"OI! Lissen ta me wen I'z talkin' to ya! We'z gonna go on 'dere ship, we'z gonna smash it up an' kill anyfing dat gets in our way, an' den we'z gonna get back on da boat an' go home. Dat'll show 'em. Do you lot of 'umie runts unnastand dat? Good. Now, wiv me: WAAAGH!"
- — Kaptin Gorgal 'edkicka
A Freebooter (pl. Freebooterz) is a piratical Ork who exists on the fringe of Ork Kultur. Freebooterz are greenskin bandits and sell-swords belonging to no specific tribe or klan but who will work with any tribe as well as stand against any other if the price is right.
Freebooter warbands are composed of an amalgam of Ork mobs from several different warbands or Orks who have separated themselves from their former klan or tribe by choice or through exile. These roving bands are composed of renegades, bandits, pirates and other outcasts.
Some of these Orks are fugitives, eccentrics and the remnants of shattered greenskin tribes and klanz, so it is hardly surprising that many Freebooterz have very treacherous and unpleasant characters indeed -- even by Ork standards. Following the ravages of war or some other disastrous disruption of their lives, some Orks abandon what is left of their tribe and join one of these roving bands.
Most Freebooter mobz hire themselves out as mercenaries, or else they can be persuaded to join in a battle with promises of loot. Among the Freebooterz are a handful of unstable individuals who are particularly dangerous and aggressive (again, even by Ork standards). These Orks wander off and tend to form their own small, roving band of pirates and corsairs. Naturally, they are eager for adventure, combat and booty and are quite happy to tag along with other Ork tribes and WAAAGH!s as mercenaries.
Forsaking their former klans' distinctive apparel, Freebooterz wear styles of dress intended to emphasise their mercenary status, decorating themselves in flamboyant clothing and piercings such as ear and nose rings. Having long since abandoned any tribal or klan loyalties, they have adopted highly personalised insignia in place of their former klan symbol.
Some of these Orks prefer to remain anonymous, some want to forget, some want to start a new life, but most have simply forgotten who they were. Often they will employ what the Imperium has named the "Jolly Ork" skull and crossbones icon, a universal symbol of all Freebooterz.
These mercenary Orks are known to use this sigil to adorn their banners, clothes and vehicles. Freebooterz are also recognized by the rag-tag appearance of their Ork bioniks, due to their lack of access to Painboyz or Mekboyz. Their injuries are often superficially treated, thus many Freebooterz sport peg-legs, hooks for hands and eye-patches.
The pirate band serves as these outcast Orks' new home. As a result, they roam the universe in small, often dilapidated Ork spacecraft, and hide out on isolated planets and large asteroids.
The band is usually led by a hardened Warboss who prefers the title "kaptin." These individuals are the biggest, strongest and most cunning cutthroat Orks within these mercenary warbands. They dress even more flamboyantly than their fellow Ork Freebooterz, often sporting large tricorne hats and thick greatcoats that can conceal numerous weapons.
There are those who would claim that the Orks are not the greatest of spacefaring races, that their voidships and weapons are unreliable constructions of scrap and parts salvaged from the ships of the other star-faring races, crudely refitted by luck rather than judgement.
There are others, however, who point to the fact that the Orks can be encountered in every corner of the galaxy and the supposed limitations of their technology have not held them back from being some of the most feared and effective pirates among the starfaring peoples.
Their ships are massively armed and loaded with Orks eager for a fight, and an Ork's natural love of violence and acquisition make him a terror to other interstellar races.
Ork Freebooterz want more of everything: more weapons to grow stronger, more salvage to build ships and war machines, and more wealth for prestige among their kind. While many items captured in raids are of little use to the Orks, such plunder is valued highly by other races that fight and die to protect it. Thus, the value lies in the opportunity for battle, and no Ork shirks from a good fight!
Orks rarely organise above the level of a single starship. However, small fleets can form around a particularly charismatic or successful Ork leader, known as a kaptin. To the mind of an Ork Freebooter, two things are uppermost: battle lust and greed.
