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Warhammer 40K: The Emperor’s Origin Story

5 Minute Read
Apr 25
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We’ve all heard of the Emperor of Man and that he sits upon a Golden Throne – but where did he come from? Let’s talk about The Origins of the Emperor!

Before there was a Great Rift. Before there was a Cadia that fell. Before the Horus Heresy. And before mankind took to the stars there was a New Man who was born. Today, we dive in to the Origins of the Emperor and how this being came into existence. Much of what we know comes from two tomes full of the original lore – The Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness and Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned.


via Lexicanum

Life Through Death

Little is known about the majority of the Emperor’s life; of who he was and what he did before he emerged as the great Emperor of Mankind, only the Emperor himself remembers. A few pieces of information have come to light, from various different sources, and present some small parts of a coherent whole; however, their reliability is often disputed, especially as the Emperor’s tale changes somewhat with each retelling. There is a source from 1st Edition Rogue Trader which details the Emperor’s backstory. It is said that the Emperor’s birth while a natural process, was actually the result of a scheme created by the wisest and most powerful of living humans at that time; the conclave of Shamans. These men, termed ‘shamans’ by their society, were powerful psykers with great experience of the Warp. Finding their souls – and those of humanity – endangered by the growing perils of the Warp-gods, these psykers decided to pool their power into one human, a being they called ‘the New Man’. Already having gained the power to reincarnate themselves (upon death, the shamans’ souls would transfer to the Warp, accumulating power enough to reincarnate as human) the shamans entered a suicide-pact. Thousands of them poisoned themselves and sped their souls to the warp at the same time. Presumably pooling their soul-energy and using their reincarnation ability, they brought about the birth of their New Man – the Emperor – one year later.

The Emperor’s Early Life

This same source states that the Emperor was born to mortal parents on Terra in the 8th Millennium BC in a primitive proto-Hittite village along the banks of the Sakarya River, manifesting his powers as a youth. While a young adolescent, the Emperor’s father was murdered by his uncle. While preparing his father’s body for a primitive funeral ritual, he received a vision of his murder. Later, the boy who would become the Emperor calmly approached his uncle and stopped his heart with his psychic abilities, displaying neither sorrow or malice. According to the Emperor himself, this was the moment he realized that humanity needed law, order, and the guidance of a ruler. Shortly after, he left his village for the first city of humanity (likely ancient Sumeria). Sometime later the Perpetual Erda met the Emperor, already a warlord attempting to accelerate Human evolution and guide the race into a superior species. Erda became one of the Emperor’s followers as He attempted to seek out and recruit every Perpetual on Earth to His cause. During this ancient time, the Emperor was known as Neoth.

The Emperor Watches

The immortal being who would become known as the Emperor proceeded to haunt the history of humanity as a ghost; watching, waiting and occasionally influencing. Living secretly amongst mankind, he developed his abilities until his psychic might allowed him to gain knowledge of not only his own world, but of the dangers beyond it. Aware then of the vast predations awaiting humanity, the being that would become known as the Emperor resolved to guide and protect humanity. Eventually, over ten thousand years before his current circumstances, he took his struggle out into the open, primarily because of the ever-increasing number of psykers, whose very existence endangered their species.

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The Dark Bargain

During the Dark Age of Technology Alivia Sureka traveled with the man who would become the Emperor to the planet Molech, where there was a gateway into the realm of Chaos. The Emperor entered the Gateway, and there made a bargain with the Dark Gods and emerged wielding a measure of their power, including the ability to create the Primarchs. However for some reason, the Emperor did not keep his end of the bargain to spread Chaos to humanity, and he became the anathema of Ruinous Powers.

The Emperor was able to clone the energies he was imbued with, giving them to his Primarchs During the Dark Age of Technology Alivia Sureka traveled with the man who would become the Emperor to the planet Molech, where there was a gateway into the realm of Chaos. The Emperor entered the Gateway, and there made a bargain with the Dark Gods and emerged wielding a measure of their power, including the ability to create the Primarchs. However for some reason, the Emperor did not keep his end of the bargain to spread Chaos to humanity, and he became the anathema of Ruinous Powers.


So there you have it – The Emperor was the reincarnated “New Man” who was born from the death of Thousands of Shaman. He was reborn in pre-history, somewhere around 8000 BC. That would mean that he is living through our timeline now as the Grimdark is supposed to be our 41st Millennium. Emperor, if you’re reading this, we’d love to do an interview!

What do you think of the Origins of the Emperor? Was that what you were expecting?

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