House Orlock The House of Iron
Updated: Jan 16
Greetings one and all,
Today we head out into the ash wastes to the mining camps of House Orlock, where countless toil away their days picking through the waste of generations past hoping for that lucky find. so grab your wild snake and your shotgun and let's drive into the wastes.
The beginnings of House Orlock can be traced back to the 38th millennium as a simple clan of prospectors working on the edge of the spoil. This mountain-range size of refuse from generations past had become the most productive mine on Necromunda, once every scrap of natural wealth had been extracted from the planet itself.
In these mountains of rubbish, Olandus Orlock came across the find of a lifetime (to be honest though, it was the find of a dozen lifetimes at least); a fallen starship. Being a clever man, he kept this find to himself, spending years selling off the salvage of the ship and reinvesting the credits earned from it into his clan to expand its operations.
Not satisfied with this alone, however, Olandus set his sights on the entire mountain of spoil. A majority of the spoil was held by House Orlund, and to confront them, Olandus Orlock called together a number of the larger clans, and he gave them a choice; join him in taking down House Orlund, or don’t walk out of the meeting at all. In the end, the clans Kanmund, Cinderjack, and Merdena all joined Orlock. Those that didn’t had their assets seized by the new alliance, who added the spoils of their takeover to their own.
The attacks on House Orlund started with a disappearing delivery here and there, then raids on Orlund mines and roadblocks on shipments. Eventually, the battles spiraled into running gun battles through the spoil and in the underhive. Ultimately, House Orlund asked the Imperial House, House Helmawr, for assistance with the attacks. But unfortunately for House Orlund the Imperial House has no taste for getting into a conflict, and so Orlund was told to deal with the upstarts themselves. This had disastrous effects however, as by not getting involved the Imperial House had given unspoken consent for the other great houses to also interfere. And the enemies of House Orlund were fast to jump on the alling house and take advantage of their weakness.
Eventually, in an act of desperation the leader of House Orlund offered his youngest daughter to Olandus Orlock's eldest son to try and broker a truce. But this would go on to be the final nail in House Orlund’s coffin, as less than a year after the two of them were wed, House Orlock took full control of all of Orlunds possessions and fully established itself as the masters of the spoil.
House Orlock has continued its monopoly on mining, controlling the major mines in the spoil and every smaller mine across Necromunda, and it has since expanded into transport and alcohol as well. House Orlock brews a drink called ‘Wild Snake’, which is considered to be the best drink on Necromunda (for the hivers that is); strong and not tasting completely of urine, it's the choice of millions looking to take the edge off after a 14hour shift.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for House Orlock though. The Crucible Schism nearly brought the entire House down upon itself, and it was only saved by a meeting eerily similar to the one that led to its founding. In the 41st millennium, the house is in cold(ish) war with House Delaque, with raids, assassinations, and running gun battles common between the two.
Orlock Road Captain
The most well rounded of the various house leaders, Road Captains aren’t weak in any one particular area. That said, their strengths lie in firearms and ranged combat rather than melee, and with access to a huge number of ranged weapons you’re spoilt for choice as to how to arm these guys.
Orlock Road Sergeant
Having a worse weapon skill stat than the Road Captain (+4 instead of +3), Road Sergeants are models you really want to arm for ranged combat. Though they do have a rather extensive list of weapons to pick from, and with a ballistic skill of +3 they are more than likely going to hit whatever it is they’re aiming at.
Orlock Arms Master
Stoney faced die-hards, these are the Road Captains enforcers leading from the front and setting an example to the Gunners and Greenhorns. Unfortunately though their equipment list is a little lackluster, but they do get access to the arc hammer (and the master craft version as well) with its Strength stat S+3, AP -1, Damage 3, melee class, pulverize, and versatile, this weapon will take down anything as long as your arm master can land the hit. And with a weapon skill of +3 that shouldn’t be too hard.
The foot troops of the house, Gunners have a fairly average stat line. They have access to a nice array of weapons, but they have more of a focus on solid slug weapons than any others (the ability to get a boltgun is nice though). Anything with the rapid fire trait will help you bring the hurt and there is plenty here to choose from. I’d avoid going down the melee route though, especially if you might be fighting more melee focused groups like Goliaths.
The fastest of all the Orlock gang members, Wreckers are given a jump booster which can be activated in either safe mode, giving the Wrecker an extra 3 to his movement, or overcharged which gives their movement 3+D3 instead. But you need to be careful with this ability, because if you roll a 1, it means that the jump booster has broken and the Wrecker becomes prone and pinned. If all goes well these are great for getting into prime firing positions and catching enemy gangers unawares. That said, thanks to their hot headed rule, if they die other members of their gang won’t really be too quick to replace them, unbothered with the idea of living fast and dying young. However, if they do manage to live long enough Wreckers can go on to become Road Sergeants or Arms Masters.
