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What were the Primarchs meant for?

Primarchs Emperor 30k Discussion Lore Fluff Question

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#1
nightbug08

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To elaborate on the topic title-

 

We know that the Emperor had distinct functions in mind for at least some of the Primarchs, Magnus was meant to sit on the Golden Throne, Leman Russ was set up as the Primarch killer in case of a unsalvageable result . . .

 

What do you guys think the individual Primarchs were actually Designed for?  I can imagine Lorgar being a diplomatic front man type along with Sanguinius.  Alpharius Omegon was probably meant to be a sneaky bastard from the beginning so a spymaster role seems in line.

 

Some of them were simply generals first and foremost, Perturabo and Rogal Dorn leap to mind.  Gulliman's gift for logistics may or may not be innate, but he might have been set up for running supply lines and insuring material?

 

A few have such traumatic early lives that it's hard to tell who they would have been.  Mortarion, Konrad Curze and Angron were probably meant to be very different before their pods got stolen.

 

What do you folks think about the idea?  the ways I've categorized the Primarchs?  Primarchs I didn't mention?

 

 

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#2
Son of Carnelian

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Master of Mankind seems to say they're really all just tools of war. Other stuff is a nice bonus, but you'll note that the Emperor never mentions a future for them after the Crusade is finished, like Guilliman talks about. Maybe they and their legions would go the way of the Thunder Warriors. Who knows? 


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#3
Elzender

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Well, Konrad Curze psychic powers were probably intended, but surely the Emperor expected to be there to guide him. Considering his "pessimistic" precognition powers, maybe he was intended as a "policeman" or even bodyguard Primarch? Being able to see potential threats before they happen, be it a planetary invasion, an ambush, or an assassination attempt would be a very useful tool.

Angron is probably the one that deviated the most from its intended purpose, but if we take a look at the pre-Primarch XII legion, they were already highly aggressive shock troopers, although not frothing berserkers and butcherers. Even if it is often when they reunite with their Primarch that Legions show their true character, they are always influenced by their Primarchs geneseed.
Most loyalist Primarchs probably fullfilled their intended role during the Great Crusade and the Heresy, and even some or most of the traitors. The Emperor kept some Primarchs by his side after finding them, probably to instruct them on a very specific role they had to take. Thus, we may assume that the ones he did not personally oversee were already doing their assigned role, or at least one the Emperor agreed with.

Why didn't the Emperor take more care of Curze to avoid his mental degradation, or why he did not keep Magnus by his side and make him help with the Webway project are things we might never know.

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#4
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Another thing that I recall, but it might have been further explained or retconned: in some old source I recall reading that the Emperor started working on the creation of the Space Marine Legions after the Promarchs were kidnapped. While I guess it was basically a matter of refining the bioengineering techniques or due to a lack of time and resources to do both simultaneously, I was always curious if there was any other reason, or even if the Legions arising from each Primarch were not the initial idea. I know primarchs were always intended as generals, but the way it was explained crested that doubt in me.

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#5
Grieux

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I don't think most of them ever had a place except for the trefoil and Magnus.

The Rout - Execution
Alpha Legion - Secret Police
Salamanders - Defenders and keeper of the gate for Vulkan
Magnus - His legion perishes to the flesh change and he's in charge of the Webway gate to Terra

You could make the argument that some others due to their own merits during the great crusade and disposition could be repurposed:

Sanguinius - An icon to mankind and blood angels as defenders
Guilliman - Perfect seneschal for the cases when big E needs to do stuff
Dorn - Praetorian of the Sol system
Fulgrim - Super diplomat

Also have a listen to First Lord of the Imperium, there's a new and interesting theory there regarding the purpose for most Primarchs.

#6
nightbug08

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Well at least some of the Primarchs were planned to be useful after the Great Crusade was over, Magnus has to be around to power the Astronomicon until it becomes a truly outdated technology which would take awhile I think.  Even if everyone starts using the Webway immediately, there are still going to to be accidents and emergencies where the Astronomicon would be a useful beacon.

