What is the worst thing that has ever happened in the Warhammer 40K lore?

I’m very new to the Warhammer 40K universe. I found a group that plays role games and I wanted to join that I felt I needed to learn the lore first.

I’ve been binge-watching lore videos on Youtube and BTH im hooked, I can see how similar it is to franchises that came after and were inspired by it, but at the same time is like nothing I’ve seen before. I actually love that there is not such a thing as a “good ending”.

I wanted to ask people who know more about this universe than me, what is the worst thing that has ever happened in the universe? The most tragic event? The most disturbing one? I really want to know and read about it.

I wanna read some books but seems like ebooks are not available on my country, on Kindle it seems like they were purged and on Kobo maybe I could by them with a VPN or something.


Most of the lore is written about the Horus Heresy. From the point of view of humanity, it’s the worse thing to happen to the imperium, as it has not and will never recover from it.

There’s another human civilization called the interex that was basically the anti-imperium in that they were pluralist, secular, and sought peace within the galaxy. The imperium destroyed them, so it pretty much crushed any alternative system or hope in the universe, so that was pretty bad.

As far as actual body counts and gorey details? I don’t know, the eldaar, dark eldaar, old ones, and necrons are all pretty fucked up.


When you buy your first model. That event represents your transition from “I’m interested in Warhammer” to “I collect Warhammer.”


Which then transistions into “Warhammer collects my money”


I mean, the war in heaven was the most cataclysmic event. It’s sort of the first galactic scale apocalyptic event in the lore. Gods were fighting gods, some races rose in power, while others ceiced to exist. It’s speculated that at some point the nature of the warp changed, and was later distanced from baseline reality.

But this is all background to the lore, and none of it ever happens in the books, so I’m not sure it really counts. I think the same could be said for the fall of the eldar.

So probably the horus heresy or the 13th black crusade. My money’s on the latter as it caused the great rift.


Just fyi it’s spelled ceased.


Probably the creation of Orks.

I subscribe to the idea that since Orks are living in a utopia from their perspective, they are the only faction living in utopian circumstances, and we know Ork psychic energy can affect reality so the sum total of all Ork desires may effect the entire universe, the current circumstances in the 40k universe are all a consequence of Ork desires. Every bad thing that has happened since Orks were created were to engineer a paradise for Orks, which is an irreconcilable deadlocked state of total war.

@skulblaka@startrek.website avatar

I don’t think the Waagh field is quite that strong in canon lore, but holy shit that makes way more sense than it should. I never even considered this as a possibility.


It actually tracks pretty well, particularly with how the Old Ones got clapped after the Necrons went to sleep.

The only question I’d have is why the Krorks devolved if that was the case. Shouldn’t their Waaagh have created a universe where they were necessary, instead of being overkill?


There’s a theory that Orks only evolve to meet the bare minimum technology level. Advanced to far in technology, Orks can’t have a good krumpin. It’s why Orks in the Old World and Age of Sigmar don’t have insane technology even though Orks in all three universes are the same.

PolandIsAStateOfMind, (edited )
@PolandIsAStateOfMind@lemmy.ml avatar

Something like this happened on the planet Urk where orks were fighting eachother for thousands of years but had no desire to ever leave until Ghazkull united them, but then they constructed spaceships with no problem. There’s also a lot of feral orks in 40K universe while it shouldn’t be the case since mek knowledge is genetic. So it indeed might be the safety switch made by the Old Ones to reduce the danger of Krorks. And both after Horus Heresy aftermatch seen a lot of galaxy unified under the Imperium and now when the overal danger level in galaxy intensified greatly the Ork activity also greatly risen which given birth to a Beast (M32) which was almost a Krork and now Ghazkull is on a good way to becoming one, so it might indeed be correct to say that the Orks are adapting to the level of danger.

The book “Da Gobbo rides again” provided some interesting lore parts about how greenskin specialisation works.

PolandIsAStateOfMind, (edited )
@PolandIsAStateOfMind@lemmy.ml avatar

I mean Orks were originally Krorks, beings superior in every aspect to for example human marine primarchs, who were desigend to take on not only the galactic spanning might of Necrontyr but even the C’tan. But since Old Ones were really callous and cruel beings, they didn’t given a shit about them and they degenerated to Orks as we know them (there’s a lot of plot shield in this too but it’s irrelevant atm). Orks are also more of an organic von Neuman machines.

