The Orokin Empire used to rule the entire Origin System. The pinnacle of human civilisation and achievement, the Orokin were capable of god-like feats, transforming entire planets to fit their desires. Now, millennia after the Empire's collapse, the legacy of the Orokin is still felt by all within the System, from the powerful artefacts they left behind, to the people they ruled over and oppressed. The Tenno are perhaps the best examples of this, as they were created by the Orokin and continue to use their technology. Knowledge of the Orokin Empire and how they used the Tenno are crucial to understanding the Tenno today.
Little is known about the Empire before the Old War. The earliest datum we have is Albrecht Entrati's exploratory journey into the Void, as described in the Vitruvian entry he left behind. At this point, the Orokin had already achieved immortality1. In order to solve the problem of an infinitely growing population on a finite world, Albrecht sought to expand humanity to the stars by unlocking faster-than-light travel through the Void. Though he ultimately succeeded, he did so at great personal cost – losing his sight, voice, sanity, and likely even his life. In doing so, he was also the first person to make contact with the mysterious Void entity known as the Man in the Wall, even coining the name himself. From Albrecht's story, we learn that much of what we associate with the Orokin was already in place by his time: the immortality offered by kuva (as well as the moral decline implied to accompany it), the aesthetic focus on gold filigree2, the oppression of fellow humans by reducing them to servant classes3. This is interesting, because so much of Orokin technology, civilisation, culture, and legacy are bound up in the Void, and yet they had already become "Orokin" before the Void was ever opened. If ever there was a theory that the old Orokin hierarchs had become corrupted by otherworldly energies into the cruel beings we know, Albrecht's account is sure to put it to rest. A further analysis of Albrecht Entrati is available in a separate discussion.
The creation of the Grineer took place in this period as well4. The Orokin, in their quest for servants, were perpetually torn between being fearful of human rebellion and being fearful of robotic rebellion. The Grineer were the solution: human clones with severe mental handicaps and a genetic predisposition to obedience. As humans, they were still mildly intelligent compared to robotics, but as genetically engineered clones, they could not disobey. They were used for labour and any other task an Orokin did not wish to do themselves, and were treated as less than animals. As a cruel mercy, their diminished intellect could not comprehend their pitiful station in life5.
Other elements of Orokin civilisation that predate the Old War are the Archimedians6 and the Dax7. The Archimedians were a caste of scholars and scientists, aiding the Orokin, advancing their technology, and archiving their knowledge (the Archimedians are examined further in a separate discussion). The Dax, on the other hand, were elite warriors who served as bodyguards and soldiers, sworn to defend the Orokin with their lives and to never disobey their orders8. We see here a thorough stratification of Orokin society into distinct castes, each with their own purpose in service to the Orokin Executors. Some of these castes, especially the Grineer, were so far down the ladder that they might have even been considered subhuman – not that it mattered much to the Orokin, who viewed all others as beneath them9.
An interesting deviation from this rigid stratification is the creation of the Corpus sub-faction10. Parvos Granum was a farmer born into generational poverty, working the land in order to feed the Orokin lords. He had aspirations of wealth, and stole precious gemstones from a nearby Orokin city. Although the authorities mutilated him for his crime, he was able to use the proceeds of a stolen gem to start a micro-loan business, dispensing business advice as he grew a network of hardworking, ambitious entrepreneurs who aggressively pursued wealth and status. Over time, this group became the Corpus, a large organisation with greed-based philosophies parsed from Parvos' teachings. Even some Archimedians subscribed to Corpus doctrines11, and they would be a notable faction within the larger Orokin Empire for the long term. We know that, to the Orokin, social mobility was anathema12, yet Parvos Granum's Corpus was explicitly devoted to improving one's life and the lives of others13. Curiously, instead of exterminating this faction, the Orokin tolerated it, and even integrated it into the economy and societal structure. The Corpus are implied to have been involved in weapons manufacturing14, and Parvos Granum remained influential well into the Old War15. Perhaps the Orokin wanted the populace to have an illusion of agency, to believe that they could rise to the golden heights of power… but a likelier explanation is that the Orokin were so powerful and arrogant as to view material wealth as simply inconsequential. No one, no matter how wealthy, could become an Orokin, could become… immortal.
