The God-Emperor of Mankind

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Liberating the galaxy is one thing, but he was so powerful he never once stopped looking fabulous while doing it.

The God-Emperor of Mankind, also known as Tha Emprah, Emps, The Big E, Space Lenin Jesus and also sometimes called The Great and Glorious Big Mac Daddy King Emprah of all things Epic and Awesome (ahem, ahem) is the figurehead ruler of the Imperium of Man in the Warhammer 40k universe and is the only sustaining Hope for Humanity (not that other, more horrific brand of "Hope") as Faster than Light Travel is entirely dependent on him. The Administratum he established continues to fuck up to hell govern the Imperium in his name, but it is generally accepted that the absence of the Emperor's proper guidance is what has turned the Imperium into the hellish mess that it is. In the Imperium, questioning whatever your superior tells (yells) you the Emperor's word happens to be that day, is treason and heresy, typically punished by death. Were The Emperor up and about in the 41st millennium, it goes without saying that he would be disappoint. Most fa/tg/uys expect him to speak in a generic deep, stentorian voice.

Exception? The Last Church. It is permissible to substitute the voice of whatever angry militant atheist appeals to you most/least for the duration of this one (short) story. Also, according to that same story, this asshole wiped out Scandinavia, right when Scandinavia was getting fun again. So FUCK HIM*BLAM*WHERE ARE THESE HERETICS COMING FROM!? WE WILL HAVE TO START A NEW CRUSADE SOON APPARENTLY!. According to the Horus Heresy books that mention the Unification Wars, he burned down a lot of things on a partially recovering Terra.

The Entire History of the Emprah

Big E gets all the bitches.

According to older (read: second edition) fluff, the being that would eventually become known as the Emperor was born in 8000 BC in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey). Allegedly, this was the result of hundreds of human shamans committing ritual suicide to be reborn as a single individual capable of protecting humanity from the Chaos Gods. However, the validity of this fluff is frequently questioned, given it hasn't been "official" since second edition. That being said, nothing has explicitly contradicted this story, and the only other theory is that the Emperor is a Perpetual, meaning an immortal -but ultimately human- psyker with countless lifetimes' worth of knowledge and power and the ambition to use it. However, this theory seems unlikely, especially given the Chaos Gods apparently view the Emperor as an equal/rival, an honor they give to none of the other known Perpetuals, and the Horus Heresy novels have dropped hints that the Emperor is actually a "we."

The second edition fluff also mentions that he guided humanity throughout history under a number of guises, such as Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, etc. (and, it has to be assumed, Conan the Barbarian).

Sometime around the 11th or 12th century, he battled a shard of the Void Dragon in modern-day Libya. He eventually defeated it and locked it on Mars (somehow...), allowing the Adeptus Mechanicus to control machines... eventually. Of course, it's not entirely clear whether this is true or not -- it's entirely possible that ALL of the Emperor's history is a lazily-crafted lie he throws around because no one can debunk it -- but given how Awesome it sounds, we're going to say it did.

Apparently, he mostly stayed out of the way during the next 30,000 years of human history, including the Dark Age of Technology, though hot off the press fluff indicates he might have been travelling outer space in old-style NASA rockets with the other perpetuals. Coming to find the planet Molech where he passed through a gateway that led directly to the fortresses of the four Chaos Gods. Here he either challenged, bargained or stole portions of the gods powers from them and when he emerged he was one of the most invincible beings in the universe.

He returns to Terra at the closing of the Age of Strife. With Terra cut off from the rest of humanity's former empire and the Terra itself ruled by warring "techno-barbarians" in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the Emperor decided to reveal himself, using his mastery of genetic engineering to create the Thunder Warriors, the predecessors to the Space Marines. Using "join-me-or-die" tactics, he managed to conquer the entirety of Terra during the Unification Wars. Then, he made contact with the Mechanicus on Mars and, calling himself the Omnissiah, convinced them to build him weapons and ships. Around this time, he also created the Imperial Truth, which says that religion, faith, and superstition were all banned; apparently, it took him this long to realize the whole "Peace, Love, and Religion" thing wasn't working.

