Dive into the Warhammer Horus Heresy saga, one of the most captivating and enduring stories in the world of science fiction. From the table-top games to the novels, this article will serve as your comprehensive guide to the Warhammer 40,000 universe and the Horus Heresy event that shaped it. So, buckle up and prepare to embark on an epic journey!
The Warhammer 40,000 Universe
Before we delve into the Horus Heresy, let’s first get a grasp on the Warhammer 40,000 universe, often abbreviated as “40k.” Created by Games Workshop, Warhammer 40,000 is a tabletop miniature wargame set in a dystopian science fiction universe. It’s a world where warfare is constant, and humanity is on the brink of annihilation.
The Imperium of Man
The primary human faction in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is the Imperium of Man. Ruled by the God-Emperor of Mankind, the Imperium is a brutal, totalitarian regime that spans a million worlds. They seek to eradicate all alien life forms, believing them to be a threat to human existence. The Imperium’s military forces are vast and include the mighty Space Marines and the colossal Imperial Guard.
The Forces of Chaos
Opposing the Imperium are the Forces of Chaos, a malevolent force of gods, daemons, and mortal followers. The Chaos gods are four powerful beings residing in the Warp, an alternate dimension of raw psychic energy. The Warp is a dangerous place, filled with unimaginable horrors, but it is also the source of psychic powers and faster-than-light travel.
The universe is also home to various xenos races, including the ancient and enigmatic Eldar, the ravenous Tyranids, the technologically advanced Tau Empire, and the brutal Orks. Each race has its own unique agenda and fighting style, making the Warhammer 40,000 universe a rich and complex tapestry of conflict.
The Horus Heresy: The Fall of Warmaster Horus
The Horus Heresy is a pivotal event in the Warhammer 40,000 timeline. It tells the story of Warmaster Horus Lupercal, the most trusted and powerful of the Emperor’s sons, as he becomes corrupted by the forces of Chaos and leads a rebellion against the Imperium. This tragic tale of betrayal and civil war forever changed the fate of humanity.
The Primarchs and the Space Marine Legions
The Horus Heresy begins with the creation of the Primarchs – twenty genetically engineered superhuman warriors, each with their own unique abilities and traits. The Emperor created the Primarchs as part of his Great Crusade to conquer the galaxy and unite humanity under his rule.
To assist in this monumental task, the Emperor also created the Space Marine Legions, each led by one of the Primarchs. These legions were vast armies of genetically enhanced soldiers, bred for war and fiercely loyal to their Primarch and the Emperor.
Horus: The Emperor’s Favorite Son
Of all the Primarchs, Horus was the most accomplished and beloved by the Emperor. He was a charismatic leader and a fearsome warrior, capable of inspiring loyalty in all who served under him. The Emperor entrusted Horus with the title of Warmaster, granting him command over all the Imperium’s military forces.
The Seeds of Betrayal
The seeds of betrayal were sown when the Emperor returned to Terra, leaving Horus in charge of the Great Crusade. This decision sparked feelings of resentment and abandonment in Horus, making him vulnerable to the manipulations of the Chaos gods.
During a battle on the planet Davin, Horus was mortally wounded and fell into a coma. Desperate to save their Warmaster, his closest followers sought the help of the planet’s shamans, who were secretly servants of Chaos. They used their dark powers to heal Horus, but in doing so, they also corrupted his soul.
The Corruption of Horus
Under the influence of Chaos, Horus became convinced that the Emperor was a tyrant who sought to enslave humanity. He believed that he alone could save humanity from the Emperor’s oppressive rule, and he resolved to overthrow the Imperium and take his place as the rightful ruler of mankind.
To achieve this, Horus secretly turned half of the Primarchs and their legions to his cause, setting the stage for a cataclysmic civil war that would be known as the Horus Heresy.
The Horus Heresy Begins
The Horus Heresy officially began with the Isstvan III Atrocity. Horus ordered four legions loyal to the Emperor to assault the planet Isstvan III, claiming that it had fallen to rebellion. In reality, Horus had infected the planet with a deadly virus, intending to use the resulting carnage to cement the loyalty of the traitor legions.
