The Orcan Stonecrushers are an Ogryn Abhuman Imperial Guard regiment that hails from the high gravity world of Orcus, located in the Calixis Sector. Following their discovery by the Imperium in the wake of the Angevin Crusade, the Ogryn population were welcomed into the Imperium and wholeheartedly embraced the Imperial Creed. Recently, several Ogryn regiments have been raised in the aftermath of the Imperium's retaking of Orcus from the traitorous Severan Dominate forces during the massive campaign being fought in the Spinward Front.
In the the wake of the Angevin Crusade, the colonists and Administratum tithe assayers swept through the newly conquered worlds of the nascent Calixis Sector, cataloguing planets and determining their usefulness to the Imperium. The world designated Orcus was found to be unsuitable for colonisation due to its high gravity, yet, paradoxically, was already inhabited. Administratum Census Proctori and Adeptus Mechanicus Genetors confirmed within one solar year that the human-descended denizens of Orcus were stable Abhumans, classifying them as Ogryns. The representatives of the Priesthood of Earth began the task of bringing Orcus into the Imperial fold. He classified the planet, its native flora and fauna, and its Abhuman inhabitants; but it would be many standard years before the Administratum found an appropriate purpose for the inhospitable world.
Orcus is a largely barren planet of rocky crags and plateaus. The native animal life tends toward the large and dangerous, while the flora consists primarily of hardy grasses and mosses. Saltwater oceans cover approximately a quarter of Orcus' surface, fed by freshwater streams that flow from the craggy mountain peaks. Orcus' native inhabitants primarily live on the equatorial region's rocky highlands and lowland plains, although smaller communities can be found in the mountains and even wandering the frozen tundra of its poles. The native Ogryns are hearty enough to survive almost anywhere on the world's surface. The Ogryn inhabitants of Orcus live a primarily hunter-gatherer lifestyle, following the herds of gonar beasts in their migrations across the plains. The tumbled and ruined remains of ancient human colony complexes are largely buried beneath millennia of earth and growth and, though the native Ogryns claim that the ruins have always been there, the clear semblance to known STC patterns indicates that these structures were the abodes of the Ogryns' forebears. However, by the time of the Angevin Crusade, the Ogryns' technology level was profoundly primitive, with most groups lacking even the knowledge to forge basic metals. Stone or bone weapons dominated, and what few trees grew on Orcus were made into massive spears for hunting the great beasts of the plains. Even if the Ogryns had the mental capacity to utilise the surviving equipment of their ancestors, their oversized and clumsy fingers could hardly manipulate it.
Despite a few initial incidents, the majority of the native Ogryn population welcomed the Imperium, not unlike the way a child might enthusiastically welcome a returning parent. The Missionaria Galaxia introduced the Imperial Creed to the population far more quickly than they expected, as the Ogryns wholeheartedly embraced the worship of the Emperor. It soon became apparent that the Ogryns craved the Emperor's approval, interpreting His status as the Father of Mankind quite literally. The gargantuan inhabitants of Orcus flocked to hear the word of the Ministorum priests, hanging on their every word, though failing to comprehend many of them. Despite such success, throughout this initial contact the world's crushing gravity was a constant problem for the Imperium's agents and Adepts. Consequently, much of the work of assimilation and governing had to be done from orbiting spacecraft, and later from permanent orbital facilities. Those devoted missionaries and priests who proselytised to the Ogryns could endure only brief periods on the surface, returning frequently to the starships and void stations in orbit, much to the Ogryns' disappointment.
In 609.M40, the Adeptus Administratum found a use for Orcus. With its high gravity acting as both a natural form of restraint and unusual punishment, the Adepts decreed that Orcus would serve as a Penal World. Immediately, construction began on massive penitarium complexes -- much to the bemusement of the natives -- and Adepts of the Administratum and Adeptus Arbites began drafting the native Ogryns to work as guards and custodians. The crushing gravity ensures that ordinary humans can tolerate only short spans on the world's surface, and so the Arbitrators who manage the Penal World cycle through brief rotations on-planet, with the rest of their time spent aboard Orcus' two orbital stations, situated in geosynchronous orbit above each pole. During their terms on-world, the Arbitrators act primarily in a supervisory capacity, leaving the day-to-day guard duties to the Ogryn custodians, whom they often refer to as "guard dogs", or similar derogatory terms. Yet most insults go unnoticed by the Ogryns, who are happy to serve in any capacity, as long as they believe it is the Emperor's will.