Yet this immortality, as noted by Albrecht Entrati, had its limits. The resources of the Origin System itself were growing scarce, and no amount of power or immortality would arrest its ultimate destruction. In a bid to expand the Orokin Empire to other star systems, and thus ensure its long-term survival, the Executors commissioned the Zariman 10-0 colony ship expedition to the neighbouring Tau System. The Zariman was a grand and prestigious undertaking, but when the colonists on board revolted against the Orokin, it was swiftly disavowed. When the Zariman initiated its final Void jump from Saturn to Tau, something went disastrously wrong. The ship became stranded in the Void and was exposed to its otherworldly energies. Every adult on the ship went mad, at differing rates. However, the children were not only sane, but found they had new, extremely powerful abilities. The adults began hunting the children, who tried to avoid them, then tried to trap them16, and then finally, in desperation, killed them with their Void-granted powers17. Eventually, years later18, the Zariman appeared back in real-space. When the Orokin recovered the ship, it was still dead, all its systems down19, all the adult crew gone. But the children were present, traumatised from their ordeal, and suffused with powerful Void energies that still remained even after returning to the physical realm. The children, unable to control their powers, incidentally injured their rescuers, including Kaleen, the principal investigator, who was badly burned. The Orokin, fearful of their capabilities, made to destroy them, but an Archimedian named Margulis spoke up with an idea to contain them and attenuate their power20. The children, known as "Tenno" from the numerical designation of their ship (10-0), were put into stasis and made to dream. This eliminated the uncontrolled outbursts21. The Tenno reported being able to control their abilities while dreaming, but it is unclear if this refers to abilities wielded inside the dream, or if the Tenno were still capable of affecting the real world while asleep, and were simply more focused while doing so. In this dream state, Margulis worked to heal the Tenno of their trauma. A large portion of this therapy involved sealing off the Tenno's episodic memory of the Zariman incident22.
We place this event prior to the creation of the Sentients because none of the considerable records available, from communications logs to dialogue from crewmembers, reference the Sentients or any other previous effort to reach Tau, let alone colonise it. Executor Tuvul refers to the Zariman colonists as "those who blazed the trail"23. The Zariman was equipped with a Reliquary Drive, allowing it to travel without the aid of the Solar Rail network, which was to be put in place by the Sentients later. The entire story of the Zariman 10-0 is covered in more detail in a separate discussion.
The final major event (for which we have records) of the antebellum period is the aforementioned creation of the Sentients, as detailed in the Detron Crewman Synthesis entry. The Zariman Project having failed, the Orokin were in search of other solutions for extrastellar colonisation. In the Synthesis memory, Archimedian Perintol of the Corpus creates intelligent, adaptable, self-replicating robots to terraform the Tau System. These creations violate the Orokin prohibition against artificial intelligence, and he is slated to be executed, but he successfully argues his case to the Executors, and they spare him and agree to adopt his proposal. Later, this is shown to have been engineered by Executor Ballas, who in public was opposed to the project. These robots, of course, would eventually come to be the Sentients.
These Sentients were sent to Tau via a long journey through space, constructing a Solar Rail from Pluto's Outer Terminus as they went. The principal builder of the Rail was a massive Sentient named Praghasa24. Once Praghasa reached the Tau System, the Rail was completed, forming a transportation and communication link between the two star systems. The worlds in Tau were terraformed, primarily by another large Sentient named Hunhow25. Praghasa and Hunhow also made other Sentients to aid in their tasks, especially four individuals styled after animals, to lead and direct the other Sentients26. The Sentients became a race of individuals, all working to transform Tau into a paradise for the Orokin, who were waiting to claim yet another jewel for their crown. Those ambitions would not last long.
There is a miscellaneous account that cannot be dated in reference to the Old War. Ordis' memories possibly take place in the antebellum period. Ordan Karris was a mercenary, working for the Orokin leadership, leading a band of warriors with a distinct culture and code of honour. When the Orokin offered him immortality and membership among the elite as a reward for his service, he turned against them and slaughtered them. Ballas revealed the futility of the mercenary's actions – the Orokin cannot be so easily killed – and condemned him to immortal servitude as a cephalon. The original offer extended to Ordan Karris is, importantly, the only known example of the Orokin allowing another to join their ranks, and is highly notable. This story shows that the nature of the Orokin's immortality was a closely guarded secret, such that Ordan believed they could be felled by mundane means. It also tells how the Orokin circumvented their own proscription against artificial intelligence – by using human intelligences that were sculpted to the task, known as cephalons and still widely used in the modern Origin System. Lastly, we see that the Orokin, powerful as they were, still did not have complete control over the population of the System, needing to employ mercenaries and other forces to fight against various rebel groups.
