Grots (or Gretchin) - biological classification, Orkus nasus - are small, cowardly Orkoid creatures who are responsible for performing most of the "civilian" functions in Ork society. They are, in many ways, 40K's answer to the Goblin archetype, with the usual green skin, large noses, and so on. Given their personality however, it is fair to suggest they are closest to the Gnoblar.
Their role in the Ork ecosystem is like that wimpy tech geek who gets caught in the highschool locker room by the football team and forced to do their homework and endure endless wedgies, purple nurples, and swirlies (unless you like that kind of thing). The life of a Gretchin fucking sucks as there's a high likelihood of you being shot, lit on fire, stepped on, eaten, or some combination of all of these. Due to the risky nature of their lives, Gretchins have developed a cunning, malicious streak a mile long; their entire society basically revolves around finding someone even smaller and weedier than they are to get stuck with the really dangerous jobs, but even the cleverest Gretchin is lucky to live for more than two years.
Note: In Age of Sigmar the Goblins have been renamed Grots. However since they remain otherwise unchanged, please refer to the page for
Orruks & Grots Orcs & Goblins, their Warhammer Fantasy name or the individual pages for the varieties Gitmob Grots Plains Goblins, Moonclan Grots Night Goblins, and Spiderfang Grots Forest Goblins.
By far the most common battlefield role for Grots is mobs of cannon fodder. Runtherds gather mobs of up to 30 Gretchin and "direct" them (usually with grot-prods) at minefields, or enemies that need to get bogged down in bodies.
Some Grots serve more specific functions than their brothers, because they possess skills that others don't, or just get lucky when the bosses divide up the work roster.
- Artillery Crew
- Grots who misbehave get sent to operate the Big Gunz that support Ork attacks from the rear. One would think that being away from the front lines would appeal to most Grots, but serving on the gun crews is, if anything, more hazardous than their usual duties -- for example, to fire a Zzap gun, a Grot must complete the power circuit with his own body. In any case, Grots who live long enough on the gun crews inevitably go deaf, and so they communicate via "sign language" -- that is, they hold up signs with what they want to say, like Wile E. Coyote.
- Killa Kan
- The career to which most Grots aspire is to be hard-wired into the mighty metal shell of a Killa Kan. Unfortunately, old habits die hard -- Gretchin in Killa Kans are usually just as cowardly as always, despite being nigh-invulnerable to weapons that would have vaporized them before.
- Painboyz often "employ" a Grot to carry tools, spare limbs, and to generally be an extra set of hands (sometimes in the most painful sense of the phrase). Considering that their models are removed from the table once they are used, they probably also serve as an involuntary source of donor organs.
- Vehicle crew
- Gretchin are better shots than Orks, so they are frequently employed to operate secondary weapons on vehicles. They generally get stuck in the little turrets and sponsons that are ubiquitous to Ork vehicles, and in many cases they are actually welded in to them by their big green brothers, due to their instinct to leg it when things get a bit hairy. This is all well and good until the Orks forget to feed them for a few weeks or so and some git gets stuck hosing out whatever remains. Sometimes, they also act as the pilots of so-called "Grot bomms" (they generally aren't told that the bomms explode on impact with the enemy -- or they are told, and the Orks take whatever Gretchin are crazy enough to stick around). In other instances, a group of Grots might even pool their resources to make their own small, ramshackle tanks.
- Gretchin with an inkling of mechanical aptitude are used as maintenance personnel for vehicles, because their small size lets them squeeze into small spaces where a Mekboy won't fit. Since they don't take up much space, said riggers often get dragged along into battle and made to fix vehicles as they get damaged.
- A particularly prized Grot who's good at not-dying may get to be a Mekboy's assistant! In this capacity, the lucky Grot will be assigned to help keep the machinery he's assigned to oiled and perform minor maintenance, because Gretchin are generally better at mechanical tasks than regular orks. Often they'll be applying oil directly to the rickety machines employed by the Orks using an Oil Squig.
- Ammo Runt
- A Gretchin powder monkey, forced to haul around excessive amounts of ammunition for their master's favourite Shoota, freeing the Ork from the need to reload it themselves so they can get on with the important stuff, like giving said ammunition to the enemy at high speed.
- Gretchin that are members of the Beast Snagga are notably considered a smidge braver than most other Gretchin and are affectionately named saddlegitz.
- Occasionally, Kommandos will employ grots as one-time distractions so that the Kommandos won't get hurt. That said however, Distraction Grots that survive get to be Kommando Grots and actually get shit done, using the distraction the Kommando Boyz provide to steal/sabotage/bomb/whatever objectives or sneak into places too small for Orks.
Why it sucks to be a Gretchin
- You're a scrawny midget surrounded by bellowing aggressive morons who consider killing you a small pastime.
- Other races also think you're about as expendable as a Tyranid gaunt, if not more so.
- Your name is also an insult throughout your race.
- You may be used as live ammunition.
- Alternatively, you may be used to steer live ammunition to the target.
- You're unlikely to live past the age of 2. Days. While inside the warband's camp and away from a major conflict.
- Your lifespan is even lower if you're ever in battle.
- You may be eaten as emergency rations when the boyz run out of good things to eat, or if someone wants a quick snack.
