Orko is the comic-relief court magician appearing in the 1983-1984 He-man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon series.
For context, you can first read our He-man and the Masters of the Universe world primer.
- Real Name: Orko.
- Other Aliases: Orko the Great (on Trolla), Orko the Icon, Sir Orko (Knighted by Queen Marlena).
- Marital Status: Single (In a long-distance relationship with Dree-Elle.)
- Known Relatives: Montork (Uncle).
- Group Affiliation: Heroic Warriors, The Royal Palace.
- Base of Operations: The Royal Palace.
- Height: 2’6″ (76 cm). Weight: 25 lbs. (11 Kg.).
- Eyes: Yellow with black irises. Hair: None.
- Other Distinguishing Features: Orko has three fingers and a thumb on each hand. He has pointed ears and blue skin. Orko said he was purple-blooded, but this might be metaphorical as in “that’s what any blue-blooded American would do.” (“To Save Skeletor” episode).
Powers & Abilities
Orko is a powerful Trollan magician, trained by his uncle Montork. Powerful… on his own planet. Everything is opposite there, so Orko’s Trollan magic rarely works on Eternia.
As much as Man-At-Arms and others give him a hard time; whenever he performs they’re all in attendance to see it.
Orko talks about being able to “feel” magic and “feel” whether it’s bad.
Orko can stretch his body to an extent, which allows him to slip bindings.
His hat conceals a third arm.
Orko is one weird physical specimen. He always floats, robes hanging limp and flapping in the wind. He appears to have no feet, yet, he has been shown tapping his “foot” concealed under his robe.
He wears his robes and hat at all times. He often reaches into the top of his hat to rummage around inside his head. This is where he keeps his wand, toys, and other odds and ends.
This magical storage area is of unknown size. It can hold several items and Orko himself can slip inside.
Shadow Weaver’s magic and Horde science were useless in determining what a captured Orko was. Roboto tried analyzing him and came up with nothing as well.
When transformed into a cricket by the Shaping staff, cricket-Orko retained his color – or rather the red of his robes. In cricket form he still had his normal head, hat included, though cricket sized. Not to mention he retained his ability to speak. Others transformed into animals looked like the animal they became and had no voice.
He once opened his hat and had a jet of water come out to hit Beast-Man in the face.
Orko teleported the horn of evil from under his hat to under Yuckers’ hat, calling it “the old Trollan Hat trick” (“Dree Elle’s Return” episode).
The rain and thunder opened a temporary mystic doorway between Eternia and Trolla. Trolla, a beautiful land governed by magic, resides in a different astral zone.
Pulled from his home world, Orko found himself stranded on Eternia. He heard a cry for help and used his mystic medallion to rescue Adam and Cringer. However, he lost his medallion in that very swamp.
The Royal family named Orko a hero, then adopted him as their royal court magician.
From Trolla with love
Orko’s magic pyramid was on the fritz. Man-At-Arms agreed to try to fix it for him. But an accident caused the pyramid to vanish, then return with another Trollan — named Dree-Elle — inside.
She explained that Trolla was in danger. The half-man, half-dragon Dragoon was making trouble.
Orko, He-man, and Battle-Cat travelled to Trolla and defeated Dragoon. They rescued all the imprisoned Trollans.
Orko and Dree-Elle showed faces, essentially getting engaged to be married. But Orko left Trolla to continue the fight against Skeletor on Eternia.
Dree-Elle later used Orko’s magic pyramid to visit on several occasions.
Torog the magician summoned warriors from afar to aid him in conquering Eternia. By chance, he summoned Orko’s beloved Uncle Montork and his pet Gark (no relation).
As with Orko’s, Montork’s magic didn’t work right on Eternia at first. But Montork quickly figured out how to use it effectively away from Trolla – something Orko still hasn’t managed. Orko helped Montork escape Torog’s spell and return to Trolla.
Montork would return to Eternia to help Orko and friends battle evil wizards Azrog and Spydra. This time Orko got controlled and Montork helped him break free.
Trolla, Orko’s home world
Everything is backward on Trolla. The first time He-man and Battle-Cat arrived in Trolla, they reverted to Adam and Cringer. Adam had to say the words backwards to become He-man again.
On Trolla, the fish fly instead of swim, trees grow upside down. Even the rainbow bows in the other direction.
