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Vulkan, The Lord of Drakes, The Hammer of Salvation, the HNIC. The Promethean Fire. Too cool a guy to complain that Sanguinius got all the glamour genes.

"Vulkan: "There will be no Rad or Phosphex in my legion. We shall fight wars humanely. Some things should be left in the dark age."
Ferrus: "Oh cool, when are you going to stop burning people to death?"
Vulkan: "I don't understand the question."

– A conversation between the X and XVIII Primarchs

"Even the softest and sweetest heart was made by design for extreme battle."

– Bryant McGill

Vulkan, aka the Lord of Drakes, the Hammer of Salvation, the Promethean Fire, the Black Dragon, and the Jolly Green Giant, is the Primarch of the Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines. He is notable for being a fuckawesome smith, and advancing a civilization from Stone to the Steel Age in a matter of months, as well as being perhaps one of the only likable and bro-tier Primarchs, a trait he shares with Sanguinius and Crusade Era Horus. He does not pity the Dark Eldar fools who raided his planet.

Like all Primarchs, he was dropped on a far-flung planet as an infant, and worked his way to a position of power. Some Primarchs became powerful by being good at politics and bureaucracy, or by kicking enemy ass. Vulkan did it by being really fucking smart and murdering as many Dark Eldar as he could find with massive hammers, both of which are fine occupations for a Demigod. He also made some really cool stuff, which the Salamanders have been spending all of their free time trying to find. As Primarchs go, he's more or less tied with Sanguinius as being a shining example of this guy, especially compared to some of them.

Nevertheless, even Vulkan's niceties can be stretched to the limit. Case in point, the shenanigans that happened on the world of Caldera in the book Promethean Sun. Long story short, a bunch of humans (who were ironically, descendants of the folks kidnapped by the Dark Eldar in Vulkan's youth) worshipped Eldar Exodites as gods and protectors of this world. They were a bunch of weird Amish hippies. When the Salamanders along with the Iron Hands and Death Guard came, they did with the usual Imperial policy of join us or else. The humans there were incredibly stubborn and refused due to the actions and personalities of...two particular individuals and...well...several misunderstandings and the intervention of Konrad Curze of all things led to the whole mess spiralling out of control. This led to the infamous scene of Vulkan burning an Eldar 'child'. However, context is pretty fucking important. Konrad was pretty pissy at Vulkan's noble characteristics so he essentially set him up by blasting into a crowd of imprisoned Calderan humans and Exodites which, you know, created a fuck huge panic. Didn't really help that some of the folks that Vulkan had grown fond of on the campaign (including his own Remembrancer) were killed in the crossfire. Vulkan was understandably incensed and lit up a surrendering Exodite in the heat (ahem) and chaos of things. It should be noted that Vulkan- after literally venting heat -was horrified and disgusted at what he had done, even more so when he realized that his Remembrancer died from a bolt round, which led the Big V to deduce that the entire event was the Night Lords' doing, and he had been set up to look like a Dick. Suffice to say, Curze's trolling of Vulkan largely succeeded and was the catalyst that led to the unravelling between the Big Green and Space Batman. As such, Vulkan was pretty fucking angry that he had been basically played like a fool and allowed the Night Lords to permanently stain his hands. After that incident, Vulkan learned from his past mistakes on Caldera and - case in point - let a bunch of Exodites live. He was also willing to work with Eldrad in Old Earth. After the Horus Heresy, he settled back on Caldera and vowed to protect the planet he had once literally burned to the ground to atone for his past sins there...until the War of The Beast came knocking 1500 years later and things got weird.

The only real chink in his moral armor is his out-of-control pyromania. When he banned the use of Destroyers and other terror weapons within his legion as "too cruel," Ferrus Manus pointed out that burning people to death with flamers, volkite rays, and melta weaponry was hardly that much better. He wasn't wrong, but Vulkan was too busy setting a tank on fire with those boosted flamer-pen rolls to notice.

He is also a Perpetual, which means that he regenerates from ANY injury, even the ones that actually kill him. With enough time, he can return from a death which vaporized him to atoms, find the culprit, and kick his sorry ass from one edge of the galaxy to the other. Konrad Curze found this out the hard way. Unfortunately this has not been translated into tabletop rules, on the valid point that having a Primarch who is LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL is slightly unfair. He inherited this ability from his father, which implies that the Emperor is a perpetual as well. This can provoke long and passionate debate. Nevermind, The Emperor's status as a perpetual has since been confirmed and stated outright both in the Siege of Terra novel, Saturnine, as well as GW itself by way of an FAQ posting.

