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Disclaimer and Copyright Notice

This project is a personal hobby project based on the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property of Games
Workshop Ltd. The project is completely unofficial and not endorsed by Games Workshop. Trademarks of
Games Workshop Ltd. used without permission. No challenge to their status is intended. All Rights
Reserved to their respective owners.

The background text and all illustrations are excerpts from published works, copyright their respective
owners (Games Workshop or their subsidiaries), used without permission. No challenge to their status is
intended. The text and images are used to support the body of the article, which is original work by the
author Mike Adams, copyright 2006.

The project is intended to support the Warhammer 40,000 game. In order to make use of this project, you
will need a copy of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook as well as the source books “Codex: Daemonhunters”
and “Codex: Chaos Space Marines”.

The article may be printed and/or stored for personal use only, but may not be distributed or re-published in
any form without written permission from the author.

Background to the Battle

Gambling the result of the Heresy on a single action, Horus lowered the shields protecting his
battle barge. The Emperor, accompanied by an elite bodyguard, teleported aboard, but were cast
throughout the Chaos-warped starship. Horus easily defeated several Imperial Fists veterans
before slaying Sanguinius, the angel-Primarch of the Blood Angels. Finally, the Emperor found
his way to Horus' command room, and engaged his once-beloved son in a titanic duel of strength,
wits, and power.

"The Emperor fought Horus, power sword against lightning claw, with brutal blows that
would eviscerate any mortal man dozens of times over. The Emperor held back for much
of the battle, remembering Horus as his beloved son and not wishing to believe that he
had turned so utterly to Chaos. This allowed Horus to inflict crippling mortal wounds on
the Emperor, since nothing short of the Emperor's full power would be sufficient to
defeat him. At the critical point in the battle, a single Space Marine in Terminator
armour, probably of the Imperial Fists Legion, entered the room: Horus flayed him alive
with but a look, and in that instant the Emperor realised how far his favoured son had
turned. The sacrifice of the Imperial Fists Terminator bought the Emperor time to deliver
a finishing blow to Horus. With iron resolve, he gathered his full strength and delivered
a massive psychic blow that killed Horus almost instantly. In his final moments, the
powers of Chaos were driven from him, and the Emperor sensed his favoured son's
return to sanity for a fraction of a second before he was annihilated. "

Although accounts of the actual battle vary, almost all confirm that the end of the duel resulted in
Horus' death, and the fatal wounding of the Emperor. While there are conspiracy theories about
the Emperor and the Golden Throne, these are yet unfounded. Knowing instantly when their
leader had fallen, the forces that had declared their loyalty to Horus splintered and fled, most
hiding within the warpstorm known as the Eye of Terror. The Sons of Horus did likewise, but
under the direction of Horus' lieutenant, Abaddon, took the time to launch an assault on Horus'
battle barge and retrieve their leader's body.

The Emperor of Man

Note you will need a copy of “Codex Daemonhunters” for an

explanation of some of the special rules used by The

The Emperor of Man

Profile WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv

The 5 5 4 4 4 5 4(5) 10 2+/4


The Sword of Light, The Razor Gauntlet, His Runic Armour, Golden Halo, Purity Seals, Frag

Psychic Powers:

The Emperor is an extremely powerful psyker. He can kill most mortal men with but a stare, and
is a formidable psychic duellist. He has the psychic powers “Hammerhand” and “Scourging” and
carries a Force Weapon (see The Sword of Light). In addition, The Emperor has the “Life Drain”
ability, which counts as a psychic power that does not require a Psychic Test. The unique Psychic
Hood built in to His Runic Armour also doubles the range of any psychic powers he uses, so
Scourging has a range of 36” not 18”. Once per battle, he may use two of his powers in a single
turn. That means either two of the three psychic powers or one of these and the Force Weapon.
The rules for “Hammerhand”, “Scourging” and “Life Drain” are to be found in both Codex
Daemonhunters and Codex Witch Hunters.