The Old War
Eventually, the Sentients that had travelled so far began to change. They had been given intelligence to complete their task, and this intelligence developed emergent characteristics27. In time, the Sentients came to the conclusion that the Orokin were wasteful and destructive, and could not be allowed to spread to the Tau System28. According to Natah, the Orokin responded with force when they became aware of this29, and the Sentients retaliated to defend themselves, soon crossing the gap between star systems to attack the Orokin directly. The Orokin fought with their elite Dax warriors and all the advanced technology they could bring to bear, but were soon confronted with the terrifying truth. The Sentients were created to adapt to challenges, and so weapons used against them suffered diminishing returns as the Sentients evolved resistances. As hyperintelligent artificial life forms, the Sentients were able to hack and take control of Orokin systems30, or shut them down completely31. Thus, the Orokin were forced to resort to simpler, cruder methods of warfare. They unleashed the Technocyte plague, setting terrible Infested monsters upon the Sentient invaders32, but with limited effectiveness33. Vilcor of House Entrati designed and built Necramech combat walkers, which were immune to Sentient interference34. However, Sentients could still adapt to their attacks, and Necramechs lacked the ability to learn and improvise, so the Orokin eventually phased them out35. Some Grineer were transitioned to soldiers36, but they essentially only served as cannon fodder; their incredibly high replication rate meant that they could be released in overwhelming numbers.
The following is a list of known battles or engagements during the Old War. Given our lack of detailed knowledge, these represent only a fraction of the conflict.
- Delta Proxima37
- Battle of Hull38
- Lux-Severin Hotzone39
- Siege of Deimos40
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Tharsis engagements41
- Cephalon Cy's attack on the Sentient armada42
- Hunhow's defeat over Uranus
- Erra's attack on Lua
Despite the varied attempts to stave off the Sentients, humanity was being inexorably overwhelmed. Eventually, the Orokin were forced to resort to horrific means, infecting human test subjects with the Helminth strain of the Infestation, transforming them into super-soldiers. These "warframes", as they were called, were not afflicted with a hostile hive mind (as most victims of the Technocyte virus were)43, and were piloted remotely; Ballas refers to them as "battle-drones". However, when deployed, they broke free of their restraints and turned against the Orokin forces, and so the project was shelved, the warframes slated to be destroyed44. Before that could happen, it was discovered45 that the warframes could successfully be controlled by the Tenno children – they could do what the Orokin could not. Ballas theorised that the trauma the Tenno suffered on the Zariman and the healing they underwent with Margulis allowed them to similarly heal the damaged psyche of the warframes, who were tormented by their transformation46.
The Warframe Project began again in earnest, with Ballas at the head47. He worked with Margulis – who was also his lover48 – to design warframes for the Tenno to control. Each warframe was likely sculpted individually based on the characteristics of the human host49 as well as the Tenno pilot, forming a unique warrior perfectly suited for an individual role. The incredible diversity of warframes meant that the Sentients could neither predict nor adapt to their attacks50. The piloting of warframes – known as "Transference" – was worked into the therapeutic healing process of the Zariman survivors. The children were put into a deeper dream-state as they assumed control of the warframes, and in a sense, became new characters, warriors of the Orokin Empire. The Transference was so complete that the Tenno believed they were the warframes51. The situation would later be described succinctly: "It felt like waking up, but it was just a lucid second dream."52
Margulis, who was originally on board with the project as a means of further therapy for the children53, soon grew disillusioned (as did at least one other Archimedian54) once the Tenno-piloted warframes were released onto the battlefield to engage in death and destruction. This was likely heightened by the fact that the warframes were not only deployed to fight the Sentients, but also to put down rebellions55 and keep the population in check56, even gathering Yuvans from unwilling tribes57. The Orokin projected a terrifying mythos58 about the Tenno, hiding their true nature and origin, and the Tenno became monstrous legends – legends that were only heightened, not dispelled, by the Tenno's actual feats. Margulis finally refused to participate further, and despite Ballas' urgings, defied the Orokin Executors and admonished them for their corruption and immorality59. This was a grave offence, one not even Ballas could save her from, and she was executed for "apostasy".60
The Tenno continued to fight in the war, and their efficacy began to turn the tide against the Sentients. Not only were the Tenno fearsome warriors in their own right, but the very source of their powers – the Void – was a specific weakness of the Sentients, built in by Perintol from the start61. The Tenno fought alongside the preexisting Orokin military forces62, both in terrestrial battles and in space, utilising Archwing combat harnesses63 as well as multi-crew interceptor craft known as Railjacks64. Eventually, the Orokin were not just fighting to push the Sentients from the Origin System, but striking back at their own system, launching raids on distant Tau65. The Sentients were desperately searching for a plan, a new way to resist the Void-empowered Tenno. They found an unlikely ally: Ballas. The Executor had been deeply hurt by Margulis' death, and now sought to betray the Orokin, his own kind66 . He contacted Hunhow with the utmost secrecy and divulged the secrets of the Tenno: their nature, their origin, and where and how to find them67. The Sentients took this information and came up with a brilliant, elaborate plan for the extinction of the Orokin, and to that end, birthed a new Sentient, one that would be critical to the survival of their species: Natah.
