Hello, I'm a big Warhammer fan and have been for sometime as I really enjoy the backstory of the universe. I have recently begun to purchase some of the books to learn more about Warhammer 40,000.
Things that I think are cool
- Space Marines
- Adeptus Mechanicus
- Perhaps the Tau were created by the Cabal?
What I want to see in the future
- The Thexian Trade Empire being made into a faction.
- The Adeptus Mechanicus getting their own faction.
- Ordo Xenos being a faction.
Work for the Adeptus Mechanicus article
- "Knowledge is power, guard it well." - Mechanicus euphemism.
The Adeptus Mechanicus, also known as the Martian Mechanicum, Cult of the Machine and as the Priesthood of Mars, is a technological organization that holds a monopoly over science and technology within the Imperium of Man.
- "In ancient times, men built wonders, laid claim to the stars and sought to better themselves for the good of all. But we are much wiser now." - Archmagos Ultima Cryol, Speculations On Pre-Imperial History.
According to one account, the Emperor during ancient times as far back as the 12th century had been responsible for laying the groundwork for the Mechanicum in order to use its power in the future to help unite all of Mankind under his rule through the use of their technology. To accomplish this, the Emperor used the defeated remnants of the Dragon of Mars and used elements of it to create the advanced machinery that the Mechanicus would use in later centuries.1
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.8
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.8
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.8
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.8
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 unshakable.8
While rival warlords battled over the remnants of Earth 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.8
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.8
In centuries past, the Mechanicum had once waged war on the tribes of Terra in order to plunder its vaults of forgotten technology. In those times, expeditionary fleets had been sent from Mars to humanity's birth world where they sought the vaults of ancient citadels and attempted to wrest control of the planets science that had been long forgotten and poorly understood by its natives. It was during that age where the soldiers of Mars were resisted by the Emperor who sent their forces returning to the red planet.1
Coming of the Omnissiah
The fate of Mars were forever changed with the coming of the Emperor who came to the red world and demanded their allegiance to the Imperium of Man which sought to reunite Humanity who were scattered across the stars. To accomplish this Great Crusade, the Emperor required the technological and production might of the Techpriests of Mars who agreed to this proposal. This led to the signing of the Treaty of Olympus as well as the Treaty of Mars which stipulated that in exchange for their aid, the Martian Mechanicum would be allowed to continue their religious practices without interference from the Imperial Truth doctrine. A further addition to the treaty was that the Vaults of Moravec on Mars were never to be opened as decreed by the Emperor. In addition, as part of this exchange, the Emperor promised that Mars would be given an equal share in the grand conquest that came ahead.1
With the forging of the Imperium with the Martian Mechanicum within its ranks, the Emperor began the Great Crusade with the Imperial Army along with the Adeptus Astartes leading the way. Part of the pact between the Mechanicum and the Emperor involved the training of several members of the Astartes in the arts of tending to machines. This led to the creation of the Techmarines who are both Battle-Brothers of their Legion and members of the Cult Mechanicus.
The Horus Heresy
Though Mars was producing countless weapons, ships and other devices for the Imperium; there were some who felt that they had been enslaved by the Emperor. Through Adept Regulus attached to his Expedition fleet, Warmaster Horus Lupercal sought to gain an alliance of these factions and turn them against the Loyalists in order to secure both Mars and ensure that he would have no distractions when he attacked Earth. To help secure a pact, the Warmaster gave Regulus the means to open the Vaults of Moravec as well as Standard Construct Template blueprints that were secured from the Auretian Technocracy.
