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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Spoilers below:

Does anyone else think the Emperor could have removed Angron's implants but chose not to? Perhaps he saw how useful they could be and given that he had 17 other relatively perfect legions, he decided one messed up but extremely powerful legion could remain as is?

In Betrayer, a Titan pilot remarks how low tech Angron's homeworld is, their weapons much more advanced than the rest of their technology but still not in the same league as the Imperium.

In Talon of Horus, Iskhander is able to manipulate alien biology on such a minute level that he's able to reanimate her dead body. Then he is able to alter an Emperor's Child so that Slaanesh's influence is greatly reduced.

Based on the above, I don't see how the Emperor could not have removed the Butcher's Nails. The man who created the most complex living weapons mankind/the universe has ever seen.
 

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There's room for interpretation...

As for whether or not the Emperor could actually do it, I don't think so.

There's a conversation between Lotara, Lokas, and Magos Vel-Kheredar in Betrayer that says the Butcher Nails--original or the Imperial copies--"cannot be removed with killing the host, or, at--best--inflicting severe and irreparable brain damage."

With the degradation of technology through Old Night, it's not surprising to find little peaks of wildly advanced technology amongst more modest ones. That's why Mechanicus taskforces scour every hell hole and crevice for pieces of technology.

And before the Butcher's Nails, the War Hounds were an extremely potent force. They were willing to murder wholesale as ordered without blinking an eye, yet had the discipline and strategic minds to fight efficient wars.

I don't see how the Emperor could have wanted the War Hounds to become even more ferocious. They seemed to be a strong mix. Similar to the Space Wolves but tilted even a bit further.

Maybe I'm looking at it with the benefit of hindsight, but I think the Emperor could clearly see the Butcher's Nails as being a generally bad thing.

Though maybe the Emperor saw how broken the newly christened World Eaters were after they found Angron, and passively allowed the Butcher Nails to be put into the World Eaters as a means to heal the gulf between Angron and his sons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
There's room for interpretation...

As for whether or not the Emperor could actually do it, I don't think so.

There's a conversation between Lotara, Lokas, and Magos Vel-Kheredar in Betrayer that says the Butcher Nails--original or the Imperial copies--"cannot be removed with killing the host, or, at--best--inflicting severe and irreparable brain damage."
I'm aware of people saying it's impossible but I imagine people would have said the same about the Emperor's aspirations and everything he's accomplished, especially the Primarchs (only possible to create after forging pacts with the pantheon AKA a big FU to science/reality). My point is that the warp allows for anything to happen.

With the degradation of technology through Old Night, it's not surprising to find little peaks of wildly advanced technology amongst more modest ones. That's why Mechanicus taskforces scour every hell hole and crevice for pieces of technology.
It doesn't make sense that the one extremely advanced piece of tech Nuceria had to offer was something as insidious as the Nails. Especially since the colonists of pre-Age of Strife Nuceria would not have created something so pointless. It's only during the AoS that the Nucerian colonists became barbaric as they were cut off from the rest of the galaxy. And based on their overall society consisting of feudal tech, it would indicate that the post-AoS Nucerians were not in a position to create marvels of technology that would later on baffle the Mechanicum and the Emperor.

And before the Butcher's Nails, the War Hounds were an extremely potent force. They were willing to murder wholesale as ordered without blinking an eye, yet had the discipline and strategic minds to fight efficient wars.

I don't see how the Emperor could have wanted the War Hounds to become even more ferocious. They seemed to be a strong mix. Similar to the Space Wolves but tilted even a bit further.
So were the rest of the legions. The NL and the Wolves in particular were willing to massacre entire populations if the Emperor just asked without any qualms.

In book one Betrayal (pg.85), it's stated that the Warhounds took to battle regardless of 'it's own losses and heedless of risk' and when fighting the Thunder Warriors, every dead TW was surrounded by three to four times his number in WH bodies. So the WH seemed no different to the post-implant WE's in terms of strategy and discipline, only lethality.

Maybe I'm looking at it with the benefit of hindsight, but I think the Emperor could clearly see the Butcher's Nails as being a generally bad thing.
Based on the loss ratio vs the Thunder Warriors and their inherent lack of regard for causalities, it would make sense that since the Emperor could see no way to reverse their nature, the best alternative would be to enhance their brutality in the hopes that it would lead to lesser losses and quicker battles.