But, before he set out to conquer the stars with the newly-formed Imperial Army (which contained both ground forces and space-borne fleets), he decided to create the twenty Primarchs to serve as his generals using himself as the template; though with his new-found powers apparently stolen from the Gods at Molech, they would inevitably be pissed at him cloning THEIR energies. So the Chaos Gods snatched them away (via time-travel-as-a-vision shenanigans) from their incubators in a secret lab underneath the Himalayas and scattered them across the galaxy. Luckily for the Emperor, some genetic code was left over, and so from that he created 20 Legions to serve as the elites of his army: The SPEHSS MEHREENS. So, with his armies complete (minus the Primarchs, which he hoped to find), he embarked on the Great Crusade to once again allow humanity to control the stars.

As he found each Primarch, he assigned them to command each of their respective Legions to retake humanity in the Great Crusade (although, at some point, two of them disappeared or were executed, leaving only 18 Primarchs and Legions at the end of the Great Crusade). A military campaign of a grand scale, this is also when the SPESS MEHREENS were the most awesome and at their peak. Just when things seem to be going well, the Horus Heresy erupts where 9 of the Primarchs and their legions rebel against the Emprah. In the end, the Emperor fought and slew Horus (who was daddy's favorite) but at a great cost. The Emperor was mortally wounded to the point that he had to be put permanently on a life support system known as the Golden Throne (and he humiliated himself in the middle of the fight when he cried). All agree that the bronze liberal douchebag deserved it. ' *BLAM!* 'EXTRA HERESY!!!

Subsequently, without the Emperor's leadership, the Imperium eventually degraded into the theocratic Grimdark empire we all know and love today, in the 41st millennium.

While interred on the Golden Throne, the Emperor's psy-essence prevents daemonkind from directly assailing Terra, and also sustains the psychic-beacon known as the Astronomicon. Without the Emperor, warp travel would not be possible, and everyone on Terra would be raped, both sexually and non-sexually.

It is established that the Emperor is pretty much the most powerful psyker alive, humbling even the Eldar. He is tens of thousands of years old and has been secretly guiding humanity from behind the scenes for much of his lifetime. Theories variously suggest that he was also Sigmar of Warhammer Fantasy Battle fame, Julius Caesar, Conan the Barbarian, Chuck Norris, and Jesus. It is uncertain as to whether or not his internment on the Golden Throne is a good thing; some believe that if he were to die, the Imperium would be truly plunged into darkness, whereas others believe that if allowed to finally die he would reincarnate and return to unify the galaxy once more. Whatever the truth of the matter, Games Workshop are never going to advance the story, so it is mostly irrelevant.

The Emprah Himself

After he shaved his goatee, his chin radiated a brilliant light through the Warp. The Imperial Navy uses this light, the Astronomicon, as a beacon to guide them through that terrible place. He is sometimes referred to as the Emprah, a joke derived from the voice acting in the Dawn of War game, Soulstorm, specifically Indrick Boreale's final speeches.

The Emperor is so powerful that he could DESTROY SUNS BY SNAPPING HIS FINGERS!!!

The Chaos Gods are scared as fuck of the guy, and hope he dies so they can take over the universe. If the God Emperor were to arise again Chaos would be FUCKED.

The Eldar fear that if the Emperor were to die a new Eye of Terror would be opened and Chaos would take over EVERYTHING!!! *BLAM* Heresy! The Emprah cannot die!

A typical father and son chat between Empy and Horus.

After he was nearly killed by his son, he was placed on the Golden Throne and hasn't been able to move for the past few millennia. Most of the fluff maintains that his existence on a day-to-day basis since then is a living hell (By comparison, the process of making astropaths would be like a trip to the dentist). It's literally the mother/father/uncle/2nd Cousin of all mindfucks, so bad that even a Inquisitor would likely go insane as a result (or anybody else for that matter) and yet he continues...

