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Warhammer 40K: Grim and Dark Mysteries of the Galaxy

8 Minute Read
Jun 20 2024

There are a lot of dark corners in the Warhammer 40K universe. Here are just a few of our favorite mysteries and some possible answers.

Was the 21st (Cursed) Founding Part of Cawl’s Primaris Program?

The Twenty-First Founding was the largest Founding of Space Marine Chapters since the Second Founding. It took place shortly before the Age of Apostasy, in 991.M35. The focus of the Twenty First Founding was perfecting and removing deficiencies in flawed gene-seed. It is known as the Cursed Founding, because of the appalling bad luck that dogged the Chapters created. There are reports of hidden gene labs being uncovered far from terra with oversized Astartes specimens, all dead and bearing unknown organs for the era.

What Happened to the Brainboyz? (and what would the Ork race be if they returned)

Legend says the smallest amongst Orkoids created their larger brethren as a hardy race of survivors; they were wiped away in a great plague long ago, leaving the galaxy’s current Orks as their legacy. Other legends say the Old Ones make the “Krork” to be utterly self-sufficient and the galaxy’s best survivors – to endure long after their creators faded from history.

Is There a Shadow War Occurring For the Life of the Imperium?

Everyone knows the Alpha Legion are the supposed spymasters of the galaxy without peer. Or are they? Since the days of the Heresy, “retired” Adeptus Custodes give up their equipment and head out into the galaxy as “Eyes of the Emperor”, building up spy networks and passing on all important knowledge back to Terra. Constantin Valdor himself disappeared shortly after the Heresy, and has not been seen since. Such a man could be leading the most potent network of ex-Custodes spies the galaxy has ever seen. Might they be fighting an Alpharius/Omegon led Alpha Legion for the title of the galaxy’s true puppetmasters?

Who Created a Map of Ancient Terra Deep Underground On the Far Side of the Galaxy?

A tale emerged from early in the Great Crusade from a Luna Wolves legionary who bore witness to an event he described as something akin to fear. The Emperor discovered a long-dead world on the far side of the galaxy with deep subterranean structures. In the deepest chamber, the Master of Mankind discovered an enormous map of Terra as it existed many tens of thousands of years in its past. The Emperor studied it for some time before ordering it put to the torch and leaving without another word.


Were the Zoats Fleeing or Scouting for the Tyranid Hivefleets?

Creatures described as matching the description of Zoats were reported in Imperial space in M38. They were sentient, could communicate, and said they were fleeing slavish oppression. Some say the Zoats were a slave race that broke free of the Hive fleets, while others speculate they are scouting organisms of a different mechanism than Genestealers, who range ahead of the full Hive fleets. By the time of M39 there were no known traces of them left. Then one turned up on a Blackstone Fortress?!

What Happens If a Culexis Assassin Site In the Golden Throne? It’s Probably Bad

Horus himself planned to use a daemonic anti-psyker to assassinate the Emperor during the Heresy. The mere concept of a Pariah entering the Imperial Throne room is disquieting. A psychic null taking a seat in the Golden Throne that is the focus of the Astromonican will probably void all kinds of warranties. Of course, getting past the Companions would be a challenge.



Are the Men of Iron Staging a Comeback?

The Adeptus Mechanicus fear AIs above all other heresy. The Men of Iron once almost totally destroyed mankind over 15,000 years ago, before being destroyed by a multi-racial alliance lost in the mists of time. Is UR-025 the only survivor of his race, or he traveling the galaxy and the Blackstone Fortress with something grander in mind?

Who Made the Blackstone Fortresses?

They are ancient and known as the Talimans of Vaul by the Eldar. But there is no direct knowledge that the Aeldari made them. They are made of Noctilith and can either channel or block the warp. They appear sentient. They are said to be able to destroy the C’Tan. The Men Of Iron consider them deities. What exactly are they,  who built them, and what is their ultimate purpose?

Are the Alpha Legion Pulling “an inside job” on Chaos Itself?

Alpharius/Omegon were shown a dark future of the Imperium where an ignorant mankind and mechanicus lived empty superstitious lives under the corpse of the Emperor – his great secular vision eradicated. To avoid this future he was offered a path to let Horus win the Heresy, allowing chaos to quickly rise to the heights of power, then consume itself in the flames of mankind’s death. Choosing this patch to destroy chaos didn’t turn out exactly as planned, but the Alpha Legion are enigmatic, secretive, plot and scheme in the long-term, and still use the battle cry “For the Emperor” to this day.

