"Tell them ruin has come to their world, death, despair and red war..."
"Tell them their hopes and pride have come to nothing."
"Tell them their empty whispers fall upon deaf ears - their gods are dead, human logic has killed them."
"Tell them the Angels of Death have come."
"Tell them that nothing can save them now."
- – The Primarch himself
"O beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on"
- – Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello
"No one becomes depraved all at once."
- – Juvenal, Satires
Perturabo, also known as "The Hammer of Olympia","The Lord of Iron", Leonardo DaVinci in outer space, "The Lord of Shit (according to Abaddon)", Peter Turbo, Whiny Bitch #1 and the "Petulant Manchild" is the permanently perturbed Primarch of the Iron Warriors and one of the most technologically-inclined of the Primarchs. He can look at a machine, disassemble it, and reassemble it stronger than before in the time it takes Magnus to cast a spell or Angron to swing an axe. He was famously cold and distant, having a very hard time relating with people and preferring to work with machinery and pursue his dream of building a great civilization. This attitude was not improved during the Great Crusade for even though he wished to build, protect, and be celebrated for it, the Imperium would never let him do so; he and his men were tasked with being the Emperor's workhorse/meat grinder Legion because the Legion's famous determination, endurance, and unflinching nature made them best for the job. Over the course of the Great Crusade, Perturabo and his Iron Warriors became increasingly jaded, angry, and wrought with despair at the horrors of war they were expected to face, and were awarded little renown due to the inherently mundane, dangerous, and mechanistic nature of their work (and that's without mentioning their MASSIVE casualties). By the end of the Great Crusade, Perturabo and the Iron Warriors were not the same. Determination turned to stubbornness; endurance turned to numbness; and grit turned to hopeless despair. This combined with Pert and the Iron Warriors having no hope of renown, love, or respect from the Imperium, caused him to give up on his previous dreams of a greater future and turn against the Big-E. He is also heavily hinted to be on the spectrum; whether this means he is a super autist remains to be seen.
It is important to note however that Perturabo was more responsible for his fall into bitterness and cold spite than anyone, and that he blamed pretty much everyone other than himself for his choices. He claimed to hate that his foster father and the Emperor used his genius for nothing other than crafting tools of war. However, he chose to not build anything which brought him personal satisfaction or joy even in his off-hours, and dreamt up schematics for revolutionary structures and devices that were left to gather dust simply because he thought they wouldn't be appreciated quite enough. He became embittered by the horrendous casualties his Legion suffered during the Crusade, but it seemingly never dawned on him that tactics other than massive frontal assaults and danger-close artillery barrages existed. He complained to anyone who would listen about how he was always underestimated and unappreciated by his brothers but was unapproachable himself, and never realized that his brutal, mathematical and blood soaked approach to warfare made his brothers dislike working with him. And when all his flaws were ultimately pointed out by his sister Calliphone as the Iron Warriors butchered Olympia's population, he strangled her rather than reflecting on his massive martyr complex (though to be fair he cried about it afterwards...and learned absolutely nothing).
When Horus decided to throw his galaxy-shaking tantrum, Perturabo already hated his brothers so much he LEAPT at the opportunity to dismantle the Imperial Palace that Dorn built. Unfortunately for him, things did not go as planned, so he and his sons were booted back to the Eye of Terror. Despite currently being a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided, he and his legion don't really care for the Chaos Gods or their daemons, preferring to crush loyalist scum their own way: LOTS OF BIG, SCARY, FEROCIOUS, SHOOTY DEATHMACHINES OF EVERY VARIETY!!! By the way, we've never actually seen a picture of him as a Daemon Prince, though he is described as the ultimate Obliterator. Probably best we don't then. (Perty fanboys and lore purists alike hope against hope that this is retconned. Seems like GW's writers agree with the general consensus that Perturabo being a Daemon Prince is both stupid-- the Gods wouldn't give it to him-- and incredibly unsatisfying.) Unfortunately, the snippet from the limited edition of Halfbreed - Storm of Iron, all but confirms his daemonhood, although whether this means Perty is merely using Warpstuff to fill in the spiritual damage done by Fulgrim's ascension and is still technically a renegade, is still up in the air.
Perturabo's first memory is finding himself halfway up a cliff with no idea how or why he got there. All he knew was that he could see this great ugly spot in the sky that seemed to be watching him. Without any other information to go on he climbed the rest of the way and reached the top of the cliff where he found a squad of soldiers waiting to take the boy to their king. When asked of his origins, Perturabo found that he could speak the language, knew his own name, was proficient in combat, could merely look upon objects and materials to know their constructive properties, had an instinctive mastery of mathematics and engineering, could determine people's character like a psychologist just by watching them, and could reason matters of logic and philosophy from the get-go.
This is what makes Perturabo different from all of his brothers; when each Primarch landed on their world, they spent their formative years being shaped by their experiences and exposure to learning. Where Fulgrim and Sanguinius were found as near-helpless babes and raised to appreciate the finer side of art and humanities, Perturabo already knew about artifice and ethics. Where Lorgar and Magnus were taken in by scholars and practically consumed information until there was nothing left, Perturabo already knew everything in the textbooks and didn't need to be taught. Where Vulkan was raised as the son of a blacksmith and learned craft through apprenticeship, Perturabo's literal first task upon being presented to his "father" was to forge a perfect sword faster than any craftsman on the planet. Perturabo considered himself robbed of the sense of wonder he might have felt at looking on impressive works of art or learning how to do things the long way, if he did not already know how they were created and could critique them.
The only things Perturabo didn't know was what he was doing before he awoke on the cliffside, and why the sky was watching his every move. He was told that before his recollection started, there were tales of a boy descending from the mountains and killing monsters on his own, but Perturabo had no recollection of any of that. Naturally he would appear a bit jaded and suspicious. Why would he already have access to so much information but have no memory of his past? And why was he the only one who could see that DAMNED INTRUSIVE eye in the sky? This wouldn't be helped when his adoptive "father," Dammekos - Tyrant of Lochos, only saw the opportunity that Perturabo represented: rather than a son to raise or a brother to be admired, Perturabo was going to be used as a tool of war-- and he knew it. Or at least, that's what he THOUGHT he knew, and with an ego like his, who's gonna convince him otherwise?
The older fluff initially stated that the only lesson Olympia had to teach him was of his own superiority. The truth was actually more complicated than that. Dammekos certainly exploited his new "son" because as an Olympian, you used every advantage at your disposal to one-up your rivals: with all this inherent knowledge, strength and skill, Perturabo was used as a kind of prize fighter, paraded against the Tyrant king's enemies, humiliating them with displays of superior artistry, rhetoric and if need be, combat. He beat everyone effortlessly, vehemently refuting their claims of his divinity and thinking of them as ignorant fools, even going so far as to recite the story of Plato's cave to demonstrate how wrong they were, though he did concede that he was created by no human artifice, just not gods. He also grew tired of being used endlessly for the pursuit of supremacy, reasoning that his skills could be put towards architecture and engineering to make a better life for all-- but instead he was used as a weapon and he resented it. He knew he was better than all of them, but due to the constant political backstabbery of the court, mixed with their retarded religion, Perturabo was constantly bombarded by pestering Luddites and disbelieving idiots who did not believe what he was capable of, and had no way to properly demonstrate it thanks to the technological limitations of the world he was marooned on. He was also still an aloof and arrogant prick; the only person who tried to understand him was Calliphone, his foster sister.
Before he knew the full measure of what he was, Perturabo was a cultivated scholar and a gentle man of peace. He lived for the utopian ideal of peace, freedom and enlightenment for all mankind and he was all for stopping conflicts through diplomacy if at all possible. His foster-father, in his eyes, was a tyrannical asshole who dismissed all of Perturabo's artful designs for theatres, museums, bridges as follies and kept expecting Perturabo to perform the function of weapon and take over the world for him (so his family life was a tad strained), though to be fair, Dammekos did genuinely try to include Perturabo in his family and raise him with Olympian values which mixed realpolitik and valuing family, as twisted as that was. Dammekos even allowed Perturabo to name himself at his coming-of-age ceremony, despite the fact that Perty choosing his name as opposed to that of traditional Olympian champions caused the hardline traditionalists to grow butthurt, prompting Dammekos to smooth things over. Perty did try his hand at art once by prodding and provoking his milder adoptive brother to have a contest of statues, but when his brother's soulful, expressive, nuanced work showed up his own technically-perfect-but-emotionally-hollow piece, he promptly destroyed both statues in a bitchfit that would prove practically prophetic of his life's trajectory.