Oh and speaking about Old Ones, the worst thing in the universe is what they did to Eldar. Old Ones were masters of the warp, they did know more than anyone about it. Yet they still designed Eldar as beings with not only good talent for warp, that would be not bad by itself, but also as beings with incredibly strong emotions and emotional feedbacks, which left them extremely vulnerable to warp - all that while knowing how warp works and by themselves being largely immune to this adverse effects due to their own nature.


The Horus Heresy. When you see what the Emperor's vision actually was, and really get to compare it to the galaxy they got, it's just... so much worse. And the galaxy is pretty goddamn bad to begin with. But you know there's a special place at the very bottom of hell for Erebus.


Reminder that the Great Crusade was a galactic genocide.


All 13 of Erebus's Black Crusades aren't better. >..>

Ithorian, (edited )
@Ithorian@hexbear.net avatar

Here’s a bunch of books you can download. If you want to learn lore through a game Rogue Trader is great, same kind of RPG as Baulders Gate or Wrath of the Righteous.

I’m not a huge Warhammer nerd but I’ve been playing/interacting with the lore since like 2000. Couldn’t possibly say the worst thing that’s ever happened. The Warhammer universe is tens of thousands of years of tragedy and carnage.

The all guardsmen party is fucking fantastic. It’s actually the story of someone’s campaign in the Warhammer RPG. It should give you an ass ton of background lore, as well as an idea of how the game can work. It’s also probably the funniest thing you’ve read in a long time.

Edit: Perhaps I am warhammer nerd.


Upvote for All Guardsman Party. There’s apparently a video series/narration of it as well, though I haven’t watched it myself. Reread it 3 times now, though!

FaceDeer avatar

I'd say it's how the Imperium swallowed up and destroyed a number of civilizations that had separated from them that had been developing in much more progressive, prosperous ways. The Olamic Quietude and the Interex come to mind as examples. They showed that humanity didn't have to go down the terrible path they've ended up on.

Or, going farther back to look for a single "worst thing" that's had the greatest awful knock-on effects, I'd say that'd be the Old Ones' refusal to grant any aid to the Necrontyr when they asked for it. That one selfish act sparked off the War in Heaven, created the Chaos Gods, and everything that followed.

If you can't find the books available through legal channels in your country, you might want to consider looking for them on the high seas. !piracy is a good resource for that sort of thing.


Worst thing overall was probably the fall of the Eldar. They created the 4th Chaos God and tore a hole in reality straight to Hell across half the galaxy. Screwed things up bad for everyone.

Most tragic, my vote gets the fall of the Thousand Sons. They would’ve been the most potent anti-Chaos tool the Imperium had by far, and seemed to genuinely care about the humans around them and their cultures. Magnus was extremely prideful but well-meaning, which led to him making deals with Tzeentch that doomed everyone.

Most disturbing, I go with the child who’s favorite toy was a servitor dressed like a clown. He was a psychotic murderer who was turned into a lobotomized cyborg toy-slave, and the kid thinks of it like a teddy bear. Servitors in general are messed up.


I had heard the servitor story before but forgot where it was sourced. Do you happen to remember which book it came from?


I don’t =/ I remember reading the story on reddit I think


Magnus did nothing wrong and Russ has fleas.


Damn straight.

@LopensLeftArm@sh.itjust.works avatar

The movie Event Horizon has been argued to be (unofficially, of course) in the Warhammer 40K universe. If you haven’t seen that, I definitely recommend it.


It definitely reads like an early Humanity discovering the Warp without discovering Gellar Fields.

bionicjoey, (edited )

Of all the people that could be blamed for how bad things are, I think Erebus is the one who deserves it the most because he knew what he was doing and acted out of malice in a way that others didn’t. Magnus and the Emperor did a lot of bad shit, but they did it for “good” reasons.

Keep in mind that even “good” is extremely subjective. The imperium’s goal before the heresy was to eradicate any and all Xenos, which is definitely not good. However, just before the heresy began, there was a glimmer of hope that maybe the IOM would take a less hardline approach toward Xenos if they could establish diplomatic relations. Any hope of that was ruined though once the HH began.

Edit: Also, if you are looking for ways to access the books, I’d recommend sailing the high seas


Kinda OTT: what videos have you been binge-watching? I don’t crap about Warhammer, but I saw this and it’s epic:



If you want want a fun lighthearted way you could listen/watch adeptus rediculous. It’s one guy who knows a lot explaining warhammer to another guy who knows basically nothing.

@Ithorian@hexbear.net avatar

That was super cool, thanks for the link.

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