Hello 40k fans! Chris Morgan, Chief Librarian of the Forge the Narrative Podcast, is back from hiatus to drop some knowledge bombs again with the next Tomes of the Librarius article. Also, be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
Just as a reminder, in this series we will explore facets of the history and legends of the Grimdark. This is meant to be an easy summary and introduction geared towards new players or people unfamiliar with the setting, but should still be an interesting read or fun refresher for those already familiar. There’s so much detail in 40k lore that a bare summary seems so inadequate, but for new people this should be the right portion to get a feel for the history of the universe we enjoy our games in.
Keeping in the tradition of a three-part series on topics that give me juicy excuses to drown you all in more lore, this next segment will start off the ‘Battlefields of Legend’ series. We are starting today with the planet Armageddon. While not always known by that name, it has an incredible significance not just to the forces of humanity, but also to the Orks.
An Ancient History of War
It is hard to determine what lured the Orks to this world in particular, but lured they were in the largest Orkoid empire to ever exist in the galaxy. All wars against Orks end up being costly, and that’s with them on the offensive. On their own turf, however, the Emperor of Mankind needed more than even a standard expeditionary fleet. It took the combined might of several legions to bring the Orks and their Tyrant to heel, but brought low he was by the blade of Horus Lupercal himself at the head of the Luna Wolves legion. This act solidified his dominance among his brothers as the Emperor’s chosen champion.
With the defeat of the Tyrant, the Emperor ordered a grand celebration the likes of which had not been seen in the history of mankind. The entire planet was terraformed by the Martian Mechanicum into a parade ground of immense proportions. The armies of the Emperor and his sons, and even the titan legios, strode in glory over their great triumph. The greatest Ork empire known had been vanquished, and the Emperor here named Horus as the Warmaster.
It was an event that would herald great change, and incredible tragedy. Fitting that a world so tied to the race of war would witness the birth of he would bring war to the galaxy at an incredible scale.
Echoes of War and the Howling of Beasts
Two thousand years later, as the forces of chaos feuded bitterly in the tides of the Eye of Terror, a complacent Imperium of Mankind rested on the laurels of its indolent success. Then the Beast came at the forefront of a massive Waaagh! This war reached all the way to Terra, heralded by strange Ork moons that belched forth the largest Orks that the beleaguered Imperium had any recollection of seeing, and setting the Imperium into the largest war since the Horus Heresy. The beast itself was enormous, and large enough to throw around even a primarch like a rag doll.
But where was it stationed? Where did the Waaagh! originate from? From Ullanor, of course! Where else would an Ork of unusual size make its stronghold? Something about the world drew it there, and even after it was finally killed, the legacy of Ullanor would survive longer than its name.
The Birth of Armageddon
Eventually the planet would be re-named and its history re-written to forget the great wars of the past. This would not last long, for as the millennia wound on, more wars found their way to Ullanor-that-was. Covered in sprawling hives and teeming with industry, it didn’t take long for several more eyes to focus in on this planet that heralded war.
The First War for Armageddon
Angron, now a demon prince of Khorne, led an assault that set Armageddon to fire. The Armageddon Steel Legion, several other regiments of Imperial Guard, the Space Wolves, and finally the Grey Knights were able to banish the demon back into the warp.
The Second War for Armageddon
This war was the rebirth of war on Armageddon, and brought the Orks back into the fray. The prophet of war, Ghazghkull Thraka led a massive Waagh to the planet that would re-shape the definition of Ork invasions. It took the combination of several space marine chapters, such as the Blood Angels, the Ultramarines, and the Salamanders to name only a few. Here we see many great villains and heroes fight and forge their legends.
The Third War for Armageddon
Years later, at the head of an even larger host of Orks than before, Ghazghkull returned to wage war again on the planet that bested him. Wielding wild Ork technologies and a cunning that sent the defenders scrambling, Ghaz turned Armageddon into a continual warzone – a paradise for war-seeking Orks galaxy wide. The fighting didn’t even stop when the cicatrix maledictum opened and belched forth waves of chaos demons onto the planet’s surface. It was also the first time in recorded history where humans and Orks allied against a common foe, and prevented the re-emergence of Angron into the physical plane.
More War to Come
I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Armageddon and the battles to be fought there. There is simply too much lore and history tied to this world to do it proper justice, but hopefully this will give you a taste for one of 40k’s most famous battlegrounds. What is your favorite Armageddon story? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for next week’s warzone!