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"Man must become stronger, more profound and more evil."
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

"According to the word of God, the meek would someday inherit the earth. Someday. But God never accounted for the mighty."
- Norman McCay, Kingdom Come

Several of the Primarchs at the Triumph of the Ullanor Crusade. From left to right: Sanguinius, Mortarion, Magnus the Red, Angron, Jaghatai Khan, Lorgar, Rogal Dorn, Horus, and Fulgrim (it is possible that they are all Alpharius, but let's not get into that...)

The Primarchs were the twenty (-one) genetically-engineered "sons" of the Emperor. Using his own DNA in their creation, the Primarchs were designed to be far superior to even Space Marines: they were taller, stronger, faster and more intelligent. They were also incredibly charismatic and were well suited to their role as the generals and leaders of the Imperium of Man. Such a pity then that they ended up being bunch of squalling siblings who were responsible for plunging the Imperium into its current messed up state. Even the loyalist primarches contributed to screwing things up good and proper, by either disappearing, getting killed or failing to keep the Imperium along their father's vision.


Horus Lupercal being made Warmaster of the Imperium in Ullanor. From center counter-clockwise: Horus, the Emperor, Magnus, Mortarion, Lorgar, Angron, Jaghatai Khan, Rogal Dorn, Rogal Dorn's mustache, Fulgrim and Sanguinius.

The Primarchs were created in a secret underground laboratory on what used to be the Himalayas, under the tightest security. All of them were derived from a subset of the Emperor's DNA that served as a template, which was altered differently for each of the Primarchs; it is also thought that he engineered them spiritually as well using long-forgotten psychic techniques. As the Raven Guard discovered after the Emperor granted them access to the original data from the Primarchs' creation, many of the Primarchs' gene-samples were wildly divergent from the original template- some had long gene sequences deleted, while others had non-human DNA spliced into them for reasons only known to the Emperor. (A particularly intriguing discovery was one sample labeled "Subject VI", which had extensive amounts of canine DNA added to it.) However, due to insidious dickery and in spite of the safeguards the Emperor had set up, the forces of Chaos were able to spirit the Primarchs away from the laboratory and scatter them across the universe (Conveniently, the canine sample get scattered to a wolf-planet) Just as planned. Somehow, the Emperor knew his sons were still alive, but had no clue to where they could be, so he decided to go ahead with his Space Marine project. Using DNA samples from each Primarch before they were abducted, the Emperor created twenty legions of Space Marines, in what would later be called the First Founding.

Each of the young Primarchs were forced to adapt to the lifestyle on their new homeworld, something which would influence and mould them throughout their lives. The Primarchs rapidly grew to adulthood and quickly rose to power, often becoming the leaders of their world. As the Emperor crusaded to unify the galaxy he would occasionally stumble upon another long-lost son. When this happened, the Emperor would hold a celebration in honor of this discovery, give the Primarch their legion to command, then tell them to fuck off and start conquering worlds while he fapped to his favoured offspring. The Emperor was a dick like that.

The first Primarch the Emperor discovered was Horus, who would become the Emperor's favoured son. The majority of Primarchs somehow recognized the Emperor on sight, immediately pledging their allegiance to their father. A few (such as Leman Russ and Vulkan) only swore allegiance after being bested in a contest. Angron outright refused to follow the Emperor, preferring to die in battle along with his rebels in their fight against the oppressive Not-Romans. The Emperor simply shrugged and abducted his son, leaving Angron's followers to get slaughtered. Angron never really got over that dick move.

Primarch discovery order:

  • 1.Horus
  • 2.Leman Russ
  • 4.Ferrus Manus
  • 5.Fulgrim
  • 6.Vulkan
  • 7.Rogal Dorn
  • 8.Roboute Guilliman
  • 9.Magnus the Red
  • 10.Sanguinius
  • 11.Lion El'Jonson
  • 12.Perturabo
  • 13.Mortarion
  • 14.Lorgar
  • 15.Jaghatai Khan
  • 16.Konrad Curze
  • 17.Angron
  • 19.Corax
  • 20.Alpharius Omegon

The Emperor's attitude to his primarchs was also heavily divergent to that of the greater Imperium. Whilst he indulged them in the idea that they were his "sons", privately, he didn't view the primarchs as his literal children, analogising himself as Gepetto to 20 (21) different Pinnochios. He even referred to Angron as "The Twelth" rather than refer to him by name. Although this seems like typical Emperor douchebaggery, he behaved in this way because the Primarchs themselves prompted that dynamic, and it was easier to just go along with it.

At the end of the period known as the Great Crusade, Horus, who had recently been promoted to the title of Warmaster, fell to Chaos and rebelled. It didn't take long for eight other of his fellow Primarchs to join his side against the Emperor, resulting in a full-scale civil war known as the Horus Heresy. Funnily enough, most of the Primarchs who sided with Horus were those who felt that the Emperor had taken a giant, steaming dump on them. So while the Emperor is the greatest tactician, biologist, warlord, and leader in the history of mankind, he's worse than a crack-addled transient junkie as a father.

Primarchs and Legions[edit]

