|Head of state:||Fabricator-General|
|Governing body:||The Ruling Priesthood|
|State Religion:||Cult Mechanicus|
- "Mechanicum" redirects here. For the novel, see Mechanicum (Novel).
The Adeptus Mechanicus is a technological organisation, often known as the Priesthood of Mars. It holds a monopoly on technological knowledge in the Imperium. Their Forge Worlds turn out the Imperium's most powerful and advanced weaponry and equipment. The organisation's adepts, the Tech-priests, are vital in maintaining much of the Imperium's more technologically advanced equipment, not the least of which is the Emperor's life-sustaining Golden Throne.
While the Adeptus Mechanicus is a part of the Imperium, it has developed separately and enjoys a considerable degree of independence. Due to the great amount of power it wields, the Adeptus Mechanicus is more like an allied empire than an organisation within the Imperium. The Adeptus Mechanicus also follows a different religion from the rest of the Imperium. The religion and religious structure of the Adeptus Mechanicus is known as the Cult Mechanicus.
The symbol of the Adeptus Mechanicus is a skull, half-bone and half-machine, set against the background of a black and white cog.
Adepts of the Adeptus Mechanicus are known as tech-priests. Any member of the Cult Mechanicus over the rank of menial will often be referred to as a tech-priest, though Magi and higher ranks are usually referred to by rank.
As befits the religious nature of the Mechanicus, tech-priests usually wear robes, which are usually either rust-red or white. Tech-priests are often cybernetically augmented. The level of a techpriest's augmentation is highly dependent on his rank within the Cult Mechanicus; a novice may have only one or two augmented systems, if any, while very senior members may have only a few biological organs left in their bodies.
Origins and history
The birthplace of the Martian Mechanicum was the ancient Forge World Mars. Mars was colonised early in human history, and developed separately from Terra, both culturally and technologically. The arid surface of Mars was terraformed, and under a man-made atmosphere the colony flourished.
During the Dark Age of Technology, the two empires of Terra and Mars co-existed, to the mutual benefit of both. At the height of its splendour during the Golden Age, and even later in the anarchic Age of Strife, Mars dispatched hundreds of colony fleets into the void. Many perished in the terrible Warp storms that engulfed the galaxy at that time, but others survived. Those that did founded new worlds in the name of the Machine God, building on them a likeness of the great factories and temples of their distant home world.
The Age of Strife brought an end to the glory and peace of the human domains. Across the galaxy mankind suddenly turned upon itself as a new breed of Warp-attuned humans emerged. Civil war engulfed thousands of human worlds, including the twin empires of Terra and Mars.
Because of lack of maintenance during this time, Mars' atmospheric radiation shields soon disintegrated, allowing deadly solar radiation to destroy the fragile ecosystem and wiping out sparse vegetation which had taken millennia to cultivate. Mars returned to being the red wasteland of the past. Plagues caused by high radiation levels slew most of the population. Many of the survivors devolved into mutants or gibbering cannibals. The destruction of the entire planet seemed likely. However, this was not to be, for a new idea began to spread among the people, a religion of survival - the Cult Mechanicus dedicated to the Machine God.
The religious devotees sought out the now scattered technology needed to rebuild temporary radiation shelters. The cult demanded absolute devotion from its followers, for only by selfless dedication and often personal sacrifice could machines be recovered or the planet saved. Under the direction of their Tech-priest leaders, the cultists set about restoring order to the world. They built shelters to protect themselves from the radiation storms, and oxygen generators and food processing machines to enable them to live behind the enclosed shielding.
There were few shelters even for the Tech-priests and none for unbelievers. Marauders and mutant raiders tried to force their way inside the hurriedly constructed buildings. Many of the cultists died defending their shelters and some early shelters were destroyed, but the survivors emerged all the stronger and more determined. The people interpreted their survival in the face of tremendous odds as vindication of the Cult Mechanicus. Their resolve and devotion to the cult became unshakeable.
While rival warlords battled over the remnants of Terra the Tech-priests built Mars anew, and the first temples of the Machine God were built. The Tech-priests scoured the ruins of Mars for surviving machinery which they enshrined within the Temple of All Knowledge. Within the temple's plasteel shell shining pistons held the vaulted roof almost a mile above. The shafts of each piston were so constructed that they moved to raise and lower the roof, altering its acoustic properties to accentuate the hymns of praise sung to the Machine God.
The High Altar within took the form of a vast database containing the whole knowledge of the Tech-priests. Even today every new discovery is dedicated to this altar. Every temple on Mars and throughout the Forge Worlds is connected to the High Altar by means of a living Transmat link, a psychic Servitor whose mind co-joins all altars of the Cult Mechanicus into one holy machine entity.3
Union with the Imperium
After the Emperor formed the Imperium, he engendered support with the Martian Mechanicum, an already existing empire. On Mars, he was commonly seen as the Omnissiah, the earthly representative of the Machine God. As the Mechanicum put down a small rebellion by senior tech-priests, the Fabricator-General of Mars and the Emperor signed the Treaty of Mars, allying the two empires, guaranteeing the sovereignty of each. In return for supplying the Imperium with war machines and servicing the technology of the Imperium, any and all STC technology found by the Imperium would be donated to the Mechanicum.
