Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka
Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka (usually shortened to Ghazghkull Thraka) is a fictional character from the table top miniature game Warhammer 40,000. He featured heavily in the Armageddon campaigns in which he led a huge Ork horde to try to take the planet. Every campaign in Armageddon also features his nemesis Commissar Yarrick.
Ghazghkull started off as a common Ork of the Goff Klan, on the world of Urk. During a raid, Ghazghkull suffered extensive brain damage from a bolter round to the head. He was tended to by an Ork 'Painboy' known as 'Mad Dok' Grotsnik, who used a bionic device made from adamantium to replace Ghazghkull's cerebellum. Ever since that operation, (although it is unknown if it was because the implant triggered latent psychic powers, or Ghazghkull was just delusional), Ghazghkull began to claim that he was the recipient of visions from the Ork gods, Gork and Mork.
From this point, Ghazghkull rose through the Ork power structure in an ascent that has been described as "meteoric". His strength and courage earned him the respect of other Orks. Ghazghkull also possessed something most Orks lacked - vision. His speeches concerned the Orks' mission to conquer the galaxy. He granted the Orks a sense of unity and purpose (as much as these words can be used to describe Orks and their actions).
At the time Ghazghkull reached the peak of his influence on the world of Urk, the star the world orbited began to show signs of entering the final stages of its life cycle. Ghazghkull claimed that this was a sign from Gork, proclaiming that it was time to launch a great Waaagh!. The Orks of Urk were given a choice: Follow Ghazghkull, or die.
They followed Ghazghkull to an Ork, wanting to claim the galaxy or die in the attempt. The first system to be attacked by the Waaagh! was Armageddon, creating a massive conflict that would come to be known in the Imperium as the Second War for Armageddon. Many chapters of Space Marines, along with the Imperial Guard, were all called on to stop the orks' bloody warpath. Despite initial successes, Ghazghkull was defeated, and retreated from the system.
A notable effect of this invasion resulted in Ghazghkull earning the wrath of Commissar Yarrick, who dedicated his efforts after the Second War to hunting down Ghazghkull, with little success.
The Third War for Armageddon
During the fifty seven years following the Second War, Ghazghkull regrouped his forces, and reassessed his strategy. Remembering his defeat at Hades hive 57 years ago, he was not eager to repeat his mistake. That was going to be one of the first places to fall. He led several small attacks on Imperial worlds to test his new methods and technology, and fifty seven years to the day of the previous invasion, he again led the Orks to the Armageddon system.
The campaign waged by both sides was long and bloody, leaving the vital world of Armageddon in a continual state of war.
After the Third War had been fought for a year, Ghazghkull left his forces, leaving the system in a modified Space Hulk known as Kill Wrecka. He was pursued by High Marshal Helbrecht and an entire Crusade of the Black Templars Space Marines, along with Commissar Yarrick. Despite a sizeable headstart the faster, more efficient Imperial Navy warships catch the Ork fleet several weeks after leaving Armageddon.
In a dead region of space known as the Haunted Gulf, Ghazghkull’s ships turn at bay for a last, desperate charge into the teeth of the Imperial Navy’s guns. Even as his fleet is torn apart, Ghazghkull stomps around his bridge bellowing orders. The great Warlord is incandescent with fury, possessed of a vision so powerful that green lightning arcs around him. Their brains overwhelmed by this sudden surge of energy, his entourage of Warpheads convulse as one and begin to howl and gibber madly. As the crackling green energy that haloes Ghazghkull’s skull lashes out to strike the Ork psykers, they are engulfed in green flames, their eyes bursting and skin sizzling.
With ectoplasmic power gushing from their maws, the Warpheads speak as one, their combined voice the mighty roar of Gork and Mork that Ghazghkull has heard all these months. Every Ork within earshot falls to their knees in awe as the gods tell Ghazghkull that this is not his time to die. They tell him that the whole galaxy must echo with the roar of the Ork. They charge Ghazghkull with gathering a Waaagh! like no other, the Waaagh! of Gork and Mork themselves. To do this, he must defeat every other Warlord, bring every last greenskin under his sway, and unite them all in a crusade that will drown the stars in war. Ghazghkull must unite this Great Waaagh!, and in so doing call forth Gork and Mork to lead the Boyz in a glorious battle that will last forever. Their message delivered, the Weirdboyz explode in ripe showers of wet viscera, and a tide of green power rolls outward from them, frying every system on Ghazghkull’s ship and crippling his pursuers.
The Great Waaagh!
Kill Wrecka is immediately hurled into Warp space, emerging in the midst of the sprawling territory controlled by Ork Warlord Urgok Da Slayer. Ghazghkull is revitalised, red eyes blazing with new purpose. Kill Wrecka makes straight for Urgok’s mighty space fortress. Knowing his only advantage is surprise, Ghazghkull fires up his ship’s tellyporta, transporting himself and a mob of his baddest Nobz in a roaring blast of light, directly into Urgok’s throne room. Urgok looks on in horror as Ghazghkull tears through his bodyguards as though they were rowdy grots. Then,trampling over their mangled corpses with his shoota still smoking, Ghazghkull looms over his cowed rival and ‘invites’ him to join Da Great Waaagh!. Most of Urgok’s Boyz join the Waaagh! willingly, while those too slow to spot which way the wind is howling are quickly beaten into submission. Within weeks, news of Ghazghkull’s new Waaagh! spreads far and wide, the massive Warboss’ legend reaching the ears of Orks hundreds of light years away, sparking the first stirring of an Ork migration on a scale never seen before. With a whole new Waaagh! at his disposal Ghazghkull turns his attentions to the galactic southeast and the empire of Octarius. If the whole galaxy is going to be engulfed in war, Gork and Mork will need a lot more Orks for their Great Waaagh! Besides, Ghazghkull has decided to show the Ork ruler of Octarius what a real Overfiend looks like...
Special Character History
Ghazghkull first appeared in White Dwarf Magazine (issue 134). He was the 'Boss' of Andy Chambers' sample Goff army list; his 'attributes' of an admanatium skull and the ability to call on the Waaagh! were randomly generated. The first Ghazghkull model was an in-house conversion.
Ghazghkull's next appearance was in the Battle for Armageddon boardgame, based around the events of the Second War for Armageddon, featured opposite Commissar Yarrick. Inspired by the game's backstory, Jervis Johnson wrote up special rules for the two characters' use in Warhammer 40,000 and Epic 40,000 games, making Ghazghkull one of the first two 'special characters' ever released by Games Workshop. The special rules were based on the random attributes selected by Andy Chambers back at Ghazghkull's first appearance.
Rules for Ghazghkull appeared in the third edition of Warhammer 40,000, and a new model was created for the worldwide campaign organised around the Third War for Armageddon. The rules were updated to reflect Ghazghkull at a point just prior to the Third War for Armageddon.