Legion Number Name Homeworld Name of the Legion Allegiance Description/Current Status Portrait 30k/40k
I Lion El'Jonson Caliban Dark Angels Loyal? LOYAL
  • Crushes the horrors of Old Night, destroys worlds, whole civilisations, erase stuff from history.
  • A brilliant but solitary figure that tended to play his cards close to his chest, he could come off as cold and distant to those who did not know him. Although normally slow to anger once you managed to get on his bad side you better run as fast as you can because his wroth was terrible to behold.
  • Alive, imprisoned next to Luther ASLEEP within a chamber on The Rock. The Lion will awaken once The Emperor tells him to do so. With Guilliman now up and about, this happening is more likely than you think.
Primarca Lion ElJonson Wikihammer 40k.jpg
II +++Records expunged+++
III Fulgrim Chemos Emperor's Children Traitor
  • A patron of the arts, who wanted to enjoy the finest and most exotic things in life.
  • Believes that he and his legion should be the avatar of humanity's perfection, and so everything about them should be flawless, everywhere from appearance and actions to their fighting style.
  • Would not accept anything short of absolute perfection, rubbing off some people in the wrong way.
  • Daemon Prince of Slaanesh, ruler of the Pleasure World. Fulgrim's actual consciousness however, may or may not also be still imprisoned within his own body by the daemon who possessed him in the first place was eventually conquered by Fulgrim's inner will or whatever, but his new personality is generic "DEMON PRINCE OF THE DARKNESS AND EVIL"
Portrait.Fulgrim Ancient Sketch.jpg
IV Perturabo Olympia Iron Warriors Traitor
  • Originally preferred diplomacy during his time in Olympia, but meeting the Emperor (who had no time for such things) caused a violent switch to flip inside Perturabo's mind, turning him into a ruthless warlord throughout the Great Crusade
  • Just as much as a master of siege warfare as Dorn (both in offense and defense), but the lack of opportunities and recognition led him and his legion to be specialists of tearing shit down.
  • Suffers from a massive inferiority complex, mostly attributed to Rogal Dorn
  • Daemon Prince, ruler of Medrengard. Described as the ultimate Obliterator; so expect him to be carrying around titan grade weaponry when he finely shows up.
Perturabo Portrait.jpg
V Jaghatai Khan Chogoris/
Mundus Planus
White Scars Loyal
  • Never wants to stay still, prefers to hunt down xenos enemies
  • An observer for the most part. While little people wanted to learn about the White Scars and their culture; The Khan studied everyone, gaining tons of knowledge about Imperial cultures and norms.
  • Unknown, disappeared into the Webway while hunting Dark Eldar.
VI Leman Russ Fenris Space Wolves Loyal
  • Had a high opinion of himself and his legion, if only because he felt that he's earned that kind of respect through the centuries. Of all the Primarchs, Leman was the one most willing to cross any line to do what the Emperor asked, at least at first. Later on, he decided to become his own man and protect the people of the Imperium. Also notable for curbing the more savage tendencies of the Wolves and teaching them to control their ferocity, unlike some people.
  • Wants to test his legion all the time, to prove he is the best.
  • Unknown, disappeared into the Eye of Terror with the 13th company but promised to return one day. Magnus supposedly knows where he is, but he isn't telling. The Wolves found his armor in a Khornate Shrine, implying he either; turned into Wulfen, to Chaos, is dead, or is murdering his way through the warp as a half-naked barbarian.
VII Rogal Dorn Inwit Imperial Fists MEGA DUPER Loyal
  • Honest and logical to a fault. Dorn was an upfront guy who doesn't mince nor sugar-coat words, he will speak the unrefined truth about anything asked from him, regardless of the consequences (such as eternally pissing off Perturabo by telling him he could not breach the Imperial Palace once he's done with it).
  • A master of siegecraft, although fortifications was his forte. So much that he was tasked with fortifying the Imperial Palace. He would also build grand fortresses on the worlds they conquered.
  • Assumed deceased, disappeared while boarding a Chaos cruiser during a Black Crusade.
    His skeletal hands were recovered and placed in shrines. Rumored to still be alive.
Rogal Dorn Portrait.png
VIII Konrad Curze Nostramo Night Lords Traitor
  • Believes that fear is the only real way to keep people in line, so was heavily reliant in extreme terror tactics to scare people into submission. Such extreme was his brand of fear that just hearing the Night Lords would arrive would cause several worlds to unconditionally surrender during the Great Crusade.
  • Possessed psychic powers that allowed him to perceive the future in short glimpses. The problem was that they were uncontrolled and they constantly subjected him to see the future in the darkest, most vivid detail possible, including the deaths and fall of his brother primarchs, which only served to widen his ever-growing insanity.
  • A firm believer of the ends justifying the means, even if the means are beyond horrendous.
  • Deceased, willingly assassinated by a Callidus assassin. His body was never found.
Portrait.Konrad Curze sketch.jpg
IX Sanguinius Baal Blood Angels Loyal
  • Concerned with preserving beauty and art in the wake of war
  • Deceased, slain by Horus. May or may not be the Sanguinor.
X Ferrus Manus Medusa Iron Hands Loyal
  • Wants to get things done quickly, without needless philosophising
  • Contrary to his sons; Ferrus wanted to advocate the strength of one's flesh, rather than relying completely on bionics and mechanical augmentations as shown by the Iron Hands, if any he was appalled at the idea of turning man completely into machine. He wasn't able to realize this after getting a viking crewcut by his best friend, however.
  • A master artisan, thanks to his metal arms, which allowed him to practice his craft with incredible precision and detail.
  • Deceased, slain by Fulgrim and his head offered to Horus as a gift. Fulgrim still has the body, which he repeatedly clones and murders again in a futile attempt to make him turn traitor.
    Some claim he is still alive on Mars, though it may be not actually be him.
Portrait.Ferrus Manus sketch.jpg
XI +++Records expunged (Possibly Malal?)+++
XII Angron Nuceria World Eaters Traitor
  • Embodies the name "World Eater". He and his legion consumes entire worlds in a whirlwind of indiscriminate slaughter until nobody but them is left, pre and post-Great Crusade.