Pretty cool guy. Definitely cooler than his brothers. And also the hottest in a very literal way. Ironic.


Early Life[edit]

A young Vulkan looking strangely like the late Michael Clarke Duncan. Coincidence? I think not.

Rather than be dumped in a volcano for being a bad omen, as is the fate of many small children who crash on feudal death worlds in space pods, Vulkan grew up as the adopted son of a blacksmith named N'bel, from whom he learned the basics of metallurgy. Of course, being a genetically engineered super-soldier like his brothers he reached adulthood at the age of three and started inventing new alloys like they were going out of style, bringing most of the planet up to the late Steel Age in a matter of months.

Anyway, Vulkan enjoyed his normal life (or as close to normal a super-strong basically Demi-God genius blacksmith could) until the Dark Eldar came to town. Nocturne, it turns out, was a favorite raiding destination for Mandrakes, whose realm of Aelindrach was connected to Nocturne by a series of Webway gates. The populace, who had advanced to about the iron age before Vulkan came along, generally tended to hide from the space rapists with guns that shoot poisonous glass, but Vulkan didn't share their good sense (possibly having something to do with the fact that he could have tanked multiple RPG-7 rounds to the torso and only gotten mildly pissed off, but whatever). Instead, the first time they came after his arrival, he grabbed a pair of blacksmith's hammers and went to town on Spess Elf ass. (If this sounds suspiciously familiar then congratulations, you're paying attention. If you also noticed that Vulkan predates that character, making the other one the rip-off, then even better! We will make an expert of you yet!) Although admittedly, Vulkan's first attempt at dealing with the situation resulted in a failure; he drove off the Eldar, but then he took a force of his best men into the webway to defeat the Mandrakes at their source, only to be picked off and murdered while they advanced. They got as far as Kheradruakh's tower, but there Vulkan ended up being the last man standing and forced to retreat. When he got back to Nocturne he smashed the webway gate to bits, regretting his decision not to do it in the first place and lamenting the loss of so many good men. A season later the Mandrakes returned, forcing Vulkan to realise that there was more than one Webway gate on the planet, and that his earlier attempt to destroy their entrance as well as the counter-charge were both futile actions on their own, meaning he would have to destroy each one if he wanted to protect his people. And guess what? He did exactly that!

Shortly after Valt-- I mean Vulkan *BLAM* Heresy! Vulkan came first! drove off the raiders, his settlement threw a bigass feast to celebrate the victory along with a competition to see who had the biggest man-parts. Amongst the events were to be anvil-lifting, weapon-forging, and bigass fire-breathing dragon-thing slaying. Or something like that. A stranger ended up intruding on the ceremony, and proved himself Vulkan's equal in every contest except the salamander slaying, which Vulkan won by virtue of his own thick-headedness and the stranger saving his sorry ass. (If you want the long story filled with themes of honor and dignity read the fucking Lexicanum) Vulkan pledged his loyalty to the stranger immediately after being declared the victor, saying that anyone who valued human life over victory was worth following (and probably making the biggest misjudgement of a person's character he would ever make in his entire life), and with insufferable predictability the stranger revealed himself to be the Emprah.

The short story Mercy of the Dragon adds a little more to the story however, in that Vulkan's acceptance was not immediate upon declaring the Emperor the victor. The two spoke for a while, with the Emperor trying to convince Vulkan to leave his homeworld and join the Great Crusade. After hearing about his brothers, the terrors of the Old Night and of the Imperial Truth; Vulkan put it quite plainly that as the son of a blacksmith, he had no interest in being a general or a conqueror. Pointing out that where his brother primarchs were already great and proud generals, Vulkan only desired peace. The Emperor told Vulkan that he was "utterly unlike" the rest of his brothers, and that was both his single greatest trait and the Emperor's proudest achievement. So when asked by Vulkan what could he possibly teach the other Primarchs, big Emps told him that his lesson was the most crucial and that he was uniquely disposed to teach it: his Humanity.

Great Crusade[edit]

Vulkan will burn a fool to ash instead of pitying him.