Fabricator-General Kelbor-Hal and his allies were somewhat reluctant to agree to this as first as they had only covertly been sabotaging those loyal to Terra as well as redirecting supplies only to the Adeptus Astartes loyal to the Warmaster. However, with the incentive of the opening of the Vaults of Moravec, Kelbor-Hal agreed to an alliance and Regulus opened the forbidden location. From it came corrupted scrapcode that infected a vast majority of Mars from personnel to equipment leading to wide spread devastation as well as unrest. Only a few Forges were spared from this destruction and the chain of events was known as the Death of Innocence. At first, many were unaware of what caused this act which led to the creation of the Dark Mechanicum who began to use heretical sciences mixed with the Warp to create an army against the Emperor. At first, the Dark Mechanicum sought to determine which Techpriests would be allies and enemies which eventually led to the Martian civil war that raged on Mars by the tim of the Horus Heresy where priest fought against priest and titan fought against titan.1
At some point during the Heresy, the Forge World of Chaeronia was corrupted by the Dark Mechanicum who propelled the planet into the Warp in order to begin a century of reformation in order to turn the contents of the Forge into weapons for the Forces of Chaos at the time of their re-emergence into realspace.3
The 41st Millennium
In the years that followed the Horus Heresy, the Adeptus Mechanicus maintained its monopoly over technology and stayed within the ranks of the Imperium. One of the most traumatic periods to befall the Imperium of Man was the rise of Ecclesiarch Goge Vandire which saw the rise of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor to power as the supreme authority within the empire. Thus began the Age of Apostasy with only the likes of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adeptus Astartes being the only groups that could not have Vandire's power being imposed on them during his infamous Reign of Blood. For the next seven decades, Vandire's blood lust ran rampart until the rise of Sebastian Thor and the Confederation of Light. Whilst millions rallied to Thor's call, it was the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adeptus Astartes that struck the final blow and ended the reign of Vandire.11
The Mechanicus also maintained a storm relationship with the Inquisition that ranges from a close alliance to outright conflict between the two.13 There are some cases where projects are chartered by the Inquisition only for conflict to emerge when the Adeptus Mechanicus seek to claim a discovery as seen in the case of the Virenus Gambit. By the 41st Millennium, the Adeptus Mechanicus had at least one Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes loyal to them in the form of the Steel Confessors. During the Arch Heretic Abbadon's Black Crusade, the world of Chaeronia returned from the warp and contained an arsenal of weapons for the forces of Chaos. This led to a joint Adeptus Mechanicus and Inquisition task force who sent Grey Knights to the surface of the world in order to purge it of its taint.3
At some point, the Adeptus Mechanicus came into conflict with the Soul Drinkers Chapter over the acquisition of the pre-Imperial artefact known as the Soulspear. The chain of events led to the death of numerous Tech-priests at the hands of Soul Drinker Commander Sarpedon who along with his comrades went renegade and declared excommunicated. The Inquisition was charged with bringing the traitors to justice though the Adeptus Mechanicus made their own attempts at getting revenge against the rebel Space Marine Commander.9 At some point, a Magos Explorator team uncovered an ancient site that contained the deactivated remains of an Abominable Intelligence that attempted to free itself once the stasis field was deactivated. It was only the quick actions of Byzantane Marshal Primus of the Adeptus Arbites was the machine mind imprisoned once more within its vault.14
- "You may say, it is impossible for a man to become like the Machine. And I would reply, that only the smallest mind strives to comprehend its limits." - Fabricator General Kane.
The Tech-Priets of Mars serve as the guardians of ancient arcane technology which had been called in earlier times as science. Their tasks range from the simple service to maintenance of the various machines in their custody. Its organization is ascetic and monasterial with a complete dedication to technical research that bordered on religious zeal.10 Within the Imperium, the Cult Mechanicus holds a virtual monopoly over technology. The tenents of its members as well as their beliefs that are seen through their rituals are often met with superstition by common citizens. Though their worlds are often compared to vast factories, the Forge Worlds of the Mechanicum are also devoted to the huge repositories of knowledge. The immense libraries along with databanks of information are highly disorganised and ecletic to the point that individuals observing the data can find themselves reading about bio-engineering after which they enter a section covering steam locomotives. Ultimately, the techpriests jealously guard their independence from those that would restrict them and thus seek to maintain this position Those that find this position of absolute knowledge and authority threatened can go to any lengths to protect themselves which includes murder, extortion, sabotage and terrorism.2
In the eyes of the Techpriests, flesh is seen as an inconvenience as it is viewed as being weak as well as frail when compared ot mighty pistons, gears or chains of machinery. As such, it needs to be sustained through artificial means beyond a certain point which can be achieved by replacing it with either newly grown or by the more preferable means which is by using manufactured limbs, organs and systems. The brains often incorporate sophisticated devices such as memo chips, ingrams or electrografts which allow for the storage of vast of information which can be accessed quickly. In addition, they are often fitted with neural plugs that allow them to connect to a computer terminal or machine and by jacking in to the system, they can become part of its operational or control system. Amongst the more senior of the Techpriests, its not uncommon for entire limbs to be replaced with more functional devices such as lifting arms, augur arrays and even weapons. In fact, the oldest members of the Adeptus Mechanicus are many centuries old who are kept alive through the use of horrifically produced anti-agaphic elixirs that keep alive the very few organic parts left in the techpriest. Such individuals are, however, entirely divorced from reality and driven mad by the vast knowledge and experiences that lie within their minds.2
The great reverance for technology means that techpriests often engage in bionic augmentation. As machines were noted to have no weaknesses, members of the Mechanicus seek to remove themselves of it. Those that suffered from bodily wants are referred to be suffering from the Weakness of Flesh. As such, their appearance can often appear to be frightening to outsiders as they replace their body parts with machinery. As much as fifty to sixty percent of a Tech-Priests body can consist of machines with further additions such as Mechadendrites along with in-built weaponry being included into their very body's. Further benefits provided by their augmentations can include neural plugs that allow them to directly commune with a Machine Spirit. In fact, its not uncommon to see the more higher ranking Magos appear almost machine with only faint traces of dying organic matter that signified their Human origin centuries ago.13 Some high ranking techpriests are even noted to remove the weakness of emotions by engaging in the Rite of Pure Thought. Another notable ritual amongst the Adeptus Mechanicus is the Rite of Clear Thought.
