The first pieces of Warhammer 40,000 lore were taken from the existing Warhammer Fantasy Battle setting, but pushed into a far future science fiction setting with the Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader book which was released way back in 1987.
Evolving through the seminal Realm of Chaos books, nine editions of the tabletop game, various role play games, novels, and additional background material in White Dwarf magazine as well as army and campaign books over the past twenty four years a vast web of complicated lore has developed.
I’m a huge fan of this universe and have been since I was about nine years old, yet there are still stories I’ve not read, factoids I’ve not heard and retcons I’ve not picked up on. One of my favourite things to do while chilling out is to stick on one of my favourite youtube channels dedicated to this lore and immersing myself in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium. So, here I will share five of my favourite 40k lore channels.
Presented as the investigations of an Imperial histrator, Oculus Imperia dives into the lore of Warhammer 40k in an engaging in-universe way that wraps you in the atmosphere of the setting from beginning to end. At times, the Oculus struggles with troubling revelations or makes musings which edge close to heretical, but always manages to put away such thoughts and end with a prayer to the Emperor. Gloria, in excelsis terra!
I recommend pretty much everything on this channel, but the recent series digging into the Badab War shows up how things aren’t always so cut and dried between loyalists and traitors and that the Imperium is far from ‘good guys.’
A long time favourite, 40k Theories likes to look at the sort of questions that fans of the deep lore like to argue about, the things which have been contradicted or seemingly forgotten as the setting has evolved. Alongside copies straight up lore videos and a whole fan fiction reworking of the Horus Heresy named the Theoreticus Heresy, it’s a channel with a massive canon of material and still throws up things I’ve never heard of.
For a teaser here’s a musing about the Fate of the Squat Empire.
Wolf Lord Rho
This channel is a personal favourite for the sheer enthusiasm that Rho shows for the lore and his steadfast commitment to promoting the Black Library novels, Most of this channel involves weeks of content dedicated to a certain character, faction or event with choice readings from Black Library books and Rho discussing why he thinks it’s great.
This is a really good channel for folks who can’t keep up with everything Black Library releases or need a quick refresh on what’s going on in a certain part of the setting.
For a teaser, here’s Rho discussing the time when the High lords of Terra rebelled against the resurrected primarch, Roboute Guilliman.
A smaller channel than most of the others, but one close to my heart. The Fluffenhammer combines dramatic readings of 40k background stories, reviews of releases and other sillier content, which is perfectly fitting as 40k is as inherently silly as it is grimdark.
They recently released readings of the fluff content from the Psychic Awakening series of books and thats well worth a listen.
Luetin is a great channel for folks who want to learn the lore from a standing start as their videos are presented quite matter of factly more the most part. That helps a lot as someone fresh to the setting diving straight into any of the more narrative content on the above channels without some context might get very confused, very quickly.
As an example of this, here’s Luetin trying to explain something as simple as Chaos Gods, Time and the Warp.
That should be more than enough 40k youtube content for anyone to be getting along with, but as a bonus I’ll also recommend some channels which are also worth your time but not necessarily focussed on 40k lore.
2+ Tough – https://youtu.be/TC3nl4pLkqI is an excellent channel, with a bias more towards Age of Sigmar than 40k.
Tabletop Minions – https://www.youtube.com/user/tabletopminions is one of my favourite 40k hobby channels.
Jaime Martinez: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/e0gVoD