Despite being brought into the fold, the Emperor took the unusual step of not officially revealing Vulkan and keeping him close by for an extended period of time, quite possibly because a massive charcoal-black dude with red eyes might have been too much for a puritanical Imperium to deal with at least initially (all of the initial Terran Salamanders were only "slightly" darkened and had ember eyes, and it was quite likely that Magnus was not discovered yet) OR because the Emperor considered Vulkan to be too soft and compassionate and needed some tough-love OR because big Emps had a different plan for Vulkan. For a few years during the Great Crusade, Vulkan would not act without wearing his armour or travelling very far from the Emperor himself, thus for a time all people knew was that the Emperor had picked up a gigantic, nameless, emerald champion from somewhere. The only people privy to Vulkan's existence were the other Primarchs who were already discovered, and the Priesthood of Mars.

Vulkan was only officially revealed at the right moment: when 19,000 members of his Legion were under siege by a force of over a million Orks, they were relieved by a "new" force of 3000 marines drawn from Nocturne accompanied by an entire battlefleet composed of warships & war machines of Vulkan's own design, which explains what he was doing with the Mechanicum for those years. Collectively they demolished the Orks and the old Terran Salamanders got to find out who their forefather was.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Horus Heresy[edit]

Vulkan Lives. And he's got a big hammer. (That Marine is totally going to reveal that he ripped his pants)

While the rest may be history, what happened after the Horus Heresy is an absolute records nightmare.

Sensing that the galaxy was about to change in a bad way, Vulkan created the post of Forgefather before leaving for Istvaan, with instructions to destroy all his masterwork creations so they could never be misused in the future. The new Forgefather protested, leading Vulkan to relent, and tell him to pick out seven artifacts to remain. Whether these are the same artifacts as in 40k is currently unclear.

During the Drop Site Massacre, the Salamanders took such severe losses that they were reduced to 780 battle-brothers. Worse yet, Vulkan was initially believed to have been killed in the Dropsite Massacre, although his body was never found, in earlier fluff this was a contentious sticking point, because "Vulkan" was also have supposedly survived at least up to the Second Founding, although at that time it wasn't certain whether this was the actual Vulkan, or one of the Forgefathers that followed him.

The Horus Heresy novels cleared this up somewhat, then threw some new wrinkles into the equation: Vulkan died and lived. Like the Emperor, John Grammaticus, Mary Poppins and Ollanius Pius, Vulkan is a Perpetual: a being who can't be killed by any means (decapitation, immolation, asphyxiation, having his heart torn out with a rusty fork, etc) and will regenerate from it. His first death occurred during the Drop Site Massacre, where the Iron Warriors launched a tactical nuclear missile at the Salamanders, killing Vulkan and the bulk of the XVIII Legion. Vulkan (seemingly) survived, however, and was given over to Konrad Curze for sick, torturous fun. He tried to kill Vulkan. Really, REALLY hard! With a FORK! But it soon turned to unstoppable rage when Curze learned he couldn't fully kill Vulkan, so he just kept killing him over and over, getting even more pissed off, which is strange; seeing as Curze is a murderous psychopath, one would hypothesize this would be a dream come true (one must assume Sevatar and Sheng were pulling straws on delivering Curze the bad news at this point) before Vulkan managed to steal Dawnbringer, a thunder hammer originally intended as a gift for Horus with teleportation function included. The hammer teleported Vulkan off the Nightfall (though not before he beat Konrad, who had apparently forgotten "It's also a hammer", to a pulp) and sent him to Macragge, where he burned up on re-entry and resurrected himself again. Unfortunately, the constant deaths drove Vulkan completely insane, into little more than a feral beast, attacking everyone he saw, including Roboute Guilliman.

