Vanitor is an Imperial Frontier World and wilderness world that is the fourth planet of the Konor System in the Realm of Ultramar. Vanitor is a harsh and windswept world that houses the Konor System's astropathic relay. Without this key communications outpost, the system would be left completely isolated from the wider Imperium. The world came under sustained attack by the Forces of Chaos in service to Nurgle during the Plague Wars of the early 42nd Millennium, and the servants of the Plague God proved successful in claiming the planet. Vanitor now writhes with corruption, and the roiling Warp Storms that ravaged its surface brought vast hosts of daemons into reality. The Imperium's vital astropathic relay now acts as a beacon to the creatures of the Warp.
The Plague Wars
Having gathered significant momentum with their early victories on the outskirts of the Konor System during the Plague Wars, the armies of Chaos spread out across the region like poison seeping into the blood stream of the Imperium.
When the Plague Wars began, Ultramar burned. The putrid warbands of the Death Guard, led by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion, launched a furious assault upon the Ultramarines' stellar empire. This eruption of all-out war threatened to drown the stars themselves in bloodshed and terror. Legions of Heretic Astartes and Chaos-spawned monstrosities have already rampaged across world after world, spreading the malignant corruption of the Dark Gods in their wake. Yet all hope is not lost. The return of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman to the region with the end of the Indomitus Crusade has stalled the seemingly unstoppable momentum of the Chaos advance. In a series of bloody battles, the armies of the Imperium -- reinforced with mighty Primaris Space Marines -- have reclaimed many worlds thought lost, forcing their hated foes to retreat and regroup.
The worshippers of Chaos sought to regain their advantage by smashing a path through the Imperial battle line to Macragge, homeworld of the Ultramarines. Had they succeeded, the greatest Imperial stronghold in the sector would have been gravely threatened, and Guilliman's forces cut-off and surrounded. To achieve this end, the Forces of Chaos had to conquer the well-located Konor System. Powered by the industrial might of the Forge World of Konor, this centre of produce and production feeds the Imperial war machine with vital shipments of munitions and machinery. Populous and prosperous, with a large and well-equipped defence force, the Konor System embodies the glorious dream that is Ultramar. Crucially, it also guarded one of the few stable Warp transit routes to the Macragge System. If the Chaos advance was not halted, Konor would have fallen, and a path to the heartland of Ultramar would be laid bare to the forces of the Ruinous Powers.
Yet the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes had no intention of ceding their rightful domain without a fight. The Ultramarines stood against the Chaos onslaught with nobility and courage, smiting the foe with Bolter and blade. And they are not alone. The military sledgehammer of the Astra Militarum rumbled into action, an armoured fist of devastating tank columns and endless regiments of soldiers that ground all before it into ashes and dust. Scattered Space Marine Chapters rushed fresh reinforcements to the war zone, seeking to aid their embattled kin. Enigmatic Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus sent forth their legions of steel, and mighty Imperial Knights bestrode the slaughter like ancient gods of war.
Every single warrior -- every Bolter round and bomb -- was vital, for the Chaos host sweeping across the Konor System was vast beyond imagining. Warriors of the Death Guard marched implacably forward, enemy fire spattering harmlessly from their rusted, ancient Power Armour and pallid, twisted flesh. In return, they unleashed bombardments of noxious toxins and flesh-melting plagues. Daemonic legions surge alongside the Chaos advance, exulting in the chance to wreak torment across the material realm. Warbands of Heretic Astartes, millions upon millions of depraved mortal Chaos Cultists, and a thousand other horrors converged upon Konor, drawn to its aura of agony and death like sharks to blood.
Circling this firestorm of destruction were predatory xenos races, ever seeking to further their own mysterious ends. Orks surged into the war in their millions, delighting in the spreading carnage. Craftworld Aeldari and Drukhari circled from afar, offering their services as mercenaries to both sides or launching raids to fulfill some unknowable agenda. Tyranid and T'au forces spilled in from the Eastern Fringe, capitalising on or drawn by the escalating conflict, while even the Necrons sent undying invasion forces to exploit the infighting of the younger races and expand their ancient empires.
