Grim Dark Lore is the name of several series of Warhammer 40,000 lore videos on YouTube created by video production company Raven Rock Entertainment in conjunction with the Warhammer 40,000 Wiki. The series debuted on Monday, April 20, 2020, and new episodes will air every week thereafter.
The series chronicles the entire history of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, from Humanity's first steps into the void, through the Horus Heresy, the long years of Imperial stagnation and finally the birth of the Great Rift and the glorious resurrection of Roboute Guilliman!
Warhammer 40,000 Overview Series
To see the entire series please see the Grim Dark Lore Playlist.
A short teaser trailer announcing the start of Raven Rock Entertainment's flagship lore video series, "Grim Dark Lore."
Grim Dark Lore 1: Exodus
In this first video in the series, the chronicle of the Warhammer 40,000 galaxy begins! From Humanity's first steps out into the void, through the settlement of Mars and other worlds using the Long March generation ships, to the discovery of the Immaterium and the development of Warp-Drive, explore the Age of Terra and the dawn of the Human golden age!
Grim Dark Lore 2: Golden Age
The Warhammer 40,000 galaxy's golden age! Explore the apex of the first Human interstellar civilization during the Age of Technology as it reaches extraordinary heights of science and technology and makes first contact with other alien species such as the Aeldari and the Orks.
But hints of the grim darkness to come appear on the horizon with the emergence of the first, true Human psykers.
Grim Dark Lore 3: Old Night
First to herald doom was the birth of Human psykers, whose inability to control their powers and avoid possession by Warp entities led to massive destruction across the galaxy. Then Humanity's thinking machines turned on their creators. Next was the complete disruption of Warp travel caused by growing instability in the Immaterium.
Cut off from one another, the worlds of Mankind soon descended into anarchy, ignorance and constant war. Even Old Earth, the jewel of Human civilization, was transformed into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. But one man, Malcador the Sigillite, was determined to find salvation for Humanity...
Grim Dark Lore 4: Rise of the Emperor
An unknown warlord known only as the Emperor emerges onto the stage of the Warhammer 40,000 galaxy. During his search for Human salvation on Terra, Malcador the Sigillite discovered the man known only as the Emperor, and that he had a plan for the salvation of Humanity from the horrors of the Age of Strife.
In pursuit of that hope, the Emperor took up residence in the Sigillites' old Himalayan fortress and began the production of his potent genetically-engineered honour guards, the Legio Custodes, and his future army generals, statesmen, and genetic sons, the Primarchs. But before his quest could even begin, the Great Enemy struck first...
Grim Dark Lore 5: Unity
The Unification Wars erupt across Terra as the Emperor of Mankind begins his quest to unite the Warhammer 40,000 galaxy. Despite the loss of the Primarchs, the Emperor is determined to save Humanity from the anarchy of the Age of Strife.
Despite their martial strength, the Thunder Warriors prove to be deeply flawed and ultimately turn on their creator. They are wiped away by their successors, the Emperor's ultimate gene-forged warriors and angels of death, the newborn Legiones Astartes, the Space Marines.
The Space Marines complete the Unification of Terra while the Emperor lays the foundations of a new civilization on Humanity's homeworld.
Grim Dark Lore 6: Lords of Mars
Mars had once been a jewel of the Human-settled galaxy, the heart of much of Humanity's technological innovation and scientific achievement during the Age of Technology. But the Age of Strife swept away the original Martian civilization in a post-apocalyptic tide of robotic rebellions, civil war, and ecological collapse.
From the ashes emerged a new civilization known as the Mechanicum, dedicated to an austere and strange religious faith in the deity they called the Machine God. Its leaders, the cybernetic tech-priests, reclaimed the Red Planet and built a new Martian culture dedicated to the pursuit and recovery of ancient knowledge...no matter the cost.
Grim Dark Lore 7: The Machine God
With the birth of the ancient Mechanicum, a new theocracy dedicated to the service of the Machine God arose from the post-apocalyptic ruins of Mars. But this deity demanded that its servants seek out knowledge wherever it could be found, and this necessitated the creation of tools to embody its will.
These were found in the various servants of the tech-priests, including the machine slaves called servitors, cybernetic Skitarii soldiers, Knight combat walkers and the great god-machines known as Titans. These creations not only served the will of the Machine God but also allowed its worshippers to come as close as they could in life to a spiritual union with the machine.