Orcan Stonecrushers in the Spinward Front
The Orcan regiments have something of a unique position on the Spinward Front, owing to their recent history. Orcus is situated firmly with the Periphery, and was amongst the planets claimed by the Severan Dominate when Duke Severus XIII declared his secession. For many solar months, this meant little, until the "liberation forces" of the Severan Dominate arrived. The miniscule contingent of Adeptus Arbites stationed on the planet were completely unprepared to hold off the invading force. Their chances might have been better with the native Ogryns' assistance, but the Ducal Legates reached them first, ensuring such aid would not come. The Duke's own political officers quickly swayed the loyal Ogryns to their cause, twisting the Abhumans' devotion to the Emperor, just as the forces of the Severan Dominate did on many other worlds. Much to the Severan Dominate's satisfaction, this act proved much easier with the simple-minded and trusting Ogryns. The Ducal Legates succeeded in convincing a large number of the Ogryns, including chieftains and Bone'eads, that they represented the will of the Emperor, and that obedience to Duke Severus would please Him on Terra. Wisely and correctly concluding that the small presence of Ministorum priests stationed within the penitarium complex would pose the greatest obstacle to the conversion of the Ogryns, the Duke's forces struck at the representatives of the Ecclesiarchy swiftly, despatching special operations units to silence them. This being done, the Severan Dominate's wordsmiths continued their mission to recruit the dim-witted Orcans to the Duke's cause. With the aid of the native Ogryns, the Severan Dominate quickly took control of Orcus.
By the time Imperial reinforcements arrived in the form of the Brontian 23rd Light Infantry, with artillery support from the 203rd Krieg, Orcus was firmly in the hands of the Severan Dominate, who had begun recruiting Imperial convicts and recidivists of all stripes to their cause. Many of these individuals, already resentful of the Imperium, took little convincing to swear to the Duke's service. Still more gladly pledged their service in exchange for freedom from the penitariums. Though this caused some concern for the native Ogryns, who had been taught for centuries to despise the prisoners as enemies of the Emperor, it was not enough to sway them from fighting alongside the Duke's forces to repel the Imperial relief. With the high-gravity conditions of Orcus, both the Severan Dominate and Imperial forces fought at a huge disadvantage, leaving the Ogryns as the deciding factor in battle.
With so many Ogryns bolstering their numbers, the Severan Dominate decisively won battle after battle. The turning point came when a number of Adeptus Ministorum priests took to the field, hoping to rally the Brontian forces for a renewed counter attack. Recognising the preachers as representatives of the Emperor's will, the Ogryn forces faltered when they saw the scions of the Emperor's word about to be slaughtered. Their leader, Brik Agrak, switched sides once more and rushed to the preachers' aid, barrelling into the Severan Dominate infantry, swiftly followed by his Ogryn warriors. In the confusion, it was only thanks to Brik's Bone'ead surgery, required for his duty as a pen-block supervisor, that a battlefield alliance was possible. Loudly affirming the Ogryns' loyalty and devotion to the Emperor, Brik parleyed with the Ministorum detachment and quickly rallied the other (rather confused) Ogryns to redirect their attacks against the Severan Dominate forces. With Brik's assistance, the Imperial Guard soon rallied the rest of the local population to the Imperial cause. As word of the Severan Dominate's treachery spread throughout the Ogryn population, they rose up and retook their world alongside the Imperial forces. The victory took many solar months, but with the Ogryns against them, the Severan Dominate lacked the manpower to hold their territory. With previously unseen fury, the Ogryns decimated the Severan Dominate forces that had deceived them into betraying the Imperium.
