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How to make a Alternate Timeline

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Hello everybody! Some of you may know of that Alternate Timelines are permitted on the Warhammer 40k fanon. . Some of us may know more professional Alternate Timelines like the Dornian Heresyby bolterandchainsword.

Sounds fun doesn't it? If you think so... your right! But certain guidelines must be followed and precautions taken. However before you read a single sentence more on this How-to, you MUST read the rules regarding ATs: Alternate Timeline Rules.

Also, if you mess up time too much then the AT loses the feel of 40k (and that is unacceptable!). But the biggest rule is...HAVE FUN!!! Seriously whats the point of it if you cant enjoy it?


If you are new to the site, we advise against making a Alternate Timeline until you have gained a substantial amount of experience.

What is a Alternate Timeline?Edit

An Alternate Timeline (AT for short) is an established history that has diverged from the actual history. An example of a 40k alternate timeline is one where prehaps the Eldar never fell? Or the Old Ones won the War in Heaven. In truth the possibilities are endless.

Some may favor changing events of the Horus Heresy, switching around traitors and loyalists or the actual outcome. But mind you, that is a seperate category altogether.

Alternate Timeline Vs. Alternate HeresyEdit

Many of those familiar with the concept of alternate timelines in 40k will know of the infamous "Alternate Heresy". To put it simply, an alternate heresy is a more focussed verision of a alternate timeline. While alternate timelines are far more broad in the events that it encompasses, an alternate heresy is begins with the actual 'Heresy' itself.

Alternate HeresyEdit

The most commong kind of 40k alternate timeline is the alternate heresy. if you wish to make a AT and alternate heresy is probably the best way to go. It would be smaller and simpler to create and maintain.

Some things to consider when making a alternate heresy.

  1. Who wins? The Loyalists, Traitors, or some third party? Also is it a partial victory for one side or total?
  2. Who is the Arch-Traitor? There has to be some Champion of Chaos. In canon it is Horus and there is nothing wrong with the idea being reused. But changing the badguy to (for an example) Rouboute Guilliam would add a new spin to the AT. Judging by his personality, he would make different decisions, and ultimately change the outcome. Mind you, some primarchs are better suited to be the Arch-Traitor than others.
  3. Who are the traitor legions? In canon, nine of the eighteen legions joined Horus in his rebellion. That has not changed here. A fair, if not equal, number of legions must fall to Chaos. Disproportionate numbers will lessen the excitement and make it boring, or worse make it look cheesy.
  4. What drove the traitors to join Chaos? What horrible event scarred them? How long have they heard the whispers of Chaos in their ears? Did they wish to join at all? A mixed bag of these things will deepen the story and depth of the characters.
  5. What kept the Loyalists loyal?
  6. Does the Emperor live of die? Of course this is a key moment in your timeline. In most timelines, the Big E. winds up on the Golden Throne just like in canon.


Things to avoidEdit

There are several things one must avoid in the creation of a alternate timeline. Failure to do so may result in the AT becoming cheesy and poorly written.

  1. Thou shall avoid mary-sue endings. Ex. all legions loyal, every ones happy la la la -BLAM!
  2. Thou shall not leave out Chaos from the AT. Chaos is an essential part of 40k. YOU CAN NOT get rid of it. Perhaps you can temporarily defeat it but perminately destroying it is out of the question.
  3. Thou must have a REASONABLE amount of primarch/legions/chapters fall to chaos or become renegades. Perhaps the numbers may not be equal but they must be reasonable.
  4. Thou shall not have utopian civilizations. Perfect paradises run by democracy is not fun or exciting, this is 40k, its grim and dark.
  5. Thou shall not warp 40k out of character. If you change history to the point where it no longer feels like 40k, then you've gone too far. You should stay within a reasonable perameter of change.


Killing A Chaos GodEdit

Those even slightly familiar with 40k lore will know of Chaos. Chaos is a universal and usually malign force embodied by malevolent intelligent entities comprised of psychic enegy. So basically it is Hell in space in a parallel dimision. Now the so called "Gods" of Chaos are the four embodiments of certain negative emotions generated by sentient life.

You have Khorne, the god of blood and war. Nurgle, the god of decay, diease, and destruction. Tzeetnch, the god of change, evolution, and sorcery. Then finally, the youngest and most pervese god of them all, Slaanesh, the god of pleasure and excess. Each one and their followers has their own strength, weakness, and character.

Long story short, they are a group of evil incarnate beings who wanted you to be their chew-toy. And of course you will hate them. OH how you will hate them. Half the problems that 40k faces is their fault, not that they care.

Whats the point of this monologue you may ask? You may want to kill them, you may want to get rid of Chaos, you may want to save the Galaxy...BUT-YOU-CAN-NOT. Sorry but Chaos is parasitically fused to 40k, and without Chaos, 40k loses most of its charm. The eternal struggle against a foe that cannot be beaten. That also means you cannot kill a Chaos God, no, nope, not happening.

HOWEVER there are SOME loop holes to influence them. If you stop the Fall of the Eldar, Slaanesh, the Chaos God of Pleasure and Excess will not be born. That way you can possibly (must make sense) bring about the birth of a new God.

Note: He cannot be a nice God, if its Chaos its bad, period.

Changes in PersonalityEdit

With the opening of an alternate timeline an author can often quite literally feel the possibilities spreading before him/her. You are suddenly presented with a blank slate upon which you are given the right to reinvision the Warhammer 40k world. Many authors will be tempted to twist this new universe to suit their tastes. While this is not technically against the rules, it should still be avoided if possible.

The best altered timelines brings a refreshing and vibrant new view on the classic that we all know and love, while simultaneously presenting itself as something that truly could happen in the 40k universe. In order to accomplish this ideal one must take into account how whatever primary change that the timeline is based upon would effect the classic factions of the 40k continuity.

Often an author might be tempted to make things exactly the way that they wish the original had went. When an At author does this it changes the dynamic of the universe in a way that comes off forced. The timeline is no longer grounded in the brilliant setting that we have all fallen for. Instead it simply becomes a fanboy's rendition of his ideal 40k universe, something cheesy and not well written. In order to make a truly great timeline one must keep the spirit of 40k in the timeline while making those drastic changes. Instead of simply making things up as you go try to picture how each faction would change according to the primary premise of the timeline, changing them in a way that is realistic to the original faction. Do this and you will make a new world with the spirit of the old setting. A masterpiece!

Just remember that what could happen, and what would happen are two very different things.

Lost LegionsEdit

For regular articles, the founders of this site have mentioned multiple times that Lost Legions are not permitted. It'd in the case of fairness with other users in the fact there's only two of them. But, this doesn't mean that your creativity isn't stopped there!

You can always expand them on another site, (Take the Mind Tearers for example), however alternate and extend timelines are perfect for exploring the lost legions and their fates.

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