Friday, May 27, 2016

The Underpinnings of Authority

The Horus Heresy is essentially a question of authority.  A space marine serving under a loyalist legion has an easy decision to make.  His Emperor and Primarch are on the same side, and he has never pledged his loyalty to chaotic gods that he didn't even know existed until recently.

A space marine of a traitor legion has a much more morally complex decision to make.  The Emperor, the Primarchs, the Warmaster, and the Chaos Gods all make competing claims to a space marine's loyalty.  Which source of authority is most legitimate?

Here are the potential arguments:

1.  Divinity

This argument posits that one should follow the authority figure because the authority figure is divine.  The chaos gods have the strongest argument in this respect, insofar as they represent fundamental truths about the universe and are eternal.  The Emperor does not actively make this argument for himself, but his followers nevertheless make this argument for him by reasoning that if there is a shadow then there must be a light and that only a true divinity denies his god like nature.  The Primarchs' claim to divinity is also present, but in most cases these claims are subsumed even in the case of demon prince Primarchs under the shadow of the chaos gods or the Emperor.

2.  Exceptionality

This argument is based on the idea that the authority figure at question deserves loyalty, because he is exceptional.  For example even if the Emperor is not divine he is very powerful and special so therefore he should have the right to rule.

3.  Fate

A space marine may be predestined to follow an authority figure because it is his predetermined fate to do so or because obedience to this power is somehow embedded in their internal makings.  Most space marines are of course designed to naturally follow and obey their Primarch.  At certain points members of the Word Bearers question whether qualities of blind loyalty are an inherent part of their gene seed.  The Night Haunter also questions whether the Emperor created him predestined to suffer a bleak life.

4.  Natural Order

The basis of this argument is that space marines are essentially soldiers and follow the natural chain of command.  The Warmaster has command over the Primarchs but the Emperor has command over the Warmaster.  This implies that a Space Marine should ultimately follow the Emperor.  However, the Emperor himself may be trying to upset the natural order by attempting become a deity, which would be a betrayal of his own ideals.

4.  Personal Benefit or Purpose

The argument here is that a space marine will personally benefit or fulfill his purpose should his side triumph.  This could be as simple as material or spiritual rewards, or perhaps the space marine is aware that some greater truth such as that once the galaxy has been conquered for the Emperor that there will be no need for space marines anymore.  In the case of the EC, they believe that following chaos will allow them to achieve greater perfection.

5.  Punishment

A space marine could follow an authority figure out of awareness that he might be punished if he does not.  It is heavily implied that two Primarchs and their legions have already been destroyed by the Emperor.

6.  The Greater Good

The space marine may believe that following the authority figure is for the greater good of all or to prevent some great harm or injustice from occurring.  For example, one may follow the chaos gods because one believes that victory of chaos is inevitable and this is humanity's only hope or because one believes that Horus will ultimately destroy himself and chaos if he triumphs.

7.  Code of Honor / Loyalty

A space marine may follow an authority figure because it is his code of honor or tradition to do so, even if his personal feelings may even be to the contrary.

8.  Consent

A space marine may decide of his own free will to consent to follow the authority figure.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

III Legion Formation and Ranks


The Emperor's Children were organised in a manner that suited the ideals of Fulgrim and their own exacting nature.  As with every other aspect of the Emperor's Children nothing was left to whim or chance; everything was deliberate and assessed for its aesthetic and function value.

Authority descended through an elaborate and multi-tiered command structure which reached from the Lord Commanders through the Praetorate which in turn comprised Commanders, Lieutenant Commanders, Masters, Sub-Commanders, Tribunes Palatine and Ordinary, Captains of various divisions, to Consuls, Equerries, Ancients of various functions, through Centurions and Heralds to the Praefectors and Sergeants who commanded the Legion's individual squads, down finally to the Legion's warriors.

