Warhammer 40,000: Famous Crusades

The new edition of Warhammer 40,000 introduced the incredible Crusade narrative system. The lore of Warhammer 40,000 is full of massive crusades, where great generals have conquered huge swathes of the galaxy. Here are a few of our favourites.

The Great Crusade

The Emperor set out from Terra to unite the entire galaxy under the flag of Humanity. Having swayed Mars to the cause, the crusade pushed out beyond the solar system and the Emperor was reunited with his lost sons, the Primarchs. With each of them leading a Legion of Space Marines, countless xenos races were exterminated, and untold lost worlds were welcomed back into Mankind’s warm embrace. The highlight of the crusade was the victory on Ullanor. The Emperor and Horus, his favourite son, slew the Ork overlord Urlakk Urg. In celebration, the Emperor named Horus as Warmaster and put him in charge of the Great Crusade. We can’t quite read our notes on what happened next but were sure it all worked out fine.

Learn more about the Great Crusade in Horus Rising.

The Black Templars

When the Imperial Fists Legion were split up following the implementation of the Codex Astartes, the most zealous Space Marines formed the Black Templars. Each of their fleets has spent the last 10,000 years on permanent crusade, spreading their righteous anger to every corner of the galaxy. While they will happily slay aliens and heretics, their preferred prey is witches, and even after 10,000 years, there are plenty of psykers for them to hunt down.*

Learn more about the Black Templars and their crusade fleets in The Eternal Crusader.

The Macharian Crusade

Sometimes it takes a mortal to try to finish what a God-Emperor started. In seven short years, Lord Solar Macharius conquered close to 1,000 worlds for the Imperium. His Grand Army of Reconquest made it as far as the Halo Stars before Macharius himself died under mysterious circumstances on the way back to Terra.** After his death, his underlings fought over the worlds he had claimed, leading to the Macharian Heresy, which resulted in the loss of many of the worlds that had only recently been reclaimed. And that’s why the Imperium can’t have nice things.

Learn more about the Macharian Crusade in The Macharian Crusade Omnibus.

The Sabbat Worlds Crusade

Sabbat was a simple farm girl when she received a vision from the Emperor telling her to bring an entire sector under the control of the Imperium. 105 years later, she had done just that, and though she was eventually slain, she was immortalised as an Imperial Saint for her deeds. See, it’s important to follow your dreams. Eventually, Chaos forces pushed the Imperium out of the Sabbat System, and another crusade had to be launched to reclaim them.

Learn more about the second Sabbat Worlds crusade in First and Only.

The Black Crusade(s)

Imperial propaganda will tell you that Abaddon the Despoiler failed in his first 12 Black Crusades, that each time he was driven back into the Eye of Terror with his tail between his legs. The truth is, it was all part of the plan. Each of them actually achieved a goal known only to Abaddon and, when combined, these “failures” would see the 13th Black Crusade destroy the Cadian Gate. This contributed to the birth of the Cicatrix Maledictum, which changed the face of the galaxy forever. There’s a lesson to be learned here about being overconfident in apparent victory (and listening to Imperial propaganda).

Learn more about the 13th Black Crusade in Cadia Stands.

Waaagh! Ghazghkull

While there isn’t a straightforward translation from Ork into either High or Low Gothic, it’s a pretty safe assumption that Waaagh! is about as close as an Ork would get to “crusade” (albeit with more headbutts and krumpin’). Ghazghkull Thraka leads one of the largest ever Waaaghs!, and he has left countless burnt-out planets in his wake. 

Learn more about Waaagh! Ghazghkull in War for Armageddon: The Omnibus.


Those are just a few of the amazing crusades that we’ve seen take place through the years – join us over on Facebook and let us know your favourites. Make sure that you also pick up a Warhammer 40,000 Crusade Journal so that you are ready to keep track of your own awesome crusades in the 41st Millennium.


* Thanks to the Psychic Awakening, there are even more now than ever!
** It just goes to show that you need to be careful about being too successful in the Imperium.

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