View Full Version: How tall was the emperor?

The Great Crusade > Pre-Heresy Background Q&A > How tall was the emperor?

Title: How tall was the emperor?

rabblerouser - December 10, 2009 10:02 PM (GMT)
The art in the books shows him as a giant. Some of the novels also call him a giant. Was he really a giant? How tall was he?

ShroudFilm - December 10, 2009 10:54 PM (GMT)
Dan suggested in a Q&A at Gencon that the Emperor appears to whoever is looking at him, as their own personal vision of perfection. It's a psychic thing.

This is kinda supported by John Grammaticus' observations in 'Legion'...

I think it'd be very cool if the Emperor was like a little shrivelled Mr Burns character, or an unwrapped mummy - and he only looks good because he's got a psychic aura. :D

Whitehorn - December 10, 2009 11:12 PM (GMT)
There's no reason for him to be huge and I can't imagine how or why he would be. At most he'd be average Primarch size should he have done any blogical augmentation on himself, but as we know, his appearance is imposed upon the beholder and he seems to have the whole Sauron/Nagash ability to live through sheer psychic power alone.

Whoever does his laundry knows the real truth.

rabblerouser - December 11, 2009 12:23 AM (GMT)
Maybe a better question would be, how tall would you model him in heroic 28mm scale? Bigger than everyone else like in the art books, or just space marine sized?

Whitehorn - December 11, 2009 09:28 AM (GMT)
I would go for 'heroic'. By this I mean, place him on a pedestal or in such a composition that he appears higher than others, but not necessarily taller in person. There's a brilliant piece of RT artwork that has the Emperor on the crest on a rock surveying his army.

I can't find the artwork online, but I think this model was roughly based on it:

It all depends on how you want to portray him. Is he 'down with' the troops, fighting? Or is he this huge icon glowing?

I would avoid this:

Its funny when you think that Magnus was intended to man the golden throne, as artists have been depicting the seat as just big enough to hold the Emperor's skeletal frame. Old Empy would have needed a booster chair!

Legion XX - December 11, 2009 09:11 PM (GMT)
I prefer the 'normal sized human' version, who can 'appear' bigger due to his psychic might/aura.

I absolutely loathe the rumored version of shriveled up husk of a mummy that only appears otherwise due to psyker trickery!

lord_caldera - December 11, 2009 09:15 PM (GMT)
I get a kick from thinking of the Emperor as Mumm-Ra. But despite the psychic thing, wouldn't he have been physically bigger anyways from experiments he might have performed on himself? And since the primarchs were made from his DNA it doesn't make sense that they would be bigger than him. Sure Magnus' size is strange, and he did more experiments on the genes, but his sons should be about his size.

Whitehorn - December 11, 2009 09:27 PM (GMT)
Not the best logic. The Emperor didn't have wings. He grew the Primarchs in tubes after intense manipulation at genetic (and psychic?) level. Even if he used his own DNA, they are so far gone from 'human'.

That said, what is human? The Emperor was created from the souls of non-homo-sapiens.

Pacific - December 12, 2009 12:01 AM (GMT)
Thats really old background material though mate, do you think they will still stick to it if we ever actually get told about his origins? Personally I think its too cool an idea, so no doubt they will change it to something drab and uninspiring.

Whitehorn - December 12, 2009 10:58 AM (GMT)
It may be old, but it stands unto they change it.

Pacific - December 12, 2009 01:16 PM (GMT)
So, you still believe in hypnotic alien cats? When was the last time you saw an Ambull? :P

I'd put money down that if they ever re-write about the history of the Emp that 'souls of dead shamans' thing will go right out of the window.

Whitehorn - December 12, 2009 02:20 PM (GMT)
How he was created wasn't the point. He comes from a different species.

Ilmarinen - December 12, 2009 07:51 PM (GMT)
Hey, the Gyrinx is cool! I've got one of the OOP models (my most expensive model!).

As for the height of the Emperor, I reckon the Collected Visions artwork is the best guide. Although it depends whether we're discussing fluff or modelling.

ShroudFilm - December 12, 2009 11:39 PM (GMT)
At the moment, the only canonical info we have on the Emperor is 1) that he does not appear human to those who can see through his psychic "shield", and 2) that he has been living among mankind since prehistory.