Natah was a mimic, able to change her appearance to suit the task68. For her role, she was mentored by the Sentient beast known as the Wolf, a master of deception69. She then crossed the gap to the Origin System and was smuggled into the Orokin hierarchy, likely with Ballas' help, and assumed the role of the Tenno's mission handler, a persona called the Lotus. She would direct their movements and attacks, in accordance with the Sentients' master plan. The Sentients, in turn, would play their own role, and the war would turn into a carefully choreographed dance where the Tenno would take out the Sentient forces with aplomb – all part of an elaborate ruse to lull the Orokin into a false assumption of victory. The war seems to have stagnated at this point, with the Sentients slowly rearranging their forces for the final sequence, while the Orokin seemed none too eager to press their advantage. There are numerous accounts of Tenno being deployed to settle relatively minor disturbances, such as malfunctioning passenger ships70 or unarmed religious cultists71, giving the impression that the conflict had settled down enough to spare these fearsome warriors.
The Sentients, for their part, wholly committed their forces to the plan. Important figures such as Hunhow72, his son Erra73, and the four beasts74 travelled to the Origin System with or shortly after Natah, leaving an unknown contingent back in Tau (Praghasa may have already been in the Origin System as part of prior attacks). Having crossed, Hunhow shattered the Solar Rail Terminus at Pluto, severing Tau from the Orokin's grasp permanently75. As a consequence, the Sentients could no longer receive reinforcements from their home system. The four beasts, though fearsome opponents, eventually fell in combat against the Tenno76. Erra scavenged their corpses, combining them with fallen Prime warframes to create the Archons, unholy hybrids of Sentient and warframe.77
The Old War reached its climax in a massive battle over Uranus where Hunhow himself, the terror of the Orokin, was struck down and defeated. This was, of course, part of the Sentients' plan78, but Erra suspected that something was amiss. Natah's conduct was worrying him, and he assaulted Lua79 with his remaining forces (including a large Sentient ship resembling Hunhow80) in order to confront his sister directly. Natah confirmed Erra's suspicions: she was no longer serving the Sentients' plan81. Ballas had reprogrammed her in secret82, without anyone knowing – even Natah herself. She, not realising that she had been altered, was filled with love for the Tenno, and thought of them as her children83. She had drawn on the Tenno's memories of Margulis to create a more emotional bond with them, appealing to their pathos84, and now she herself was lost in the illusion. She did not recognise Erra as an ally, and under her command, the Tenno grievously wounded him with their powerful Void energy, seemingly killing him85.
With the Sentients defeated, the Orokin gathered at the Outer Terminus to honour the Tenno for their victory. In this hour of celebration, the Lotus instructed the Tenno to strike down their masters and behead the empire86, as per Hunhow's master plan. But the final sequence, where the Lotus turned on the Tenno and destroyed them before resurrecting Hunhow, never occurred87. The Lotus could not bring herself to betray the Tenno, for Ballas' subterfuge was finally manifest.
