The Sensei are the sons or descendants of the Emperor. Their exact nature is contradictory, but what is clear is that they are immortal - though they can be killed, they do not age.
The Inquisition has discovered that the extremely rare negative psychic energy used in psyk-out and psycannon weaponry can be produced from rendered-down Sensei - the only other source in the galaxy is from the byproducts of the Emperor's metabolism.
The Sensei have inherited great power from the Emperor. They also possess unique abilities of their own. Because they harbour none of the emotions or concepts embodied by the Chaos Powers, they are largely invisible to them, and can draw on the energies of the Warp to use their psychic powers without attracting daemons or other malicious forces of the Warp. Due to their harmonious relationship with the Warp, the Sensei are invisible to psychic senses, even to those of the Emperor.
The Sensei are all naturally connected to the Star Child, in a similar way the Champions of Chaos are bonded to their Chaos Patron gods; ultimately Sensei can achieve apotheosis, disappearing into the warp and merging with the Star Child.
Sensei wander throughout the galaxy. In contrast to the servants of the Emperor, Sensei are natural rebels. As well as being enemies of Chaos, Sensei are enemies of oppression. They and their followers operate as outlaw bands, and appear across the Imperium to fight against repression and injustice. In this way, they often come into conflict with the Imperium.
The Imperium regards the Sensei as dangerous bandits and nihilists who, if not actually in league with Chaos, are weakening the Imperium's defence against Chaos. Because of their powers and militantly anti-authority natures, they are hunted down and killed by Imperial forces, which in turn forces the Sensei to operate as outlaws.
The Sensei and the Illuminati
The earliest Sensei background describes them as the literal sons of the Emperor fathered over his vast lifetime. The Sensei are also a vital part of the Illuminati's plan to save humanity through the rejuvenation of the Emperor. The Illuminati gather the Sensei and protect them from the Inquisition, preparing them for "the final war with Chaos". In truth however the Illuminati intend to sacrifice to the Emperor his sons, in the same way many millions of psykers have already been sacrificed to feed the Emperor. All of the remaining Sensei are to be offered to the Emperor as a sacrifice at the moment his will finally breaks. The Emperor will be rejuvenated, and reborn as the Sensei-Emperor to again lead his race in person.
A few of the Sensei are said to turn to Chaos, becoming the Grey Sensei.
Sensei as the Champions of the Star Child
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Its canonicity is in question but was once considered canon.
The Sensei background was introduced in the Realm of Chaos books, along with the Star Child.
- 1: Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness, pg. 217
- 2: Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, pg. 185-191