After E-Money showed up on the East Side lookin' for his homeboys up in the 'hood, Perturabo had already taken over the planet for his other father and was ready to leave his petty little world in search for greater things. In joining the Imperium, he thought he was home.
Unfortunately for Perturabo, the Imperium was EXACTLY like Olympia: the Emperor had no real desire for a diplomat/artist/philosopher but only a general. Perturabo's real father was every bit the tyrannical asshole his other parent had been, only thinking to use Perturabo's skills in matters of war rather than construction and peace... only this "father" was shinier and kinda GODlike.
The Great Crusade
When they first met on the mountains of Olympia, the Emperor looked into Perturabo's mind and named him his Lord of Iron. He placed enough faith in Perturabo to expect him to do all of the unrelenting, indefatigable and thankless tasks, knowing full well the starry-eyed Perturabo was entirely sold on this whole "utopia" idea and would do anything to see it through. So if daddy needed a general, Perturabo was going to damn well give him a general, applying himself in the same clinical, detached and heartless manner that he always did. The utopian dream of the Imperium came first, all other "human" foibles came second.
Though while it's certainly easy to blame everything on E-Money, it's also possible that Perty stage-managed some of his own reputation. In essence, painting himself as "the hard man making hard choices and sacrifices for the greater good", because (like an edgy teenager's first foray into World of Darkness) he thought that would make him DEEP and RESPECTED. Not necessarily a hard leap in logic; he was raised as a siegemaster in a ruthless culture, and was now part of a galaxy-spanning conquest that necessitated the spending of lives, with lots of rhetoric on the glory of sacrificing your lives for the Emprah. So why not play to his strengths? However, this idea would run into a major setback because, despite his undeniable intellect and mastery, Perturabo never really got that whole 'willing sacrifice' garbage, and tended to fixate on the end result over the means to get there. From his clearly superior perspective, why should he care about how willing the rank and file were to give their lives for the cause? They're soldiers. They knew what they signed up for. Duty was something you did without complaint, and expecting praise for it was just illogical vainglory...which is ironic considering how much validation and acclaim Pert craved for his every deed.
But the thing is, sacrifice is worth more when it is done willingly (otherwise it's coercion), and often at the cost of something valuable (otherwise it's cheap), and you certainly never make others pay a price you would never pay yourself, let alone in your place (otherwise it's hypocritical). And by that measure, Perturabo's approach could hardly be considered willing or valuable. Even when taking on jobs as a calculated move to gain 'respect' for being 'dutiful' (when he wasn't, admittedly, being handed shitty but vital assignments), he still did it resentfully while expecting you to bow at his feet for deigning to even fulfill your request. And as to the value of what he spent to achieve the greater goal, despite resenting how others looked down on his 'sons', he never actually showed that he valued them as anything other than tools and extensions of his will (even if he felt it); hard to convince others that you're giving up something precious when you're spending lives like an RPG player selling all the copper swords in their inventory.
Compared to his brothers, Perturabo spent a surprisingly short period of time on Terra learning how the Imperium functioned and was put in command of his Legion within a year. After he was reunited with his Legion, he went full Tyrant himself. His first act as Commander was to familiarize himself with the history of his Legion; his second was to enact the ancient tradition of Decimation, where one in ten soldiers (determined by lottery) would be beaten to death by the other nine. Most of the other Primarchs declared that Perturabo was insane, but the Emperor let it slide as Perturabo's reasoning was: "Not that they had failed... instead they had not reached their potential." Therefore it was not enough to be merely superior, but Perturabo decided that his legion should be supreme. Roboute Guilliman was particularly critical of this, as he had personally known several of the Iron Warriors selected to die and objected to what he viewed as their unnecessary deaths.
It's worth noting that decimation originally applied to serious offenses like mutiny, or a humiliating defeat, not just being subpar. However the Legion (without their Primarch) had just finished the disastrous liberation of Incaladion, a campaign where their own stubbornness and determination to slog through whatever the Crusade could throw at them and doing what other legions couldn't had backfired on them. Their plan unraveled but they continued anyway, throwing more and more bodies at the problem until it finally caved in. This lead to immense casualties in a single engagement - some 29,000 frontline units, including many veterans of the legion, and something like 2 million imperial army soldiers. It was deemed unnecessarily costly, and both damaged and shamed the Legion's largest expeditionary fleet. So a humiliating victory rather than a humiliating defeat led to Perturabo calling for decimation. The casualties from this campaign also meant that Perturabo only met about 35,000 of his sons (with about half that number again scattered around the galaxy), meaning the decimation casualties were about three and a half thousand. While this does put things a little bit in perspective and somewhat provides a justification for such punishment, it was still a needlessly brutal and asshole-ish move.
Interestingly, while mostly written to showcase Perturabo's ruthless and calculating nature, it also contrasts him against Guilliman quite neatly. Guilliman may have also been an organizational savant (also from a Greco-Roman culture...IN SPACE) who planned campaigns and battles meticulously, but he valued his sons and comrades keenly and wanted to avoid wasting lives in his strategies. Pert, by contrast, treated the Iron Warriors like bolter rounds, and only ever played the 'my poor sons I had to sacrifice' card when he was fishing for pity or admiration without actually doing anything to, you know, spare them from painful, meaningless deaths.
However, while his faults as a general and a father are significant, it's important to note that firstly, Perturabo's reputation wasn't all bad depending on who you asked (however small a minority they were), and secondly, those same faults of his GOT SHIT DONE. His achievements, whether through ice-cold calculation or phenomenal technical brilliance, are well-documented here, so even if he was unimaginative and brutal, he was undeniably effective. He considered his own friendship as something that was hard to earn but impossible to break, and even befriended Magnus while possibly earning the respect of the Lion, who was arguably just as exacting in his standards and tightfisted with his praise, but whom at least acknowledged the men of his legion as his sons, and that he loved as such (albeit typically only ever in private). And even though he never actually demonstrated his love for his sons in any way that mattered, the Iron Warriors (at least those that didn't fear or resent him) looked up to Pert as a slayer of monsters (starting with when he first took command and slew the Black Judges) and toppler of tyrants, a distant, godlike father figure they fought and died for just so that they might live up to his standards and maybe, just maybe, get a "Great job, champ" from him. They felt this way about their Primarch all the way up to the actual uprising of Olympia even through serving under his remorseless command for a large part of the Great Crusade.
At the time of the Crusade, Perturabo was a busy boy building citadels and forts on the planets that he had conquered, leaving always a little of his forces behind. In the end it became a stereotype that the Iron Warriors had the best army for sieges. He was also kept far away by the other Primarchs, mainly because Perturabo had so much badass technology they did not possess and also because Big E wasn't too keen on having him ramble on about all this "democracy and peace" garbage. Perturabo had a big hard-on for Leonardo Da Vinci and spent much time searching the ruins of Old Earth for copies of his surviving journals, gathering his hidden papers and learning of the works he pursued in private. If the Emprah had named Perturabo his Praetorian and given him at least a share of the job fortifying the Imperial Palace, the Lord of Iron would've been a far happier camper.
What's also known about Perturabo is his rivalry with Rogal Dorn. Their quarrels were equivalent to the typical sibling rivalry: while Dorn was Daddy's Golden boy, Perturabo served as the incredibly jealous brother who just wants to tear his brother limb from limb. Another reason why he was jealous of Dorn was due to Perturabo considering himself an architect and builder but left to destroy everything instead while Dorn did what Perturabo wanted to be doing. The most iconic incident occurred when Fulgrim asked Dorn if he could build a fortress that Perturabo couldn't crack; Dorn answered "Yes" and Perturabo threw a fit and left. Dorn also said this of Perturabo, "Perturabo throws men at walls. If the Araakites (opponents of that campaign) so much as thought a wall he would pelt it with our legionaries as if there were no other way."
Perturabo also had an inferiority complex and was frustrated by the limited opportunities he and his Legion got to prove themselves-- as creatives they actually relished garrison duty, trying to build the cleverest and most impenetrable strongholds. When they went on campaign, they almost always ended up besieging the toughest fortresses opposing the Imperium and vented their frustration by massacring the defenders. This also tipped Perturabo into ganging up with Horus on his brothers; at the battle of Gate 44, he accused Corvus Corax of cowardice for not wanting to march his men into a meatgrinder assault. Considering Perturabo had a hard-on for following orders without question, even if it meant death, one can see why he bitched at Corax. Unsurprisingly, this put Corvus (and probably Russ) off working with him for good, which pissed Perturabo off even more. As far as he was concerned, hurt feelings was no reason for not functioning as a proper soldier, brothers or not. Corvus, Russ, and some other Primarchs strongly leaned towards caring more about personal relations than stone-cold professionalism.
