Introduction and Resources
For more than a hundred centuries The Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne 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 sacrificed every day, so that he may never truly die.
Yet even in his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the daemon-infested miasma of the Warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomican, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor's will.
Vast armies give battle in his name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst his soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defence forces, the ever vigilant Inquisition and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants - and worse.
To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruellest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.
What is Warhammer 40,000?
Warhammer 40,000 (commonly known as 40K) is a Gothic science-fantasy setting based in the Milky Way Galaxy around the end of the 41st Millennium, launched in 1987 and continually expanded by UK miniature wargames company Games Workshop. The central and most popular elements of the Warhammer 40K universe are the Space Marines, futuristic versions of fantasy knights and the finest warriors of the Imperium of Mankind, a dystopian and degenerate galaxy-spanning empire beset by enemies within (traitors), enemies without (aliens) and enemies beyond (daemons).
Originally developed as a sci-fi spin-off of Warhammer Fantasy, 40K contains many elements of the fantasy genre, such as the concept of magic and adapted versions of classic fantasy races. The inspirational sources for 40K include a multitude of classic and contemporary sci-fi, horror, and fantasy novels and movies; medieval, baroque and surrealist art; and historical settings, such as the World Wars, Imperial Rome, Victorian Britain and the Inquisitions. This mix leads to a wholly unique fictional universe in which every side is to some extent evil - though some are slightly less evil than others. For example, the Imperium sees itself as the 'good side', and while it may be true that there are some good people within it, as a whole it is an oppressive, xenophobic, genocidal, corrupt mess.
Now in its 8th edition, the Warhammer 40K tabletop wargame is a fun, engaging, creative and social game for two or more players centred around 28mm scale miniatures representing epic heroes, futuristic soldiers, deadly monsters and armoured vehicles of war. Players assemble and paint each miniature, and these miniatures form armies under your command that can be pitted against those of other players. Each player typically fields a roughly equally powerful army, determined either by total points value or power level.
Armies are deployed to a tabletop battlefield, and battles range from simple skirmishes to complex encounters involving objectives and reinforcements. The miniatures are moved around the table to engage in ranged attacks, hand-to-hand combat and more. Play is turn-based, with various outcomes determined by the roll of dice. Battles can last anywhere between half an hour to a whole weekend depending on the size of the armies, and battles may be strung together to form narrative campaigns. Many hobby stores around the world host battles and competitive tournaments, and official gaming events are held on a regular basis.
The 40K franchise has expanded in many directions over the years, including spin-off tabletop wargames and board games (Apocalypse, Kill Team, Horus Heresy, Necromunda: Underhive, Adeptus Titanicus, Space Hulk, Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress, Aeronautica Imperialis etc), RPGs, video games, card games, novels and audio books.
The following three posts in this thread describe the major factions found within the 40K setting:
The Imperium of Man | The Forces of Chaos | The Xenos Threat
- Warhammer Community (official blog)
- Warhammer TV YouTube channel
- Warhammer TV Twitch stream
- VoxCast (official podcast)
- Official Facebook page
- Games Workshop (miniatures and rules)
- Forge World (miniatures and rules)
- The Black Library (novels and audio books)
- Official FAQs and Errata
- Lexicanum (lore encyclopaedia)
- Tabletop Tactics (fan YouTube channel)
- StrikingScorpion82 (fan YouTube channel)
- Winters SEO (fan YouTube channel)
- MiniWarGaming (fan YouTube channel)
- Guerrilla Miniature Games (fan YouTube Channel)
- The Independent Characters (fan podcast)