While this was going on, xenos were doing their thing: plotting. The Cabal, a group of xenos who believed that allowing Chaos to win the Horus Heresy would get the Chaos Gods addicted on human emotions and then be destroyed outright when humanity collapsed on itself, so they sent John Grammaticus with a fulgurite, a piece of the Emperor's psychic lightning encased within a shard, to give to a Primarch with which to kill Vulkan, as they feared he might turn the tide at Terra. However, Eldrad, in an incredibly undickish move, told John Grammaticus that if he killed Vulkan, he could instead heal Vulkan's mind, allowing him to perform his desired role. After Konrad Curze arrived on Macragge (after jumping off Lion El'Jonson's battle barge after playing an extended game of hide and seek), Vulkan went apeshit and made a beeline for Curze. Apparently, the fulgurite could only kill Vulkan permanently if it was USED BY ANOTHER PRIMARCH. During the battle, John Grammaticus, in a change of heart, instead of giving the fulgurite to Curze to kill Vulkan, stabbed Vulkan with the shard himself, restoring Vulkan's sanity but simultaneously knocking him into a deep coma, while making Grammaticus fully human. Guilliman hoped he might revive himself, so he placed him in a coffin (or preservation capsule, as he told Lion El'Jonson and Sanguinius), hand-crafted by Guilliman himself, where he was guarded by some Salamanders who had made it to Macragge, who thought they might have heard a heartbeat. Before you get your hopes up, however, the coffin was named The Unbound Flame, the last of the fabled Artifacts of Vulkan that the Forgefathers would be looking for in later 40k.

  • Those of you who enjoy speculation should be getting a kick out of this. While internally consistent, it is almost completely incompatible with Vulkan He'stan's lore, which is just as canon as Vulkan Lives as of the 6th ed Marines codex. Ignoring for a moment the question of how the "Unbound Flame" was lost to the Salamanders, "Unbound Flame" was Vulkan's name for the artifact, not Guilliman's, and it's a name that predates the Drop Site Massacre. Vulkan had no prior history of being able to see the future, and was unconscious, dead, or completely insane during any of the times when it would have made sense for him to tell Guilliman what to name his casket. Also, the coffin would have to be *extremely* oversized and only usable for a Primarch. The Horus Heresy Novel Deathfire is based around the Salamander remnants trying to return The Unbound Flame to Nocturne, which they succeed at. So far as we know, it is not now and has never been missing. The biggest problem is that the casket was made by Guilliman and the fulgurite and Vulkan himself were both made by the Emperor, so neither the casket nor its contents were made by Vulkan, and all nine artifacts that have to be recovered were made by Vulkan himself.
  • This is somewhat mitigated when one considers that Vulkan only told his first Forgefather to choose seven artefacts rather than nine, so the other two had to come from somewhere else or made by Vulkan at some point after the Dropsite Massacre. It also turns out that the Unbound Flame (or Immolus as it was known on Nocturne), as well as being a title occasionally attributed to Vulkan himself, was a central concept to everyone on Nocturne - the all destroying fire and could refer to pretty much anything.
  • In Nick Kyme's Salamanders Trilogy, the Chapter believes that the Unbound Flame might in fact be the soul of Vulkan, rather than a specific object. The Chapter are not aware of Vulkan's Perpetual ability and consider the possibility to the term could refer to him directly without them realising, though it could also be a form of reincarnation. Even though they conclude that one of their Librarians: Hazon Dak'ir is probably NOT the Unbound Flame (and therefore not a reincarnation of the Primarch) it doesn't mean they aren't correct with their original guess or that they don't realize they are hunting for Vulkan instead of an artefact.

The novel Deathfire ended up resolving a few issues and creating a few more mysteries. After First Captain Artellus Numeon of the Salamanders is rescued and relocated to Macragge, he goes a bit...crazy over finding out that Vulkan is dead. Weird things happen and the body is briefly stolen (by whom is unknown, though current bets are on the Lion) before being reclaimed by the Salamanders and fast tracked back to Nocturne. In spite of Vulkan's previous resurrection powers (which were supposedly removed), the remaining Salamanders believe that returning the body to Nocturne would bring him back to life, according to the Promethean Creed. After fighting off a variety of parties trying to get the body back (including a surprising turn from one of the shards of Magnus the Red), Numeon is told, not surprisingly, that the story was allegorical - any resurrection was a rebirth of spirit, ideals, and resolve; not a literal one. After getting a little suicidal about the whole thing, Numeon climbs the slopes of an erupting Mount Deathfire. A rescue party is sent out to find him (or his convection broiled corpse) but instead they find Vulkan alive and well, having ended up resurrecting himself after all.

