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An Artificer is a human servant of the Adeptus Astartes primarily tasked with decorating and maintaining the weapons, armour and other equipment of their Chapter.[1]

These Chapter Serfs are highly trained individuals whose entire existences are dedicated to working for their Space Marine masters. Depending on Chapter organisation and practices, Artificers may operate as part of a 'pool' in a centralised workshop environment, or may be specifically beholden to a particular individual or squad. As befits a servant to an Astartes, Artificers are proud of their status and their work, and this respect is often returned by the Space Marines that employ their services due to the fine quality of their work; a particularly talented Artificer may become celebrated amongst not only his peers and masters, but may possibly achieve a lasting level of fame or a legacy that carries further abroad or in time because of their skills. Again, depending on the Chapter, the position of Artificer may be passed on through a particular bloodline, or else an apprenticeship is offered to certain serfs.[1]

The role of Artificers should not be confused with those of Techmarines or other marines who take up the practice of embellishing their own arms and armour. Artificers are not normally involved with the construction of equipment, merely of its maintenance and surface customisation. An example is that when a marine earns a battle honour, it is an Artificer who is normally tasked with creating the representation of this honour upon the marine's equipment, be it an engraving, paintwork or affixed physical object. All marks of distinction upon a marine's equipment, including rank symbols, are the provenance of an Artificer.[1]

Artificers are also responsible for the aesthetic preservation and improvement of older power armour marks owned by a Chapter, and may spend much time on these suits, honoring their history or provenance within the Chapter as valued objects of the past or for ceremonial use. The connection between highly individualised suits of armour and Artificers is so strong that unique armour sets (or individual pieces presented to an Astartes officer or champion and worked into their own pre-existing suit) are often referred to as Artificer Armour. Artificer Armour is not a new mark of power armour, but a highly cared for and individually worked existing mark made unique to honour the wearer and provide a visual representation of their status, personal heraldry and deeds. Such armour is often handed down through the Chapter from notable individual to notable individual and may be further worked on by a succession of Artificers as a result, with the end result that not only is the armour highly ornate but also has a long and proud history, passing through the hands of several skilled Artificers.[1]