 

As to all the rest . . . I don't know.  The Emperor would probably want a few space marine armies around in case of hostile xenos or whatever, but I could see a lot of them being quietly, carefully "retired" eventually.

 

 . . . A thought occurs.  Do you think The Emperor would have made more Primarchs after the Great Crusade was over?  Sons designed for the new human-dominated galaxy they now inhabited?

 


#7
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I always wonder about this "end of Great Crusade". What does it exactly mean? Nobody knows how many human worlds are actually there and where. And universe/galaxy does not have borders, hm? So unless there is a secret list of worlds to be rediscovered with exact "locations"(and there's no such list), Great Crus

When a Great Beast marauds, the warriors of the keep do not seek terms with it, they do not ride out and ask for it to accommodate their feelings. They set forth with shocklance and power sword, and all the courage and determination they can muster. They find the beast and they lay their blades upon it until it is dead, or they are.


#8
Kasper_Hawser

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Regarding Leman Russ, during the Primarch novel, 

 

Spoiler

 

Doesn't make sense from 30K point of view, but it partially explains why in the following 10K years, the Wolves eventually remade their image as protectors as opposed to just murderous space marines which started when Russ and the legion got their butts kicked by the Alpha Legion. 

 

Sadly this is just one book from Chris Wright, not much affirmation from other sources apart from usual Space Wolves heroic repuation (for most part, still dickish in many circumstances).

 

Anyway, the emperor was a dick so sadly we can't rely on any optimistic outlook for ANY of the primarchs purpose, whatever they were originally before the warp snatched them away.


"The 6th Legion has a reputation." said Bear.
"All the Legions Astartes have reputations," replied Hawser.
"Not like ours," said Ogvai "We are known for our ferocity. We are thought to be feral and undisciplined. Even brother Legions consider us to be wild and bestial."
"And you're not ?" asked Hawser.
"If we need to be," said Ogvai. "but if that was our natural state, we'd all be dead by now."
He leaned down towards Hawser like a parent addressing a child.
"It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous" he said.

 

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#9
Lord_Caerolion

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It definitely more seems that it was the Trefoil that were created with a further purpose in mind, alongside the Thousand Sons (so why weren't they included in that group?), with the other Legions being more created to specialise in particular arenas of warfare, to operate together for the betterment of the Great Crusade. There was always a specific intention for each Legion, which we can see even just from the fact that each Legion drew the initial recruits from specific populations, or focussed on particular characteristics, long before their Primarchs were found.


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#10
b1soul

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The idea of an Emperor-engineered Primarch civil war is delicious. Obviously, the Heresy driven by Chaos was not within his plan

#11
Astartes Consul

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Other than the Emperor never seeing the Primarchs as his 'sons' I'm not sure there will ever be a definitive answer to what his exact intentions with them were.

 

And I'm okay with that to be honest, I like that various novels/stories has hinted at possibilities but, a bit like with the two lost legions, it is better if we don't know IMO.

 

However...

 

 

*Spoiler for Wolfsbane*

 

 

 

 

IIRC there is a brief passage in Wolfsbane that mentions Russ having the Emperors 'true' purpose for the Primarchs revealed to him. Something along the lines of 'he saw who he was' / 'he saw what he had been made for'. This is implied to have a deep impact on him but doesn't turn him away from the Imperium or his mission to hunt down Horus. 

 

So  in universe there is someone other than the Emperor who knows the truth.


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#12
Grieux

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It definitely more seems that it was the Trefoil that were created with a further purpose in mind, alongside the Thousand Sons (so why weren't they included in that group?), with the other Legions being more created to specialise in particular arenas of warfare, to operate together for the betterment of the Great Crusade. There was always a specific intention for each Legion, which we can see even just from the fact that each Legion drew the initial recruits from specific populations, or focussed on particular characteristics, long before their Primarchs were found.


I think the thousand sons are not in the trefoil because only Magnus would survive, not the legion.