Old Earth pads this resurrection out somewhat; Vulkan awakes in a cave inside of Mount Deathfire, missing some important memories but possessing some unexplained knowledge. Having a conversation with this dick in disguise, Vulkan realises that there is still a Webway gate left on Nocturne, and that it is buried underneath Deathfire. Based on his own limited understanding of his Perpetual limits, he also comes to the conclusion that his Father's purpose for him is no longer to lead his Legion, arguing that the Imperium already has enough generals. So he decides not to rejoin the Salamanders or the Horus Heresy, but instead travel to Terra through the Webway, taking only three Legionaries with him and swearing them to secrecy about his return. When he does reach Terra, the Emperor tells him, in true grimdark fashion, that Vulkan had an additional purpose to uphold. In the event of Chaos winning the battle of Terra, Vulkan's interaction with the Golden Throne would somehow lead to the whole planet annihilating itself ; throneworld, loyalists, traitors, webway entrance and daemons alike. Whilst coming out of nowhere, it at least gives a reason for Vulkan to be on Terra but not seen during the siege itself if he was acting as a living deadman's switch.

As it turned out, the Emperor had kept Vulkan on standby within the Throne Room, to counter any attacks that Horus might launch upon the Emperor Himself. Here, Vulkan would face Magnus in a battle which saw him die over and over again, but rise each time to continue the fight. Eventually, his sheer tenacity (and his uber-regeneration) saw Magnus drained of power, both through physical damage and psychic exhaustion. In a last ditch effort to save himself, Magnus teleported their consciousnesses to a psychic dreamscape. He attempted to argue that Chaos was in fact a better choice than the Imperium, and that without the change Chaos brought, the universe was doomed to stagnation and un-enlightenment. But Vulkan was having absolutely none of it, and Told. Him. Right. The. Fuck. Off. He called Magnus out in his entirety for his arrogance, his vanity, and his solipsism. He told Magnus that, instead of being the righteous victim as he had always considered himself, he was in fact little more than a petulant child with a martyr complex. He could have made any one of a hundred different decisions to prevent his own downfall, but had been so convinced that he was in the right that he never even thought to. Vulkan capped it all off by telling Magnus that, despite him believing that still he wove his own fate and made his own choices, he was so deeply in Tzeentch's clutches that he had completely misremembered his final interaction with the Emperor. For Magnus believed that he had deliberately refused the Emperor's last offer of redemption and of a new, uncorrupted Legion, for the sake of his Thousand Sons. He believed that he had, at long last, given himself over to Chaos completely of his own free will to serve a righteous cause. The reality was that the last uncorrupted shard of Magnus had in fact burst into the Throne Room and begged his father to save him. The Emperor, heavy hearted, had refused, for he knew Magnus too well to think he'd changed. Magnus proclaimed that it was Vulkan who was deluded, but Vulkan, demonstrating a remarkable understanding of Chaos (possibly the Emperor giving him a hand, though Vulkan is clearly stated as narrating his own words), laid out how Tzeentch had made Magnus into willing prey by feeding him everything he'd wanted to believe. Tzeentch had, for instance, allowed Magnus to believe he had cured the flesh change when all he had actually done was give Tzeentch a tighter grasp on the Thousand Sons. The Emperor would never have offered Magnus a place at his side once more, let alone a new Legion, for how could he possibly trust him now? Magnus had dreamed up his own redemption because he needed to believe that he still made his own choices. After this, Vulkan hammered the spent Daemon Primarch into paste. For a moment, his ruined brother's form stirred his pity and he thought to spare Magnus. However, he quickly realized that his very hesitation, his mercy, was the path for Chaos to enter his heart. His mercy would be used to deceive him, and his seemingly virtuous choice would feel righteous to him as the Traitor Primarchs undoubtedly had been made to feel as they fell. He would believe his own principled decisions guided his hand, but in reality it would be the Chaos gods simply using him. Magnus then apologized the Vulkan (or maybe to the Emperor as he was kinda staring off past Vulkan at the time), but Vulkan heard at that moment the voice of the Emperor in his mind. His father told him that Magnus was lying, even to himself, for that was all his ruined brother could now do. He informed Vulkan that the Daemon Magnus had become was not in fact sorry but was gathering power to strike Vulkan down. In a bit of a reverse-Palpatine moment, He told Vullkan to DEW IT. Vulkan made to strike Magnus down, but not before Magnus landed a final sorcerous attack that unraveled Vulkan's DNA both metaphysically and at an atomic physical level. It was an attempt to unmake Vulkan at his very core, and Magnus delighted at the level of power and understanding he had seemingly achieved. He reduced Vulkan to a disintegrating, immolated skeletal ruin, but Vulkan still swung his hammer. Magnus, in stunned, arrogant disbelief, lost his head to Vulkan's strike and did not regenerate. Vulkan moments later gave into Magnus's spell and fell to pieces next to his brother's corpse. Some time later, he managed to regain enough life to shamble out of the Webway, ruined to the point of appearing undead, but still enduring.

