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40K Lore: The Great Rift Really Isn’t That Great

3 Minute Read
Sep 9 2018

Even if you have not seen the Cicatrix Maledictum, you’ve doubtless felt the effects of the great rift that divides the galaxy. Of course it provides new opportunities for heroism, but aside from that, it’s not that great.

Alright Loremasters. Prepare your litanies against corruption, for we are once again going to delve into the twisted lore of the Empyrean realm. I am speaking of course of the great divide that separates one side of the galaxy from another. It is an important fact of Imperial Life, this new frontier of impassable space. First, we should look at its origins, then perhaps we shall understand why passage across this rift is of paramount importance.

At the end of the 41st Millennium during the Thirteenth Black Crusade following the destruction of Cadia, the Great Rift tore the Imperium apart. The origins of the Great Rift remain a mystery, with theories ranging from it forming due to the destruction of the Cadian Pylons at the end of the 13th Black Crusade, to sorcery used by Magnus the Red during the Siege of the Fenris System, to the awakening of Ynnead, mass bloodshed in the Damocles Gulf, and the reaction of the Ruinous Powers to the rebirth of Roboute Guilliman.¬†All that is truly known is that is emergence was a literal galaxy-shattering event that divided the Imperium in half and ushered in new wars across nearly every world in the Emperor‘s Empire. In a catastrophic event known as The Blackness, many worlds of the Imperium were cut off and overwhelmed by the Forces of Chaos as Warp Travel and Astropathic communication were rendered nigh-impossible.

So powerful and far reaching was this Warp Storm, that the very laws of physics have begun to fray and the inconsistencies of time fluctuations, once largely localised to larger storms such as the Eye of Terror, have spread across the entire known galaxy. Since the Great Rift’s creation, some worlds have felt centuries go by in an instant, while others have been all but frozen in time and still others have suffered constant temporal shifts.

The Great Rift is variously known by the cultures of the galaxy as the Crimson Path, the Mouth of Ruin, the Warpscar, the Dathedian, Gork‘s Grin and a thousand other names besides. To the Imperium though, it is the Cicatrix Maledictum, and it appears to those on the western side of Segmentum Solar as a tainted scar across the sky. To those unfortunates on the eastern side of the Segmentum, however, now known as the Dark Imperium, it is far worse.

In response to this new catastrophe, the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, now Lord Commander of the Imperium’s armies, has launched the Indomitus Crusade. Its aim is to liberate those Imperial worlds that now find themselves embattled by the forces of Chaos, following the Great Rift’s creation. The Indomitus Crusade was able to exploit at least one passage through the Great Rift, located near the Eye of Terror in the Nachmund Gauntlet.


The Nachmund Gauntlet is the only known stable route through to the Imperium Nihilus. Watched over by the world of Vigilus, which one can hope will never fall to the enemies of the Imperium–this world is of vast strategic importance. Thankfully the forces of the Astra Militarum and the Adeptus Astartes are enough to hold off any besieging force. The only way a world like this could be threatened is if it were somehow overcome via heresy from within, but even Orks have been repelled from this world, so as long as Vigilus stands, the Nachmund Gauntlet is enough to keep Imperial forces in the Dark Imperium supplied. And to offer solace to those refugees from the other side.

Well Loremasters, we may rest easy knowing that our Imperium is protected. Certainly no heretic or xenos could ever wrest this world from the grasp of the Imperium.

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