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The Orokin Empire

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Once, the Origin System was ruled by the Orokin, a race of seemingly immaculate posthuman immortals armed with advanced technology that has yet to be surpassed or even just replicated. They led humanity in what was seemingly a Golden Age, in an era of science, reason, and rampant, incredible cruelty against those they considered their lessers as rulers of the System. Now long-vanished, the only living remnants of them seem to be the guardians of the Orokin structures in the Void: strange towers inhabited and defended by "Corrupted". Corrupted are Grineer and Corpus troops, with the occasional Infested Ancient, who have fallen to the tower's AI defenses and been remade into a loyal servant force.

Their nature reveals a lot of things about them that were not immediately apparent or presumed, so beware of unmarked spoilers below.

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    General 
  • Abusive Precursors: The Orokin were vicious tyrants trying to convince their subjects they were living perfection, who saw virtually all life besides themselves as disposible.
    • They created the Grineer as a Slave Race of clones with high physical capability but deliberately stunted intelligence to serve as laborers. Other genetically engineered servants were created for different roles, such as Lorist healers, but they were all horribly mistreated until an Orokin needed their help - and sometimes even that wasn't enough. The Arid Eviscerator Synthesis entry talks about an Orokin Executor openly berating and demeaning the Grineer slaves she ordered to stand and defend her and her assistant from an oncoming wave of infested, only to die to the slaves themselves as they rebelled.
    • According to the Detron Crewman's Synthesis entry, they executed scientists who did something they didn't like or even failed to produce results. When the narrator challenges their decision, he is told "An appeal comes at a price. Should you fail, you and your corpus will pay dearly."note 
    • The Codex entries for Ember Prime and Rhino Prime hint that they experimented on children from a vessel lost in the void to create the Tenno, which is confirmed during The Second Dream. Naturally, it was their creations breaking free of their control that destroyed them after they murdered Margulis (seemingly the only Orokin that truly cared about them) to more effectively weaponize the Tenno.
    • The Kuria poem says that when the Twin Queens were born, their similarity offended the Orokin, and only their father's order saved them from infanticide.
    • The War Within explains how they maintained their immortality and makes them even more repulsive than they were before. They kidnapped the "young and exotic" (children) and bartered them like slaves they called "Yuvan" (Hindi for "youthful"). Dying Orokin would use a ceremony called Continuity to crush the child's mind with despair, tearing out the original consciousness to wear the youthful bodies as their own. Some of this kidnapping is related in the Sands of Inaros quest.
    • The Sacrifice shows that the Orokin couldn't control the original Warframes no matter what they did. Ultimately, the key to controlling them came from something that the Orokin had no ability to do: Basic human empathy. The Tenno were able to understand the pain and agony and rage of the Infested humans used to make the Warframes and calm them through simply being there to help them.
    • It's rather telling that one thing that united almost all of the Tenno (outside of the Stalker) was their undying hatred of the Orokin for everything that they did to them and others. The only real difference between the Tenno in this regard is whether they slaughtered the Orokin out of a desire for revenge or a sense of justice.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: They thoroughly believed this, to the point that the engineering self-driven mechanical intelligence was a capital crime. It's suggested that this had something to do with a Robot War in the distant past. Cephalons got a pass because they were created from the minds of humans, and they only allowed the Sentients to be created because they were in need of something to terraform the Tau system, and even then the Sentients were designed to be unable to reproduce once they completed their transition to their destination.
  • Asshole Victim: Just look at the entry for Abusive Precursors. Every time we learn more about them it becomes increasingly hard to blame the Tenno for slaughtering the bastards. Or, at the very least, it's hard to feel bad about them having been slaughtered by Tenno.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Judging from the lore surrounding them, Orokin culture emphasizes beauty, perfection, and individuality. That being said, almost the entire population are assholes, with no room for mistakes even to their own kind, and participate in practices to maintain their "immortality" by mentally breaking child slaves and possessing them.
  • Body Horror: How their brainwashing devices work. Close inspection reveals the Grineer were not lucky enough to keep their masks; the device plugs directly into their faces. The crest on the facemask of a Corpus crewmen used to slide around the eye-level orifice, implying the same thing for them.
  • Body Surf: The truth behind Orokin immortality. The War Within reveals Orokin longevity involved the older, dying Orokin transferring their minds into the bodies of the "young and exotic" Yuvan children, in a ceremony called "Continuity". It involved grand marches of new host bodies through lavish theaters in a process disturbingly reminiscent of slave auctions.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Deconstructed. While the Orokin did indeed wear togas and had architecture that appeared to be gold and marble, their main pursuits became vanity and enriching themselves by exploiting and brutalizing their subordinates.
  • Entitled Bastard: The Executors, who were known to insult and denigrate even the people helping them.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Orokin, at least according to Ballas, had tried to bend the homicidally insane Warframes to their will using a variety of brutal methods, from torture to forced cybernetic implantation. But the Tenno brought the Warframes to heel with the one thing that was never even considered by the Orokin: Human Empathy.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Appear to have had this when the empire still functioned, with only the upper classes called "Orokin" in a manner similar to nobility. It seems to have been based on genes, with beauty, symmetry, and uniqueness of appearance being prized. The lowest classes were mass-produced clones like the Grineer and the highest the the immaculate Orokin, who were all physically distinct in appearance. Going by what information is available, the classes were:
