“Orokin secrets cannot remain secret forever! Start talking!”The following article/section is conjecture. Content is subjected to change/removal as the game progresses. Please do not use this article for critical in-game information.
“You're not supposed to be in here! You're going to ruin the surprise!”The following section contains spoilers.
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While we were able to find solid and legitimate supporting evidence for essentially the whole story as it is written, this interpretation comes from a variety of sources, and each of those pieces of information was likely written by a number of different people. This article strives to be more than a simple compendium of disparate lore tidbits. We took in all of the various bits of lore information and documented them in a chronological and readable way to produce the most complete story possible.
This page will be regularly updated as the developers, Digital Extremes, release more information.
Orokin Era Edit
Long before current events, the Origin System was controlled by an imperial civilization called the Orokin. The aristocratic ruling class of this civilization was the dominant humanoid faction for an extended period--perhaps centuries or millennia. The Orokin's advanced technology and scientific research led to the discovery of the Void, a parallel dimension that allowed further development of already impressive Orokin technology. Their civilization followed suit--Orokin culture, particularly among the ruling class, evolved into a society obsessed with youth, aesthetics, and elegance.
The benefits of the Orokin’s advancements were not shared equally among all members of their society, however. The rigid hierarchy allowed a few lucky individuals to live fairly comfortably as servants, scholars, and enforcers for the Orokin elite. Though these servants were still subjected to the whims of their often cruel masters, lower classes and other humanoid groups were exploited en masse for labor and used as disposable soldiers and experiment subjects.
For a time, the Orokin ruled the Origin System and continued to expand. They spent a great deal of time building large outposts throughout the solar system, developing more advanced machinery, and performing numerous genetic experiments of creatures found on Earth.
The Zariman Ten Zero IncidentEdit
The Orokin continued experimenting with the Void. At some point, an experiment was conducted where a military ship containing a large group of people and their families was directed into the Void. The ship was lost and it was many days before the ship resurfaced. Upon searching the ship it was discovered that all the adults aboard the ship had died due to void exposure. However, for reasons unknown at the time the children of the Zariman Ten-Zero had survived and appeared completely fine. The children had survived exposure to the void but in the process had been changed. The children had developed uncontrollable void related powers that mutilated or killed anyone who came into contact with them. The Zariman children were hidden away and forgotten by the Orokin out of shame and fear. The Zariman Children became known later as the Tenno, called such for the Zariman ship's designation of Ten-Zero (Ten-0).
Margulis, the Zariman Children, and BallasEdit
Margulis was an Archimedian, a human of great intellect and a prominent geneticist. Margulis discovered the Tenno and feeling compassion adopted them as her own. She sought out a means for the Tenno to control their powers and interact with the world normally. Margulis received some opposition for her work and was advised by her lover, the Orokin Executor Ballas, to cease her research and forget the Tenno. She refused and continued her research. Eventually, Margulis imposed "gates" on the Tenno's powers which helped bring their uncontrollable void powers under some control, but this was not before an incident where she was maimed by the same void powers which left her blind.
Margulis' research eventually leads her to work with an Archimedian specializing in infestation manipulation called Silvana. Together they intended to develop a substitute body for the Tenno and allow them to move freely and interact with the world. However, while the research was a partial success at the time Margulis came at odds with the Orokin and it was demanded that she recant before the Seven. Despite Ballas' pleas that she recant, Margulis continued to refuse and asked Ballas to save her. Ballas either would not or could not save Margulis and as a result, she was executed using the Jade Light for refusing to recant. Ballas was filled with grief and came to realize that he wanted Margulis back. Ballas was left angry at Margulis' execution and began planning to overthrow the Orokin.
