Magnus the Red
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."
- Ecclesiastes 1:18
"The fatal flaw in every plan is the assumption that you know more than your enemy."
"I DID IT! I am the mightiest psyker in the galaxy! I am the strongest! Suck it Leman you furry fuck!"
- Magnus, upon breaking the psychic barrier erected by the Emperor.
"I never asked for this. They say they saved me, but I'm not sure "saved" is the right word."
- Adam Jensen
Magnus the Red (a.k.a The Crimson King, the Sorcerer-King, Cyclopean Magnus or the Red Cyclops) is the primarch of the Thousand Sons, and (is takeda shingen in space) rules over the Planet of the Sorcerers, and formerly Prospero. He is directly after the Emperor the mightiest Psyker/Sorcerer in the whole Warhammer 40k Universe. He is notable for having bright red skin and hair, and being physically the largest of the primarchs. Magnus took after the Emperor in that his physical appearance was constantly changing and everyone seemed to see him differently. Because of this there is debate over if he had a big ol' red eye in the middle of his forehead, or had normal eyes but one socket was empty. Either way he was a cyclops (The colour of his single eye is also described as constantly changing). He is also the Primarch of the Blood Ravens (supposedly but not officially confirmed), which would explain both their color scheme and high percentage of psykers. Of all the Primarchs, with the exception of Vulkan, Sanguinius and Jaghatai Khan, Magnus was one of the most open minded and compassionate to the discriminated, being a psyker and all.
He, along with old Morty, are one of the few traitor Primarchs who actually hate/despise their respective Chaos Gods. Mortarion for his general disdain for all things psychic in nature, and Magnus for being humiliated and played like a puppet by Tzeentch. If anything, Magnus would buy the chance to be free from that little blue bird, as he saw even the slightest opportunity of the bird losing concentration on him, and most likely go rogue due to losing trust to both the Imperium and Chaos and maybe even try to form his own empire and stuff. Then again, this might be wishful thinking, as it may push the plot-line of 40k, which is a big no no.
The Great Crusade
Magnus landed on the planet of Prospero (A planet whose ancient civilization was composed predominantly of psykers, who had fled there because they were persecuted by humanity at large for being psykers.) As Magnus was himself such a being, he formed a kinship with the people of Prospero in short order. Taken in by Prospero's people, he absorbed knowledge like a sponge, and became crazy powerful, and in time far exceeded the power and control of all of his teachers. After a while, he became the single most powerful thing on the fucking planet, and he led a campaign to eradicate a race of predators on Prospero known as the Psychneuein, which had overrun many of Prospero's early cities, and had an unhealthy fondness for laying their eggs in unsuspecting psykers' brains. Which was probably why the beasts had destroyed the entire population of Prospero, save for its capital city, Tizca. One by one, bit by bit, Magnus' forces retook the planet, putting the Psychneuein to the sword, and within a year, Magnus had mostly reclaimed the entire world (except for the Desolation of Prospero, which was everything except for Tizca).
Once the campaign on the Psychneuein was complete, Magnus became the planetary leader by popular demand. Magnus decided to be fucking awesome, and rebuilt the cities (or mostly just Tizca). Like a somehow perfectly stable fortress lasting some 50 years in Dwarf Fortress, Tizca became arguably the most beautiful city in Imperial space, with crystalline spires and pyramids, long marble roads, and psychically-resonant crystals in key locations; designed to calm the turbulent minds of younger psykers and help them control their burgeoning psionic potential. The city quickly became known as a shining jewel of humanity, and one that showed proudly how far its citizens had come from the brink of near-extinction. Prospero also had one of the most technically advanced defensive networks in the Imperium, all of which was hilariously wasted except for the shields when Magnus, in a fit of Primarch-scale angst over his "I screwed everything Dad was doing and failed my purpose entirely in the process" whoopsy-daisy, decided that the Space Wolves should get the rabbit punch.
All this time, Magnus continued to codify and systematize everything he could about the 'Great Ocean' - the name the Prosperans had given the Warp. Huge libraries filled with knowledge about psychic powers and the warp were established, and Magnus himself used his powers to peer into the Empyrean itself, claiming many of its secrets, though at terrible risk to himself. While this was exceptionally dangerous, much of what the Imperium's Inquisition currently knows about the Warp came directly from several of his manuscripts that survived.