The Emperor's Children also had a number of highly specialized or elite units specified, such as the Phoenix Guard (Fulgrim's personal honor guard of 200), the Palatine Blades (who specialized in dueling), the Sun-Killers (Lascannon support squads), etc.

Despite the apparent precision of the Emperor's Children's organization, insufficient detail has been provided to us of all of the finer points of the Legion's structure.  Here is what has been gleaned so far:


The Emperor created twenty space marine legions to take part in the Great Crusade in what was later known as the First Founding.  All the space marines of a legion were augmented with DNA samples of a single primarch.

The leader of a legion is known as a Primarch
The Primarch of the III Legion, or the Emperor's Children, was Fulgrim.
It is estimated that the III Legion consisted of about 110,000 Space Marines.
Fulgrim also had an honor guard of 200 Phoenix Guard and his legion command.


The III Legion was divided into approximately 30 Millennials (aka Chapters) of approximately 3,500 space marines each.  The first 10 Millennials were led by Lord Commanders (as may be represented by Praetors in 30K) and the remainder presumably by Commanders.  The ten Lord Commanders were: Anteus, Ariston, Cyrius, Eidolon, Iddinam, Illois, Lelanthius, Lothreal Sabine, Teliosa, and Vespasian.


It is believed that each Millennial was divided into numerous Companies of 100 space marines each.
The leader of each Company was known as a Captain (as may be represented by a Centurion, or Consul if a specialized role in 30K).  The second in command to a captain is a Lieutenant.

It is possible that a series of companies were grouped together into a Cohort or Battalion of say 500 space marines each led by a Lieutenant Commander.  Nevertheless each of the companies in the Legion appear to be consecutively numbered, as Krysander is listed in Angel Exterminatus as a Captain of the 102nd Company.


It is estimated that each company was divided up into 5 - 10 Squads of 10 - 20 space marines each.  The leader of each squad was known as a Sergeant.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Slaanesh and the Internet

The internet and modern technology have transformed our society.  Increasingly intense and realistic experiences are available to at our whim in doses our ancestors could only dream of.  It is perhaps not inaccurate to say we now live in an increasingly Slaaneshi society.

The intensity of the modern experience is truly amazing.  Our computers and media provide us with ready access to a plethora of images of violence, sex and other powerful stimuli.  This trend is likely to only increase as virtual reality and other technological developments further increase the power of these experiences.  This trend is not limited to technology.  Our palate has increasingly sought out spicier, more intense flavors of experience while perhaps becoming simultaneously becoming more pampered and unaccustomed to true adversity.

Is this necessarily wrong?  Perhaps not.  Pleasure is pleasurable.  In addition our society has successfully repressed many of our natural desires and impulses in the past, and the liberation of our impulses through technology may be seen as the restoration of a natural balance as opposed to extreme behavior.

The criticism comes when the experiences imparted to us may be more intense than we were naturally intended to process.  An image of sex or violence naturally incites a reaction from our systems along the lines of a pavlovian dog response.  By bombarding our system with increasingly powerful stimuli in quantities and speeds beyond which our conscious minds can necessarily process, the images we consume are passing to our brains largely subliminally and unsorted.  

And if this is the case, is this content the sort of material that we want to inundate our subconscious minds with to the degrees we do?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Noble Scions of Europa

The Unification Wars

The Unification Wars were a series of conflicts fought on Terra during the 30th Millennium at the end of the Age of Strife. It was during these campaigns that the Emperor of Mankind first publicly revealed himself to a desperate humanity and began his conquest of Terra to unify the techno-barbarian nations that dominated the sacred homeworld of Mankind and forge the foundation of the Imperium of Man.

By the time of the Unification Wars there was only one remaining ocean on Terra -- the so-called Great Ocean -- which was the ancient Pacific Ocean. The size of the Pacific was vastly smaller than it once was, due to the vaporisation of a massive stretch of the ocean during the nuclear wars that had consumed much of Old Earth in the lost years of the Age of Strife. This missing portion of the Pacific stretched from the Marianas Trench down past Australia and all the way to the frozen continent of Antarctica. The Atlantic Ocean had also been largely vaporised as the great body of water that had once been near Europe was now mostly gone, particularly to the south of what had been the Iberian Peninsula.

