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For the clan from an alternate universe, see Laughing Skull Orcs.
NeutralLaughing Skull clan
Laughing Skull clan banner in Warcraft II
Main leader Unknown
  Formerly IconSmall Orc Male Obris †
WC2BnE-logo IconSmall OgreMage Mogor
Race(s) Fel orcFel orc Fel orc
  Formerly OrcOrc Orc
Capital Mob Black Temple
  Formerly Horde Laughing Skull Ruins
Other major settlements Mob Hellfire Citadel
Affiliation Fel Horde, Illidari
  Formerly Horde of Draenor, Old Horde
Status Unknown

The Laughing Skull clan (or simply the Skulls)[1] was an orc clan that dwelled in southeastern Gorgrond[2] and on the island of Farahlon.[3] Maniacal and bloodthirsty, the Laughing Skulls were considered to be mad by other clans, and they later had a reputation for treachery and deceit.


Roughly 800 years before the First War, the orcs began to migrate out of Gorgrond, but many orcs chose to remain in the region and gradually formed several distinct clans, one of which was the Laughing Skull clan.[2]

Early on, the draenei Rangari learned from the Laughing Skulls that podlings hate fire.[4]

At some point, the warriors of the Frostwolf clan — including Chieftain Garad and his son Ga'nar — fought against the Laughing Skulls.[5] Around the time that Durotan led the Frostwolf clan, the Laughing Skulls were led by the ogre mage Mogor.[6]

Rise of the Horde[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

The Laughing Skull clan was among the many orc clans who rallied to the Horde and began attacking the draenei in the belief that it was their ancestors' will. To more effectively combat the draenei, the Laughing Skull joined with the Bleeding Hollow clan, more than doubling their numbers.[7]

The clan was present at the Throne of Kil'jaeden when Gul'dan offered the Blood of Mannoroth.[8]

After the Old Horde had conquered much of Draenor, the threat of starvation caused many orcs to grow more agitated and turn on each other, clashing in short-lived battles that left hundreds dead. Several clans, among them the Laughing Skulls, completely lost themselves to the depths of madness. To protect the rest of the Horde, Warchief Blackhand banished the violent clans from Hellfire Citadel to the remote areas of Hellfire Peninsula in order to preserve some of the Horde's dwindling strength.[9]

When the Horde prepared to invade Azeroth, Blackhand ordered the troublesome clans to remain on Draenor, since he believed that they would become liabilities if allowed to participate in the invasion. He knew that the clans would grow restless on Draenor, but a few months of waiting while hearing only stories of the lush new world and seeing only scraps of the war spoils would force them to be on their best behavior. If the clans were still uncontrollable, they could stay on Draenor and rot, for all Blackhand cared.[10] After the fall of Stormwind City, the new warchief Orgrim Doomhammer sent messengers to Draenor to call up the remaining clans in order to replenish the Horde's numbers, but the messengers later returned to inform the warchief that the clans on Draenor had descended deeper into bloodlust and had begun fighting with one another, allowing only a few orcs and ogres to bolster the Horde.[11]

Beyond the Dark Portal[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

Around the time that Ner'zhul was planning to rally the orc clans on Draenor into a reformed Horde, the Laughing Skulls battled against the Thunderlord clan. Eventually, the Laughing Skulls joined the rest of the Horde of Draenor, but the Laughing Skull Obris, who served as one of Ner'zhul's officers, later told Khadgar that his clan had been forced back into the fold and that Ner'zhul had promised them a new start.[12]

Almost immediately after Ner'zhul reopened the Dark Portal, Grommash Hellscream led the Warsong, Shattered Hand, Thunderlord and Laughing Skull clans in an invasion of the Blasted Lands while Teron Gorefiend led a group of orcs and death knights in search of the artifacts that would allow Ner'zhul to open portals to new worlds.[13] In Farahlon, the clan entered a truce with a part of the invading Alliance Expedition.[14]

When Ner'zhul opened countless portals that began tearing Draenor apart, he intended to leave the Horde to its fate as he was only concerned about his own survival. When Obris protested, he was mowed down by Ner'zhul's magic and left for dead. Later, the dying Obris gave the Book of Medivh to Khadgar, stating that it would please him to know that his last act was to defy Ner'zhul.[12]

The Burning Crusade[]

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

Laughing Skull Ruins

The Laughing Skull Ruins in Nagrand.

At some point after Draenor was transformed into Outland, a large number of Laughing Skulls transformed into fel orcs and eventually came into the service of the Fel Horde and the Illidari. Laughing Skull forces can be found throughout the Blood Furnace of Hellfire Citadel. Two Laughing Skull Ambushers and the assassin Krun Spinebreaker were responsible for the murder of Vindicator Sedai.

A ruined settlement known as the Laughing Skull Ruins, nestled near the mountains of northern Nagrand, is currently inhabited by Warmaul ogres and was once inhabited by Mag'har orcs.[15] Mogor, the "Hero of the Warmaul", can be found overseeing the Ring of Blood in the northernmost part of the ruins.


