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Themed Army Ideas
Other Ork Themed Army Ideas

Striped Ork-eaters of Auros IX by Ken Lacy
Regular visitors to the Millenium Gate's excellent forum know Ken as The Fabulous Orcboy, resident academic genius. In addition to what you read here, you can also check out some of Ken's brilliant 40K analysis and battle reports at The Warmonger Club.

Ken has had a lot of success with the Striped Ork-eaters of Auros IX, his army of  "Rebel Grots." If you like this army idea, take a look at his concept for Eldar Exodites. 

There are two ways to create a Rebel Grot army, both of which will be examined here. The first is to field a fully legal Ork army using Codex: Orks, but substituting or converting Grots for various Ork mobs and units. The second is to field a fully legal Imperial Guard army using Codex: Imperial Guard, but substituting or converting Grots for various Guard squads and units. Remember that your selection of army codex will affect the play style of your Rebel Grot army: "Orky" armies will be much more aggressive, while "Guard" armies will focus on sitting back and blasting the heck out of the enemy.

Keep in mind that it will be possible to convert virtually any vehicle or unit into something Grot-like. However, the flavor of a Rebel Grot army is more than simply the conversions--it's also in the selection of units, and I'm hoping to provide some examples of that here. One of the biggest problems you will face is that most of the units in both an Ork and a Guard army have statistics drastically superior to that of the average Grot. Your challenge when proxying a conversion for a unit is to justify giving a Grot the superior abilities and/or equipment.

For the past several months, the Grots within the great Ork Warboss Sho-T BigHed's warband had really been getting fed up with the Orks. It wasn't just the usual "Why are they in charge when we're smarter" gripes, nor was it related to daily abuse that they always suffered. No, it having to live around a bunch of increasingly frustrated and thirsty Orks who certainly weren't being all that generous with their water supplies, despite the fact that it was the Grots who were keeping the warband together!

Now this was certainly not beyond the range of typical Orkish behavior, and the Grots most likely would have just sucked it up and found ways to survive until things were back to "normal," but suddenly one of them (maybe one of those new Grots?) started whispering, and it spread like wildfire among the Grots: "Enough is enough and we're just not going to take it anymore!" 

Now, frustrated though they were, no Grot on Auros IX was stupid enough to stand up for himself in the face of an Ork, so they started planning in secret. Doing that was more familiar and comforting, anyway. They naturally began gravitating toward those among them that grabbed the reins of leadership, and these leaders in turn organized amongst themselves, and then some of them (those that knew about it) told the others about The Cause. It took a little time for its message to sink in, but when it did, it found fertile ground. "You mean that it's the natural order of things for the oppressed to overthrow their oppressors?" What a foreign concept! What a dangerous concept!  What an immensely gratifying one!

They began to organize an army to free themselves from the Orks, and even began planning to take Auros IX for themselves! (Well, in their more fanciful moments, of course. Grots are actually quite practical, so when being realistic, they had to agree that they really only needed a very small part of the planet. Just so long as there were no Orks there and no Orks could track them down.) A couple of the newcomer Grots had heard of the notorious Gretchin Revolutionary Committee, and of the legend of the Red Gobbo. "Well, we need some of that, too!" cried out the Gretchin (in their private meetings, of course). "We need a really fierce Head Honcho of Head Honchos to lead us to victory!"

After the selection process, the newly installed (and understandably nervous) Grot leader found himself involved heavily in the planning phase of the initial operation. During that period, he and his staff (basically consisting of the other leaders) began thinking about something, anything, they could use to give them an edge against the Orks. After all, even the most optimistic Snotling in the bunch had to face up to the fact that they desperately needed an edge! And somewhere during the discussion, the obvious came up. "What about them Fighting Tiger humies what keep beating the Orks so bad?"

Everyone liked that idea, a lot. The only problem was, no one was quite sure what it was that made the humies so tough. "Is it because they are big old pussycats?" some Grot asked. The Orks had been talking and laughing about that a lot. The problem was, none of them knew what a pussycat was, and they were pretty sure none of the Orks knew, either. All they knew was that it wasn't complimentary at all, and that was no good. "I heard it's because some of them are female..." someone else tentatively volunteered. But that just confused every Grot more. Weren't they humies? Or were they females (whatever those were) instead? What was the difference? No one was quite sure. 

Then a little Snotling piped up. "Maybe it's all them silly stripes what they paint on themselves?" Some of the Grots just laughed at him, but then the newly-selected Red Gobbo jumped up on the pile of ammo boxes and oil drums they were sitting around and screamed, "That's it! That's what drives that turd-pile Sho-T all crazy! He's always talking about how them stripes have to have special powers that let them fight so good! Boyz, we're set--all we need is some stripes, and we'll be unstoppable!"