Why? He may be the universe's most powerful vegetable, but that doesn't mean that he can just sit down and die. Oh no, it's exactly the opposite. It gives him a fuckton of work to do, and along with being the lighthouse of the warp guiding the Imperial Navy, he also needs to make the aforementioned astropaths, as well as keeping all the nasties of the warp where they're supposed to be and not spilling over into reality and make the lives of all human beings miserable. Or perhaps a combination of Tzeentch perpetuating the stalemate and the influence of Necron technology is doing that. He also does it for the good of man. (sounds kinda familiar, don't it?) In the last year of M41 techpriests discovered that the Golden Throne is failing and the Emperor is DYING so look up! there is a 50/50 chance of the Emperor returning to life.... Or dying forever and everyone in the Imperium becoming a Chaos sex toy/Punching Bag/plague vector/science experiment. *BLAM* Heresy! THE EMPRAH IS IMMORTAL AND HE WILL PROTECT US! Pfft, as if Cegorach, Tzeentch, or the Deceiver are going to let one of their paradox poker buddies die.

"The Emperor was a brilliant scientist, a powerful warrior, and great psyker, but he was a terrible father..."
-Rawbutt Girlyman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, pointing out the obvious.

Every Saturday night the Emperor gets together with Tzeentch, the Deceiver, and Cegorach for a game of Paradox Poker. They have to use a new pocket dimension for each of these games because the sheer amount of dickery and JUST AS PLANNED causes the dimension they play in to collapse. Nobody has ever won one of these games. Any who try to watch these games without possessing similar mastery of the fine art of dickery and JUST AS PLANNED will find that their heads will explode into a shower of Necrons(even though it was they who built the damn pockety dimension...), Eldar, SPESS MEHREENS, and Daemons as they cannot comprehend the true form of the game.


For all his desire to guide and protect humanity, there is a lot of proof, particularly from the Horus Heresy books and some short stories, that the Emperor was not Space Jesus, but Space Hitler. He declared humanity the superiors of xenos, setting the basis for humanity's genocidal xenophobia (and the hatred of nearly every xenos race in turn); planned to destroy all mention of religion by force of arms if needed; planned to reunite humanity under his rule no matter what anyone else wanted/thought, again by force of arms if needed; cared little for the primarchs as his actual sons, thinking of them as generals and tools rather than his sons, screwing over several in his efforts to recruit them (hence causing their later betrayals); carried out many unethical and morally questionable experiments; and so on. His reign killed more humans than the entire rest of humanities dictators in history up to that point combined, then multiplied, and that's assuming you don't count all the other sapient organisms that might or might not have deserved it.

It can be said that the Emperor was such an asshole due to the state of the universe he founded himself in and that he acted as he did believing small sacrifices were all for the greater good (Now where have we heard that before?) but that doesn't change the fact he began a crusade that would have culled billions and destroy entire xenos species even if the campaign had gone well and not ended in the Horus Heresy (assuming that the Emperor would have allowed it to end at all).

To be fair, the whole reason humanity (and the Emperor) hates aliens is because during the Age of Strife, numerous xenos races exploited humanity's weakness by raiding, looting, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Then Hitler the Emperor comes along and decides that the best way to stop it from happening again is to wipe out all xenos that might pose a threat to the fledgling Imperium. However, those few xenos species that did not pose an immediate threat to humanity were usually made protectorates similar to the Tau government (unless they resisted, were in the way, possessed a planet, influenced human culture at all, or were intelligent at all, in which case the results were predictable). Ever since his ascension, the Imperium forgot about the part where harmless aliens are tolerated and just thinks they should all be killed. But on the other hand, the most common xenos are dicks and aren't exactly willing to buddy up with the Imperium themselves.

Worship of the Emperor

What the Emperor looked like before Horus decided to bitchslap him. Notice the giant skull. How did that skull get so big? Is it a plastic faux-skull, or is it an alien skull? Anyway, back on topic. You don't get to see the Emperor out of armor very often.