The greater empires at the time were:

Corresponds to 20th century America and Canada.  Source of the Iron Warriors.  Calbi or Great Albia was a vassal to Merika.

Corresponds to 20th century USSR. Led by warlord Kalagann.  In Horus Rising, Kyril Sindermann lends Loken a copy of the Chronicles of Ursh.  Ursh was the mightiest empire on Terra before the Unification and therfore the biggest enemy to the Emperor's forces of Unity.

Hy Braseal
Corresponds to South America.  Ruled by Dalmoth Kyn.  Hy Brasil is ruled from the Planalto, a massive Hive Conurbation - the Goverment is based in the Sao Paol part. The Palanto draws its power from 'a series of vast reactors buried in the heart of the main conurbation', whose heat exchange processes mean that the reactor district is 'caked in thick sheet-ice all year round, forming a gigantic frost park thirty kilometres square'. This area is known as the 'Winter Fields' and is used for recreation by local inhabitants.

Pan Pacific Empire:
Corresponds to east Asia and Australia.  Led by half mad half genius Tyrant Nathaniel Dume.  He was eventually defeated by the forces of the Emperor during the Unification Wars, removed from power and imprisoned within the great Imperial prison of Khangba Marwu, releasing his people from their oppression.

Yndonesian Bloc:
Corresponds to Indonesia and southeast Asia.  Led by Cardinal Tang.  He wished to 'return the world to a pre-technological age', burning 'scientists, mathematicians and philosophers' who opposed his Church's views. He also killed millions in pogroms and death camps in an attempt to secure racial purity.

The following minor powers also existed:

The Antarctic Powers:
Corresponds to Antarctica

Skand or the Nordyc:
Corresponds to Scandinavia.  Source of Space Wolves.

Gredbretton / Albyon:
Corresponds to England.  Its ruling tyrant was named Uilleam the Red was known to drink human blood. After his defeat by the forces of the Emperor, Uilleam was imprisoned in the Imperial prison in the Himalayan Mountains known as Khangba Marwu, The Vault.

Corresponds to northern France.  Havuleq D’agross was the last independent ruler of the Franc, leading a rebellion against Imperial rule and killing the Emperor's appointed governor. His rebellion began in Avelroi, but rapidly spread until he could muster a force of 50,000 rebels, largely unskilled militia. They eventually fought the Emeror's armies at Gaduare, 'a line of high hills' buy the ruins of Guaduare Bastion. There they were wiped out by a force of less than 5,000 Imperial troops, including proto-Space Marines.

Corresponds to south central Europe, including southern France, Italy, Austria, and Yugoslavia.  Source of the Emperor's Children.

Corresponds to Egypt

The North Afrik Conclaves:
Corresponds to Algeria and northern Africa

Timbuk and Nama Gola:
Other nations in Africa

The Quintiple Alliance:
Fringe of countries to west of Ursh, such as Jermanic (Germany), Terrawatt Clan, Uralia, and Achaemenid Empire (Mesopotamia).  Achaemenid Empire is the source of the Thousand Sons.

The Noble Scions of Europa

The Emperor's Children, or IIIrd Legion, was created alongside its brother Space Marine Legions during the latter phases of the Unification Wars, with many of its finest warriors drawn from the courts and blood vassal populations of Europa.

The nobles of Europa selected the finest of their youth and offered them up to the Emperor of Mankind as tribute and penance for their previous defiance after their systematic humiliation in battle at the hands of the Imperial Thunder Regiments. Among them were sons drawn from each noble family, a fact apocryphally said by some Imperial savants of the time to have given the Legion its lasting name, reaffirmed in later years by its Primarch after his rediscovery by the Expeditionary Fleets of the Great Crusade.