Because of this, Perturabo never got any recognition from the civilization he served for decades. Even the likes of Corvus and the Khan (aaaaaaall the way out in the periphery) found it easier to gain a reputation as heroes because they got chances to perform their deeds out in the open in front of their fellow Legions and the Imperial Army (well, you didn't see Corvus do anything, but you suddenly realized that the hostile world wasn't hostile any more, and there were still inhabitants to integrate into the Imperium). The likes of Angron and Mortarion might not have been seen as heroes, but their feats of arms were sure as shit witnessed. If anyone saw the Iron Warriors doing anything it was either camping on an enemy's doorstep for weeks on end while sending Army units to "identify the least defended spots" or butchering the locals after kicking the door down. All this made poor old Pert more and more frustrated.
In a foreshadow of the Imperium's future stupidity, Perturabo never tried doing things the Imperial Fist way of directing the Legion's might against a weak point in enemy defenses to swiftly smash through and win (this is, in fact, how the Imperial Fists got their name and a large part of how they were able to Crusade so quickly and successfully). All the same, despite chastising his Legion for throwing men at walls when meeting them, he refused to alter his Legion's ways and kept on throwing more men at more walls. And after having refused to take advice from his brothers, he sure as shit wouldn't take any from his sons.
The Legion's preeminent Warsmith, Barabas Dantioch, having seen half his Grand Company lost in a campaign against the Hrud and himself crippled and prematurely aged by the xenos' entropic powers, questioned the Primarch's choices during the campaign. Suddenly Dantioch was not Perturabo's favored son anymore and was left to rot on permanent garrison duty as a result. Ironically, this meant that the disgraced Warsmith was now busy building a unique fortress and generally enjoying his life-- exactly the kind of work Perturabo wanted to be doing. In the Hrud campaign Perturabo refused to retreat even as the Iron Warriors were LOSING HORRIBLY. Dantioch's lieutenant even advised retreating over holding a position that was impossible to hold. When Dantioch's aged frame bowed in failure before Pert, the primarch thought Dantioch was weak for failing; meanwhile Dantioch spoke only that they should have retreated, that even their victories were making the Hrud fight harder. The only thing that saved the Iron Warriors was a supply ship from Olympia with news.
At this point, it could be easily argued that Perturabo was deliberately acting terrible at crusading because he just hated doing it and was hoping Emps or Malcador would notice how much he was putting on a struggle to get shit accomplished and assign him to anything else. After all, for all of his over the top Mary Sue shit, there's legitimately no reason that a mathematical and philosophical savant, let alone a Primarch, should ever have trouble with field tactics. The Hrud problem could've been solved with a simple orbital bombardment but Pert insisted instead that his legion push themselves into the meat grinder on the ground only to end up accomplishing nothing in the end anyway. Pair that with the unprecedented squash match he had with Dorn in the Iron Cage and it seems like he's only as incompetent at combat as he's motivated to be.
Worse, the rest of his brothers treated him like shit and called him a stupid hick (except Sanguinius, best of men; Magnus, who appreciated Perturabo's scholarly side; Horus, who gets along with everyone; and Lorgar who was not in a position to despise anyone). He and his legions never got credit for their work, and even when they did it was in a half-assed kind of way. That fight with Corax above also saw him cracking an orbital defense that had withstood assaults by three different Legions, historians recorded him as "a nameless comrade-at-arms that calculated the most efficient attack vector." He held it all in for a long, long time, until, after a grueling three-part campaign in which the Iron Warriors, Blood Angels, and Imperial Fists all ganged up on a Fortress World, Rogal Dorn was given a medal while Perturabo was given nothing, and a master artist showed him a masterwork painting depicting the battle, in which the Imperial Fists won a heroic victory while the Iron Warriors were literally ground face-first into the mud (then again, looking at Pert's favorite tactics, it's probably accurate). In truth, it showed a IV Legion apothecary giving a stricken warrior the Emperor's Peace with an Imperial Fists flag in the background, but there was only one way Pert could interpret it. Perturabo actually bought that painting, then burned it, stamped on it and pissed on it, and then when Dorn went to the artist to commission a second one, the painter wisely refused for fear of the same happening to him. And that painting, as they say, was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Weeeell, strictly speaking that wasn't the final straw.
That came when Olympia rose up against Imperial rule. With a little egging on from Word Bearers Chaplains sent by Lorgar to manipulate them into heresy, the Iron Warriors crushed the uprisings in a time-honored way: kill them all and let Big E sort them out! It wasn't quite Curze destroying Nostromo, but it was still pretty damn genocidal and tipped Perturabo over the edge, especially when he murdered Calliphone in a fit of rage after she pointed out that his flaws and refusal to listen to others led to his homeworld's rebellion. And when Horus came to him telling him it wasn't that bad because ultimately might makes right, Pert turned his back on the Imperium without much second thought.
"The Imperium is my father's folly. I try to believe in it because I want it to be true, just like I wanted my great buildings to be true, and the perfect societies that would use them to exist. But they cannot be. There is no such thing as perfection, humanity is too chaotic to accept true order."
- – Perturabo, after sacking Olympia. 000.M31 and passing blame for his own bad choices, as usual.
Perturabo joined Horus and the other Traitor Legions during the Horus Heresy when they promised him that he would be forgiven for his actions on Olympia in exchange for his loyalty. At first, he tried to get revenge on Dorn by annihilating his Retribution Fleet, but that didn't work out too well since bad intel left him expecting the fleet would be led by Sigismund where it was led by Alexis Polux instead. Then after licking his wounds (and becoming increasingly paranoid), he went on a joint operation with the Emperor's Children on the premise they'd go look for a superweapon or other Fulgrim had heard rumors of that would tip the balance in Horus' favor. Pert wasn't really impressed, but Fulgrim promised him he'd let Pert get the accolades for finding and using the thing, so he agreed. In the end, he was nearly killed by Fulgrim when the latter tried to suck the life out of him to aid his ascension to Princedom. This didn't help with his paranoia, and the best part? He smashed Fulgrim's face in anger when he realized he'd been trolled-- which finally triggered Fulgrim's ascension. And so began Pert's long run of being dicked over by his supposed comrades. AGAIN.
Having gotten really tired of that shit, Perturabo returned to doing what he did best- losing thousands of his sons on battlefields across the galaxy, doing the necessary bleeding in order to keep Horus' invasion routes secure (mainly against the Ultramarines). Of course. And it got better: as his Iron Warriors ran low on resources to the point of literally having to count their remaining bolter rounds (A commander of the Iron Warriors had a grand total of 11), Horus called. He wanted Perturabo to go pick up Angron and bring him to the muster at Ullanor so that the advance on Terra could begin. And so he did.
And then he mentioned that, oh yeah, Angron is a Daemon Prince of Khorne now, so he's partly made out of literal RAGE and might need thwacking around the head to listen to Horus' orders.
In all seriousness, Perturabo's actions on Deluge are one of the few times we get to see him properly in action, and it is Awesome. No boring, spawn-camping siege. No swooping in after most of the walls are already demolished. He shows his greatest qualities as a general, scientist and fighter here, managing to hold back the World Eaters charge with only a few thousand of his own men (and their Tanks and Guns), diverting them into small pockets for a defeat in detail, and then trading blows with a Daemon Primarch long enough for the clinically dispassionate deaths of the World Eaters to weaken him before using his (heavily implied to be newly invented) 'exotic rounds' to blast him into literal pieces. He actually got some credit for himself, too; Horus named him as the marshal of his forces for the attack on Terra. Of course, Perturabo himself had a much more pressing reason to show up. As far as he was concerned, the final showdown between him and Dorn had begun.
It was time to siege.
Siege of Terra
If there was any moment during the Horus Heresy that Perturabo could even remotely be called 'happy', it was at the beginning of the Siege. Him. Dorn. A fortress to take, and immense forces on both sides to be used as they saw fit. No more tricks, withdrawals, or fake-outs to confuse the result. It would be their greatest contest, the ultimate arbitration on who was really the greatest general.
