View Full Version : Astronomicon & Pre-Heresy Interstellar Travel.

20-08-2008, 14:48
We all know the astronomicon is basically a beacon emitted from the emperor on the golden throne in post-heresy times and that without it interstellar travel is like flying blind. Without the astronomicon the armies of the imperial guard and the imperial navy would be a wreck, worlds would be cut off, yadda yadda yadda, grim far future.

Well, what was there before the Emperor sat alot? Before he was a cadaver on the throne projecting the beacon? What did the imperial navy and other starships navigate by? Was there still an astronomicon projected by big E. If so wouldnt the signal move around as he did.

Or, was he such a powerful presence that he be-calmed the warp by just being there? I dont see how thats possible considering the chaos powers screwed with the warp in the months before the heresy just like that.

Anyone know?

20-08-2008, 17:02
This question has been bugging me for a long time, too - I'm anxious to hear any replies.
My guess would be that there were still psykers pre-heresy, and the imperium still wasn't too happy about them. Maybe they still had the Astronomican's "chorus" of bound psykers but didn't need the Emperor to channel it? Maybe the Golden Throne was enough? Maybe the idea that Emperor is necessary for space travel is a lie the High Lords tell to ensure that he stays there so they can keep all the power...

Just guesses, of course.

20-08-2008, 17:12
We all know the astronomicon is basically a beacon emitted from the emperor on the golden throne in post-heresy times...
Do we know that? There are a lot of reasons to suggest otherwise. The descriptions I've read describe the Astronomican being powered by a choir of thousands of psykers, and don't mention the Emperor having any direct role in the system. Whereas, as you say, if the Emperor is the source of the beacon, moving him off Earth would basically paralyze all spacebound travel in the Imperium, and we know that he did leave Earth to meet the various primarchs.

We also know that the human race successfully spread at least as far as Cadia without the Emperor's (direct) help. We don't (as far as I know) know for certain that they didn't just use short-range trips that don't need a beacon, but we do know that the Navigators have apparently been around for a while, and their only "special" ability is that they're the only people able to see the Astronomican. If the Astronomican didn't exist back then, the Navigators would have just been an obscure variety of mutant with no particular reason for anyone to keep them around.

On the whole, it seems likely that the Astronomican is not dependent on the Emperor (which isn't to say he didn't engineer its creation, or the evolution of the Navigators, just that he doesn't run it), and that some equivalent existed before he'd even revealed himself.

Lord Damocles
20-08-2008, 17:49
We all know the astronomicon is basically a beacon emitted from the emperor on the golden throne in post-heresy times
I don't.

There's no reason to belive that the Astonomicon works any differently post-Heresy than it worked pre-Heresy: namely that the signal is boosted by the Emperor, but doesn't rely solely on him to power it.
Remember that the Astonomicon was active during the Great Crusade long before the Emperor was intered in the Golden Throne.

Warp travel without the aid of the Astronomicon also isn't as dangerous as is often claimed (Imperium falling apart overnight). Human ships were able to cross the galaxy during the Dark Age of Technology, and the first half of the Great Crusade without any sort of signal to follow.
Travel without a signal to lock onto is just slower due to having to make lots of short jumps as opposed to a single long jump.

20-08-2008, 17:59
The Emperor ordered the construction of Astronomican early in the Great Crusade, if not immediately prior. Dates are vague. He powered and callibrated the beam personally, though he was capable of projecting smaller-scale beams in the warp as well - crucial to his departing armies.

The Webway crisis forced him to switch the power source to sacrificial pyskers, a decision taken with reluctance - the beam would be weaker and less focused, and so was only intended be a temporary solution. The Emperor, however, continued to callibrate the beam's frequency. It's assumed the beacon was connected to the Golden Throne shortly after his 'ascension'.

20-08-2008, 18:06
well i mean, the signal is generated by the choir astropathicus on terra and then its focused through the emperor on the golden throne.

that i believe if IIRC is from the third edition rule book.

now, thats backed up by the fact that apparently the signal is weakening due to failing mechanisms in the throne itself.

but never mind, after some more digging while bored at work i remembered the website the lexicanum.

which and i quote in length says:::::

"Young psykers are initiated into the Astronomica as Acolytes. They are taught not just how to use and control their psychic powers but are introduced to the Lore of the Astronomican. They learn the value of their lives, study philosophy and are gradually brought to an inner understanding of the universe and the nature of the warp. Those who achieve this mystic state become the Chosen and are eventually called to serve in the Chamber of the Astronomican. Here they fuel the Astronomican beacon with their psychic energies; as their powers are drained the Chosen slowly fade and die. This psychic power is directed by the mind of the Emperor across about 50 thousand light years of the galaxy. Because Terra is situated in the galactic west, the Astronomican does not cover the extreme eastern part of the galaxy. Warp travel beyond the Astronomican's reach is severely limited - this creates the effective borders of the Imperium.

Although the Emperor does not provide the energy of the beacon, only he has the psychic power to handle such immense energy and direct it across the galaxy.

Destroying the Astronomican would most likely halt all Imperial warp travel within the galaxy, effectively bringing the Imperium to its knees.

The Emperor of Mankind used thousands of psykers to man the Astronomican when he was participating in the Great Crusade he however did not sacrifece them rather they were trained to maintain it themselves, but with immense physical stresses, the Emperor merely created the process for this, however when the Librariums and the Astronimican was attacked in the Horus Heresy's climax the secrets of this were lost, and the Imperium were forced to sacrifice thousands of psykers as sustenance for the now Ascended God-Emperor "

so now i know, answering my own question. mods may close if they wish and there is no further discussion obviously.

20-08-2008, 18:22
Note, "bringing the Imperium to its knees." not Mankind necessarily. The lack of long-distance warp travel would make the current state known as 'the Imperium' untenable, since the at times, already laughable turnover for communications and responses to problems would become so glacial as to make the founding principles of Imperial government impossible to maintain. Hive worlds would starve, Agri worlds would be overrun by raiders, fuedal worlds would be dominated by technologically superior invaders and so on. The Imperium would fracture into a myriad of tiny Empires, divided, scrabbling amongst themselves for the scraps that remain.

20-08-2008, 20:42
And Ultramar would at last be revealed as the paradise that it truly is!

Well, at least in the 40K galaxy.

And as long as you don't mind the odd Tyranid invasion.

Or two.

20-08-2008, 20:54
the warp storms that so frequently beset navigators and anyone who jumps within the warp weren't as consistent or common in the pre-heresy era ;lnot age of strife, just end of old Night and into Great Crusade, because most of the warpstorms that had plagued the galaxy and separated mankind were blown out with the Birth of Slaanesh. it may have been easier to traverse the galaxy, and the astronomicon when it was built, just acted as a better pinpoint for figuring out where to go next.