I thought the most AMAZING twist in the tale would be if he was actually a very powerful xenos... but apparently that isn't the case (ref. Dan Abnett Q&A)

rabblerouser - December 13, 2009 01:37 AM (GMT)
Was the emperor just another trick by The Deceiver? lol

Gagoc TheAncient - December 13, 2009 01:55 AM (GMT)
I've had a strange thought on this.
What if the Emperor was a Neanerthal!

He'd both be human (or a form of human which isn't a mutant) and yet alien looking.
He'd also have a stocky build with relatively short limbs and speak with a high-pitched nasally voice! I think that would explain the psychic projection/glamour.

Whitehorn - December 13, 2009 09:59 AM (GMT)
It would also raise the question of how did the homosapiens lead to the extinction of other sentient species when the Emperor was one of them. Did he just let it happen?

Pacific - December 13, 2009 11:49 AM (GMT)
I'm going to guess that he was stabbed by a magic sword in pre-history which meant he wasn't responsible for his own actions. Then, the whole of human history was down to the inexplicable and entirely random actions of the chaos gods, with no rational cause and effect involved in his coming to power and the subsequent Great Crusade.

renlegunvrs - December 13, 2009 12:21 PM (GMT)
come on now. gw wouldn't use such a weak plot to explain a major part of the history. and they certainly wouldn't use it twice hoping no one would notice ;)

ShroudFilm - December 13, 2009 01:02 PM (GMT)
Magic swords FTW. And scrapcode. And scary daemon paintings.

I remember about a year ago I was quickly describing the plot of HH to a friend and she immediately concluded that the Emperor is probably a xenos. But then again she reads a lot of murder mysteries... :rolleyes:

NeDlol - December 13, 2009 09:38 PM (GMT)
Comparing the Emperors regime to a certain real world leaders, I think its safe to say he's got blonde hair, blue eyes and is 10 feet tall ;)

The Red Sorcerer - December 14, 2009 11:36 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (ShroudFilm @ Dec 12 2009, 11:39 PM)
At the moment, the only canonical info we have on the Emperor is 1) that he does not appear human to those who can see through his psychic "shield"

I wouldn't say that personally. The two quotes from Legion relating to the true nature of the Emperor are ambiguous, but don't really confirm anything.

The first:
In that moment of contact, he had seen why the Emperor was a force to be reckoned with: a psyker of towering, unimaginable strength, not really human at all by any contemporary measure of the fact. Grammaticus, who had never met anyone else like himself, had shuddered

The implication, to me at least, is that he can't really be considered human due to the sheer scale of his psychic might rather than any other reason - this is supported by the fact Grammaticus 'had never met anyone else like himself' i.e. a human psyker.

The second quote is more suggestive:
His mind saw into everything. It made him think of the thing he tried never to think about: that day, long ago, meeting the Emperor, shaking his hand, tasting the power, and seeing, behind the glamour of that handsome, noble, healthy face, seeing…

Of course, what he actually saw is not expanded on, apart from the fact it clearly frightened or unnerved him. So it makes it clear that the 'handsome, noble' face the Emperor projects is an illusion, but not what it conceals.

Personally I feel that the implication is more to do with his vicious and inhuman personality rather than the fact he isn't actually human at all - Grammaticus elsewhere discribes him as a 'bloodthirsty bastard', for example.

I personally find the idea that the Emperor wasn't physically equivalent to the Primarchs in both size and physical might slightly dubious. After all, a master geneticist like himself could certainly preform alterations to his own body (he developed the implants that turn a standard human into a Space Marine with greatly improved size and strength, for example) and it would be hugely useful to him to do so. After all, Terra was a world of squabbling warlords and constant warfare, where physical prowess was highly respected. In addition, many of the Primarchs were brought on-side by besting them in physical contests. It could all be explained by 'psychic handwavium', but this seems a little bit of a cop-out to me. Quite aside from the fact that among the Primarchs were those whose psychic power was far greater than that of Grammaticus (Magnus in particular) so one would assume they too would have been able to see past the 'glamour' of the Emperor's appearence.

ShroudFilm - December 14, 2009 11:54 AM (GMT)
I'm also going by Dan Abnett's Q&A sessions. I've posted full transcripts... somewhere... ages ago...

Hosted for free by zIFBoards