The long separation from the main population of Humanity has also resulted in the agents of the Mechanicus developing their own language known as Lingua-technis. This binaric based language was electronic in form with bursts of static being emitted through artificial implants with only those with augmentations were capable of understanding. Another method of communication between adepts is through the use of the Noosphere.
- "Thus do we invoke the Machine God.
- Thus do we make whole that which was sundered." - Hymn of Reforging
A central tenet of the Cult of the Machine is that knowledge is the supreme manifestation of divinity with all creatures as well as artefacts deriving their existence from it. This means that any ancient machine that contains long lost knowledge is considered divine and Mankind itself is simply an organic machine that preserves its intellect.11 The supreme being that this holy order worships is the Machine God as well as the great knowledge he possesses.2 Known as the Deus Mechanicus, it is believed amongst the Adepts of the Mechanicum that he gave rise to technology and gave it to his chosen disciples among Mankind. Such teachings mean that the Adeptus Mechanicus hold the view that machines represent a higher form of life compared to the limited products of evolution. Thus, only the perfection of functon and form of a machine could only be done so through a divine source that is given by vessels of both biological and mechanical origin.11 Its religious teachings mean that its members often wear simple uniforms that echo their monastic lifestyles.10
Since its integration into the Imperium, the Adepts of Mars acknowledge the Emperor as the Master of Mankind. However, this is the limit of their adherence as they do not recognise the authority of the Cult Imperialis. Rather, they continue their own mysterious and somewhat dark religious practices involving machines.11 The teachings of the Adeptus Mechanicus often revolve around the worship of the Omnissiah who was also known as the Machine God. The Cult Mechanicus believed that since machines represented the highest form of life than those represented by biological evolution that the Machine God being the Deus Mechanicus would bring about the rise of all technologies and be made manifst by his chosen illuminate among Mankind which consisted of the Mechanicum. Thus, the members of the Cult often await the arrival of the Omnissiah, the prophecised physical avatar of the Machine God.
During the early part of the Great Crusade when the Emperor came upon Mars, many belived that he was the long awaited Omnissiah thus leading to his veneration by the techpriests. However, upon his internment within the Golden Throne at the dawn of the Imperial Age, many feel that this belief to be discredited. Some others isntead believe that the Machine God is the C'tan entity known as the Void Dragon that secretly exists on Mars having been entombed there for millenia before the rise of the Emperor. This has led to many prophecies in regard to the Omnissiah's avatar such as the Coming of the Omnissiah. Ultimately, the Omnissiah is believed to be friendly to humanity and thought to have been the originator of all human technology and scientific knowledge.1
Beneath the Omnissiah were the Machine Spirits who were believed to inhabit all manner of human machinery which had to be appeased otherwise the machinery would fail. Complex rituals and chants were required during such processes with special oils and ointments used to sooth the spirit.