- Your guns suck worse than the flashlights used by the Imperial Guard.
- You and your friends will be used to clear enemy fortifications and defenses using your bodies.
- It's amusing when you go pop.
- You may get stepped on or run over by vehicles. Whether or not such acts are intentional is entirely irrelevant.
Why it is tolerable to be a Gretchin
- You are occasionally viewed as being mildly useful by your larger, empty-headed cousins.
- You achieve the amount of physical and mental maturation in just two years that takes a human twenty.
- You're small enough to fit in places no Ork could ever go, which is useful when ya need a nap.
- At least you are not a Snotling.
- Ya know how ta shoot with a Grot Blasta. If da Mekboys ever figger out how ta give da Grots real Dakka like a bolt pistol, dem humies is in fer a surprise. Har!
- Most of the time your jobs are often simple if rudimentary and mundane, such as being a mail boy (Yes the fact that Orks even have a postal service is a miracle all in itself).
- Many Grots become cooks and brewers because Orks can't make food or drink worth a damn, so the chances of you selling fungus beer and chopping up Eating Squigs into squig pies (Hmmmm, now I feel hungry) are pretty damn high.
- If you're fortunate, you may be a servant or assistant to a Nob or even a Warboss, somewhat elevating your chances of survival and respect.
- Da Meks'll sometimes let ya make Grot Tanks or a Grot MegaTank if ya make yerself a useful assistant.
- You may or may not be Da Red Gobbo.
- A Grot that lives long enough to get something resembling respect is rare, but if you make it to age three, chances are you've learned how to make it really inconvenient for others to fuck with you 'cuz you'll have powerful friends and ya know how to loot their arse.
- Being an Oiler almost doesn't suck and puts you in a good position to have some power, since you're kind of needed for machinery to not fuck up.
- If you're really fortunate, you may either be handpicked as a crew member of an Ork Stompa/Gargant or even fitted inside a Killa Kan so you can stomp and crush around any Ork or Gretchin that bullied you in the past.
- Possibly the most laid back position for a Gretchin is being an assistant of a Big Mek or Mekboy, since your boss is too busy working with his machines to consider smashing your head in for shits and giggles. Plus you have better then average chances to get wired into a Killa Kan! And then, YOU will do the stomping for a change!
- You get underestimated a lot, so try and make use of that.
On the Tabletop
Gretchin are an... interesting unit. On paper, their stats are decidedly terrible. They're worse in almost every regard than just about anything else in the game. However, they do have a few things going for them: they are halfway decent shots, they're dirt fucking cheap, and everybody underestimates them. The basic mob gives you 10-30 grots at 3 points per grot. For a cheap CP-generating battalion, take 3 grot mobs of 10 each and 2 HQ selections of your choice. Or, just take huge mobs of 30 each and use them to tarpit your enemy. Of course, Grots fall over to a stiff breeze, but the whole point is that they're there as a distraction/meatshield for your army. A Runtherd, if taken, can be used to intimidate your grot mobs into performing more effectively since they tend to run away at the slightest hint of combat otherwise.
Grots are tiny models, and can easily find cover in terrain. A very typical tactic, popular from 5th Edition on and persisting to this day, is to use them to hold an objective in some ruins on your side of the board while the rest of your army moves up to introduce your foe to their wide array of choppy bits. If you're lucky, the tiny models will be so hard to see and so non-threatening that your opponent will forget about them.
However, a grot mob's main role is to perform as a melee screen/meat shield, quite literally so when combined with the Grot Shields stratagem. When used in this way they give your more important units a screen against direct fire. They also give Mek Gunz the advantage of their slightly higher shooting ability, actually being slightly better at shooting than normal humans are due to the Dakka Dakka Dakka! rule. Grots also have the Surprisingly Dangerous in Large Numbers rule, which grants a +1 bonus to all hit rolls (shooting or melee) if the mob currently has 20 or more grots in it.
Their pathetic Grot Blastas are equivalent to a laspistol, but with a little luck the horde of BB guns might take out one or two enemy models. There's nothing sweeter than killing a single assault Terminator, or even that one HQ with a single wound left with a basic Gretchin mob. Sure, they're all going to die in the assault phase, but you've still come out ahead in terms of points. Make sure to point this out to your opponent if it happens.
Gretchin are not for players who are shy about losing models or even whole units. If 30 grots die horribly because they held up that Bloodthirster for a couple of rounds, they've done their job. Then again, if that bothers you then the whole Ork codex is probably a bad choice for you anyway. Go play Imperial Knights or something.
Update: As of pre-codex 9th edition, Grots have been nerfed with a crushing 66% point increase. This means that a 5-point Grot now costs as much as a 5-point Guardsman, which is just stupid given that the Grot is objectively worse in every way. It also means that using 5-point Grots to screen 8-point Boyz is now rather inefficient. In most cases you're probably better off just getting more Boyz unless you're using your Grots to screen a high-value mob such as Lootas or something.
- Makari, long-time loyal companion of Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka
- Da Red Gobbo, Leader of the Gretchin Revolutionary Committee
- Threegrot, a "weirdboy" of the Scraplootas
- Da Blue Grot, or Blue for short, another member of the Scraplootas