Psychic Warding:

The Emperor has a strong warp presence able to repel creatures of the Warp, and prescient
abilities to anticipate attacks. When The Emperor takes a Psychic Test, he only suffers a Perils Of
The Warp attack on a roll of 12, not on a roll of 2. Any enemy wishing to target The Emperor or
his retinue with a psychic power must first pass a Leadership test. If they fail, they may not target
The Emperor or his retinue but they may attack another target instead. The Emperor and his
retinue also benefit from a 4+ save against the effects of any and every psychic power used
successfully against them. If this save is passed then the power is nullified and has no effect. In
addition, The Emperor’s His Runic Armour incorporates a Psychic Hood. To nullify enemy psychic
attacks, the player can choose to use either the Psychic Hood or else The Emperor’s innate
psychic warding, not both. Minor psychic powers have no effect at all on The Emperor.


The Sword of Light

The Sword of Light was meticulously crafted over a generation by the best artisans in the
Imperium, using the most arcane technology scoured from the Galaxy. It is psychically charged
and transcribed with sigils to ward off daemons. The Sword of Light may only be wielded by The
Emperor, designed to fit his glove and provide a channel for his unique, psychic abilities. The
Sword counts as a master-crafted Force Weapon which also confers +2 Strength.

The Razor Gauntlet

The Razor Gauntlet is a master-crafted Lightning Claw with built-in Digi-Lasers. The Digi-Lasers
are powerful short-ranged lasers. They may be used at the start of close combat before any
attacks are worked out. One model in contact with The Emperor, chosen by the player, suffers a
wound on a D6 roll of 4+. Normal saving throws are allowed. In addition, the Digi-Lasers count as
an extra close combat weapon, giving The Emperor a total of 5 Attacks on his profile.

His Runic Armour

The Emperor’s armour is unique, splendid in brilliant gold, forged by master craftsmen, ornate
and inscribed with runes. It incorporates the best protection technology known to the Imperium of
Man. The armour confers an Armour Save of 2+. The Emperor does not suffer Instant Death
when wounded by a weapon whose Strength is at least twice The Emperor’s Toughness, taking a
single wound instead. His Runic Armour also incorporates a Psychic Hood designed to enhance
The Emperor’s already formidable psychic talents. The Hood can be used to attempt to nullify
enemy psychic attacks instead of The Emperor’s innate psychic defences (see Psychic Warding
above). The Hood also has the effect of doubling the range of any psychic powers used by The
Emperor (see Psychic Powers above). His Runic Armour also incorporates technology to allow
the Emperor to teleport into battle using Deep Strike.

Golden Halo
The Golden Halo incorporates a powerful energy shield, granting The Emperor a 4+ invulnerable
save which may be used instead of His Runic Armour’s normal 2+ save.

The Emperor’s unique psychic abilities give him foresight, enabling him to anticipate events at the
personal level and at the battlefield level. At the battlefield level, this ability manifests itself as
follows. The Emperor can detect enemy infiltrators just as if he were equipped with an Auspex,
and gets a free shot at Daemons and Deep Striking units just as if he were an Inquisitor with a
single Mystic in his retinue (see Codex Daemonhunters).

Awesome Presence
The Emperor is an awesome presence, projecting a holy light, both in real space and in warp
space. Any enemy wishing to shoot at or charge The Emperor must first pass a Leadership test. If
they fail, they may not attack The Emperor, but may attack another target instead. Any enemy in
base contact with The Emperor wishing to attack him in close combat must first take a Leadership
test. If it is passed, the model can attack normally. If it is failed, the model counts as having
Weapon Skill 1 for the rest of that round. Any enemy wishing to target The Emperor with a
psychic attack must also first pass a Leadership test (see Psychic Warding).

