House Orlock is one of the six Hive City Houses of Necromunda, making it one of the six original playable factions for the game when it was debuted.
Known as the House of Iron for their foundational industry of mining iron ore and recycling ferrous slag into workable metal, House Orlock was best defined by its rivalry with House Delaque, a result of sabotaging House Delaque and stealing the lucrative contract that it once had with Noble House Ulanti.
In the first edition of the game, House Orlock was one of the two "default" gangs, alongside House Goliath. In the relaunch, they lost that position to House Escher, under the arguments that Orlock & Goliath gangs looked pretty similar; both hulking, warlike bands of male raiders. Now, they are noticably less hulking, with many of them sporting impressive beards as well as goggles.
The second edition expanded a bit on this and also made them the most sane gang to date with members looking out for each other and displaying a loyalty and unity lacking in most of the other outfits. This makes them either very dull or fairly bro tier with a sort of equal opportunities one for all, all for one outlook depending on your take. They are also fractionally less grimdark than their rivals; even though their house is built on cruelly oppressed masses worked to within an inch of their lives by brutal overseers whose outright revolution was only prevented by redirecting their rage at the other Houses, any who have what it takes can rise to the coveted position of ganger. The gangers themselves are hugely respected by the masses as they'd probably been worked just like them and now have the power to elevate those worthy from the life of drudgery.
House Orlock was always a mining powerhouse, controlling the supply of metals to the entire hive. Their greatest rivalry with House Delaque, a result of sabotaging House Delaque and stealing the lucrative contract that it once had with Noble House Ulanti.
The relaunch edition expands on this by revealing that they only got this far because their founder managed to find a massive trove of archaeotech in a crashed ship. Rather than blow it all on hookers and drugs, this madlad decided to use all this money to secure his clan's future. From here, Orlock grouped together a band of merry outcasts from various prospecting families and decided to take down House Orlund, the then-eminent mining leaders of Necromunda. The alliance that Orlock pulled together waged war on House Orlund, initially just damaging them carefully, performing raids and guerilla tactics, making sure that even though they were damaged, the merchants and upper houses were still getting their cuts. Orlund pleaded to House Helmawr for assistance, but was told that this was an internal matter, and the Orlunds needed to sort their own shit out as long as the Tithe wasn't affected (which the Orlocks were making sure not to do). Eventually House Orlund was betrayed from within, as one of the Lord's heiresses married an Orlock, uniting the Houses and solidifying the Orlocks as the lead mining authority.
This, unfortunately also led to the Orlocks and their allies becoming decadent. As the years passed and their reputation solidified, those families that were once mere laborers became spoiled and inept nobles who couldn't even perform a simple task without asking their slaves to do so. The other noble houses sought to crush this nouveau riche house through logistical means while Orlock's laborers began rising up against their oppressors. Not really understanding what was going on, the Orlock leaders sent an army to deal with the malcontented rebels, but ironically since the rebels had control over the mines and therefore the finances of the House, they were able to outbid their masters for their own army. Ironically, Orlock pleaded to House Helmawr for assistance, but was told that this was an internal matter and the Orlocks needed to sort their own shit out as long as it didn't affect the Tithe.
The rebellion lasted almost a millennia as the other Clan Houses quietly sent support to the rebels to keep it going. Eventually House Orlock was betrayed from within: a younger generation of the decadent Orlock nobility decided to actually do something clever: They set themselves up out in the ash wilds and claimed they were the "True Orlocks". They struck deals with the rebel leaders and promised them all a place in the new order and then helped them to overthrow their own forebears.
What resulted was a far stronger House Orlock, more attached to its origins, though built on a massive deception: The promise that "everyone has a place" turned out to be just another measure of control.
All members of the Clan House are eligible for promotion to the gangs if they are worthy enough, but the only judge of worth comes from the gangs themselves, meaning that a whole new class of citizen arose, one that the lower classes looked up to and eagerly clamoured for their attention, hoping to be noticed, as well as acting as a buffer to the new house nobility. The gangs rebelliousness and freedoms were promoted, if only to give the drudging classes something to aspire to.