Critical opinions aside, it does at least explain how Vulkan was able to do things post-Heresy and why information on his activities after the Heresy are spotty and incomplete, since at this point he had already decided to move into the background and leave the Salamanders generally nonplussed.

Later 40k[edit]

Fan art depicting Vulkan dressing his best friend Corax up in a Salamander onesie (The beasts of Nocturne, not the Chapter) and showing him a whole new world. Say it with me everybody! Daaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwww!

The 6th edition codex and Vulkan Lives have included quotes from Vulkan after the Horus Heresy, arguing with Roboute Guilliman about his issues with the Codex (namely the fact that the Salamanders didn't have enough marines left to fill one chapter, let alone two) and a speech that he made to the survivors of his legion on Terra, so there's hope that more will happen in the future of the (yet unfinished) Horus Heresy books. But all of this hits a snag when one realizes that it could have been simply the First Forge Father and 10,000 years resulted in people forgetting that wasn't the real Vulkan. The black library novel series and the 8th edition Codex confirmed his survival after the Heresy, claiming that he would return to aid the Salamanders from time to time for a couple of millennia afterwards and added that he bequeathed the Tome of Fire to the Salamanders after warning them he had to leave on a long journey for reasons he couldn't discuss.

In response, the Salamanders created the position of Forgefather, chosen from a Company Captain who would travel the galaxy searching for information on the fate of Vulkan and his nine Artifacts of Vulkan. So far, five have been discovered, three of which are pieces of wargear used by the Forgefather. Another is a massive laser weapon used to shoot out incoming ships trying to attack Nocturne. The fifth is a downed forgeship used to create wargear for the Chapter, which, alongside their unique practices, is the reason they have so many master-crafted weapons. The locations--and even the form--of the other Artifacts are completely unknown. The Salamanders hold that once all nine Artifacts have been located, Vulkan will return to the Salamanders and lead them once more. Like Leman Russ, but with more style.

The Beast Arises series says that at least 1500 years after the Horus Heresy, Vulkan was still alive and kicking, and of course he was trapped on an Ork world fighting them all the time, so the Imperial Fists set out to investigate these rumours and bring him back if possible. They succeed, but he refuses to abandon the world he's on, claiming that every world in the Imperium is just as important as Terra and is equally as deserving of protection and instead rallies the Imperial forces to defeat the Orks, save the world, and give stirring speeches to everyone who sees him. But not before a few clues are dropped that the years since the Horus Heresy have not been kind to him. He doesn't seem to understand what a "Successor Chapter" is, which given that he was present at the time of the Second founding is pretty ridiculous unless it really was the Forgefather who spoke for him at the Second Founding rather than himself. He also implies that he can communicate with Dorn, as he said he would tell Dorn that Koorland is a worthy successor when he sees him. Though this statement about Dorn might signify the onset of madness or senility, considering that he had already been haunted by visions of his dead brother Ferrus Manus during the Horus Heresy; it might instead signify that the departed soul of Dorn might still be reachable, considering the Emperor could psychically summon an effigy of their brother Ferrus to battle daemons in the webway; or it might really mean that Dorn is in fact still alive, giving fans some hope to cling to. Or he just didn't realise that Dorn had died during the intervening years of his self-exile.

Vulkan appears very much out of place during the War of the Beast as his mere existence is juxtaposed against a more modern Imperium that already considers him and his brothers as something out of a barely understood myth. He then agrees to go back with Terra and take command of the Imperial response, although he leaves the "actual" command of everything to Koorland and works primarily as an advisor (see above about him saying that the Imperium already has enough generals) and refuses to present himself to his own Chapter who would be dying to have an audience with their Primarch. Eventually he ends up exploding himself and The Beast together, not before stating he would return in another time to help humanity in a conflict that would make them tremble. Vulkan was officially declared dead, but the Salamanders and Chapter Master Koorland of the Imperial Fists believed that Vulkan could have survived. (And he probably did, him being a Perpetual and all that.)