Such high reverance for machinery means that the Mechanicus believes that the creation and working of a machine is laid down by the Omnissiah itself. Thus, it is considered sacred and that altering it in any manner is considered heresy. This is known as the Law of the Divine Complexity and breaking it is an act punishable by death.1 Many of the laws that prevent open experimentation and research are detailed within the Archmagos Doctrinal and those that defy this edict became Heretek Savants.12 The symbol of the Priesthood of Mars is that of a skull that's half bone and half machine which is set against a background of a black and white cog. This is referred to as the Icon Mechanicum with gestures being made of it to serve as a religious signs by the techpriests.1 One of the important texts within the Cult Mechanicum is the Principia Mechanicum where a list of proscribed doctrines are placed that detail the workings of the machine. Those that pass the basic competancies of the Principia are inducted within the Cult Mechanicum and have an electoo present on their hands to symbolize their entry into the Priesthood of Mars.1
Amongst the ranks of the Genetor cult, the Helispex Engine is considered a holy relic of the Machine God.
There are a number of technologies as well as scientific practices that the Mechanicus consider forbidden and to make use of them is considered heresy. These include work that delve into the arts of Malifica, Silica Animus, Gholams and the Proteus Protocol. Furthermore, the Adeptus Mechanicus also watch out for anyone that attempts to make use of Anima Mori.4
1. Life is directed motion.
2. The spirit is the spark of life.
3. Sentience is the ability to learn the value of knowledge.
4. Intellect is the understanding of knowledge.
5. Sentience is the basest form of Intellect.
6. Understanding is the True Path to Comprehension.
7. Comprehension is the key to all things.
8. The Omnissiah knows all, comprehends all.
9. The alien mechanism is a perversion of the True Path.
10. The soul is conscience of sentience.
11. A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.
12. The Soulless sentience is the enemy of all.
13. The knowledge of the ancients stands beyond question.
14. The machine spirit guards the knowledge of the ancients.
15. Flesh is fallible, but ritual honours the machine spirit.
16. To break with ritual is to break with faith.
Quest for Knowledge
The ultimate aim of the Priesthood of Mars is driven by the Quest for Knowledge which devotes the entire lives of techpriests in the acquisition of knowledge itself. This is the guiding principle that led to research and exploration.
As the Standard Template Constructs (STCs) are the sum total of all of Human knowledge, their acquisition is of utmost importance. Even blueprints and designs created by the machines is considered sacred. Thus, many techpriests take the path of Explorators and go into the stars in order to recover STC knowledge. No working examples of STC systems have ever been recovered with only print-outs being discovered some of which were thousands of years old. The few first generation print-outs recovered by the Mechanicum are regarded as sacred documents and texts which are guarded jealously. This means that many Techpriests often fanatically pursued any rumours regarding a functional STC system.
The desire for more knowledge led to the creation of the Ark Mechanicus class vessels that are specifically designed for the role of gathering such artifacts.
Whilst the Adeptus Mechanicus is known to be a part of the Imperium, it has also developed separately and enjoys a considerable degree of independence from Terra's rule. Thus, the Mechanicum great amount of power that it wields means that it acts more like an allied empire rather than organization within the Imperium. Though it is centred on Mars itself, the Adeptus Mechanicus spans across the galaxy on hundreds of Forge Worlds where thousands of Tech-Priests labour in order to fulfill their research as well as production quotas.11
The ultimate authority within the Mechanicus resides within the Fabricator-General who serves as the head of the organization and sits amongst the High Lords of Terra in the Senatorum Imperialis. Being the head of the Priesthood of Mars means that he also holds the position of Magos Mechanicus.11 Beneath him was the Fabricator Locum who serves as a valuable assistant in the tasks of running their empire as well as liasing within the Imperium.1 Typically, the head of a Forge World holds the title of Archmagos veneratus. One of the highest ranks that can be attained by adepts is that of an Archmagos who are capable of commanding space expeditions.9 A high ranking position within the priesthood is that of a Magos that are typically seen on a Forge World as its leading Tech-Priest. Some of their numbers are given an additional title along with the Magos in order to signify their speciality in a single field. As such, Magos's that dedicate themselves to a single field of study gain positions such as a Magos Biologis, Magos Genetor, Magos Cybernetica or another position amongst countless disciplines.11 Amongst the ranks of the Auxilia Myrmidon, the highest position is that of a Magos Militant.6 Whilst those that concern themselves with the arts of psychics are given the title of Magos Psykana.7 Junior Magos that serve as students of a higher ranking Adept are also known as Magos Apprenta.1 Those Magos that are the masters of many trades are the Magos Errant who are tasked with the exploration of new frontiers as well as technologies and are prepared for any eventuality during their years of service.13
