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TitleImperial Primer
TagsMutation Spanish Inquisition Inquisition Religion And Belief
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Page 1

Imper i a l
Pr imer

- A D a r k H e r e s y s o u r c e b o o k -

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Credits

Disclaimer
T

DIsclAImer

This document is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by Games Workshop Limited or Fantasy Flight Games. Games Workshop, Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, Dark Heresy, the Dark Heresy logo, Black In-dustries, the Black Industries logo, BL Publishing, the BL Publishing logo and all associated races and race in-
signia, marks, names, characters, illustrations and images from the Warhammer 40,000 universe are either ©, ™ and/
or © Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2009, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world.

creDITs

Created and written by:
Golden Tullis

Special Thanks
The Dark Reign web-site and Donato

Re-design
Mauvia

Artwork and Warhammer 40k Universe
See disclaimer

�It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the
Golden �rone of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million
worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power

from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand
souls are sacri�ced every day, so that he may never truly die.�

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ris considered a tragedy, the death of an abhuman is considered to be an unfortunate or distasteful turn of

events, and this is only in the more egalitarian worlds
where the labor pool has need for the speci�c traits of
the abhumans residing there. �e two most common
forms of abhuman are ogrun, which is a catch-all
term for large, physically powerful human strains that
primarily developed on feral high-g worlds, and the
ratlings, small (and frequently nimble) humans from
feral or fallen worlds that required specialized traits to
safely maneuver through the environment and survive
the native dangers. Ogrun tend to �nd work in heavy
physical labor, while ratlings tend to end up in niche
industrial roles, or as scouts for the various military
factions of the Imperium.

Finally you have the various forms of true mutant.
Minor mutations are sometimes tolerated, especially
if they can be removed, replaced, or corrected in
some way (�Born with serpent�s eyes? Eh, we�ll slap
some cybers on him before anyone notices!�), or are
unobtrusive (such as the occasional night-walker
with the ability to see in absolute darkness). Such
individuals will still be watched closely for signs of
corruption, as corruption inevitably breeds mutation,
and mutation is frequently the only early indicator
the Imperium has to detect traitors in the service of
Chaos. Severe mutations are from one of two sources,
genetic damage caused by environmental or similar
forces, and warp corruption. Mutations coming from
genetic damage are largely similar to what was seen
during the Age of Terra, before the depredations of
Chaos were observed among humanity. However,
mutations coming from warp corruption tend to be
more fantastic, bizarre, functional, or impossible
in nature, depending on the source and the subject
involved.

How society actually handles mutants varies from
world to world as much as anything else, but
some patterns tend to hold to hold up in a general
sense. Hive worlds always have the largest mutant
population, both numerically and per-capita. �e
abandoned, damaged, and toxic environments make
naturally occurring mutations much more common
amongst the unfortunates driven to such depths,
which then becomes a natural haven for mutants from
other sections of the hive, as they are likely resistant
to the environmental dangers, allowing them to both
be safe (well, safer) from any purges or pogroms, and
gives them a potential source of income by salvaging
materials and resources inaccessible to non-mutants.
�us mutant shanty-towns become rather common in
the depths of the underhives.

On feral worlds, mutants tend to be short lived, but
those that do survive simply leave human society
behind, becoming hermits or falling in with a cult
or coven of Chaos in the wild. Archaic Imperial
and Shrine worlds tend to have the fewest mutants
amongst them, as they tend to be burned on sight,

regardless of who they are or what is wrong with them.
Death worlds tend to be the most blasØ regarding
mutants, so long as they keep to themselves and don�t
cause trouble, in some cases a mutant may even �nd an
�outsider� role within the local culture. As most death
worlds are hotbeds of superstition combined with a
nonstop �ght just to stay alive, few want to take the
spiritual or karmic risk of tangling with an otherwise
unaggressive and unobtrusive mutant unless they
have to. �e void-born are host to some of the more
disturbing and unusual mutant colonies, in particular
some space hulks are home to nests of creatures so
warped and twisted that their human heritage is all
but unrecognizable.

Hive worlds, and feudal worlds relying on dangerous
manual labor, tend to have the least overtly hostile
policies towards mutants. However, these policies
tend to simply exploit the mutants to death rather than
execute them outright. For example, on the hellish
mining world of Sepheris Secundus, the mutants are
generally allowed to live, so long as they stick to the
uninhabitable and unstable toxic undermines. Trading
with these mutants is a crime, but this is only so more
bribe money can be sent up to the top by those people
trading medical supplies, food, and other goods to the
mutant population in exchange for the valuable ores
and chemicals that the mutants can reclaim from the
otherwise unreachable sections of the planet. �us,
thanks to the ability to pro�t greatly by way of the
mutant�s work and su�ering, the continued existence
of the mutants (as a whole, not individually) is quietly
protected by the nobles running the planet.

