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One theory about the Ork race (which seems to have been largely debunked) is that Orks generate a telekinetic field that allows their weapons and technology to work properly. Without this field, it is discovered that their guns can't possibly fire, their vehicles' engines are little more than scrap metal, and their ships aren't even airtight.

From Lexicanum/Orkoid Physiology:

The Adeptus Mechanicus has theorised that this gestalt psychic field also has a telekinetic affect, allowing Ork technology to work. This argument has been debunked, even by the Imperium itself. It is believed that the reason this argument came into existence is that the Imperium believes that a 'Machine Spirit' inhabits all technology, and that this machine spirit serves humanity. If this is the case, without a machine spirit Ork machines could not work, requiring some psychic effect to justify their often devastating effect. However, Genetor Lukas Anzion has noted that many Ork-built weapons will not function unless wielded by an Orkoid. It is thought that this is the reason red Ork vehicles go faster: simply because the Orks think they should!

Lexicanum and other 40K wikis seem to have no sources cited for this. My question is where this theory came about (I've tried looking up "Lukas Anzion" to no avail) and are there any novels where this effect is displayed?

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This theory seems to be true.

First lets start from the out-of universe answer (sort of):

Ork kraftsmanship[..] Pooor quality:ittle more than an assemblage of scrap metal, Poor craftsmanship weapons suffer no additional penalties when wielded by Orks. However, any attempt by a non-Ork to use a Poor craftsmanship weapon causes it to jam instantly, or in the case of melee weapons, simply fall apart (Source)

So as you see being an Ork is enough to make their technology to work.

And the proof that Orks generate psychic fields can be found in the rules for Weirdboyz

They generate Warp Charge properly, use their powers like everyone else, and they even got a force stave into the bargain. Weirdboys also generate an extra Warp Charge if there are 10 or more Orks within 12″ (Source),

Now In-universe:

Orks haven't evolved, they have been created as a biological weapon (along Eldars) by the Old Ones - an ancient, extinct race that was fighting a loosing war with Necrons and C'tan. Their creators tried to make absolutely self-sufficient war machine - therefore Orks are born with all the skills they might need , including the natural understanding of technology. They also made them to create their own "Warp Source", because Necrons were actively trying to strengthen the barrier between Materium and Immaterium (the example were the Pylons on Cadia, that were protecting the planet from falling into the Eye of Terror). Now when you add those two together, you will know why they can create "teknology" that shouldn't be working using any available junk: their own source of warp-like powers is able to influence reality (as Adeptus Mechanicus say -"they can brutalise the Machine Spirit") to turn simple contraptions into working machines.

More to read https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Ork#Ork_Teknology

Sidenote: a common theory says that the Ork gestalt field is so powerful that it is responsible for keeping the Commissar Yarrick alive - Orks love to fight with him so much that they keep him alive, because it would be shame for such great enemy to die.

  • 2
    any non-wiki sources? – Paul Sep 6 '17 at 3:20
  • I'm looking specifically for examples in novels, rulebook fluff, etc where this effect is mentioned or explored, rather than the wikis; and not whether or not the theory is true. – Vanguard3000 Sep 6 '17 at 16:48
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    I dont have a copy but doesnt Xenology have a section on Orks and cover this whole aspect of there technology? – Richard C Sep 7 '17 at 12:33
  • Not really. That's where I thought it had been established as well. There's a lot about the Orks' fungal reproduction cycle but it doesn't seem to have much regarding their technology. – Vanguard3000 Oct 3 '17 at 20:34
2

TLDR

  • I had a comment for you, but it is too long for comment... so I made it longer.
  • I also noticed that my latest draft did not save and some of the points and quotes I had are missing... I will try to remember to add them later.
  • This is kind of becoming an answer and might point you in the right direction or give you some more insight
  • Your answer about how their tech works and is red really faster is likely in an Ork codex or as an aside in a novel if it can be found anywhere.
  • But Orks did develop the technology to travel the stars, by accident.
  • They do have a latent psyche that at the very least attracts them to one another, especially when a certain faction is successful in battle.

As far as I know the Ork psyche has never really been explained. We do not know the full extent of their abilities or how it all works exactly. I only have all the released rulebooks, but nothing as far as codices for the Orks or any novels that feature them.

First I will mention a couple points that attempt to debunk the entire idea that the Ork psyche is an all powerful force that works only in the Orkish favor and is the key behind their technology working and the ideas that 'if an Ork believes it, then it is true.'