I'm also certain the Emperor was not blind to the fact that pre-implants the Warhounds were essentially shittier versions of the Space Wolves, just as violent but with the tendency to lose 10x more men.
 

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I think by the time Angron is found the damage is done, the Emperor has to abduct him from the slave army and deny him his death wish for which he will never be forgiven but he needs Angron to help prosecute the Great Crusade. Even if he could remove the nails, I think it may have been easier for the Emperor to let Angron the broken primarch install the nails into his legion and let themselves slowly destroy themselves in war, to use themselves up, and ultimately for Angron to get a heros death which the Emperor had denied him, and to get rid of Angron in a way that kept his hands clean
 

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I'm aware of people saying it's impossible but I imagine people would have said the same about everything the Emperor accomplished, especially the Primarchs (only possible to create after forging pacts with the pantheon AKA a big FU to science/reality). My point is that the warp allows for anything to happen.
If the only recourse was to go to Chaos (say, by turning Angron into a daemon prince), I could see why the Emperor would be hesitant to do so.

'Sides, I'm guessing the Chaos Gods wouldn't be fooled twice in a row...right?

It doesn't make sense that the one extremely advanced piece of tech Nuceria had to offer was something as insidious as the Nails.
The collapse of society is funny that way. It sorta happens.

And it doesn't have to be insidious. Maybe it was at one time military tech. Think of it like frenzon on steroids. They used it as a last ditch attempt to crack a stubborn enemy.

Or maybe its original purpose was for entertainment--like when Angron landed. Things that entertain us have a strong tendency to survive.

Or it could have been fluke luck. Maybe the compound that held the planet's STC patterns was nuked in a civil war or suffered a virus that destroyed all the data. The only advanced piece of technology was the Butcher's Nails on some random guy's computer.

So the WH seemed no different to the post-implant WE's in terms of strategy and discipline, only lethality.
In Betrayer Lhorke mentioned how the Warhounds changed after becoming the World Eaters:

"But on the battlefield, the World Eaters were a changed force. Russ’s warning went unheeded...From a Legion once as concerned with logistics as any other, the XII was soon hurling men at enemy strongholds without thought of civilian casualties, let alone their own lives. They advanced ahead of their marked resupply points, outpacing their heavy armour, and caring nothing for how bitterly expensive each victory became, so long as the blood flowed."

The Warhounds were willing to commit to a deadly brawl of attrition if the situation warranted it. After the Nails it became their standard method of fighting.

Based on the loss ratio vs the Thunder Warriors and their inherent lack of regard for causalities, it would make sense that since the Emperor could see no way to reverse their nature, the best alternative would be to enhance their brutality in the hopes that it would lead to lesser losses and quicker battles.
I don't think this is sound reasoning. The Emperor had plenty of time to see their violent tendencies. IF the Emperor wanted the Legion wiped out before He found Angron, all He had to do was create an event to wipe out the World Eater's geneseed supply. Something similar to the Emperor's Children misfortune. He didn't.

And trying this after Angron was found? Virtually impossible. Again, look to the Emperor's Children. With almost no reserve of geneseed and but a bare 200 Legionaries, the Emperor's Children swelled to over 550 this size in about 150 years.

With Angron, they could increase their geneseed supply to counter all but the most catastrophic of losses.

I'm also certain the Emperor was not blind to the fact that pre-implants the Warhounds were essentially shittier versions of the Space Wolves, just as violent but with the tendency to lose 10x more men.
Ironically, the Warhounds seemed more apt to cooperate with other Imperial forces. They didn't carry any airs. They knew their job and did it well.

The Warhounds were used to tip the balance of stalemated campaigns.

While the Warhounds were willing to accept immense causalities in exchange for victory, the World Eaters accepted immense causalities for the pleasure of killing.
 

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It doesn't make sense that the one extremely advanced piece of tech Nuceria had to offer was something as insidious as the Nails. Especially since the colonists of pre-Age of Strife Nuceria would not have created something so pointless. It's only during the AoS that the Nucerian colonists became barbaric as they were cut off from the rest of the galaxy. And based on their overall society consisting of feudal tech, it would indicate that the post-AoS Nucerians were not in a position to create marvels of technology that would later on baffle the Mechanicum and the Emperor.
Maybe it was designed as a punishment device for criminals, after all I can see the nails being a good method of dealing with them.