Most hive worlds actually have a somewhat more
civilized mutant subculture in the lower and
underhives. �ese mutant colonies are frequently
o�cially zoned and the borders policed (to prevent
mutants from leaving or pure humans from entering),
and the mutants put to work in exchange for the
most basic of civil services (power, water, the ability
to develop the most basic of foodstu�s). Such
colonies tend to develop their own art, music, cants,
and social standards, in a few cases even having their
own uno�cial police-force and/or lay-clergy. Life
in such colonies tends to be brief and brutal, but for
mutants in need of a sense of place, home, or society
without turning to chaos, some hives become a sort of
promised-land in mutant social mythology.

Legally, it is almost always considered a good thing
to kill a true mutant (rather than abhuman or o�-
world variant). In some cases bounties are o�ered
for mutant heads, and particularly hardened killers
make their living hunting the dregs of society in the
underhives. Usually the personal risks, low rewards,
and potential enemies made by killing a group of
mutants that are providing income to a more powerful
individual or organization, mean that such ventures
are infrequent and carried out exclusively by zealots
such as the Red Redemptionists. Some worlds do

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The Inquisition

Xenos

N

M

o�er a measure of legal protection to mutants that
obey the rules imposed on them and stay within the
labor colonies. Even then, the crime for grievously
injuring or killing such a mutant is usually at best a
on the level of a �lesser count of industrial sabotage�,
and more often simply a misdemeanor on par with
�destruction of property�.

Xenos

much as with mutants, the population holds a stronger sentiment that the reality truly supports regarding aliens. �e Imperium�s
goal is not to exterminate all non-human sentient life.
�e Imperium�s goal is to ensure that no xeno species
is able to taint or in�uence humanity or its culture, and
that Xenos of the galaxy know to remain out of Imperial
space. �e only Imperial agents allowed to engage
xeno species in any manner but violence are specially
bonded emissaries and diplomats, Rogue Traders, and
the Inquisition. Aside from direct warfare or other
incursions on Imperial territory by xeno species, xeno
technology is considered to be the primary threat
posed by alien societies. To understand why this is
considered such a grave threat, one must recall the
Imperial beliefs regarding technology. All technology
is possessed of a soul, but only technology of the
Imperium carries a soul that is part of the Machine
God/Omnissiah/Emperor. To take up technology
of xeno origin is to commune with an alien soul and,
extraordinary situations aside, implies a rejection of
or contempt for the spirits of the Machine God and
thus the Emperor himself. Quite clearly this could
be taken as one of the more direct and contemptible
acts of heresy, hence the term �tech heresy� (which also
includes the construction of profane technology, such
as a sentient machine).

Technology and the machine spirit aside, there is a
deeper reason that the Emperor counseled his people
to distrust and reject the alien: he knew that with the
inclusion and acceptance of multiple alien cultures, it
would become next to impossible to see the in�uence
of chaos and the dark gods alongside them. Too
cosmopolitan a culture, and the in�uence of ideas
born of minds too distant from humanity, would
allow Chaos to become nearly invisible in society,
and thus bring about humanity�s downfall. Given
that the Emperor also understood the contributions
other species have made to the health and power of
the Chaos Gods (the Eldar in particular), he certainly
had evidence to support his suspicions.

Finally, there is the simple factor of various xeno
species� own belligerence and aggression to consider.
�e Orks are simply violence personi�ed, they live to
�ght and kill and die, with no option for negotiation,
sweeping though the galaxy like a plague. �e Eldar,
despite having made more catastrophic mistakes (in

impact if not number) than possibly the rest of the star-
faring races combined, remain aloof, contemptuous,
and self-important in their dealings with other races.
�eir dark kin of Commorragh further complicate
matters; as they are not immediately distinguishable
from the rest of the Eldar, and their sadistic, soul-
drinking culture is not designed to make friends.
Finally the Tau Empire�s constant attempts to convert
human worlds to their philosophy of the �greater
good�, and eventually annex them, rather strongly
support the Imperiums views that, in general, any
alien is more likely murder and rob your worlds than
coexist peacefully.