One key position is that of the Omniprophet who spreads the ways of the Adeptus Mechanicus and speaks to many different Imperial subjects in order to learn of anything that is useful to the Cult Mechanicus. Below them lies the position of Mech-Deacon who tread a path of knowledge of defence against those that are ignorant of the ways of the Omnissiah and teach themselves the art of self-defence to protect them during their wanderings. Another position is that of the Cyber Seer who study the forbidden and occult arts of the Adeptus Mechanicus. From there, comes the position of the Technomancer who apply their works to extracting information that may be useful to the Machine Cult. Below this position is that of a Tech-Priest who are initiated into the deeper mysteries of the Cult Mechanicus and learnt the art of start or restarting the machines in their care. A more experienced position is that of the Enginseer who draw their myriad of knowledge in order to tend to the machines. Thus, comes the position of the Electro-Priest who study the sacred art of energy. Below this position is that of the Mech-Wright who learn about metals as well as the process of repairing machines. Amongst the lowest ranking individuals within the Adeptus Mechanicus is that of the Technographer who identify and catalogue technology.13
Being the guardian of the Imperium's technical knowledge, the ranks of the Adeptus Mechanicus consist of thousands of servants, researchers and technicians all of whom are trusted with the secrets of the old science. It is their duty to continue the mundane task of maintaining the routine functions of such technology thus leaving the true power in the hands of the Technocrats who are allowed to experiment as well as revise their inheritance. These Technocrats are the true elite within the Adeptus Mechanicus and require no special training as their knowledge is directly implanted into their cerebellum by way of electrografts. These implants in turn change the personality along with the memory of the user. This has a two sided purpose as it not only enforcing the users loyalty through programming their mind but also gives them access to selected information.10
The Adepts of the Martian Mechanicum are known as techpriests with any member of the Cult Mechanicus holding a rank above that of a menial. The lower ranking Tech-Priests are given duties that cover construction and maintenance. However, as they progress and acquire greater knowledge, than they relieved of these duties in order to study ancient texts and learn greater mysteries as well as techniques.2 These Tech-Priests serve as a hierarchy of technicians, scientists, religious leaders, engineers and technical experts that are valued in both the Mechanicus as well as the Imperium at large. Much of the industrial strength comes from the use of Servitors that are programmed for specific set tasks.11
- Fabricator Locum
- Ruling Techpriests
- Ordinary Techpriests
- Adeptus Biologicus
- Augmetic Scholae
- Collegia Titanica
- Centurion Ordinatus
- Legio Cybernetica
- Ordo Reductor
- Diagnostic Coven
- Brotherhood of Singularitarianism
- Brotherhood of the All Seeing Eye
- Cult of the Dragon
- Cult of the Micro-Omnisiah
- Dark Mechanicum
- Empyric Engineers
- Lords Dragon
- Sisters of Cydonia
The main body of the Armies of the Adeptus Mechanicus are its Forge Guards - also known as Skitarii who are human soldiers that havve been augmented with bionic implants in order to improve communcations, weapon capability and sensory feeds. In addition, the simple fact that the Mechanicus controls the Forge Worlds means that its soldiers are the most best equipped warriors within the Imperium with them ranking amongst elite Imperial Guard units such as Storm Troopers and Drop Legions. Though possessing legions of Skitarii are their disposal, the Adeptus Mechanicus simply use them in a supporting role mainly to augment the fighting power of the Titan Legions as well as the mobile support weapons such as the Centurio Ordinatus.11
- 1:Mechanicum by Graham McNeill
- 2:Inquisitor Inquisitior Rulebook Part 1 (pg 12, 13)
- 3:Grey Knights Series: Dark Adeptus by Ben Counter
- 4:Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods by Fantasy Flight Games
- 5:Dark Adeptus
- 6:Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook by Fantasy Flight Games (pg 69)
- 7:Thorian Faction Sourcebook by Gav Thorpe (pg 10)
- 8:White Dwarf 178 The Titan Legions, by Rick Priestley
- 9:Soul Drinkers: Hellforged by Ben Counter  (pg 3)
- 10:Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader by Rick Priestley (pg 133, 139, 146)
- 11:Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition Rulebook (pg 98, 120-121)
- 12:Dark Heresy: Radicals Handbook by Fantasy Flight Games
- 13:Dark Heresy Rulebook by Fantasy Flight Games (pg 88-94)
- 14:Eternal Damnation "Solitude" by Gordon Rennie