When the loyalist forces landed on Isstvan III, they were met with unimaginable devastation. Realizing they had been betrayed, they fought a desperate battle for survival against the forces of Chaos.
The Siege of Terra
The Horus Heresy culminated in the Siege of Terra, where the traitor legions led by Horus assaulted the very heart of the Imperium. The battle raged for months, with countless lives lost on both sides. In the end, the Emperor confronted Horus in a climactic duel aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit.
Despite being grievously wounded, the Emperor managed to strike down Horus, ending the rebellion and saving the Imperium from destruction. However, the Emperor was mortally wounded in the process and has since been confined to the Golden Throne, a life-sustaining device that keeps him alive but in a state of perpetual torment.
Warhammer Horus Heresy: The Novels
The story of the Horus Heresy is not only told through the tabletop game but also through a series of novels published by the Black Library, Games Workshop’s publishing arm. The Horus Heresy book series is a sprawling saga, with dozens of novels, novellas, and short stories written by a team of talented authors, including Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, and Aaron Dembski-Bowden.
These novels provide a deep and engaging look into the characters, events, and battles of the Horus Heresy, adding a rich layer of detail and context to the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the tabletop game or simply looking for an epic science fiction story, the Horus Heresy novels are a must-read.
How to Start Your Warhammer Horus Heresy Journey
If you’re new to the Warhammer 40,000 universe and the Horus Heresy, there are a few steps you can take to immerse yourself in this fascinating world.
- Read the novels: Begin with the opening trilogy, Horus Rising by Dan Abnett, False Gods by Graham McNeill, and Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter. These books provide an excellent introduction to the Horus Heresy storyline and the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
- Play the tabletop game: Invest in the Warhammer 40,000 starter set to learn the basics of the game and familiarize yourself with the different factions and units. As you become more experienced, you can expand your collection with Horus Heresy-specific models and rules.
- Explore the lore: Delve deeper into the rich history and lore of the Warhammer 40,000 universe by browsing through the various codexes, which provide detailed information about each faction’s history, characters, and units.
- Join the community: Connect with fellow Warhammer 40,000 and Horus Heresy fans by joining local gaming clubs, online forums, and social media groups. Sharing your passion with others can enhance your enjoyment of the hobby and help you learn from more experienced players.
- Paint your miniatures: Painting your Warhammer 40,000 miniatures is a huge part of the hobby and can be a relaxing and rewarding pastime. Take your time and experiment with different techniques and color schemes to make your army truly unique.
Brands to Explore for Warhammer Horus Heresy Fans
As you delve into the world of the Horus Heresy, you may find yourself wanting to expand your collection of miniatures, books, and accessories. Here are some brands to explore that cater to Warhammer Horus Heresy enthusiasts:
- Games Workshop: As the creators of Warhammer 40,000, Games Workshop offers a wide range of miniatures, rulebooks, and accessories for the game. They also produce the Horus Heresy-specific line of models called “The Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness.”
- Forge World: A subsidiary of Games Workshop, Forge World specializes in producing highly detailed resin miniatures, including many Horus Heresy-era models and characters. These models often require a higher level of skill to assemble and paint but can be a fantastic addition to your collection.
- Black Library: As the publisher of the Horus Heresy novels, the Black Library offers a vast selection of books, audiobooks, and eBooks to immerse you in the lore and storylines of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
- Army Painter: This company offers a wide range of high-quality paints, brushes, and tools specifically designed for painting miniatures. Their products can help you bring your Horus Heresy miniatures to life with stunning detail and color.
- Battle Foam: Protect your valuable miniatures during transportation and storage with Battle Foam’s custom-cut foam trays and cases. They offer a range of solutions designed specifically for Warhammer 40,000 and Horus Heresy models, ensuring your collection remains safe and secure.
In Conclusion: The Enduring Appeal of the Horus Heresy
The Warhammer Horus Heresy saga has captivated fans for decades, thanks to its rich storytelling, detailed characters, and epic battles. Its themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the struggle for power resonate with readers and gamers alike, making it a timeless and engaging experience.
