40K Lore: The Golden Throne

Golden_Throne-Imperial_Webway

Seat of Imperial power, eternal prison, or something else entirely? Today we unlock the mysteries of the Golden Throne.

The Golden Throne is an ancient and arcane device located in the Imperial Palace on Terra. It currently houses and sustains the remains of the Emperor of Mankind.

Pre-Heresy

The Golden Throne is an ancient relic dating back to the Dark Age of Technology which the Emperor discovered in sunken ruins within Asia’s deserts. Another similar device likely used to test the technologies by whoever made it, known as Dark Glass, was also discovered by the Emperor during the Great Crusade and he sought about restoring it as well.

The Emperor then went to work to restore the device for his own ends, providing Human access to the Eldar Webway. Once installed under the Imperial Palace the Golden Throne took the form of a bulky machine-like chair suspended over gigantic mechanised doors made of gold metal. The doors were said to be large enough for a Warhound Scout Titan to walk through unbowed. The chair was linked to the portal by huge bundles of cables, wires and conduits. The whole machine was made of the same golden metal. The throne was built at one end of a vast hall big enough to house up to six fully equipped Space Marine Companies. This was the Emperor’s main laboratory, which was itself at the centre of his underground complex, known as the Imperial Dungeon. Even after the Throne’s construction, the lab remained littered with other huge machines and storage crates. Hundreds of red-robed technicians and labourers worked in the lab. According to Pieter Achelieux, the Golden Throne would have required an extremely powerful Psyker to operate and implied that one of the Primarch‘s may have been designed for this role. Magnus the Red had a vision of his corpse on the Throne, perhaps indicating he was originally destined for this role by his father.

The Emperor built the throne as a means of entering the Webway. Having this fixed point of entry was meant to free humanity from its reliance on Warp-ships and astrotelepathy, since humans could simply enter the Webway and emerge wherever they chose in the galaxy. He sent armies of workers through the portal and had them construct a new short section of Webway linking to the rest of the abandoned Eldar network. Since the original Webway was built of a psychically resistant material which the humans could not replicate, the Emperor used his powers, via the Golden Throne, to protect the human-built section from the Warp. Because of the sensitive nature of the project and due to fears of how the Navis Nobilite would react to their monopoly on interstellar travel being rendered obsolete, the Emperor kept the Throne a secret from even his sons.

The Golden Throne is connected to a massive Warp beacon known as the Astronomican which generates a system of signals making faster-than-light travel in the Imperium possible.

rogue-trader-emperor

The Horus Heresy

At the outset of the Horus Heresy, when Magnus the Red used his sorcerous powers to warn the Emperor of Horus’s treachery, he inadvertently created huge holes in the Emperor’s psychic shield. Daemons poured into the human-built portion of the Webway and slaughtered thousands of Adeptus Mechanicus workers there. The Custodian Guard and Sisters of Silence were left fighting a desperate battle to prevent the daemons from reaching the portal and breaching Terra itself. Eventually the Imperial forces had to abandon the Webway and retreat back into the Imperial Palace. The portal was closed but only the psychic power of the Emperor was enough to keep it that way so he was forced to remain on the Golden Throne or find a suitable replacement. When the Emperor was forced to battle Horus on board the Sons of Horus flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, his place on the throne was taken briefly by Malcador the Sigillite. Malcador perished performing this endeavor, and the mortally wounded Emperor was reinstated upon the Throne after his battle with Horus. At his instruction, it was then enhanced and converted into the life-sustaining form it currently bears. The Emperor’s physical form is kept alive on the Golden Throne through advanced stasis fields and psi-fusion reactors that has become beyond the understanding of the Imperium.

Emperor_Upon_Throne

Malfunction

By late M36, the Golden Throne began to require more and more sacrifice of Psykers to remain functional. By early M41, four times the amount of Psykers were required to maintain optimal power levels of the Throne. In the last year of M41Techpriests discovered failures in the mechanisms of the Golden Throne that are far beyond their ability to repair.

