View Full Version : Pirates in the 40k universe?

05-11-2005, 20:01
Okay we know that there are Eldar pirates in the form of Outcasts (Corsairs and Yriel's warband) and the Dark Eldar (to a certain extend). But what about human pirates or Orks? How common are these? In the Imperium it might be difficult since Warp capable ships are not that easy to come by I guess, would they steal Imperial warships or would they have bases and produce their own ships?

Are there official background examples of Ork and human pirates? Does Chaos also use piracy as a way to wage wars against the Imperium?

Inquisitor S.
05-11-2005, 20:13
Human pirates: Wolf Packs in the Gothic conflict
Ork pirates: Freebooterz of course...

05-11-2005, 20:15
Is there more info on the Freebooterz? As far as I remember they we're basicly Orks who werent part of a Clan. And if Clan is set genetically, would this mean that Orks becoming pirates has been determined by genetics?

Inquisitor S.
05-11-2005, 20:20
Well, there was a whole book dedicated to them in the ol' Rogue Trader days (named, suprise, surprise "Freebooterz" ;)), so there should be plenty of information somewhere out there. I dimly remember some Freebooterz character of the 2nd edition, too...
Freebooterz are (in my opinion) not genetically determined but simply outcasts.

EDIT: there seems to be some information in >>'Ere we go<< too, I'll check that when I find it again.

05-11-2005, 20:27
Hmm so it is also possible that there are Ork Clans who resort to piracy? I can image Blood Axe and Death Skull pirate warbands. However I would see these figures more as pirates with a big ship instead of their human counterparts who fight in Wolfpacks. Orks would have a single big ship mostly, similar to those piratemovies:evilgrin:

Inquisitor S.
05-11-2005, 20:33
Well... Since Freebooterz are not really mentioned since the 2nd Edi it's difficult to say. I'd say no, as freebooterz always have been from different clanz, so I'd speak of a Pirate band but not of a clan.

So, in the 2nd edition Ork Codex there's Kaptin Badrukk and his Flashgitz, a very famous pirate band. They seem to be a big ork pirate group that plundered entire planets.

05-11-2005, 20:35
The 3rd edition Codex briefly mentiones them, only in the lines: "they are not a part of the clans" and thats about it

Inquisitor S.
05-11-2005, 20:39
2nd edi codex states that they are orks who don't accept the normal ork system of "society". They do not only live on piracy but also hire themselves out as mercenaries.

But already in 2nd there almost no information on them, sorry, and "Freebooterz" is quite hard to come by... :(

05-11-2005, 20:41
Sounds like Blood Axe behavior, how would "inter-xenos" relationships be amongst pirates? Would humans still remain xenophobic? Would Orks accept the leadership of a human captain? I do know that the Eldar pirates un Yriel had Zoats as bodyguards, however that might be outdated fluff.

Inquisitor S.
05-11-2005, 20:47
I do know that the Eldar pirates un Yriel had Zoats as bodyguards
Hm, never heard that, where did you get it from?

And there is not really any information on inter-xenos pirates and given the nature of orks I doubt that they would submit to a human leader.

05-11-2005, 21:02
well piracy and privateering has classically been the tactic of nations without enough strength to lauch full fleets but wish to do some damage to an enemy and make some money along the way. therefore you would probably see the smaller powers in 40k like tau, eldar or chaos lords with not alot of power supporting privateers

Inquisitor S.
05-11-2005, 21:09
Never heard of Tau pirates...

05-11-2005, 21:28
Hm, never heard that, where did you get it from?

Rogue Trader Ė The Book of Astronomican - copyright 1988

And there is not really any information on inter-xenos pirates and given the nature of orks I doubt that they would submit to a human leader.
What about humans submitting to an Ork Leader, or the Orks meeting a human who they respect. (Commissar Yarrick is an example of such a human)

therefore you would probably see the smaller powers in 40k like tau, eldar or chaos lords with not alot of power supporting privateers
The Tau would probably have friendlier ways than piracy, they want people to join their Greater Good, so they would probably stick to a gigantic propaganda war instead of attacking weak targets. Unless you are in the middle of a war and have to take out supplylines, but would this be piracy or conventional warfare?

Suicide Messiah
05-11-2005, 21:53
I think an ork would submit to a human leader, if the human could wipe the floor with him in a fight. Not many of those types of humans around though...

05-11-2005, 21:59
A rogue Space Marine. Remember that not all rebel Space Marines turn to Chaos, many of the Fallen Angels have become pirates/mercenaries, others have tried to fully integrate back into human society.

05-11-2005, 22:10
In the Spanish Web GW


Yriel (Eldar Pirate Princess)
Huron Black Heart (Chaos o Renegede Marines)
Memet Poralius ( Tau Corsair) (Gueve'sa)

05-11-2005, 22:24
Never heard of Tau pirates...

Look for the Tau Commerce Protection Fleets. They make sneak attacks at Imperial trade routes and set up protection rackets afterwards.

All in the name of the Greater Good, of course.

05-11-2005, 22:48
I believe that the 3rd ed orks codex describes freebooters as coalitions of orks formed from all different clans after some protracted conflicts where individual clan numbers are very small but a single, powerful ork warboss is able to keep these inter-clan animosities from coming out through sheer strength (literally). Building on this i believe that after time passes and this group of orks fight in more and more conflict they become more and more unified and stronger as a fighting force and further forgetting about any previous clan loyalties and thus become "freebooters".