And with that began the story of the Striped Ork-eaters of Auros IX, the infamous Rebel Grot army that would eventually become the notorious Branch 519 of the Gretchin Revolutionary Committee.

No one is ever really sure how it first starts. Orks are always abusing Grots, yelling at them to fix this, or fetch that, or simply smacking them around because they're in a bad mood. Naturally no Grot particularly appreciates this, but those few that openly speak out against such treatment tend to be quickly dealt with by the much larger and far more brutal Orks. This quite naturally discourages such outspoken behavior by Grots, and they usually end up quietly grumbling about Orks in private but publicly accepting their lot.

Every once in a while, however, it won't be just a handful of Grots that get fed up. Instead, hundreds or even thousands of Grots will simultaneously attempt to better their position in Orkoid society, efforts which typically end in rather vicious and bloody fashion. But sometimes, to the surprise of everyone involved (particularly the Grots), the Grots manage to organize sufficiently to become a power unto themselves, whether that power is covert (and the organization entirely underground) or overt (and the Grots a military and political power on their own). These Grots are known collectively (when mentioned by Orks at all) as Rebel Grots, a title such Gretchin bear proudly.

One of the larger (and by far the most notorious) Rebel Grot organizations is the self-titled Gretchin Revolutionary Committee, due entirely to the Committee's very successful recruiting and propaganda campaigns. They actively seek out and establish ties with smaller Rebel Grot groups, infiltrate Grot agitators and demagogues into still-oppressed Grot communities, and provide new "start-ups" with technical and strategic advice. The legend of the "Red Gobbo" is one of the most successful bits of propaganda that has been spread by the GRC, and their autonomous cell structure has proved just as successful; so much so that even non-affiliated Rebel Grot units have appropriated these elements and made them a part of their own organizations!

"Orky" Rebel Grot Army
The 2000 Baltimore Grand Tournament winner, Dave Handy, created a Rebel Grot army using Codex: Orks. Although I didn't have the opportunity to see much of his award-winning army, it did inspire me in the creation of my own Rebel Grot force. This army is based on the concept of a rather rag-tag army (possibly only recently having "rebelled") consisting largely of subpar units (the Gretchin Mobz), with a smattering of elite units to "stiffen" it up.

"Orky" Rebel Grot HQ
Grots, no matter how fanatical or dedicated, would hardly lead a full-out assault against another army. Unless they were very, very well protected, of course. Thus an "Ork" Rebel Grot army will find its Red Gobbo (Warboss) equipped in Mega-Armor in almost every instance, providing him not only with ample protection, but also with augmented strength and combat ability. Some very well-equipped Red Gobbos can equip a Bodyguard (Nobz Bodyguard) with similar armor, forming a very fearsome, and very hard-hitting, core to a Rebel Grot force, sometimes even riding a Big Lugga (Trukk)--such a bodyguard almost always includes a Banna Wava, a Grot picked for the honor based on his fabulously good fortune. Former Mek Assistants (Mekboyz) are few and far between, and usually kept safely back at "base," building and repairing the Weapons of the Revolution, but once in a while they will be risked in a battle, partially protected by the very force field projectors that make them so useful in the field.

The simplest conversion here is to buy and assemble a standard suit (or suits) of Mega-Armor, and simply substitute a Gretchin head (and usually torso) in place of the Ork head. Mekboy conversions might require a bit more work, as technically Mekboyz are not allowed to use Mega-Armor; so weapon-swaps or the addition of various bits and gubbins representing the oversized Grot Kustom Forcefield Projector might be necessary.

"Orky" Rebel Grot Elites
This category is a bit of a misnomer, as any warriors in a Rebel Grot force will, by definition, be the elites of the organization, but even among those warriors a few always stand out. They are either tougher, or nastier, or just plain crazier than their comrades--and in some case, all three. Two examples are Rokkit-Squigs (Stormboyz) and Spider Riders (Kommandos). Both types of Grot consist of animal-trainers and hunters who have caught, broken, and now ride a different kind of beast--the former some of the vicious Squigs that can always be found around Orkoid cultures, and the latter some variant of the ubiquitous and wide-spread arachnid xenotype. Most are led by a cunning and bloodthirsty believer in The Cause, known to Grots as a Head Honcho (Nob).

