A Planetary Governor, also known as an Imperial Commander, is a figure with (often hereditary) authority to rule a world in the Emperor's name. They are the chief oversees of Imperial worlds. Planetary Governors are usually referred to as "Lords", and their position often becomes hereditary.
Naturally, since the vast and dispersed nature of Imperial territory would make a totally centralized 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 (or she) is duty-bound to the Adeptus Terra. Essentially though, he is an independent governor. As long as the planet's tithes, mutant and psyker "head counts" are kept under control and the planet is governed competently, he is free to run the planet however he chooses.[Needs Citation]
They are expected to defend the planet in the name of Imperium, maintaining Planetary Defense Forces and orbital defences. Due to the fickle nature of the warp, 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.[Needs Citation]
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 period of the Imperium this was a simple process, a straightforward pledge to provide a certain number of troops and to fight in person. This was 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 labour. This was later replaced with a tithe. It is assessed by the wealth and available resources of the planet.[Needs Citation]
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 defense forces. The tithe is also a percentage of the planet's produce. Most tithes are regular obligations, while others are demanded when specific circumstances are met.[Needs Citation]
This leads to a close relationship between Planetary Governors and the Departmento Munitorum who look after the deployment of men and supplies across the galaxy. Both tithes go to the Munitorum, which can raise soldiers from across entire sectors.[Needs Citation]
Notable Planetary Governors
- Cyprian Devine
- Dellasarius of Tallarn
- Gerontius Helmawr of Necromunda
- Gordus of the Diamor System
- Herman von Strab
- Icos Blaille of Tharsis Prime
- Lord of Okku - was founded by Assassin Comaru for selling humans to Ork slavers and sold to the same greenskins as the last slave from Okku planet.
- Lukas Alexander of Kronus
- Lufgt Huron, former "Tyrant of Badab"
- Marius Hax, Sector Governor of Calixis and Planetary Governor of Scintilla
- Marlus Porelska - Governor of Cadia during the opening salvo of the 13th Black Crusade
- Mykola Shonai, of Pavonis
- Thygmus van Spracht
- Soloman[Needs Citation]
- Ursarkar E. Creed, Lord Castellan of Cadia
- Xian Torus of "the World that died in One Night"[Needs Citation]