Vulkan was one of the twenty Primarchs created by the Emperor of Mankind to lead his Great Crusade and reunite the scattered peoples of humanity. His Space Marine Legion was re-named the Salamanders in his honour.
When the Primarchs were scattered from the Emperor's laboratory on Luna, Vulkan arrived on the planet Nocturne during the Time of Trial as an infant and was soon taken in by the blacksmith, N'bel. The people of his home town were astounded by this child, for within the space of three years, he was stronger and bigger than any man in his town. In addition to his massive physical size, he was the quickest mind, and the greatest blacksmith anyone knew of. Indeed, it was not long before Vulkan himself was teaching forging techniques to the people that had not yet been discovered[Needs Citation].
The people of Nocturne were frequently raided by Dark Eldar. They were so used to this common occurrence, that each person in town had developed their own hiding place to avoid capture. When the Dark Eldar raided again in Vulkan's fourth year on Nocturne, the Primarch refused to hide and instead stood out in the centre of the settlement, his two smithing hammers crossed over his shoulders. The people of Vulkan's town were so inspired by his example that they joined him and prepared to defend their town. With a primarch leading the defence, the people of the town decisively defeated the Dark Eldar. Within weeks the leaders of the seven largest towns on Nocturne had travelled to meet Vulkan, and they soon swore never again to hide from the raiders[Needs Citation].
In celebration of the Primarch's victory over the Eldar raiders, a tournament was decided to be held. Unexpectedly, a stranger arrived in the middle of the festivities. Of pale complexion and wearing outlandish clothing, the stranger asked only to be allowed to compete. When he announced that he could best anyone in the town, the people laughed at this outlander. Who could possibly beat Vulkan in any feat of intellect, strength, craftsmanship or endurance? Nonetheless, Vulkan and the stranger wagered that whoever lost the tournament would forever serve the victor. Lasting 8 days, the contest included many tests of strength and endurance such as the anvil lift (in which the two held anvils above their heads for a half day before the contest was called a tie). The number of contests is unimportant, however, for by the end of day 8, Vulkan and the stranger were tied[Needs Citation].
In the final event, both contestants were given 24 hours to construct a weapon, before using said weapon to hunt down and slay the largest salamander they could find. Climbing a high mountain, the two each went out to find a drake. Vulkan quickly found and killed a very large Fire Drake. However, on his way back, the mountain he was standing on - which coincidentally was a volcano - erupted, casting Vulkan over a cliff. Hanging for dear life over the precipice, Vulkan was determined to hang on to his massive Salamander. Thus, he found himself hanging by one hand from a cliff with his other hand clutching the tail of his drake[Needs Citation].
Hanging there for hours, Vulkan's strength eventually ebbed away until he knew he must decide between the drake and his life. At that moment however, the stranger arrived, carrying his own drake. Even from the edge of the cliff, the Primarch could tell that the outlander's drake was indeed bigger. Seeing Vulkan in distress, the stranger acted quickly, tossing his drake into a lava flow that separated them and using it as a bridge to cross to the Primarch. After hoisting Vulkan out of his mortal predicament, the stranger walked with him back to town, leaving his own drake to burn in the river of molten rock[Needs Citation].
Though the Outlander's Drake had been superior in size, he had thrown it away to save Vulkan, and when he returned to town with the Primarch empty-handed, Vulkan was declared the victor. To the amazement of his people however, Vulkan kneeled before the stranger and said that any man who would value life over pride was worthy of his service. At this moment, the Outlander cast off his illusionary disguise and revealed himself to be the Holy Emperor of humanity. Thus it was that the Primarch, Vulkan and his Emperor were reunited[Needs Citation].
It was decided that Vulkan's legion of Space Marines would henceforth be known as the Salamanders, in honour of the beast that had united him with his father. The Primarch continued to serve loyally throughout the Great Crusade[Needs Citation].
Vulkan was present alongside Ferrus Manus and Corax at the Isstvan V Dropsite Massacre. Little is known about him after this point. There are very few records - if any - of him fighting in the heresy after this point. It is also claimed he was one of the Primarchs to oppose the Codex Astartes. This however, would not be for lack of courage or loyalty, however, but due to the crippling losses sustained at Isstvan V, where his Legion was cut down in size to but a few. Following the heresy, Vulkan chose to leave the Salamanders, claiming that, like Space Wolves Primarch Leman Russ, he would return in the End Times. That is the last anyone saw of Vulkan[Needs Citation].
The name Vulkan is derived from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, volcanoes and smithery.
Like his brother Primarchs, Vulkan has a characteristic that sets him apart, his patience. This was likely the result of his upbringing in a small village. He demonstrates this many time on one-five-four-four. Vulkan constantly gives commands in the heat of battle that cause the least amount of casualties to the native population against the advise of Ferrus Manus and even his own men. It is spoken of among his brothers that Vulkan is the most suited to their Father's vision of a peaceful Empire.
|I - Lion El'Jonson · II - Unknown · III - Fulgrim · IV - Perturabo · V - Jaghatai Khan · VI - Leman Russ · VII - Rogal Dorn · VIII - Konrad Curze · IX - Sanguinius · X - Ferrus Manus · XI - Unknown · XII - Angron · XIII - Roboute Guilliman · XIV - Mortarion · XV - Magnus · XVI - Horus · XVII - Lorgar · XVIII - Vulkan · XIX - Corvus Corax · XX - Alpharius Omegon|