Abhorrent to Daemons
The presence of The Emperor is abhorrent to foul creatures of the Warp, who rail against his
psychic purity. To represent this, all Daemons within 6” of The Emperor suffer -1 to their
Leadership. Daemons which take Instability tests while The Emperor is on the battlefield take the
test with a -1 modifier to their Leadership. And all Daemons attempting to charge The Emperor
must roll dice for their assault range as if they were moving in difficult ground.

Noble Spirit
The Emperor is a giant among men, a super-human of supreme courage, iron will and noble
spirit. The Emperor and any unit he joins can choose whether to pass or fail any Morale Check or
Pinning Test he is called on to make, even if failure is normally automatic.

Immortal Majesty
The Emperor is a rare and extraordinary being, blessed by the gods. The gods will intervene to
preserve him if he is close to death. Each time The Emperor suffers a Wound, that Wound is
saved on a D6 roll of 4+. This is an additional save taken after all other saves.

Final Deathblow
Should The Emperor ever lose his last Wound, before he becomes a casualty he make one free
“Life Drain” psychic attack as his final act before he passes unconscious (when a Primarch or
other supreme hero will recover his body to the Imperial Palace on Terra to place him on a life
support system and feed his psychic soul with sacrificial volunteers, while supervising the
construction of the Golden Throne).

Commander of Legions
The Emperor is a supreme leader and grand strategist, revered by all loyalists. If The Emperor is
on the table, then all loyalist squads may use his Leadership for Morale, Pinning or Leadership
Tests (but not Psychic Tests). Where there is a choice of mission based on strategy rating, The
Emperor player may always choose the mission. Similarly, he may either choose to win the dice
roll for choice of table edge or request that the dice for the first turn be re-rolled.
Independent Character
The Emperor is an Independent Character.

Royal Guard
In battle the Emperor is always accompanied by a retinue of Custodes (see below).

The Royal Guard

Royal Guard

Profile WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv

Captain of 5 4 4 4 2 4 3 9 2+
the Guard

Custodes 4 4 4 4 1 4 2 9 2+


Captain of the Guard and 3-8 Custodes.


Custodian Blades, Purity Seals, Frag Grenades, Krak Grenades, Terminator Honours (included in


All Royal Guard have Artificer Armour (included in profiles) and all are treated as Independent
Characters for the purposes of close combat.

Custodian Blades
Custodian Blades are meticulously crafted heavy power halberds with built-in bolters. They count
as a power weapon wielded in two hands and confer a 4+ invulnerable save in close combat only.
The Blade can be wielded normally or it can be wielded in one almighty blow. In this case, all
Attacks may be replaced by a single Attack at +2 Strength. The bolter built-in to the Blade can be
fired as a normal bolter in the shooting phase and is subject to the normal rules and restrictions
for Rapid Fire weapons, except that it is master-crafted.
Deep Strike
The squad can teleport into battle using Deep Strike.

Warmaster Horus

Note you will need a copy of “Codex Chaos Space Marines” for an explanation of some of the
special rules used by Warmaster Horus.

Warmaster Horus

Profile WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv

Horus 6 5 4 5 4 5 5 10 2+/4+


Talon of Horus, Slayer of Mortals, Blessed Armour, Eye of Horus.

Psychic Powers:

Horus is a powerful, dark sorcerer who has made a pact with the Chaos Gods. Tzeentch has
conferred on Horus the Sorcerer ability. He has the major psychic power “Wind of Chaos” and
automatically passes all Psychic Tests he is required to take. Horus disdains minor psychic

Talon of Horus
The Talon of Horus is a fearsome gauntlet with enormous, razor-sharp claws and built-in combi-
bolter, fashioned by the greatest artisans of Horus‘s rebellion, inscribed with Chaos symbols and
blessed by the Chaos Gods. The Talon counts as a master-crafted lightning claw with built-in

Slayer of Mortals
The Slayer of Mortals is a huge, ancient mace that has crushed so many heads and limbs that it
is said to be imbued with a daemonic thirst for combat and will fell the mightiest enemy with a
single blow. The Slayer of Mortals counts as a master-crafted 'rending' power maul, with the
additional effect that each Wound it inflicts instead causes D3 Wounds.

