"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us."
- – Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.
"And as I surveyed them from this point, all the other heavenly bodies appeared to be glorious and wonderful, now the stars were such as we have never seen from this earth; and such was the magnitude of them all as we have never dreamed; and the least of them all was that planet, which farthest from the heavenly sphere and nearest to our earth, was shining with borrowed light, but the spheres of the stars easily surpassed the earth in magnitude - already the earth itself appeared to me so small, that it grieved me to think of our empire, with which we cover but a point, as it were, of its surface."
- – Scipio Aemilianus, De re publica: Somnium Sciponis.
Terra is Humanity's homeworld. Most likely the planet on which you currently reside. (If you live elsewhere, how the hell are you reading this?) Also the most lazily named planet other than our moon (called the Moon) in the Solar system as well as also being inaccurate since most of the surface is water, might as well call it Planet Water.
If you want to know what it looks like, imagine our current Earth. Now imagine that every single centimeter of soil (including the oceans) has been covered in buildings. Then nuked. Then built again. Then nuked again. Then rebuilt again, with every new city sitting on the ruins of its predecessors. Repeat the process a few dozen times, burn away the ocean, remove half the oxygen, then add solid gold gothic architecture everywhere for the last layer of cities. Here you go. Terra. Oddly, it only seemed to be this way after the Heresy; beforehand it still had tracts of open wasteland and even actual snow and ice at its poles. Forge World and Black Library have confirmed this: the Emperor started terraforming the planet once He controlled most of it. By the time of the Siege, Terra had had seas again "for a few centuries" but there were still places made barren by rad-weaponry. And lo, the Heresy came and back to the shitheap it all went.
Mostly Harmless (if you're a human). Just kidding, it's one of the most dangerous Imperial planets in the galaxy. Untold billions of pilgrims arrive all the time, many of whom die of old age before they even get their entry visas processed, and are spectacularly lucky if they even get anywhere near the borders of the furthest edge of the Imperial Palace. It's so polluted that the standard skin-tone on Terra is grey (not pale, not dull white), grey like clay, and the atmosphere has the feeling of a brewing storm that never breaks. The delay of any part of its food import results in entire hives starving due to the density of population, the vast majority of whom never step outside the building in which they were born and are privileged if they have living quarters the size of the average Westerner's bed. The Inquisition and the Arbites have their work so cut out that each district has it's own Arbites branch and an Inquisitorial branch every ten, and the noble classes are so full of political scheming and intrigue that you could argue Tzeentch has more stock in Terra than Sortiarius. It all comes as a shock to visitors, including Inquisitorial officials, Ecclesiarchy Priests, and even Astartes that Terra is such a fucking mess, kind of like how some Japanese tourists apocryphally get culture-shock in Paris when it doesn't resemble what they thought it would be like.
Yes, we know this is weird. Yes, we know the High Lords would never let Terra be less than the epitome of glory out of sheer ego if nothing else, but GW has a long history of inconsistency and its dudes often contradict what their entire fanatical culture says the dudes should do.
In the grim darkness of the far future, Earth is known only as Terra or Holy Terra. It is still the homeworld of humanity and the capital of the Imperium of Man, and location of the Golden Throne and the God-Emperor of Mankind. Pretty much the best place to be, unless you're some sort of heretic that doesn't like gold-plated slums that still have scars from the Horus Heresy. But it is really Holy (no word on the real-life Holy Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea though). The only references to real-life geography are the Marianas Trench is no longer underwater and the Imperial Palace is located where the Himalayas were/are with Emp's throne room built over/on Mount Everest. Fluff is a bit inconsistent about exactly how big the Palace is / was ; it's refered to as continent sized or straddling betweeen multiple time zones, but then the immediate area and city around it is referred to as part of the palace too. To put it in perspective, the fortifications of the inner palace were so big that Warlord titans could stand on the walls like regular infantry with room to spare. One of the many sections of the wall defending it was over 900km long. In the 8th edition Custodes codex we get opaque mentions of pilgrim-tribes and queue-wars, implying the place is so damn big and the line to see the emperor so damn long that it's given birth to entire cultures.
