A Beginners Guide to Horus Heresy: Part 1 Books

40kHeresyHowdy everyone!  Severus here, and I wanted to talk about getting into Horus Heresy, otherwise known as 30k.  I myself am very new to the world of 30k.  Looking around I haven’t found much out there in terms of a beginners guide in terms of what to buy.  So, Shorereaper and I are going to do a short series on it, with some help from our lord primarch.

Lets start off with the books.  Right now there are 3 main books, Betrayer, Massacre, and Extermination.  Lets take a brief look at each book and point out the major components of each.  Before we begin, if you have some time on your hands and want a very thorough look at each book, check out the Independent Characters Podcast.

Betrayer is the first in the series.  Army wise it covers the basic list all legions will use, called the Space Marine Crusade Legion Army List.  You need this list to play any space marine 30k army.  Now, in terms of flavor, it contains special rules, primarch rules, and legion specific unit to change that generic list into one of 4 legions.  Those legions are the Sons of Horus, The World Eaters, The Emperor’s Children, and The Death Guard.  Fear not, they have both loyalist and heretical characters for each.  There is also a small allied contingent of mechanicum units, but not enough to field a full army.

Now in terms of other content, Betrayer has some great fluff for those for legions.  It also has lots of fluff covering the Isstvan III.  Even better, it contains a campaign system so you can play out the battle at Isstvan III if you want.  There is a appendix to the campaign introducing smaller sized close quarter combat, called zone mortalis.

Book 2 is titled Massacre.  Army list wise, it presents a lot.  It introduces the Legio Cybernetics, aka a small mechanicum army.  In terms of space marine legions, it offers a ton of stuff.  There is a section introducing more units to the basic crusade lists, so these units are available to all space marines.  It also has a ton of legion specific additions.  It has more legion specific rules, units, and characters for The Sons of Horus, The World Eaters, The Emperor’s Children, and The Death Guard (all traitors at this point).  It also introduces 4 new legions; The Iron Hands, The Night Lords, The Salamanders, and The Word Bearers.  This of course means more legion specific rules, units, characters, and primarchs.

If that wasn’t enough for you, this book also has more back story for all the legions involved in this book.  Further more it has the fluff for the dropsite massacre on Isstvan V.  Of course there is also a campaign section for this, so you can replay that horrible moment in history if you are so inclined.

The last book in the series (so far) is Extermination.  In terms of army additions, it also has generic units to add to the crusade list, so all marines can take these.  Further more in introduces The Imperial Fists, The Iron Warriors, The Alpha Legion, and The Raven Guard.  This includes there legion specific rules, units, characters, and primarchs.

This book also rolls out a very large and fleshed out mechanicum list, the Taghmata Omnissiah.  This is a separate mechanicum list from the Legio Cybernetica.  If you are looking for a true mechanicum army, this is the list I would use.  It has a larger selection of unit types, rules, and wargear.

In terms of fluff, it covers the immediate actions taken after Isstvan V.  It also covers background fluff of the new legions presented within.  Campaign wise, it presents the fight for survival as the loyalists are scattered after the dropsite massacre.  Overall, this campaign seems better suited for smaller games instead of the grand battles of the last 2 books.  It also presents more zone mortalis style games.

Now, any talk of books would not be complete without discussing the two newest books by forgeworld.  The Crusade Army List book is just what it sounds like, a compilation of all the generic crusade army lists rules from the first three books.  The second book, Isstvan Campaign Legions, contains the legion specific special rules, units, characters, and Primarchs for all the legions presented in the first 3 books.  To be clear, there is no fluff, campagin rules, or mechanicum entries in these two books.  So, if you are looking to just pick up all the 30 space marine rules, this is the cheapest route to go.  They are also more convenient to carry that the first three books.

So, that about covers the books of the horus heresy.  There obviously have a few books left if they continue with the current format (6 more legions to cover, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Thousand Sons, and White Scars).  Those legions are playable right now through the generic army lists technically.  Stay tuned for the next article, model selection for a 30k army.

3 thoughts on “A Beginners Guide to Horus Heresy: Part 1 Books

  1. Good opening article. We are ultimately going to do a show about “How to get started in 30k” but its a couple of episodes out.

    The first three books make up “The Isstvaan Trilogy” and pretty much wrap up everything about the opening salvos of the war.

  2. Pingback: A Beginners Guide to Horus Heresy Part 3: Vehicle Model Selection | Twenty First Legion

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