With such a powerful mind heading into the warp, it was inevitable that the Emprah (who happened to be out and about the galaxy looking for his lost sons) would eventually take notice. So he eventually came to Prospero, and he and Magnus psychically brofisted before talking for several days. The Emperor taught him even more about psychic powers, but cautioned Magnus to be slow and purposeful, since foul horrors lurked in the warp and liked nothing better than forcibly sodomizing an unprepared Psyker's soul. Magnus took much of this to heart - but what the Emperor did not know was why - Magnus' forays into the warp had already come at a price - his right eye, sacrificed ala Odin when he had consorted with warp-entities whose nature he did not understand until the Emperor explained shit.
Magnus was put in charge of the Thousand Sons, but would not immediately embark on the Great Crusade - since many of his Legion were psykers, and there had been so many small mutations that a number of them couldn't survive the gene-seeding process. Even worse, during combat, psykers ran the risk of losing control of their powers and underwent "Flesh Change", where their body mutated rampantly out of control at all the Warp energy running through them (we call them something else, but won't speak its name as... wait, I didn't say it's naSHHTLSUROHSONTOOLS!)
Magnus was aware of the mutations his Astartes were suffering, and entered the Warp to seek answers about the cause of this and if a cure existed, though he didn't know that he had consorted with Tzeentch by doing so, and the god of Just as planned saw a lot of potential in this one. In return for knowledge and a way to stop the flesh-change, Magnus lost his eye so hard that he never saw it coming (ah-ha-ha-ha!!).
In any case, because of the setbacks that had befallen the Thousand Sons, the selfless efforts of Magnus to save them, their shared psychic talents, and the continuing distrust and persecution of many Imperial agencies and other Space Marine Legions towards the Thousand Sons' use of psychic abilities and the rampant mutations present in their gene-seed, the Primarch and his Astartes developed an extremely close emotional and psychic bond. One of the strongest among all Primarchs and their Space Marine Legions, exceeding even the Luna Wolves' dedication to Horus.
Finally, about midway into the Great Crusade (100 Terran years after it had begun), the now "stable" Thousand Sons Legion (although numbering only 10,000 soldiers), with Magnus leading them on the field, were permitted to take part in the campaign as part of the 28th Expeditionary Fleet. And it was glorious. When they were deployed, the Sons were a sight to behold, flinging psychic storms to consume their enemies and striking bolts with precision and prescience, using their abilities to ascertain enemies' weak-points. Magnus was unique among the Primarchs in that he would always try diplomatic routes first, however - in this way, the Thousand Sons won many battles without so much as a shot fired. This did not sit well with Rogal Dorn or Girlyman, who viewed this approach "unmanly". Likewise, Magnus drew constant distrust from Mortarion and Leman Russ, who distrusted the Sons' sorcerous ways and were somewhat concerned of a trait the Sons had picked up: after conquering or annexing a world, they would take huge amounts of knowledge: books, scrolls about forgotten /forbidden lore, and ancient artifacts, back to Prospero for study, analysis and codification. And this doesn't sound like the Blood Ravens, you say? Nicking everything shiny that's not nailed down? Point is: nobody looted so prolifically as The Thousand Sons. The White Scars and Blood Angels aligned themselves with them to rig the Librarium. What that did was to actually impose some restraint on psykers, that made everyone a bit more accepting towards them. Their worries only intensified when it was discovered that the Sons had little warp critters (familiars) called "tutelaries" buzzing around them and acting as warp power-packs.
When diplomacy didn't work, The Sons were known to fuck entire armies with lightning, fireballs, mass mind-control, precognition of enemy strikes and conter them with precision strikes, dealing so much devastation with only some few squads of Marines (the Iron Warriors would weep of jealousy if they ever saw how the Sons made battle during the Great Crusade). Magnus himself once fought Ork gargants by himself, and despite being able to zap, melt or transmute their hulls with just the power of his mind, he instead scaled himself to the size of a Warlord-class Titan, and beat the shit out of them with his bare hands.