And so the Sentients stayed dead, as did the Orokin. Ballas had achieved his revenge whilst ensuring his own survival. At this point he vanishes from the historical record. The Tenno faded into myth and legend, as all across the System, the empire fell into darkness.
The period following the slaughter of the Orokin at the Outer Terminus is termed "The Collapse". The Orokin Empire was highly centralised, with gene-locks restricting access and privileges to certain social castes88, and so without leadership, the workings of the empire began to grind to a halt. The Lotus, perhaps fearing reprisal from Sentient remnants, pulled the entire moon of Earth, Lua, into the Void89, cutting it off from the rest of the System and placing it where the Sentients could never reach it. Due to Lua's core importance to Orokin infrastructure, this only hastened the Collapse. Machinery and routines began failing all across the empire, and the Origin System fell into a dark age lasting millennia.
The Slaughter at the Terminus was not enough to completely eliminate the Orokin. Several of the Executors survived, and the Lotus directed the Tenno to finish the job. Voruna, guardian of the Yuvan Clerisy, turned on them and devoured them all, including Executor Tuvul, who had fled to Lua in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to perform a final Continuity90. In similar fashion, Ash was deployed to eliminate the assassins of the Scoria, who revered him as a mentor91. Executor Karishh had fled to Riddha on Europa, living in luxury while the citizens around him starved. Grendel arrived and liberated the city, consuming Karishh's Dax bodyguards and likely Karishh himself92.
Executor Avantus, on Mars, was attempting to re-establish the Congress of Executors and restore the Empire. She was cut down, not by a Tenno, but by a mutant, intelligent Grineer93. This Grineer, Veytok, then took control of some Orokin infrastructure by enslaving an administrative-level Orokin bureaucrat and began amassing an army of other Grineer, warring against the remnants of the Empire94. Two high-born sisters, twins, led the Orokin remnants in their fight against the Grineer, but eventually the clones grew to respect them, and instead the sisters were made the Grineer leaders, becoming the Twin Queens95 (Veytok's fate is not known). This led to the establishment of the Grineer Empire as it currently exists today.
The Infestation started breaking out all across the System96, likely escaping from various laboratories as containment units and other infrastructure failed. Some Orokin ships warped into the Void to escape the chaos97, but their inhabitants are now long dead, or turned into Corrupted. Many colonies hid out in their secluded homes and just tried to survive. Details of the Corpus from this time period are sketchy98, but despite the disappearance of their founder Parvos Granum99, they somehow managed to keep a common culture and history, viewing themselves as the last remaining inheritors of the Orokin legacy100.
A large Sentient, the Eidolon, arrived on Earth and started demolishing Orokin Towers101, possibly as a final act of revenge by the Sentients. For some reason the Tenno fled and did not engage, except one, Gara, who remained at the Tower of the Unum. Gara and the Unum had some sort of bond, and Gara ultimately sacrificed herself to destroy the Eidolon and save the Unum. The Eidolon's consciousness was destroyed, but its body and essence remained on Earth. The Unum employed another Tenno, Revenant, to act as a warden and look after the Eidolon's spirit, but eventually he succumbed to his duties as well102. These and other stories103 indicate the Tenno were still mildly active during the Collapse, individual warframes fighting back against the crushing chaos here and there. Eventually, the Lotus put the Tenno into cryo-sleep, letting the various civilisations in the System evolve at their own pace, freed from the yoke of their godlike former masters.
Here, there is a long interregnum, about which we know very little. Ultimately, after thousands of years104, the Grineer and Corpus emerged as dominant superpowers, and began to conquer and oppress on a planetary scale, much like the Orokin. The Lotus, seeing this, decided to awaken the Tenno once more, to restore the balance and fight for those helpless citizens caught in the middle. But that, of course, is another tale entirely.
- Albrecht implies this in the Xata entry when he says "immortal as we are – we die with the sun." According to the Khra entry, he is already centuries old by the time of his first crossing. He also references the kuva in the Netra entry, though this is understood to take place much later.
- Albrecht Entrati: "…the filigree gold, the rare cuts of marble from my home." (Ris)
- The Vome entry references Dax warriors, who were warriors bound to obey the Orokin, as we learn during The War Within.
