Lord Solar Macharius
"The meaning of victory is not to merely defeat your enemy but to destroy him, to completely eradicate him from living memory, to leave no remnant of his endeavours, to crush his achievement and remove all record of his very existence. From that defeat there is no recovery. That is the meaning of victory."
- – Lord Solar Macharius
Lord Solar Macharius is one of the greatest badasses in Imperial history. His tactical genius was so great that he would inspire Creed to follow his footsteps, 500 years later. During the Macharian Crusade, he more-or-less single-handedly pushed back Imperial borders to the greatest extent since the Great Crusade. He even has a tank named after him! He's got the martial skill of Straken, the tactical genius of Creed, the dashing charisma of Cain, the compassion towards his troops of Gaunt, and the determination of Yarrick. To put it in more understandable terms, he conquered a thousand worlds in a little over 7 years with only a few (compared to most Imperial armies) regiments. It is said that when he reached the edge of the galaxy and was told that his men would not follow him any more thanks to the horrors they saw in such a relatively short time that he dropped to his knees and wept manly tears for all the stars that would remain forever out of his reach. It is also said that his forces would not travel beyond the light of the Astronomicon, just like Alexander the Great's forces would not cross the Hyphasis. His crusade is used to this day by Imperial academies as a textbook example of how to manage interstellar campaigns.
He also got a Dictator-Class cruiser named after him that served in the Gothic War, proving his greatness by having a ship named after him before he was even born.
In the 5th edition imperial guard codex, he was also said to have "split the walls of the mighty enemy fortress asunder with but a single word." We are never told what this word was, but it was probably "FIRE!".
PS: Lord Solar is a title given to the guy in charge of an Imperial Crusade ordered straight from the High Lords of Terra, the equivalent of Warmaster (but they prefer to avoid that one for... reasons). Unlike what many believe at first sight, he wasn't named after Sol, Terra's lifegiving star (as awesome as that might otherwise sound). Macharius' first name is actually never mentioned in the fluff. Basically, this guy is who Horus should (and maybe could) have been, and who Sanguinius would have been. Fuck Erebus I guess.
The Macharian Crusade (Novel Trilogy)
|This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.|
William King's Macharian Crusade trilogy gives a much more personal look at the man from the perspective of one of the soldiers under his command (later his most trusted bodyguard), Leo Lemuel. That's him rocking the IG cap in the above picture. The series gives us a really in-depth look at Macharius's character, and what we find is not very surprising. Macharius is an incredibly driven man who wholeheartedly and with no reservations or misgivings believes in the Imperium and the Emperor. He is a tactical genius without peer, a combatant almost on par with the Space Wolves, and the most inspiring motherfucker since Sebastian Thor. However, this supreme drive works against him and makes him somewhat obsessive. In the second novel, for example, some Dark Eldar stole a powerfist that Macharius thought was Leman Russ's from his flagship. Even with the Space Wolves doubting (but hoping) that it was Russ's, Macharius takes ONE ship back to fight the Dark Eldar who had already beaten him (granted it was through an accidental surprise attack that not even Macharius could have seen coming). It should also be noted that during the boarding actions the Dark Eldar were undertaking on his ship, he bullet-times those fuckers up and displays his TACTICAL GENIUS in beating back the attack.
In the final book, it really comes to a head. Macharius is being hounded by the High Lords of Terra to return to Earth and accept medals and accolades and a triumph and to stop the crusade, as they were afraid he was carving out his own empire (despite not establishing anything even resembling an empire nor the basis of one...goes to show how messed up those High Lords are that the idea of the Lord Solar simply doing his duty never occurs to them). Macharius's bestest Inquisitor buddy, Drake, also reveals to him that his juvenate treatments are failing and he will die soon. On top of this, the Crusade is too tired and has gone on too long. The soldiers are worn down and the generals want a piece of the pie when Macharius is removed (one way or another). To put the cap on Macharius's shitty final days, he was defeated on the Halo world of Loki by his former protege, Richter. This is the final straw and in defiance of the High Lords and calling upon every resource at his disposal (including the Space Wolves), Macharius assaults Loki for a final time with the intention of taking Richter's head.