    • Archimedians: High-ranking scientists assigned to very important projects.
    • Corpus: Corpus (originally meaning "worker") appeared to be a generic term for labor and merchant conglomerates that served as the Orokin empire's middle class. After the fall of the empire, the one that lasted the longest became the contemporary Corpus.
    • Dax: Military forces and personal guard for nobles. Described under Super Soldier below.
    • Enginus: Mentioned in the Guardsman Synthesis entry, very little is known about them. The narrator wonders if another character is Enginus class, and her thoughtsnote  indicate they weren't of high rank.
    • Executors: The empire's ruling class, with superior genetic modifications that gave them an appearance with "beauty, variation, and symmetry." According to the Arid Eviscerator synthesis entry, they were organized into a Congress. Almost every one we've seen has shown themselves to be manipulative, entitled, ungrateful scum.
    • Grineer: A Slave Race genetically engineered to be were strong and tough, but mentally deficient. They were adapted to serve as soldiers when the Orokin got desperate during the old war, and later rebelled, with the implication that their new training and experience in the war had finally made them sick of the Orokin.
    • Guardians: The Stalker was one of these until the Tenno slaughtered the Orokin. Not much is known about them aside from what can be gleaned from their name and his Codex entry. The Second Dream implies, but not outright states, that they are a kind of "second-generation" Tenno — i.e., attempts at creating more Tenno-like beings since the number of Zariman children was finite. However, whether this is simple lore expansion, a bit of subtle retconning, or something else entirely isn't clear at the moment.
    • Lorists: Bred and modified so they could interface with something called a "Lora Device," which was used to heal the Orokin when they were sick or injured. The Corrupted Ancient synthesis entry describes them as having a "Lora node" protruding from their right temple and skin "weaved with ribbons of metallic facia that snaked around our bodies and into the Lora Device embedded in [their] palms." The Orokin were uncomfortable around Lorists and not at all shy about making this known, but treated them as saviors whenever one of the empire's "Golden Lords" (almost certainly high-ranking Orokin) needed healing. They also appear to have been the origin of the Infestation's Ancient Healers.
    • Sectarus: A class mentioned in the Guardsman Synthesis entry, little is known aside from them being fairly high up. The one we see appeared to be an Executor's personal assistant, and is nearly killed.
    • Tenno: Super Soldiers greater than the Dax who were only created and deployed as a last resort against the Sentients. When they managed to win the Orokin held a grand ceremony to reward them, and we all know what happened next...
  • Fantastic Racism: Orokin looked down on the lower castes, who were engineered to be servants. This also extended to the Grineer Queens, who were twins born to a high-ranking Orokin. Only their father's command spared them from the knife.
    • Apparently, even they were disgusted by the Greed of the Corpus. Even Evil Has Standards indeed.
    • Their racism was especially heavy towards the Void-touched Tenno, whom they called "Demons" and, after they were convinced not to kill them outright, instead inflicted cruel experiments upon in order to turn them into Orokin super-soldiers. Bear in mind that the Tenno are all kids, teenagers at the oldest.
  • Genre Blindness: See Hoist by Their Own Petard, and remember that several of their creations mentioned there were built/repurposed to fight the ones that had already rebelled.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Creating the Tenno.
  • Golden Age: What their age was built up to be. Given that the Sol system is currently torn between a fascistic empire of decaying clones, and a Mega-Corp that worships the concept of profit, it certainly was... by comparison. However, it has been established that the Orokin were Abusive Precursors, and the lore for the Mara Detron suggests that there was a lot of crime outside their jurisdiction. Considering their dictatorial and tyrannical nature, and the existence of Neural Sentries, it wouldn't be surprising if they eliminated disorder in ways other than ruling well...
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: They were crushed between the Technocyte virus, a Grineer slave revolt, and most importantly the Tenno. All of which they created. To make matters worse, all three were meant to stop the Sentients, whom it's implied they also created.
    • The Technocyte Virus went horrifically wrong from the outset, the Grineer got sick of of being used as cannon fodder, and the Tenno succeeded in eliminating the Sentients but turned traitor due to Natah and Hunhow's interference, which only happened because they executed Margulis and left room for Natah to replace her. In a way, due to their callousness and short-sightedness, the fall of the Orokin Empire was entirely by their own hand. Or in part, as it was Ballas's defection, and what appears to be him having played a major hand in engineering a high-ranking Sentient taking control of the Tenno which caused the fall of the Orokin, but that's another story...
  • Human Subspecies: Orokin were posthumans, clearly having built themselves for beauty, immortality, and power. We didn't get to see what one looked like until Ballas appeared, and from the example we see that the Orokin had grey skin and glowing golden eyes, implying synthetic components and/or genetic engineering goes into an Orokin.
  • Immortality:
    • The Orokin elite were known to recover from decidedly mortal wounds with no ill effects. It was not a Complete Immortality though, as Grineer and Tenno found that killing an Orokin was not only possible, but quite doable for a determined killer. They, of course, did not extend this immortality to those they ruled over.
    • The War Within reveals the true nature of their immortality: when their bodies grew old, they purchased and burned out the minds of kidnapped children, transferring their minds to the new bodies and maintaining "Continuity". The high council, however, as described in the Ordis Fragments, might have had a different form of immortality altogether.
    • The War Within also implied that Orokin were dependent on an exotic, red oil called Kuva. Kuva was believed to be a partial Immortality Inducer, extending the functional lifespan of their bodies for some time. It was alternatively believed to be a partial Psycho Serum, which could explain the decadence and callousness that defined the Orokin era. Teshin, a man admittedly in a position to be well informed on the subject, believed that it was both.