  • No real ambition beyond endless slaughter, thanks to the butcher's nails augment jammed into Angron's brain. It also made him incredibly violent and quick to anger. At first it was to satiate the unending bloodlust generated by the butcher's nails, but now its to glorify Khorne.
  • Daemon Prince of Khorne. Spend most of his time Getting Shit Done and being banished to the Warp for a hundred or so years after Imperum responds to his blood crusades.
XIII Roboute Guilliman Macragge Ultramarines Loyal to the Imperium, not so much to the Emperor.
  • Always looked towards the future, having a long-term plan for everything he did.
  • Was more for the people than the Emperor, hence why he thought preserving his Imperium was more important than the survival of the Emperor himself.
  • The greatest bureaucrat among the Primarchs. Guilliman was best remembered for his ability to set up an efficient form of government on every planet his legion conquered, turning them into model, self-sufficient worlds in order to prepare them for the future after the Great Crusade. This is best exemplified by Ultramar, which still remains one of the most powerful and idyllic planetary systems in the Imperium, even after 10,000 years.
  • He's also a logistical genius, and invented the organizational model that 8 of the 9 1st Founding Chapters still use.
  • Previously kept in a stasis chamber after his throat was sliced by Fulgrim with a poisoned sword.
  • Recently revived with the help of Belisarius Cawl and the YNNARI and their new soul manipulation powers. Is now active once more, and not very happy with how badly the Imperium has gone to shit since he was not-quite-dead.
Robute Guilliman.jpg
XIV Mortarion Barbarus Death Guard Traitor
  • Has an immense abhorrence for psykers and the warp, due to his experiences in Barbarus. Is currently livid over the fact he's now a daemon prince, essentially becoming the very thing he hated in the first place.
  • Is kind of the edgy goth kid of the Primarchs. Nobody really got along with Mortarion and Mortarion didn't want to along with anyone, except for Horus and Konrad.
  • Daemon Prince of Nurgle, ruler of the Plague Planet. Banished by Grey Knights.
Mortarion Portrait.jpg
XV Magnus the Red Prospero Thousand Sons Traitor I never asked for this
  • Believes in the discovery and preservation of knowledge for the greater good of mankind, regardless of its origins
  • Being a psyker himself, he placed great emphasis in training psykers to control and enhance their powers.
  • Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, ruler of the Planet of Sorcerers. Wrecked the Space Wolves' homeworld and most of their upper command structure for the lulz. Went in for another go and bloodied the entire star system of Fenris itself, irreparably damaging the Wolves' home system.
  • Still regretting that he was forced into becoming a daemon prince to save his legion.
  • If personally appearing twice to beat them down wasn't obvious enough; he is eternally pissed off at the Wolves, than anyone else (save probably the Emprah), for the destruction of Prospero. Leman Russ being an overt dick to him pre-Heresy probably didn't help.
XVI Horus Lupercal Cthonia Luna Wolves/ Sons of Horus/ Black Legion DOUBLE TRAITOR
  • Uses his charisma and gangland tactics to strike quickly and overwhelmingly
  • Due his his position and experience, he is the most well-liked of the Primarchs during the great crusade. Just about everyone looked at Horus as the greatest among them.
  • Utterly, completely, absolutely, unbelievably, mindbogglingly deceased, utterly annihilated at the hands of the Emperor.
Portrait.Warmaster Horus Remembrancer Sketch.jpg
XVII Lorgar Aurelian Colchis Word Bearers Traitor Prime
  • Destroys wayward cultures, and turns them into devout followers
  • The most fervently loyal of the Primarchs, nobody believed in Big E as much as Lorgar did....well that was until the Emperor decided to humiliate him on a grand scale. Now he turns his rabid fanboyism to the Chaos Gods.
  • Daemon Prince, ruler of Sicarius. Is spending all his time meditating in the warp, so Lorgar rarely appears in person anymore.
Portrait.Lorgar Aurelian sketch.png
XVIII Vulkan Nocturne Salamanders Loyal
  • Concerned with the preservation and welfare of humans
  • Growing up in a blacksmith society allowed him and his legion to craft some of the finest wargear the Imperium has ever seen. Its also the reason for their fire fetish in combat.
  • Missing in action. Last seen fighting an enormous ork warboss, presumed to be the Beast, on Ullanor. Disappeared in a plasma core detonation in a failed attempt to kill the Beast. As a Perpetual, his survival is highly likely. (still as mad as a hatter)
Portrait.Vulkan sketch.jpg
XIX Corvus Corax Deliverance Raven Guard Loyal
  • Seeks to overthrow oppression, bringing justice to tyrants
  • Prefers covert warfare, sabotaging, fast strikes and assassinating the enemy from the sides, and only striking in the open when the time is right. Basically Konrad but with way less brutality
  • Missing, last seen heading for the Eye of Terror to atone for his sin of using a legion of mutants he accidentally created to supplement his forces, only to euthanize them after the Horus Heresy. Some believe he will return.
Corax Portrait.png
XX Alpharius Omegon They're not telling Alpha Legion Alpharius: sort-of loyal. Omegon: even Tzeentch can't keep track.
  • Prefers covert, psychological warfare. Alpharius fucks with his opponent's head, planting paranoia, deceit, misinformation, dissent among the enemy's ranks to manipulate their movements and behavior. By the time the main Alpha Legion force comes in; the enemy would either be tearing each other apart or distrustful of each other, preventing them from mustering any kind of effective resistance.
  • The difference between him and Corax and Konrad is that while Corax prefers striking from the shadows with guerrilla warfare, Konrad prefers doing a bang-up job of replicating a Dark Eldar raid, Alpharius plays a game of espionage warfare.
  • Unknown or absent motives.
  • Alpharius bought the Cabal's story about letting Horus kill all of humanity to kill off the Chaos Gods in the long run, and was eventually beheaded by Rogal Dorn during a battle on Pluto.
  • Omegon took on his mantle officially ("the jest made real") and this new "Alpharius" may or may not have been killed by Guilliman (the Ultramarines suspect they may have only killed a body double). His loyalties are unknown, but he was against the Cabal's proposal, indicating he either thought sacrificing his entire species was too big of a price (which would mean he's still loyal to humanity), or he wanted Chaos to survive by feeding off humanity (which would mean he was a traitor).

