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Dark Age of Technology

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Ages of Mankind Age of Terra - Dark Age of Technology - Age of Strife - Age of the Imperium

The Dark Age of Technology, also known as the Age of Technology, was the zenith of mankind's scientific knowledge and technological power. Although a golden age of exploration and innovation, where scientists, engineers, inventors, and innovators became new gods,[15] it is dark in the minds of the men who now fear it.[Needs Citation]

It spanned from M15 to M25.[15]

This age was long before the Age of the Imperium and knowledge of this time period is now incredibly sparse, and many "facts" about it are mere legend.[1a]


The Golden Age of Expansion

Also known as the Golden Age of Exploration.[13]

Genetic Engineering

During this age, humanity's mastery and belief in science allowed them to experiment widely with genetic engineering, modifying their species' genome to ever greater degrees and creating armies of tailored gene-troopers. At some point near the start of the Dark Age of Technology, the Navigator gene was fashioned leading to the creation of the Navigators, mutant humans who could see the currents of the Warp and navigate a course through them. This allowed spacecraft to make longer and more accurate Warp-jumps than previously possible and humanity proceeded to colonize the stars at a furious rate.[15]

The Navigators formed Houses, and began to survey the systems that would later form the Imperium during the Age of Exploration.[14b]

Human Psychic Evolution

During this age, the psychic evolution of mankind accelerated. What little Imperial records remain show that the first mentions of psykers appear at the end of M22. Then by late M23 records indicate that psykers had became near ubiquitous across humanity’s worlds.[15]

The End of the Dark Age of Technology

Humanity's collapse from the golden age of the Dark Age of Technology is said to have been sudden and apocalyptic, engulfing all of human space. The large numbers of psykers that were appearing across the galaxy were inadvertently heralding Daemonic possession and incursions, while others were claiming godhood over entire worlds or instigating full-blown reality collapses.[15]

Terrible wars saw entire star systems scoured of life. The Cybernetic Revolt was an apocalyptic conflict started in M23 when artificial intelligence beings known as the Men of Iron turned on their Human masters.[7]

Then came the most ferocious warp storms in mankind's history.[15] With the emergence of warp storms through most of the galaxy, travel through the Warp became more and more dangerous until all but impossible, isolating many planets. Trade between human worlds collapsed. Several worlds, particularly Terra, dependent on the export of other worlds to feed their enormous populations, suffered massive famine.[Needs Citation]

The following time period is aptly named the Age of Strife.

Creations of the Dark Age

Technologies of the Dark Age were far more advanced than what the Imperium has today, and indeed essentially all Imperial technology is based on acquired STC's from the period. In the superstition and religious fervor that has taken hold in the Imperium since the Horus Heresy, Dark Age technology is viewed with a mixture of both awe and fear. Worshiped as divine, relics of the Dark Age are sought after fanatically by the Adeptus Mechanicus.[Needs Citation]

Among the products of the Dark Age of Technology included phase-iron, a metallic substance that is harmful to psykers and used as chains that were not only resistant to their powers but also harmed them whenever they used it whilst wearing items made of this iron.[3]

The Men of Stone

The Men of Stone were created by the mysterious Men of Gold for the purpose of colonizing the Galaxy.[8][10] The Men of Stone were great artificers who existed in a state of "half-life" that helped protect them from the perils of the Warp. In time, the Men of Stone would create the Men of Iron to act as their servants.[8]

The Warp Drive

By M18[7], the Age of Technology brought the development of the Warp drive and the Gellar Field, allowing spacecraft to make short Warp-jumps, travelling vast distances in a relatively short amount of time. One can compare this to the way the Tau ships currently travel.[Needs Citation] In the early days of Warp travel, many means were tried to navigate the Warp with varying degrees of success, including drugs, psychic powers, and machines.[14a]

The Warp drive accelerated the colonisation of the Galaxy,[6] with vast colonisation fleets travelling from Terra.[13] It also allowed trade and communications between the colonies and Terra. Humanity began encountering other alien races, such as the Orks[6] and Eldar[5], and clashed with both civilizations during this period.[5][6]


Amongst the creations in this scientific high point were the Standard Template Construct systems, [6] at the heart of which was an evolved computer program designed to provide construction details for colonists. The STC systems contained all human technological knowledge. As most colonists were simple and required only basic equipment, the more advanced technology was rarely utilised.[Needs Citation]

With Warp Drives and Navigators, mankind was finally able to colonize distant worlds and expanded with great speed. Terra-forming techniques and evolved astro-engineering capabilities were developed that allowed them to transform barren worlds into habitable planets.[1c] During this time, thousands of colonies were established by humans on distant worlds.[6] The resulting exploration brought mankind new knowledge, wealth and arrogance. Science is said to have become God. Humanity had encountered several alien races. With their discovery began the first human-alien wars. With mankind at the height of its power the threat of aliens was trivial and eventually non-aggression pacts were signed with many of the alien races. At this time the human colonies were federated to Terra - allowing the human race to remain unified.[Needs Citation]

Artificial Intelligence

Mankind during this period was able to finally create true artificial intelligence in the form of the Men of Iron. Used as servants, these beings eventually rebelled and nearly brought humanity to ruin. After a devastating war, the Men of Iron were defeated and subsequent developments of artificial intelligence was outlawed. This edict remains in effect even to this day.[8]

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The Squats' Age of Founding corresponds to the Age of Technology.