#13
b1soul

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Hasn't the Trefoil been established as SW, Sallies, and AL?

The survival theory is just speculation, yes?

#14
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Yes the trefoil are these three, and anything regarding their purpose or any other legion post crusade is indeed speculation at this point, but there are some hints regarding the trefoil and Magnus in the HH book series.

#15
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Yes, but in that case, why make a Legion at all, or if you are going to hard-code a "shutdown date" into them, why have it so early in the Crusade?


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#16
Trevak Dal

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Master of Mankind seems to say they're really all just tools of war. Other stuff is a nice bonus, but you'll note that the Emperor never mentions a future for them after the Crusade is finished, like Guilliman talks about. Maybe they and their legions would go the way of the Thunder Warriors. Who knows?


Oh you know they would. The Emperor's goals are United humanity (under him) connected and traveling by a human made webway that will eliminate the need to traverse the warp so that the chaos entities will be reduced and eventually beaten. Human dominance in the galaxy.

The Astartes are super soldiers perfected to a "production scale" with (theoretically) incorruptible generals (the primarchs) that could act like the emperor. He just didn't factor in that they would get some of the human frailties.

If the empreror could have had Astartes that were mindwiped after every mission with experience preloaded before each battle-basically a cross between Star Wars clone troopers and Droid soldiers, he would have done it.

Everybody tends to forget that humanity forged it's first galactic empire without Space Marines or primarchs.
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#17
Marshal Rohr

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Yeah, it used AI and Machine people instead of space marines to the same effect.

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#18
bluntblade

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Malcador's said that the Primarchs and Legions were designed to go together, so the former were always meant to lead the latter.

#19
Kizzdougs

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I’m not convinced that the Emperor originally planned to dispose of the Primarchs once the Great Crusade and Webway project had been completed. The Primarch Project seems like a ridiculously complicated and costly program for the Primarchs to only have a 200-year expiry date. I mean he had to make a deal with his arch nemesis, the Chaos Gods regarding the creation of the Primarchs and it seems strange that the Emperor would take such a massive risk if he meant to dispose of the Primarchs like he did the Thunder Warriors.

 

Sure the civilian bureaucracy on Terra (and then the Webway?) was taking on a greater role in the governance of the Imperium, that’s only natural with an Empire that is transitioning from a period campaigning and expansion to a phase of consolidation, but the Webway is huge, and the Emperor would still need generals to make sure that it was kept secure. Even if the majority of humanity lived within the Webway, the Emperor would have still needed forces that could defend the Webway from the outside. Unless the Imperial was able to develop Eldar like wraithbone technology, which I think is pretty unlikely, humanity would have still needed access to the material galaxy for basic resources such as oil, iron ore, rare earth metals, etc. etc. And the Eldar Webway is under constant attacks from other forces so there is no reason to believe that the Imperial Webway would be any different.

 

For their own part, we know that several of the Primarchs saw a post Great Crusade future for themselves. Fulgrim wanted to create a better future for humanity that would enable the species to achieve its potential, Magnus wanted to develop humanity itself (the species was becoming more and more psychic, and Magnus saw humanities future as a psychic species), and Guilliman had post Crusade plans for governance. Even Purturabo probably wished for an end to the fighting so that he could get back to what he truly loved, creating mechanical and architectural wonders.
 

 

Of course the Chaos Gods and their servants (Erebus et al) were able to exploit the insecurities of some of the Primarchs regarding their future, but just because these insecurities existed doesn’t necessarily mean that they were based on fact.

 

Caveat: 

Yes, some Primarchs such as Angron and Curze might have been dealt with, but they would have had to be dealt with regardless of the ultimate fate of the Primarchs. I see no reason why the others would have to die… Why would the Emperor put so much effort into their creation if he planned to do away with them after just 200 years? Surely he could have created super mechanicum generals on the level of the Archemandrite if all he wanted was super generals that could be disposed of once they had fulfilled their allotted tasks.