  • Irony: The Orokin treated the Tenno horribly. When they treated them with respect, the Tenno slaughtered them. This was probably deliberate, but not on any part of the parties there at the time.
  • Killed Off for Real: Immortal the Orokin elite may have been, but they were capable of being killed. Notably, they kept an execution chamber capable of killing anyone who fell out of favor. And, of course, their various enemies found ways to put them down for good in the end.
  • Lack of Empathy: Almost an entire society of them. They didn't even bother to realize that the key to controlling the Warframes was basic human compassion, thinking all they needed was more brute force and torture to break them. Only the Tenno children were able to see the mistake.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • When the game started, the Orokin and their Empire were thought to be completely dead and gone, with what was left of humanity left to fill the vacuum of their fall. In truth the major factions are orphaned parts of the empire left to develop on their own.
    • While most of them are indeed dead, there are enough surviving Orokin to count on one, maybe two hands, depending on who you count.
      • Most cephalons date back to the Orokin empire, though its not clear who, if any of them, were actual Orokin in their past lives.
      • Lotus initially appeared to be either an Orokin or linked to them in some way. In the end she was actually a Sentient, one of the Orokin's greatest enemy, not quite impersonating the Tenno's human/Orokin guardian Margulis. This was for the purpose of turning the Tenno against the Orokin, a plot likely influenced by Ballas, a Smug Snake and Margulis's lover in her lifetime. Lotus apparently went along with it to adopt the Tenno as her own children, as invading the Origin System left the Sentients sterile. And she believed taking on Margulis's form without otherwise pretending to be her was sufficient.
      • The last known living Orokin are the Grineer Queens, though they're secretive and/or lazy enough that they're actually thought to be a myth, even for those in the know. As of the quest The War Within, depending on player choice, the Elder Queen is dead, or dying and deprived on living on through Coninuity. This leaves the Worm Queen as the surviving party, though the kuva mining operations throughout the system leave one wondering what's planned for it.
      • An Orokin scientist named Sylvana has survived by giving up on Orokin society and using Transference technology to move her mind into the forests that she helped bring to life. Because she did this before the Orokin empire fell, she was spared simply by not being there anymore. Though her current state of existence makes that if she's still an Orokin, or even still human, more of a philosophical question.
      • And to upset the balance even further, Ballas, the last pure Orokin, and an Executor at that, is still alive unbeknownst to almost everyone, though the Sentients including the Lotus knew. Upshot, the Worm Queen is the last Orokin, depending on the survival of her sister if the theories of Kuva as a resurrective agent are disproven; and if Ballas did indeed survive as a Sentient hybrid, and his survival wasn't simply a vision from the Man in the Wall.
    • On a similar note, Teshin appears to be the last Dax.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Orokin color-scheme is bright white and gold, but they were heavily amoral and prone to disturbing cruelty.
  • Meaningful Name: Verging on Department of Redundancy Department. "Oro" and "Kin" are Spanish and Japanese respectively for gold, which their architecture and weapons all feature prominently.
  • Mind-Control Device: The Corrupted have a visible Orokin crest on their heads, which is how they're kept controlled, and possibly as a means of communication.
  • Organic Technology: For starters, they possessed the Technocyte Virus. However, the Bleeding Tower from the Ostron Plains - a massive Orokin construct that is porcelain and gold on the outside, and bloody and fleshy inside - raises questions about the extent of their mastery of organic technology. They also had "trees" with glowing white wood acting as conduits in many of their constructs, and it seems to have grown out of control and faded to grey in their derelict ships.
  • Psycho Rangers: The Corrupted are this to Corpus, Grineer, and even the Infested. They are essentially intruders mind-controlled by Orokin defenses.
  • Redshirt Army: The Zero-Techs, who wielded percussion rifles in a universe full of far more advanced tech and relatively easy access to man-portable Energy Weapons. Every time a Sentient Worm-Ship blasted an Orokin Splinter Ship, it was nearly guaranteed that all Zero-Techs aboard would die instantly. Even so, they were the only viable option the Orokin had left: the Sentients had an Adaptive Ability that let them subvert technology, and the more advanced it was the greater losses they took. It took the Tenno to give them a chance of victory.
  • The Sociopath: The entire Orokin upper class were examples of these, devoted entirely to their own ends with no capacity for empathy or consideration for the well-being of others, to the point that they openly trafficked children as replacement bodies who were psychologically tortured until there was nothing left of their mind, letting the Orokin take over the body. In fact, Ballas found the idea of Margulis loving the Tenno like children and giving her life to protect them to be unfathomable. This sociopathy came to a head with the original Warframes, who were uncontrollable berserkers that the Orokin couldn't control, no matter how much they tortured or drugged or tormented them, because they simply couldn't understand that the key to controlling them was basic human empathy, which the Tenno understood.
  • Super Soldier: Dax soldiers. The Orokin gifted the Dax with genetic augmentations which imbued them great strength and power, but also served as a Restraining Bolt; no Dax could attack or defy an Orokin holding a Kuva scepter.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • The Orokin were well known to mistreat and commodify their subordinates. This was fairly common in their time.
    • That said, the most famous example was the Trial of Margulis. Her simply failing an experiment was grounds for execution. It didn't matter that she was the most brilliant scientist in her field with a hundred successes to her name. Her failure to quickly turn the warframes into a superweapon capable of destroying the Sentients got her executed. Her public Kangaroo Court trial may have been about her failure as much as it was a piece of political theater for a desperate populace or for a frustrated Executive Council having a scapegoat to vent their frustrations on. This trial was also the grounds of Ballas's defection, despite his vocal participation in the trial and outward condemnation of Margulis, and in turn the Orokin losing the war, since it took away the only thing he cared for beside himself.