Humans worship the Emperor as the one true God. If you're an atheist, then he's the closest thing they have to a proper caring and nurturing god who actually cares about his subjects, so you might as well let them. Humans are more than willing to die in his name or skullfuck the next guy who says anything remotely bad about him. Now, the only reason the Imperium worship the Emperor is that after his fight with Horus and his internment into the Golden Throne, they pretty much forgot what the Emperor taught them, including draining the power of the Chaos Gods by eliminating all kinds of religion and remaining an atheist empire. This is partially false. Ol' Empy did not actually tell anyone of the Chaos Gods as part of his plan to starve them, withholding the information even from the Primarchs in hopes of protecting them from corruption. Ignorance is bliss! Unfortunately this became part of why the Horus Heresy happened in the first place, as while not knowing the existance of the chaos gods could have prevented his servants from falling to the temptation of worshipping some very REAL gods, it also left them without the knowledge of what to do when faced with the influence of said deities. Plus, it's pretty damn hard to fight against something if you don't know that it exists. The Horus Heresy novels also mentioned the Interex, another atheist empire who do understand that Chaos existed but treated it secularly and scientifically, rendering them more proficient with dealing with Chaos than the Imperium.

The Emperor was actually AGAINST any kind of religion as part of his Imperial Truth and plan for mankind to be a utopia of science and reason-- even if the object of worship would be himself like when he told Lorgar to fuck off with the God-Emperor worship. Although, the Emperor was only half-right about this because he didn't realize that Chaos runs off emotion rather than worship, thus his starvation plan wouldn't have been ultimately successful in the long run. While Chaos does draw more power from direct worship to them, even if worship of them is stopped at large, they can still draw from the everyday emotions. His plan wouldn't have killed the Gods but would have severely weakened their influence on the Materium. Without cultists, there would be no summoning of demons. Without uncontrolled psykers, few possessions would occur. Thus, without religion and warp travel, the Chaos Gods and their minions wouldn't be able to access the Materium (for the most part). Hence why the Emperor tried to access the Webway where Mankind can be able to travel through space while minimizing exposure to Chaos. Who gives a shit about the Ruinous Powers if they're stuck in the Warp?

However, he made a critical mistake in disregarding the human need to believe in something greater than oneself, and despite his best efforts with the Imperial Truth reason and logic simply weren't enough to fill the place of religion. Ironically, his solution was not to suppress faith but to redirect it towards something else, intended to be the idea of the Imperium, but because of his own unmatched psychic powers and enigmatic nature that "something else" ended up being the Emperor himself. After he went off being the most powerful psychic vegetable in the universe, and lost direct control of the Imperium of man, belief in him sort of helped the Imperium stand together, even if it basically dropped 99.9% of humanity's IQ in the process- with the warp being what it is, the act of worshipping the Emperor supercharged his power in the Immaterium to the point of being truly godlike, even while his body is stuck in its current state of near-death. The Imperium's faith in the Emperor is basically their biggest anchor of bravery and perseverance in a universe where humanity is constantly beset by:

Without their faith in the Emperor after his internment into the Golden Throne, the fragments of the Imperium would have fought against each other and themselves again like in the pre-Great Crusade days and subsequently devolved into what they were before the Emperor liberated them. So yes, much like IRL religion, it gives them hope and courage to fight on and survive in a universe that leaves the grimdark faucet running everyday.

It's worth noting that good ol' Empy wouldn't have had nearly as much of a problem with all this unwanted worship if he hadn't, just as a quick example, insisted on wearing horrifyingly ornate solid gold armour and a big glowy halo at all times. Or on carrying a flaming sword of righteousness. Or on building continent-sized monuments to his vanity. Or on decking all his personal troops and favored genetic experiments in as much bling as they could possibly carry. Or on being nine eleven fucking feet tall. If you look like space-Jesus and act like space-Jesus, people are going to take those observations to their extreme conclusions, like what Lorgar did when he wrote the Lectitio Divinitatus, which can be summarized as "Ordinary men can't blow up suns and carry big glowy halos at all times, only a God, therefore the Emprah is God." This is made even more relevant given that the fluff very strongly implies that the Emperor is Jesus.

