellent police officers, both in riot control where casualties are not an option (capture) using stun guns and such, and as investigators. Ogryn are surprisingly good as detecting lies and seeing the 'bigger picture'.

History (Heretical?)

The Ogryn Empire (or, why all Ogryn are so similar).



Another thought I had (expanding on an earlier idea) is that the Ogryn may have been a very specific human population from a single world. That when they were rediscovered during the great crusade, they miraculously passed the Adeptus Mechanicus' DNA tests. After this they were reintegrated with the general human population via the Imperium.


If the Ogryn genes tend to be dominant, and they have a culture where they look for the strongest mate (most likely Ogryn, but could be a strong regular human), and once off a death world have many children and nearly all survive (being tough); then the Ogryn would spread like wild fire.

Using this model, the Ogryn may not be due to high gravity or death world conditions but pure culture.

It is not entirely improbable for a warrior society to reject lethal weapons, the Japanese banned guns for a while, and if Japan was only the only population on a world it may well have stuck. Guns would have been seen as cowardly, and would instantly carry a penalty of 'murder' for their use. Carrying a gun would be 'intent to commit murder of a superior/ assassination'.

Extend this concept to all 'human on human' combat with weapons and we may have a kernel of the Ogryn creed. Bare handed wresting and unarmed combat become the choice for settling scores and grudges. The Ogryn could come about though gradual adaptation over many generations.

In mind set they would be a bit like Samurai but with bare hand combat, or perhaps Buddhist monks. They would have to have a very strict and ordered society.

Ideas on Ogryn law/ cultural taboos

The only time an Ogryn could kill another human or Ogryn out of hand is if they are threatened or attacked by a human who is carrying a weapon. If the armed aggressor drops the weapon; they can no longer be killed 'legally' by an Ogryn who has picked up a weapon to take them on (or who is very brave and goes in unarmed - also very impressive). The pair will still fight bare handed, but the chances are they both will survive (may even make a friend!). If weapons are used in defence against an armed assailant and the Ogryn wins, then the Ogryn is obligated to kill the armed instigator. Also, if the armed instigator wins, they can be rushed by the mob (though I think they would have been rushed straight away by any other Ogryn, who would instantly unite).

Picking up a weapon is a big no no in Ogryn culture.

In effect a human carrying a weapon who threatens another human with that weapon is re-classed as an 'animal' or perhaps a 'barbarian' and are deemed not to be civilized (this could be a chaos influence counter, or 'meme' killing, to nip chaos behaviours in the bud), a threat to society and everyone must pull together to take the animal down. Missile weapons would be popular.

Meme killing

I quite like the idea that the Ogryn would hunt 'memes' and look for certain memes in humans, and class humans by the memes they display. In effect certain memes may be linked to chaos and 'inhumanity', and contamination by such a meme may be all the excuse an Ogryn needs to turn on a human. While murder (with weapon) memes may be dealt with harshly, other meme may also be rigorously policed and watched for. Rogue memes may be considered a type of 'chaos virus'.

meme wiki page

Other thoughts (stupidity?)

I suppose any threat would have to be made empty handed, and the fist sign an Ogryn serving in the IG is angry with another human (or another Ogryn) is they put their gun down. This could be considered 'stupid' especially if the Ogryn then picks a fight with a human half his size and who is armed (what did the Ogryn expect? a fist fight!). However, if they are any other Ogryn in the area they will re-class the one who killed or injured they angry Ogryn with a weapon as an animal/ murder with chaos influence and let rip with their Ripper Guns! What is strange is that they will not shoot anyone who did not point a Lasgun in their direction.

A human enemy who surrenders to an Ogryn, and throws down their arms, and becomes prisoner to an Ogryn can expect to be slapped about a bit. Maybe beaten unconscious, but the Ogryn would refuse to kill prisoners, and would intervene if an armed human threatened to kill an unarmed human prisoner with a weapon (commissioners and such). If the Ogryn was aware of such an incident then they would consider the killer a murderer and 'animal' and no longer human (chaos influenced?). Killing a commissioner could be considered stupid.

If Ogryn find out about war crimes or genocide they may go on a 'witch hunt' and track down the 'meme cancer' and terminate any human who took part with extreme (fanatical) prejudice.

Background Musings

It was all opinion in the beginning, there is very little information on the Ogryn, so this thread seems to be more speculation than cold hard facts (like you could even get a cold hard fact in a purposely mutable and dynamic background of 40K!).