So of course it was when he had barely translated his fleet in-system that shit started to go sideways. Unsurprisingly, the seeming unity of the Traitor Legions had vanished alongside Alpharius. Thus when Perturabo arrived, it was alone- as it turned out, all of his brothers wanted to keep their forces nice and fresh for Terra itself, not wanting to bore themselves demolishing the various spaceborne defences of the Solar System. Perturabo spent both lives and material grinding down the outer defence stations, just in time for Horus, Angron and Fulgrim to directly jump their forces past the perimeter lines via warp-fuckery, rendering all his efforts redundant but content to let him waste his soldiers like an idiot.
And it only got worse from there.
At every turn his promised triumph, the shining vision Horus had dangled before him turned to ash. Instead of exemplary linebreakers he got debauched hedonists. Instead of enlightened philosophers he got arrogant douchebags. Instead of stubborn troopers he got rotting hulks, and instead of merciless breachers he got bloodthirsty idiots.
And as for the shock troops, the demagogues, the spec ops? From them he got nothing at all, literally in the latter's case as the Alpha Legion had completely fucked off after massive losses at Pluto. In fact, Horus himself required very little time to prove just how much he didn't care about Perty's wishes despite having personally named him as commander. Perturabo held it in, and did his job- for what else was there for him, now? But any satisfaction he may have had from his contest with Dorn was gone. There was no glory in this, no clever stratagems or well-laid plans. He was watching the last crumbling pillar of a collapsed empire - and worse, he could not even say he was fighting for a cause that was any better. Something had to give.
And give it did, when Horus went beyond even Perturabo's massive ability to ignore his mistakes and told him to forget the logic he had used to secure his loyalty. Perturabo flipped out, calling Horus a monster no better than the Emperor, pointing out that both had only ever used him to destroy and refusing to have any more to do with his schemes and pacts and submission to Chaos. In many ways it was as with his betrayal of the Emperor, save that he now knew there was no chance of redemption, no offer of forgiveness.
So he did what he could never do before. He downed his tools, took his sons, and left.
Well, there was one outstanding issue; his promised resolution of matters with Dorn. But Perturabo had a plan for that too- if he wasn't allowed to find and best Dorn, he'd get Dorn to come to him.
It was time for round two.
Iron Cage Trolling
And thus after leaving he performed one of the greatest acts of trolling in the entire fluff, called the "Eternal Fortress": a trap set for the Imperial Fists who wanted to take revenge on Perturabo, who claimed to be residing in the Central Keep of the Fortress. Surrounding the Fortress was a 20 kilometre killzone filled with mine fields, traps, bunkers, trenches, and every other kind of base defence imaginable in order to make the assault on the keep a very costly affair. This was intended to bleed the Imperial Fists dry before they reached the actual fortress. This was made more effective by the fact that the Imperial Fists' fleet was kept busy dealing with the Iron Warriors' fleet, preventing them from providing effective orbital support to Dorn's forces on the ground, isolating them all the more.
When the Imperial Fists DID manage to get to the keep after wading through twenty miles (or maybe kilometres) of killing ground and losing a great deal of their forces in the process, they found out the Central Keep was - *plot twist* - empty!
Except for the various inward-pointing guns aimed directly at the Imperial Fists, essentially trapping them inside the fortress in a veritable killzone. This caused Rogal Dorn to become a normal man after getting trolled: Sad, broken and filled with RAGE. The Fists proceeded to spend the next three weeks being shot, blown up, and generally curb-stomped with extreme prejudice until they were reduced to fighting armoured Iron Warriors with knives and using each others' corpses for cover.
And then none other than the great heroes of the Imperium, *cough* Ultrasmurfs *cough* showed up and saved their sorry arses, since Rawbutt Jellyman rightfully thought Dorn was taking his masochistic "I must punish myself and my legion for our failures!" bullshit too far and risking pissing away even more of the Imperium's already faltering strength in a functionally (near-) pointless gesture.
The Iron Warriors, realizing they couldn't beat both legions at the same time, decided to instead deny the Imperial Fists from recovering their fallen brothers' gene-seed by essentially nuking the entire fucking planet. 400 Battle-Brothers' corpses and/or geneseed were never recovered, dealing a great blow to the Fists' ability to replenish their numbers after the assault. Having obtained the gene-seed of hundreds of Imperial Fists and sacrificed it to the Chaos Gods, Perturabo was elevated to the position of Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided.
(One thing to note: not all the geneseed was sacrificed to the CG. Some of this gene-seed was used to create a few IF/IW half-breeds with a little Fabulous support, including the evilest motherfucker of the 41st millennium.)
Earlier fluff of this event (by loyalist corpsefuckers, clearly) claims that Perturabo hesitated to slay Rogal Dorn, because "Only through his self-sacrifice could he break the Emprah's Champion!". Since FW gave rules to both of them, we now know that Pert has nice chances against Dorn, if they both start on an even footing - which they very much weren't on Sebastus, given Pert spent weeks of the Iron Cage siege laughing at countless Fists being blasted by heavy ordnance, while Dorn spent them fighting 24/7 without rest and repair to his weapon/armour while watching his beloved sons being slaughtered by the hundreds in a totally unmanly and unfair way. And of course, let's not forget the much more preferable and easily available option to just shoot the fuck out of Dorn with some crazy big and powerful guns Pert had in abundance, since Dorn was already trapped in the crossfire without any cover but the corpses of his fallen sons - a few D-blasts in the face is enough to end any Primarch, save Horus and (psychic, not regular) Lorgar.
Furthermore, Perturabo would have known that killing Dorn would have made him a martyr throughout the Imperium. He'd go down in history as the mighty Primarch who went down trying to take one of foul arch-traitors of Chaos down; nobody would question that and people would see Dorn as a hero who fought to the last. But bloody his sons, utterly humiliate him, and have him fail his sworn objective while leaving him alive to face the shame? Now Dorn is just a man who boasted big, got tactically outsmarted by his prey, and was utterly defeated for his troubles... a much bigger blow than simply pulling the trigger of his superweapon and ending it there.
To Perturabo's eternal frustration and in a positively grand moment of irony considering his motives, this actually caused Dorn and the Fists to become even more famous and loved throughout the Imperium as everyone saw it as Dorn and his Imperial Fists cleansing themselves in the fires of war to be reborn anew. Heck, it couldn't even be proof that he was a better siegemaster than Dorn, THE defining rivalry of his life; a better tactician who could easily play his foe like a fiddle and lead them into a masterfully crafted meatgrinder, certainly, but not someone who could actually build or break fortifications better considering it was designed as a trap from the start.
So in a sense, the Iron Cage perfectly encapsulates Perturabo's entire life: meticulous genius turned to remorseless slaughter, wasting his potential in a one-sided rivalry that warped and narrowed his perceptions, marred by his fundamental inability to comprehend or appreciate concepts like willing sacrifice and honour, with only a death toll as his bloody prize. Perty just can't catch a break, can he?
(Alternative take: We can only assume that the first Iron Warrior foolish enough to suggest that Dorn and the Fists practically handed them the win because they wanted to go out as a Legion was 'volunteered' to be converted into Obliterator ammunition, by hand. And the second stupid enough to repeat the idea was the first 'lucky' test subject of new daemonic technologies.)
While his brothers don't do all that much, Perturabo doesn't sit on his ass all day. In 400.M32, he single-handedly annihilated the forge world of Toil in eight days. With Nurgle's help, he unleashed a machine-plague that transformed the planet's factories into walking monstrosities while causing Daemon Engine-spewing cables to burst out of the ground, making him the most deadly hacker to ever exist. He also helped Abaddon fuck up the Iron Hands during the 10th Black Crusade (possibly because he was sick of people getting the Iron Warriors and the Iron Hands mixed up all the time), making him the only Daemon Primarch known to have actually participated in a Black Crusade.
After the Great Rift appeared to fuck shit up, Perturabo led the Iron Warriors to besiege Segmentum Obscurus worlds as he had been planning and attacked the planet Dysactis in person. However, the Death Guard had the same idea too; what's more, they were led by Mortarion. As to be expected the two Primarchs had a grand old family reunion (a big fight). The duel lasted for seven hours before Mortarion managed to beat Perturabo and drive him off. Being the sour asshole he is, Perturabo detonated a series of explosives before he left.