No part of the Konor System was left unscarred by the war. If the Heretic Astartes' plans came to fruition, the system's own worlds would have been weaponised and turned against Ultramar. The Forces of Chaos intended to force open a route to Macragge, and that shining light of the Imperium would face obliteration.
The Vanitor Campaign
The Konorian Astropathic Relay, situated upon the wilderness world of Vanitor and guarded by a vast fortress basilica, once linked the Konor System's Imperial defence force to the greater war effort across Ultramar. It was one of the first targets overwhelmed in the initial blitz of the Chaos invasion, for severing this line of communication left the Konor System shrouded in darkness and confusion. Despite a brave stand, the Departmento Munitorum forces responsible for maintaining and defending the facility were encircled and slaughtered. The relay's astropathic choir were ritually bound and excruciated by Chaos Sorcerers, and the sheer agony of their torment -- amplified by the unfortunate beings' raw psychic power -- became a shining beacon to the ravenous monstrosities of the Warp.
This piercing psychic scream soon came to the attention of the Grey Knights, who had swiftly identified the growing conflict in Ultramar as a potential lodestone that would draw entities from the roiling depths of the Immaterium into realspace. The grim brotherhood of Daemon Hunters knew that to allow this psychic beacon to continue to broadcast its vile signal would ultimately invite the horror of a sector-wide daemonic incursion. Gathering allies to their side, the Grey Knights assembled several strike forces and fell upon the corrupted defenders of Vanitor with merciless brutality, hacking apart Chaos-spawned horrors and their wretched masters. Yet even the Grey Knights could not accurately grasp the nightmare that was spreading across this windswept wilderness world.
Upon the great plains, vast Warp breaches vomited the rancid deluge of the Empyrean into reality. Amidst the soaring Tremantaen Mountains, Heretic Astartes and their foul minions dug in like ticks, creating a circle of rockcrete redoubts around the relay, which rested atop the highest peak. Blizzards of frozen blood and transmutative hurricanes whipped through these mountain passes, birthing new flyblown horrors or flaying the flesh from those foolish enough to brave the open air. At the Konorian Relay itself, Chaos forces defended their tortured wards with savage determination, unleashing blistering cascades of gunfire and artillery upon those who looked to breach the corrupted basilica walls. If the Imperials could not break through this formidable barrier, the agony of the tortured Astropaths would only flare brighter, drowning Vanitor in the surging tides of the Warp. Surely the damnation of the entire Konor System was sure to swiftly follow.
Vanitor writhed with corruption, and the roiling Warp Storms that ravaged its surface brought vast hosts of daemons into reality. Chaos forces had taken Vanitor early in the war for the Konor System, slaughtering its unprepared Imperial defenders with ease. By maintaining the furious momentum of their planetary assaults, the followers of the Dark Gods had managed to keep their foe staggered and confused, and unaware of the potential cataclysm that was brewing upon the isolated wilderness world. Yet the growing psychic disruption caused by its tormented choir of astropaths could not be masked for long. Finally freed from the apocalyptic wasteland of fire-ravaged Nethamus, Imperial fleets made for Vanitor at top speed.
Having been unsuccessful in their attempts to starve the Konor System into submission by destroying Nethamus' food production capability, it was vital for the Chaos forces to maintain control of Vanitor and its twisted psychic beacon. Vast armies of Heretic Astartes, mortal Chaos Cultists and corrupted war machines flocked to the planet, establishing a fearsome network of fortifications and killing zones. Led by the Daemon Hunters of the Grey Knights, the Imperial armies crashed into these defences, blasting them apart with ceaseless barrages of bunker-breaking artillery, and relentless assaults by infantry and towering war machines. The Loyalists were buoyed by their victory upon Nethamus, and were reinforced and well-supplied. The sheer sledgehammer might of the Astra Militarum's tank regiments ground millions of cultist defenders to bloody paste beneath their relentless advance, and even the elite Heretic Astartes were sorely pressed by the sheer ferocity of the attack. It was only the endless seeping of daemonic entities into reality, drawn like sharks to blood by the power of Vanitor's psychic emanations, that sealed the doom of the Imperial forces.