The Mechanicum next began to explore the galaxy despite the persistent Warp Storms, establishing by skill or luck new Forge Worlds dedicated to their faith across the galaxy. But the rise of the Emperor on Terra soon caught the tech-priests' attention, and many wondered if He would prove to be friend or foe...
Grim Dark Lore 8: Imperium
With Unity brought to Terra, and the Warp Storms of the Age of Strife finally clearing, the Emperor needed the resources and technical skills of the Mechanicum to make real His dream of a Great Crusade to restore the galaxy to Humanity.
He made the first move, going to Mars to propose a deal to the tech-priests. In return for their technology and manufacturing capabilities, he would restore to them Navigators, grant them autonomy and protection for their religion, and offer them the opportunity to search the galaxy for lost technology. It proved an offer too good to refuse.
With the empires of Terra and Mars reunited, a new state took shape -- the Imperium of Man. The Emperor used the aid of the Martian priesthood to build the ships and armies that would retake the galaxy for Humanity while He constructed the Astronomican to guide His fleets out into the void. Then the first test for the new crusade came in the outer reaches of the Sol System...
Grim Dark Lore 9: Fall of the Aeldari
The end of the Age of Strife was marked by a great flash of light seen across the galaxy. Within days of this event, the Warp Storms which had isolated the worlds of the galaxy for thousands of years at last began to dissipate, allowing the Emperor to begin His Great Crusade.
But the cause of that flash was the birth within the Immaterium of a terrible new entity of amoral hedonism called Slaanesh, the Dark Prince of Chaos. The price for the birth of the youngest of the Chaos Gods was nothing less than the near-extinction of the once immortal race known as the Aeldari.
The Aeldari had ruled a vast empire that was the technologically most powerful of the starfaring peoples of the Milky Way Galaxy. But eons of excess and the uncontrolled pursuit of dark pleasures had slowly twisted their once great civilization into something horrific.
Such wanton ways had slowly gestated a dark new being within the Empyrean. In one brief moment almost the entirety of the Aeldari species was eradicated by the psychic birth scream of this entity, which also created the great Warp rift called the Eye of Terror.
Yet some of the Aeldari survived, slowly evolving into distinct new factions -- Exodites, Craftworld Asuryani, Drukhari and Harlequins -- whose lifestyles differed based on their own adaptations to avoid the pull of Slaanesh upon their souls.
The Aeldari would prove to be both great foes of the newborn Imperium of Man as well as the strongest allies Humanity would ever know in the war to come against Slaanesh and its corrupt kin, who hungered within the Warp for the souls of Mankind...
Grim Dark Lore 10: Gods and Daemons
The Chaos God Slaanesh was born of the Aeldari species' uncontrolled hedonism and amoral pursuit of every excess and pleasure. But Slaanesh was not alone in the Warp. Three other Ruinous Powers existed to plague Humanity and all of the other sentient races of the galaxy -- Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch.
Khorne is the Blood God, the deity of wrath and murder. Nurgle the Plague Lord is the patron of despair and disease. Tzeentch is the Lord of Change, the champion of change, sorcery and knowledge. Together with Slaanesh, the Dark Prince of Chaos, they represented the Great Enemy to the Emperor's plan to reunify Humanity.
The Chaos Gods, aided by their daemonic servants and mortal cultists, saw the birth of the Eye of Terror as their greatest window on a mortal world they had long hungered to add to their own dominions. They would break down the barriers between reality and the Warp, until all of Creation had been subsumed within the Immaterium, just like the worlds of the lost Aeldari Empire.
Among his fractious kin, Tzeentch was the first to see the true danger the Emperor represented, an attempt to cut Humanity off from the Warp and starve the Dark Gods of the psychic energy they needed to survive and thrive.
And so the Lord of Change united his brethren to steal away the Master of Mankind’s children, the Primarchs, and scatter them across the galaxy.
But the Emperor would not be deterred, and launched his Great Crusade without them, hoping against hope that he might yet meet his sons again among the stars...