    Margulis 
A female Archimedian, she was a brilliant member of the Orokin scientist caste.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: She erased some memories from the Zariman survivors, in part to seal some of the powers they couldn't handle and in part to protect them from the trauma of those memories.
  • Chekhov's Gun: It's no coincidence that her favourite flower was a lotus.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Platonic example. Rather than recant her actions, she uses the opportunity to tell the Zariman children, "my sons and daughters," that she loved them.
  • Face Death with Dignity: She used her last words to condemn her Orokin executioners.
  • Love Martyr: Was blinded and disfigured by Tenno as she tried to cure them. Subverted, as it happened due to Power Incontinence and not malice on their part, as they loved her just as much as she loved them.
  • Motherly Scientist: An Orokin scientist, she not only stood up for the children of Zariman, she also used her knowledge and skills to find a cure for them. Her efforts resulted in the Transference technology, without which Tenno as we know them would not be possible.
  • Parental Substitute: Became a collective surrogate mother to the survivors of Zariman 10-0, sheltering them when other Orokin wanted to execute them as well as trying to find the cure for their Void affliction.
  • Posthumous Character: Executed during the Orokin era, she is long dead by the time the game takes place in.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: The most morally-upstanding Orokin character we saw, and her efforts to save the future Tenno cost her her life.
  • The Voice: We do not know what she looked like, only the sound of her voice is heard. However, Lotus' human appearance is shaped after her.
  • Walking Spoiler:Every piece of information about her reveals a crucial detail in Warframe's lore.