It Sucks To Be Loyal[edit]

An accurate retelling of the final stages of the rebellion.


  • General downside to those who became Daemon Princes is that the further they go from the Eye of Terror, the more their power wanes. Also most of them spend most of their time in the Great Game (eternal war in the Warp), growing increasingly distant from the real world affairs.
  • Horus was killed by the Emperor during the Siege of Terra, who utterly destroyed his soul. His legion enshrined his corpse until the Emperor's Children stole it. Fabius Bile managed to successfully clone him, but Abaddon killed the clone to cement his position as his successor as Warmaster of Chaos. Horus is very dead, but that was his fault for being a fuckwit.
  • Angron is a Daemon Prince of Khorne. Still gets shit done, but did get his arse handed to him by the Grey Knights on Armageddon.
  • Mortarion is a fucktwit who rarely does anything of interest (still sulking over his eternal existence as the thing he hates the most), but is a Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Apparently now holds the largest domain in the Eye of Terror, rather than just one planet he had in the old fluff, and also the last Daemon Primarch to bow to the Despoiler during the Legion war. Got some open heart surgery, courtesy of Draigo/Ward. Created zombie plague from one of the artifacts Abbaddon used in his XII crusade.
  • Fulgrim's soul was trapped in a painting while his body was possessed by a daemon for a brief time before swapping places with the daemon and taking its powers (or so he claims). The first Primarch to become a Daemon Prince, although he aimed at achieving (demi)godhood instead (by sacrificing Perturabo). Abandoned what remained of his legion to rule his pleasure daemon world, and didn't tell them how to get there (yet Abaddon somehow manages to contact him anyways).
  • Lorgar is a lazy fucknut who does nothing since they fled to the Eye of Terror, and handed the rule over his legion to the council of Dark Apostles, but still a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. Taught Abaddon how to summon daemons.
  • Magnus the Red is... derping out, and screaming Just as planned every time something happens, but he's a Daemon Prince. He sometimes also gets shit done, leading armies to the Space Wolves' planet and screwing with the Imperium, keeping his big red trollface on all the time until he gets his ass tossed back into the Warp. Occasionally mopes about how he never wanted to be a traitor originally.
  • Perturabo becomes irrelevant after he goes on to drop largely out of post-Heresy fluff, but is still a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. Rules the most stable planet in the Eye of Terror, where he does nothing but watching his sons sieging each other. Helps Failbaddon in a couple of Black Crusades by giving him some Daemon Engines. It doesn't really help, but it's more than Lorgar's done for Chaos Undivided.
  • Konrad Curze allowed a Callidus assassin to infiltrate his lair and kill him, apparently wanting to die after becoming the very thing he fought against.
  • The Alpha Legion's story is a bit complex:
    • Alpharius was slain by Rogal Dorn in combat during the Battle of Pluto. He is very much dead as he did not bargain with the Dark Gods and had his head split open by a chainsword.
    • Omegon took Alpharius' identity after he sensed he was dead, and his legion a bee-line for Ultramar after the Horus Heresy, where he met his end after dueling Big Bobby G. However, because the rest of the Alpha Legionaries did not break even after the death of their primarch (infact they managed to beat the Ultramarines in the conflict altogether); nobody could truly confirm if they did indeed kill the real deal, or if it was a body double.


  • Ferrus Manus was killed by Fulgrim during the Drop Site Massacre. His body was not recovered, so some Iron Hands think he might still be alive. But the fact that he was decapitated by Fulgrim after being defeated and had his head delivered to Horus makes this claim fairly dubious. Just don't say that to the Iron Hands, though. Unless you want free open-heart surgery from a ceramite and steel power fist.
  • Sanguinius was killed by Horus. His body was recovered, and he's the only Primarch who doesn't have any legends about returning, though there are some theories on the identity of the Sanguinor. For what it's worth, Fear to Tread shows that the Sanguinor is indistinguishable from Sanguinius himself and had enough power to appear in the mind of an Apothecary shortly before the Blood Angels were deployed to the Signus system.
  • Lion El'Jonson returned to Caliban only to discover that his friend Luther had stabbed him in the back. THAT LUTHER HAD A PLANET-WIDE PARTY AND EVENTUALLY PASSED OUT INTO A COMA AFTER DRINKING 200 TANKARDS OF SPACE WOLF-GRADE ALCOHOL. He sleeps deep within the Rock, originally on life support and now fully-healed (but none of the Dark Angels seem to know this). Perhaps this is a sign of a coming advancement of the storyline, DUN DUN DUN!
  • Genghis, er, Jaghatai Khan disappeared into the Webway after chasing a group of Dark Eldar. The White Scars think he will return someday, and when you consider the fact that time is just as weird there as it is in the rest of the Warp, there is a small possibility he's still around.
  • Leman Russ disappeared into the Eye of Terror but promised the Space Wolves that he would return for the Final Battle. Magnus appears to know where he is now, but he sure as hell isn't telling the Space Wolves. Reports during the Thirteenth Black Crusade claim that a figure matching Russ's description was seen leading the 13th Great Company have surfaced, but were never verified. Numerous crusades by the Space Wolves to find Russ have resulted in failure, although they did find his armor in a shrine of Khorne in the Eye - so either he succumbed to Chaos, was killed by a Khorne champion, devolved into wulfen, or is currently currently pillaging The Warp as a muscle-bound, half-naked barbarian hero.
  • Rogal Dorn disappeared during a Black Crusade in a desperate ship boarding action. Only his skeletal hands were recovered and enshrined. Debate rages about whether the zerg rush of World Eaters killed him, or whether he's still out there, death-punching Traitors with his fuck stumps. Original 40K novels stated his entire skeleton was on display on Terra, but it's been ret-conned to only his hands. Still, a Primarch without a skeleton would be bad-ass, if not a little amusing.
  • Roboute Guilliman is perfectly preserved in a stasis field, seconds from death after he was poisoned by Fulgrim. It is rumored that he is healing, even though it is impossible for anything to change inside a stasis field (As time is literally frozen inside stasis). Most people credit the healing to be the power of the Emperor, which says something about the Imperium as that's considered a valid argument. It says something further about the setting in that a number of fans believe that this is a valid argument. This may be true following the Iron Heart device in Angel Exterminatus healing someone in stasis, very very slowly. As of The Gathering Storm, he has fully recovered and leads the Ultramarines once again.
  • Vulkan got the shit kicked out of him during the Drop Site Massacre, whereupon his fluff split into two mutually-exclusive paths:
    • Codex: Space Marines states that his body was never found, only a book containing only the names of nine powerful relics and a bunch of annoying riddles as to where they might be found, penned by Vulkan himself which is bound to be retconned with events of the Beheading. In the 41st millennium, the Salamanders believe that he is still alive and that collecting the nine relics - they've found five so far - will reveal his location.
    • In Vulkan Lives the big V had to be dragged into a Thunderhawk in bloody tatters. Kurze captured him and tortured him to death... repeatedly; Vulkan would not stay dead. After an indeterminate amount of time and deaths, Vulkan managed to escape by teleporting himself into orbit around Macragge and reentering its atmosphere. When he recovered and learned that Kurze was planetside, he flipped out and went after him. A well-meaning Perpetual stabbed him with a fulgurite (a spearhead-shaped piece of stone that contains a bit of the Emperor's power), hoping to either cure his madness or kill him for good. Now apparently dead, Vulkan was put in a stasis capsule inscribed with the words "Unbound Flame," with an honor guard of Salamanders until his remains could be returned to Nocturne. As of the end of Deathfire, he somehow managed to return to life again, although there's no indication as to whether or not he's still a Perpetual. And then as of The Hunt for Vulkan, he's still alive in M.32, after the wounding of Guilliman. He's apparently been wandering the Imperium for a millennium fulfilling his own oaths, but returns to Terra to take command of the counterattack on The Beast. He hints that Dorn is also alive, meaning he is either privy to some secret information, doesn't know of his brother's death, or is going insane.
    • In The Beast Must Die Vulkan led Imperial forces to reclaim Ullanor from The Beast and the united Ork race. Even with one of the greatest forces assembled since the Horus Heresy, with the remnants of the VII Legion Chapters, the fight devolved to Vulkan facing off with The Beast one-on-one, and sacrificing himself in The Beasts temple-gargant's core detonating it with both himself and The Beast inside it. Whether both of them died is highly unlikely.
  • Corax disappeared into the Eye of Terror as an atonement for putting down the mutant hordes he created in trying to create Space Marines out of desperation. Quoth the Raven: "Nevermore." He is probably derping around in the Eye like this.