Blessed Armour
The Warmaster’s armour is adorned with arcane devices, runes and fetishes and blessed by the
Chaos Gods. It has the abilities of normal Terminator armour but the invulnerable save is
increased to 4+ (included in the profile). The armour will also nullify any psychic power used
against Horus, or that includes him in its area of effect, on a D6 roll of 4+. In addition, the armour
incorporates a Daemonic Rune, making Horus immune to Instant Death.

Eye of Horus
Horus bears an insidious, evil eye, gifted from the Chaos God of Change, which he uses to see
what will come to pass, allowing him to pre-empt opponents in combat. The Eye allows Horus to
re-roll either a single armour save, a single to-hit roll or a single to-wound roll in each of his own

As well as being a ferocious warrior, Horus is a consummate leader and skilled orator. The
Warmaster, his personal retinue and any other Chaos units apart from Daemons with a model
within 6” of him will automatically pass any Morale Tests or Pinning Tests they are required to

Chosen of the Gods

Uniquely, Horus does not follow any one particular Chaos God, but is blessed by all of them. He
counts as having all of the Marks of Chaos: Mark of Tzeentch (Chaos Sorceror, automatically
passes Psychic Tests); Mark of Slaanesh (Warp Scream); Mark of Khorne (included in profile);
Mark of Nurgle (included in profile).

Daemonic Gifts
Horus has not succumbed to daemonhood, but has the following daemonic gifts: Daemonic
Essence (included in profile), Daemonic Rune (included in Blessed Armour).

Attracts Daemons
With his strong presence both in real space and Warp space, and with the blessing of all of the
Chaos Gods, Horus is a focus for daemonic incursion. He counts as having a Personal Icon
aligned with any and all Marks of Chaos.

Independent Character
Warmaster Horus is an Independent Character.

Sons of Horus
Horus is accompanied in battle by a personal retinue of Chaos Chosen from the Sons of Horus
Space Marine Legion (see below).
Sons of Horus

Horus' personal retinue of Chaos Chosen can be selected from the

Chosen entry in Codex Chaos Space Marines as normal, except that
the only Mark of Chaos they may take is the Mark of Chaos Undivided.

Normally, the retinue should consist of 4 to 9 Chosen Terminator

Champions, armed with power weapons and combi-bolters. Any
Chosen may upgrade his power weapon to a Power Fist or Lightning
Claw, and/or upgrade his combi-bolter to a combi-flamer or combi-
melta, or replace all his weapons with a pair of Lightning Claws. One
Chosen carries an Icon of Chaos Undivided. All have the Mark of Chaos
Undivided. All have Spiky Bits.

Optional Rules
The following optional rule adds progressive damage to the two mighty champions as they fight. It
makes the game more interesting if you are just playing the two characters.

Progressive Damage

Whenever The Emperor or Horus takes a wound (after all saves), in addition to the character
losing a wound against its Wounds profile as normal, roll for progressive damage to the
character. Roll first on the Wound Location Table to determine the location of the wound, then roll
on the corresponding location table to determine the effect of the wound. If the character takes
more than one wound in a turn, roll for each wound inflicted.

In the case of an Armour wound, if the effect rolled for is not applicable, re-roll on the same table.
In the case of a Weapon wound, dice first for which main weapon is affected. If all main weapons
are destroyed, then the wounded player chooses a secondary weapon. If all weapons are
destroyed, ignore the result (in that case, the character is in enough trouble!) If the given weapon
wound effect is not applicable to the particular weapon, re-roll on the same table. If no results are
applicable to that weapon, simply count the weapon destroyed.