    Ballas 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ballas.jpg

An Executor (a member of the Orokin ruling caste), lover of Margulis, and head of the Warframe Project.


  • Abusive Parents: As the creator of the warframes and lover of Margulis, he is in many ways the father of the Tenno. A horrible, selfish, manipulative father who uses his children for whatever suits his whim.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: He would've preferred dying to Excalibur Umbra and your Operator at the end of The Sacrifice in a dramatic death rather than be saved only to be turned into a disgusting Orokin-Sentient chimera.
  • Amazing Technicolour Population: He has bluish-grey skin, which may have been typical of high-ranking Orokin.
  • The Anticipator: When you sneak upon him in Chimera he seems to be monologuing to himself, unaware of your presence, and you even have to dash around to avoid his gaze... but then at the end he suddenly speaks directly to your Operator.
  • Arc Villain: The main antagonistic force in The Sacrifice.
  • Beneath the Mask:
    • His public persona was that of a hardline Orokin conservative, serving as a staunch exemplar and living symbol of Orokin ideals, power and authority. In more private moments he was seen to be more reasonable and less agreeing with the decrees of Orokin ideology.
    • After the Trial of Margulis, where his office and public persona obligated him to condemn his own lover, he felt nothing but hatred for the Orokin and turned traitor for the Sentients.
  • Body Horror:
    • His arm, which - curiously enough - qualifies as this from both modern and Orokin perspectives. While his skin and eyes are examples of how Orokin standards of beauty differed from ours, the most elite Orokin in the Empire possessed bodies with "beauty, variation, and symmetry", as mentioned in the "general" section above. Ballas' arm makes him very noticeably asymmetrical. One wonders how that happened to him...
    • A more explicit example occurs after his defeat at the end of The Sacrifice, where he is taken away and transformed into an Orokin-Sentient hybrid, giving the Chimera miniquest its title. If his previous form was uncanny, but still aesthetical in some way, then this one is nothing but warped and horrifying.
  • Break the Haughty: His defeat in The Sacrifice and subsequent transformation into a part-Sentient hybrid knocked a lot of air out of him. When we see him in Chimera, he is broken, whimpering and apparently not quite sane.
  • The Chessmaster: Shown to be a shrewd manipulator, such as when he goads the rest of the Orokin council into sparing another Archimedian and salvaging his project. All while on the outside he was pushing for his execution! A much more sinister example of this trait of Ballas can be seen in the Sacrifice quest.
  • Creepily Long Arms: As mentioned above, his right arm is twice the size of his left.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When, because of his public persona, he was "forced" to vote to execute the woman he loved, he decided that the only possible response was to destroy the society and everyone in it that "forced" him to vote that way. A certain Dax discovered his plan to defect to the Sentients, but Ballas caught wind of this. Instead of simply eliminating the man and be done with it, Ballas turned him into Excaibur Umbra, compelled him to kill his own son, and it is implied Ballas eradicated the rest of his family as well...
    • To the Pain: ...which Ballas taunts Umbra about during their Komi game, saying that for every stone Ballas captures he will kill one of Umbra's kin. He will take a lot of stones, and will tell Umbra exactly who he is going to kill.l
  • Emperor Scientist: An Executor, one of the rulers of the Orokin empire, and also a brilliant mind. He led the project that created Warframes, and he also personally performed the digitalization and programming of Ordan Karris into Ordis.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely loved Margulis, but only her. After she was executed, he callously burned down the whole Orokin civilisation to the ground, mercilessly and cruelly killing everyone who stood in his way.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Switches between having a pleasant oral conversation and telepathically threatening Umbra without skipping a beat.
  • Foregone Conclusion: He tried to save the decaying Orokin civilization. Generations later, Orokin are just a memory, with their creations building their own civilizations on their ruins. He himself survived, however, and was largely responsible for destroying the Orokin.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Ballas himself was personally responsible for tricking the Orokin council into approving the creation of the Sentients through reverse psychology, giving Hunhow the locations of the Tenno, and aiding the Sentients in the Old War in retaliation for the execution of Margulis.
  • Hate Sink: He was originally presented as the Token Good Teammate of the Orokin, with sympathetic motives and character. Then comes The Reveal of the utterly horrific things he did to create Excalibur Umbra, and his act of giving the Sentients much needed information on how to eradicate the Tenno.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • At first, Ballas didn't appear to be too bad. He was a moderate and a voice of reason among the Orokin, though only privately. He was publicly an Orokin conservative and exemplar, and had to publicly practice the ethos that public image demanded, up to declaring a guilty verdict in the Trial of Margulis against his own lover. After this point we start to see that his public ruthlessness wasn't quite an affectation.