Outside of the evil Dragoon’s fortress there is “The Bottomless Hole of Trolla” (“Dawn of Dragoon” episode).
Montork is the head of the Academy of Magic. The Crimson Council is the governing body. There is a King and Queen as well.
Orko has blue skin and long pointy Elf-like ears.
He wears red wizard robes and a long pointy hat. Orko has a large “O” on the front of his robe. Putting your first initial on the front of your robes is a common but not universal practice on Trolla.
Black mage from Final Fantasy bears a striking resemblance to Orko.
Orko acts childish and is often treated as a child. He plays with children’s toys as his pastime. He is often told to clean his room.
He is afraid when scolded by Man-At-Arms and may even hide to avoid punishment. Yet when confronted he shows character and usually knows right from wrong and does what is good.
Orko refers to all his magic as “tricks”.
In Trollan custom you only show your face to someone you love. Orko showed his face to Dree-Elle before he returned to Eternia (“Dawn of Dragoon”).
Orko’s favorite uncle is Montork. Orko loves him and seeks his approval.
His best friend at the Palace is probably Cringer.
He’s intrigued by Man-At-Arms’ inventions, but Orko usually gets in trouble when dealing with these.
His ears show a lot of emotion. Twitching up and down quickly when he’s angry. When embarrassed his ears blush with a red glow. Orko finds humor in many situations, laughing and wiggling his ears.
Common Orko comedy bits
- He casts a spell and gets something that rhymes with what he said instead of what he wanted. “Magic powers do your stuff.” (surprised by a pile of flowers) “I said powers not flowers!”
- A trick using eggs or water will inevitably get spilled on Man-At-Arms.
- A spell actually works, surprising everyone.
- Making a statement that he isn’t afraid of something/someone. Just then a shadow or (something) scares him. Proving that he is afraid.
- Says he can be of help then immediately causes disaster.
- And some good old physical comedy, like flying into a tree while not looking where he’s going.
Orko: “Don’t worry Cringer, I’ll use my magic to defend us !”
Cringer: “Your magic ? I’m in even worse trouble than I thought.”
Teela: “What’s Orko up to ?”
Man-At-Arms: “Mischief, as usual. He almost wrecked the Palace with another of his crazy inventions.”
(A spell worked as Orko planned)
“Galloping galaxies, I did it !”
“There’s some kind of power in the air. I feel it and I’m not sure it’s friendly either.”
“Back in the land of Trolla, all my tricks worked.”
“And now, for my next trick.”
(Orko gave up Trolla to return to Eternia)
He-man: “Orko, why didn’t you stay with Dree-Elle ? You seemed so fond of each other.”
Orko: “I wanted to but you’re my friends too and as long as Skeletor threatens Eternia, I’m going to help you defend it.”
Orko: “No fair, I want to go too, I’m real helpful.”
Man-At-Arms: “You could be a big help by staying out of the way.”
Orko: “But I won’t cause any trouble, I promise.” (immediately falls into an adjacent Attack-Trak and mayhem ensues.)
Boy: “You’re a funny magician.”
Battle-Cat: “Let’s just say he’s funny.”
“Magic is tricky stuff. Hehe, hey, ‘tricky’, ‘stuff’, pretty funny, huh ?”
“Where I come from we never had to clean our room.”
“Maybe we can play sometime.”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
Getting to Earth is no problem. Orko could dimension travel again through a mystic doorway. He’s been to Earth before in the Christmas Special.
Orko could join Justice League Dark if he decided to stay on Earth. He stayed on Eternia to stand against the threat of Skeletor. He could make a stand against the many villains of the DCU.
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 04||Str: 01||Bod: 02|
|Int: 03||Wil: 03||Min: 03|
|Inf: 02||Aur: 03||Spi: 05|
|Init: 009||HP: 020|
Detect (Evil): 06, Dimension Travel (Mini-Tesseract Only): 03, Extended Hearing: 10, Extra-Limb (third hand under his hat): 01, Fabricate: 06, Flash: 06, Flight: 06, Illusion: 02, Invisibility: 02, Magic Sense: 06, Shrinking: 02, Stretching: 02, Superspeed: 04, Telekinesis: 04, Teleportation: 05, Sorcery: 04 (12)
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Detect is Contingent Upon Magic Sense. It may only detect if the source of the magic is evil.