Are Half of the Ultramarines Descendants of One of the Missing Legions?

It is noted during the Heresy that the vast Ultramarines legion was not always so large, and swelled dramatically around the time one or both of the missing primarchs/legions were censured.


Speaking of the missing Legions – I Want ONE Good Reason the Traitor Primarchs Have Bitten Their Tongues?

While the Loyalist’s tongues may still be held by honor, exactly why would any of the Daemon Primarchs hold onto the secret for 10,000 years? Surely if they are willing to fall to Chaos, they won’t mind telling about what really happened to their two siblings. What could the two missing Primarchs have done that is so terrible that both their Loyal and Traitor brothers would want it hidden for over ten thousand years?

What’s Up With the League of Votann STCs?

For 10 years they were a thriving part of the universe, with an semi-autonomous status similar to the Ad-mech. Then they disappear without trace for 20 years, only to start to slowly but surely reappear in the galaxy. The Squats…erm Leagues of Votann are back in a big way, and have been hiding out in the galactic core building an isolationist culture around a set of fully sentient AIs (the Votanns). So questions. Are the Men of Iron in any way involved in this – or do they know they have kin leading the Squat race. Would the entire Leagues of Votann properly be considered a servant race to AIs? What is going to happen when the Adeptus Mechanicus finally figure out what’s going on – because it’s gonna be real bad.

Who Is the Greater Threat – The Silent King or the Tyranids?

The Tyranids have already laid waste to portions of the galaxy. Yet everything we have seen may be only the leading edges of the true mass of the Hivefleets, coming into the galaxy from all sides. They are potent enough, that the mere sight of them in the cold blackness of intergalactic space convinced The Silent King to return home after millions of years of exile. And yet the Silent King desires complete domination of the galaxy. His goal is to see the Necrons in charge, restored to their former bodies, and the warp permanently cut off from the material universe. If every living being has to die to achieve his ends, so be it.


What Does the Golden Throne Really Do?

The official story is that The Golden Throne is a life-saving device that keeps the Master of Mankind alive, and allows him to focus the power of the Astronomican to allow space travel. But we know this is a lie. It was recovered in the wastes of Terra by the Emperor before the Imperium was founded. At one point, it was used to focus his psychic power to hold open a portal into the Webway beneath the Imperial Palace. Malcador, the second most powerful psyker behind the Emperor, was killed after sitting upon it for a short time to give him time to slay Horus. It is failing. There is speculation that the device is not saving the Emperor, but killing him continually, in a ten-thousand-year-old cycle of death and Perpetual rebirth. There are whispers that if it were to fail, the Galaxy itself could be destroyed.  Whatever The Golden Throne really does, it is far different than “keeping the Emperor alive.”

About That Whole Missing Primarchs Thing…

Once there were 20, and now there were 18. Two of the Primarchs were unremembered during the Great Crusade, but before the time of the Horus Heresy. There are dozens of hints and references to them, and hundreds of theories. But GW has never said a word that could be called concrete. Whatever happened, it is so mysterious that 10,000 years after the fact, every last Primarch has kept their silence – so whatever happened, you know it was bad.  Who knows, maybe one day far from now, we’ll get the real story. Maybe it’s just an homage to the lost Roman Legions. But then again maybe Malcador was right – and the Emperor should have made all the Primarchs sisters, instead of brothers. Maybe he did?

Is the Emperor A God of Chaos?

Here’s one of the Grimdark’s big-picture mysteries. The Emperor is a reincarnated vessel of an untold number of psychic shamans from human pre-history. He has traveled the galaxy for millennia , has studied, and is empowered by the Warp. He is immortal, and has for thousands of years focussed all of humanity’s will and devotion upon himself. At least once, he has communed and negotiated with the Chaos Gods directly and forged a grand pacts with them.  Has the Emperor since ascendance to the Golden Throne become a god of the warp – in the vein of Gork & Mork, and other other gods of various sentient races? Are phenomena such as Saint Celestine, and the Legion of the Damned merely the Daemons of his human-centric warp pantheon?

~ What answers do you have for these mysteries?


Author: Larry Vela
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