Monday, July 21, 2008

Ork Kulture

The currency of the Orks is teef. We know this from before even Gorkamorka, though it was then that it became relevant. We know that the Bad Moons are the richest of the clans because their teef grow earlier, faster and longer; we know that all Orks grow and regrow teef at a fairly constant rate. We know that teef are an effective universal currency, since all Orks can grow teef for themselves or knock out the teef of the next Ork along. Due to the lack of medical sophistication inherent to a society where the most delicate tool is the choppa, and the prevalence of Orka Kola, teef cannot be hoarded (toof dekay). The number of teef in the universe has a direct and stable relationship with the number of Orks. Teef are a kurrency well suited to Orkdom. But why do Orks need kurrency?

What would an Ork want to spend their teef on? Gunz and wagons, of course (though that has problems in itself - see Mekboyz below). Food? There is talk of squig pies and fungus beer, but a Waaagh on the move will have plenty of 'umies to eat, and a Waaagh not on the move has Grots, Squigs, Snots and of course any Boyz who fall asleep without their shoota next to them. Perhaps finer culinary delights (dead cyboar stewed in its own lubricants) might take the fancy of Bosses, but to my knowledge there has never been anything said on Boyz living off more than the local fungus (mobile or not) and the slower Grots. And why would an Ork provide food for teef when they could be going out and stikkin da boot in? Grot scavengers seem to be largely responsible for providing food to the Waaagh, and the type of payment an Ork would give a Grot is likely to be along the lines of "and bring me more umies or I'll rip off your uvver leg". This is not an outlet for teef, except perhaps ones broken on unexpected bones or bullets.

Teef are stable, and there are no teef to gain from conquest; Orks do not go to war for profit motive (nobody else has decent teef, with the possible exception of Tyranids, who have more teef than anything else in the universe. The encroachment of the Hive Fleets may well cause a devaluation of the toof, and severe damage to the Orkonomy, if anyone ever beats them). Orks go to war for war's sake, and do not so much care about the profit involved, although they will of course engage in lootin' once the enemy are all dead, and may well trade looted stuff to the Mekboyz. Orks gain pleasure from fighting, not booze, and there are no Ork women (women being the principal reason for economic activity in a race that features sexual dimorphism). The only real reason an Ork would have for spending teef is gunz. Just as Heinz meanz beanz, Gunz meanz Mekboyz.

Mekboyz are responsible for the weapons, vehicles and other equipment of the Waaagh. Mekz were programmed by the Brainboyz/Old Ones to instinctively understand teknologee (Orkish force fields, produced by untrained savages, are comparable even to the Necrons or Eldar) Mekboyz, too, are not driven by profit motive or by greed for food or booze. Their motivation is to outdo other Mekz and make the blastiest kustom shoota, the fightin'est Dread, or the zoomin'est (red) trukk. Other Orks trade them teef for their gunz and trukks, but what do Meks do with their teef? More scrap and more guinea-grots to continue with their work.

However, since a kustom blasta will sell to a Nob for far more teef than the bitz used to make it, Mekboyz make a profit on their everyday work. What do they do with their teef? Spend them instantly on more scrap. Mekz gradually get richer and richer, their schemes more and more insane and extravagant, from shoota to mega-armour to Dread to Stompa to Gargant to Great Gargant to Mega-Gargant, until they die from botched surjery or get blown apart in an unexpected explosion, and their machines are left to the Waaagh by logical, fair Ork succession ("I saw it first and I's bigga") and protected by the rigid codes of ownership ("get yer hands off or I'll frag ya, ya thieving gitz").

To the established Mekboyz, teef are almost unnecessary as a kurrency. Meks will happily trade gunz directly for loot and scrap. However, without the Orks' ability to produce their own kurrency, the footslogging Boyz would be unable to get their hands on shootas to begin with, and teef thus remove financial "class" in Ork society, replacing it with the far more natural hierarchy of kunnin' and who's da biggest.

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