Maniacal, volatile, and bloodthirsty, the orcs of the Laughing Skull clan were capable of extreme brutality.[16] Other clans believed them to be mad and considered them to be dangerous and unpredictable, much like Gorgrond itself,[17] and the clan had a reputation for being treacherous.[6] Rather than flinching in the face of death, the Laughing Skulls prided themselves on laughing at it instead,[18] and they chortled whenever they collected a humerus bone from a fallen enemy.[19]

This violent mindset stemmed from their environment. The Laughing Skulls struggled to maintain their ancestral territory, but the brutality of being constantly assaulted by Gorgrond's warring Breakers and Primals forged them into bloodthirsty savages[16] and forced them to "match savagery with savagery".[20][21] The Laughing Skulls always burned their dead in order to prevent the bodies from being raised and infested by the botani.[22]

Members of the clan wore distinctive skull-like masks. These were more than fancy facewear; with a mask and "some proper incentive", anyone could be made into a Laughing Skull.[18]

The Laughing Skulls had long learned a few secrets of the botani that they could use to grow their own plants. There was no such thing as a hungry Laughing Skull for this reason. With a dash of a few secret ingredients, one could feed an army with the food grown from the pollen carried by the botani's wasps and ravagers, if one knew "the secret ways".[23] Laughing Skull cuisine was generally notable for its complex spices and unusual ingredients sourced from the island of Farahlon, often including sentient creatures such as botani themselves. One such recipe is Curried Botani and Lobstrok Stew, which is a salt water stew cooked with pieces of lobstrok, botani brain, curry spices and Fenugreek.[3]

By the time of the Invasion of Draenor, the Laughing Skulls felt a kinship to thievery and assassination, and their warriors were distrusted by many of their fellow orcs. Although their loyalty was considered questionable, the skill and audacity of the clan's minions was unequaled.[24]

Known members[]

Name Role Status Location
Mob IconSmall OgreMage Mogor Former renegade of the Laughing Skull clan, now the Hero of the Warmaul. Killable Laughing Skull Ruins, Nagrand
Neutral IconSmall Orc Male Obris High-ranking officer of Ner'zhul, gave the Book of Medivh to Khadgar after Ner'zhul's betrayal. Deceased Died at the Black Temple


In Warcraft II[]

WC2BnE-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness or its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal.


Leader: Mogor the Ogre

Color: Yellow

The morose Laughing Skull is perhaps the most treacherous of all the clans. Feeling a kinship to thievery and assassination, the warriors of the Laughing Skull are distrusted by many of their fellow Orcs. Although the loyalty of those in the Laughing Skull are questionable, the skill and audacity of their minions are unequaled.[24]


Most of the following events were retconned or ignored by the novel Beyond the Dark Portal.

When the elder shaman Ner'zhul first began developing his plan to open more dimensional gateways, he required the knowledge of a specific order of death knights who knew how to rebuild the original Dark Portal. Mogor, the renegade ogre mage of the Laughing Skull clan, had taken control of this group of death knights and was using them for some dark purpose of his own. Ner'zhul ordered a small force of orcs, ogres, and a death knight from the Shadowmoon clan to attack the Laughing Skulls and subjugate Mogor's death knights. Ner'zhul's forces also rescued Grommash Hellscream and some of his Warsong soldiers, who had been held prisoner by the Laughing Skulls, and with their help the attack was carried out successfully and Ner'zhul gained the knowledge required to open to reopen the Dark Portal.[25]

After the reopening of the Dark Portal, a group of Laughing Skull, Warsong, and Shadowmoon warriors established a base near Nethergarde Keep, where they subsequently fought against and were defeated by Danath Trollbane's Alliance forces.[26] Shortly after the Sons of Lothar invaded Draenor, they attacked the shipyards of Zeth'kur. One of the nearby islands contained a Laughing Skull encampment which was destroyed by the Alliance.[27] Later, the Alliance destroyed another Laughing Skull encampment located on one of the islands off the Skeletal Coast.[28]

Before the Alliance managed to attack Fortress Shadowmoon, the Laughing Skull stole the Book of Medivh from Ner'zhul's stronghold. Later, the Skulls contacted the Sons of Lothar and informed them that while none could stand against the combined might of the Horde, the Laughing Skull clan sought advantage from the turmoil of the war. The orcs asked the Alliance to lend their strongest warriors to help the Laughing Skulls gain dominance over Draenor's northern clans by securing the passes across the Blade's Edge Mountains and destroying the stronghold of the Thunderlord clan that dwelled there. The Skulls would supply the humans with warriors and supplies culled from their villages. In exchange for the Alliance's assistance, the Laughing Skulls would give them the Book of Medivh. The Sons of Lothar complied and reinforced the orcs as they attacked and destroyed the strongholds of the Bonechewers and Thunderlords, allowing the Skulls to gain control of the region.[29]