Of this tithe some Europan noble familes gave in grudging tribute, and thought of these young men as little more than hostages, while others cooperated with the zeal of true converts to the Imperial cause. House Loculus of Komarg is said, for example, to have sent all of its sons to be transformed into Astartes at the time of their capitulation to Imperial rule, and to have given the firstborn son of each generation thereafter to the IIIrd Legion willingly.

In later decades, other Terran dynasties followed the example of Europa, filling the ranks of the IIIrd Legion with the flower of Terran youth who seemed well-matched with the aristocratic blood of its Initiates, forming a martial brotherhood whose ancestry in war stretched back into the lost ages of human history.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

Emperor's Children Timeline

Previous Ages

Circa years 0 - 14,000
Age of Terra / Age of Progress

Circa years 14,000 to 24,000
Dark Age of Technology.  Height of human technology.

Circa years 24,000 to 29,000
Age of Strife / Old Night.  Human civilization fragments, as the men of iron rebel and warp storms erupt across the galaxy.


Circa year 28,000
Birth of Slaanesh ends the Age of Strife.  The warp storms across the galaxy calm.

Circa year 28,000 
Unification Wars.  The Emperor unifies Terra.

30th Millennium 

Circa year 29,750
The Primarchs are scattered across the galaxy. 

Circa year 29,800 
The Emperor launches the Great Crusade.

Circa year 29,810 
Proxima insurrection. The III Legion saves the Emperor's life, and earns the right to bear the Palatine Aquilla on their breast plates.  

Circa year 29,811 
The Emperor's Children reserve gene-seed lost en-route to Luna whilst the stock held on Terra is obliterated by an artificial pathogen.  The Legion has no remaining gene seed and so they are unable to expand and their numbers dwindle rapidly.

Circa year 29,811
The Emperor arrives at Chemos.  Fulgrim was found after Horus, Russ, and Ferrus Manus.  Fulgrim officially names the remaining 200 legionaries the Emperor's Children.

Years 29,811 to 29,900
The legion begins to rebuild strength with recruits from both Terra and Chemos. 

Circa year 29,815 
The defense of Tranquility close to the Dalinite Nebula with the Luna Wolves.

Year 29,840 
Pride of the Emperor (Fulgrim's Gloriana class flagship) keel is laid down on the Jupiter shipyards. 

Circa year 29,900 
Battle with Eldar.  Rylanor mortally wounded.

Circa year 29,946 
Brotherhood of the Phoenix established for Lord Commanders and Company Captains.

Circa year 29,950 
28th expedition launches out on its own, without the Lunar Wolves.

Circa year 29,960 
Katara (Twenty-Eight-One) brought to compliance: Acting Lieutenant Commander Abdemon orders invasion of the largest Kataran city complex, leading to the duel between himself and the Kataran Champion, and the establishment of Katara as a Mortuary World.

Circa year 29,975 
Praxil (Twenty-Eight-Two) brought to compliance. Led by Lord Commander Iddinam, with reinforcements from the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists

31st Millennium

Year 30,000 
Triumph of Ullanor.

Year 30,001 
Council of Nikaea.  Fulgrim supports the use of Psykers even though the Emperor's Children demur their use for themselves.

Year 30,001
Preaixor Campaign with Death Guard

Year 30,002
Pacification of Schravaan with Luna Wolves, Iron Warriors, Imperials Fists vs. Xenos Badoon.

Year 30,003
Laeran (Twenty-Eight-Three) brought to compliance. (Fulgrim Novel)

Year 30,003 
Compliance of Murder.

Year 30,003
The Diasporex action with the Iron Hands.

Year 30,004
Fulgrim meets with Eldrad Ulthran on Tarsus.

Year 30,004
Battle of Deep Orbital DS191.  Near-destruction of the Second Company under the command of Solomon Demeter.