High gravity, a reason often given for the Ogryn body type, is not really enough to push a human population towards becoming Ogryn on it's own. In fact high gravity would seem to be a huge environmental pressure to become more squat than Ogryn. Indeed high gravity is also given as a reason for Squat (AKA Dwarf) development (perhaps Ogryn are Squats born in normal gravity?). So something else is going on, which is so strong a pressure that it is off setting the high gravity influence to be squat. That has not been revealed (as far as we know).

Prison worlds also turn up as a reason, but prisoners are not stupid. Far from it; many are very clever (often taking up a lot of resources to catch) and living in a dangerous prison death world would most likely bring about 'smart and strong'. They may not be academically knowledgeable, but cunning and intelligent. It would revert to a warrior culture, more Alexander the Great than brain dead cave troll. As for intelligence it may even increase, as an oral tradition to pass on knowledge requires a very good memory (it's one of the early pressures for us have very good memories - it gave our culture an edge over human competition).

Another aspect to take into account is that while prisons are violent, they are quite 'lawful' within their own counter-culture (sounds crazy but true). Within a gang there is a strict order and social rules, with gang territories are protected (and often other gang's territories are respected the majority of the time). Sometimes violent gangs will even 'get along' if they have defined their boundaries and resources are plentiful. The rules for this gangland type of society may be very different from the society which imprisoned them, but they are often consistent (for example all gangs seem to have a very low tolerance of sex offenders where children are the victims).

Gangs are nothing more than 'warrior bands', or 'proto-tribes', and tribes are the basic building block of civilizations. They are only a problem for a larger law-abiding, non-gang, society when they are 'not on your side'. On a world set aside for being a prison, there is not counter social pressure, and gangs can be gangs. In many ways a 'Prison World' would most likely work out as a 'Warrior World'. An early civilization.

A high gravity prison world would most likely bring about very strong and smart humans, who would in time rebuild into a civilization - after all warriors built our civilization (or at least allowed 'order' to flourish, while they protected homeland (for a price)).

Sooner of later, someone will rise to the top to become the 'big boss', and be named King (or Queen). It's like uniting 'all under heaven' with tons of violence until one is left standing.

If this is the case, I wonder what humans in the Dark Age of Technology thought of prison worlds, perhaps they saw aggressive humans are 'pioneers' and once convicted of a crime are deemed unsuitable for a calm society and put to use colonising new worlds.

Perhaps 'Prisoners' in the Dark Age are looked up to, rather than despised. Maybe even 'romantic' like the old French foreign legion. A mixture of criminals, mercenaries and those out of options all fighting and dealing to make a new home on the very edge of the old Dark Age empire (outside corporate control.

The 'Forlorn hope' of colonisation systems.

Prison world = Australia world?

Australia had many penal colonies and a good model of how a penal colony situated on a world would develop. As Australians are still very much humans with no trace of being 'Ogryn' and have developed a modern democratic society, we can assume that a penal world would follow similar lines: i.e. as generations progress, a gang's offspring (given opportunity) become more respectable over time. That much of the 'criminal' behaviour that got them sent to such a place has nothing to do with personality but conditions and tribal/ gang rebellion at perceived oppression.

Inspiration Notes

We have been trying to pacify other countries who are aggressive for centuries, thousand and perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. The problem is it doesn't work, and will never work, because our authority is not their authority. In simple terms it's like being a child being told off by someone else's parent when they are doing something that their own father or mother said was OK.

Freedom fighter = Terrorist

People can usually accept, or at least bear, their own government bullying them. This is because if they don't obey it will upset their family, and their society, or they simply comply because they are out numbered and out-gunned (and they have no popular support). They are at a disadvantage. People may still rebel but they are classified as criminals and locked way.

Locking away the other side is not always an option. If you go to war, you will kill people and if they are survived by children, those children will grow up and hate the ones who killed their parents (everyone seems to forget children will grow up, and loosing your parents can really upset a child, especially if they end up in situations which are seriously unhappy or abused - chances are the old enemy will get the blame).

Hmm, that thought string fell apart. Basically rewrite and explain why criminals are enemy combatants in your own country who are relatively easy to suppress (within limits) because they do not have the support of the wider community (those that do have wider support will never be prosecuted, and not be known as criminals. Think the French Revolution, or the American war of Independence). Whereas 'criminals' from another country who wage asymmetric war as seen as guerillas (i.e. terrorists) often do have the support of the community (they think they are 'freedom fighters'), and that makes it much harder to suppress through civil law which only leaves military action. If you do go to the extreme measures of suppression (military action) the children who loose parent will grow up and fight for 'freedom' from oppression. To do what they want. Getting back to the 'criminal' gang, in a way they want to do this within the country in reside - freedom to do what it wants, their way, and if you try and stop them or deny them they will act up).

Gangs and conflict.


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