In the Koronus Expanse, Orks are usually encountered in small raiding ships, roughly the same size as an Imperial escort vessel. However, the size of an Ork voidship is deceptive: invariably, the ship is crammed with a green tide of Orks, which ensures that any boarding action is likely to only go one way.
An attack by Ork Freebooterz tends to be brutal and direct, with the Ork ships rushing headlong toward the enemy firing every gun they have before ramming and boarding their victims. The directness of an Ork Freebooter attack does not mean, however, that an Ork Freebooter kaptin lacks cunning. Orks often lurk in asteroid fields on the edges of star systems where they cannot be seen by the sensors of ships passing to or from the void. Ambushes on convoys of supply ships from this kind of hidden position are common, and even small fleets or warships are not unheard of.
Should an Ork Freebooter kaptin feel the need for bigger prey, the crew may descend on an inhabited world or space station, loot and burn it, and withdraw to their ships and the protection of a debris field.
If, however, the Orks of a Freebooterz fleet are really spoiling for a big fight, they are likely to brutalise a world or void station and just wait and see who or what turns up to try and stop them.
Freebooterz in the Koronus Expanse
Ork Freebooterz lurk throughout the Koronus Expanse in the region of the Halo Stars beyond the Calixis Sector. From crude space stations built in asteroid fields or debris clouds, numerous Ork Freebooter Kaptins lead their fleets to loot whatever they can find and fight whoever crosses their path.
Even the relatively explored star systems close to the Maw have all felt the iron fist of Ork piracy; in the past Footfall itself has come under attack from the ships of Ork Kaptins who had become powerful enough to command great swarms of gunships and kroozers.
Luckily for those journeying into the Expanse, the presence and predations of the many Ork Freebooter fleets is haphazard and without unified purpose, and they are often inclined to war upon their own kind as much as anything else.
- Freebooterz - Freebooterz are the typical Ork pirates, akin in almost every way to a standard mob of Ork Boyz.
- Flash Gitz - Those Ork Flash Gitz who acquire too many teef even for their fellow Gitz to stomach are often exiled from their klanz and forced to join Freebooter bands.
- Outcast Warboss and Retinue - Sometimes Ork Warbosses get pushed out of their tribes by a new Warboss who does not succeed in slaying them. These giant Orks and their retinues of Nobz often become the foundations for a new Freebooterz band.
- Renegade Mekboyz - Some Freebooter bands are made up of Mekboyz from different tribes who have gathered together in pursuit of their common interest in a certain technology. This is true, for instance, of the Ork bikers who make up the Freebooter band of Wazdakka Gutsmek.
- Bad Docs - Many of the Ork Painboyz who have performed the infamous but popular "Squig Brain Transplant" get exiled from their tribes after only a few "successful" operations and find new lives among the Freebooterz, though whether this is actually an advantage or a hindrance is very much an issue.
- Renegade Runtherds - Those Ork Runtherds who begin to feel for their Gretchin and can no longer stand to see their Grots used as cannon fodder often leave their tribes behind and become Freebooterz, such as Zodgrod Wortsnagga.
- Renegade Speed Freaks - Some Ork Speed Freeks get exiled from their tribes for particularly destructive feats of vehicular derring-do. They inevitably end up among the forces of the Freebooterz.
- Dreadmob - Dreadmobs are those Ork Painboyz and Mekboyz who have devoted themselves entire to the construction of Deff Dreads often end up in Freebooter bands.
- Weirdboy Warpheadz - Those Weirdboyz who become addicted to their psychic powers often eventually become deadly dangers to their tribe and are forced into exile. Some of these renegade Ork psykers have even become daemonhosts, which makes them even more dangerous. However, there are many Ork Freebooterz that will still take in these Orks simply for the powers they can command.
- Freebooter Minderz - Particularly large or tough Orks often used by Freebooter bands as bodyguards for the Kaptin and enforcers of his will among his crew.
- Wild Ork Outlawz - Outlawz are Feral Orks whose only contact with more advanced Ork Kultur has been with Freebooter bands, whom they often join "ta see da 'verse."
- Ork Mutants - Some Orks develop mutations when exposed to the power of Chaos or other environmental mutagens just like humans or the other intelligent races. These Greenskins are shunned by their own people just as other mutants are, though they are sometimes accepted by the Freebooterz.