So the surviving traitors (with the possible exceptions of Alpharius and Omegon) are Daemon Princes (which, ignoring the brain-rape, fucking rules) while all of the loyalists are dead, have disappeared, or are in comas. The chapters have legends which hold that the Primarchs will return and heal the Emperor, launching a new Great Crusade. Note: when GW says “disappeared” they actually mean “we are going to bring them back in a massive deus ex machina”. No they don't. They're not idealistic. Well, seeing what they did with FB in the End Times one may hope they would actually do move the plot of 40k past 999.M41 so that they can all come back and die again. Then again, seeing what happened to Warhammer Fantasy after the storyline was advanced, it's probably best to let things be.

Two Missing Primarchs[edit]

Who are the two missing Primarchs, you ask? Sigmar and Archaon (depending on how WHFB fits in with 40K, if it does). Or maybe (per /tg/ canon) Rachnus Rageous and Tialoc Ekans. Samus and Guts are also contenders. It is also highly possible that the XI Legion Primarch has now become Malal and the Sons of Malice Chaos Space Marine warband are the remnants of the 11th Legion (Possible, because Malal's sacred number is 11 and the two unknown legions are the II and the XI) ...

Okay, fine. Nobody really knows. What has been established is that they got killed for some reason and the existence of their Legions was wiped from record by the Emperor.

Games Workshop have mentioned Primarchs besides the eighteen above on other occasions, but they backtracked since. Back in the first edition of Warhammer 40,000, all twenty First Founding Chapters were known, as were their Primarchs (though, at the time, the Primarch was just the first Chapter Master). Of these, the Valedictors and Rainbow Warriors were declared in a later White Dwarf to have been founded after the Second Founding.

Later, in the short story Hell in a Bottle from the novel Into the Maelstrom, a chapter known as the Iron Hearts get fucked over by a Chaos Lord. The short story also mentions that the Chapter has a Primarch known as Rubinek. Of course, this was just a huge cock-up on the author's part, who himself admitted that he meant Chapter Master.

The Horus Heresy novels fill in some of the blanks, but they still leave a lot of questions open. In The Lightning Tower Rogal Dorn says that the lost Primarchs' disappearances were "separate tragedies", so it seems like they disappeared in two different incidents. Deliverance Lost suggests that whatever happened to the missing Primarchs occurred sometime before the Emperor found Corvus Corax, as Corax asked the Emperor why there were only sixteen other Primarchs waiting for him if he was the nineteenth (it's unsure whether this was referring to him being the Primarch of the nineteenth Legion, or him being the nineteenth found); the Emperor avoided the question, claiming that "it would be a discussion for another day". This is no longer the case, somehow, as he is now the third-to-last primarch found, right before the second missing primarch. The First Heretic specifies that the missing Legions were purged at least 43 years before the Drop Site Massacre, so we can conclude that neither one took part in the Horus Heresy. At the same time, members of the Word Bearers Seventh Company travelling through time with Ingethel the Ascended reveal rumors that the surviving members of the lost Legions were folded into the Ultramarines (their Chaplain thinks the rumor is a load of grox-shit, but their Captain does note that the Ultramarines are on record as receiving an increase in troops). Finally, it also adds that the remaining Primarchs had to swear an oath never to speak of their missing brothers and that the missing Primarchs' corresponding legions were personally purged by the Emperor, so it had to have been something extraordinarily bad. Leman Russ mentions in Prospero Burns that the Space Wolves had fought other Space Marines before the attack on Prospero, which may have something to do with the purge. A senior Space Wolf describes Russ' "wyrd" as being "the Emperor's executioner". Several books since have backed this up. In The Dark King, when asked if he will report the Night Lords for censure, Dorn remarks that he feared to add another empty statue to the Emperor's palace, implying that the missing legions were exterminated for committing severe atrocities. Gene-seed flaws might have played a major part- in Fear To Tread, Sanguinius admits to Horus that he had not told the Emperor about the Red Thirst because he feared that the Emperor would purge the Blood Angels in the same way as the missing Legions. In Scars there's a reference to rumours and "whispers of past atrocities" that only a Primarch could kill another Primarch. Russ also turns up and talks a bit about fighting Magnus, and the resulting "shame". So if he's responsible for offing one or two of his brothers, they must've done something pretty fucking heinous.