The battle is fierce and Lemuel loses his remaining friends to the deadly forces of Nurgle. Macharius gets close enough to Richter for Drake to blast aside his defenses, allowing Macharius to TACKLE A TRANSCENDING DEMON PRINCE. Richter gets the upper hand, but Lemuel and his trusty shotgun are there to give Macharius the edge he needs to destroy Richter once and for all. After the battle, Drake summons Macharius to examine something in a side room away from everyone. There, Macharius reveals to Drake, Lemuel, and one of Drake's stormtroopers that he knows Drake was simply setting him up to be killed on Loki. Drake is accepting of this and while Macharius is smiling, triumphant once again in his Crusade, the stormtrooper shoots him in the back of the head before revealing herself as Anna, an assassin (possibly a Callidus) in Drake's employ. However, before Drake can revel in his own triumph, Anna shoots him as well, setting up a corpse as the assassin and Lemuel as the hero who was only a bit too late to save them. The series ends off with Lemuel wondering who she really worked for and what their motives were.
So what does this mean for the old fluff? Well, firstly it means Macharius never made it to the very edge of the galaxy and thus never had the moment where no one would follow him further (though the series got close on both counts). So we lose that awesome bit of manly tears. We do, however, gain a far less ambiguous death, and one that allows Macharius to die triumphant once again. The fluff of the generals starting the Macharian Heresy isn't effected, as they were already plotting against him, so nothing in the future need change. Overall, if nothing else it is a nice look at Macharius as a man instead of just an awesome figure from Imperial history.
Also, while a total dick move, let's be fair: Drake did honestly play an important role on Loki and genuinely fought hard for the Imperium there despite his plan to murder Macharius. And Macharius had run his army so ragged they were going to cause a civil war and he was disobeying orders despite this. Perhaps one of the few examples of an Inquisitor actually doing what he genuinely had to do instead of just being a douche bag.
On the Tabletop
Macharius only had a model produced in third edition, where he was a mix between a combat character and a support character, but it still worked out even though he was very pricey for what he offered (170 points).
For his stats he had WS=D3+2, BS4, S3, T3, W4(!), I4, A=D3+1, Ld10.
For his gear he had a MC Bolt Pistol, a MC Power Weapon (raising his average attack to 4 with two re-rolls), Carapace Armour, the Crimson Cloak (which allowed his unit to re-roll all failed morale checks), and the Helm of Macharius (3++ save, which makes his Carapace Armour a bit redundant, though this was the edition where quite a few weapons ignored invuln saves).
For his special rules he had Old War Wounds, which is the reason that two of his stats are randomly generated. On average you'll get WS4, and A3 (A4 thanks to two close combat weapons, both of which are Master-Crafted). He had the Commanding Presence rule, which allowed ALL Imperial Guard units within 12" to use his Ld 10, He had Ferocious Charge which gave him +D3 attacks when he charged (averaging out to 6 attacks). Finally his most important rule, Master Strategist which made it so that you can choose to ALWAYS go first rather than randomly roll for it.
His Second Edition rules had no such randomisation for his stats, being essentially a vanilla Colonel level hero with the same wargear options but better attacks, wounds and leadership for a measly five points, the only negative being fixed weapon loadouts rather than being able to choose a shinier gun outside of special issue wargear cards - as there was no model the player could use any IG command model and represent Macharius with specific wargear cards.
His main special rules were "Hot Headed", giving him a d6 bonus when charging rather than just 1 (due to the way 2nd edition HtH was fought, this is essentially giving him up to a bonus of 6 to his WS) and a random strategy rating of d6 rather than a ponderous 2 to work out who chooses board sides, who sets up, and modifying a d6 roll for first turn. The downside to getting a high result is that Macharius has decided to push forward early to get the jump on the enemy, and can't call in a pre-battle barrage. If he's really eager and gets a 6, then he's guaranteed the advantage of the board and first turn, but has to forgo reserves as he throws everything he's got at the enemy.
His model is temporarily for sale again And off it goes. Like tears, in the rain.