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What if...


The Primarchs were found in a  different order? 


The one that I fnd most interesting to consider is the idea of Magnus the Red being found first and Motarion being found last. I would imagine that this would lead to the Librarium's being well established by the time Mortaion is found and the Council of Nikea probably not being a thing.


However I can't see Mortarion being a fan of psykers after being subjected to Barbarus for even longer. I would think that he would likely try to separate his legion (Death Guard) from the Imperium and would likely become a rallying point for any with a distrust f the psyker.


Concurrently, if the psychic powers of the Imperium were guided by Magus from their inception, it Imperiums psychic powers would probably be alot more like sorcery than the more constrained powers the Imperiums currently exhibits. 


*Bonus - Angron doesn't get found until after his dies with his gladiator brothers on Nuceria. Afte finding out about this the War Hounds (World Eathers in main 40K) Go on a ramgape and murder the world in their grief. But would they then stay as raging barbarians? Or would this drive them to emulate the 'champion of the enslaved' arcchtype that Angron was?


What 'what if' do you like to think about?

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Hi Brother Bloodspeaker, of all the Alternate Heresies, this may be my favourite (but I don't know all of them, maybe someone else proposed this before, sorry if they did and I'm not giving credit where it's due).  I love this idea and everything I say here is to support you, I'm trying to put certain pieces together with recent revelations.


Whereas the Dornian Heresy was awesome because it flipped the Legions' loyalties, there is another natural divide in your proposal: those that supported Magnus and psykers vs. those who wished to censure them.  With the recent books revealing the Emperor's plans had much more to do with humanity's evolution into a psychic race, your concept is perhaps more fitting for how the lore's been developing.


The main books coming to mind is The Buried Dagger,  Master of Mankind and Fury of Magnus.



+++ The first found Magnus being tutored by the Emperor then elevated to Warma...no...Loremaster +++



Horus had to the privilege to be discovered first by the Emperor due to sheer luck, and they got to spend the most time together, thus he learned the most from Him.  However, with how the Emperor usually sought the Primarchs psychically, it actually makes more sense for Him to have found the great psyker Magnus before others.


If Magnus was the first found Primarch, he would have also initially been the only one.  He would have been the one to be trained by the Emperor...who could also keep His eye on him.  The Emperor didn't simply expect the Cyclops to use his psychic gifts, He designed him for that specific purpose.  The problem was always his sorcery.


Sorcery exposed psykers to the perils of the Warp, the entire issue the Emperor wanted to avoid, thus his banning of religion, his Webway project, etc.  Magnus mainly wanted to learn, sorcery was just the means to greater knowledge, but I think the Crimson King would have been even happier to learn directly from the Emperor, just as the Emperor would have been glad to steer Magnus away from sorcery, towards His own psyker philosophy.  It was unfortunate they did not have more time for that.


To that point, in Fury of Magnus, that was in fact the future the Emperor offered the Red Cyclops to turn him Loyalist, was that the two of them would go into the Warp (which they called "the Great Ocean") to learn together.  It shows how much the Emperor wanted Magnus on his side, as he was the only Primarch he offered a chance for redemption...but it's probably just so Magnus would sit on the Golden Throne instead of Him.  This recent piece of lore really supports your proposal.


Magnus being personally tutored by the Emperor on psychic powers...His key issue with humanity's evolution...would have easily made him His most favoured son instead of Horus.  Instead of a Warmaster, the Emperor would have tasked Magnus to perhaps guide Mankind's preparation to be a psychic race as their Loremaster.


(Loremaster is my little joke, I take Warhammer seriously, but I don't take myself seriously.  It sounds pretty cool though.)


Magnus would have focused on expanding the Librarium to train psykers as the Emperor trained him, away from sorcery.  The Red Cyclops would have steered clear of sorcery...but he has to delegate, so would his Thousand Sons be able to resist dabbling in the old ways?  Perhaps Ahriman, as Magnus's Chief Librarian, would inadvertently slip some of that old Prospero sorcery in his work...or perhaps he'd secretly dabble in the forbidden arts trying to cure the Legion's mutation.