A very important event called "Council of Nikaea" or "The Prosecution of Magnus the Red", took place about 50 years before the Horus Heresy, where Magnus was called by his brothers and the Emperor to answer for abusing his powers and to install some form of control of psykers used in battle across the galaxy. The fact that the Sons obsessed with preserving valuable knowledge (whatever the source), was another factor that pissed a bunch of Primarchs off. The Thousand Sons' political opponents among other Astartes Legions found hoarding xenos' artifacts useless and counter-productive to the goals of thefix Great Crusade (which actually more or less sought to eradicate all alien life in the galaxy). Arguments between Magnus and the other Primarchs became so pitched and violent that on one occasion, Leman Russ and Magnus got into a giant fucking brawl on the council floor itself, and it only didn't end in bloodshed because Lorgar managed to talk both of them down, causing Russ to grudgingly holster his weapon and Magnus to stop chargin' his lazar. Finally, the Emperor stepped in, bitch-slapped everyone for acting like a fucking child, and pointed out that whilst dangerous, psychic powers ware still necessary to the Imperium in large. So Chaplains were added to Space Marine Legions to ensure adherence to the Imperial Truth: psykers were now to abstain from using their powers in battle. The ever fabulous Jaghatai Khan facepalmed his high forehead, whilst groaning, that this is exactly what he'd warned Magnus about. Magnus was ticked off, but calmed down a bit a little later and continued the Crusade with the new restrictions in place (actually, they carried out their arcane ways in secret).
When Magnus learned that Horus intended to betray the Emperor and slaughter like half the galaxy, he resolved to using any method possible to warn the Emperor. With few other options, he made a deal with Tzeentch again, to combine their powers and smash the psychic seal The Emperor had installed to protect the Webway from the warp (Magnus simply did not bother to walk around the Wall) and enter the Imperial Palace all the way from Prospero. Unfortunately, this deed majorily fucked up the Webway project the Emperor had been working on for over 9000 years, which would have made the dangerous warp-travel obsolete and would unify the Imperium of Man using a human-engineered version of the Eldar Webway gate. Big E called Magnus out and banished him back for breaking the law and using sorcery to get through the Webway. The dick didn't even listen to Magnus about Horus's betrayal and declared Magnus a DOUBLE HERETIC. Magnus realized that the Imperium is comprehensively fucked and that he needed to do all he could to protect it and Prospero. Emps should probably have told his super-psychic son about his psychically-sensitive all-important project THAT MAGNUS WAS DESTINED TO OPERATE, but that would make nobody happy, wouldn't it?
When Horus learned of this, he was quietly amused. The Emperor ordered Horus to have Russ bring Magnus back to Terra to stand trial for what he had done, and Horus being a dick, quietly altered Russ' orders to lay waste to Prospero instead and slaughter the Thousand Sons. As Magnus was already oficially a (slightly tolerated) heretic, Russ relished in this order and took to this like a Furry to Ironclaw (barring a last-ditch attempt to Skype Magnus through a psyker). Accompanying the Space Wolves were a full contingent of Adeptus Custodes, millions of Imperial Army troops and an elite anti-psyker unit: the Sisters of Silence (think a unit of Culexus Assassins and you get the general idea).
Magnus, sensing this and realizing that this had been Just as planned by Tzeentch and that it has done this to completely destroy both the Thousand Sons and the Space Wolves, decided to dick with the Lord of all Fate. He decided to accept the destruction of everything that he had worked for, so that Tzeentch's ultimate goal would only be half-fulfilled. Tzeentch was richly amused by this. As Prospero burned, Tzeentch and Magnus engaged in act after act of dickery and counter-dickery; with Magnus finally pushed into a towering rage and taking to the battlefield at his capital: crushing his enemies with volleys of MIND BULLETS, before he engaging Leman Russ himself in close-combat. The two fought fiercely and Magnus managed to Falcon pawnch Russ so hard, his breastplate shattered and one of his hearts punctured. Russ got lucky and took out Magnus' second eye, and then performed a back-breaker on him that ended the fight. Tzeentch was greatly amused by all of this because it's rare for anyone, let alone a mortal, to predict and out-manipulate the plans of the Architect of Fate himself. He thus made Magnus an offer: Become Tzeentch's servant and preserve what was left of his Legion and homeworld or watch it all burn in a pool of his own blood...