Is Horus Heresy 30K or 40K?
The Horus Heresy is set in the Warhammer 30,000 (30K) timeline, which takes place 10,000 years before the events of Warhammer 40,000 (40K). It tells the story of the galactic civil war that led to the current state of the 40K universe.
Is Horus Heresy worth playing?
Yes, the Horus Heresy is worth playing if you’re a fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe and want to explore its rich history and lore. The game offers unique armies, rules, and models that are specific to the Horus Heresy era, providing a fresh and engaging experience for both new and veteran players.
Is Horus Heresy good for beginners?
While the Horus Heresy game can be more complex than the standard Warhammer 40,000 game, it is still accessible to beginners. If you’re interested in the storyline and era, it’s worth giving it a try. However, it might be helpful to start with the 40K game to learn the basics before diving into the Horus Heresy.
Is the Horus Heresy game dead?
No, the Horus Heresy game is not dead. While it may not be as popular as the standard Warhammer 40,000 game, it still has a dedicated player base and continues to receive support from Games Workshop and Forge World.
Can I use a 30K army in 40K?
Yes, many 30K (Horus Heresy) armies can be used in 40K games with some modifications to their rules and unit choices. However, not all units or characters may be compatible, so it’s essential to check the specific rules for each game system.
Is Warhammer a AAA game?
Warhammer is primarily a tabletop miniatures wargame, not a video game. However, there have been numerous Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 video games produced by various developers, some of which are considered AAA games.
Is Horus Heresy expensive?
Collecting and playing Horus Heresy can be expensive due to the cost of miniatures, rulebooks, and accessories. Forge World models, in particular, can be pricey compared to standard Games Workshop models. However, the overall expense depends on the size of the army you want to build and the level of detail you want to achieve in painting and modeling.
Is Horus Heresy popular?
While not as popular as Warhammer 40,000, the Horus Heresy still enjoys a dedicated fan base of players and readers who are passionate about the storyline and game system. The Horus Heresy novels are particularly popular and have sold millions of copies worldwide.
How many hours is the Horus Heresy?
The Horus Heresy refers to a series of novels and a tabletop game, so the number of hours you spend on it depends on how deeply you engage with the books and the game. Reading the entire novel series can take hundreds of hours, while playing the tabletop game can take anywhere from a few hours for a small skirmish to an entire day or more for a large-scale battle.
How many people play Horus Heresy?
It’s challenging to provide an exact number of Horus Heresy players worldwide, but the game has a dedicated and passionate player base that continues to grow as more people discover the rich history and lore of the Warhammer 30,000 universe.
How big is Horus Heresy?
The Horus Heresy is a vast and sprawling narrative that spans dozens of novels, novellas, and short stories, as well as a detailed tabletop game system. Its scope
and scale make it one of the most expansive and immersive storylines in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, providing countless hours of entertainment and engagement for fans.
Should I read Primarchs before Horus Heresy?
The Primarchs series focuses on the individual stories of each Primarch, while the Horus Heresy series tells the overall story of the civil war. You can read the Primarchs series before the Horus Heresy if you want more background on each Primarch, but it’s not necessary to understand or enjoy the main Horus Heresy series.
Why are Horus Heresy models so expensive?
Horus Heresy models, particularly those produced by Forge World, tend to be more expensive for several reasons:
- Resin materials: Forge World models are typically made of resin, which is more expensive than the plastic used for standard Games Workshop models. Resin allows for a higher level of detail but also requires more care and skill during assembly and painting.
- Limited production: Forge World models are often produced in smaller quantities compared to Games Workshop’s mainline products, which can increase the cost due to economies of scale.
- Niche market: The Horus Heresy game and models cater to a more niche audience within the Warhammer 40,000 community, which can result in higher prices due to the smaller customer base.
While the initial cost of Horus Heresy models can be more expensive, many players find the investment worthwhile for the unique and highly detailed miniatures that bring the characters and battles of the Horus Heresy to life on the tabletop.
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