As for removing them it could be as simple as them knowing how to build the nails but the instructions to how to remove them were lost.
Like a fish hook if you didn't know what the barb was removing it is nearly impossible.

Or maybe they did know how to remove them but no one thought to ask.
 

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I think a drastic reduction to a legion's capacity for intelligent, tactical warfare is a massive cost to pay for a moderate boost to close combat prowess.

Compared to other legions, the WE seem less effective at winning wars...other legions can get the same thing done with fewer Astartes lost and less collateral damage.

The average WE might be better in an arena deathbattle...but other legions don't engage in suicidal charges against enemy strong points because they're frothing insane. In that sense, the WE are weaker than other legions

The Emperor already had violently insane psycho berserkers before the WE...they were called Thunder Warriors. The Emperor got rid of them.
 

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I can't believe that nobody - at any point during the Heresy - thought to give Angron a Snickers bar....
 

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Maybe it was designed as a punishment device for criminals, after all I can see the nails being a good method of dealing with them.

As for removing them it could be as simple as them knowing how to build the nails but the instructions to how to remove them were lost.
Like a fish hook if you didn't know what the barb was removing it is nearly impossible.

Or maybe they did know how to remove them but no one thought to ask.
Or maybe it is a piece of medical tech gone haywire, used in patients who suffered severe brain trauma as a prosthetic part for example. During the AoS parts of the schemata get damaged/corrupted.

As we know in contemporary medical science anything to do with the brain needs to be very precise to prevent unwanted side effects. Small alterations in the design can have big consequences and with it being integrated in the brain as initially a medical appliance, removal would be very costly.
 

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I think another question is how could the nucerians penetrate the scalp of a person whose body is resilient enough to lift a titan. That suggests exceptionally resilient flesh, bones, and ligaments.

You don't just hammer through that. Apparently, not even with a titan.
 

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Most likely some kind of plasma drill. Though some of the primarchs have shown quite the resilience to star hot plasma, such as Horus taking a pointblank plasma shot and being merely stunned, the Emperor guarding him until he recovered. But Lorgar was badly wounded and seared by a titan grade plasma blast.
 

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They implanted the Nails into him while he was a child, right? Or even an infant?

Also the Nucerians had access to las weaponry. I'm sure a laser would, given enough power and intensity, be able to cut through a primarch's skull.

The skull isn't apparently too resilient. In The Unremembered Empire, a regular bolt shell could have killed an unhelmeted Guilliman.
 

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From what I recall from Betrayer, they considered it. But the nails had altered the architecture of his brain too much, that a removal likely would be fatal. And with the primarchs being such unique products, the Emperor probably chose to get as much use as possible out of him, before he expired or would have to be put down. Just like the thunder warriors.
 

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The butchers nails have always struck me as something far more crude. Angron have always been described as having dreadlocklike cables hanging from his scalp, the visible parts of the nails hammered into his head.

Didn't they do that with the model of him?
 

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They implanted the Nails into him while he was a child, right? Or even an infant?

Also the Nucerians had access to las weaponry. I'm sure a laser would, given enough power and intensity, be able to cut through a primarch's skull.

The skull isn't apparently too resilient. In The Unremembered Empire, a regular bolt shell could have killed an unhelmeted Guilliman.
I think what we have here, and at the root of the OP's question is just inconsistent writing.

Logically, yes the emperor or the other guy who could manipulate tissues could have removed the nails.

Again, logically if a titan can't crush Angron a bolt shell shouldn't be able to penetrate Guilliman's head, and surgeons shouldn't be able to poke the butcher's nails into Angron's head either. Unless maybe he was much less resilient as a youth, but considering all the primarchs were massively powerful from very early ages that seems unlikely.

What we have instead are authors dealing in hyperbole. The invincible and the unstoppable. "Can't be crushed by a titan" and backworlds medical devices which are "so cunning they can't be removed."

It doesn't really hang together under scrutiny.
 

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Personally I am of the oppinion that the nails are a very khornate inspired tech. Their very presence in Angron's head have robbed him of many of the innate qualities of the primarchs, which certainly is warp based. Such as their compelling aura of command, the lack of which, made the World Eaters so desperate to feel kinship with their genefather, that they willingly accepted the lesser nails to share his suffering. As if it could bring them closer to their father, which they in an ironic way actually managed to do.
 
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