Grim Dark Lore 11: Great Crusade Begins
As the Warp Storms of the Age of Strife cleared, and Terra and Mars were successfully united under the aegis of the Emperor's Imperium of Man, the Master of Mankind's Great Crusade to reunite the Human-settled galaxy could begin at last. But none knew what awaited the great fleets in the void beyond Sol.
The purpose of the Great Crusade was to first and foremost forever banish the horrors of Old Night. Civilization was to be restored to the galaxy as it had already been on Terra and Mars. Logic and reason would serve as the foundations of a new golden age.
To this end, the Emperor established a new bureaucracy for the Imperium, embodied in the War Council that directed the course of the crusade with the aid of the reestablished Navigator houses. Any newly conquered worlds were made compliant with the atheistic doctrine known as the Imperial Truth, while all psykers were collected to be returned to Terra on the Black Ships of the Astra Telepathica and any unfriendly xenos species were exterminated outright.
Among the greatest servants of the Great Crusade were the Rogue Traders Militant who served as outriders of the crusade's many expeditionary fleets. It was a Rogue Trader who rediscovered the Knight Worlds of Humanity's lost Age of Technology, and restored the power of their Knight walkers to the arsenals of both the Imperium and the Mechanicum.
The Mechanicum was also strengthened enormously by the reestablishment of contact between Mars and the many Forge Worlds it had settled blindly in the void during the millennia of Old Night.
Perhaps the greatest discovery of the Great Crusade's early decades came on the world of Pentacanaes when a plague of rogue psykers led to the discovery of a group of women with the ability to defeat even the worst entities vomited forth by the Warp – though the price of this power included their own souls.
Finally, the crusade came to the dying mining world of Cthonia, and there discovered an individual who would have a greater impact upon the course of the Great Crusade than even the Emperor. His name was Horus...
Grim Dark Lore 12: The Son of Strife
As the Great Crusade reached out into the void, the Emperor of Mankind unexpectedly discovered one of his lost sons, one of the primarchs, on the mining world of Cthonia only a few light years from Terra. This was Horus Lupercal, who had been raised among the vicious gangs of Cthonia .
After being taught Imperial ways and learning of his father the Emperor’s mission to reunite the scattered worlds of Mankind, Horus gladly made the cause his own. He became the master of the XVI Legion of Space Marines, the Luna Wolves, and for thirty years fought at the Emperor’s side.
During this time, the character and culture of the Luna Wolves Legion began to slowly change, as its ranks of Terran-born Astartes were slowly replaced with Cthonians modeled in Horus’ own image. Out among the stars, Horus and the Emperor saved each other’s lives countless times and forged a uniquely close emotional bond.
But Horus had learned many lessons on Cthonia, the most important of which that no matter how great you were, there was always someone who sought to claim what was yours. When Horus learned that his father had discovered yet another of his Primarchs, he was happy that he was no longer alone…and secretly feared the emergence of a new rival for the Emperor’s affection. And Horus Lupercal was determined that no one would ever claim his rightful place in the sun.
Grim Dark Lore 13: Lost and Found
After three decades spent reuniting the human-settled galaxy at the side of his gene-son Horus during the Great Crusade, the Emperor of Mankind discovered two more of his missing primarchs, Leman Russ and Ferrus Manus.
Leman Russ was discovered on the barbaric Death World of Fenris, the king of a barbaric culture. The Emperor was forced to engage in a series of contests of strength and skill to earn the Wolf King's trust.
Russ became the master of the Space Wolves Legion, who had evidenced a startling disregard for all military discipline before their primarch taught them a new way to wage war. The Space Wolves soon became the Emperor's most trusted executioners, the Space Marine force who most embodied the savage aspects of his iron will.
The Emperor came to Ferrus Manus on the geologically unstable world of Medusa. Ferrus was a hard man, who was dedicated to the elimination of all weakness in both himself and his people. Only after engaging the Emperor in a titanic duel in which he finally met someone else who was a match for his godlike abilities did Ferrus swear allegiance to the Imperial cause.
The Iron Hands were reshaped by Ferrus into a Legion that also sought to eliminate all weaknesses in themselves, even if this required the replacement of their own flesh with the purity of the machine. Ferrus and his X Legion became masters at the use of armored forces and advanced technology in crushing the foe. They ultimately formed an unusually close bond with the tech-priests of the Mechanicum.