THe InquIsITIon

No one expects the Imperial Inquisition! (Not even other Inquisitors.) �e Inquisition�s name, symbol, and authority (i.e. total) are
well known to every single citizen of the Imperium
that understands what �Imperium� really means.
A number of hivers have probably even seen their
world�s Inquisitorial headquarters (probably from a
considerable distance). Except for these ideas and a
generally mythical sense of dread at the very thought
of drawing Inquisitorial attention, little is known or
understood about what the Inquisition is or what it
does beyond �uncovering and destroying heresy, aliens,
and daemons�. Most citizens that have seen or met an
Inquisitorial agent have no idea who the person was,
and will never know that the Inquisition has touched
their lives.

Even most of those heretics and traitors who know
that the Inquisition would �ay them alive for their
crimes do not expect to be confronted or noticed by
the Inquisition, regarding them as something of a
boogeyman. While the Inquisition has considerable
overt military and logistical resources, and the
authority to take control over anything else it needs
in the course of its duty, Inquisitors generally prefer
to operate in a subtle and clandestine manner. �e
problem generally being that once the heretics know
the Inquisition is around, they vanish as thoroughly as
possible. Of course, this approach also supports the
public mystique surrounding their existence.

One of the great ironies of the Inquisition is that a
signi�cant minority of their Inquisitors and agents are
borderline(or outright) heretics themselves. Some of
the most staggering achievements in daemonology,
sorcery, and tech-heresy have come not from the enemy,
but Inquisitors so driven to overcome their enemies
that they risk becoming the very thing they hunt. It is
generally the case that an upstanding citizen devoid of
doubt, suspicion, or a spark of rebellion will never be
approached for a position within the Inquisition, except
perhaps as a front line soldier among the Inquisitorial
storm troopers. So while dangerous radicals are a

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himself, to ensure the Ecclesiarchy could never gain
enough temporal power to threaten the stability of
the Imperium again. �e most signi�cant of these
policies was the Decree Passive, which prohibited the
Ecclesiarchy from maintaining any �men at arms�, an
intentional wording negotiated by �or to allow the
reformation of the Daughters of the Emperor into the
Adepta Sororitas, so as to serve as the Ecclesiarchy�s
chamber militant. It should be noted, however,
that other clauses of the decree ensured that even
this exception could not grow to a size large enough
to function as an independent army (generally the
Sisters of Battle are used in small-scale strike forces for
tactical purposes, such as the purging of Chaos cults,
or other overt support activity for the Ordo Hereticus
and Imperial Guard). �e Inquisition had also taken
�or�s message and the lesson of the Reign of Blood
to heart as well, creating the Ordo Hereticus to watch
over the Ecclesiarchy to ensure they never crossed the
line into such heresy again (as may be obvious, their
charter quickly expanded to cover all heresies and
internal threats, eventually even including mutants
and unsanctioned psykers).

While the Ordo Xenos had the Deathwatch, and
Malleus had the Grey Knights, the Ordo Hereticus
found themselves naturally a�liated with the Sororitas,
due to both their identical goals and their similar
foundings. Meanwhile, �or had made a number of
internal changes on his own, �rst by reducing the size
of each Cardinal�s dioceses and increasing the number
of Cardinals, thus reducing their individual power.
Second, he created the Holy Synod of Terra to further
empower the Cardinals as a group, allowing them to
overrule or even e�ectively sideline the Ecclesiarch if
su�ciently united. Finally a series of lesser reforms
were put in place throughout �or�s time as Ecclesiarch,
all intended to move it towards spiritual rather than
political concerns when possible. When he �nally felt
he had done all he could, �or left Terra to travel the
Imperium, returning to the Coalition�s spiritual ideals
of poverty and humble living, while also putting down
heresy and educating the Imperial populace in the
light of the Emperor. He �nally, and brie�y, returned
to Terra before dying peacefully and contented at the
age of 112 (he opted to refuse juvenat treatment in
the belief that he�d done all that was required of him,
looking forward to a brief retirement in his old age
before joining the Emperor�s side).

Since the Reformation of the Ecclesiarchy, no other
serious changes to the structure of the Imperium
have occurred, and the years that followed have
unfortunately begun to be referenced, due to the
rapidly dwindling resources of the Imperium, as �e
Waning. Eight more of Abaddon�s Black Crusades
were launched against the Imperium, and while a
few were as characteristically inept as the 2nd Black
Crusade of M32 (they literally never made it out
of their home territory in the Eye), it was clear that
Abaddon was only growing stronger and more capable

as a leader of Chaos as the centuries passed in the
materium. When not battling back Abaddon�s forces,
the Imperium was dealing with rogue Tech-Priests
blowing up entire star-systems, having to exterminate
xeno psyker incursions, constantly �ghting o� Dark
Eldar raiders, and all while enduring repeated and
unpredictable Orkish Waaaghs!.