Year 30,004
Fulgrim executes Lord Commander Vespasian.

Year 30,004
Fulgrim goes to meet Ferrus Manus at Callinedes IV to try and win him to Horus' side. The rest of the Legion head to Istvaan.

Year 30,005 
Istvaan III atrocity.  The Age of Darkness (the Horus Heresy) officially begins, ending with the Siege of Terra in Year 30,14.

Year 30,006
The first performance of the Maravaglia.

Year 30,006, 566/1000 
Istvaan V Drop-site Massacre.

Year 30,006 
Traitors' Conclave.

Year 30,006 
Fulgrim orders the attack of Prismatica V. Eidolon executed for insubordination, but later revived by Fabius.

Year 30,006
Siege of the Perfect Fortress vs. Raven Guard.  (Deliverance Lost Novel)

Year 30,006 
Emperor's Children meet with with the Iron Warriors after First Siege of Hydra Cordata.  (Angel Exterminatus Novel)

Year 30,006 

Battle of Iydris.  Fulgrim ascends to daemonhood after finding the Angel Exterminatus with the aid of the Iron Warriors.  (Angel Exterminatus Novel)

Year 30,008
Battle of Molech.  (Vengeful Spirit Novel)

Year 30,310
Battle of Nyrcon with Salamanders

Circa Year 30,310
Battle of Carandiru with Sons of Horus and Raven Guard (Ravenlord)

Year 30,311
Emperor's Children battle with White Scars at Battle of Kalium Gate and then at the Battle of Cattlaus.  (Path of Heaven Novel)

Year 30,014 
Siege of Terra.

Year 30,014 - 30,021
The Great Scouring

Circa 30,500
Battle of Skalathrax

Circa 30,700
Eye of Terror Slave Wars

Subsequent Millennia

Year 33,764 
The Shattering

Circa Year 35,000
Age of Apostasy

Year 36,599
The Black Crusade of Jihar the Lacerator

Year 36,993
The Battle of Belial IV

Year 39,929
Skarvus Ambush

Year 40,460
Gaudinian Heresy

Year 40,999
Destruction of Ichorax

Year 40,999
The 13th Black Crusade

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Size of the Pre-Heresy Legions

The approximate sizes of a few of the Legions at the start of the Heresy have been provided as follows:

Circa year 29,811 a catastrophic disaster reduced the number of Emperor's Children to a scant 200 space marines.  The shipment of the Emperor's Children gene-seed was lost en-route to Luna while a mysterious pathogen obliterated the stock held on Terra.

Fortunately, once Fulgrim was located on Chemos in circa year 29,811 the Emperor's Children were finally able to replenish their gene stock.  During years 29,811 to 29,900 the legion began to rebuild their strength with recruits from Terra and Chemos, eventually reaching approximately 110,000 strong. 

Nevertheless, the gene seed catastrophe would have far reaching consequences as it imprinted upon the III Legion an indelible obsession with perfection and improvement.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Introduction to Heresy Era Warships

Here is a short summary of the various classes of Heresy era warships and specific Emperor's Children vessels that we know about:

I. Gloriana Class Flagship
Length approx. 20 km

The Gloriana-class Flagship was a massive class of vessels constructed during the height of the Great Crusade. Each of these mighty vessels was highly individualistic and unique from one another in both form and armament. During the Great Crusade each individual Space Marine Legion acquired at least one such vessel which inevitably became the Legion's flagship, utilized by their respective Primarchs.

List of known Gloriana class EC ships:
Pride of the Emperor (Fulgrim) *

The Word Bearers also produced a triumvirate of massive warships called the Abyss class that dwarfed even the Gloriana class flagships.  However these ships were unique, and the Emperor's Children never possessed a ship more massive than the Pride of the Emperor.

II. Battleship or Battle Barge
Length approx 8 - 12 km

The principal (or capital) class of warship in the Great Crusade and the mainstay of the Imperial fleets is the Battleship, with more than a thousand such mighty engines of war in operation at the height of the Imperium's expansion.