Ferrus joined Horus and the Emperor in helping to command the fleets of the Great Crusade, whose forces had now grown large enough to split into three major fleets. More primarchs were subsequently discovered and the Great Crusade continued to reach ever deeper into the galaxy.
Grim Dark Lore 14: A Thousand Sons
The XV Legion of Space Marines, the Thousand Sons, had been raised by the Emperor to serve as the Imperium's psychic weapon. But the Thousand Sons' demonstrated psychic abilities often made the other Legions uneasy, as they disliked psykers as much as the rest of Humanity.
On the world of Bezant, the Thousand Sons encountered a powerful psychic enemy that forced them to push their psychic powers to the limit. The result was a sudden and unexpected rampant mutation known as the "flesh-change" that afflicted one of the Thousand Sons. Soon, this mutation was spreading like wildfire through the XV Legion. Unless a cure could be found, the Thousand Sons might go extinct.
It was at this time that the Emperor came to Prospero and discovered Magnus the Red, one of his missing sons. Magnus had come centuries before to Prospero, a world that had recovered from a vicious infestation of psychic psychneuein parasites to create a new society based in the Tizca, the City of Light. The Prosperines were dedicated to the pursuit of psychic powers and knowledge about the Warp.
Reunited with his Legion, Magnus looked to the Warp to find a solution to his genetic sons' affliction. He found it, though the price of the bargain was high. Joining the Great Crusade with his Legion, Magnus and the Thousand Sons were determined to prove that the power of the Warp could be used as a potent tool in pursuit of human unity.
But across the galaxy, another of the Emperor's sons was afflicted by visions of salvation brought by a golden god and his one-eyed angel...
Grim Dark Lore 15: Bearer of the Word
Lorgar came to rest on the world of Colchis, a planet ruled by a theocracy known as the Covenant which believed in a pantheon of gods called the Old Faith. Tutored by his mentor Kor Phaeron, an exiled priest of the Old Faith, Lorgar was consistently troubled by visions of the coming of a golden, armored god and his one-eyed angel.
Lorgar grew to become a charismatic religious leader who led a civil war on Colchis to take over the Covenant and replace its faith with that of belief in Lorgar’s golden-armored savior.
After the arrival of the Emperor of Mankind and the Primarch Magnus the Red fulfilled his prophecy, Lorgar proudly took up the mantle of leadership of the Imperial Heralds Legion. He transformed them into the Word Bearers and proceeded to use the Great Crusade to spread worship of the Emperor as a god across the galaxy.
This directly contradicted the Imperial Truth and led to countless atrocities in the name of the Word Bearers' God-Emperor. As news reached the Emperor that His genetic son was spreading superstition and intolerance in his name, the Master of Mankind determined that Lorgar and the Word Bearers needed to be taught a hard lesson about the true nature of their mission...
Grim Dark Lore 16: The Perfect City
After taking command of the Word Bearers Legion, the Primarch Lorgar Aurelian had reshaped his warriors into a force dedicated to spreading his belief across the galaxy that the Emperor of Mankind was a god.
Horrified by this violation of the atheistic Imperial Truth, the Emperor brought Roboute Guilliman, the primarch of the Ultramarines Legion, to the city of Monarchia on the world of Khur. There the Master of Mankind harshly rebuked the Word Bearers for their failure by forcing them to watch as the Ultramarines destroyed the "perfect city" they had created in dedication to the divine Emperor.
In the wake of this event, Lorgar found his faith in the Emperor shattered but remained desperate to find some form of divinity to worship. His mentor Kor Phaeron and First Chaplain Erebus had long been secret devotees of the Chaos Gods and used this opportunity to push Lorgar to seek them out so he could learn the truth of Chaos' existence.
This quest led Lorgar on a pilgrimage into the depths of the Eye of Terror from which he emerged as the chosen instrument of Chaos Undivided. Determined to spread Chaos to Humanity to secure his species' future, Lorgar decided that only one man could truly serve the cause of the Dark Gods. And that was Horus Lupercal, his brother primarch, the best-loved son of the Emperor...
Grim Dark Lore 17: Triumph at Ullanor
At the great Imperial triumph held in that victory's aftermath, the Emperor announces his retreat back to Terra to pursue a secret project and the establishment of the new governing Council of Terra. Horus is made the Imperial Warmaster and supreme commander of the Imperium's military forces -- including his brother primarchs.