    • He later decidedly became more...hostile. After the Trial of Margulis, he turned traitor, aiding and abetting the Sentients in the Old War. Before eventually outright defecting, a Dax soldier caught wind of his schemes, and Ballas took it personally. He destroyed the man by painfully converting him into his personal enforcer and bodyguard, the Excalibur Umbra, and ordered his family killed, starting by forcing Umbra to personally kill his own son.
    • The Old War came to an end with the "death" of the Sentient commander Hunhow, as he sacrificed himself to the Tenno and allowed his still-living remains to be interred on Uranus. This came after Natah, Hunhow's daughter and subcommander, started to "impersonate" Margulis under the identity of the Lotus and took control of the Tenno. After the Tenno's victory, the Orokin set aside their hatred of them and invited the Tenno into their presence to award honors and citizenship, only for the Lotus-controlled Tenno to butcher them all. The plan went off the rails after Lotus decided to adopt the Tenno and put them into stasis, rather than destroy the last worthy inheritors of the Orokin and rescue her father. It's not known to what extent Ballas shaped this plan, but it couldn't have been achieved without his influence, and his personal goals of destroying the Orokin and "resurrecting" Margulis were achieved.
    • In the interim, Ballas, for all intents and purposes, retired, and for quite some time. Until he came back to the Lotus for his own purposes. While not as nasty as he had been in the past, it ultimately ended with a reawakened Natah and Ballas nearly dying at the Tenno's hands. Natah saved Ballas by turning him into a Sentient chimera.
    • Finally, despite having been saved, Ballas would have preferred dying at the hands of the Operator and Excalibur Umbra in a "perfect death." Having been denied that and having his humanity and poise stripped from him, Ballas switches allegiances again (or perhaps more accurately, reorients back towards the side with the Tenno, though they happen to be fighting against the Sentients rather than for one this time around). Ballas gives the Operator the Sentient-slaying sword Paracesis, marking him as an ally of the Tenno in the upcoming New War.
    • Interestingly, Ballas was only ever on Ballas's side, and circumstances meant that he was often working with the Tenno, as much as he disliked them. Either using them as a weapon for the Orokin, using them as a weapon for the Sentients, or simply waiting on the sidelines with them commanded by a Sentient while the Sentients' main force being underground for a long time, he's always been on the side with the Tenno but for the brief period in which he stayed on the Sentients' side when they started fighting an awakened Tenno again.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard/No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The scientist and the project he saved in the episode above were tasked with creating artificial lifeforms to help colonizing the Tau system. These lifeforms with time evolved into Sentients. Him keeping Tenno alive and creating Warframes for them is also this, especially when one of his own frames ends up killing him.
  • I Was Quite the Looker: He laments his transformation into a horrible human-Sentient chimera in the eponymous miniquest, seemingly considering it A Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: He gets stabbed in the stomach by Excalibur Umbra, with a little help from the operator, at the end of The Sacrifice.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Even before he got turned into a Sentient chimera Ballas' reasoning for his actions (see Replacement Goldfish) had a lot of this. It makes you wonder just how much sanity he had in the first place, or if it was the eons since the end of the Old War that caused him to start slipping.
  • It's All About Me: Tells Margulis that she needs to recant, while he is on the council that could vote to give her a stay of execution, and applies none of his influence to try to save her. Tells a Dax soldier father on his deathbed that he's never had to sacrifice for love and deserves the horrible agony that's coming to him. Decides to destroy his entire civilization because the woman he loved was killed. Expresses incredulity that the Umbra Warframe he tortured throughout its existence would injure him. And these are the cases we know about.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: He loved Margulis and tried to protect her from others who wanted to punish her for her defiance, and yet he was on the council that unanimously voted for her death. It was stated outright that it was the course of action demanded by his public persona, and Margullis calls him out on it. It was something that he clearly regretted. Regretted enough that he decided the rest of the Orokin deserved to die.
  • Meaningful Name: Ballas rhymes with "callous". Which fits in every way once you find out how Excalibur Umbra came to be.
  • Mr. Exposition: He is the one who narrates the trailers for Prime frames.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: He was fully aware of the flaws of the Orokin civilization, yet did everything in his efforts to prevent its collapse. Up until he decided to sell out to the Sentients, at least.
  • Never My Fault: In Chimera, he is understandably bitter at being transformed into a freakish Orokin-Sentient creature, but puts all the blame for it on Natah, painting her as a vile deceiver who tricked him and caused this to happen to him, ignoring that it saved his life, and conveniently forgetting how his cooperation with the Sentients in general and his decision to treat Lotus as someone else came of his own volition.