Out of universe, Rick Priestley admitted that the unknown legions were supposed to be a reference to the three Roman legions wiped out in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, whose numbers were never reused after they were slain to a man by German barbarians (as well as a way to let fans design their own Legions to fill in the gaps for themselves). Clearly he didn't think out the implications that this would have on the setting.

Rules on the Tabletop[edit]

Thanks to Forge World, not only do we have models for the Primarchs, but rules as well. As you can guess, they are ungodly rape machines who can easily win their points back and more. That's not to say they're invincible, though; they can still be killed if you screw up badly enough. All currently released Primarchs have the following statlines (the "Minimum" Primarch is also listed for convenience, if you want a baseline to homebrew your own):

WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv ML Points
Horus 8 5 7 6 6 6 5+1 10 2+/3++ 500
Angron 9 5 7 6 5 7 6+1 10 3+/4++ 400
Fulgrim 8 6 6 6 6 8 5 10 2+/5++/3++ in CC 380
Mortarion 7 5 6 7 7 5 5 10 2+/4++ 425
Ferrus Manus 7 6 7 7 6 5 4+1 10 2+/3++ 455 or steal his hammer for 415
Konrad Curze 8 6 6 6 6 7 5+1 10 2+/4++ 435
Vulkan 7 5 7 7 6 5 4 10 2+/3++ 425
Lorgar 6 6 6 6 5 6 4+1 10 2+/4++ 2 or 3 375 or Chaosify him for 450
Perturabo 8 6 7 6 6 5 4 10 2+/3++ 455 or give him Forgebreaker for 490
Rogal Dorn 8 5 6 6 6 5 4 10 2+/4++ 385
Corvus Corax 7 6 6 6 6/5 7 6/5 10 2+/5++ or 3+/5++ 450 or fuck him over for 350
Alpharius 7 7 6 6 6 6 5 10 2+/4++ 415.... or is it?
Roboute Guilliman 7 6 6 6 6 6 4+1 10 2+/4++ 400
Roboute Guilliman (40k) 9 6 6 6 6 6 6 10 2+/3++ 350
Magnus the Red 7 5 7 6 6 6 4 10 2+/4++ 5 495
Magnus the Red (Daemon) 7 7 8 7 7 7 6 10 4+/4++ 5 650
Leman Russ 9 6 6 6 6 7 6 10 2+/4++ 455
Jaghatai Khan
Lion El'Jonson
Minimum 6 5 6 6 5 5 4 10 3+/5++ 350

  • Special Rules
    • Primarch
      • Adamantium Will
      • Independent Character
      • Eternal Warrior
      • Fear
      • Fleet
      • Fearless
      • It Will Not Die
      • Master of the Legion
      • Precision Shots
      • Precision Strikes

Each of them have one or two close-combat weapons, all of which are AP2 or 1, backed by some decent gun to lay some dakka down while they run to the glorious melee. Their Primarch rule grants them the combined benefits of Fleet, Fearless, Fear, IWND, Eternal Warior, and Adamantium Will, and as ICs they can join squads as well (though most of the Primarchs are better run solo). Each of them have a page worth of special rules and unique wargear, some of which is stupidly powerful to the point of broken, but that's OK since even the cheapest of the Primarchs costs more than 350 pts. and eats an extremely valuable Lord of War slot that might otherwise be spent on a Thunderhawk or a Fellblade.

Pimpin Rides[edit]

Also worth mentioning, that Perturabo and Dorn are special enough to get their own personal special/unique vehicle, other primarchs may get their own vehicles in the future (who knows?). However, rules dictate that neither vehicle can be taken in games under 3000 points. Meaning you can only use it in 3000+ matches.

  • Perturabo gets to ride in a Shadowsword with the Command Tank upgrade. Not only that, but Perturabo is so awesome, he managed to somehow give it 15 troop capacity, meaning it can take 12 Power Armoured dudes + himself, or 6 Terminators for his bodyguard. But, it doesn't stop there! It also has a single Void Shield! It costs 25pts more than a normal Shadowsword with the same upgrades, but strictly speaking it does NOT have BS4 unless you take the targeter sponsons as the Legion Crew upgrade is not mentioned (the command tank upgrade is), but it's so awesome, who cares? It's called the Tormentor.
  • Dorn, on the other hand, gets a customised Thunderhawk Gunship, the Ætos Dios. This ship has Turbo Laser as standard, plus a single Void Shield to protect it, it also has It Will Not Die so can regenerate some of its hull points and finally it ALSO has a 4+ invulnerable save against missiles, all on top of being a flyer which means you can only snap-shot at it, all for the bargain cost of 600 points - which is actually 175 points CHEAPER than a normal Legion Thunderhawk with a Turbo-Laser.


It is well known that most of the primarchs were douchebags to varying degrees.

From least to most douchebag. Note, the scale really drops off into fucking douchebag after Jaghatai.