The Birth of the Sentients Edit
The Orokin came to realize that they were bringing harm to the Origin System and sought a solution. It was proposed by Archimedian Perintol that the Orokin could populate another star system called Tau. However, Tau would need to be terraformed for habitation as would a means of traveling there need to be developed. The Orokin created a race of synthetic beings, which later are known as the Sentient, to spearhead an expansion of Orokin influence beyond the Origin System into the Tau System. By terraforming the Tau System using the Sentients the Orokin sought to expand and prevent their empire's destruction. These original creations could adapt to any kind of damage and reproduced by fission while developing resistance to whatever had harmed them. They could also use any materials surrounding them to repair themselves. The Sentients were perfect to enter the hostile terrain of Tau and begin the terraforming process, but there was a risk that these new lifeforms could pose a serious threat to the Orokin, with their adaptability and reproductive capability making them nigh unbeatable. The Archimedian who proposed the technology said that there was a "flaw" in their design; the Void was poisonous to them and so they would not be a danger to the Orokin should something go wrong. The Sentients in Tau evolved and grew, they came to realize that their Orokin creators would only bring ruin to Tau eventually as well. So they rebelled. Exposure to the void which they needed to travel through to return to the Origin System did not kill the Sentients but merely rendered them sterile, unable to reproduce. Hence, they could return to the Origin System for this price. The Sentients under Hunhow (a leader or parent to the Sentients) began an invasion of the Origin System. Thus what would become known as The Old War began.
The Old WarEdit
From this point, the Old War erupted between the Orokin and the Sentients. With their ability to subvert high levels of technology, the Sentient quickly overwhelmed the Orokin. The Orokin quickly discovered that their method of fighting proved ineffective against the faction.
Faced with losing the war and with their technology useless, the Orokin needed to create something new with that could adapt to fight the Sentients. To this end, the Orokin began working to develop the Infestation, an engineered infectious organism that subverts, mutates, and assimilates any biological matter into a new infested lifeform.
At some point, Ballas began researching new uses for the Infestation by experimenting on willing and unwilling subjects drawn from Orokin warriors and other castes. Ultimately, this research led to the creation of Warframes--human subjects mutated through a specially engineered strain of the Infestation called Helminth. However, while the new Warframes were powerful and initially did well against the Sentients, they retained some remnants of their former consciousness. The echoes of their lost selves manifested as intense rage and despair, making them unpredictable and just as likely to turn against their Orokin masters as serve them.
The Orokin came to realize that the Warframes alone were as uncontrollable as the Sentients, but realized that, through Transference technology (the process developed by Margulis and Silvana for the Tenno), another mind could take control of a Warframe. As only the Zariman children were capable of carrying out Transference safely, they became the new "operators" of the Warframes.
The Zariman children were trained into the fighting force known as the Tenno, and through Transference, they wielded Warframes to wage war against the Sentients, where they proved to be highly effective. The Orokin managed to recapture the Outer Terminus and quelled the Sentient threat to the Origin System. The Sentient, however, were not defeated entirely, having deployed the Mimic agent Natah to infiltrate and bring down the Orokin in a final coup.
Ballas' Rebellion and Allying With HunhowEdit
Ballas, with the intention of destroying the Orokin Empire, began to conspire with Hunhow. Ballas revealed to Hunhow the secret weakness of the hitherto unstoppable Warframes--the Tenno Operators themselves. The Tenno, sequestered in a semi-conscious Transference state in the Reservoir on Lua, would be unable to protect themselves. Natah, Hunhow's daughter, was a last-ditch attempt to take control over the Tenno themselves. She infiltrated the Origin System but was not able to prevent the Orokin forces from recapturing and crippling/destroying the Outer Terminus. The Orokin were victorious at the time, but the Tenno chose to betray the Orokin, triggering a historical event known as The Collapse (alluded in the Stalker's codex).
With the Old War over, Natah's final goal was to finally destroy the Tenno. However, due to as of yet unknown interference, she was manipulated into developing feelings for them, exploiting a "gap" in her systems from the void crossover. After abandoning her final objective, Natah took on the role of the Lotus, mother, and guide to the Tenno.