- Chaos Renegade Ork Warband - Orks are very rarely corrupted by Chaos, but some of the more vicious and militant Ork Kaptins will seek to serve the cause of the Dark Gods in return for the power they grant him. But for both the Ruinous Powers and the Orks, such alliances rarely end well.
- Khornate Stormboyz - Some Ork Stormboyz discover that the doctrines of the Blood God Khorne are right up their alley. Of course, they are usually ejected from their tribes for betraying the worship of Gork and Mork. Like other exiles they often become Freebooterz.
- Gretchin Bandits - Some Gretchin find the Freebooter lifestyle very appealing and come to believe that they can be as effective at pirating as the bigger Greenskins. Sometimes they are actually even right.
- Ork-Genestealer Brood ("Green Brood") - Among the most dangerous Freebooterz are those groups of Orks who have been infected by the DNA of a Tyranid Genestealer and produced the immensely powerful Ork-Genestealer Hybrids from their reproductive spores. These groups form Orkoid Genestealer Cults that often act as Freebooter pirates preying on Imperial commercial and passenger shipping to spread the infection and curse of the Genestealers. These Freebooterz are some of the most dangerous xenos in the galaxy.
- Badrukk - Better known as Kaptin Badrukk, Badrukk is one of the most infamous Ork Freebooterz or space pirates of all time. He has plied the stars in his steel-jawed Kill Kroozer Da Blacktoof for several blood-splattered decades. He is the commanding officer of the Ork pirate band known as "Badrukk's Flash Gitz" who have fought with many of the Ork Warbosses active in Imperial space, including most of the more recent Warlords and their WAAAGH!s. He holds forth to any that will listen that without the devastating weapons of his Gitz, many of those selfsame Warlords would have been long dead -- a claim that any who have seen this pirate band in action may well believe.
- Blackgit - When Hive Fleet Behemoth fell upon Jagga in 752.M41, the pirate base of Kaptin Blackgit, the Ork Kroozer that formed Blackgit's fleet launched boarding parties to storm the encroaching bio-ships. The tide soon turned when the rampaging Orks awoke the Tervigons within each ship, which spawned countless broods of Termagants. The Orks are swamped and the Termagants then flood back through the Orks' own boarding tubes to slaughter the Kroozers' crews. Blackgit, sensing defeat as the communications from his fleet abruptly ended, attempted to escape by ramming his ship through a lone bio-vessel blocking his path, only to fatally discover it is a starship-sized spore mine.
- Blacklaw - An infamous Ork Freebooter Kaptin who led his Freebooterz in a raid in 934.M41 against the Strathium Orbital Space Docks, but were successfully driven off by Elysian Troops, ending a decade-long blockade by the alien pirates.
- Bluddflagg - Bluddflagg, also known as Kaptin Bluddflagg, is an infamous Ork Freebooter captain who has commanded his Ork pirate crew across the Korianis Sector in a savage display of destruction. He plundered the Aurelia Sub-sector for an unknown period of time during the Third Aurelian Crusade. Unlike most Ork Warbosses, Bluddflagg is not entirely motivated by the desire for a bigger WAAAGH!, but also by loot. This drove him to become a successful Freebooter, and provided him with the unusual ability for an Ork of choosing only those fights which he sees as the most profitable.
- Borgum Backstabba - As a lowly Ork soldier on a Kill Kroozer in the Koronus Expanse, the Ork known as Borgum loved the thrill of boarding enemy ships with his Freebooter crew, the Boneskulls. He earned a reputation for particular brutality in those boarding actions against Imperial ships. Blasting “umies,” as Orks refer to humans, was a skill that he excelled at and he was chosen to personally accompany his Kaptin on a raid against the frigate Hammer of Heresy. When the Orks boarded the ship, the fighting was fierce and Borgrum and his Freebooter Kaptin became separated from the other raiders below decks. Unbeknownst to the Kaptin, Borgrum had his sights on bigger things for himself, and used the chaos of the combat to plunge his Choppa deep into the back of his leader. Then, after dispatching the defenders, Borgrum made his way back to the raiding party wearing the Kaptin’s oversized hat on his head and Shoota at his side. The other Boyz didn’t seem to care much about the change in command as the plunder was good and they didn’t have to do the thinking on the next part of the attack. Borgum easily assumed control of the Kill Kroozer Gork’s Gibletgrinda and set off to make a name for himself in the Expanse. Since taking control of the Boneskullz Freebooterz, Borgum has launched numerous successful raids against merchant and Naval targets ready for plunder. He is currently planning a large scale assault on the shipping lanes near the Maw, confident this should draw many new recruits to his cause.