Rokkit-Squigs are an idea stolen from Dave Handy--Fantasy Squig-Hoppers with Stormboy Rokkitpacks attached to the backs of the Squigs. Although quite nifty and adding a technological touch, the Rokkits are not a necessary addition, however. Spider Riders are simply Fantasy Forest Goblin Spider Riders. As these will be the most "Ork-like" units in your army, it might be tempting to rely on your Elites to win games for you. I would argue it would not only maintain the flavor of your army, but also reduce the expense of creating one, if you limit yourself to only one or two Elites choices.

"Orky" Rebel Grot Troops
The heart of any Rebel Grot army, however, will be its core of volunteers. Units of Gretchin Mobz will provide most of the sheer Grotpower, although they rely more on sheer numbers than any real skill or (even) courage. To put a little backbone into a Mob, it is always led by a Head Honcho or a Committee Demagogue (Slaver), sometimes backed with a little bite in the form of a Squig Hound. A few fortunate Rebel Grot armies will even feature one or two Grot Shamans (Weirdboyz), psykers who normally are forced underground in Orkoid society due to their unusual gifts.

Gretchin Mobz are obviously made of standard Gretchin, but instead of an Ork Slaver, they are led by some kind of Grot character hero. It is generally to your benefit to include a Squig Hound as well, just to keep your very enthusiastic (but easily demoralized) Gretchin volunteers from scattering and hiding at the drop of a hat. Grot Shamans can be converted from any Fantasy Goblin Shaman. Obviously I am encouraging you to invest in Gretchin Mobz, as I tend to think that the other Troops choices available are too "Ork-like" and not Gretchin enough to be included in this army. Of course, if you can think of a decent justification or conversion for including Shootas or Sluggas (for example) in your army, you are welcome to do so.

"Orky" Rebel Grot Fast Attack
The more mechanically-inclined members of a Rebel Grot army gravitate toward speed, found in various forms. By far the most common (given their origin as Ork servants, assistants, and slaves) is a variety of salvaged or modified Ork vehicles, such asWarbuggies orWartraks (always with Grot Riggers, of course!) or even Warbike Squadrons (typically mounting two or more Grots per warbike), but the more feral armies even feature Wolf Chariots (Feral Ork Boar Riders).

Warbuggies and Wartraks obviously can be converted from standard Ork vehicles, only with Grot crew in place of the Orks. Warbike Squadrons will require a bit more conversion effort, with several Grots substituting for an Ork rider. As for Wolf Chariots, they are simply taken from the Fantasy line.

"Orky" Rebel Grot Heavy Support
The heavy hitting power of a Rebel Grot army will be found here. Gretchin have acquired plenty of practical know-wots about the operation and construction of Big Gunz, and are very comfortable with the idea of hanging back and shooting at an enemy, as opposed to rushing up and getting into their teeth. Less frequently (usually due to the limited resources of an army), a force will include a looted, salvaged, or custom-built heavy vehicle of some sort, ranging from a Dreadnought or Killer Kan Mob piloted by an enthusiastic batch of Gretchin, to a variant or equivalent of an Imperial Looted Vehicle (sometimes even stolen right from under the noses of their former Ork masters).

Big Gunz batteries will probably perform best with a Head Honcho or Demogogue (and their Slave Hound) around to keep the gunners from running at the first sign of trouble. As for the rest, this is your chance to go wild on conversions or ideas.

"Guard" Rebel Grot Army
As a long-time Imperial Guard player, this is the variety of Rebel Grot army that appeals to me the most. Unlike the "Orky" style army, the "Guard" style imagines a more professional force, consisting of a collection of well-equipped veteran Gretchin warriors, and fewer, but sturdier, vehicles; perhaps one with stronger and more direct ties to the notorious Gretchin Revolutionary Committee. The Striped Ork-eaters of Auros IX are just such an army.

"Guard" Rebel Grot HQ
Unlike his more extravagant counterpart, this variety of Red Gobbo (Command HQ) relies more on solid leadership and tactics than thick armor. His small bodyguard will usually include a Banna Wava, as well as some heavy weapon, and as the nominal head of the army, he will typically be in direct command of any Big Gunz Teams (Anti-Tank, Fire-Support, and Mortar Squads) in the force. Also, on occasion, a Rebel Grot force that has turned in a string of questionable performances will find itself saddled with a few Committee Liaisons (Commissars).

The obvious choice for the Red Gobbo is the Gorkamorka figure in the GW archives, a pretty nifty miniature in my opinion! Big Gunz Teams, as well as regular infantry squads, will require some heavy weapons; any Orkish Big Gunz will do fine, although some other suggestions include the Chaos Dwarf Rocket (missile launcher), Imperial Tarantulas, Imperial Mole Mortars (mortars), and even Imperial Thudd Guns (mortars). 

