In Warhammer 40k Roboute Guilliman may be the galaxy’s single most important living character. Steadfast, level-headed, and loyal to a fault, the Ultramarines Primarch is the poster boy for the Imperium of Man, for many good reasons.
The Primarch of the 13th Legion, the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman is more than just a war-leader. The Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar fall under his domain, a region of the Imperium of Man marked by its near-autonomy and high levels of productivity, peace, and self-sufficiency.
Roboute Guilliman, the Avenging Son, the Lord Commander of the Imperium, and Imperial Regent, is one of the most important figures in any Warhammer 40k faction. Come with us to meet everyone’s favourite boy in blue.
Who is Warhammer 40k’s Roboute Guilliman?
When the Primarchs were scattered throughout the galaxy as infants, most found themselves on worlds that can best be described as ‘unpleasant’. Fortunately for Roboute Guilliman, he landed on Macragge, a world that had survived the ravages of the Age of Strife mostly intact.
Adopted by one of the two Consuls who ruled over Macragge, a man named Konor, and raised in part by Konor’s Seneschal, Tarasha Euten, Roboute quickly grew into a prodigy both in physical and mental matters.
Given command of his own expeditionary force, Guilliman headed to a mountainous region known as Illyrium to subdue the wild tribesmen who harassed the citizens of Macragge. Here he proved himself to be a genius on the battlefield, swiftly earning the respect of his foes and ending the threat forever.
Upon his return to the capital, Roboute found a coup was underway. Konor had been overthrown by his co-Consol, Gallan. Guilliman and his forces were able to lift the siege of the city before rushing to his adoptive father’s side to witness Konor’s dying moments. With his last breath Konor told Roboute of Gallan’s treachery.
The young Primarch crushed the rebellion with brutal efficiency, capturing its leaders and executing them. Now the sole leader of Macragge, he worked to reorganise its social structure, implementing a true meritocracy and redistributing lands to the people rather than leaving them in the hands of noble houses.
For five years Macragge and the worlds of Ultramar thrived under Roboute Guiliman’s leadership. When the Emperor of Mankind arrived to greet his lost son he found a world that prospered, engaging in interplanetary trade, with a well-ordered military. Impressed by the Primarch, he gave Guilliman command of the Ultramarines Space Marine Legion.
During the Great Crusade the Ultramarines were peerless, bringing countless planets to compliance under the Imperial banner. Recruiting from the worlds of Ultramar, the Ultramarines became the largest Legion of all, winning commendations across the galaxy and the respect of many of the other Legions and their Primarchs.
Yet it was the Ultramarines who, by the command of the Emperor, drove the first nail into the coffin of the Imperium. On the planet Khur the Ultramarines were tasked with razing the city of Monarchia, a holy city deeply prized by the Word Bearers. The shame and humiliation of this loss broke their Primarch Lorgar Aurelian’s faith in the Emperor, driving him to the side of Chaos – in turn causing the corruption and fall of Horus Lupercal himself.
Roboute Guilliman in the Horus Heresy
Roboute and the Ultramarines were beset by treachery from the very start of the Horus Heresy. First, Horus sidelined them in the Veridian System at the outbreak of the civil war, then Lorgar and his Word Bearers betrayed them at Calth, irradiating the planet and slaughtering the Ultramarines in their thousands.
The Shadow Crusade saw Lorgar and Angron of the World Eaters burn a swathe through the worlds of Ultramar. A colossal spell rent reality asunder and caused Angron to ascend to Daemonhood, birthing the warpstorm known as The Ruinstorm. Roboute Guilliman and the Ultramarines were cut off from Terra, unable to get word of the larger war.
In a mistaken belief that the Imperium had fallen entirely and the worlds of Ultramar were all that remained, Guilliman formed the new polity of Imperium Secundus, lead by the triumvirate of Sangiuinius of the Blood Angels and Lion El’Jonson of the Dark Angels.
Despite the dark workings of the traitorous Primarchs, including a murderous rampage by Konrad Curze on Macragge itself, word eventually reached the Triumvirate that Terra and the Emperor were still standing. Sangiunius was first to depart for Terra, relying on his brothers to distract the traitorous armadas that blockaded Ultramar to ensure his arrival at the Emperor’s side.
After the Ruinstorm dissipated, Guilliman gathered his forces and set off for Terra with as many Ultramarines as he could muster. Despite travelling at near impossible speeds he arrived hours too late. The traitors were defeated and Horus was slain, but Sanguinius also lay dead and the Emperor’s physical form was shattered, interred in the Golden Throne for eternity.
Roboute Guilliman Resurrection
After the end of the Horus Heresy, Guilliman worked to reclaim the galaxy from the hands of the traitors. He authored the Codex Astartes, a set of rules that reformed the massive Legions into smaller Space Marine chapters, to ensure no one man could ever again wield the might of the traitor Warmaster.
Roboute Guilliman received several mortal wounds at the hands of Fulgrim, now a Daemon Primarch of Slaanesh, at the Battle of Thessala. Ultramarine Apothecaries were able to recover Guilliman before he perished, putting him into a stasis field where he remained for the next ten thousand years.
During the dark times at the end of the 41st millennium, the Adeptus Mechanicus tech-priest Belisarius Cawl, Sisters of Battle Saint Celestine, and Yvraine of the Eldar‘s Ynnari cult, sought out the somnolent Guilliman. By encasing him in a unique suit of Power Armour they were able to heal his wounds, awakening the Ultramarines Primarch for the first time in millennia.
Rising to a galaxy at war, Guilliman departed on a crusade to reach Terra in a mirror to his actions during the Horus Heresy. Despite the combined forces of the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons, the Tzeentch greater daemon Kairos Fateweaver, the Red Corsairs Chaos Space Marines, and Skarbrand the Bloodthirster of Khorne, Roboute Guilliman was able to reach Terra intact and stand in front of the shattered form of his father.
Psychically, the Emperor of Mankind informed Roboute that he was the last hope for mankind. The Primarch declared himself Lord Commander of the Imperium and Imperial Regent, taking direct control of the Imperium of Man.
Now, Roboute Guilliman leads the Indomitus Crusade to reclaim systems lost in the chaos of the thirteenth Black Crusade. He has already defeated his brother Mortarion during a series of battles known as the Plague Wars, managing to burn part of the Garden of Nurgle itself by channelling the power of the Emperor.
Roboute’s most recent act was to journey into Imperium Nihilus, a lawless and chaotic region of the Imperium that has been cut off from Terra by the Great Rift.
Best Roboute Guilliman Books
Despite focusing on Lorgar and the Word Bearers, the Horus Heresy books The First Heretic, Know no Fear, and Betrayer all involve the Ultramarines and Roboute Guilliman. Know no Fear is essential reading for anyone who wants to see just how devastating it is when a Primarch, even one as cool-headed as Guilliman, loses his temper.
The later Horus Heresy books The Unremembered Empire, Pharos, and Ruinstorm all handle the events of Imperium Secundus and the anguish and hard decisions Roboute Guiliman has to make when cut off from Terra.
For Roboute Guilliman’s resurrection in Warhammer 40k, the Gathering Storm rules supplements explore the events leading up to, and immediately after, Guilliman’s resurrection. The lore sections of these books are all available through the Warhammer Vault as part of a Warhammer+ subscription.
The first Primarchs novel, Roboute Guilliman: Lord of Ultramar, gives key insight into the beginning of his tale, showing the Primarch leading his forces into battle at the height of the Great Crusade.
Finally, the most up to date Warhammer 40k books concerning Roboute Guililman are the Dark Imperium trilogy. Consisting of Dark Imperium, Plague War, and Godblight, they explore Guilliman’s battles in Ultramar against his tainted brother Mortarion.
Roboute Guilliman Model
If you want to paint or play with Roboute Guilliman on the tabletop, two models of the character exist. The first is for the Warhammer 30k Horus Heresy system and shows the Primarch standing on the marble architecture of Ultramar, clad in the Armour of Reason and wielding the Hand of Dominion power gauntlet, the Gladius Incandor blade, and a combi-bolter by name of the Arbitrator.
For Warhammer 40k players, Roboute Guilliman has a plastic model that forms a fantastic centrepiece for any Ultramarines army. Standing atop the blasted remains of a Chaos Space Marine, Roboute Guiliman’s model shows him clad in the Armour of Fate, complete with iron halo, purity seals, and ornate filigree. He wields the Emperor’s Sword that burns with righteous zeal in one hand and in the other he carries the Hand of Dominion, a huge gauntlet that has a built-in rapid fire weapon.
Roboute Guilliman Datasheet
Roboute Guilliman, the first returned loyalist Primarch, is no slouch on the Warhammer 40k battlefield. With a Power Level of 19 and a cost of 300 points he isn’t cheap, but as you’ll see, he’s certainly worth it.
His weaponry can lay out devastating amounts of damage. The Hand of Dominion offers a 24” Rapid Fire three weapon that deals two damage, has -1 AP, and is strength six. In melee that same weapon doubles his strength to 12, has -3 AP, and deals four damage. Ouch.
The Emperor’s Sword on the other hand gives +2 to strength, has -4 AP, and deals three damage. However, when an unmodified wound roll of six is rolled it deals D3 mortal wounds on top of its other damage.
That alone makes him a meaty proposition, but it’s his abilities that really drive home why it’s worth taking him. ‘Author of the Codex’ gives him three extra Command Points if your army is Battle-forged, giving you extra flexibility when using Stratagems. Master of Battle adds one to Advance and charge rolls for nearby friendly Imperium units, and allows hit rolls of one to be re-rolled, and on top of that grants re-rolls to failed Morale tests.
‘XIII Primarch’ gives an aura that lets nearby Ultramarines units and characters reroll their hit rolls, as well as re-rolls of wound rolls of one.
Combine all that with a 3+ invulnerable save, nine wounds, and the ability to come back from the dead, this is a unit that exemplifies the character Roboute Guilliman is in the fiction – able to deal damage and take a beating, but most of all he inspires those around him to greater feats of heroism on the battlefield.
If you want to see an amazing recreation of Guilliman’s coronation as Imperial Regent, make sure you check out this incredible diorama by creator Baharroth.