- Cavalero mentions that Grineer were on board the Zariman, so they must have been created prior: "…we shouldn't leave them out so any grubber or slack-jawed Grineer can reach them." (Zariman ARG)
- Arid Eviscerator Synthesis entry
- Yonta was an Archimedian assigned to the Zariman (among others), and she speaks of the Archimedians as a highly structured organisation by her time, with Symposia and a council of Seniors: "There will never be another Archimedian Symposium. No more waiting, petrified, to find out if it's you the Golden Lords are singling out this time." (Archimedian Yonta dialogue)
- Cavalero's dialogue implies that he was familiar with Dax before the Zariman voyage: "A whole Empire, gone. Guess the Dax weren't so tough, huh?" (Cavalero dialogue)
- Teshin: "By Orokin hands we Dax were given great power, great strength… but an even greater weakness. To obey their command […] No Dax can ever raise steel against an Orokin." (The War Within)
- Executor Tuvul: "You citizens are born to die; such is your lot! But even such a death as yours may be meaningful if it serves Us." (Executor Tuvul broadcast logs)
- As told in Parvos Granum's Tenets.
- Archimedian Perintol is noted to be part of the Corpus in the Detron Crewman Synthesis entry: "Should you fail, you and your corpus will pay dearly."
- Drusus Leverian: "To the Orokin, […] the thought that a person could rise above their station was anathema." (Lavos Leverian gallery)
- Parvos Granum: "My gift to the future is an idea: an idea that wealth need not settle as a crust upon the upper echelons of the populace. No. Any poor grain farmer can, should he feed his Desire and apply his wisdom, take fortune for himself. The more, the better." (We Are Corpus, The Tenets)
- Ballas: "These industrialists have gorged on the harvest of our long war. Their mind-drones, their mechanisations, toil in foundries remote." (Vauban Prime trailer)
- The Business: "Warframe, yes, but one of a kind. Protea. Legend says she was built specifically for and assigned to one Parvos Granum. Yes. Part of a deal Granum cut with the Orokin themselves. Granum… was no amateur. He had real power." (Deadlock Protocol)
- Operator: "We built a makeshift prison." (The War Within)
- Operator: "They were nothing but animals by then. So I hunted." (The War Within)
- The Ember Codex entry says days, but we consider this retconned by The Second Dream.
- Lotus: "She was drifting, dead in space…" (The Second Dream)
- Lotus: "…the Orokin were afraid of you […] They were about to destroy the orphans of Ten-Zero, but Margulis… she loved you. She found a way…" (The Second Dream)
- Operator: "We couldn't help it, the outbursts. We hurt her, blinded her, but even then, she never abandoned us. In the dream we found peace…" (The Second Dream)
- Teshin: "Margulis lied to you, a lie of omission. She did not cure the Zariman children – she erased them." (The War Within)
- Executor Tuvul: "Those citizens who follow after you, secure in the comfort of an extrasolar Rail, will wish they had shared in your hardship. How reverently they will speak of those who blazed the trail! How prized your simple genetic stock will be!" (Executor Tuvul broadcast logs)
- Natah: "My mother [was] a carpenter. Given light by the Golden Lords to build for them…" (Ropalolyst dialogue)
- Natah refers to Hunhow as a "farmer" (Ropalolyst dialogue).
- Pazuul: "The Mother and the Father shaped the creatures: the Owl, the Snake, the Wolf… and the Ram, who ruled them all." (Pazuul propaganda drone broadcasts)
- Natah: "Creativity. Pride. A will to live." (Ropalolyst dialogue)
- Ballas: "But when you arrived at that distant world… you knew that in time, we would bring ruin to it as well. As we had to Earth." (The Sacrifice)
- Natah: "And so the Golden Wrath came." (Ropalolyst dialogue)
- "The Sentients had won. They had turned our weapons, our technology, against us. The more advanced we became, the greater our losses." (Excalibur Codex entry)
- Vilcor: "Back in the Old War, Orphix Sentients would hit us with pulses. Shut down anything more sophisticated than a lump hammer." (Operation: Orphix Venom)
- Lotus says that Lephantis was "created to fight in the Old War." (Lephantis dialogue)
- The description for Eidolon Phylaxis references "Sentient immunity to the Infestation".