These actions set off tremendous acrimony among the primarchs. Many did not believe Horus should have been chosen to serve in that role and others were angered that mortals rather than primarchs would direct the future governance of the Imperium.
But for Lorgar Aurelian, this discord provided the perfect opening to put into motion the plans of the Chaos Gods that had been developing for almost 40 years. And the target of the Dark Gods' plot would be the new Imperial Warmaster himself...
Grim Dark Lore 18: Return to Terra
The Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists Legion joins the Great Crusade and becomes one of the staunchest servants of the Emperor. He is ordered to return to Terra with the Emperor so that the Master of Mankind can begin His great work.
Rogal Dorn was already an emperor in his own right when he met the Emperor of Mankind, having become the lord of the stellar empire created by the people of the frozen world of Inwit. Presenting the Emperor with the great star fortress Phalanx, command of the great starship was returned to him alongside mastery of the Imperial Fists Legion.
A master of the strategic defence, Dorn would become one of the Emperor's most trusted servants, nearly as beloved of his father as Horus. He was ordered to return from the Great Crusade to Terra to take over the defences of the Imperial Palace.
After the Ullanor Crusade, the Emperor returned to Terra to begin the next phase of His plan to restore Humanity's lost golden age. Among the initiatives He undertook were the creation of a new ruling bureaucracy for the Imperium, the Council of Terra, and the construction of new technologies in the Imperial Dungeons beneath the Imperial Palace.
But only a short time later, the Emperor was called away to deal with the momentous question of what place psykers should have in the Space Marine Legions and the Imperium itself...
Grim Dark Lore 19: Council of Nikaea
Facing increasing strife among His primarchs, the Emperor was forced to call a full meeting of the Imperial War Council on the specially terraformed world of Nikaea to deal with the issue of psykers in the Space Marine Legions and the wider Imperium.
But Magnus the Red, the primarch of the Thousand Sons, argued vehemently that no knowledge as inherently evil, and that true Human enlightenment could only be achieved through the use of the powers offered by harnessing the Immaterium.
Despite a last minute compromise offered by a band of Space Marine Librarians, the Emperor takes a hard line, and bans the use of psychic abilities among the Space Marine Legions. He orders the Space Marine Legions to disband their Librarius departments and remand their Librarians back to the battleline.
But Magnus the Red, incensed at the outcome on Nikaea, remained determined to show his father that the power of the Warp could still be used to further the goals of the Great Crusade...
Grim Dark Lore 20: Serpent in the Garden
Lorgar Aurelian and his servant First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers Legion lay the groundwork of their grand conspiracy to turn the Warmaster Horus and half of the Space Marine Legions to the service of Chaos.
Lorgar Aurelian moved over the four decades after swearing his allegiance to Chaos to bring his fellow Space Marines into the service of the Dark Gods. He knew that their chosen instrument of enlightenment for humanity must be the Warmaster Horus.
The Word Bearers had found the means of that corruption on the Feral World of Davin, a world deep in the grip of Chaos whose primitive warriors were organized into lodges. From there Lorgar worked to spread the use of similar warrior lodges through all of the Space Marine Legions to serve as the vector of Chaos corruption.
And the opportunity to set the conspiracy into motion came during the XVI Legion's first contact with a people called the Interex. Erebus stole a Chaos artefact called the Anathame, which initiated an unexpected war between the Imperium and the Interex and laid the foundation of Horus' fall to darkness...
Grim Dark Lore 21: Horus Falling
Injured in battle with former Planetary Governor Eugen Temba on Davin's plague moon, the Warmaster Horus is taken to the Temple of the Serpent Lodge to heal, where he is corrupted into the service of Chaos.
The Warmaster Horus returned to Davin's moon to put down the rebellion of Eugen Temba, the Davin planetary governor who was a former friend of the Warmaster who was corrupted by Chaos. Temba had rebelled against the Imperium, and so First Chaplain Erebus manipulated the Sons of Horus and their commander into battle against the undead hordes of Nurgle.
Horus penetrated Temba's grounded flagship and faced his former friend, who had become a bloated monstrosity in service to the Plague God Nurgle. Though Horus defeated the former governor in battle, he was mortally wounded by the Chaos artefact called the Anathame that had been secretly given to Temba by Erebus.