However, despite these possible lapses, I'd treat Magnus overall as a Loyalist...but he will be a tragic figure.



+++ Mortarion would have been the natural antagonist +++



Mortarion overthrew one psychic Overlod on Barbaros...and then he was ruled by another in the form of the Emperor.  The Pale King was one of the few Primarchs that had a genuine hate for the Emperor even before turning traitor, and his opposition to psykers makes him the natural foil to Loremaster Magnus as the Arch-Traitor.


Perfect casting imho, I've nothing more to say, so I'll move on.



+++ I think the 2 sides of this alternate Heresy follow those of the Council of Nikaea +++



This is just a reminder of the 2 sides established in the Council of Nikaea.  I'm just listing in terms of Legion order, underlining key figures.


Supporters of Magnus/psykers: Fulgrim, Khan, Curze, Sanguinius, Guilliman, Magnus, Lorgar, Vulkan, Alpharius


Opposition to Magnus/psykers: Lion, Perturabo, Russ, Dorn, Ferrus, Angron, Mortarion, Horus (was neutral), Corax


I'm just looking at these unlikely alliances.  For example, I'm thinking Guilliman and Magnus have a shared love of books is such a small yet significant thing for them.  Then both Perturabo and Dorn on the same side.  Many of these Primarchs had lead their own campaigns to take over their planet, but I think Mortarion has the most experience against a psychic Overlord, which does make the the de factor Arch-Traitor.



+++ The Magnus Martyrdom  +++



I don't know how the middle will go, but I can already see how it ends.


Not listed above is one major detractor to psykers in general: the Mechanicum.  In Master of Mankind, an attempt by Loyalist Mechanicum to use the Webway to reach Mars really screws up the last, best chance for the Emperor to salvage the Webway project.  I'm thinking the Mechanicum will join Mortarion's insurrection.


And in this case, I think the Mechanicum will try to brute force hack their way through the Webway into Terra.  They will fail spectacularly!  But you know how Magnus destroyed the Webway by simply uttering a message?  Imagine the Mechanicum trying to drill their way through.  The damage they do is unintentional as they simply inadvertently flood the Webway with Chaos Neverborn.


In this alternate Heresy, the Loremaster Magnus, the most loyal of the Emperor's sons, plants himself into the Golden Throne to hold back the forces unleashed into the Webway.  It was always the place the Emperor had planned for him, but not under these circumstances.  However, even as Magnus is trying to close the gates of Hell, the best of humanity knows that an army is needed on the other side of the portal to hold back the Neverborn and buy the Crimson King time, knowing full well whoever stepped through would never come back.  The Talons of the Emperor, the Custodes and the Silent Sisterhood, stand ready for this last desperate charge...only to be stopped by the most unlikely of figures: the bookish Ahriman.


Magnus had told Ahriman his vision, that he would sit on the Golden Throne, and that he would never rise from it.  The Chief Librarian also knew something his Crimson King never told him, that his Legion was cursed with mutation, and despite the best efforts of the Loremaster, he had yet to find a cure, and he would never be able to now.  Rather than suffer that fate, Ahriman would rather lead the loyal Thousand Sons of Magnus through the breach to make their last stand.  During their final battle, as the Webway gates were closing, the last of Magnus's would invoke their most powerful psychic abilities, the old spells they had learned in Prospero, and it would be the only time that the Emperor ever sanctioned the use of sorcery.


Afterwards, it is believed by the Imperium at large that Magnus and his Thousand Sons died heroically that day.  The truth is far more tragic.  Magnus suffers on the Golden Throne still, eternally holding back the Neverborn from Terra, and in the Warp the Navigators seem the red light of the Astronomicon which they believe to be the embers of his dead soul, but is actually his pain everlasting.  As for the Crimson King's Legion, they traverse across the galaxy as spectres that appear and disappear where they are most needed in defense of the Imperium.  Those who saw these ghostly apparitions on the battlefield have come to call them The Thousand Damned.