 

 

The Emperor and the Primarchs

When it comes to the Emperor's relationship with the Primarchs I feel that people read too much into the whole 'Project XII' and 'simple weapons' concept. In The Master of Mankind we are mostly presented with Custodes and Mechanicum perspectives of the Emperor and His Primarchs and these perspectives are heavily influenced by the values and personal biases of the individual characters.

 

When it comes to the Custodes they are fairly distrustful of the Primarchs, they look down on them as unreliable and impractically emotional. That’s why the Emperor refers to them by their numeral when speaking with the Custodes. He refers to them in whatever is most relatable to the audience.

 

Likewise the Mechanicum are cold and impersonal in their evaluation of the Primarchs and so that’s how the Emperor treats the Primarchs when speaking to members of the Mechanicum.

 

The Emperor doesn't really 'speak' to people, he leaves a psychic impression in their minds and these impressions are tailored to the individual recipiant. 

 

I know the Emperor and the Primarchs weren't some big happy family (far from it), but it should also be acknowledged that the vast majority of Primarch related talk in The Master of Mankind involves either the Custodes or the Mechanicum, and this heavily flavours the impression that we’re left with in regards to the Primarchs.


Edited by Kizzdougs, 08 August 2018 - 04:17 AM.

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#20
b1soul

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This is question reminds me of the What If? scenario I presented in this thread: http://www.bolterand...-the-primarchs/

I know this would be unlikely (to put it mildly), but imagine a post-GC IoM of 18 provinces governed by primarchs and their legions. Chaos would simply be one of many threats, but not THE threat. I think it would make for a very interesting setting.
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#21
nightbug08

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The Emperor doesn't really 'speak' to people, he leaves a psychic impression in their minds and these impressions are tailored to the individual recipiant.

 

That changes a few things, especially from Master Of Mankind.  How much of what we read is miscommunications then?

 

Do any of the Primarch's demonstrate that ability?  I don't think so, but maybe Lorgar?

 


#22
Brother Lunkhead

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This is question reminds me of the What If? scenario I presented in this thread: http://www.bolterand...-the-primarchs/

I know this would be unlikely (to put it mildly), but imagine a post-GC IoM of 18 provinces governed by primarchs and their legions. Chaos would simply be one of many threats, but not THE threat. I think it would make for a very interesting setting.

 

Imagine a galactic province governed by Angronermm.gif … or worse, by Curzeeek.gif Interesting scenarios indeed.

 

Several years ago I was having a discussion about the HH with one of the GW store managers, and he proposed the idea that the Civil War was engineered by the Emperor as an evolutionary challenge to advance humanity. I dismissed the idea at the time. Now, I'm not so sureermm.gif ….. for myself I hope not. I'm still holding out for a shred of humanity in a character that shows less and less with each new book.

 

As far as a role for the Primarchs after the Crusade goes.... I'm not so sure.... I like to think so, but the Emperor being the callous censored.gif that he seems to be I can definitely envision a off switch for each and his Legion. The Thunder Warriors were a huge investment and he offed them. On a galactic scale the Primarchs and their Legions were not much more of an investment. 

 

If I were the Emperor I could definitely see use for the Primarchs and Legions …… guardians of the galactic frontier, explorers, special ops, xeno exterminators. Humanity would still need these transhuman warriors for millennia to come.... except for Angron and Curze…… I'd off them for suremsn-wink.gif



#23
jaxom

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Regarding the Trefoil: the Salamanders were very different before reuniting with Vulkan. They were deployed most commonly as an interdiction force against unexpected dangers behind crusade lines and performed best against long odds and when massively outnumbered. They can take beating and handle hostile environments second only to the Deathguard while being stronger than the other Astartes. Oh, and even recruits on Terra developed glowing red eyes and obsidian like skin. The trefoil may have been the Emperor's plan for domestic use of the Astartes against internal political strife and protest. The 20th legion was the secret police, the 18th legion was the terror troops, and the 6th legion was the executions. Some group decides democracy is the way to go and plans a protest - first line of defense is the 20th legion infiltrators pulling espionage shenanigans. If that does work, send in the 8 foot tall devil-men who can put down large scale unrest with chemical or radiological weapon while being unaffected (and can terrorize the populace by throwing around cars to create kettles for the protesters). If that doesn't work - time to send the hatchet men.