  1. Vulkan - The least douchebaggy primarch by far. Vulkan routinely put the life of him and his men on the line for the sake of the Imperial citizens. A total bro. Also was the largest, strongest Primarch (Ferrus' metal arms were determined as cheating) and held back in sparring for fear of hurting his brothers. His only real fault was that, despite his strong distaste for terror weapons, he had a thing for setting people on fire.
  2. Sanguinius - Despite some... unorthodox tendencies, he is reported as being the most charismatic of the primarchs, perhaps second only to Horus. He taught his men humility and nobility, and put the well-being of humanity above any personal glory. A pretty all-round nice guy.
  3. Magnus the Red - Before the whole Prospero thing, this guy's MO was all about the advancement of humanity, happily taking remembrancers along his legion (Although all remembrancers amongst the fellowship were psykers to some degree). Magnus was a friendly and open-minded idealist, which makes it all the more tragic when he gets deceived, framed, backstabbed and then coaxed into selling his soul to the Cuttlefish of Keikaku. He is easily the most sympathetic of the traitors, considering he only joined them after being backed into a corner; had Jaghatai been at his side during and after Nikaea (especially considering he knew about the Webway project), things might have turned out differently. He was also the only traitor primarch who actually cared about his men, even after ascending to daemonhood. The novel Deathfire also ups his bro-ness quite a bit, as he proved himself the only traitor-aligned Primarch to sincerely do something very helpful for one of his loyalist brothers after the Horus Heresy was already in full swing. This "special favour" is made all the more striking given how it took place after Magnus had his adoptive homeworld burned out from under him. Perhaps his skin was red not only because of mutation, but because it also showed the greatness of his heart?
  4. Corax - Even after being raised under the tyranny of the Kiavahrans, he refused to take after their tyrannous ways, wanted to make things right, and asked the Emperor to end the civil war he started while liberating his homeworld of Lycaeus. Seeing the ruthless tendencies the Terran members of his legion had, he quietly shipped them way the fuck away from the rest of the Great Crusade to go fight xenos or had them all slaughtered during the Battle of Gate 42. One of the only primarchs to readily admit his own mistakes, which were many and sometimes tragic.
  5. Jaghatai Khan - Despite him being modeled after the guy who holds the high score on raping and pillaging, Jaghatai was actually very reasonably and a pretty fun guy to be around. His main hobbies included raiding and jetbikes, but he had an appreciation for the fine arts as well. He was very good friends with Magnus and very pro-psyker. However he also kept his distance from pretty much everyone else, save Horus, not wanting to deal with other people's bullshit, unless they were really worth the effort - as the result very few people knew and trusted him (especially once his only bros turned traitor). While the Khan didn't seem to care too much about the whole Great Crusade thing and spent most of his time doing his own thing, he never turned his back on the Imperium, despite being the only Primarch to fully recognize how evil and tyrannical (or perhaps flawed is more like it - he declared that Big E was "neither a monster nor a simpleton", though lots of people will dispute that) the Emperor was (mostly because he knew that Chaos was even worse).
  6. Guilliman - Eurgh. This dude was a statesman in the same way as Atatürk. Great at building states, if you ignore all the deported and murdered people who didn't agree 100% with the new regime (that is if you have the outlook of an Eldar Autarch or a Kürdish socialist on how to rule a state which both are quite paradoxical). Now THAT is what Ultramarines haters with no consideration for nowadays background (also for Turkey's last century AND Atatürk's work of course) will tell you. For somebody more reasonable Guilliman was perhaps one of the most responsible and human among his brothers. He cared about the common man, personally planned post-war reconstruction and political integration to the Imperium and (unofficialy) tolerated moderate presence of religion in Ultramar. But for sure the guy had a big ego, as he constantly spoke and behaved like he knew what was best for everyone, at least untill proven wrong. But really, he was mostly a complete jerk with people he considers being psycho mass murderers with no respect for their own sons or civilian populations. And despite what some people would have you believe, he knew he couldn't plan for every situation and expected people to use their own judgment rather than blindly follow his codex.
  7. Horus - Pre-Heresy he was a surprisingly chill dude, except if you crossed his sensibilities. Got along well with the regular people and his brothers, but he gradually started treating some of them like shit after becoming Warmaster. He may have also been tricked into joining Chaos when he received a vision of the Imperium 10,000 years into the future where the Emperor was worshiped as a god and everything was Grimdark--a future that, unbeknownst to him, he would help to create. The whole heresy thing just sort-of kills his position on the list. Also a dick to some remembrancers.
  8. Ferrus Manus - A big dude with a penchant for bursts of choleric anger. Tended to scare people off due to his brutal ideals and constant resting bitch face. Surprisingly, Ferrus wasn't so bad after you got to know him, and treated his Legion and his closer brothers with great respect. Also saw his Legion's metal-over-flesh fetish as, well, a cancerous fetish, and wanted to eventually purge that out, but his plans got indefinitely put on hold due to inconvenient head loss.
  9. Rogal Dorn - Although one hell of a masochist, and at times thick-headed, he did see the idea behind the Imperium, and actually somewhat agreed with it. Honest and dependable, while Rogal didn't make for interesting conversation, he would always do his job without complaint. Had as much empathy and subtlety as a brick and ended up hurting a lot of people (mostly emotionally, but sometimes physically too) with his over-the-top brutal honesty. The prime example was when he betrayed Fulgrim's trust after they had a discussion regarding Konrad's visions, and provoked Curze into slashing him across the face. However, he could occasionally get quite philosophical, and is perhaps the only Primarch to admit that his own nature and power unsettled him.
  10. Lion - A secretive dude who nobody really knows what the fuck is up with. Even his own men didn't know what was up, with some of the Fallen Angels believing that he delayed going to Terra to see which side would win the battle. Had some strange ideas about how to handle the whole heresy thing. Civilized his planet by making it into a hive world ruled by Terran nobles. The Lion is a weirdly inconsistent guy, being honorable while at the same time being unreasonably petty and prone to fits of anger. Probably bipolar.
  11. Alpharius Omegon - Damned if anyone knows. You just can't trust that/those guy(s), which does make him/them a pretty big dick by default. The fallout from some of the Alpha Legion's Crusade-era shenanigans suggests a certain inclination to showing off at the expense of civilian lives.
  12. Fulgrim - Not as much a dick as some other primarchs. Still a dick to humans and marines who didn't match his ridiculous high standards. He also can't keep a secret, betraying Konrad Curze's trust and causing him to go nuts on Dorn's face. Other than Horus and Sanguinius, was the only Primarch to really get along with all his brothers (save Jagatai, but that's his fault. Oh, Mortarion thought he was a prancing idiot. And Fulgrim considered Russ a dumb hick), and was BFFs with Ferrus Manus, of all people. That is, until he chopped his head off. Rude. Also took pride to the extremity of arrogance, hence his fall to Slaanesh.
  13. Mortarion - Rubbed everyone the wrong way. EVERYONE, excluding Eidolon who he actually got along with somehow. Downright bigoted against psykers. He resented pretty much everyone who he felt had it easier than him. He was also notorious for using chemical and radiological terror weapons and generally not giving a fuck about who got killed by them. However, his reputation is slightly misleading. Mortarion was the Primarch who was the most driven to slay monsters and bring down tyrants, and would rather go kill more monsters than rebuild the planet. He and his Legion were almost always deployed in the most hellish and war-torn locations, so their use of chemical weapons didn't do as much damage as Morty's detractors would have you believe. Over time, he became more and more disgusted with people's acceptance of tyrants and psykers, and became much more likely to kill everything in the vicinity of what he considered evil. Then Nurgle made him his plague-ridden bitch.
  14. Leman Russ - The most douchebaggy loyalist primarch. Overreacted ever so slightly at Prospero. Left very little when he invaded a planet who had turned down the Imperium's lenient offer of willing compliance. Took no truces and gave no fucks. At all. He didn't even feel bad when he found out he was playing into Horus' hands by killing the Thousand Suns because they were all a bunch of dirty psykers who deserved to die anyway. Also, either he's a hypocrite or in massive denial, as his own Wolf Priests are basically psykers as well. Only seemed to hit it off with Corax, mainly due to their job descriptions being the same, albeit with very different approaches.
  15. Angron - Loved killing people and not much else. Most of the casualties within his legion were a result of him being a team-killing psycho because quite frankly he didn't care what he got to kill as long as he got to kill it. That said, Angron at least had an excuse for being such a rampaging dick all the time. The butcher's nails had effectively turned him into a half-mindless killing machine, as it actually has not just remapped, but replaced parts of his brain, effectively removing from him any emotions other than pain, hatred and battle-lust, one may wonder what sort of guy he would have been without the implants, maybe someone more akin to Conan the Barbarian? Just consider even with the nails biting at his mind he became life bros with the other gladiators of Nuceria and stopped himself from killing worthy adversaries back during his life as a slave, such an act must have mean getting brain-roasted by the Butcher's nails. but he stick to his guns despite the suffering. On top of that, he got fucked over pretty hard by Big E when they first met, so it's no wonder he went traitor the moment Horus made him an offer, we may even credit him for enduring years fighting for the Imperium instead of just getting himself killed in any of the battles. At the end of the day, Angron was probably the primarch who gave least fucks about his legion, although he never really wanted one to begin with. He also put butcher's nails into some of their skulls, which is a pretty fucked up thing for him to condone.
  16. Perturabo - Cares even less about the life of his legionaries and civilians than Mortarion. Killed 10% of his legion when he assumed command. Unlike other primarchs like Angron and Mortarion, Perturabo didn't even have a tragic upbringing to justify his shitty personality. He was just an envious, petty bastard who was always complaining whenever things didn't go his way (which was always).
  17. Konrad Curze - Arguably the most sadistic of all primarchs, Konrad really got off to torturing people and manipulating the masses through fear. Warped as it may have been, he did at least have a sense of justice. Unfortunately, his desire to protect the innocent was eviscerated and left to die in a gutter by his desire to punish the guilty. Any ideas of mercy or decency he may have harbored had been long buried under a massive pile of flayed guts. Actively despised his own legion. He did finally admit that what he had done was wrong, but instead of trying to atone for his atrocities, he just let himself get killed. Lame.
  18. Lorgar - The dude who brought this whole fucking mess into fruition. If only he had strangled Erebus at the first mention of chaos. Instead he decided he was going to ruin everything for everybody because nobody was on board with his kooky cult shit. Lorgar is why we can't have nice things.