In the limited edition of Halfbreed - Storm of Iron, we finally get a look at Perty's Daemon Prince form! He's... actually pretty normal looking - he even still wears his Logos battle armour, though it's now massive enough to resemble a fortified Dreadnought-like sarcophagus and looks disturbingly alive, possibly canonizing the fan speculation of him being a uber-Obliterator. Beside that, he looks a little decrepit, with the skin of his face appearing pale and outright necrotic in places; guess using Warpstuff to fix that hole in your soul thanks to that overgrown peacock is pretty bad for your skin.
While the Great Crusade had already done a number on Perty's aging due to stress, there is a delicious irony to be found in how poor Peter Turbo is starting to look exactly like his old dad. Someone, for the love of the Emprah's non-existent penis, please fetch the Lord of Iron 10,000 years worth of body lotion.
"I am not a man, I am far more."
- – Perturabo
"In those words is the poison that spoils your potential..., Let me tell you, my brother, you who affects to despise love so much yet must certainly crave it over all other things, you are the biggest fool I have ever met."
- – Calliphone, Perturabo's sister, before he killed her
The adage goes that the Primarchs are each a distilled fragment of the Emperor's own personality and each one could be boiled down to a single word. The word to describe Perturabo is spite. As in "if you even so much as connect your gaze to mine in a passing glance, I will press your face into a belt sander running at 10,000 RPM until my own hand disappears into the fog of blood and bone dust."
However, of all the Primarchs Pert is the most wildly inconsistent, with depictions of him varying between Black Library authors. His motives, values and behaviors change between books, constantly contradicting any attempt at a general encapsulation of character. The only consistent trait is a mercurial disposition and ever-ruling sense of resentment. As a result, he has been stuck with the moniker of being a raging autist, to the chagrin of Iron Warriors fans everywhere. Pert's defining character trait is more reflected in his own sons than himself, with such lovely examples including Honsou, who is only half an Iron Warrior. Pert's emotional inconsistencies could easily be argued from a narrative position as a form of bipolar disorder, which would itself explain his spiteful attitude. Observe:
In "Crimson Fist", Perturabo was portrayed as a Saturday-morning villain who flips his shit when a flunky brings him bad news. His emotions range from "hand-wringing evil" to "I'll get you next time". Thanks, John French.
In the third Forge World Horus Heresy book "Extermination", Perturabo is a cold, resentful bastard who the moment he was reunited with his Legion had it decimated for not being the best, then wondered how his legion still wasn't as good as the Dark Angels, Ultramarines and Luna Wolves, and why no one liked him. As an aside the FW books are co-written by John French. The Forge World Imperial Armour Volume 13 Book also mentions a civil war between the Iron Warriors in M34 that, in-universe, is suspected to have been instigated by the Daemon Primarch Perturabo to weed out the weak amongst his scions. Some pieces of lore however, like the pre-Primarch IVth's Siege of Incaladion, hint at an underlying genetic quirk.
Guy Haley's novel "Hammer of Olympia" portrays Perturabo as an idealistic but staggeringly narcissistic renaissance man, seeing himself alone worthy of bettering humanity and the courts of Olympia holding him back. Brooding and resentful, he is inward-looking and self-serving, even if he has convinced himself otherwise. He does a total 180 in the last 25-something pages of the book after smashing Olympia without hesitation.
Graham McNeill presents him in "Angel Exterminatus" as a vastly intelligent, very meticulous man who resented his legion's treatment at the Emperor's hands but refuses to consider himself a "traitor" as opposed to the Emperor's "Loyalists". He came to the conclusion of joining Horus' side logically but hates himself for it and resents the circumstances that "forced" him to make the decision. Pride, endurance and commitment to excellence are both the strengths that make his legion and the vices that guaranteed his damnation.
McNeill's Perturabo is shown to possess loads of teeth-grinding, under-the-surface, passive-aggressive, subtle rage, particularly where he buys hundreds of house-sized paintings of his own men and has them all burned. The painting in question that he had destroyed was one that showed a Legion Apothecary administering the Emperor's Mercy to an Iron Warrior in the mud and grimy fields of a conquered fortress. In the background of the painting there was an Imperial Fists flag waving over the fortress. This just shows that Perturabo possesses an all-consuming hatred for Dorn; in every waking moment he lives, breathes, and shits the thought that Dorn is somehow better than him. When put into context of his upbringing where he knew he was better than everyone else but had to constantly face the questions and doubts of lesser men while being unable to fulfill his potential, you can appreciate Perturabo's seething frustration being stuck on the fringes of the Great Crusade getting all of the shit jobs, while other brothers like Horus and Dorn get all the good jobs and hence the glory... until you remember that nobody forced or ordered him to do so, they simply asked him to because he was so skilled at it and he accepted in the hopes that being a doormat would get his Legion some glory and people to like him. Interestingly enough, this might be a genetic flaw rather than pure personality, as hinted by the Forge World black books. Also, according to some sources, Big-E viewed Primarchs as tools to be used instead of normal human beings with free will, feelings and passions, so we can add Emperor's general retardation to the reasons of his fall as well.
As an extension of this, he's prone to premeditated acts of calculated destruction and cruelty to get one over on his brothers. One example: when Fulgrim fucked around one too many times on campaign, Pert invited Fulgrim into his inner sanctum to show him a clockwork Warhound Scout Titan only to smash Fulgrim's pretty face into the guts of the machine; that Warhound was intricate, made of dozens of hundreds of thousands of tiny parts, and fully functional complete with the ability to move and fire miniature laser cannons. He also had schematics of huge, wondrous buildings that he was the architect of, and a clockwork Phoenix that he spent over a century constructing by hand and even wrote the code of an AI from scratch for. It was a masterpiece in itself and Perturabo was willing to break his brother's face on it to make a point. A second example during the Great Crusade in the McNeill's novel "Magnus the Red" where he spends what must have been a long time painstakingly crafting a psychic sextant device at Magnus' request, only to smash it in front of Magnus because he knew exactly what it was for; for this Magnus outright called him cruel but Perturabo's response was that he needed to illustrate the Emperor's warning against delving too deep into the warp and simply saying as much wouldn't have done any good, so being cruel was the quickest option (surprisingly showing a great deal of loyalty and obedience to the Emperor in the process despite his attitude). Also, as Monarchia showed, the Emperor's methods were pretty similar to Perturabo's when it came to teaching people a lesson. Unsurprisingly, the results and peoples' reactions to their methods were similar as well.
Perturabo seems to look down on Chaos in general, rejecting the opportunity to become a daemon prince of Nurgle by slaying the Lunar Wolves turned Plague Marines who offered it to him. Then he mocked Daemon Prince Angron for somehow becoming weaker than he was as a mortal Primarch, even causing Angron to literally shrink as he continued shittalking him to his face, noting that Angron's strength didn't belong to him and was only as good as the wanton slaughter he wrought on a given planet and concluding with "You think I would let your kind wield your weapons against me? I have taken their measure" just before spamming a torrent of ammo in Angron's face followed by curbstomping him with Forge Breaker. Funny how he became a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. Perhaps, given that Fulgrim literally stole part of his life force to become a Daemon Prince himself, the remainder of which was only getting weaker as noted upon by the aforementioned Nurgle Wolves, Pert's hand was forced under the caveat that he could retain some independence if he were dedicated to the Ruinous Powers as a whole rather than as an avatar of a single Chaos deity. If Malal were still a thing (it is), Perturabo would've probably been slated to become his Daemon Prince instead, right after Konrad Curze and the 11th Primarch.
Simplicity is the key, expedience the goal. His is a mind entirely composed of mathematical equations, looking at the world around him in angles and percentages, statistics and numbers. Emotion is unwelcome, an unfactorable variable, but it's always there, the ghost that haunts his finely tuned thoughts; again in "Magnus the Red" by McNeill, his actions on the planet Morningstar would dispassionately leave millions of refugees to die simply because he could not afford to save them all-- all because they fell on the wrong side of his equation. He had even argued with his brother Magnus about the realities of war and the need to avoid sentimentality in decision-making. He would later admit to one of his commanders (Barban Falk, THE WARSMITH) that he is deeply affected by his emotions and was itching to find those responsible for his choices and punish them, later becoming exceptionally angry when he discovered that the planetary elite were responsible for the catastrophe; he labelled their treachery against the Emperor as utterly unforgivable (no doubt foreshadowing his own personal opinion about joining the Horus Heresy). He also admitted that he could not be seen to be emotional because he had a reputation to consider.