But im certain that freebooters are not the only ork pirates out there. A lot of ork kulture is space based so i imagine regardless of what clan or "organisation" you belong to as an ork, as long as you are part of a space faring bunch then you will most likely engage in piracy.

05-11-2005, 22:49
The 'fluff' has human pirates existing. The question is whether they are merely substellar craft that exist beyond enforceable boundaries of a given system, or whether they are interstellar craft. In the case of the latter the suggestion is that, once again, technology would have to be somewhat 'diffuse' (which I believe it is anyway) to be able to maintain 'restricted' technologies (i.e. warp drive, etc.) without recourse the traditional 'rogue Tech Priest' blah blah.


06-11-2005, 09:55
That brings up an interesting question, if we look at the BFG list for ships we can see they have a bunch of warp capable ships, but how would they maintain their fleets? Tech Priests wouldnt work for pirates since they are loyal to the Machine God, so how would they be able to maintain their ships? Would they be able to do it without the Tech Priests? This would mean that the Adeptus Mechanicus might have a possible competitor when it comes to the knowledge of Warp technology (and other very high technology), the consequence of this might be that the Adeptus Mechanicus might lose its monopoly position on this kind of technology. Wouldnt this mean that the Adeptus Mechanicus would try to do anything to stop these pirates?

06-11-2005, 10:06
I believe that some space marine renegades do resort to piracy. Isnít that what the Red Corsairs do? i can't remember the issue, but I think there was a White Dwarf article about Renegades recently, and I believe it said that many SM renegades use piracy to get new equipment and supplies.

06-11-2005, 10:28
Its great that they get new equipment through piracy, but without an Adeptus Mechanicus presence they wont know how to use those new goodies:o Unless they figure out themselves how all the technology would work, but then the Adeptus Mechanicus would try very hard to hunt down these techno-heretics!

Ivan Stupidor
06-11-2005, 20:21
Keep in mind that there is a large quantity of lay engineers (ie, not tech-priests) on any Imperial (and therefore pirate) ship, and they are fairly competent - any normal routine maintenance and minor battle damage probably isn't beyond their abilities. Anything major would need to be taken care of at a pirate base or friendly shipyard (in the same way Imperial vessels get fixed up after battles). This, if anywhere, would be where a rogue tech-priest would reside - one priest and his staff could service a score of ships.

In my mind, the three things Imperial ships take for granted - Tech-Priests, Navigators, and Astropaths - are rare and expensive on the black market. They know they're in high demand, and they charge appropriately. Only the richest and most successful pirate captains would have all three types on board their ship, and most captains would consider themselves lucky to even have one.

06-11-2005, 21:31
This inter-xenos thing got me thinking.

A Space Marine could possibly keep a couple of Orks in check. What if the pirate captain has a loyal Ogryn? The Orgryn could certainly smack the Orks around a bit to keep them in order. But it doesn't seem very likely that it would work with more than a handful of Orks.

And how would the pirates keep the Ork reproduction under control?

On techpriests:

Is it possible to steal imperial ships and thus aquiring their "clearence". Perhaps the adeptus mechanicus doesn't know the ship is a pirate vessel. Either because the pirates have forged the clearence or have a stolen/captured ship that hasn't been reported stolen. News move slowly through space, it may take a long time before somone realizes that a missing ship is really missing.

And is it completely impossible to bribe a Tech Priest into servicing a ship? The pirates could for example offer the Priest any interesting technology they capture. The priests might think that any lost or alien tech he can get his hands on might be worth helping out a piratecrew.

Brother Othorio
07-11-2005, 00:31
the fluff for freebooterz in Realms of Chaos: The Lost & The Damned (they were available to Thousand Son and Death Guard armies) was that they would fight for anyone who payed them , i believe second edition chaos armies could also include ork units

Easy E
07-11-2005, 21:35
As to inter-Xeno units; in the old 'Ere We Go book the Blood Axe warband could also have human mercs and Ogryns as part of the list. So apparently, human forces would also work under a Warboss.

07-11-2005, 22:00
Human renegades would work for an Ork, but would Orks work for a human? For a rebel Space Marine perhaps? I like the idea of lone Space Marines who have fallen into some sort of powertrip ("oh look we are superior to normal humans and we should rule bla bla bla") escaping from his Chapter and trying to run his own little pirate warband. Fallen Angels are known to end up serving as pirates or mercenaries.

08-11-2005, 23:14
Well, there is an example of orks working for Chaotic humans in a certain BL novel...


Zombie #246
09-11-2005, 10:01
The Fallen Angels are a chaos marine group right?

09-11-2005, 10:25
Not always, not all Fallen Angels become Chaos Space Marines, some try to see forgiveness for their betrayal and surrender to the Dark Angels. Others hide inside human society and try to help humanity, others become pirates and mercenaries.

09-11-2005, 11:26
Ork freebooterz are essentially exiles from their clans, either through their own choice, circumstances beyond their control, or because their warboss has booted them out.

As to inter-Xeno units; in the old 'Ere We Go book the Blood Axe warband could also have human mercs and Ogryns as part of the list. So apparently, human forces would also work under a Warboss.
Some were mercs or pirates fighting for the highest bidder, others were imperial guardsmen sent to divide the orks as a race. If all the clans united, then the fear was that they'd be unstoppable.