Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Gamorrean Guards -- Inspired by Orcs?

When I was younger, I was particularly struck by an image in a storybook I owned about Return of the Jedi.  Despite the disappointing movie overall, there was a pic of a Gamorrean Guard.  The Guard himself reminded me of nothing more than a classic 1e orc!

Now, Gygax himself has gone on record as saying that he didn't like the pig-faced orcs, but nonetheless it's an iconic image -- one that I didn't like 2e and 3e changing, thank you very much.

For anyone who doubts what I'm saying, here's a pic of the Gamorrean Guard:

And here's a pic from the first edition AD&D Monster Manual:

Note that for Star Wars, the G. Guard seems to be rather low tech, something you would find in a more medieval/Hyborian Age culture.  What do you think?


  1. Australian illustrator Graeme Base did a book called 'Animalia' which was very popular in Australia. He has a page with armoured warthogs on horses who look very Gamorrean/orcish as well.

  2. Interesting -- I'll have to take a look at that book...sounds like fun!

  3. The orcs from Warcraft look particularly similar to the Gamorrean Guard.

  4. I had the TV running in the background, where some Clone Wars animated series was running, a scene in Jabba's palace, with some gamorrean guards standing around, and I was suddenly thinking, don't they look like orks? Let's check the internet, if someone else has noticed...
    Why haven't I noticed before? I was casually playing AD&D almost 20 years ago, I'm a fan of fantasy and sf, yet never realised it as in that moment.

    Thinking back, I realised that my visual idea some years back was more like a brownish/blackish hairy mixture of monkey and wolf, probably shaped by stories and games (Gothic's orks were pretty much what I had in mind for a long time, LOTR-orks were close, both nowhere like gamorreans).

    So, what happened to my ork pattern? For once, as someone has mentioned, WoW - although I didn't play it - was playing its part in the 'public' idea of orks, and probably more important in my case, Orcs Must Die: lot's of green, leather dressed orks, hordes of gamorreans...

    TLDR: It may be due to the changing image in the media which surrounds us, which makes the gamorreans appear similar to orks on some other context (game, movie).

    1. Your post was nowhere near long enough to warrant a "TLDR" postscript, even by today's short attention span standards. It's an idiotic meme as it is without you forcing it. If you're old enough to have been playing D&D 20 years ago then you really should know better.

  5. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of kids in the 80s who liked LJN's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toyline used the Kenner Gamorrean Guard toy as an Orc.