Slowly, inevitably, the momentum of the Imperial assault was reversed, until its armies were in full retreat. Trapped between the murderous mountain forts and tides of daemons sweeping in from Warp breaches across the plains of Vanitor, the Imperials were soon surrounded. The subsequent carnage was appalling, as the hungry denizens of the Warp glutted their eternal hunger upon mortal flesh. Less than half of the Imperial invasion force escaped alive. As the tortured screams of the astropathic choir reached a piercing crescendo, the skies above Vanitor split apart like an open wound.
The world of Vanitor possessed several areas of ultimate strategic import for any force seeking to maintain or seize control over the planet during the Plague Wars. These included:
- The Konorian Astropathic Relay - This vast basilica, surrounded by a perimeter wall dotted with Icarus Lascannons and Sentry Guns, houses Vanitor's astropathic choir. During the Plague Wars, they remained within, bolted to restraining harnesses and pierced by ritual blades, screaming their corrupted insanity into the void. Their trauma, magnified by the profane ceremonies of the Chaos Sorcerers that guarded them, threatened to unleash a colossal Warp rift across the windswept plains of Vanitor. Already the membrane between realms had been torn apart, and legions of daemons had clawed their way into realspace. Those Imperial forces that survived the aetheric tempest that whipped about the mountaintop, or who managed to push their way through the heavily guarded Tremantaen Peaks, were forced to storm this formidable redoubt and eliminate the corrupted Astropaths. The cost in lives and equipment proved enormous, and when the Imperial forces failed to penetrate the Chaos defences, Vanitor became a beacon to the nightmarish denizens of the Warp, as daemons ran rampant across the entire Konor System.
- Tremantaen Peaks - The mountain passes leading to the Konorian Relay were dotted with Chaos defences, garrisoned by massed legions of Traitor infantry and artillery. Empyric dissonance rendered both teleportation and airborne insertion to the relay incredibly dangerous, and so the hot-zone of the Tremantaen Peaks -- the most viable land route to the facility -- saw ferocious fighting. As the Grey Knights and their allies advanced, they braved twisting, treacherous paths ravaged by bombardments, mines and Bolter fire. Worse still, daemons began to tear their way through the veil between dimensions, and heavy blizzards and empyric storms ravaged both the defenders and attackers.
- The Festering Gush - The largest localised Warp Storm unleashed upon Vanitor during the Plague Wars was named the Festering Gush by the Heretics responsible for unleashing it. Above a plain of rolling grassland, a ragged wound in the sky vomited the raw essence of Chaos into reality, and where this rancid deluge fell, the flowers of Nurgle's garden bloomed with sickening fecundity. This forest of corruption continued to grow with every passing moment, and, if left unchecked, even the elimination of Vanitor's astropathic choir would not be enough to suture the breach in reality. The Grey Knights initiated a fierce assault upon the Festering Gush, led by Grand Master Aldrik Voldus and a number of their most powerful psyker Astartes. They held back the tide, buying time for their allied armies to destroy the Konorian Relay. Arrayed against them were legions of daemons and Chaos worshippers, protected by a fortress of bursting slime-blossoms, parasitic leech-seeds and a thousand other Empyric nightmares given physical form by the breach. Unfortunately, the Imperial forces proved unable to secure the relay, and Voldus' forces were forced to retreat from Vanitor and accept a rare defeat against the servants of the Dark Gods.
Fate of Konor Summer Campaign
The Konor System was the location for the 2017 worldwide Fate of Konor Summer Campaign, conducted by Games Workshop to herald the arrival of the 8th Edition of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop war game. Each week, players at officially-recognised locations around the world, such as various game and hobby stores, would play a series of campaigns set on each world of the Konor System, representing either the Imperial defenders or the attackers of Chaos. Each battle's outcome was then logged with Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 website. The collective outcome of all those battles determined which force ultimately won canonical control of each planet in the system during the Plague Wars.