  • Noble Demon: He wasn't as callous, deluded or corrupt as most Orokin character we'd seen, but he wasn't above their many flaws either, and most likely didn't shirk from their more heinous practices. COMPLETELY SUBVERTED as of the The Sacrifice - his treatment of the Dax who will become Excalibur Umbra shows him to be just as callous and cruel as the rest of the Orokin, if not even worse. There's also the fact he sold out the Orokin to the Sentients, condemning quite possibly everyone in the Origin System to die because he was forced to kill Margulis..
  • Non-Action Big Bad: During The Sacrifice in the final confrontation with Ballas the gameplay section consists only of fighting off his Sentient cohorts. Ballas himself goes down from one stab to the gut in a cutscene.
  • Not So Different: In the Chimera Prologue, it's implied he's come to believe this about him and the "Tenno Devil", both having been "deceived" by Natah.
  • Posthumous Character: Subverted when he appears alive and well in the Apostasy Prologue miniquest, but originally most players would assume that he perished alongside the rest of the Orokin when the Tenno turned on them.
  • Properly Paranoid: He originally disliked the Tenno, viewing them with suspicion. He's ultimately right, as the Tenno are (partially) responsible for slaughtering the Orokin. However, he did continue Margulis' work, so he apparently moved past this.
  • Prophet Eyes: His eyes are completely white, without pupils or irises.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Orokin were known to be effectively immortal, provided they had the resources, and Executors were known to be a step above that. The War Within implies that the Grineer Queens went through several bodies in the time since, at least half of a millenium. Ballas, meanwhile, still had what was apparently his original body and quite hale.
    • He also lived throughout the Old War, which a few hints indicate lasted a long, long time. And he was also there to direct the creation of the original Sentients and send them on their way. While Warframe is known for vague historical timelines, for reference, it would take getting to Tau Ceti a minimum of 12 years and a rough maximum of 5773 years, one way. Let alone the time it would take to complete the work and come back. Though the Void is all but said to be hyperspace, that completely throws out any conventional notions of travel time between sending out the Sentients and them coming back to declare war..
  • Reality Warper: Seems to conjure the design for Paracesis with his mind alone, and even makes it solid enough to pass to your Operator. It is unknown if this is one of his capabilities as a high-ranking Orokin or it comes form his now part-Sentient biology, or if the whole thing was just done by the Man in the Wall.
  • Replacement Goldfish: He decides to treat Natah as though she were Margulis, despite being fully aware they're different people. But changes his mind out of spite after he is transformed into an Orokin-Sentient chimera, resolving to himself that there was no Margulis or Lotus, only Natah that deceived him.
  • Restraining Bolt: He was the creator of Warframes, and he can control them to a degree. Which is why Umbra can't kill him on his own, now matter how hard he tries - Ballas simply causes him to freeze with but a thought.
  • Sadist: It's the only explanation for what happened to a certain Dax - he really wanted that poor soul to squirm.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Gender-inverted - him taking Zariman children under his protection can be seen as this for his love for Margulis. And then averted when he just saw them as tools to perfect control of his Warframes, and they were just as disposable as everyone BUT Margulis.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Almost, in this setting they play Kominote , as we can see during The Sacrifice flashbacks.
  • Take Up My Sword: Creates and gives Paracesis, the Sentient-slaying sword, to your Operator after his transformation.
  • Tempting Fate: "You think you can defy me? Not even your Tenno devil can-" *gut stab*. Justified, as he had no reason to expect that his Restraining Bolt on Umbra would fail, since previously it worked flawlessly.
  • Turncoat: After Margulis' death he went as far as defecting and collaborating with the Sentients in their genocide, as a revenge on the rest of the Orokin.
    • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: He is not so keen on their cooperation anymore after he is transformed into an Orokin-Sentient chimera. Though it saved his life, he would have preferred dying at Umbra's hands instead of surviving as he is now. In revenge, he provides your Operator with a sentient-slaying weapon of his design.
  • Uncanny Valley: Though he's not what you'd call ugly, Ballas' skin color and eyes pretty explicitly show that Orokin ideas of aesthetics and physical beauty had plenty of differences from ours.
  • Villain Respect: "So this is what she sees in you.", one of possible things he can say to your Operator just before (not quite) expiring.
  • Walking Spoiler:It's difficult to describe him without spoiling much. The fact he's a living, breathing Orokin in the present day, and was pivotal to the history of the system, and hence had played a large part in shaping the plot.
  • Yandere: He loved Margulis... and only Margulis. After her death, he... didn't take it well. And it didn't help that she rejected him prior to her execution because he refused to help her and demand she recant to get a lighter sentence. When that failed, he decided everything had to burn.