...For Magnus though, it never really was a choice. The response of Magnus' new patron was immediate: for once, Tzeentch was true to his word. The City of Light was transported into the Eye of Terror onto a Daemon World. Prospero was destroyed that day, but Magnus and his Legion survived. It is unclear when they ended up on the Planet of the Sorcerers; before or after the Siege of Terra, but Magnus the Red had become a daemon prince and the most powerful of all Tzeentch's servants. Magnus had never served Tzeentch willingly, but now had no choice - exactly as Tzeentch HAD PLANNED from the very beginning (we might think), and now he was committed to the very cause he had tried to foil. JUST AS PLANNED! x9000+
Some head-scratching does arise at to why Magnus didn't: a) simply tell his Legion to lay down their weapons and try and talk Russ out of obliterating the entire world or b) take the hara-kiri option, which would have at least brought everything to an end a little earlier.
Magnus was stuck in limbo and meditation for a while, until Jaghatai Khan rocked up to Prospero to find out what had happened and found a shade of his brother down in the caves. Magnus served up a nice big info-dump and in return Jaghatai banished him from Prospero. Magnus then travelled to the planet Tzeentch had set up for him (apparently Lorgar had kept trying to persuade him to join the Heresy during this period, though we don't know how when he couldn't reach his Legion).
And so, the Horus Heresy came and went. The Siege of Terra occurred, Horus had fought the Emperor and (SPOILER WARNING) failed, and the Traitor Legions were driven to the Eye of Terror. However, the Thousand Sons now had to deal with more immediate problems: with their serving of Tzeentch, the Flesh Change returned with a vengeance. Magnus made efforts to stop this, but being a servant of the God of Mutation has its drawbacks and before long Magnus seemed to have given up. Growing desperate, Ahzek Ahriman, the Chief Librarian and First Captain, took matters into his own hands. Having lost his brother to the Flesh Change before they found Prospero, Ahriman gathered a cabal of other sorcerers, the Book of Magnus, and performed the Rubric of Ahriman in an attempt to stop the Flesh Change. The results were not what Ahriman expected: while it stopped the Flesh Change and further empowered all psychic Thousand Sons, all non-psyker Thousand Sons had their bodies turned to dust and sealed within their Power Armour, becoming little more than robots needing guidance from a Thousand Son sorcerer.
Magnus was furious. Confronting Ahriman, once his most favored son, Magnus was about to kill Ahriman when Tzeentch spoke to him: "Magnus, why do you seek to kill my pawn?" Once again, Magnus had been used. Broken, Magnus simply exiled Ahriman from the Planet of Sorcerers. For the last ten thousand years, Magnus has labored to restore his Sons' bodies to their original forms, failing all the while.
Unknown to everyone, save perhaps Tzeentch itself, the failed rubric also had a side-effect: Magnus's conscience and psychic might fragmented into several alter-egos, each with different personalities and goals.
He later showed up on FENRIS ITSELF and became the second Daemon Primarch after Angron to get shit done, rampaging through imperial lines and laying waste to everything in his path with MIND BULLETS and RAW PHYSICAL POWER until the Space Wolves responded and after an extremely hard fight
managed to banish him back Magnus phased himself out and teleported all his marines out of the Fang, after reaching his goal, sabotaging an experimental Space Wolf geneseed mutation cure, and killing an entire Great Company HQ, The Great Wolf (turns out wolfing a Wolf Lord's wolf means warping your hands inside him and ripping his hearts out) and almost killing Bjorn the Fell-Handed himself as a nice bonus. To be fair, the Space Wolves almost managed to actually banish him back to Warp, and Magnus was almost out of energy and barely able to sustain physical form at the end of battle because he had dementia from his time in the warp (and because, daemon prince or not, that many wolves, Bjorn, and an exploding tank of promethium will fuck you up). Khorne was so impressed by this badassery that he decided to give a little leeway to Khornate sorcerers.