The single thrill of excitement the planet got was when Horus turned up in orbit. But instead of bringing potato salad for the annual family bbq, he brought a lot of PAIN and daddy issues to work out and promptly invaded the world in an attempt to end the Heresy one way or the other. Of course the game won't be what it is if he had just won there and then, so the Big E offed him and evaporated his soul right after sustaining near-mortal wounds.
There is a massive Mechanicus enclave called Skhallax City, left over from the massive rebuilding efforts after the Siege. It remains as a weird grey area for Arbiters and Inqusitors, not entirely under the jurisdiction of the Terran government itself. Also manages to be more polluted than anywhere else on Terra, which is a real achievement.
There is so much awesome shit on Holy Terra that most of the planet is practically a cross between a museum and an amusement park. Of course, grimdark means the lines are so long they're measured not in hours but in generations and by the time you would have reached the front of the queue the whole purpose of visiting might have completely been forgotten.
However, one downside of Terra (That Games Workshop likes to conveniently forget) is its depletion of its oceans. You see, Terra kind of needs its oceans in order to make its oxygen and to trap any greenhouse gases emitted from the magma being erupted from the mantle. So Terra's fucked unless we assume the Imperium installed some of their atmosphere controllers to keep the planet breathable. Then again, Mars only has no atmosphere any more and has two vast machines on it's poles keeping the planet from being blasted by cosmic radiation, so Terra may well have something similar.
Currently the Tyranid hive fleets are en route to Terra, drawn to the Emperor and his psychic lighthouse. Like Horus, they will not be bringing a fruit basket to visit, but if they fail at taking on Macragge, then they will crumble at the Solar Fleet, the Ark Mechanicus of Mars, the fabulous Custodes and orbital defenses of Luna, and that's assuming the Dark Gods don't suddenly decide to lend the Emperor a hand by banishing the Tyranids to The Warp the moment they enter Terra with warp storms, just to keep their nightly paradox-poker buddy alive (if Ka'bandha isn't above doing it, we can assume everyone else isn't).
Some time after Roboute Guilliman arrived at Terra, Khorne sent 88 cohorts of his Daemons to attack Terra from the Warp Storm which appeared right above the planet as a welcome back gift. However, the daemons were promptly defeated and Khorne was so mad at their lackluster performance that his eight Bloodthirsters having led the attack were obliterated by the flame of his RAGE. Still, the invasion scared the shit out of many weak minded Terran nobles as well as imperial citizens who were made ignorant to the daemons by the Administratum's propaganda.
It's also worth noting that Terra is THE most important planet in Warhammer 40,000. The inquisition would sacrifice Big E himself if it meant saving Holy Terra. If it was ever destroyed, then it would be retconned.
The location of:
- The Golden Throne
- A palace the size of Eurasia, centered around the Himalayas
- All of the Adeptus Custodes (until recently...)
- The High temple of Assassins
- Astronomicon HQ, the former Mount Everest
- Super Secret OMG-Don't-Tell-Anyone Inquisition HQ (Antarctica)
- Enough gothic gold bling-bling to make Fort Knox look destitute
- Various palaces/domains/realms of dignitaries (Navigator Houses etc.) who pay a fortune per minute just to rent a bit of Terra's holy soil.
- Ptera Squirrels (which are vicious and evil creatures)
|The Planets, Systems, Regions and Sectors of the Galaxy|
|Imperial Homeworlds:||Holy Terra - Sacred Mars|
|Primarch Homeworlds:|| Baal - Barbarus - Caliban - Chemos - Chogoris - Colchis |
Cthonia - Deliverance - Fenris - Inwit - Medusa - Nostramo
Nocturne - Nuceria - Olympia - Prospero - Ultramar
|Planets:|| Armageddon - Bakka - Cadia - Catachan - Ganymede |
Hydraphur - Krieg - Kronus - Sacris - Sanctuary 101
Scelus - Tanith - Tartarus - Vigilus - Vraks - Zayth
|Daemon Worlds:||Plague Planet - Sortiarius|
|Systems and Regions:||Ghoul Stars - Halo Zone - Jericho Reach - Kaurava System |
Solar System - Stygius Sector - T'au Septs - Taelus System
|Types of Worlds:|| Agri-World - Craftworld - Daemon World - Death World - Eldar World |
Forge World - Fortress World - Hive World - Tomb World