Faced with this cataclysmic scenario, the Tech-Priests become desperate and ally with a faction of Xanthite Inquisitors. Launching an expedition into the Webway, the Tech-Priest and Inquisition forces battle through Harlequins and Daemons alike before reaching Commorragh. There, a dark bargain is struck.

Learn More of the Emperor of Mankind

Lexicanum

~What do you think will happen when the Golden Throne fails?

  • Carey_Mahoney

    That last image used to be slightly different (and much cooler) in the 3rd ed. rulebook. The Emperor’s head wasn’t a skeleton skull, which nailed the athmosphere much better.
    BTW, I’ve never seen that H. R. Giger-style artwork image of the Golden Throne before. But, it really rocks! Cool interpretation of it!

    • NNextremNN

      It’s the only version of the picture I have ever seen and maybe some more years have passed he even more of him decayed away.

      • jeff white

        dude’s been on life support for… how long?
        10000years?
        yeah, seems about right.

    • euansmith

      That is probably the first ever picture of the Golden Throne, as it comes from the Rogue Trader rule book back in 1987. 😉

      • Carey_Mahoney
        • euansmith

          Provided that one read Rogue Trader from front to back, then the black and white version looks to be the earliest rendition of the Golden Throne, or at least the “Immortal” God Emperor, we got to see; as the black and white one is on page 137 and the colour one is one page 172 (just below the wonderful picture of the Human Renegades). 😀

          • Carey_Mahoney

            Nice! Quite an interesting fact actually, since it’s a core point of 40k lore.

    • Mike Salamandrin

      There’s two; one used at the end of the HH card game’s collected art book and 30k publications (still fleshy), and one modified skeletal version used in recent 40K publications; specifically at the beginning of last editions rule book.

      • Carey_Mahoney
        • euansmith

          Cookies for you, young man. Apparently you are correct and they got John Blanche to skullify his nibs. Looking at picture on the internet, I ended up scrolling through the 4th Edition rule book on Scribd.

          There is so much cool stuff in there, with all sorts of campaign stuff, plus combat patrol and the version of Kill Team with the Brute Squads.

      • euansmith

        Isn’t Skull-face Emperor the original, though? I think it is a John Blanche illustration, and the face on the other version doesn’t look like Mr Blanche’s work to my untutored eye?

        • Carey_Mahoney

          Both are from John Blanche. The non-skeletal one is definitely the older artwork.

  • Sonic tooth

    whats the deal in commorragh? never read that bit of lore

    • euansmith

      From reading bits and bobs on the internet, I’m guessing that the Ad Mech have had to go to the Dark Eldar Haemonculi for some help with cloning and swapping consciousnesses in to new bodies. I don’t know what the Dark Eldar would want in return, or how the Imperium could trust an Emperor tainted by Xenos’ technology.

      • petrow84

        That’s pretty lame; the ones bound to be consumed by Slaanesh give advice for a psyker, threatened by Chaos to be consumed… Like a substance abuse group counselling…

        • Will Evans

          You mean: advice regarding technology that the mon-keigh are simply not able to understand. 😛

        • euansmith

          If I was the Ad Mech, I’d read the instructions very carefully and try to spot the Dark Eldar booby-traps.

          “Are you certain about this pineapple thing?”

          “It is in the instructions… Apparently it has to be inserted sideways.”

          • Evil Otto

            “And why do I have to wear this black latex suit with spikes while I’m hooking this up? Is that really necessary?”

          • euansmith

            “Well, you won’t get the full effect, anyway. According to the instructions, you are wearing it inside out.”

        • kingcobra668

          Considering that most counselors do have such pasts thus offering unique insight and that group counselling is a thing… I’d wager you have no idea what you are taking about.

          • petrow84

            We talk about the same thing, hence is the comparison. It’s just pretty lame, that they resolve this potential crisis source like that. What about the throne starting to go frequently off-line? There would be opportunity for battles within the palace itself, and finally the Custodes could show their merit… Instead, they call DE tech support.