Fearing for the life of their beloved Warmaster, the Sons of Horus in desperation turned their primarch over to the Chaos priests of the Temple of the Serpent Lodge for healing. His spirit cast into the Warp by a foul ritual conducted at the behest of Erebus, the Word Bearers first chaplain sought to corrupt Horus to the service of the Dark Gods of Chaos by playing on his insecurities and his desire for power.
Erebus' deception is unmasked by Horus' brother Primarch Magnus the Red, but the Warmaster trusts neither of his companions. Ultimately, the Chaos Gods make an offer that Horus, blinded by jealousy, pride and the constant need for adulation, just can't refuse...
Grim Dark Lore 22: Traitors
The Warmaster Horus uses a combination of charisma and psychological manipulation to bring the Primarchs of the World Eaters, Emperor's Children and Death Guard Legions over to his cause to rebel against the Emperor.
Needing allies to carry out his rebellion, Horus chose three other Primarchs as likely targets who could be persuaded to join the Traitor cause.
Angron of the World Eaters had always held a grudge against the Emperor since he had been rescued from his homeworld of Nuceria. Angron had been raised as a slave gladiator who fought for the entertainment of the masses of the city of Desh'ea. He led a slave uprising against the masters of Desh'ea that was ultimately crushed by the masters' armies.
The Emperor "rescued" Angron against his will by teleporting him up to an orbiting starship just before the final battle. He watched his adopted brothers and sisters slaughtered by the masters' armies and never forgave the Emperor this slight.
Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children had long been haunted by an obsessive need for perfection driven by his fear that his own imperfection had nearly wiped out his Legion soon after its birth due to an infection of its gene-seed.
This left him open to corruption by Slaanesh which was facilitated after Fulgrim came into the possession of a Chaos relic, a sentient silver daemonsword, on the world of Laeran. Manipulated by the daemon within the blade, Fulgrim agreed all too easily to Horus' tale that the Emperor had betrayed His sons and sought to become a god.
Mortarion of the Death Guard proved the most difficult to turn. But his hatred of sorcery due to his own experiences on his homeworld of Barbarus proved the key, as Horus convinced him that the Emperor was no different from the Chaos sorcerer who had raised and abused him in his youth.
That Mortarion also held a grudge against the Emperor for killing his adopted father when he could not made the betrayal all the easier.
Finally, Horus was informed that Magnus and the Thousand Sons had long been walking the path of corruption and would have little choice but to join the Traitors if he sent a specific message to Leman Russ of the Space Wolves at the right time.
Grim Dark Lore 23: Folly of Magnus
The Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus the Red discovers Horus' betrayal of the Emperor and attempts to warn his father of the civil war to come. This results in disaster for the Emperor's greatest project.
Magus the Red violated the edicts of the Council of Nikaea and used the power of psychic sorcery to contact the Emperor who toiled in the dungeons of the Imperial Palace. Aided from an unknown and unexpected source, most likely the Chaos God Tzeentch, Magnus managed to puncture the wards the Emperor had placed around the Imperial Palace to protect his Imperial Webway Project.
The Emperor’s greatest secret was to connect all the worlds of Humanity to the Aeldari Webway so that Mankind would no longer need to rely upon the Immaterium to hold its interstellar civilization together. This would also starve the Chaos Gods of the psychic energies that made them a constant threat to all life.
But Magnus' sending inadvertently ripped a hole through the psychic wards the Emperor had erected to protect the Human extension into the Webway from assault by daemons. The Master of Mankind became a prisoner on the artefact known as the Golden Throne, a potent psychic amplifier He had used to create the Imperial extension into the Webway.
If the Emperor released His grip even for a moment, Terra would fall to a massive invasion from the Warp. And so a great war began in the Webway between the forces of Chaos and the Emperor's servants among the Legio Custodes and the Sisters of Silence.
Enraged at Magnus' violation of his oath, and unaware of the content of Magnus' message, the Emperor ordered Leman Russ and the Space Wolves to travel to Prospero and bring Magnus back to Terra for punishment. But Horus intervened and manipulated Russ so that he would seek to become Magnus' executioner rather than his jailer.