This page I found here sheds some light into how Ork technology did, albeit by accident, develop into their ability to travel the stars: https://i.warosu.org/data/tg/img/0460/26/1458029629654.jpg

This link is important because it shows that the Orks developed/discovered the technology to travel the stars and does mention that their force fields were the origination of keeping the space hulks they traveled on air tight and supporting atmospheres. In addition it also shows that they build things, not just imagine them into existence. (Though it could be said the latent abilities are what lead to the breakthroughs initially...)

Also in one of the Space Wolf novels (I believe it was from Ragnar's Claw by William King) Ragnar and his merry band were infiltrating an Ork detachment of some size and commandeered an Ork trak. So non-Orks were using Ork vehicles/technology without issue. It could be said that if an Ork or high enough number of Orks are not in the area that Ork tech will not function, but Space Marines were able to not only use it, but they also raced another Ork trak as well pushing it to the limit (I do not remember who won?!).

What I can tell you about the Ork psyche and other somewhat related details is this:

In contrast to the answer posted by @Yasskier I will also argue that the Eldar did not create the Orks. I could be wrong but this image I found has a quote from and Eldar about Orks being the pinnacle of creation: https://img.fireden.net/tg/image/1446/50/1446506377038.jpg

I believe that there is still a unified idea that the Orks were genetically bred, the only question is by whom; be it the Old Ones or otherwise, but I don't think that quote fits if they created the Eldar.

Orks are born of spores, hence the mushroom ideology. The rulebook that mentions this is the 5th Edition:

A numerous race, the Orks are never truly beaten, for when an Ork is finally killed he releases thousands of spores that settle in dank places and eventually mature into yet more Orks.

Second I can tell you that Orks actually grow in size after engaging in successful conflict/combat. I am still searching for which book mentions this, but I know it is there somewhere... I believe this is the primary way that the Orks grow in their stature. I would argue that this is connected to their psyche as well, possibly even that the Orks who witness the success feed the energies into the successful Ork for him to grow in size and power. Though if I don't find this quote I will be upset because it is basically the same as 'red go faster.'

Third, When Orks gather in large numbers they essentially create a homing beacon for more Orks, this from the 6th Edition:

Large conglomerations of Orks generate mental energies, their bloodlust echoing through the Warp to act as a beacon - summoning more greenskins to join their cause.

Though this is also dependent upon the Waaagh! continuously having success. Also from the 6th:

Success breeds further success, and every Ork victory calls yet more greenskins to join the cause.

This would mean that at a point of failure the Orks "beacon" would be turned off and Orks would no longer be drawn to the area. Therefore the collective psyche of the Orks is dependent upon success and their morale not being broken. I believe that it is possible, given that we have no true source as of yet regarding Ork technology, that this is where the ideas of "Orks think red is faster so it is" and "Orks think the behemoths they build are powerful and so they are" ideologies come from.

Though I also came across this trying to find some codex page screenshots on google:

Orks, having an understanding of the universe built into their genetic memory, obviously having an innate understanding of the doppler effect. Things moving faster away from the ork have their colours red-shifted, and hence an ork would recognise that fast things look red. Ergo, red wuns go fasta.

I'm not sure where they know this from, but it could be a purely scientific type answer to that thought process and unfortunately de-mystify them even more.

I believe that the closest rationale or explanation we have of how the Ork psyche works is from the 7th Edition:

The Ork psyche is so strong and robust that their reflection in the mirror-universe of the Warp is a potent force indeed.

And while this may enlighten more details on how their psyche works it is also the cause of more questions, primarily, why the 'mirror-universe' of the Warp and not just the Warp? So do the Orks have their own layer of the Warp carved out in a mirror-universe that their presence resides in?

Like I said, these details do not answer your question, but perhaps they shed some light on details you may not have known or another user may have their memory jogged of something they have seen that may shed some light as well. And of course a lot of these details are from older editions as well. As much as I hate accepting GW's reversals on published lore, some of these could be skewed or entirely reversed in the newer codices.

  • " that the Eldar did not create the Orks." Eldars haven't created them, Old Ones done it during the War in Heaven (when Old Ones were fighting Necrons). Also it is true that non-Orks can use Orky technology (there were quite a few examples in the fluff in "Gaunt's Ghosts", "Armageddon"etc), but it was always described as an "exceptionally good" construction, not typical shoota or choppa. The source of my first link (pointing to Rogue Trader) says that only poor quality equipment can be used only by Orks. – Yasskier Sep 11 '17 at 21:16
  • I must have misread your response. I thought you had the idea that the Eldar created them... As far as using Ork tech, I am sure that that has changed over the years as all things. Apologies if I hurt your feelings with my answer. I'm just trying to help the OP... – Odin1806 Sep 11 '17 at 23:09
  • Oh, no hard feelings :D Indeed what Orks can and can't do heavily depends on the writer :D – Yasskier Sep 11 '17 at 23:10

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