In the past few centuries things have gotten
progressively worse. To those who have seen the
signs and listened to the prophesies of Taggarath,
Seer of Corrinto, the Waning has recently given way
to the Time of Ending. In the year 742.M41, the
independent establishment of trade relations with
the Tau on a number of frontier worlds triggered a
horri�ed Imperium to launch the Damocles Crusade
into Tau space (apparently unsatis�ed with the
number of war fronts they already had to contend
with). �e Crusade was largely an abject failure,
smashing the fringe outposts of the Tau but unable to
do any real damage to their empire. Had it not been
for the impending arrival of Hive Fleet Behemoth,
the crusade would likely have become a protracted,
bloody siege with no end or victory for either side.
Sadly, this still would have been preferable to both
forces compared to the arrival of the Tyranid, which
motivated both the Tau and the Imperium to quickly
negotiate a peace and withdraw to their own regions of
space to prepare. A short time later �e Tyrannic War
revealed the full and complete horrors for which the
Genestealers had been a mere precursor. �e Tyranid
invasion forced the Imperium to develop entirely new
principals and tactics in war, as the strategic doctrine
of Roboute Guilliman favored the Tyranids so heavily
as to make any con�ict putting them into action a
complete slaughter. Eventually the Ultramarines
(Guilliman was far less adept with names than he was
with tactics) did adapt, and with these Astartes at the
fore of the attack on Behemoth, the Hive Fleet was
broken and scattered in the year 745.M41, though it
would take a full century for the Astartes chapter to
replenish their numbers. Clearly, Imperial forces did
not have time to rest with Behemoth�s destruction.
Even with the �eet destroyed, the Tyranids never
stopped cropping up in fragments after that, and can
still be found heeding the summons of the Genestealer
cults, even on the other side of the galaxy.

More importantly, the rest of the Imperium�s enemies
didn�t simply back o� to let Imperial forces focus
on the Tyranids (the Tau excepted, as they had to
contend with the Hive Fleet as well); Orks, Eldar, and
Chaos raiders relentlessly hammered any target they
could reach. To further complicate matters, in 897.
M41 yet another new and terrible enemy appeared on
the scene. One of the Sororitas fortress-convents on
the eastern galactic fringe, Sanctuary 101, suddenly
ceased response to all communications. When an
investigatory force was sent to �nd out what had
happened, it was immediately obvious that the
fortress had been attacked and completely wiped out

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before anyone could signal for help. All that remained
of the slaughter were the �ayed corpses of the Sisters,
and a single brief recording of silent blurred shadows,
silhouetted by a sickly green light. No other sign or
record of the assailants could be found, aside from
the structural damage wrought by some form of
incredibly powerful and unknown class of energy
weapon the assailants had used. No corpses or genetic
trace of the enemy were left behind, and no psychic
signature could be sifted from the site beyond the pain
and terror wrought on the Sisters by the enemy, itself
highly unusual given the generally fearless nature of
the Sororitas. Over 50 years have passed since the
Sanctuary 101 incident, and it was not the only event
of its kind. While the Ordo Xenos has managed to
gain a measure of useful intelligence on this new threat,
they have kept it under an unusually tight seal. While
the mysterious video feed recovered from Sanctuary
101 was leaked through a number of channels, thanks
to the panicked naval investigators that �rst responded
to the incident, anything more is circulated only to the
Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos (and others on a strict
need-to-know basis).

So now we are in the year of 950.M41, the resources
of the Imperium are running out and enemies are on
every border, with new threats arriving faster than
ever before. �e Imperial Guard is draining the PDF
forces of every world they can tap to replenish their
numbers, only to leave the worlds so poorly defended
that they must either take heavy losses to reclaim them
or sacri�ce the worlds entirely. Despite this, hope is far
from lost. Simple mortal men, men like the legendary
hero Commisar Ciaphas Cain, have liberated entire
worlds with their personality and tenacity alone. �e
Astartes chapters have claimed new worlds as their
domain to ease Terra�s burden, and humanity�s faith in
their Emperor is, in many ways, stronger than ever. A
turning point is approaching, that much is certain, but
what comes next is far from simple predestination.

�As the dark days close in, Mankind stands before the
precipice. Now is the time of judgment, where faith
shall be tested in �re, and courage put to its very limits.
Secession and rebellion are rife in all corners of the
Imperium. Sensing weakness, alien empires close in
from all sides. �e Space Marines and Imperial Guard
are at war as never before, defending humanity from
threats within, without, and beyond. �is is humanity�s
darkest hour�� � Taggarath, Seer of Corrinto, before
being executed for heresy. 744.M41

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