Perturabo was detached from his own men. He had his Trident: a cadre of officers similar to Horus' own Mournival, though he didn't like any of them and considered replacing them, which raises the question of why he even had them. You think the Lion had people problems? At least his men could appreciate his elegant brilliance along with his ruthlessness so that any losses were weighed against gains. Perturabo was a brute force machine: victory was a positive in his arithmetic of war, failure was negative, therefore to him, any cost was worth the price of winning. He illustrated this when he decimated his legion in the beginning days. His men took the lesson to heart but became hardened because of it. Officers felt disdain for the lives of their own men and scheming became rife within his legion, all scrambling for supremacy and the attentions of their masters to prove themselves worth keeping. Where other leaders might rule through force of personality or fear of reprisal, Perturabo led through indifference, expecting the dream of the Imperium to speak for itself.
Even though he treats his men like tools at best and dogshit at less-than-best, he gets offended when the other legions show disrespect to their sacrifices, most notably Dorn's mocking "Perturabo throws men at walls" speech. He would say as much to his own sister before gutting her on the sole principle he was back to Olympia to genocide the planet for defying his orders to supply more men to be pushed through his meat grinder: "The Emperor uses me for the most thankless tasks, my men are thrown against the worst of horrors, given the most grueling roles, we are divided, our talents ignored, our might reduced to splitting rock, my Father ignores me, my men go unsung, our triumphs are unremembered, my brothers mock me as my men bleed, nobody cares." It wasn't until he killed Calliphone that he stopped to reflect on his own barbarism and started muttering to himself "The Emperor will never forgive us this, The Emperor cannot forgive us, ever." in his first ever sensation of shame. Once his men found him, they reported that other companies had gone AWOL and refused to kill anybody, to which he responded simply "Good."
Calliphone would herself note in her final moments that Perturabo's course of actions are significantly uncharacteristic (pffft) of the man she once knew: the artisan, the architect, the artist. And it's not until after the trauma of strangling his own sister to death does he have a sobering moment of clarity on what exactly he's become. It should be reiterated that Perturabo is the only person to have ever seen the Eye of Terror during his adolescence on Olympia, perhaps foreshadowing that his mind, brilliant though it may be, had been corrupted from the start by the Ruinous Powers. That much is not only plausible, probable even, but would explain just about everything from his spiteful, petty cruelty; irrational wanton slaughter of his own soldiers; his actions on the battlefield flowing contrary to his known strategic prowess; to his unpredictable mood swings and his constantly-changing personality. With the Ruinous Powers at the steering wheel of his mind, it would be little wonder why Perturabo was so self-destructive from start to finish, and wholly ironic when considering his remarks to Daemon Prince Angron.
Perturabo buried his dreams and his heart on Olympia's ridges, and then willingly cut all emotional ties and dove into Hell, all because he truly believed in his father's utopian dream of Imperium. He would do anything his father asked of him in order to achieve it. He murdered trillions, because his father asked him to. He broke empires, shattered armies, and his Legion bore the most grievous wounds and losses, because his father asked him to. And he ignored the implications of it all, because his Father asked him to. Do you honestly believe none of this ground into his long-lost humanity, the empty core of his being that he cut out because his Father asked him to?
He is war-broken. We're talking about God-Level post-traumatic mental disorder here. Perturabo can't control his emotions at times. He stares out at nothingness, and speaks to his past. One moment, he's unreachable, and the next he's ripping your head off because you brought him bad news. He can become utterly lost in fine details, both in crafting weaponry, and tearing down citadels. It calms him, returns his mind back to the emotionless numbers that represent hundreds of thousands of his sons dying. The further detached he became from reality, the further he tried to hide from the horror he was crafting, the worse his emotions got.
And Perturabo buried that shit. To admit the hurt and the fatigue would be to admit he was human, something imperfect; to acknowledge the dropping morale of his men would be to admit that they were weak when they should be strong. So he did the only thing his sensibilities would allow him to do: he moved forward. He got the job done, and the next, and the next and the one after that. He kept doing what his father asked from him, because that's what "Perturabo" would do, the Primarch who shouldered burdens without complaint, who did the jobs no one else wanted.
Olympia was the line crossed. His mind broke, his heart broke, and he became the monster he ran from his whole life.
Because his Father asked him to.
As mentioned earlier, Perturabo was born with the innate knowledge of pretty much all practical and metaphysical sciences, which pretty much sets him apart from all of his brothers in that he had no "real" childhood, no trial and error period of learning. On his first day he was debating (and dismissing) the nature of religion with his planet's wise men, and was master-crafting swords better than most smiths. You'd reckon being born knowing everything would stunt your emotional growth. Yes, other Primarchs like Angron, the Lion or Kurze got a pretty raw start but for better or worse they learned to adapt and rise to greatness (or infamy). Perturabo started off already being as good as he was going to get; though it would take time for his body to grow strong, his mind was already at its peak, and he had to spend decades on a shitty little backwater planet with no appreciable resources with which to build an empire the same way that Guilliman or Dorn did, all the while having to slap down naysayers telling him that his fantasies of advanced engineering and space travel were impossible.
As to his mind, if a comparison could be made, then he was probably just as intelligent as Guilliman, if not more so due to the seeming wide range of his capabilities. (Guilliman was renowned neither as philosopher, smith or artisan). As a military strategist Perturabo could plan a campaign from start to finish in his mind using the arithmetic of war; where Guilliman could orchestrate a flawless battle plan from the command center, Perturabo would enact it himself by plugging straight into the data feeds and absorbing all the info at once, circumventing the chain of command and issuing orders directly to squads, taking direct control of gun turrets and mechanised units and plotting their firing trajectories, even taking over starship systems and running them himself.
Thus lies the problem: Perturabo is a general as much as any player of Warhammer 40,000 is a "general": he sees the battlefield in terms of units with stat blocks; every soldier can be reduced to a number based on his armament or capability which would factor in to his arithmetic of war. Even Guilliman recognised the random nature of war and how small moments of heroism could change the flow of battle; other generals could trust their men to follow their orders to the best of their abilities and even exceed them from time to time and pull off something spectacular. On the other hand, in sincerely believing in his own superiority Perturabo would micromanage everything and instead remove the agency of his officers and men. His soldiers would never get their chance to succeed or fail on their own terms and were essentially reduced to minis on a tabletop. Which in turn would make his men paranoid, wondering if they would be thrown away into the grinder or be blamed for failure when they couldn't match Perturabo's expectations.
Additionally, one could make the argument that while he had a vast store of knowledge he knew how to use, Perturabo's other major flaw as a tactician was that he was unimaginative in anything other than his areas of expertise. Godlike with an artisan's inspiration when it came to matters of logistics, technology, siegecraft, and artillery, but too much of a stubborn and entitled martyr-manchild to use different tactics as a situation demanded, even when he was underestimated; it would seem that he refused to adapt because he was completely convinced of the logical superiority of his own methods, and to change them would be to suggest they were incorrect or inferior. This stubbornness might even be engineered into his particular gene-seed, as the sloppy victories his Legion achieved in the decades leading up to his rediscovery were on the whole spoiled by their refusal to change gears and try something different.
To be fair, he certainly wasn't the only Primarch who was a one-trick-pony, and many of those specialties were likely engineered into them by the Emperor, but his attitude certainly didn't help matters, whether he was calling Corax a coward for suggesting a feint, or dismissing (or worse) his men for suggesting that a war of attrition might not be the best play. He may know how to crack an orbital defence that stymied three separate Legions, and how to dispassionately, surgically exploit killboxes to tear apart his opponents, but his tendency to dig in and throw men and big guns at the problem without paying heed to the input and suggestions of others made him ill-suited for mobile and asymmetrical warfare unless he had already engineered a means to keep them in place. There's even a scene in 'Path of Heaven' when Horus (swole from Chaos gains but still decidedly in his right mind as Warmaster) opines to Mortarion that Perturabo would be a poor choice to send after the Khan, believing that the Scars would run rings around his fortresses and artillery emplacements.
So ultimately, he was an ultra-competent specialist you could count on to perform his functions (but little else) to masterful effect no matter the cost, his crowning achievement likely being the fact that despite the degradation of so much of the Traitors' leadership and organization, Perturabo nearly-singlehandedly kept the siege running and the guns blasting on the logistical, strategic, and tactical levels. But he either couldn't or wouldn't change his methods even if he was ever wrong-footed, and his stubborn superiority-inferiority-martyr complex meant that he would never, EVER hear constructive feedback as anything other than a personal attack from an inferior mind. The main reason he was even functioning as a member of Team Horus was because, as mentioned, following orders and doing his duty were big things to him; without those, he likely would have been as much of a team player as Angron.