- Dimension travel is into and out of his private tesseract storage space inside his hat. Orko may pull items from the top when it hinges open, or the bottom. Self-Storage (+3 FC).
- Extra-limb may appear as another arm, a mechanical spring arm, or even a butterfly net.
- Orko must use hand gestures to activate Telekinesis.
- Shrinking is Form Function and Always On.
- Sorcery effects usually have a time limit of only a few seconds.
- When on Trolla or if Orko is being controlled, Sorcery can deploy 12 APs and will not inflict SPI damage on Orko.
- Sorcery may be used through someone he loves gaining the Useable on Others bonus (+2 FC). He must be able to communicate with the person receiving his magic. To use Sorcery in this manner is Serious Marginal – 15 HPs, -2 FC.
- If Orko’s Sorcery is boosted to more than 12 APs his flight will engage automatically out of his control. He will jet around with sparks spewing out of him. Sorcery will Burn Out after 4 Phases.
- Stretching always allows for addition to RV. However, any other use of Stretching is Minor Marginal (5 HPs). Except in the case of his third hand.
- Superspeed is Seriously Marginal (15 HPs). It may only perform tasks more quickly or to spin around like a top.
- Telekinesis has the Lack of Control limitation at (+1 CS to OV).
- Teleportation of himself to escape an enemy is minor Marginal (5 HPs, -1 FC). Orko may add APs of Teleportation to his Initiative when he does this.
- All powers are Mystic Linked.
- All powers are Contingent Upon Sorcery except for Flight, Shrinking, and Stretching.
- All powers are ineffective against wood from Fisto’s Forest.
Evasion (Aerial only): 05, Artist (Dancer, Juggler, Singer, Stage Magician): 01, Gadgetry (Build): 02, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget): 01, Occultist: 01, Scientist: 01, Thief (Escape Artist): 06, Vehicles (Air): 03, Weaponry (Melee)*: 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Gadgetry is Mystic Linked. While Orko uses magic to build things, he often doesn’t know what he’s built when he’s finished.
- Thief (Escape Artist) is a powered skill and is contingent on Orko’s Stretching Power.
Area Knowledge (Royal Palace and surrounding areas), Area Knowledge (Trolla), Expertise (Stage Performance), Familiarity (Chess, Christmas, Riddles, Trolla), Sharp Eye.
He-Man (High), Royal Palace (High), Dree Elle (High), Uncle Montork (High).
- Altered Anatomy.
- Distinct Appearance.
- Exile (Voluntary): Trolla.
- Minor Irrational Attraction to Dree Elle.
- Minor Irrational Attraction to pretty women who show him attention.
- Minor Irrational Attraction to clumsiness and curiosity.
- Loss Vulnerability: If Orko takes enough killing damage to kill him; he instantly switches to the Humor genre and survives. However, he loses all his powers that are contingent on Sorcery. He must regain those lost powers normally. He’ll also be exhausted.
- Catastrophic Irrational Attraction to spell failure: All powers are considered magic in nature, his magic/rituals, even using magic items, are likely to fail or have odd but related effects.
Example: Orko created a rainbow in the sky. Teela and Adam were surprised it worked, as was Orko. Then suddenly the rainbow vanished, and a black cloud appeared in its place raining only on Orko.
This drawback is removed if Orko is on his home world: Trolla, if he is being controlled by another, or if Orko pays a 5 Hero Points fee to suspend this drawback for short time (one scene).
Thrill of Adventure.
Royal Court Magician.
Orko doesn’t usually have any equipment on him. On the other hand, he could have all the following equipment stored away in his hat.
- Wand [BODY 04, Stretching: 02, Flash 04, Flight: 01, Pyrotechnics: 01, Bonuses and limitations:
- Flash is ambient light filling an entire area out to 04 APs.
- The Wand has an Aura Requirement of 05 APs. Anyone with less than this trying to command it is subject to mischief caused by the wand. Normally activating its own abilities in unwanted ways.
- Flight is self-propulsion of the wand alone.
- Stretching only allows for addition for RV.]
- Old Wand [BODY 04, Flight: 04, Time Travel: 24, Bonuses and limitations:
- The Wand has an Aura Requirement of 08 APs. Anyone with less than this trying to command it is subject to mischief caused by the wand. Normally activating its own abilities in unwanted ways.