In the aftermath of the retaking of Orcus, the Departmento Munitorum was understandably wary of the Orcan Ogryns. However, even during the Duke's control of Orcus and the natives' misguided allegiance to him, Orcan forces had continued to serve the Imperial Guard loyally in the Jericho Reach, Scarus Sector, and even in the Spinward Front. The Orcan regiments fought valiantly against the forces of the Severan Dominate, even while their brethren at home were swayed to the Duke's cause. Weighing all factors, the masters of the Departmento Munitorum saw fit to raise several additional regiments from Orcus, once the pacification was all-but-complete. The General Staff immediately pit these new regiments against the Severan Dominate on a half-dozen worlds, with Commissars assigned to directly supervise their activities. Sure enough, the newly recruited Orcans fought ferociously against the Severan Dominate forces, driven by rage at the Traitors and an overwhelming desire to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Imperium and the Emperor.
Recently, officers of the Departmento Munitorum have made the controversial recommendation to raise a penal regiment from amongst Orcus' imprisoned criminal population. With the ever-increasing need for personnel in the Spinward Front, this action is proceeding, and a new Orcan regiment of a very different kind is soon to be amongst the Imperial Guard forces fighting against the enemies of the Imperium on the Calixis Sector's border.
Training and Equipment
Orcan regiments have an advantage over many forces raised from other Ogryn worlds due to the training that many of them undergo to serve as guards of the Orcan penitarium complexes. These Ogryns have experience following orders, however limited and simplistic they might be, which is valuable to the Imperial Guard. Because of this, Orcan regiments have a reputation for being somewhat easier to work with than other Ogryn forces. With many of them having already reached the limits of their mental capacity, Ogryns raised from Orcus often undergo even less training than other Ogryn regiments, which is to say practically none at all. Orcan regiments are equipped with extremely heavy and thick Flak Armour incorporating numerous rigid plates. While still basic and simple to produce, this armour provides greater protection than typical models of Imperial Guard Flak Armour, enhancing the Ogryns' already considerable resilience. As with nearly all Ogryn regiments, the standard-issue weapon of the Orcan regiments is the Ripper Gun, a massive automatic combat shotgun, far too large and unwieldy for use by a normal human. While the recoil alone could tear a man's arms from his sockets, the Ogryns of Orcus seem completely oblivious to the kick, happily blasting away at their foes with burst after burst of fire. Drawing on their primitive instincts and talent for brutal melee combat, the Departmento Munitorum has also seen fit to grant many Orcan regiments with additional melee weapons. While Ripper Guns are built to withstand use as clubs in hand-to-hand combat, many Orcans prefer weapons with the feel and effect of the crude stone greataxes, hammers, and mauls of their homeworld. Similarly, simplistic weapons crafted of more advanced materials are significantly more effective in battle, and their shiny surfaces seem to please the Ogryns greatly.
In addition to their Munitorum-issue kit, many Orcans bring primitive weapons from their home, or the heavy-duty truncheons issued by the Adeptus Arbites for their gaoler duties. Despite the orders of their superiors in the Imperial Guard and even the Commissars, whom the Ogryns adore, many Orcan regiments practice barbaric rituals that are common in their society, from taking the skulls of their slain enemies or other such grisly trophies, to loud and raucous celebrations featuring their traditional "music." Such issues are not unique to the Orcan regiments, and are common with regiments raised from Feral Worlds. Such activities are less common amongst the Ogryns who have served as guards for the penitariums, however -- yet another reason the Departmento Munitorum prefers to recruit such individuals to the greatest extent they can negotiate with the Adeptus Arbites.
What follows is a list of the most common items of wargear issued to the members of the Orcan Stonecrushers regiments:
- 1 Ripper Gun and 4 Clips - A Ripper Gun is a massive automatic combat shotgun, far too large and unwieldy for use by a normal human, which is a favoured weapon of the Ogryns.
- Imperial Guard Flak Armour - The most common type of armour used by Imperial Guard forces is Flak Armour, and it is standard-issue combat gear to the countless millions of Imperial Guardsmen who fight on the Emperor's behalf across the galaxy. Many layers of ablative and impact absorbent material go into making each suit, enough to deflect or negate most low-level attacks such as small arms, shrapnel, and proximity blasts. Solid hits from high impact weapons can generally negate it, but given that it is relatively lightweight, cheap to produce, and dependable in most combat situations, many veterans keep using it even when offered something better.
- Orcan Stronecrushers Imperial Guard Uniform
- 5 Krak Grenades - Krak Grenades are crafted with powerful concentrated explosives designed to punch holes in armoured targets such as vehicles or bunkers. While stronger than Frag Grenades, Krak detonations do not produce a blast effect and their more focused explosion makes them less practical as anti-personnel weapons.