The youngest and newest of any Orlock gang are the Greenhorns. They have a very limited equipment list but do benefit from the fast learner trait, meaning they do not pay the extra 2XP to improve a characteristic passed the first time. They can also become a specialist once they reach 5 advancements.
As well as the aforementioned members of the gang, the Orlocks can also have a number of hangers-on that attach themselves to the gang and offer their services; for a price. Normally the price is simply keeping them safe, fed, and well stocked. The Orlock have two unique hangers-on in the Grease Monkey and the Prize Fighter. The Grease Monkey can overcharge the brutes and jump packs of Orlocks gangs. However, such things are not without cost and if a one is rolled during the overcharge process, unfortunate events can occur. A Prize Fighter on the other hand can be thrown into fights during downtime and generate plenty of credits for the gang. But again, this is not without risks either, because if a double 1 is rolled to resolve the fight during downtime then the Prize Fighter loses. and dies.
House Orlock also gets a brute, and in this case, it’s an Orlock Lugger Cargo Servitor. Servitors are common across the Imperium; mind-scrambled and cybernetically modified for basic tasks, they are a sad shell of humanity. For House Orlock, with their easy access to servitors, they sometimes donate them to their gangs. A monotask servitor with a heavy weapon can lay down a harrowing amount of firepower while taking damage that would knock any other ganger to the deck.
Finally, we have the pets of the house. Even in the far future mankind's most faithful partner is by our side, and for House Orlock, Cyber Mastiffs dutifully and faithfully follow at their master's side. These hounds are cybernetically improved to better survive the dangers of the 41th millennium, and they’ll not only attack whomever their master tells them to, but they’ll even stop others from Coup De Grace-ing their master when they’re down. They’re just really good boys.
Bravado Skill and Legendary Names
Orlock Leaders and Champions get access to a special skill set called Bravado. These skills are all about relying on your brothers, calling out your foes, and getting the most out of your kit. Essential skills in the ash wastes. These skills are as follows; Big brother, Bring It On, Guilder Contacts, King Hit, Shotgun Savant, and Steady Hands. Shotgun Savant is my personal favourite, as it enables you to use the short-range accuracy bonus of your weapon at long range instead. And rolling two D6 and picking the highest for weapons with the scattershot trait is just tasty.
Following the theme of Bravado in their skills, it stands to reason that reputation would be quite important to a member of House Orlock. In game, this is represented via the Legendary Names system, in which you can not only improve upon the ‘basic’ naming convention of your gang members by adding a little extra flare to it, it also gives your gang members special abilities. Turning your leader Mitch Orlock into Mitch “One Punch” Orlock, the man who with a single punch knocked out that Goliath Forge Boss last game, makes for a pretty intimidating character on the board. Legendary Names are broken up into three categories; Unbelievable Escapes (with names like “Bullet Dodger” and “Blade Breaker”), Impressive Leadership (giving you names such as “Iron Stare” or “Bigman”), and lastly, Improbable Beat Downs (with names such as “One Shot” and the aforementioned “One Punch”). The special abilities that come with these names are definitely something to consider taking, as “One Punch” as an example gives you a chance to roll a single D6 when making a melee attack roll with that character, and if it hits, no matter what you rolled, it’s resolved at a strength of 8 and damage of 2, and no save roll can be made to avoid this. That said, these names are then something that your gang member has to live up to in order to keep it. No one's gonna follow Tom “Rock Steady” Orlock if he’s always running away, are they?
From Gamesworkshop itself, the Orlocks have two boxes of models available, with one weapon and upgrade set. The first box has nearly everything you might need to build a basic gang consisting of a leader, two champions, gangers, and juves, while the second box contains all the parts to build an Arms Master and Wreckers, and two Cyber Mastiffs. So it’s a necessary purchase if you want these models in your gang. The upgrade set contains different weapons and head choices to fully personalise your gang members and equip them with a whole range of weapon choices that are available. Following all of this, Forgeworld also has a small range of models as well. allowing you to field some female models, change up the heads even further, and even field a pair of uniquely named characters in House Orlock; Slate Merdena & Macula, the House Orlock Road Boss and his faithful mastiff companion.
Overall House Orlock is a ranged firepower house, specialising in medium range weaponry. They favour shotguns and autoguns to really lay down the hurt on a charging foe. I wouldn’t expect them to do too well in close combat, especially versus true close combat gangs like the Goliaths and Corpse Grinders for example, but as long as you play to their strengths, this can be a really effective gang.
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