Amongst Boundless Stars
For 10,000 years, the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Mankind has been the bastion of the human race. With over a million worlds and a population running into countless thousands of billions, it is the largest empire in the galaxy of the 41st millennium. For a hundred long centuries the Imperium has endured, surviving disasters, heresies, and invasions from alien races intent on the extinction of Humanity. It has resisted all of this through its greatest strengths — the immortal Beneficent Emperor of Mankind and His vast armies and fleets.
Though the Emperor is a shattered, withered creature, He still watches over and guides humankind from the restorative essences, elixirs, and billowing alchemical gases of the Golden Throne of Terra. Through His vast psychic powers, the Emperor directs the Imperium’s warships through the nightmare realm of warp space. It is said that He foresees the many possible futures of the human race, and steers humanity so that it may overcome the many trials and challenges ahead.
Without the Emperor, the Imperium would be unable to move its armies and fleets to combat its enemies and enforce its rule. The Imperium would degenerate into a hundreds of small empires clamouring for power while aliens and other monstrous creatures devoured and destroyed Mankind.
The Imperium itself is inconceivably vast, spanning many thousands of light years, and it would require months, even years, of travel to traverse it. More than a million worlds with more than a million different cultures make up humanity, and the discovery of new star systems and new planets are forever expanding the Emperor’s domains, fuelling mankind’s eternal hunger for more resources, more space.
Even to systems close to Terra, the Emperor and the Imperium He embodies are but names for distant, almost supernatural forces, which are revered and praised from afar. Many citizens labour their entire lives, enduring strife and toiling hard to survive the adversity of life in the 41st millennium, without even being aware of the Imperium except as a children’s story. For others, the Imperium is very real, the iron fist of control tight around their necks, instilling the law and order Mankind must have to prevail.
Harsh discipline and scant mercy are essential for survival in these turbulent times. It is an age of great upheaval for Humanity. With every passing year, more and more people display powerful psychic talents. If these so-called ‘rogue psykers’ are not controlled or purged, the erratic and awesome forces they can unwittingly unleash may destroy whole settlements, even worlds. Those with the necessary mental strength and fortitude can be trained by the forces of the Imperium to use their strange powers to benefit mankind.
As powerful as it is, the Imperium does not rule the entire galaxy. Mankind’s worlds are spread thin across the 200 trillion stars that make up the galaxy. Within the Imperium’s vague borders are rebellious enclaves of human worlds, domains ruled over by alien war leaders, or colonies of creatures too aloof or too basic to disturb Mankind or draw the attention of the war fleets. The Imperium is embroiled in a constant state of war, sometimes simply continuing its wars of expansion, other times fighting against foes who threaten the survival of the entire human race.