- Dakbad Firegut- The first Freebooter to fall in with Warlord Grukk Face-rippa and his Red WAAAGH!, Dakbad and his pirates formed the vanguard of the Ork raiders. Dakbad's voidships had spent standard years raiding the worlds surrounding Eyrok with the reckless violence typical of any Freebooter worth his bloodthirsty reputation. When Grukk offered the kaptin a chance to share in the riches of battle, Dakbad did not take long to convince. Those worlds that had once been too well-defended or too strong for the Freebooterz fleet to attack alone would now fall under the meaty fist of Grukk. Firegut met his hand upon the world of Obstiria, the Chapter homeworld of the Obsidian Glaives Space Marines. He was charged by Grukk to test the formidable defences of their Fortress-Monastery, the Penumbral Spike. Leading a force of over a quarter-million Greenskins, Firegut led a massive assault upon the formidable citadel, but ultimately, the Orks were wiped out by the surviving Obsidian Glaives and their formidable reinforcements, comprised of 11 Dreadnoughts. Firegut met his end at the hands of their Chapter Master Midnias.
- Grubskraga "Da Unstoppabul"- After fifteen years of raiding Winterscale's Realm, Grubskraga has returned to the Undred-Undred Teef, a tract of systems at the heart of the Accursed Demesne that is a nest and breeding ground for Orks. Grubskraga's return was met with heavy fire from the guns of vessels commanded by Orks loyal to either Morgaash or Snaga. Since then, Grubskraga has proven to be a match for both his rivals, despite lacking the sheer numbers of Morgaash's growing fleet, or the resources that Snaga controls. Grubskraga is an exceptionally cunning creature, and though not as belligerent or ruthless as Morgaash, his grasp of Naval strategy is remarkable for an Ork after years spent clashing against human and Eldar fleets and observing their tactics. He exemplifies the Ork trait of "brutal kunnin." Grubskraga wants to control Undred-Undred Teef, and to do so, he’ll have to kill Morgaash and Snaga, or possibly supplant one and use his newfound resources to defeat the other. Force of arms is not an option, so Grubskraga may ally with one temporarily, looking for a chance to betray his "boss."
- Krod - The world of Tyrex IV hosted a small mining colony near the northern borders of the Koronus Expanse. A group of Imperial settlers established the outpost to take advantage of the rich promethium veins located deep within the planet. When the miners detected an unknown ship entering the outskirts of the system, they attempted to hail it. This only served to alert the Kill Kroozer Krod's Krusha to their location. The next month would become what one colonist’s distress call referred to as "Hell Unleashed," as Krod's Boyz took great delight in slaughtering the miners while the Kaptin's Mekboyz performed all manner of experiments to discover the various uses of promethium. Krod became increasingly more and more demanding for vast stores of promethium to be mined, and he worked his crews round the clock to harvest all he could. His trusted Weirdboyz continually asserted that a terrible danger was rapidly approaching, counsel that Krod took more and more seriously over time. Finally, Krod gathered his Boyz and left the world a shattered, broken shell. The excessive mining had destabilized the veins of promethium running deep in the core of the world, and as his ships left orbit Tyrex IV exploded. The massive explosion rained debris throughout the system and crippled three of the xenos ships as they made their escape. Krod has not been seen or heard from in the decade since the world’s destruction, and many wonder if he fell victim to his own greed on Tyrex IV.