(Hehe, that's my way of combining the Rubric Marines with the Legion of the Damned.  Eh, I thought I was clever at the time.)


Just my thoughts on the Magnus Martyrdom.  I'm going to tell my friend who really likes Magnus the Red.

Edited by N1SB
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An interesting idea, however the first thought that comes to mind is that if we have the anti-psycker Mortarion as the antagonist to the Imperium, who dose chaos latch onto for their champion? Motarion would have a even greater distrust of the neverborn and warp.

Would chaos even play a significant version in this or is it a case of psykic Imperium of man verse free federation of man. I can see world eaters in the proposed scenario side with Mortarion  in an anti tyrant coalitions, the Khan I could also see joining such a side.


As for the mechanicum while I can see some siding with Motarian in a natural reality approach, I think the thirst for knowledge would still drive some towards Magnus and a more psychic imperium.



Would there be a three way split?


Psychic Imperium: Magnus, Lorgar, Fulgrim, Sanguinius, Dorn – psychic mechanicum


Freeman Coalition: Mortarion, Angron (dead, but his legion), Lion, Kahn, Perturabo (as the builder, not the siege specialist (the way he is occasionally described as what he wanted to be instead of what his task was)), Alpharious, Guilliman, Vulkan (yes there are more in this camp, but they are not a unified front, but loose alliance, with different members based on different ideals (including some of the more humanitarian ideals)  - Physical Mechanicum.


Chaos faithful: Curze (less him, and more his legion), Horus (out of jealousy of Emp/Magnus powerbase), Ferrus  as head of Dark Mechanicum


Russ and Corax I am not sure on, balance would say chaos, but I can see them in the freeman coalition as well.


Also chaos can probably be fine with just the three if most of this alternative civil war is psychic imperium verse non psychic human. Possibly the chaos side does not reveal itself until near the end and tries to back stab/usurp psychic imperium (and pretend to be allies to it/part of it up to that point)  

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  • 11 months later...

What if...the primachs switched upbringings?
For instance, Robute Guilliman lands on Fenris and Leman Russ on Macragge. Does Guilliman still become the empire builder when he doesn't have head start, like he did in the mainstream timeline? Does Russ keep up the pretense of the savage king when?


Guilliman would certainly try. I don't think he would get as far and I really have trouble believing that something like the 500 Worlds of Ultramar would be possible with Fenris at it's heart. The problem is that Roboute would be starting on a world that just doesn't have what he needs to start such an empire. Fenris prior to the Imperium was a technologically unadvanced backwater. This means that Guilliman would be forced to 'kick start' innovation on a world full of savages. While he certainly could, it would slow him down and maybe redirect his focus completely.


It seems unlikely that Leman Russ would pretend to be a barbarian king if he had landed on a civilized place like Macragge. I have no doubt that he would still be a dour, uncomprimising and formidible warrior, not the empire builder that Guilliman is. I would image that the result would be much like the Luna Wolves. Brutal shock troops with a fierce military pride but, crucially, soldiers instead of warriors.


Now, what does this mean for the Imperium? For started no Ultramar means no Imperium Secondus to rally too in the Heresy. Also I do not think Roboute would play the role of the Emperor's Executioner as readily as Russ did in the main timeline. It is interesting to note that, for all that the Ultramarines are regarded as 'the boring marines', without them and Guilliman at their head the Imperium would have really struggled post heresy.


Next one...Sanguinius and Konrad Curze switch personalities.

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Now, what does this mean for the Imperium? For started no Ultramar means no Imperium Secondus to rally too in the Heresy. Also I do not think Roboute would play the role of the Emperor's Executioner as readily as Russ did in the main timeline.

Think that the role of Emperor's Executioner would still befall Russ, even with a different uppringing

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