          • euansmith

            “Ah, Mon-keigh, hast thou tried to uninitiate and then reinitiate it?”

      • jeff white

        maybe. i like the whole end and all die hurting slaanesh in a pro-austerity ploy as brexit is overturned by zillionaires.

    • Mike Salamandrin

      It’s from the End Times revolutions in this edition’s codexes; specifically the Cult Mechanicus and Haemolicus (i think, it could the Inquisition, or just the CMech maybe; it been a while since I’ve read them).
      The throne is failing, the AdMech are covering up they can’t fix it, so radical inquisitors that believe humans can control warp-tech like the Eldar contacted the haemolci….possibly of the secret Phoenix faction that spans all eldar society and which goal is the raising of Yaneed.

      • Ah…this sounds a bit like 40k-meets-AoS to me; Yaneed & Emperor combine to create the order faction with Eldar-Emperor-Sigmar at its head. I hope not.

        • jeff white

          yeah, me too.

        • Bayne MacGregor

          Actually read Realm of Chaos Volume 2 (the hardcover book that gave us Nurgle and Tzeench for the first time) for shocking details about the actual children of the Emperor he doesn’t know about, the Inquisition faction intending to sacrifice them to him in case it brings him back, and the new nascent warp god of goodness made from his sacrificed compassion he cast out of himself to kill Horus that gives some of his kids epic powers of noble jedi coolness like defeating chaos champions in melee and turning them back to the light!

          • euansmith

            There ain’t no fluff like the old skool fluffy fluff.

    • Bayne MacGregor

      It’s in the timeline in the Cult Mechanicus codex (or the Skitarii one, but pretty sure it’s Cult Mech)

  • Malevengion

    On an artistic note, the Golden Throne as portrayed in the Horus Heresy art books looks much different then the Custode guarded pyramid with the Emperor on top. The fan theory in our group is that there are perhaps two golden thrones in the palace. The pyramidal flashy one for “public” consumption (and as a decoy for those who would invade Terra) and the real one in the basement. It would be hilarious if Abaddon breached the throne room only to find Malcador’s corpse in stasis waiting for him there.

    • euansmith

      “Ha ha ha ha! In you face Emperor! I, Abaddon have bested you! You are dead, dead DEAD!!! Okay, lads; last one back to the Eye of Terror is Nurgling!”

      “Um, Master Abaddon, how are we going to find our way home without the Astronomicon?”

      • Malevengion

        I’d imagine that Tzeench would turn a light on for them 🙂

        • euansmith

          Tzeentch’s directions for a quick journey home would probably make the Odyssey seem like a short cut.

          • Malevengion

            LOL, no kidding. “When you reach the ancient fish headed zigurat (construction stats tomorrow) turn blue for 8 parsecs.

          • euansmith

            “… turn blue for 8 parsecs.” gave me a much needed chortle. Thanks for that.

          • Malevengion

            You’re welcome. I also thought it an amusing idea that Abaddon would burst into the throne room and be told “Congratulations, but your Emperor is in another palace” (ala Super Mario Brothers)

          • Darth Bumbles

            And probably involve “don’t forget to pick up some milk on the way”

  • SilentPony

    Okay so bear with me here…The Golden Throne is actually the Void Dragon. Think about it.

    • Jakub Jánošík

      – Insert Rogal Dorn´s NO here –

    • Bayne MacGregor

      Ah but the Akashic Reader device on Mars was a Golden Throne too…..

  • Mr_Pickles

    so what would happen if you convinced every Ork that the Emperor was truly dead, would he just keel over and “poof” gone?

  • Darth Bumbles

    If we assume the Emperor is a Perpetual (hinted at by John Grammaticus) then when the Golden Toilet fails, he’ll regenerate and go “you fethers, I told you to leave my corpse alone! AND WHAT THE FETH HAVE YOU DONE TO MY IMPERIAL TRUTH!!!”

    Leading to a schism between those happy he’s back (the ad mech, the Astartes, just about everyone else) and those pissed off at their loss of power and influence (the ecclesiarchy for example).