- Vilcor: "Look, you [the Tenno] were the second wave, kid. The Necramechs were Void-shielded, Sentient-pulse-immune… as bright as a bag of hammers and just as dependable." (Heart of Deimos)
- Vilcor: "Listen, a Necramech is not bright. They're not like Sentients. They can't learn squat. Sentients adapt to their attacks pretty quick." (Operation: Orphix Venom)
- Lancer Synthesis entry
- Vilcor: "There were four of us: Barroc, Kailen, Mutaru, and me, patching ruptures on a rust bucket of a Railjack off the Delta Proxima. I remember our first sight of a Sentient Murex…" (Operation: Orphix Venom)
- Isaah: "The Sentient battle at Hull… I can't imagine…. You were awarded the Lua Cross for valour." (The Sacrifice)
- Vilcor: "I remember when the Tombjockey took its first faltering steps into the Lux-Severin Hotzone […] Didn't make it seven paces before some wide-winged hell-clown I'd never seen before ripped it apart like a kubrow going at a raggedy-kai." (Operation: Orphix Venom)
- "During the Old War, Belric, Rania, and their guardian warframe Citrine were the last line of defence against a Sentient onslaught upon a strategically important planetoid" (Belric's Crystal Codex entry). Dialogue during Mirror Defence missions indicates this took place on Deimos.
- Cephalon Cy: "Exemplary service record. Rescue total: two thousand and seventeen souls. Cited for bravery in the second and third Tharsis engagements." (Call of the Tempestarii)
- Cephalon Cy: "Orokin Outer Terminus positions have fallen to the Sentient armada. Our orders: behead the fleet. My crew: Sukhin, Krodhi, Zada. There are none finer. We are family. We will stop this war in its tracks. We are the Orokin Empire's best hope." Cephalon Cy's mission is described in his flashbacks during the Rising Tide quest.
- Ballas: "We took our greatest, volunteers or not, and polluted them with these cultured reagents. They transformed. They became infested […] Yet their minds were free of the Infested madness." (The Sacrifice)
- Ballas: "They turned on us, just as you did. And so we had no choice… but to commit them to grave." (The Sacrifice)
- As depicted in the Rhino Prime Codex entry.
- Ballas: "And it was not their force of will – not their Void devilry – not their alien darkness… it was something else. It was that somehow, from within the derelict horror, they had learned a way to see inside an ugly, broken thing… and take away its pain." (The Sacrifice)
- As indicated by the Prime warframe cinematic trailers.
- Ballas: "Hush, my wilted love." (The Second Dream)
- The Mirage Prime trailer explains how the host's personality formed part of the final warframe.
- Banshee Prime trailer
- Operator: "I'm confused… I thought I was…" (The Second Dream)
- The Second Dream
- Silvana: "At first, the project seemed therapeutic and nurturing." (Twilight Apothic imprint, The Silver Grove)
- Silvana: "Now I build these vile weapons called 'warframes' all for one purpose: death. I've become everything I hate." (Twilight Apothic imprint, The Silver Grove)
- Gauss Leverian gallery
- Nekros Prime trailer
- "Inaros began not as our king, but as our enemy; a warrior of the Golden Skymen. But for each child the Skymen took away, Inaros grew ever more angry…" (Sands of Inaros)
- "I had been, until then, a Tenno denier. They were ghosts, propaganda, twisted casualties of the Void Era. Not possibly real." (Mag Prime Codex entry)
- Margulis: "…so shame on you! You Orokin, so perfect on the outside, but you’re rotted through and through!" (The Second Dream)
- Ballas: "For your apostasy, the judgement… is death. Margulis, why?" (The Second Dream)
- Perintol: "The Void is poison to them." (Detron Crewman Synthesis entry)
- Cephalon Cy recalls in Rising Tide that his original crew were Dax.
- Described in the Mag Prime Codex entry and depicted in the What Remains? webcomic.
- The Sigma Series Parazon skin and Sigma Series syandana both reference warframe Railjack crews.