- 1 Mono-Great Weapon
- Poor Weather Gear
- Basic Toolkit
- Mess Kit
- Blanket and Sleep Bag
- Rechargeable Lamp Pack - Sturdy and reliable, glow-globes illuminate many an Imperial paveway and cathedral. Most portable ones are roughly the size of a clenched fist and can shine strong, yellowish light a dozen or so metres in width, lasting roughly five hours before their power pack needs recharging or replacing.
- Grooming Kit
- Dog Tags
- 6 Weeks' Rations
- Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer - A standard-issue Imperial text that covers a vast variety of topics, this book is possessed by all members of the Imperial Guard as part of their standard-issue equipment. The Primer is a basic guide that details everything a Guardsman needs to know: principles and regulations of the Imperial Guard, issued arms, attire, apparatus, and equipment, basic battlefield policy and Imperial Guard organisation and structure, elementary battlefield medical instructions, and a detailed guide on the foes of the Imperium. No Guardsman should ever be found without possession of a copy of the Uplifting Primer for the punishment is severe.
Orcan 97th Stonecrushers
As elsewhere, the Orcan 97th is an infantry regiment that specialises in shock tactics and close-quarters warfare. Clad in heavy-duty Flak Armour and wielding a combination of robust Ripper Guns and heavyweight melee weapons machined for the hulking Abhumans, the Ogryns of the 97th are a terror to behold in combat. Charging through hails of enemy fire without regard to their safety, the Ogryns close with their enemies in order to annihilate them in the brutal swirl of melee combat. Typically, the warriors begin firing their ripper guns upon sight of the enemy, whether or not they are within effective range, and cease firing only once engaged in melee or they run out of ammunition. Due to Ogryns' intense fear of enclosed spaces, the squads do without Chimeras or other armoured transport, instead closing on foot. Because of this, the Ogryns are frequently assigned to battle zones with dense terrain and an abundance of close-range engagements. However, out of necessity, arrogance, or incompetence, Orcan 97th squads are not infrequently assigned to warzones where they must cross no-man's-land or other open terrain in order to engage the enemy up-close. Fortunately, the Ogryns' robust physiques and heavy armour include that only the most dedicated enemy fire has a chance of stopping them before they charge into the foe's ranks.
On paper, the highest-ranked member of the Orcan 97th, and by default its commanding officer, is Bone'ead 1st class Yurp Clandek. However, even the most intelligent of Ogryns is unfit to lead any organisational unit larger than a single squad. Because the Orcan 97th, as most Ogryn regiments, is divided up and spread across numerous fronts, where individual platoons or squads are seconded to other regiments or formations, the question of commanding officer is a moot point. In practice, the Abhumans of the Orcan 97th are at the command of whatever officer leads the force to which they are assigned.
Lacking any sort of grasp of strategy above that of an ordinary human child, Clandek is completely incapable of coordinating efforts across the vast distances between squads, even were he to possess an understanding of the logistics of long-range communication. Consequently, once split away, Orcan 97th squads are completely isolated from the rest of their regiment, often permanently. In cases where squads of the 97th serve long-term with a particular regiment, they sometimes adopt certain elements of that regiment. However, adaptation is not a strong point for the Ogryns, and most squads of the Orcan 97th remain unchanged, regardless of the time elapsed since they last saw others of their kind.
The Orcan 97th is one of the regiments raised in the aftermath of the Imperium's retaking of Orcus from the Severan Dominate. Consequently, its squads are almost invariably watched closely by Commissars, who frequently even accompany the squad into battle. These Commissars refrain from integrating too closely with their charges, both due to the unsavoury nature of the Orcans' personal hygiene and other personal customs, and so as to remain wary for any signs of lingering treachery. For their part, the Orcan 97th crave the approval of the Commissars and other representatives of the Imperium, desiring only to prove their loyalty to the Emperor. To this end, they fight bravely and ferociously against the Traitors of the Severan Dominate, and strive to follow orders to the letter -- no matter how confusing the instructions might be to the dim-witted, yet well-intentioned Ogryns.
- Only War: Shield of Humanity (RPG), pp. 20-23