As an unwelcome revelation to the Mechanicum, Perturabo was quite capable of understanding binary machine code even when blurted out in its lightning fast audible form (something that would otherwise not be possible without some form of implants) to the point that tech priests unfamiliar with Perturabo would not actually believe it and be in for a shock when they attempted to use it in his presence (yet another example of Perturabo being underestimated).
Of all the Primarchs, Perturabo is the most misused of all. He was the only person in the Imperium of Man with his savant-esque technical expertise; he can read and write binary fluently by heart, he's a master mathematician and engineer, he programmed a new AI from scratch for a Warhound Scout Titan that he hand-built from the ground up, all things that the Mechanicum and greater Imperium are in dire need of constantly. Nobody, not Magnus nor Ferrus Manus or Belisarius Cawl could compare with his technical mastery, which remains unparalleled to the current millennium. Instead of assigning this literal Primarch-savant to research and development so nobody would have to waste time and energy kissing a machine spirit's ass for hours on end just to do something, the Emperor saw fit to just throw Pert at walls.
All things considered, the only siege battle Perturabo should have ever fought would be a campaign on the bowels of Mars to purge it of all Archeotech bullshit like the Men of Iron, then emerge as a genuine hero and receive the accolades and recognition he would rightly deserve. Then put him to task on unfucking Mars' broken-ass atmosphere so the planet can flourish again, followed by putting him to task on creating STCs for brand new weaponry and AI to completely overwrite all the shitty machine spirits that have no place in holding the Imperium back from full-throttle badassery. Would it piss the Mechanicum off? Probably, but what right would they really have to complain about innovation after the Omnissiah's son just fixed two of their planet's worst problems? If anything, it would endear the populace of Mars to the Emperor more than ever and give Perturabo a purpose bigger than walking an army into a meat grinder over and over. But you can't have a grimdark story without enormous potential being wasted fucking everywhere, now can you? To make an omelette, you gotta break eggs.
Unknown to anyone else, Perturabo had always possessed a strange connection to the Eye of Terror-- for some reason, he could sense it from anywhere in the galaxy, and he became convinced that it was constantly watching and judging his every action. The resulting inferiority (superiority) complex wasn't really helped by the fact that when he tried ask others if they could see the Eye, they assumed he was hallucinating. (Ironically, he was actually the one to give the Eye its current name-- before then, it was called Cygnus X-1.) Considering he become one of those chosen by Chaos, he may have been right in feeling off at the Eye of Terror.
Outside the box
Oh, Perturabo enjoyed playing Warhammer 40000, and no, we're not kidding; his legion's warrior lodge had a whole bunch of tables set up where they could all play scenarios against each other and see whose tactics and armies would win, proving that the Iron Warriors are Neckbeards (which would go a long way towards explaining why the IV Legion was so embittered). Perturabo himself owned an awesome perpetual-motion powered clockwork Warhound Scout Titan (I'd buy
one! three!! ALL OF THEM!!!!!) which he facepalmed Fulgrim with (at the cost of the model) just to prove a point. What if he had a model of himself, then played with the model, but the model was made 30,000 years before him? Is there a GeeDubbs in 40k? Are we living in a board game to be made in the future? Would the events of 40k go as they where lorewise? Is Geedubbs Tzeentch? Is everyone under control of Tzeentch?
If you want to know, "Perturabo" is the name the nice lil' Perty chose for himself after reading some ancient texts predating the Age of Strife (or climbing out of his pod, depending on the story). Given GW's freaky love for kitchen pseudo Latin, we can assume it to be a deformation of the verb perdurabo, meaning "I shall endure". Best predictive name ever if you consider the mountain of shit his bros and the Emprah threw on him before the Heresy... Or it could be a deformation of the verb perturbō meaning "I confuse, disturb, perturb, trouble, alarm". Or maybe both, making it a surprisingly good pun by GW standards. It's maybe also of note, that 'perdurabo' is the cult-name Aleister Crowley got when he entered the Golden Dawn-- no mere coincidence, I would assume!
Also noted that his name sounds fairly close to the Spanish word perturBaDo which is just 2 letters away and means "being disturbed", and applies amazingly well when you consider that this guy lived in permanent paranoia and was forced to watch the eye of terror almost from birth.
Or maybe said "Ancient texts" were some 40K material meaning he named himself after himself.
On his own merits, he's sort of what you'd get if you crossed the rules of Horus with Ferrus Manus. Like Ferrus, his armour is a veritable bag of tricks, although less killy overall since he has fewer attacks and the hammer is unwieldy. Though you can choose to hit things with his fists if you don't want to use/bring the hammer, in which case he strikes as hard as a plasma gun. Also rather than carrying an arsenal of ranged weapons he has practically every item of wargear attached, making him much more of a support character since he can teleport and then bring on other teleporting dudes around himself. Units cannot infiltrate around him and the unit he's with can use Interceptors on enemy units arriving by deep strike. Finally, his armor also lets you refrain from shooting to give a squad +1 BS (due to Cognis Signum) which depending on your play style may actually occur more than you realize, since his own gun is only 24" range. On top of that, all of his attacks benefit from Wrecker and Tank Hunters, so any mechanized list he's up against will be in for a world of pain.
For what he gives to everyone else, his whole army gains a bit more of a close combat focus by becoming Stubborn which makes them very difficult to shift and they also all gain Furious Assault when in the enemy deployment zone, though you may not necessarily have built your army to fully utilize this since Iron Warriors tend to have all the guns. He can also make all other terminators deep-striking via teleportation (including siege terminators) though he does not make them into troops like Horus does. Like Horus, he has a wrist mounted gun (with Rending, no less) and he also has an Orbital Strike, which is slightly less powerful compared to Horus' (and lacks the Lance rule), but compensates by being Ordnance D3 instead of Ordnance 1.
He also lets you bring him on turn 1 with his squad (6 iron circle anyone?) without the need to roll. Arguably not as good, however if you roll on the personal traits and get outflank, this could be Perty with 6 iron circle body guard arriving turn 1 via outflank, and unless the enemy has paid for 54 Sigismunds, you'll be sitting pretty - not to mention the 30 BS5 heavy bolter shots that have pinning and an orbital strike. This also works well as if you take a squad of tyrants in reserve, they can deep strike without scattering on turn 2 (provided you roll a 3+) and reign fire down with a hefty 10 (20 if you're a dick) blasts within the enemies deployment zone.
All this said, he's really expensive and has no reliable way to break tarpits. Furthermore, while Deep Striking Termies and Furious Charge in the enemy deployment zone are good, they don't really capitalize on the strong points of the Iron Warriors. It's possible to use The Ironfire to build a list that makes use of his rules, but it's annoying that he tries to force his sons to take on new roles instead of focusing on dakka.
In games of 3000+ points or more, he can spend 600 points to use his special Dedicated Transport, the "Tormentor"- a buffed out Shadowsword with a void shield, a 15-model transport capacity, and a rear access point. It only has one set of sponsons, but with it's special rule Torment you won't care, since if you fire all your weapons at the same target, you get both Monster and Tank Hunter. Sadly can't fit the Iron Circle inside, but you can squeeze in Perty, 5 command squad terminators, and a terminator character, most likely a Forgelord.
Perturabo VS other Primarchs:
Primarch fighting, while fun to see, isn't a very competitive thing to do as it'll usually tie up both Primarchs for the entire game without either of them dying. With that in mind this section is about how Perturabo fares against other Primarchs Mathhammer wise. Please note that all the various abilities are taken into accounts when possible and the match-ups assume the Primarchs are the only ones involved in the fighting, so various abilities like Angron's "The Butcher's Nails" and Rampage do not provide any bonuses. In essence, the fights are supposed to happen in a "Vacuum" for simplicity, but notes are added to make things clearer in particular instances. Also all of the Primarch use their most powerful weapons (because why have a contest if you don't do your best?). So he is obviously armed with Forgebreaker. Also do note that Forgebreaker is an incredible weapon for Primarch vs Primarch duelling, giving him an edge against every other Primarch thanks to the combination of Strikedown, Concussive AND Blind, but the rules are only taken into account against Primarchs that he wouldn't be able to beat without, for (my) simplicity.