Funny how two out of two Daemon Primarchs to have gotten shit done ended up being repelled by the actions of the Space Wolves. And the best thing? Unlike Draigo "beat Mortarion and the Death Guard silly singlehandedly" faggotry, this fluff is actually somewhat well written, with the Space Wolves being pushed to their very limits trying to repel the chosen of Tzeentch, and they only got off easy once he fucked off after his main objective was finished.
On another note, of all the Primarch Daemons so far seen in the fluff, he seems to be the most collected and coherent, as far as Chaos goes; in the trailer of Wrath of Magnus he actually sounded quite composed and at odds with Angron's "BLUDFUTEBLUDGUD!" or Mortarion's "IHAVESPESSASHMA"; he told the Thousand Sons in a strong but civilized way to put their differences aside to focus on the goal of destroying the Space Puppies, and remarked how all of them were his sons, even Ahriman or any other wayward sorcerer who had gone his own way through the ages; what a cool guy.
During the campaign, Magnus' goal was never to destroy Fenris (though it would have been a satisfying bonus), but instead to make the Wolves suffer as they did during the Burning of Prospero: with the Wulfen and their genetic flaw revealed, they would be regarded with suspicion and mistrust. Because the people of Fenris have seen first-hand the horrors of the warp, the inquisition ordered a massive purge that saw most of the population of Fenris exterminated. Midgardia basically got destroyed, Fenris became a partly irradiated wasteland, and Magnus pulled Sortiarius into the materium (as the whole invasion of Fenris also turned out to be a massive ritual for which the Grey Knights killing the populous helped a lot, yes grey knights dun fucked up).
Oh yeah, and many Daemon Primarchs begin to show up, presumably for the 13th Black Crusade. Also, there is a teaser about some 30k force coming back.
On table-top as Daemon Primarch
Rules-wise, he's a beast with 7s across the board barring strength (8) attacks (6) and ld (10). He rocks a 4++ and can re-roll ones (so yeah, throw in the grimoire of names to have a 2++ re-rollable and guy becomes unkillable when combined with the fact that he's an FMC with EW), as well as Daemon of Tzeentch, Deep Strike, VotLW, Fearless, Fleet, IWND, and the WT Lord of Flux: Enemy units within 12″ of your Warlord treat all terrain, even open ground, as difficult terrain; any enemy units that run, turbo-boost, move flat out, or charge within that radius must take dangerous terrain tests. He has what is by far the best psychic output in the game: Mastery level 5, AW (so he DTWs on 3+ against everyone), manifests his WCs on a 2+, has LoS to all units on the table for the purposes of using his powers, and never suffers perils. He knows every spell in the Tzeentch and Change lores. With the expansions brought in the new rulebook, this means Magnus can bring to the table 2 D attacks (One of which is an 18" Beam?!) per psychic phase with relative ease, all while still being able to murderize anything that he comes across, and in melee he uses a sword that uses his strength, AP2, Soulblaze, Force, and Transmogrify (a 6 to wound causes Instant death and turns the slain model into a you-know-what). As it stands, Magnus just craps on his furry Gary Stu brother. He's 650pts, so use him wisely.
Model wise, he appears to take minor inspiration from his EPIC monkey form (which is a good thing.) He has multiple head options, including a cyclops head, which is incredibly fluffy as his face has been described as constantly changing. His armor appears to be to have changed from golden to silver (but it still has its nipple horns. Sexy, sexy nipple horns), and the motif of a bird skull appears everywhere. He has bird wings, and is posed on a Space Wolf Dreadnought arm. Ah, and he's so FUCKHUEG that he rivals an Imperial Knight.
- If you translate his name into latin, you get Magnus Rubricatus, meaning "red is great". Also it has "rubric" in it. Sly GW strikes again!
- A video chronicling Magnus' fall to Chaos. It is less conniving than originally imagined.
- Daddy (not the Emperor, Magnus) addressing his children for the visit to the pet shop.
|The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions|
| Loyalist |
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Leman Russ - Lion El'Jonson - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
| Traitor |
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim - Horus
Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo