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Planetary Governor

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"If a man can be judged by the quality and number of his foes, then I am indeed a great man."
— Imperial Commander Throm Percevus
Lord Hax

Planetary Governor Marius Hax of Scintilla, Sector Governor of Calixis Sector

The leader of an Imperial world is known as a Planetary Governor or sometimes as an Imperial Governor, and is considered an Imperial Commander in military matters. Regardless of his or her title, a Planetary Governor is an individual with the (often hereditary) authority to rule a world or even an entire star system in the Emperor's name. The Planetary Governor of a particularly important world, may also serve as a sub-sector, Sector or even Segmentum Governor in some cases. Naturally, since the vast and dispersed nature of Imperial space would make a totally centralised system of government unfeasible, the Planetary Governor is given discretionary control over the administration (including governance, defence and development) of the planet in question. In theory he is duty-bound to the Adeptus Terra. Essentially though, he is an independent governor who can rule his planet as he sees fit with only minimal interference from the Imperium. As long as the planet's Imperial taxes are paid, its mutant and psyker populations are kept under control, the requisite tithes of psykers and Imperial Guard regiments are delivered to the Imperium and the planet is governed competently, the Governor is free to run the planet however he chooses.

Imperial Planetary Governors are expected to defend the planet in the name of Imperium, maintaining the necessary Planetary Defence Forces and orbital defences. Due to the fickle nature of the Warp, astropathic communication with the Adeptus Terra is often delayed and sometimes prevented entirely. Often this means that Governors must make decisions on the defence of their world without advice and help from Terra, meaning that for the world to prosper, every Governor must be adept at military matters as well as the development of the planet's trade infrastructure.

Planetary Governors are usually referred to in Imperial feudal nomenclature as "Lords", and their position often becomes hereditary. Even though Governors are given these powers over a planet, they come at a price. The Governor is a sworn vassal of the Imperium, and as such is required to provide military support to local campaigns. In the early history of the Imperium this was a simple process, a straightforward pledge to provide a certain number of troops and to fight in person when required. This was later seen to be too inflexible because as the Imperium grew, the differing numbers of troops provided made poor use of some planets' populations and on others too high a proportion of the population was sent to war, leaving the planet sorely short of the labour required to efficiently run its economy. This pledge was thus later replaced with a tithe to provide Imperial Guard regiments. It is assessed by the wealth and available resources of the planet. As part of the tithe, the Governor is expected to supply troops to the Imperial Guard, the troops often being requisitioned from the planet's existing planetary defense forces. The tithe is also a percentage of the planet's economic output, in whatever form that may be derived. Most tithes are regular obligations, while others are demanded when specific circumstances are met. These requirements lead to a close relationship between Imperial Planetary Governors and the officials of the Departmento Munitorum who look after the deployment of men and supplies across the galaxy. Both military and economic tithes go to the Departmento Munitorum who can raise soldiers from across entire sectors of the galaxy.

On the Forge Worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Imperial Governor is only Imperial in name. The Tech-priests choose amongst their ranking Magi who will be promoted to the rank of Fabricator-General, the Mechanicus' equivalent rank to that of Planetary Governor. The Fabricator-General's loyalty is always to the Cult Mechanicus first and the Imperium second, and he is notably more independent of the Adeptus Terra than other Planetary Governors, his only obligation to the Imperium being that his world delivers the required tithes in war materiel and other manufactured items in due time.

Evil Empires Edit

Those Imperial Commanders possessed (sometimes literally) of the worst excesses of arrogance and hubris may take it upon themselves to bring about not only the secession of their own fiefdoms, but to foster such thoughts in their neighbours. This is especially true in regions isolated from the Imperium at large, perhaps by vast gulfs of interstellar space or by raging Warp storms. The leaders of such worlds might band together under a single, charismatic leader, and establish small, stellar empires. Such entities rarely endure for long, for any agents of the Imperium’s bodies residing upon their worlds either rise up or call for aid. Some do manage to maintain a semblance of legitimacy and stability, however, the population is entirely ignorant of the fact that their worlds have cut all ties with Humanity. Some especially foolish leaders go so far as to openly pronounce themselves apart from the Imperium. These are doomed, for the Imperium launches mighty crusades to reclaim such lost territory, often accompanied, or even led, by the agents of the Holy Orders of the Emperor’s Inquisition.

Notable Planetary GovernorsEdit

Name Planet Segmentum Sector System Notes
Annesh Ionis Unknown Unknown Unknown Foolishly led a plan to have his world secede from the Imperium in order to rule his own empire. An Eversor Assassin breaks into the Governor's palace in order to kill him, but instead finds a bomb and is killed in the resulting explosion. Secretly, Annesh and his co-conspirators observed the explosion from orbit. Gloating at the spoils to come, Annesh was surprised when one of his co-conspirators transformed into their true form -- that of a Callidus Assassin -- who proceeded to deliver the Emperor's judgement upon the terrified former Planetary Governor.
Aulis Taros Segmentum Ultima Eastern Fringe Unknown Former Planetary Governor of Taros, he willingly annexed his world to the expanding Tau Empire, beginning in 978.M41, which culminated in the events of the Taros Campaign in 998.M41. An Avenging Sons Space Marine Chapter kill-team was dispatched to kill the treasonous former Imperial Commander, but Tau troops saved him and his bodyguard. Following the failed Taros Campaign, the Tau Empire renamed the world T'ros. Many of the planet's Planetary Defence Force subsequently went on to serve as volunteers in the Tau Empire's military forces as loyalist Gue'vesa.
Gerontius Helmawr Necromunda Segmentum Solar Unknown Necromunda System The governor and ruler of all Necromunda is Imperial Commander Lord Gerontius Helmawr. His ancestors are known to have reigned for the past seven thousand years at least, records of government before that time having long since disappeared. The Adeptus Terra leaves Lord Helmawr to govern his domain as he pleases, as it leaves all Imperial Commanders free to administrate their worlds. So long as Helmawr fulfills his feudal obligations to the Imperium his position remains secure.
Herman von Strab Armageddon Segmentum Solar Armageddon Sector Armageddon System Herman von Strab was the Overlord of the vitally important Hive World of Armageddon during the Second War for Armageddon, during which he gained notoriety for his disastrously inept leadership. He rose to power the same way all others had done before him, through assassination of the other claimants to the throne, mainly, his three elder brothers, who considered their younger sibling too stupid, weak and incompetent to take as a serious rival -- to their unfortunate ends. Even before the Second War for Armageddon began, he displayed his ineptitude, and tried to deal with Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka and his WAAAGH!, himself. An even worse military commander than he was a planetary governor, the poorly ordered forces he had at his disposal were quickly overrun and destroyed. When Space Marine forces arrived, Lord Commander Dante of the Blood Angels Chapter took command of the beleaguered planet, and placed von Strab under house arrest. Somehow, von Strab escaped in a stolen Land Speeder, which was later found badly damaged, but his body was missing. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Lukas Alexander Kronus Segmentum Ultima Lithesh Sector Unknown Governor-Militant Lukas Alexander was initially sent to the world of Kronus to track down and capture Farseer Taldeer after her actions on Lorn V. His forces landed in an abandoned city, and found traces of ancient relics scattered across the planet, including a Hellstorm Cannon, a piece of weaponry from the Horus Heresy-Era Imperator-class Titan Aquila Ignis. The city was renamed "Victory Bay", and tech-priests began excavating the massive Hellstorm Cannon. The Imperium then gave Lukas Alexander the title of "Governor-Militant" of Kronus, and tasked him with conquering the planet for the Imperium.
Lufgt Huron Badab Primaris Segmentum Ultima Maelstrom Zone Badab System Lufgt Huron, the Tyrant of Badab, was once the Chapter Master of the Astral Claws and self-claimed Imperial Governor of the world of Badab Primaris in the Maelstrom Zone of the Ultima Segmentum. But ultimately, Huron became corrupt in his ambitious pursuit of power and corrupted most of his Chapter as well, leading him into open rebellion against the Imperium of Man, known as the Badab War, which lasted from 901-912.M41. Bound to machines which keep him alive and forever in pain, Huron is now a scarred creature of hate, known as Huron Blackheart, the Chaos Lord of the Renegade warband known as the Red Corsairs.
Marius Hax Scintilla Segmentum Obscurus Calixis Sector Scintilla System Marius Hax is the Sector Governor of the Calixis Sector, an Imperial sector located in the Segmentum Obscurus on the northern edge of the known galaxy, adjacent to the Halo Stars and the Eye of Terror. As Sector Governor, Marius Hax is the most powerful man in the Calixis Sector, who rules over his vast domain in the name of the Adeptus Terra from the Lucid Palace on the sector capital world of Scintilla.
Mykola Shonai Pavonis Segmentum Ultima Unknown Unknown Mykola Shonai was the Planetary Governor of the Imperial Mining World of Pavonis, located in the Segmentum Ultima. Following a brief, but bloody civil war years earlier, the Mykola was replaced in office by her nephew Koudelkar. Behind his back, his aunt proceeded to invite a Tau trading congregation to the Governor's Palace in the hope of making Pavonis prosperous and independent again. Enraged at her actions, a vicious firefight erupted between the Governor's forces and his aunt's. During the fighting, Koudelkar was kidnapped by the Tau and turned to their cause of the Greater Good. Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines Chapter, later arrived on the scene, and, after killing the remaining Tau, sent Sergeant Learchus on a covert mission to rescue the governor. A full-scale war was fought across the planet between the Tau forces and the Ultramarines' 4th Company. When defeat seemed inevitable, Uriel threatened to destroy Pavonis from orbit and the Tau withdrew. During the war Governor Shonai was killed, but not before repenting and pledging his allegiance to the Emperor once more. After the invasion was repulsed, the Administratum assumed direct control of the planet, and any remnants of autonomous government were completely eliminated.
Pella Donia Segmentum Pacificus Unknown Unknown Pella was the Planetary Governor of the civilised world of Donia located in the Segmentum Pacificus during the early 41st Millennium. He is notable for being the father of the renowned Imperial Guard commander, Lord Solar Macharius.
Duke Severus XIII Kulth Segmentum Obscurus Calixis Sector Kulth System Under the leadership of the former Sub-sector Governor of the Periphery, Duke Severus XIII of Kulth, the Severan Dominate is a confederation of worlds located in the Periphery Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus that has seceded from the Imperium of Man, and is currently in open rebellion.
Yawell Morisha Segmentum Ultima Eastern Fringe Unknown Planetary Governor Yawell was ruler of the planet Morisha on the Eastern Fringe during the mid-500's, 37th Millennium. When a Venenum Temple Assassin, Urhua Theraux, was dispatched in 563.M37 to assassinate the renegade Planetary Governor Yawell, during transit, the assassin's starship was caught in a Warp rift, holding the vessel in a temporal stasis for some six hundred and ninety-eight years. Not knowing that a Warp time dilatation had occurred, Theraux proceeded to her destination, only to find her original target long dead, and replaced by an anti-Imperial democratic committee, consisting of some 1,000 members. Undaunted, Urhua Theraux only succeeded in killing the entire committee members after spending three whole days poisoning all the chairs in the council's auditorium, before a meeting of the full committee.


  • Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition)
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
  • Codex Imperialis
  • Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pg. 157
  • Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 51, 334-337, 339, 347, 351, 371
  • Only War: Enemies of the Imperium (RPG), pp. 9-10, 12, 16-19, 21, 28, 31, 110
  • Only War: Final Testament (RPG), pp. 5-6, 9-10, 16-17, 126
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader
  • Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (Digital Edition) (7th Edition), pg. 286
  • Nightbringer by Graham McNeill

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