- Mogdos Gilt-Toof - Said to be the richest Ork in all Charadon, Mogdos' deep coffers of teef are vast enough to pay for the services of the best Big Meks and Painboyz around. Once, he was a mere fang-ripper from a Bad Moons scrap fleet that was following in the shadow of a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan. The Ork vessels were scavenging the Dead Worlds that the forward elements of the Tyranids had attacked, before the bio-ships stripped the worlds completely. All was going well until the crews of the scrap fleet disturbed a dormant nest of bio-horrors on a dead human factory world. Mogdos was the only Nob to make it back to the fleet alive after the ensuing battle, and "inherited" its wealth, setting up base in the nearby Charadon Ork empire and throwing in his lot with the Arch-Arsonist Snagrod. Since then, Mogdos has followed Snagrod on his rampage across the Ultima Segmentum, making sure the other Warbosses pay their due and commissioning Meks to build the biggest and best war machines. For this reason, the Arch-Arsonist keeps the Bad Moon and his Boyz around, their flashy wagons and Mogdos' golden grin a prominent fixture in the WAAAGH!. Mogdos' reputation also extends beyond the reaches of the Charadon empire, and stories tell of how, when he filled his first voidship full of teef, he hid most of it. This legend of Gilt-Toof's treasure is told, in the main, by grizzled old Freebooterz, and has inspired many a greedy warband of Orks to wander off into the void looking for it, raiding worlds, and terrorising local populations in their quest for the alleged cave full of teef. However, the Freebooterz' stories contradict each other, each one giving different clues to the planet's location, ensuring the legend of Gilt-Toof's hidden hoard continues to remain a mystery.
- Morgaash Kulgraz - Morgash Kulgraz is one of the most prominent Freebooterz in the Koronus Expanse who is making a bid for overall leadership of the Ork Worlds within that region known as Undred Undred Teef. Morgaash is a cunning and ambitious Freebooter Kaptin. He is taking ruthless advantage of the numerical superiority of the Flash Gitz and Freebooterz in Undred Undred Teef, as well being bigger and harder than all the other Warbosses, to support his rise to power. This brutal Ork leader first appeared in the Koronus Expanse aboard a heavily damaged Space Hulk, the Fist of Gork. Although barely spaceworthy, the Hulk was filled with loot from other parts of the galaxy. None could say how long the Space Hulk had drifted in the Warp before arriving at Undred-Undred Teef, but Morgaash’s impressive arrival was just the beginning of his rise to power. A cunning master of ship-to-ship combat, Morgaash wrested control of the largest and most powerful ship in the system, a massive Battlekroozer named Da Wurldbraka. Morgaash then got a crew of the strongest, most aggressive Boyz from the other Kaptins, including as many of the psychic Ork Weirdboyz as he could find. Da Wurldbraka quickly became a ship as legendary as its Kaptin, a nightmarish sight that caused panic amongst smugglers and Rogue Traders alike in the region. Morgaash has struck quickly and forcefully in every raid, allowing handfuls of survivors to spread his infamy across the Expanse. Armed with weapons of baleful and bizarre cast, Da Wurldbraka is constantly surprising its enemies with the breadth of its capabilities. Most vessels in the Expanse can only hope to get clear before the dark xenos warship ends the battle by crippling its opponent and planting its Kaptin firmly on the enemy’s bridge.
- Rekka - It is not often that Kaptins of Freebooter crews are also skilled in one of the various Odd Boyz disciplines. Most Kaptins concentrate their time on plundering and fighting, which leaves them little room for other pursuits. Rekka is one of those rare exceptions, and is a Mek that rose to command his own crew and ship. From the bridge of his Battle Kroozer, Gorkicus Meks, this cunning greenskin has carved a path of plunder throughout the southwestern segment of the Koronus Expanse all while continuing to create new Ork technology for his Boyz to use. One of his most notable claims to fame (among the other Freebooterz) is the development of a massive ship-mounted Shokk Attack Gun. Like its smaller, shoulder-mounted counterpart, this massive weapon opens a tunnel between two points through the warp. Rekka uses this weapon to send hordes of Boyz into enemy ships; the sudden appearance of scores of greenskins inside the secured areas of a ship catches the defenders off guard and gives the Freebooterz a decisive advantage in boarding actions. Rekka has also created special helmets for his warriors to wear that help shield them from the horrors of the warp tunnel, though often sending helmetless, crazed, warp-terrified Boyz into battle works just as well for him. This whirling doom has crippled at least three human warships, making Rekka one of the most wanted Freebooterz in the Expanse.
