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Warhammer 40K’s new status quo is absolutely wild

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The Warhammer 40,000 universe is almost incomparably vast, with 40 years of canon The game is spread across books, novels, animated shorts, in-universe documentaries, and video games. There is no single narrative; Instead, it’s actually a galaxy full of heroes with their own stories, most of which are cut short when one is eaten by a space bug, kidnapped by a sadistic space elf, or extradited to Chaos. gets corrupted by forces.

In recent years, some very interesting plot developments have come to the fore. The God-Emperor, his chief son and other major characters begin to emerge from stasis. The galaxy has now been torn in half, a chaotic vortex bursting across the stars. The Imperium is under new management, headed by a very stressed and depressed man named Robot Guilliman. The God-Emperor musters enough strength to burn down the gardens of Nergal, the god of rot and decay. What inspired this change, and what does it mean for the 40K setting?

meet the emperor

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If anything is even approaching the main character in 40K, the closest thing would be Emperor of the Humankind. He is a rot-throated king seated on a golden throne, a rotting corpse barely kept alive by faith, ancient technology, constant human sacrifice, and sheer will. The Emperor, despite being a secularist in his time, is worshiped as a god by the vast empire of humans who rule the stars. If the Emperor fails, mankind fails with him, as he powers the cosmic lighthouse that lets ships navigate the stars. He can only communicate fleetingly with humanity through tarot readings and visions.

A common piece of boilerplate text, often published as a foreword to most 40K novels, describes the setting as follows:

To be a man in such times is to be one among billions. It is to live under the most brutal and bloodthirsty regime imaginable. These are the stories of that time. Forget the power of technology and science, for much has been forgotten, which can never be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, as the bleak future holds only war. There is no peace among the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter and the laughter of thirsty gods.

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not great! Were things always this bad?

all in the family

Warhammer 40,000 - A surge of Chaos Marine combat, aided by the Chaos magic of Tana and the leadership of Abaddon the Despoiler

Image: Games Workshop

10,000 years ago, the emperor was very close to a real person. He genetically engineered 20 sons to serve as his princes, generals of his armies, and extensions of his will. Two of them were exiled under mysterious circumstances, and nine fell to Chaos’ corruption. (As it turns out, the Emperor isn’t an ambitious man—he’s an abusive father and brutal dictator who was so terrifying that half his sons decided they’d rather deal with demons than serve him.)

Loyal primarchs were largely lost – dead, vanished, or otherwise unavailable. While the Horus Heresy novels (which have been out since 2006) explore these characters in depth, the Primarchs are largely figures of myth and legend in modern times. That changed in 2018 when Horus’ successor, Abaddon the Despoiler, appeared out of nowhere with a metaphorical steel chair. They destroyed the world of Caedia, the imperial world that harbored Chaos, and opened a great rift across the galaxy. Very good! Now things are even worse for everyone!

prodigal son

Warhammer 40,000 - The Ultramarines are in a bloody battle against the Black Legion.  Chaos Space Marines are throwing fireballs and summoning daemons.

Image: Games Workshop

A reversal of the 13th Black Crusade and the opening of Cicatrix Maledictum was The Great Rift, which was infused with Chaos energy from the mystical region known as the Warp. Robout Guilliman, head of the Ultramarines – affectionately referred to by fans by nicknames such as Bobby G or Papa Smurf – was reinstated from stasis. Guilliman was put on ice thousands of years ago when an injury brought him to the brink of death, but now he’s back – and he’s doing what he absolutely hates about the Empire. He is mad at his father, the Emperor; He thinks this whole “god” thing is very fishy; And in general he would prefer that the Imperium give a slightly lower priority to the accumulation of skulls.

Guilliman is sealed in the Armor of Fate to keep him alive, and is seen as a deity by everyone around him. As long as he’s trying to figure out worries like lifting paper with his clumsy fighting skills or finding a chair that fits him. He also has to deal with the fact that his father’s Empire is now split in two, with a “Dark Imperium” on the other side of the Rift that has been cut off and attacked by Chaos.

Warhammer 40,000 - A squad of Ultramarines clad in blue power armor wage a fierce battle with their corrupt Chaos siblings.

Image: Games Workshop

In recent years, Guilliman has been leading an Indomitous crusade across the stars to try and restore the Imperium. Unfortunately, he is the only loyal Primarch left in the setting (…for now, at least) and so his daemonic Primarch brothers will target him for their revenge. The flip side is that the Cicatrix Maledictum, combined with 10,000 years of worship by billions of human souls, seems to have filled the Emperor with power. in the book godblight, Guilliman’s primarch brother Mortarion draws him into the taunt to kill him in Nergal’s garden. But the Emperor was able to heal Guilliman, use him as a vessel to burn down Nergal’s gardens, and then fully revive his son – which is a power play we’ve come to see from the older man. are not used to.

The Arcs of Omen story, along with the boarding action game mode, appears to be setting up the next chapter in this story. Angron, another Daemon Primarch, will star in his own Arcs of Omens book alongside Abaddon the Despoiler and Vashtor the Archenemy. Fulgrim, a Daemon Primarch of Slaynesh, is apparently also active in the galaxy. On the plus side, it looks like the scene is set for the return of other loyal Primarchs like the Dark Angels’ Lion L’Jonson. Warhammer 40,000’s plot moves along very slowly, but we could be seeing a big ol’ family reunion in the years to come. Chances are, like everything else in 40K, Anything Will be horribly wrong, grim and dark.

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