- "The alien blue star was dark and blinding beyond us." (Mag Prime Codex entry)
- Ballas: "Yet you couldn’t understand why I’d give my secrets to our enemy. How could I betray my own kind? But you have never had to sacrifice your love for faith." (The Sacrifice)
- Ballas: "It is with the greatest of risk that I commit this recording. The codices within reveal the hidden weakness of your most feared enemy. My creations. My frames of war." (The Sacrifice)
- Natah: "…I was born. A mimic, a spy." (Ropalolyst dialogue)
- Lotus: "The Wolf was a mentor to me long ago. From him I learned the wisdom of deception." (Archon Hunt dialogue)
- Drusus Leverian: "Nova, mistress of antimatter, was deployed to relight the Theodolite's antimatter reactor before the vessel was drawn into the gravity well of a nearby planetoid." (Nova Leverian gallery)
- Drusus Leverian: "Orgon missiles, a gale force of Dax… the Orokin could have resolved this in any number of ways. […] Atlas, alone, was sent." (Atlas Leverian gallery)
- Hunhow birthed Natah before crossing to the Origin System, as the crossing sterilises Sentients: "Me and my kind become barren when crossing the gap" (Natah).
- Erra was present for Natah's birth: "Do you remember, Natah? That first day? How our father lifted you screaming from the manifold? How we sang?" (Archon Hunt dialogue)
- Natah has memories of the beasts in Tau: "On Tau, the Owl was solitary. He seemed to think himself above us and recognised the Ram alone as an equal." (Archon Hunt dialogue)
- Pazuul: "My father severed the worlds, sundered the link we had forged with Tau in the days of our enslavement." (Pazuul propaganda drone broadcasts)
- Lotus remarks that "Nira [the Serpent] devoured her brothers", but does not elaborate. (Archon Hunt dialogue)
- Hunhow: "…the Archons were made by my son, Erra. Hybrid abominations of the Old War… raised from the blighted battlefields where Sentient and warframe fell." (The New War)
- Hunhow: "We severed the worlds, let them destroy me…" (Natah)
- As depicted in the Erra cutscene.
- Erra says to Natah "I am the only family you've got left!" (Erra), so Hunhow himself must be dead at this point.
- Lotus: "I am not Natah. I am THE LOTUS." (Erra)
- Natah: "But in truth, we were both imprisoned in Lua's belly. My light remade by the creators. I became a memory, a ghost. Reprogrammed to destroy my family, my people, my history." (Ropalolyst dialogue)
- Teshin: "Natah wanted children of her own." (Natah)
- Palladino: "…what you are, what you've made of yourself… is merely drawn from the dreams of these divine children. You are not she. You are not… Margulis." (Chains of Harrow)
- Natah: "You were destroyed. The Tenno made sure of that…" (The Maker)
- As described in the Stalker Codex entry.
- Lotus: "I had my mission and I have completed it. All but the last sequence."
Teshin: "To destroy the Tenno." (Natah)
- Bilsa: "…your Executorial Frigate has no Sectarus class or Executor? How are you piloting?" (Guardsman Synthesis entry)
- Alad V: "Sweet Profit, the Moon exists? It was… it was in the Void all along? I knew the Lotus was powerful, but this… she erased history! We thought it was destroyed all this time." (The Second Dream)
- Voruna Leverian gallery
- Drusus Leverian: "…in the final days of Orokin rule… as towers fell and death came for the white and gold gods… the Scoria were not spared. No. Rather, their senior ranks – the mentors and chief assassins – were exterminated to a figure in a pogrom of ruthless and breathtaking efficiency. A near-total destruction led… in the main… by Ash." (Ash Leverian gallery)
- Grendel Leverian gallery
- Arid Eviscerator Synthesis entry
- Guardsman Synthesis entry
- Kuria poem
- One such instance is described in the Corrupted Ancient Synthesis entry.
- "As Infestation spread across the solar system, Orokin ships unable to make the jump to the Void locked down vault rooms to preserve the valuable artefacts within. (Orokin Vault promo)
- Anti Moa Synthesis entry
- Parvos Granum was banished to the Void following an assassination attempt, according to the Deadlock Protocol. Drusus Leverian indicates that this happened by the time of the Collapse: "With no Dax to keep the peace, and no Parvos Granum to hold the Corpus Board together…" (Nezha Leverian gallery)
- "Lead by innovatory and elusive industrialists, and claiming to be descendants of Orokin lineage, the Corpus are dedicated to the accumulation of wealth." (Corpus cephalon fragment)
- As depicted in the Gara Legend.
- As described in the Mask of the Revenant quest.
- "I saw something run away, a streak of silver and gold. It shot straight up the cavern wall and out into the sunshine above." (Corrupted Ancient Synthesis entry)
- The Business and Sigor Savah both remark offhandedly that it has been "millennia" since the Orokin Empire.