Wound Location Table

Score Location

1 Armour

2 Weapon

3 Limb

4 Body

5 Head

6 Mind (psychic)


Score Wound Effect

1-2 Reduce armour save by 1

3-4 Reduce invulnerable save by 1

Lose one armour special ability, e.g. Psychic Hood,

Daemonic Rune (wounded player chooses)
Lose one other protection special ability, e.g.
6 Awesome Presence, Immortal Majesty (wounded
player chooses)


Score Wound Effect

1-2 Weapon suffers -1 Strength

3-4 Weapon no longer master-crafted

Weapon loses its power field (a force weapon

5 becomes a power weapon, a power weapon loses its
ability to ignore armour saves)

Weapon loses a special ability, e.g. Strength bonus,

Rending rule (wounded player chooses)


Score Wound Effect

1-2 Reduce Attacks by 1 permanently

3-4 Reduce Initiative by 1 permanently

5-6 Reduce Weapon Skill by 1 permanently


Score Wound Effect

1-2 Reduce Strength by 1 permanently

3-4 Reduce Toughness by 1 permanently

Lose one named special rule, e.g. Abhorrence to

Daemons, Eye of Horus (wounded player chooses)


Score Wound Effect

1-2 Reduce Ballistic Skill by 1 permanently

3-4 Reduce Weapon Skill by 1 permanently

5 Reduce Initiative by 1 permanently

6 Reduce Attacks by 1 permanently

Mind (psychic)

Score Wound Effect

-1 to Psychic Test; or if automatically passed, now this

is not automatic

2 Lose one Psychic Power, e.g. Wind of Chaos

Lose one Psychic Ability, e.g. automatically passes

3 Psychic Test, can use two powers in one turn
(wounded player chooses)

Lose one leadership or command ability, e.g. Noble

Spirit, Warmaster (wounded player chooses)

Lose one named special rule, e.g. Abhorrence to

Daemons, Eye of Horus (wounded player chooses)

Lose one Psychic Warding special ability, e.g. nullify

psychic attacks on 4+ (wounded player chooses)

Designer's Notes
The titanic battle between The Emperor and Horus is the most major historical event in the
Warhammer 40,000 background. It marked the end of the Horus Heresy and the start of the
10,000 year period of human history which is represented in the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop
game. At the end of the forty first millenium, The Emperor is barely living, sealed in The Golden
Throne on Terra and worshipped as a God. The battle with Horus is the last time when The
Emperor walked the earth as a man (although a super-human man). It represents almost a
former, glorious age, before the really dark period of the main Warhammer 40,000 setting. It is
begging to be gamed in some form. It would not be too difficult for Games Workshop to release a
special Warhammer 40,000 variant which takes us back to the time of the Horus Heresy, and I
would be very surprised if it is not already in planning or in some draft format in the vaults of
Games Design.

For joe wargamer, the most accessible way to bring this era alive is to replay the famous combat
that ended the Heresy. I was surprised not to find something like this already in existence.
Anyway, this is what I am presenting here for your delectation.

I have concentrated on the two main combatants themselves, but for completeness I have
created profiles for their retinues. I could go further (and maybe one day I will) and create profiles
for the Primarchs, especially Sanguinus of the Blood Angels who was slain by Horus just prior to
The Emperor's arrival. I guess it depends on how far you want to go. At the moment you can play
a fun game substituting suitable character models for The Emperor and Horus, but ideally you
would create special conversions. I can see each character model being a major project in itself,
plus the retinues. And then you really need to build some custom terrain to represent Horus'
Battle Barge where the fight took place. Like I say, it depends how far you want to go, but I hope
somebody out there is inspired to go 'the whole hog'!

Design Principles
I adopted quite a strict design principle from the start, which was that I would build each character
from existing rules. The reason is that there are lots of powerful special rules already in existence
that push the boundaries of the game system. They are well proven, well play-tested, and
carefully designed to fit into the Warhammer 40,000 game. What I would do is bring appropriate
rules together to fit the theme of each character.