"Guard" Rebel Grot Elites
Even among the Grot "warrior elite," there are always a few more daring and adventurous souls that stand above the rest. Typically in a Rebel Grot force, these hard-bitten fanatics are few and far between, and rarely risked in anything but operations of the greatest import to the Committee. Examples of such units include the Committee Strike Force (Hardened Veterans), the Fist of the Revolution (Stormtroopers), Rebel Grot Snipers (Ratlings), and even, on occasion, a Troll-Squig Warband (Ogryns), usually kept in line by a Committee Demagogue (Preacher). In some cases, the Committee will even assign a Rebel Fanatic (Imperial Assassin), a one-in-a-trillion elite Gretchin killer devoted to The Cause.

Each of these units will require some conversion effort, but in general will be worth it, providing a little bit of extra flavor to your Rebel Grot army. However, I would argue that, much like an Imperial Guard army, it shouldn't be the Elites choices that make up the core of your army, but instead the Troops choices. It will not only maintain the flavor of your army, but also cut down on the sheer conversion work involved if you consider limiting the number of Elites in your Grot army to only one or two.

"Guard" Rebel Grot Troops
The heart of the army are the semi-autonomous Rebel Grot Mobz (Infantry Platoon), each led by a Head Honcho (Lieutenant) and his bodyguard (Command Squad). They are made up of a mix of long-time veterans and raw recruits, trained and equipped by the Committee, and as dedicated believers in The Cause, display a combination of professionalism and courage foreign to typical Gretchin mobz. Some mobz include a few heavily modified Big Lugga vehicles (Chimeras), which either are assigned to the Head Honcho, or to a unit of Armored Grot Mobz (Armored Fist).

Rebel Grots should invest a good deal of their points in their Grot Mobz--keep in mind that by Gretchin standards, even the statistics and equipment of a lowly Imperial Guardsmen are far superior to that of a typical Grot. This would mean that units that are "even better" than a basic Guardsman would inevitably be even rarer. As for Big Luggas, I only put one in my army, but it's entirely up to you how many you want to convert!

"Guard" Rebel Grot Fast Attack
Forming the mobile reserve of a Rebel Grot army are units like theMega-Skorcha (Hellhound), Rebel Grot Outrider Band (Rough Riders), and Mega-Armor Mob (Sentinel Squadrons). These units rely on speed and close-range hitting power to drive back enemies that get too close to the Mobz that make up the heart of the army.

I rather imagine Grot Outriders to be the flanking scouts and leading elements of any Rebel Grot army, particularly one on the move. Fantasy Goblin Wolf Riders (with lasguns and other weapons added) made the perfect conversion. Mega-Skorchas can be made out of the plastic Ork War Buggy model, suitably converted to represent the superior front armor of a Chimera chassis.  Finally, Mega-Armor mobs can be made from standard suits of Ork Mega-armour, with goblin heads (and torsos) in place of Ork heads.

"Guard" Rebel Grot Heavy Support
The units most valued by a Rebel Grot commander are often the ones least available. The Committee is extremely sparing (some would say miserly) with its armory of 'Eavy Vehicles, preferring to field them en masse, and rarely wish to dole out any portion of that corps to individual leaders. This has not stopped creative Grots from getting their hands on one or two artillery pieces or looted vehicles, or even custom-designing their own ramshackle vehicles, however.

Like any Guard army, a Rebel Grot army will have to determine for its own whether it will be able to field multiple Heavy Support choices, or will instead rely on Big Lugga transports (Chimeras), or instead mainly on its infantry forces. My personal preference is to limit the number of Heavy Support choices in the army to just one or two, just to keep a Rebel Grot force from being "little green Guardsmen."

Painting and Modeling
True to their name, the Striped Ork-eaters of Auros IX often scavage the battlefields of their home planet in search of discarded pieces of Fighting Tiger armor that they can re-use for themselves.

General Tactics
As befitting the codex used. "Orky" Rebel Grots should advance on the enemy; "Guard" Rebel Grots should wait patiently for their misguided opponents to come into range.

Thanks to Luis Nunez for coming up with the original concept for the Striped Ork-eaters of Auros IX!

Related Pages
Exodites: Another Themed Army Idea from Ken Lacy
The Warmonger Club
Sho-T Bighed's Orks
The Blood Deserts of Auros IX Campaign
Other Ork Themed Army Ideas

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© Copyright Ken Lacy, March 2001. Used with permission.
Fighting Tigers and Auros IX © Copyright Kenton Kilgore, January  2000


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