Battle Barges, a development of the Great Crusade, are not a single designation or class as such, but rather a term given to any variant or refit of battleship class hull modified and optimised for use by the Legiones Astartes specifically for Space Marine planetary assault and ship to ship boarding action.

Battleships commonly hold approximately 300 space marines and support.

Noteworthy classes:  Goliath, Victory, Infernus, Retribution, Imperator, Tiamat (Shield Bastion), Ironclad, Warspite (Battle Barge), Dictatus, Mortis Rex.

List of known EC Battleships:
Proudheart (Eidolon.  Dictatus Class.) ***
Urthona (Ariston)
Wage of Sin (Eidolon)

III. Grand Cruiser and Galleass of War
Length approx 6 - 8 km

A noteworthy but relative uncommon type of warship, Grand Crusaders are "pocket battleships" - something of a halfway house between a battleship and cruiser in size and firepower.

The Galleass of War is the equivalent vessel (often much larger physically), much of whose fabric is given over to freight and transport capacity, while still maintaining formidable armaments and defense.

Noteworthy Classes: Avenger, Dagon, Inflexible, Maelstrom, Odysseus (Galleass of War).

List of known EC Grand Cruisers:
Ravisher (Azael Konenos.  Avenger Class.) ***

IV. Cruiser
Length approx. 4 - 6 km

Light Cruisers and Heavy Cruisers are medium-sized warships intended primarily for independent military operations such as raids, outpost assaults, deep-range patrols and search and destroy missions and for use as "workhorse" warships in larger fleets and squadrons.  The difference between the two primary types of cruiser is principally found not in general size but role and specialization.

Heavy (or armoured cruisers as they are also known) are designed to favor defense and firepower (particularly over gunned ships for their class may be referred to as battle cruisers).

Light cruisers sacrifice some of these elements for greatly increased speed and maneuverability.

Strike cruisers are modified designs used for planetary assault and boarding actions in primary over other roles.

Cruisers commonly hold approximately 100 space marines.

Noteworthy Classes:  Arminger, Eclipse, Hades, Hellfire (Lance Cruiser), Siluria, Tetsujin, Crusade, Olympia (Strike Cruiser), Cardinal, Lunar, Bellerophon (Heavy Assault Cruiser)

List of known EC Cruisers:
Andronius (Eidolon.  Strike Cruiser.) *
Aquiline ***
Excessive ***
Infinite Variety ***
Mortal Splendour ***
Perfection's Lament ****
Pulchritudinous, later known as Fleshmarket (Fabius Bile)
Stealth (Fulgrim)
Suzerain (Cario) ***
Tharmas (Theotormon)
Threat of Rapture ****

V. Escort (Frigate and Destroyer)
Length approx 0.5 - 2 km

Escort is the catch all designation for the smallest division of Warp capable warships.

The most common escort class of the Great Crusade is the Frigate, a multipurpose armed vessel designed to largely balance firepower, defense and range.

Destroyers are small escorts that are relatively heavily armed warships for their size, but commensurately ill defended and with poor independent range designated either to attack larger ships and void stations in waves or expend themselves sacrificially to protect more important vessels and convoys.

Warp Runners are designed to incorporate only minimal crew, armament and life support, sacrificing their design almost entirely for speed and range of operation, being employed principally as spy vessels, blockade runners, couriers and explorers.

Noteworthy Classes:  Sword (Heavy Frigate), Thunderbolt (Heavy Frigate), Scepter, Havoc (Minekeeper), Baron (Minekeeper), Harpy (Minekeeper), Stalwart (Minekeeper), Cobra (Destroyer), Vigil (Siege Frigate), Spectre (Warp Runner), Thor (Ordinancer).

List of known EC Escorts:

Novel References

* Fulgrim
** The Damnation of Pythos
*** The Path of Heaven
**** Talon of Horus