See Also[edit]

Return of the Primarchs: A What IF? series filled with pure AWESOME and MANLY TEARS.

A little side note, if you want an awesome look at the Primarchs in all their Crusadey goodness, go look at Aerion the Faithful's Libris Primaris project.




The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions
Imperial Eagle.jpg Loyalist Imperial Eagle.jpg
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Leman Russ - Lion El'Jonson - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
Chaos star.jpg Traitor Chaos star.jpg
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim - Horus
Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo
Imperial Eagle.jpg Institutes within the Imperium of Man Imperial Eagle.jpg
Adeptus Terra: Adeptus Administratum - Adeptus Astra Telepathica
Adeptus Astronomica - High Lords of Terra
Adeptus Mechanicus: Adeptus Titanicus - Explorator Fleet - Legio Cybernetica - Skitarii
Armed Forces: Adeptus Arbites - Adeptus Custodes - Planetary Defense Force
Imperial Army: Afriel Strain - Adeptus Astartes - Gland War Veteran
Imperial Guard - Imperial Navy - Imperial Knights - Militarum Tempestus
Imperial Cult: Adeptus Ministorum - Adepta Sororitas - Death Cults - Schola Progenium
Inquisition: Ordo Chronos - Ordo Grammaticus - Ordo Hereticus - Ordo Malleus
Ordo Necros - Ordo Sepulturum - Ordo Sicarius - Ordo Xenos
Officio Assassinorum: Callidus - Culexus - Eversor - Maerorus - Vanus - Venenum - Vindicare
Great Crusade: Corps of Iterators - Remembrancer Order - Sisters of Silence
Other: League of Black Ships - Navis Nobilite - Rogue Traders
Abhumans & Denizens: Beastmen - Felinids - Humans - Nightsiders
Ogryns - Ratlings - Scalies - Scavvies - Squats
Notable Members: God-Emperor of Mankind - Malcador the Sigillite
The Perpetuals - The Primarchs