During the Horus Heresy, the Mechanicum split, with some Forge Worlds betraying the Emperor, some retaining their loyalty to the Imperium and some seceding altogether to remain neutral during the conflict. The Fabricator-General at the time, Kelbor-Hal, sided with Horus but was killed in the ensuing conflict.
Although the Emperor is venerated by the Adeptus Mechanicus for his ancient knowledge and comprehension, the techpriests do not follow the Imperial Cult, but a wholly different religion, known as the Cult Mechanicus or the Cult of the Machine.
The Cult Mechanicus originated during the Age of Strife. According to its teachings, knowledge is the supreme manifestation of divinity, and all creatures and artefacts that embody knowledge are holy because of it. Machines that preserve knowledge from ancient times are also holy, and machine intelligences are no less divine than those of flesh and blood. A man's worth is only the sum of his knowledge - his body is simply an organic machine capable of preserving intellect. In the Cult's tenets, life itself is of no intrinsic value. One of the most obvious examples of this belief is the techpriests' use of humans as raw material in the creation of the machine-slaves known as servitors.5
To the Cult Mechanicus, machines represent a higher form of life than that created through biological evolution. The ultimate object of the cult's veneration is known as the Machine God (or the Deus Mechanicus), which is believed to have given rise to all technologies and made them manifest through his chosen illuminati among mankind. The Machine God may be the C'tan Void Dragon, who has been entombed on Mars for millennia and was worshipped by the Cult Mechanicus before the rise of the Emperor.
The Cult Mechanicus await the arrival of the Omnissiah, a prophesied physical avatar of the Machine God. During the Great Crusade the forces of the Emperor liberated many of the forge worlds founded as colonies of Mars in ancient times. On his arrival at many of the worlds, the Cult Mechanicus recognised the Emperor as the long awaited Omnissiah.
Lingua-technis or Techna-Lingua is the official language of the Adeptus Mechanicus. It is a binary language, optimised for quick communication of technical data, which consists of a burst of static emitted through the bionic implants of members of the Mechanicum which cannot be understood by unaugmented humans.6
The Quest for Knowledge
The Quest for Knowledge is the driving mission of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The quest consists of research and exploration, but ultimately the focus of the quest is on the recovery of a working Standard Template Construct (STC) system. The purpose of the many exploratory missions is the recovery of STC knowledge.
For thousands of years the Tech-priests have pursued all information about the STC. To the Mechanicus, it is their lost bible. Any information on the STC including the scraps of knowledge recorded on hard copy designs are sought out and kept as holy texts. No functional STC systems have ever been recovered. The STC survives only as print-outs, some of which are many thousands of years old. Although considered the most reliable, there are very few first generation print-outs, and these are regarded as the most sacred of texts.
Through the Tech-priests' efforts much has been recovered or reconstructed through comparison of copies, although preserved knowledge of the most advanced technology eludes the Adeptus Mechanicus. Most of the early colonists' needs were simple and very few would have bothered to preserve the more theoretical and advanced technological information the STC contained.2
During the Horus Heresy, this quest led fully half of the Mechanicum, including the Fabricator-General himself, to secede from the rule of Terra. See Dark Mechanicum for details.
- Fabricator Locum
- The Ruling Priesthood (Tech-priests):
- The Ordinary Priesthood (Tech-priests):
Adeptus Mechanicus Fleet
See main article Adeptus Mechanicus Fleet
Because the Quest for Knowledge can involve long, ardurous forays into unexplored space; the Adeptus Mechanicus have at their disposal a large fleet of starships. It is important that these vessels be heavily armed and armoured, not only for their own protection from those who covet their technology but to engage in combat when necessary to secure vital data or artefacts that may prove cruical to the Quest. Though the total number of ships the Adeptus Mechanicus has at its disposal dispersed among its many forge worlds is far outnumbered by that of the Imperial Navy, it goes without saying that those responsible for all starship construction reserve for themselves among the most powerful and best-equipped warships encountered anywhere in the Imperium. Mechanicus fleets have access to the same types of vessel as the Imperial Fleet, as well as other unique vessels such as the near-legendary Ark Mechanicus.7
- Secutor: Individual techpriests that turn themselves into machines of war, for various reasons.
- Skitarii: The techguard of the Cult/Adeptus Mechanicus
- Collegia Titanica: The Titan Legions and the Knights
- Centurio Ordinatus: Organisation dealing with the leviathan Ordinatii warmachines
- Legio Cybernetica: Robotics branch of the Mechanicus
- Auxilia Myrmidon: Known as siege engineers or war savants
- Ordo Reductor: Organisation dealing with siege weaponry
- Divisio Linguistica: Adeptus Mechanicus branch dealing with languages and translation
Notable Members of the Adeptus Mechanicus
- Hieronomus Tezla - Runic Priest of Stygies VIII
- Fabricator Locum Kane
- Magos Delphan Gruss
- Magos Paladius
- Magos Vianco Locard
- Magos Felicia Tayber
- Magos Varnak
- 1:Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition Rulebook, The Adeptus Mechanicus
- 2:Codex Imperialis (1993), Rick Priestley
- 3:White Dwarf 178 The Titan Legions, by Rick Priestley
- 4:Inquisitor (Game): Explorator Warbands, Gav Thorpe, Andy Chambers and Jes Goodwin
- 5:Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1990), p. 169
- 6:Mechanicum, p. 56
- 7: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?catId=cat480005a&categoryId=1100007§ion=&aId=4300022