    Sylvana 

Sylvana

Another Orokin Archimedian, a student of Margulis who served with her on several projects. Her dream was restoring planet Earth from the decayed desert it was in her lifetime. After Margulis' death, she was drafted by Ballas into his research, where she was responsible for the creation of the Titania Warframe. Later she used Transference technology to transfer her consciousness into the Orokin forests of Earth.


  • Creator Backlash: In-universe. She hated her creation the Titania, as she saw her as the result of misuse of research. Later she changed her mind when Titania sacrificed herself to save her from the Orokin that were after her.
  • Defector from Decadence: She was disgusted with how hers and Margulis' research was used to create weapons. Eventually she deserted the project, got to Earth and transferred herself into it's forests.
  • Green Thumb: She was the designer and creator of the forests that currently consume the surface of the Earth.
  • Genius Loci: Used Transferrence to inhabit the vegetation among her forests on Earth and became trapped in that state. Her consciousness is still there, and she has some control over the plant life in the forest.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name is derived from a latin word meaning "forest".
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Centuries of living as a plant made her thought processes slow and dull to the point where she effectively lost self-awareness and capability for conscious thinking, assimilated by her forest. The players wake her up during the Silver Grove quest.
  • The Voice: Even after being fully awakened she has nothing resembling an avatar, and communicates with the player purely through voice.

    Isaah 

Isaah

The son of the Dax that Excalibur Umbra was derived from.


  • Badass Family: He and his father are Dax soldiers. And if Ballas is to be believed, his family line is under a warrior caste.
  • Death by Origin Story: His death drove Excaliber Umbra's Sanity Slippage from living though it for years, and Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Ballas.
  • Dramatic Irony: As Umbra and Ballas are playing Komi for Umbra's family's lives, and Ballas calmly tells him how far ahead the Orokin has planned his defection, Isaah obliviously comments that Umbra "knows the game better than anyone".
  • The Dutiful Son: He stayed and watch over his father's bedside while his father's Tecnocyte infection unknowingly worsened by Ballas' hands. In his last moments, Isaah clearly loved and honored his father.
    Isaah: "I...am honored...to be your son."
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Would have gladly followed his father's example.
  • Meaningful Name: His name was likely derived after the Biblical Isaac whom God asked to be sacrificed by his father Abraham as a test of Abraham's faith in him.
  • Offing The Off Spring: By his father, although Excalibur Umbra was controlled by Ballas to do so.
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