 

Regarding the Primarchs - sure they're tools, but the Emperor was never one to throw one out when it could used even if it was damaged (Angron) and even took the time to perform maintenance on them from time to time (Triumph at Ullanor),  This sentence was added last - I'm a little punchy from tiredness so please excuse the irreverence:

  1. Lion El'Jonson - Unknown. No outstanding physical or pyschological traits in evidence versus the impact of Caliban on him to tell if he has a schtick.
  2. ??? - ???
  3. Fulgrim - The Fact Checker. He's the guy I'd want double checking everyone else's work, because if he thinks there's a better way to make a mouse trap then there probably is.
  4. Perturabo - The Guard at the Gate. He always knows where he is in relation to the Eye of Terror and has a knack for building fortifications.
  5. The Khan - It is implied that his breezy nature comes from his upbringing on Chogoris. There are some lines that the Vth legion's alpha intake showed an increase in individualism post-implantation. Perhaps he was meant to roam around looking under rocks to see what popped out.
  6. Russ - At is peak, arguably the second deadliest primarch perhaps tying with Sanguinius for first, among unmodified primarchs (no Butcher's Nails amping up Angron or Chaos Juice for Horus). The sandman for the other primarchs.
  7. Dorn - The Castellan. He, too, can build fortresses, but lacks the warp awareness of Perturabo.
  8. Curze - Oracle Part 1: ask him, "How can we fail?"
  9. Sanguinius - Oracle Part 2: ask him, "How can we succeed?"
  10. Ferrus the Manus - The Engineer, the one who thinks to build a mousetrap in the first place instead of chasing mice with a stick.
  11. ??? - ???
  12. Ang(ry)ron - The Butcher's Nails did too much harm to tell. There are some lines that the XiIth legion's alpha intake showed increased resistance to orders post-implantation. Maybe he was the Naysayer: if you couldn't convince him to do something then it wasn't a good idea?
  13. Robot (heh, autocorrect) - The One Man Bureaucracy, 'nuff said.
  14. Mortarion - "We keep sending cyborg maniples to get this rare adamantium, but they keep melting in the acid clouds. Could you be a good boy and fetch it for us?"
  15. Magnus - "Energizer, keeps going." An extra battery for the soul engine that is the Golden Throne.
  16. Horus - The Sociophace, the one you send to negotiate when you want things to get done because he can figure out which buttons motivate you and has no compunctions about pressing them.
  17. Larger - The Emphace, the one you send when you want to convince someone your side is just like theirs and you so much more in common than you realize; the only primarch to "look" like the Emperor to the common folk (unlike Magnus who looked like the Emperor to psykers and warp-sensitives).
  18. Vulkan - He's big, he's scary, and he bench lift a warhound titan, but he was raised by a nice commune of Shaker blacksmiths; see above re: Trefoil.
  19. Raven2 - The Pauper Prince walks around unseen and looks for how the kingdom is failing its people.
  20. Primarch2 - The Prince Pauper walks around unseen and looks for how the people are failing their kingdom.

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#24
b1soul

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@ Brother Lunkhead

Aye, assuming the Nails don't kill Angron and Curze doesn't do something drastic, like off himself...those two provinces would be dysfunctional.

Perhaps Khârn and Sevatar as initial regents...or someone like Zso Sahaal, Lhorke perhaps?

@ Jaxom

I think Sallies are physically tougher and stronger, i.e. respond better to physical trauma, and probably resist radiation better

Death Guard probably better at withstanding toxins/chemicals and deprivation of sleep, food, water

#25
bluntblade

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Malcador says something to the effect that the Khan is in the mix to give the "system" some unpredictability. That might simply mean that he and the Emperor wanted one of their generals to be more capable of left-field solutions than Dorn or Guilliman.





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