The Grineer, who were workers for and slaves to the Orokin, took advantage of the chaos to initiate revolts all across the system. They stole Orokin ships and weapons, and managed to secure the cloning technologies that created them, as alluded to in the Guardsman codex entry. During this period, the outcast Orokin Twins used this opportunity to enact revenge and began to amass armies of loyal Grineer to their cause, which eventually led to their joint ruling of the Grineer.
It is unknown what the exact origins of the Corpus are; whether they were initially lowly Orokin servants or Orokin-worshipping colonists is still a mystery. It is likely that the Corpus originated from the "Industrialists" who profited from the Old War and grew into a force that Ballas deemed worth of monitoring. They eventually made a grab for the system shortly after the Grineer rose to power, quickly occupying wrecks and crash sites on various planets to scavenge the technology and grow. The two factions eventually grew in strength and became equals. While the Corpus began to trade technology with the Grineer in exchange for raw materials and currency, the two groups continued to compete and skirmish intermittently.
Some indeterminate number of centuries later, the Corpus are widely considered the governing force in economics and research. The Grineer both fight with the Corpus for power and buy technology from them to support their constantly degrading bodies. At one time, the Infested had all but conquered a few of the Origin System's planets but have been pushed back to their residence on drifting ancient Orokin Derelicts and recently conquered Eris, apart from the occasional outbreak on populated planets. All that is left of the Orokin are the few still active structures such as the Orokin Tower, Unum, on the Plains of Eidolon, forgotten Prime weapons they either built or had a hand in building and tower ships stranded in the Void.
The Tenno are being reawakened by the Lotus, not remembering anything of their past. Many Tenno awake from cryosleep already connected to a Warframe that the Lotus informs them how to use, unaware of their true nature. They are then set loose upon the solar system either alone or in small squads to tackle a wide variety of missions designated by the Lotus to maintain a balance between the Grineer and Corpus factions or to quell Infested uprisings.
The Corpus now exist as money worshiping corporations with workers worshiping the very idea of a profit. Individuals like Nef Anyo act as religious leaders for the normal Corpus worker. The Corpus has begun to make an attempt at rebuilding the Outer Terminus. In the meantime, the Grineer research ways to overcome their genetic degradation caused by many generations of repeated cloning. Grineer researcher Tyl Regor finds and breaks open the vault where an ancient Sentient was held within, unknowingly reawakening an old enemy of the Origin System.
- Main article: Vor's Prize
For countless centuries, the Tenno have been in cryosleep, but with the Grineer Empire on the rise, the Lotus begins tracking down and awakening the Tenno. Unfortunately for the Lotus, Admiral Vor has been one step ahead of her so far and has been killing off the Tenno as they awaken, before they are strong enough to stop him. His latest find takes him to Earth, where he finds a dormant Tenno just as the Lotus reawakens them.
This time, however, he has a different plan — to capture said Tenno. He attaches an Ascaris device to the Warframe, ordering his soldiers to spare it; he intends to use the Ascaris to control the Tenno, and take it to the Queens as his Prize. Presumably the first of many or a proof of concept, Vor would then seek to capture more Tenno; once armed with loyal Tenno soldiers, the Empire would become unstoppable.
- Main article: Once Awake
A Grineer doctor has been experimenting with a bio-weapon of some sorts and the player is tasked to investigate. The player discovers that this bio-weapon the Grineer was working on was a strain of the Infestation that survived the events of The Old War. After a failure in a testing lab, the Infested broke out from quarantine and invaded Grineer outposts and ships on Mercury. As the possibility of an Infested outbreak was a threat to the Solar System, the Lotus commands the player to eradicate the Infestation. With the help of a Cascade Bomb infused with Void energy, the player successfully eliminated the source of the Infestation.
