|This article is about the in-universe phenomena; for the book, see Waaargh: Orks.
The Orkish term Waaagh! refers to four related phenomena.
Waaagh! as a Psychic Field
A gathering of Orks generates a psychic field known as the Waaagh!, which allows Orks to instinctively recognize who is "bigga" and therefore in charge. [Needs Citation]
Waaagh! as an Event
- See also: List of Ork Waaaghs!
Waaagh! also describes the rare occasions when Orks stop fighting amongst themselves and band together against other races. This undertaking combines the aspects of a mass migration, a holy war, a looting party and a pub crawl, with a bit of genocide thrown in for good measure. In a typical Waaagh!, millions of battle-hungry Orks invade their target and stomp everything in their way flat. Just who is invaded is a matter of supreme indifference to the Waaagh!; battle is battle.[Needs Citation]
Waaagh!s naturally gain in size and impetus as long as they're successful and have something to fight. As the Waaagh rages on, more Orks will hear of the fighting and travel to where the action is. Thus, the longer a Waaagh goes on the more numerous it becomes.[Needs Citation]
Waaagh! as a Group
The third use of Waaagh! is the name for the massive horde of Orks gathered under a single Warboss - an individual Ork who is invariably the largest, most dominating and physically intimidating, and therefore able to unite different warbands of Orks into a horde, almost always for the purpose and duration of undertaking a Waaagh! in the second sense of the word. Very often the Waaagh! is named after this warboss.[Needs Citation] The Waaagh! of The Beast was so powerful that its effect influenced all of his Orks to grow far larger and more aggressive than normal. Even a standard "Beast Ork" Boy towered above a normal Greenskin.[1a]
A Waaagh! is typically dispersed at its defeat, the death of its Warboss or simply when it runs out of enemies. The combined warbands and tribes will then break up through infighting and inter-clan rivalry. Exceptions do occur: a particularly dominant Warboss occasionally manages to hold his boyz together, forging a small empire for himself. The best example of this is the Ork empire of Charadon, which has survived for thousands of years under the rule of successive Warlords.[Needs Citation]
Lastly, "Waaagh!" is the near-universal war cry roared by Orks in battle.[Needs Citation]
Variants and Revisions
When used as a war cry, the length of the term used can vary, usually indicated in print by a greater number of "a"s.[Needs Citation]
In earlier Games Workshop publications, the term Waaargh! is used.
- Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition Rulebook[Needs Citation]
- White Dwarf 389 (UK) pg.30
- Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook pg.169
- Codex: Orks, [Needs Citation]