On The Tabletop[edit]

Vulkan's model is an instructional manual on how to deploy Hammertime.

Thank you, Forgeworld. We have rules for Vulkan now because of Horus Heresy Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Remember how Mortarion in the first book got a ton of rules that basically made him unkillable? T7, a bajillionty wounds, saving throws coming out from places he didn't even know he had, rerolling failed It Will Not Die saves? Well, Vulkan gets all that fun stuff too except in a slightly different variety, AND he's as McHUEG deadly in both shooting and assault phases.

Pts WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
Vulkan: 425 7 5 7 7 6 5 4 10 2+/3++

Firstly, your entire army gains +1 Ld and Adamantium Will while he's deployed, because fuck psykers. He gets to reroll failed It Will Not Die and 5+ Deny the Witch, making him the fifth best psyker-proof Primarch (After Magnus, Lorgar, Mortarion and Horus) on par with Guilliman.

Vulkan's armor is stupidly good: as if 2+/3++ wasn't good enough, the Draken Scale also reduces the strength of any flamer, fusion, volkite, melta and plasma weapons used against him, BY HALF, rounded down. That means Plasma is only Strength 3 against him. Oh wait, he's T7. That means he's LITERALLY IMMUNE TO PLASMA WEAPONS, at least the ones that aren't attached to a superheavy tank or a titan. The only way to reliably cause wounds on Vulkan is heaping gobs and gobs of ordnance on him or unleash a few dozen Lascannons and hope he stops moving before he gets too close. Or just being a Dark Eldar, with all guns poisoned 4+ or S8 AP2. No wonder Vulkan hates them.

His close combat weapon, the Dawnbringer, effectively makes him Sauron in that one scene before Sauron gets his finger chopped off in the Lord of the Rings movie. You know, where he bats entire legions of dudes around in a single swing? Yeah, that. Not only is the weapon itself Strength 10 AP1 ConcussiveArmorbaneInstantDeath without also being Unwieldy, he can choose to not make attacks normally in combat to place a small blast template (you know, the 3" kind you use with grenades) anywhere in base to base contact with himself that does not cover friendly models. All models under it take a beefy S8 AP3 hit with Strikedown automatically. AKA: Thunk.

Vulkan is fairly shooty, too, something kind of odd for all the Primarchs released so far save Ferrus Manus. Go figure, Vulkan's line-drawing gun was created by the liquid metal-armed one. The best part is both ranged weapons Vulkan carries do not require you to roll to hit, so his below average (for a Primarch) BS5 doesn't come into play. One is simply a strength 6 heavy flamer, while the other is an 18" S6 AP2 beam gun with rending. You know how you utilize Beam psychic powers? It works just like that, except there are no 'deny the witch rolls' to be made.

All this said, no Primarch can do everything, and Vulkan is no exception. The Ld bonus and Adamantium Will are good, but don't stack up against making your marines and tanks even tougher, morale shenanigans and choosing psychic powers, or strategic traits, +2 to combat resolution, and challenge excellence. He also shares a problem with Angron and Leman Russ - as killy as he is he isn't very mobile, and he can't just mulch through tarpits like Dorn or Mortarion would. The Lord of Drakes just can't kill enough shit to justify his points cost unless your enemy brought something ludicrous like a Fellblade. If you're bringing him, you need a transport, a retinue, and a plan.

Vulkan VS other Primarchs:[edit]

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 (Especially in the case of Vulkan. No other primarch is resilient as he is, not even Mortarion. In your face, Khan!) With that in mind this section is about how Vulkan 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?).