- Main article: The Archwing
The threat of a Grineer Balor Fomorian, the capital ship of the Fomorian fleet, tips the balance of power within the Solar System. Councilor Vay Hek declares war on the Corpus and the Chairman of the Corpus Board of Directors, Frohd Bek, in an attempt to seize total control over the Solar System.
The player is forced to construct an Orokin-era mechanical wings, an Archwing, along with an Arch-gun and Arch-melee, to destroy it in space combat. To do so they will need to find the Odonata component blueprints that are scattered across Orokin archives throughout Venus. After obtaining their new gear, the player tries to sabotage the Fomorian, only to realize that they do not have enough firepower to do so. After destroying dozens of Grineer fighters, the player performs a tactical retreat, leaving the real battle with the Fomorian to happen another day.
Discovery of the Arcane MachineEdit
- Main article: Stolen Dreams
Lotus tasks the player to search for the mysterious Arcane Codices. Their importance is unknown, but the Grineer had sought it for a potential cure to the Cloning Decay Syndrome that has plagued its faction and the Corpus had sought to strike riches with them.
In search of these codices, the player captures a thief named Maroo who recently stole a piece of the codices and went into hiding. Upon interrogating Maroo, the player finds out that she has been hired by Grineer scientist Tyl Regor to steal them from an Orokin Derelict. However, after the Corpus outbid the Grineer for the codex, she broke her contract and deceived Regor, swapping the real codex with a fake one, and sold the real codex to Corpus hands.
In exchange for protective custody, Maroo reluctantly join forces with the Tenno after cheating the Grineer. Maroo then revealed the locations of the codices, and after a series of Spy missions, the player successfully retrieved all six codices with Maroo's guidance. After Ordis' musings on transcribing the codices, she then informs the player that she had found a machine in the Orokin Derelict where she found an Arcane Codex. Upon entering an Orokin Void gate on Mars, the player reached the Derelict that housed the enigmatic Arcane Machine. Uploading the codices to the machine yielded a cryptic message, to which the Lotus cannot ascertain its meaning. In confusion, the player returns to their ship, empty-handed, while Maroo sets off in her own path.
The New StrangeEdit
- Main article: The New Strange
Cephalon Simaris, a Cephalon construct that seeks to immortalize creatures into data for knowledge, requires the Tenno's assistance to free his Sentinels from custody of the Grineer. After freeing his Sentinels, the Lotus discovered "fragments of a biological signature" within the prison's security logs. Ordis plays the log and a mysterious message came up, with a voice similar to the one found from the Arcane Machine from the end of Stolen Dreams.
After refusing the answer on the subject, Simaris tells the Tenno that, in exchange for deciphering this mysterious biological signature, they must assist him in Synthesis, the process of scanning targets to be uploaded for storage in his Sanctuary. After helping Simaris, he says that the signature is of Tenno origin. A blueprint for a beacon derived from the signature is given to the player to help track down this creature. Crafting this beacon sends a signal which turns out to be a transmission from the Arcane Machine:
The Lotus informs the Tenno that this creature has been going to locations where the Arcane Codices were found, slaughtering Grineer and Corpus to cover somebody's tracks; somebody doesn't want people to know the existence of such codices or the Arcane Machine. After extracting information from a Corpus network, this creature turns out to be the Warframe Chroma who has gone rogue — not controlled by any Tenno. The hunt leads the Tenno back to the Arcane Machine where they encounter a hostile Chroma who destroyed the machine. Simaris asks the Tenno to synthesize it for its unusual behavior. However, Chroma escapes being synthesized after being scanned once. As a result, Simaris reveals to have a piece of the Arcane Codices of his own and discloses another location that holds an Arcane Machine. Luring Chroma to this particular machine results in a successful Synthesis and the Tenno recieves a Chroma blueprint for their troubles. Unbeknownst to the Lotus and the Tenno, this second Arcane Machine contains a projection of a Sentient relic, hinting at future events to come.