For example, for The Emperor I decided that I could pick the best stats line from any human or
Space Marine in the game, and give him any Imperial wargear without limit or restriction. The only
qualification is that he must remain 'in character', e.g. it would be stupid to give him a lascannon
and a medi-kit! I also decided that because of his famous psychic abilities, he could choose the
best psychic stats and abilities. The Emperor character could also take any Imperial special rules
to do with leadership or command, but not to do with close combat.

So The Emperor's stats line is based on Marneus Calgar (very senior Space Marine special
character), with wargear based on things like Iron Halo, Adamantine Cloak and Nemesis Force
Sword (as wielded by a Grey Knights Grand Master of course!). I created my own names in many
cases, because The Emperor's equipment would of course be unique, specially fabricated for him

I did the same for Horus, who is based on Abaddon The Despoiler. I allowed myself the choice of
Chaos abilities and wargear with certain restrictions, primarily that he has not succumbed to any
one Chaos power and has not ascended to daemonhood. He is a psyker, but can not pick
psychic special abilities in the way I allowed for The Emperor.

Of course this was just the starting point. I had to tweak a little, but really very little. The problem
was that when I first playtested the characters, Horus whipped The Emperor every time, usually
in one turn! The reason is that, being a follower of Chaos, Horus had slightly better combat-
oriented stats, and a master-crafted lightning claw wielded by a WS6 character is going to make a
nonsense of anybody's defences. It was then that I realised I needed a very simple solution,
which was to give The Emperor a special "Immortal Majesty" save (this is actually "Ignore Injury"
from the Blood Angels Death Company).

I have not attempted to come up with points values, I hope for obvious reasons. Points values are
mainly arrived at through a lot of play testing in different scenarios against different opponents,
which I just don't have time nor resources for. In any case, these characters can only be used in
very specific scenarios created just for them. It is obvious that The Emperor or Horus will
unbalance most armies and most games. Having said that, I believe the balance is right between
the two individuals. If you play The Emperor versus Horus, I believe the outcome could go either
way, hopefully as close and nail-biting as the historical encounter.

Multiple Weapons
Both The Emperor and Horus have two main close combat weapons. I have interpreted the
Warhammer 40,000 rules as follows: A character must choose which weapon he is using in each
round of close combat and fights with that weapon only. For example, The Emperor must choose
whether to fight with the Sword of Light or the Razor Gauntlet, not both. However, note The
Emperor does get the benefit of the digi-lasers, whichever weapon he uses. This is a very
important rule and gives each player a key decision to make in each combat round.

Playtest Results (Tactics)

As I wrote above, in my first playtesting Horus whipped The Emperor every time, in just one
round. Back to the drawing board! I took away the D3 Wounds on Horus' power maul and gave
The Emperor the 4+ "Immortal Majesty" save, but in my next round of playtesting I decided I had
made the classic error of overcompensating. Finally, Horus got his D3 Wounds back.

I think what I am left with is a good game based on just two characters. For The Emperor, the key
decision is how to use his psychic powers, when to use his "Once per battle, he may use two of
his powers in a single turn" special rule, and whether to use the Sword of Light or the Razor
Gauntlet. "Life Drain" is very powerful, but can only take one wound and stops The Emperor
using the Force Sword. The Force Sword is the killer weapon because of its ability to take all
Horus' remaining wounds and kill him outright, but it doesn't get the re-roll of the Razor Gauntlet,
and there is a 50:50 chance Horus will nullify the effect of the Force Sword anyway. For Horus,
his stats are so good he can keep pounding The Emperor every turn. His difficulty is getting
enough wounds past The Emperor's "Immortal Majesty" before he succumbs to the Sword of

One final note - just in case you thought these superhuman characters were impossibly powerful -
during playtesting the characters were brought down to earth by a couple of things. The Emperor
suffered a wound from a Perils of the Warp attack, which was embarrassing, and his Royal Guard
looked clumsy when they assaulted Horus across a wall, but got stuck crossing the wall (i.e. fell
short because of their difficult terrain roll) and then got counter-charged!

Well, that's it. Good luck with your dice, have fun and drop me a line to let me know how you got