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Warhammer 40K Lore: Older Than Old

3 Minute Read
Nov 03

Gather ’round Loremasters, as we turn our gaze towards the ancient past–if there’s a psychic awakening now, let us look back to when there was a psychic slumber…

With all this talk of psychic stirrings, and the end of days waking with the Empyrean, we’re delving up legends of when the Galaxy was young. Before the Emperor, before even the Aeldar, when psychic powers in the galaxy first started to get ready to bed down for their aeons-long nap. We speak, of course, of the time of the Old Ones.

The Old Ones were an ancient space-faring race who had an advanced civilisation before the development of the Young Races in the current age. They are notable for being the first of all the galaxy’s sentient life as well as being the first race to cross the sea of stars, making them the oldest space-faring species in the galaxy.

The Old Ones are said to have had a slow, cold-blooded wisdom, studying the stars and raising astrology and astronomy to an arcane science. It was their understanding of the universe that allowed them to manipulate alternate dimensions and it was known that they undertook great works of psychic engineering. At some unknown point, they crafted the Webway to serve as a conduit through which they could travel to far-flung worlds without suffering from the tides of the Warp.

Such was their advanced science that they had the capacity to cross vast tracts of space with a single step by way of Webway portals and through such means they managed to spread their spawn to many other places. They believed that all life was useful and they are known to have brought about the rise of numerous new species and impregnated thousands of worlds which they made their own.

Despite their legendary patience and implacability, the Old Ones began to grow desperate and began breeding new forms of life with an even stronger connection to the Warp, with the intention that these manipulated species would have the power to channel their psychic might to defend themselves. Many warrior races were created in this manner; it is believed that the Eldar, K’nib and Rashan ranked among their number. It took millennia before these new creations were ready and in that time, the C’tan along with their Necron armies extinguished even more life in the cosmos. According to Eldar legend, the paradise the Old Ones had created was now desecrated by the C’tan, whom the Eldar knew as the Yngir.


Among their creations also were early Mankind, tree beasts that were part of their ecosystem but otherwise had no greater role defined for them by the Old Ones. This was the time that the Eldar referred to as the God War, fought between the C’tan-supported Necrons and the Old Ones aided by their successor races.

By the time the Old Ones marshalled their forces, there were only four C’tan in existence, but much of life in the galaxy had already been extinguished. It would be the implacable onslaught of the C’tan combined with the mistakenly unleashed Warp-spawned perils that ultimately led to the Old Ones being defeated, scattered and destroyed.

And though life would continue apace in the galaxy, by the end of this, a great slumber–in particular that of the Necrons–hit the galaxy and gave Humanity a chance to ascend to its rightful place.

We hope.

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