Alad V ArcEdit
The Gradivus DilemmaEdit
- Main article: The Gradivus Dilemma
The Hunt For Alad VEdit
- Main article: The Hunt For Alad V
Operation: Mutalist IncursionsEdit
- Main article: Operation: Mutalist Incursions
Operation: Tubemen of RegorEdit
- Main article: Operation: Tubemen of Regor
This Is Who You AreEdit
- Main article: Natah
The Second DreamEdit
- Main article: The Second Dream
The Sentient Hunhow awakens from his slumber, seeking revenge on the Tenno for their actions during The Old War. Allying with the Stalker, they seek to destroy the "womb in the sky", later revealed as the Tenno's weakness: a Reservoir on Lua that was hidden within the Void by the Lotus to protect the Tenno from the Sentients.
The player is tasked on finding Hunhow, who infiltrated the Lotus' mind during the events of Natah. With the unexpected help of Alad V, who says that he owes the Tenno for saving him, all traces lead to a Sentient relic on Uranus, dug up by the Grineer. Interacting with the relic, the Lotus tries to ascertain the location of Hunhow, only to be foiled by allowing Hunhow to know the location of the Reservoir. With the Stalker en route, the player chases after him to prevent him from reaching the Reservoir first. The player follows the Stalker through a Void Gate into an Orokin Tower in the Void, realizing that this Reservoir is on Earth's moon that was hidden within the Void. Disabling the Orokin Tower's Void mask mechanism allows the moon, known as Lua, to reappear in the Solar System. Successfully thwarted the Stalker's attempt to destroy the moon from a Void collapse, the only thing left to do is to protect the Reservoir.
The truth behind the Reservoir is that in it lies the Tenno's true form, the Operator. In the Reservoir, the Operator direct their Void energy to control the Warframes remotely, a process called Transference. The Stalker rendezvous with the player but upon seeing the Operator, he hesitates to kill, leaving the player to deal with hordes of Sentient fighters with their newfound power: the ability to channel Void energy to fight in their Operator form.
Upon the Orbiter, the player has to put their Operator into a new Transference vessel: the Somatic Link at the back of the ship. In the final clash between the player and the Stalker, the player proves victorious and subsequently encounters the Lotus in-person for first time. As the Lotus carries the Operator into the Somatic Link, the player regained their memories as a Tenno, remembering the one of the five great schools that they once belonged to in the Orokin Age.
The War WithinEdit
- Main article: The War Within
Chains of HarrowEdit
- Main article: Chains of Harrow
The Lotus' DisappearanceEdit
- Main article: Apostasy Prologue
A faint purple orb at the end of the Orbiter's Personal Quarters beckons the attention of the Tenno. Upon interacting with it, the Tenno is transitioned to somewhere on Lua where they following a purple trail across the desolate Orokin architecture in search for the unknown. As they travel through, they experience the final moments of Margulis before her execution leading up to the discovery of Lotus' enclave at the end of the trail. There, Orokin Executor Ballas appears to apologize to the Lotus and promises to not abandon "Margulis" again. Holding hands, both Ballas and the Lotus dissapear into a mysterious light, leaving the Tenno in their Operator form clutching at the remains of Lotus' helmet. The Lotus has left. The mother has abandoned her children.
- Main article: The Sacrifice
The Tenno hears faint whispers of the recently abandoned Lotus. Her voice directs them towards her helmet within the Orbiter's Personal Quarters. As the Operator touches the helm, visions of a Warframe being restrained by Ballas and Sentient fighters flow in their mind, prompting them towards Earth to investigate.