That said, to Games Workshop's credit his being buttfucked by his own Hubris and disregard for the humanity he claimed to be guiding in this manner was probably intentional as a classic tale of Greek Tragedy.

The possible death of the Emperor

With the Golden Throne being constantly damaged and the Techpriests are too power-armor-on-head rebooted to do anything about it, it is certainly possible that the Emperor may die one day, which will obviously result in all of the Imperial worlds and factions to cry tears of disappointment and subsequently devolve into chaos. There are however, 3 possible outcomes of what will happen if the Emperor should ever die:

The new Eye of Terror

Conventional wisdom and the Eldar, says that in the event that the Emperor dies, a new Eye of Terror will be created, plunging Holy Terra and all nearby planets into the Warp. Even the Ecclesiarchy agrees that if the Emperor were ever to die, humanity would be FUCKED at the barest minimum.

This is supported by the fact that the Golden Throne (itself a portal to the Webway) was broken by Magnus, causing a warp tear to occur on Terra which the Emperor has had to spend every second for the last 10,000 years concentrating on to keep it from getting any bigger (the Adeptus Custodes has spent the same amount of time chopping up daemons that jump through). If he were to die or his attention were to waver for too long it would grow and rip the Imperium apart.

Additionally, a new Chaos God could be created, which will most certainly be a God of all the Grimdarkness in the galaxy, ensuring that it would eclipse all of the powers of the other Gods as the Emperor would finally be the God of all, this is especially true since nearly everything that is grimdark comes from Chaos and the entire WH40K setting is itself a massive pile of it... that or Malal would burst back into existence. Some also fear that a fifth Chaos God's presence would just crush reality as-is reverting everything back into the immaterium.


No, not the Doctor Who kind. The Horus Heresy novel 'Vulkan Lives' heavily implies that the Emperor is a Perpetual like John Grammaticus, Vulkan, Oll Persson and Anval Thawn, all of who were able to survive things which should have completely obliterated them. So all he simply needs to do is die and wait a couple of hours/days and he'll be reborn again (in the "get up off the ground and dust himself off" sense). In theory, at least. Vulkan, for instance, was driven mad by the torturous experiences he had endured under the Night Haunter, and they were child's play compared to sitting in unthinkable agony unable to move or speak for ten thousand years rotting alive. However, a more commonly held belief is that he will get up, re-establish the Imperial Truth, and just be a cool guy.

In fact, a whole faction of the Inquisition: Thorianism exists to investigate this possibility, looking for possible signs that the Emperor's consciousness can be transferred elsewhere, allowing him to walk amongst men once more. (That said, they don't know about the existence of Perpetuals and would rather look for a new body to place the Emperor's soul into.)

Opponents to Thorianism generally see that encouraging this is a terrible idea, as having the Emperor rise in a physical form would only cause a schism in the Imperium, as many people would not believe it to be true having been conditioned by the Ecclesiarchy over thousands of years, which would cause another major civil war.

Not only that, but having him stand up to stretch his legs before the Golden Throne was fixed or have someone powerful enough to replace him would potentially cause the same result as a new Eye of Terror. As towards the end of the Horus Heresy, he only moved from the seat in the final battle when Malcador the Sigillite (the third most powerful "known" human psyker - after Magnus) took his place temporarily, which was still enough to crumble him to dust.

The Star Child

Although years of GW's marketing and fluff upgrades have made the third claim rather dubious, many fa/tg/guys and optimists still hold out on the theory stating that when the Emperor screwed Horus's soul to the wall, part of the Emperor's soul was also cast into the Warp. This Emprasoul fragment is the Star Child, another god waiting to be reborn - or perhaps be reincarnated into human flesh. (anyone call for one master scout mcvenner) If the remains of the Emperor were ever to die, the tiny spark of soul left in his body would re-unite with the greater whole, and according to prophecy, stalemate the four Chaos Gods while the races of the galaxy were left to battle it out in one last great Ragnarok scenario.

This theory is tied closely to the Sensei Illuminati, a group of either supremely enlightened individuals or dangerous mutant heretic xenos-fuckers, depending on which side of the Inquisition you're on. The Illuminati plan to catch all of the Sensei and sacrifice them in the golden throne at the moment of Empra's death and he will become the Sensei-Emprah(Numen). Yay! HERESY!!!