Please note that Strikedown halving Initiative was 6E; by HH rulebook it no longer halves initiative, which changes certain outcomes (vs Fulgrim). Mathhammer by those who understand how would be appreciated.
- Perturabo VS Horus
- Horus hits 3 times (Talon), wounds 2.667 times, 0.889 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.556 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Horus (Blinded) hits 2 times (Talon), wounds 1.778 times, 0.593 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.256 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.556 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222.
- Perturabo (with Horus Blinded) hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222, 0.741 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Well well well. So, finally a real challenger has appeared? This fight would actually seem to pend in favor of Perturabo! Then you remember that Horus negates any effect that would adversely modify his characteristic profile with a 3+. Either try again another time, Perty, or prey Horus gets unlucky as even one or two fails on Horus could mean a win for the hammer guy. Overall: winnable but needs a bit of luck on the blinds but he is one of only a handful of Primarchs who actually has a reasonable chance against Horus.
- Perturabo VS Angron
- Angron Round 1: hits 5.333 times, wounds 4.444 times, 1.48 after saves, and IWND take it down to 1.148.
- Angron Round 2 and thereafter: hits 4 times, wounds 3.333 times, 1.111 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.69 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.361 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Assuming that Angron doesn't get blinded, he wins. If he does get blinded after Perturabo wounds Angron (69% per round) odds are in Perturabo's favor.
- Perturabo vs Mortarion
- Mortarion hits 2.5 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.555 wounds after saves and 0.222 wounds after IWND.
- Perturabo hits 2.666 times, wounds 2.222 times, 1.111 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.555 wounds at the start of the next turn
- Perturabo wins.
- Perturabo vs Fulgrim
- Fulgrim Round 1: hits 4.5 times, wounds 3 times, 1 wounds after saves and 0.667 wounds after IWND.
- Fulgrim Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3 times, wounds 2 times, 0.667 wounds after saves and 0.333 wounds after IWND.
- Fulgrim Blinded: hits 1.667 times, wounds 1.111 times, 0.37 times after saves and 0.037 after IWND
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667, 0.555 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo (with Fulgrim Blinded) hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222, 0.741 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Fulgrim surprisingly loses as after the first round he will be brought to I 4 (by Strikedown) and then Blinded and/or Concussed pretty much every round (actually 85% of the total rounds, if my calculations are correct, that is more than enough for Perturabo to destroy him).
- Perturabo vs Ferrus Manus
- Ferrus hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 0.694 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.361 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222, 0.74 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- In the mirror match Perturabo actually wins thanks to his WS, since even with one more attack Ferrus hits marginally less times.
- Note: without the hammer(s) Ferrus would defeat Perturabo, 'cause he would wound Perturabo on a 3+ (2+ with the Servo Harm) wounding 1.75 times, with Perturabo wounding him on 4+ and so wounding him 1.333. Guess old Perty could use Fulgrim's hammer better, in the end.
- Perturabo vs Konrad Curze
- Curze hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 0.75 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667, 0.833 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad loses as Perturabo does marginally more damage.
- Note: With Hit & Run Konrad would win, but the chance he is not concussed in the round he wants to escape are pretty slim, meaning that Perturabo has still the Edge in this fight.
- Perturabo VS Lorgar
- Lorgar hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 0.694 wounds after saves and 0.361 wounds after IWND.
- Perturabo Round 1: hits 2.37 times, wounds 1.865 times, 0.932 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.599 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo Round 2: hits 2.666 times, wounds 2.221 times, 1.11 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.777 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo wins.
- Note: as always, psychic powers not included. You know how it would end anyway...
- Perturabo VS Vulkan
- Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.555 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Vulkan (Blinded): hits 1.333 times, wounds 1.111 times, 0.37 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.037 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222, 0.741 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.185 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- As with Fulgrim, Perturabo wins only thanks to his Hammer (great weapon indeed). Without Forgebreaker, Perturabo gets ground down in a battle of attrition.
- Perturabo VS Alpharius
- Alpharius hits 2.92 times and wounds 1.701 times, 0.567 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.234 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222 times, 1.111 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo wins, somewhat unsurprisingly.
- Perturabo VS Rogal Dorn
- Dorn hits 2 times, wounds 1.5 times, 0.5 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.167 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.333 times, 0.667 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo wins. Have at thee!
- Perturabo VS Corvus Corax
- Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1 wounds (Scourge)/0.75 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.667/0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo hits 2.667 times/2 times, wounds 2.222 times/1.667 times, 1.481 wounds/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.147/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo wins.
- Note: Welcome to Corvus Corax's special hell, population: Perturabo. Strikedown, Concussive, and Blind near-negate Corax's usual Hit and Run, and Perturabo himself is immune to Blind. If you try and have Corax take Perty on, you deserve every last horrifying moment of what happens to you.
- Perturabo VS Roboute Guilliman
- Guilliman Round 1/2: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.74 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 3 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.963 times, 0.988 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.654 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo Round 1: hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.611 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.278.
- Perturabo Round 2 and thereafter: hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.833 times after saves, 0.417 for Armor of Reason and IWND will take that down to 0.083.
- Perturabo loses.
- Note: Guilliman is immune to Concussive, and even though Strikedown will assure that Blind goes on half of the time he still wins the fight, even if not as easily as the above statistic would imply.
- Perturabo VS Leman Russ
- Russ hits 4 times, wounds 3 times, 1 time after saves, plus 0.388 wounds from Sever Life for a whole 1.388 wounds and IWND will take that down to 1.05 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Russ (blinded) hits 2 times, wounds 1.5 times, 0.5 time after saves, plus 0.388 wounds from Sever Life for a whole 0.888 wounds and IWND will take that down to 0.555 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo Round 1: hits 1.333 times, wounds 1.111 times, 0.555 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222.
- Perturabo Round 2 and thereafter: hits 0.666 times, wounds 0.555 times, 0.2775 times after saves and IWND will take that down to -0.055.
- Perturabo Round 2 and thereafter (with Russ blinded): hits 1.333 times, wounds 1.111 times, 0.555 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222.
- Perturabo loses.
- Note : A first lucky hit with Forgebreaker and failed Blind rolls from Russ can help Perturabo last a bit longer, making him one of the toughest primarchs for Leman Russ to face. So like his matchup with Horus he stands a reasonable chance against Russ. Though this also doesn't take into account Russ's wolves backing him up, which would definitely swing it in the Wolf Boy's favour.
- Jaghatai VS Perturabo
- Jaghatai hits 4 times, wounds 2 times, 0.666 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.333
- Perturabo hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222, 0.74 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perty wins, but only just. Khan could try to hit-and-run, but Perty's concussive and blind should prevent that.
- Perturabo VS The Lion
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times (Forgebreaker), 0.483 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.25 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo (Lion Blinded): hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.861 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.528 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Lion hits 2.5 (Wolf Blade)/3 (Lion Sword) times, wounds 2.43/2.5 times, 0.81/0.833 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.477/0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Lion (4 wounds): hits 3/3.5 times, wounds 2.917 times, 0.972 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.639 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Lion (2 wounds): hits 3.5/4 times, wounds 3.403/3.333 times, 1.134/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that to 0.801/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Lion wins.
- Perturabo VS Sanguinius
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times (Forgebreaker), 0.833 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Perturabo (with Sanguinius blinded) hits 2.667 times, wounds 2.222 times (Forgebreaker), 1.111 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Sanguinius Round 1: hits 4.667 times (Blade), wounds 4.148 times, 1.383 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.049 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Sanguinius on the charge: hits 5.333 times, wounds 4.833 times (including HoW), 1.611 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.056 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Sanguinius Round 2+: hits 4 times, wounds 3.556 times, 1.185 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.852 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Sanguinius (blinded): hits 2 times, wounds 1.778 times, 0.593 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.259 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Sanguinius will lose depending if/when he fails blind checks, even on the charge. He needs to avoid being Blinded for 2-3 rounds (excluding the first) to win.
- TLDR version: Perturabo with Forgebreaker results in one of the strongest contenders among the Primarchs. The combination of rules in the Hammer make him extremely difficult for most of his brothers to deal with. It essentially requires another stat-altering Primarch or one with special anti-stat-altering rules to kill him; those being Horus, Guilliman, the Lion, and of course, Russ. Still, not bad at all, especially for a Primarch whose primary fluff schtick was not melee combat and who buffs his army so well.
|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