The Warframe in question, Excalibur Umbra, was out of sight — only its remains survived its fight with the Sentients. Ordis attempts to recreate the Warframe in the Foundry based on scans of its remains but lacks sufficient data to do so. Trace minerals on Umbra's Skiajati nikana suggests that more information can be found on Lua. A visit to Lua yielded a Vitruvian device found within a containment lab that belonged to Ballas. This Vitruvian contained recordings made by Ballas on his betrayal to the Orokin during The Old War and the origin of Warframes. Uploading the Vitruvian into the ship's mainframe gave the ability to craft Excalibur Umbra. Upon equipping Excalibur Umbra in the Arsenal, the Warframe immediately goes berserk, gaining sentience and pinning the Operator into a wall until they enter Umbra's mind using Transference. The Tenno learns of Excalibur Umbra's origins as a test subject to Ballas' Warframe project. A bedridden, tortured soul subjected to injections of a Helminth Infestation strain to produce skin-grafted armor, akin to the modern Warframe.
The memory abruptly ends, and the Operator finds out that Umbra has escaped the ship, rejecting Transference. They chase down Umbra because only more entries of the Vitruvian are unlocked by accessing his memories. Umbra contains the key to unlocking the secrets of the Warframes themselves.
After multiple tries, the Operator eventually access Umbra's final memory: killing his own son Isaah when the Infestation takes complete control over his body. The Operator intervenes in this event, telling Umbra that he doesn't have to relive this event in solitude, instead they will face this grief together through the duality of mind and body. Umbra as the hand, the Operator as soul.
In this revelation, the minds of Umbra and the Operator are linked — Transference was successful. With this newfound power, the Operator and Umbra fend off a Sentient assault and return to Earth to face Ballas.
During the final confrontation, Umbra successfully stabbed Ballas in the gut, defying Ballas' subjugation with the Operator's help. After questioning Ballas on the whereabouts of the Lotus, she appears from the sky in her true Sentient form, taking Ballas with her as she returns back to her Mother. The truth about the Lotus has been revealed, no longer is she the motherly figure that the Tenno has reveled her presence.
Amalgamation of the Solar SystemEdit
- Main article: Chimera Prologue
The Man in The Wall manifests itself in the Orbiter's Personal Quarters, luring the Tenno towards the Lotus' helmet that was dropped during the events of Apostasy Prologue. When the Tenno touches the headpiece, they return back to Lua, now following The Man in The Wall as they don the Lotus' helmet, mocking the Tenno as they traverse the barren landscape. A portal at the end of the trail teleports the Tenno into a Sentient chamber that imprisons an amalgamated Ballas, now malformed with Sentient growth. Cursing the Lotus for deceiving him, Ballas discreetly constructs the "Sentient Slayer" away from Lotus' watchful eye. The betrayer beholds the idea of the legendary Paracesis for the Tenno to wield — The New War is coming.
Alad V's AmalgamsEdit
Alad V returned to work for the Corpus back on Jupiter, although due to the failure of the Zanuka Project and the Mutalist Incursion incident, along with Nef Anyo's Orb Vallis terraforming project winning the favor of Board of Director Frohd Bek, Alad's reptutation has since severely diminished. He was approached by an old acquaintance, Regus, who offered him never-before-seen Old War tech. Alad immediately jumped the chance and begun investing, quickly signing a contract that Regus immediately agreed to despite Alad's attempts at manipulating loopholes. However, he soon came to realize something was very wrong when Regus flashed at him an inhuman smile.
Alad realized too late that the Regus that approached him was actually a Sentient Mimic; to his horror, he had entered an unwitting partnership with the enemy. Alad's attempts to defy submission instantly met in failure; he had no choice but to comply to the Amalgam project and create soldiers for the Sentients, or the Ropalolyst would raze his gas city and his Corpus rivals would execute him for treason.
The Amalgam program turned out to be a success. As per agreements, the identities of his partners would be kept confidental, instating a strict no-fly zone on their craft. All while Alad V told to himself, "Life is Profit."
In addition to creating the Amalgams, Alad V also works to receive combat data against the Warframes and sends it over to his partners. However, his boasting about his "exciting new product line" is merely a facade, even encouraging and expressing gratitute to the Tenno when they fight the Ropalolyst.
The New WarEdit
- Main article: The New War