  • Vulkan VS Horus
    • Horus hits 4.667 times (Worldbreaker), wounds 3.333 times, 1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.556 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.556 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222.
    • Vulkan loses. Eventually.
  • Vulkan VS Angron
    • Angron Round 1: hits 5.333 times, wounds 3.555 times, 1.185 after saves, and IWND take it down to 0.63.
    • Angron Round 2: hits 4 times, wounds 2.666 times, 0.889 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.833 wounds after saves (ID Negates FNP) and IWND will take that down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Thanks to his sheer resilience, Vulkan comes out on top.
  • Vulkan vs Mortarion
    • Mortarion hits 2.5 times, wounds 1.25 times, 0.415 wounds after saves and 0 wounds after IWND.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.833 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.278 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan wins.
  • Vulkan vs Fulgrim
    • Fulgrim Round 1 (And every round he is not Concussed): hits 6 times, wounds 3 times, 1 wounds after saves and 0.444 wounds after IWND.
    • Fulgrim (Every round he IS Concussed): hits 4 times, wounds 2 times, 0.667 wounds after saves and 0.111 wounds after IWND.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.556 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • A really close (and long) fight but it ends in victory for Fulgrim, for even with the 55% chance of being concussed his average damage is 0.261, a little bit higher than Vulkan's.
  • Vulkan vs Ferrus Manus
    • Ferrus hits 2.5 times, wounds 2 times, 0.667 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.111 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.556 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • The fight between the two big tanks ends in victory for Vulkan, 'cause even though Ferrus does marginally more damage, Vulkan is a bit tougher (or better, he regenerates a lot faster).
  • Vulkan vs Konrad Curze
    • Curze hits 4 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.741 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.185 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.833 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan wins as he is just too tanky for Konrad.
    • With Hit & Run Curze would outdamage Vulkan, but this is hindered by the fact that Dawnbringer has Concussive, making it difficult to foresee: it could go either way. (Because it's also a Hammer.)
  • Vulkan VS Lorgar
    • Lorgar hits 2.5 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.556 after saves and IWND will take that to 0 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan Round 1: hits 2.37 times, wounds 1.865 times, 0.932 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.599 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan Round 2: hits 2.666 times, wounds 2.221 times, 1.11 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.777 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan wins as Lorgar can't even put a dent on him.
    • Note: as always, psychic powers not included. You know how it would end anyway...
  • Vulkan VS Perturabo
    • 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.
    • 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 wins against Vulkan thanks to his Hammer.
  • Vulkan VS Alpharius
    • Alpharius hits 2.92 times and wounds 1.136 times, 0.379 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.833 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan wins without breaking a sweat.
  • Vulkan VS Rogal Dorn
    • Dorn hits 2.667 times, wounds 1.481 times, 0.494 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan 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.
    • Vulkan wins again.
  • Vulkan VS Corvus Corax
    • Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 2.222 times (Scourge)/1.667 times (Shadow-walk), 0.741 wounds (Scourge)/0.556 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.185/0 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times/1.333 times, wounds 1.667 times/1.111 times, 1.111 wounds/0.741 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778/0.408 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan wins.
    • Note: even with Hit & Run Corax will struggle to keep up with the damage output of Vulkan, and if he uses Scourge (the only way to really do more damage than him) chance are pretty high that Vulkan will Hammer him to I 1, thus making almost impossible for him to escape.
  • Vulkan VS Roboute Guilliman
    • Guilliman Round 1: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 0.694 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.139 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.778 times, 0.926 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.37 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.833 times after saves, 0.417 after Armor of Reason and IWND will take that down to 0.083.
    • Guilliman takes the win (after a loooong fight) because he does more damage than Vulkan.
  • Vulkan VS Leman Russ
    • Russ hits 4 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.741 time after saves, plus 0.206 wounds from Sever Life for a whole 0.947 wounds and IWND will take that down to 0.392 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan round 1: hits 1.333 times, wounds 1.111 times, 0.555 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222.
    • Vulkan Round 2 and thereafter: hits 0.667 times, wounds 0.555 times, 0.278 times after saves and IWND will take that down to -0.055 wounds.
    • Vulkan loses after a long fight.
  • Vulkan VS Jaghatai
    • Jaghatai hits 4 times, wounds 1.333 times, 0.444 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0
    • Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.556 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.222 wounds at the start of the next turn.
    • Vulkan is more likely to pass an IWND roll than Khan is to wound him, so Vulkan wins.
  • TLDR version: Thanks to his mere resilience Vulkan is actually one of the strongest Primarchs when it comes down to 1 vs 1 fights, losing mathematically to only five of the Primarchs released till now (7, if we include Lorgar transfigured and psychic Magnus), and they all will take some time to kill him, even Horus. Also, even though he strike less than most of them, he strikes really hard, making him hurt everyone in the same way (except for Rogal Dorn..). Then again, even though he would win almost every fight, he will take his sweet time to do so, so don't ever stick him in a fight with a Primarch; in his case it will never end (unless you want to tie them up for the whole game, in which case, he's perfect).

The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions
Imperial Eagle.png Loyalist Imperial Eagle.png
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