- Flight is self-propulsion of the wand alone.]
This wand likely has other abilities, but this is what was demonstrated.
- Magic dust [Broadcast Empath: 04, Flash: 03 Bonuses and Limitations: Broadcast Empath only for happiness, Flash only gives steady illumination.]
Orko says a rhyme and tosses it on his target, they become happy and friendly. Orko throws some “Magic dust” to brighten a room (“Fraidy Cat” episode).
- Orko’s Magic Pyramid [BODY 05, Dimension Travel 03, Fabricate: 03, Bonuses and Limitations: Dimension Travel may be used with the Location Jumping bonus. Fabricate may only produce one specific item per side. 1) Flowers 2) A swan 3) Fruit.]
Orko gave his Pyramid to Dree Elle so she could visit Eternia whenever she wanted.
- Orko’s room at the Royal Palace has a kind of magical workshop. There are wall paintings of Trollan magicians. Explosions are sure to happen! (“Orko’s lost magic” episode).
- Orko actually has a bag that is labeled “Tricks” in his room.
- Demon dust. Orko says it’s used in summoning demons…but, he’s never summoned anything more than a rabbit with it.
In early episodes, Teleportation is rarely used. He used it to teleport dramatically into King Randor’s banquet hall and then to escape a bomb that was about to explode. Then to bring parts and tools to the same location so he could build a music box. He instead accidentally made a bomb and Man-At-Arms had to dispose of it!
If pushed Orko’s Flight power will make him appear as a glowing ball of energy rocketing along like a comet!
Orko had Exile Forced (Trolla) until the “Dawn of Dragoon” episode.
The first time Orko used invisibility is the “The Golden Disks of Knowledge” episode.
Extended Hearing was demonstrated when Orko complained of explosions in the Crimson Valley. It lies so far away that no one else heard them (“Eternal Darkness” episode).
Telekinesis was rated at 01 AP until Orko lifted a heavy stone off Prince Adam with his TK, which Adam couldn’t lift. Flash was added in the same episode when Orko blinded a large humanoid gladiator (“Pawns of the Game Master” episode).
Orko gave Dree Elle a hat like his own. He told her it can do all of his tricks! This could mean she now has an equal amount of power as Orko, or just the Tesseract, or nothing at all. The hat is never used or seen again (“Dree Elle’s Return” episode).
Orko’s magic was stronger when he traveled back to a time before Grayskull. This may mean that magic on Eternia is growing weaker over time.
More design notes
Another of Orko’s tricks is to reach into the “O” on his robe and pull something out of it. This is covered by the Fabricate power or as another entrance to his Tesseract Dimension.
In the Second Season, Orko began rhyming while casting. It could be to help him concentrate. Or so he can do the wrong word jokes. It has no in-game mechanic.
Flight was 04 until he proved he could keep up with Buzz-Off in flight (“Island of Fear” episode).
There are times when Orko says he can’t use his magic when his hands are tied. However, he doesn’t have this limitation in other instances.
By the time She-Ra episodes come along, Orko has complete control over Teleportation and uses it at greater distances. I’ve increased him from 03 to 05 APs (“Price of Freedom” episode).
Shadow Weaver once stole Orko’s shadow, physically weakening him. Man-at-Arms explained that when she took the shadow she also took his magic. In this case, Orko’s Sorcery power dropped to 00 APs as did all its contingent powers (“Shades of Orko” episode).
Like Teela, Orko learned how to fight blind-folded. They both did this in the same episode, but it’s never shown again. So, I didn’t give either the Blind-Fighting Schtick.
With Montork’s help, Orko was able to use his magic through Dree-Elle. It’s explained that he is connected to Dree Elle because of their love. He even contacted her through a magical barrier (“The Greatest Magic” episode).
His original concept name was “Gorpo”. He would have a “G” on his robes instead of an “O”. But this was problematic when it came to the flipping of cells in production runs.
Source of Character: Filmation Presents 1983/1984 animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and the 1985-1987 She-Ra Princess of Power, plus the 1985 He-man and She-Ra Christmas Special. Character voiced by Lou Scheimer.
Helper(s): IMDb, Jason Roe.
Writeup completed on the 18th of August , 2019.