- Skabgob - Skabgob has a deserved reputation amongst the Freebooterz as a "roight sneaky git," but he also has the brute strength and warrior skill to thrash any Ork that gets on his bad side. When on a mission, Skabgob camouflages himself by strapping pieces of scrap and debris over his armour, and festooning himself with frayed wires and cables. The Kommando is particularly proud of his helmet, fashioned from an Imperial cogitator terminal. Though it’s questionable if this tactic actually contributes, Skabgob is an undeniably effective saboteur. In battle, Skabgob favours a weapon he calls "Da Nek Cutta," a vicious, double-ended chain knife looted from a forsaken world upon which no sane being would tread.
- Skelkap Graffletz- Skelkap Graffletz is as dangerous as any Ork Boss, and almost impossible to stop once in combat. As with many Freebooterz, Graffletz's armour is tailored—and accessorised—to mimic that of the Imperial Naval tradition. Whether this is a true imitation, or another example of the Orks' instinctive knowledge, no one can say. Like any good Ork, Graffletz prefers to lead from the front, ripping enemies apart with his power klaw, or lopping heads off with his crude, yet effective, chain axe. Graffletz gets a particular kick out of slaying enemy Captains, generally making such deaths as messy as possible, to remind "da boyz" why he's in charge.
- Snaga Morbad - Claiming to be centuries old and having fought in the last Waaagh!, Snaga is really only clinging to power. Though perhaps not as old as he claims—few Orks ever really care enough about history to be certain of such things—Snaga is old, and while he retains the massive frame and powerful physique of his youth, something about him failed long ago, and the Kaptin is quite mad. His insanity has taken its toll, and he is easily distracted and often forgetful of simple matters, though still possessed of a fearsome rage that has left piles of corpses in his wake. Clad in a colossal suit of Mega Armour, Snaga remains a terrifying opponent, so long as he remains lucid enough to fight. Snaga’s dominance of the orbit of Tusk has forced both Grubskraga and Morgaash to establish bases of operations elsewhere.
- Old Zogwort - One of the most powerful Warpheads in existence, he travels from battle to battle looking for the places where WAAAGH! psychic energy flows like a waterfall. These are great battles and he soaks it up, reveling in his power until a bolt of green lightning flies from his eyes and turns his foes into Squigs.
- Wazdakka Gutsmek - Wazdakka Gutsmek is an Ork Mekboy and more specifically an Ork Bikeboy, perhaps the greatest to have ever lived, who currently serves as the Warlord of a WAAAGH! comprised entirely of Speed Freeks. He rides a heavily modifed Ork Warbike known as the "Bike of the Aporkalypse" that is outfitted with a monstrously powerful Shoota called the Dakkakannon that possess the ability to destroy even a tank.
- Zodgrod Wortsnagga - Zodgrod Wortsnagga is an infamous Ork Runtherd who was exiled from the Snakebites Klan and became an Ork Freebooter, selling the services of his mercenary band of enhanced Gretchin, known as the "Supa-Runtz", to desperate Ork Warbosses and Warlords in need of troops.
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 23
- Codex: Orks (2nd Edition), pp. 65, 68-69
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pg. 57
- Codex: Orks (7th Edition), pp. 40, 55-57, 68
- Codex: Tyranids (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 32
- Freebooterz: Space Ork Army Lists (1st Edition), pp. 9, 12, 14, 18-20, 22, 24, 26, 31, 42, 44-46, 48, 50, 52, 57
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 352-354, 376-377
- Rogue Trader: Edge of the Abyss (RPG), pg. 54
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pp. 66-69
- Rogue Trader: Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pp. 72-73
- Rogue Trader: Stars of Inequity (RPG), pp. 135-136
- Waaargh! Orks (1st Edition), pg. 66
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution (PC Game)