The fluff revealed that the Illuminati were a minor Tzeench cult and the sensei were effectively brainwashed soon-to-be sacrifices in an attempt to bring Tzeench to the materium. Needless to say, they have been purged by the Inquisition.

However, more recent (2006 onwards) fluff from Xenology puts a glimmer of hope on this theory by suggesting providing an image of an "unborn child surrounded in starlight" as one of the three future survivors of the galaxy's conflicts (the other's being Khaine and the Laughing God). While it can be equally suggested that this actually refers to Ynnead who is the Eldar god that shall be born from the webway when the last Eldar has died, it is now becoming clearer that Ynnead and the Emperor's star child could be the same thing, particularly with the revelations in Horus Heresy that the Golden Throne is a doorway into the webway itself.

Further evidence to support this is the even more recent Mechanicum novel, where a faction of Mars attempted to access the aetheric wellspring of ALL KNOWLEDGE (read: "God") which was hidden away within the warp. They hoped to access this knowledge using a device called the Akashic Reader which operated using identical energies to that of the Astronomican, considering that at the time it was powered solely by the energies of the Emperor it suggests that his divinity was seeded in the warp well in advance of his enthronement, simply awaiting a time for it to reconnect with him.

The Emperor's list of Things to do after Resurrection

Badass and glorious.

Too important to be a sub-section of this article; moved to its own article: Emperor's To-Do List


We believe in one Lord, the Emperor, the Almighty, ruler of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Emperor of Mankind, the only Lord of creation, eternally begotten of Humanity, Human from Human, Light from Light, true Lord from true Lord, begotten, not made, of one Being with Humanity; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and came among us. For our sake he has faced down Chaos; he withstood death and was enthroned. To this day he lives on in accordance with the Scriptures; he resides upon Mother Terra and is seated upon the throne of Humanity. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Emperor, the giver of life, who proceeds from Humanity and the from Terra, who with Humanity and upon Terra is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy true and divinely guided Ecclesiarchy. We acknowledge one path for the defense against Chaos. We look for the justice for our dead, and the life of the worlds to come.

++ Ayhmen ++

-- the Creed of the Mankind's Council of Nicene of Holy Terra

See Also

Imperial Eagle.jpg Institutes within the Imperium of Man Imperial Eagle.jpg
Adeptus Terra: Adeptus Administratum - Adeptus Astra Telepathica
Adeptus Astronomica - Senatorum Imperialis
Adeptus Mechanicus: Adeptus Titanicus - Explorator Fleet - Legio Cybernetica - Skitarii
Armed Forces: Adeptus Arbites - Adeptus Custodes - Planetary Defense Force - Sisters of Silence
Imperial Army: Afriel Strain - Adeptus Astartes - Gland War Veteran
Imperial Guard - Imperial Navy - Imperial Knights - Militarum Tempestus
Imperial Cult: Adeptus Ministorum - Adepta Sororitas - Death Cults - Schola Progenium
Inquisition: Ordo Chronos - Ordo Hereticus - Ordo Malleus - Ordo Necros
Ordo Sepulturum - Ordo Sicarius - Ordo Xenos
Officio Assassinorum: Callidus - Culexus - Eversor - Maerorus - Vanus - Venenum - Vindicare
Great Crusade: Corps of Iterators - Legiones Astartes - Remembrancer Order - Solar Auxilia
Unification Wars: Legio Cataegis
Other: League of Black Ships - Navis Nobilite - Rogue Traders - Ambassador Imperialis
Abhumans & Denizens: Beastmen - Caryatids - Felinids - Humans - Nightsiders - Troths - Neandors
Ogryns - Ratlings - Scalies - Scavvies - Squats - Subs - Pelagers - Longshanks
Notable Members: God-Emperor of Mankind - Malcador the Sigillite
The Perpetuals - The Primarchs - Sebastian Thor
Erda - Ollanius Pius