Likewise, ALL members of the Clan House all the way down to the lowest crippled slaves are permitted to use one of the founding family names to represent their status as citizens... except that they're still treated as slaves, and they have to shorten that name to avoid association with actual members of the family; so instead of "Orlock" or "Cinderjack" you get "Lock" or "Jack".
But with the new regime came a sense of kinship and determination, where everyone is told that they "matter" and that they've worked hard for whatever meagre perks they've earned; and will be damned if they are ever going to give it all up. The title of the "House of Iron" taking on a totally new meaning.
Their allies are a rather decent mix of both their upbringing as scrappy gangsters and powerful legal forces. The Guild of Coin is a case of the latter, being essentially a group of glorified toll collectors. While this allows House Orlock to score more creds from a fight, they do have to pay the tolls like everyone else. Fallen Noble Houses are another potent ally for Orlock to obtain, but these houses are already so downcast that they have no compunctions about following the law and instead seek to ruin any Palanite Enforcers or other houses in good with the elites at any cost. They also have an alliance with House Ran Lo, a noble house that serves as debt collectors and transporters, two businesses Orlock needs if they want their iron trade to prosper.
Of course, House Orlock has to own up to their whole Mad Max motif. These road warriors tend to be drawn from the exiles of the laborers, likely turning to the ganger life as a last resort. These guys are fiercely independent, unwilling to bow to any - a characteristic the gangs value as much as they do respect. Even in the upper echelons of a gang, fear and respect go far and it runs both ways.
Perhaps the most peculiar of the road warrior in a mechanical sense are the wreckers, gang prospects who run around with jump packs despite the claustrophobic nature of Necromunda.
Why yes, House Orlock has robo-puppers. However, rather than the slick and shiny robo-dogs seen in other works, these are more of what you expect to see of servitorized dogs: normal dogs lobotomized and now sporting more ungainly pieces of metal. These hounds are particularly powerful, as the house uses only the strongest stock to defend their masters.
In first edition, Orlocks try to be jacks of all trades. They're... not very good at it. Every member of a House Orlock gang can learn Shooting skills, but so can every member of a House Delaque or House Van Saar gang. And unlike the latter, they have no secondary skillset they specialize in. Only gang leaders can learn Agility and Stealth skills, only heavies can learn Muscle skills. Juves are stuck with Ferocity and Shooting, whilst gangers add Combat to that. Heavies have Combat, Muscle, Shooting and Techno skills, with gang leaders the only other individuals that can learn Techno skill.
In the 2nd edition the jack of all trades approach has been replaced by a focus on stubborn resilience from their Ferocity primary skill tree, a post-battle advantage from the Savant primary tree, mesh armour, and massive short range fire power in the form of cheap access to the formidable blasting charges, combat shotguns and the even cheaper (if fairly rubbish) sawn off shotgun (a basic weapon with the range of a pistol but with a fair amount of power behind it). This is in addition to their own exclusive tree, called Bravado. This tree centers on the house's dedication to being resourceful with their kit and putting the safety of their friends above their own.
They also have a better than usual access to heavy weapons from the start, with access to the heavy stubber and the harpoon launcher; the latter can hit multiple fighters with a single shot, then drag them out of cover for good measure (and as an added bonus, it's not Unwieldy like most other heavy weapons). While they're not particularly suited for melee, their servo-claws give them a strength bonus on par with House Goliath's Renderizer axes and deal more damage than most melee weapons. Still, they are best off staying shooty since they get Shooting as a secondary skill tree and in a single round they can lay down a truly ridiculous amount of hurt, especially if they skewer several people at once with a single harpoon.
|Playable Factions of Necromunda|
|Clan Houses:||Cawdor - Delaque - Escher - Goliath - Orlock - Van Saar|
|Noble Houses:||Catallus - Greim - Ran Lo - Ulanti - Syprers|
|Others:||Corpse Grinder Cults - Cult of the Redemption - Palanite Enforcers - Ratskins - Scavvies|