The Demiurg are a race of short, semi-humanoid traders and miners allied with the Tau Empire. In truth, they are a Prospect of the Leagues of Votann and have been misidentified as a minor Xenos race by the Tau and Humanity alike.
During the Great Crusade, they came under the notice of the Imperium of Man who learnt that they are a technologically advanced race that maintain cordial relations with several xeno cultures. They rarely enter the territory of mankind but by this era they maintained a clandestine mining installation at Tenebrae 9-50 with its existence not being widely known by the Imperium. Their once rarely sighted vessels began to be seen within increased frequency in the Ultima Segmentum in recent centuries. Imperial fleet strategists postulated the link for the increased Demiurg presence to expansion of the Tau Empire in the Eastern Fringe. There are three sightings of Demiurg among Tau and Kroot fleets around the Damocles Gulf. Some, however, believe that these activities are simply the result of Demiurg attempting to capitalize on the disruptions caused by the Tyranid hivefleets.
It is currently unknown if the Demiurg are full members of the Tau Empire, or allies, or mercenaries, but they are involved heavily in trading and economic relations with the Tau. They are said to be a race principally consisting of miners and traders.
The Demiurg appear to have no homeworld, or at least have abandoned it in favour of spacecraft.[Needs Citation] They are known to avoid Imperial space unless invited in, making them a very uncommon sight, and are described as defensively-hostile and non-militaristic, though the number of sightings in the Ultima Segmentum has increased over recent centuries.
The Demiurg are organised into "Brotherhoods", though any further information on a Brotherhood is unknown, beyond the rumours from Rogue Traders that one Brotherhood is typically present upon a Bastion Class Vessel and two to three upon on a Stronghold Class Vessel. At least two brotherhoods, the Srry'Tok and Thurm, are known to have joined the Tau Empire.[Needs Citation]
The Demiurg have a high level of technology invested in their vessels as they are required to perform a number of tasks: Stronghold-class vessels, for instance, are used as factories, processing units and as a base for mining fleets, while the Bastion-class vessels are often configured for use in asteroid mining. These vessels are largely automated and use electro-magnetic fields to scoop up interstellar hydrogen, which is then compressed inside the vessel and ejected towards the rear, creating a form of ram-jet engine. The engines are relatively slow in comparison to Imperial technology, however the complex shielding the system requires and the beneficial side-effects of its use are as of yet still unfathomed by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Aside from the development of ionic weapons, the Demiurg appear to remodel a lot of their weaponry from technology already developed for use in resource gathering and manufacturing. Two examples of this on board their spacecraft are the Cutting Beam, which appears to have been adapted from high powered lasers used to mine asteroids, and automated mining machines, which, once reconfigured, are launched as attack craft against enemy ships.
Demiurg operated a number of automated mining machines that harvest rare and precious metals. These operated on shunt networks across regions of space that consist of unmanned electromagnetic conveyer stations that propel resource-rich asteroids that are sent from prospecting fields to xeno client homeworlds. Such a process takes hundreds of years but by the time the asteroid reaches in-system the automated mining machines excavate as well as process the arranged shipment.
Inspiration and Etymology
It is frequently suggested (and often assumed) that the Demiurg are the attempt to reintroduce the Squat race that was removed from the game by decision of Games Workshop, or possibly as an attempt to reintroduce the 'space dwarf' image into the game. The Demiurg have notable traits shared with the typical Dwarf stereotype, although they are not explicitly described as being like dwarfs. For example they are avid miners, expert traders, in advance of humans (technologically at least) and apparently bear a particular hatred for goblinoids (which are represented by Orkoids in the 40k universe).[Needs Citation]
The term 'Demiurg' is derived from the ancient Greek word demiourgos meaning 'artisan' or 'craftsman' and the Roman philosophical concept of a demiurge (a divine creator). This name is given in some belief systems (most notably Gnosticism) to a deity that created the physical universe. It is therefore befitting that such a race be expert creators. The name also sounds a little like it could mean 'half-man', resonating with the Demiurgs' short stature.[Needs Citation]
There are also clear similarities between the Demiurg and the Bentusi from the Homeworld series of computer games; both races are almost entirely spacebound, with no home planets, and both the Bentusi and Demiurg sell other races Ion Cannon technology. Furthermore, in the Tau language, the Demiurg are known as "Bentu'sin", which translates as 'wise-gifted ones'. This connection may not be surprising, as Homeworld was developed by Relic Entertainment, the developers behind Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.[Needs Citation]
The Demiurg may have some sort of connection to the Leagues of Votann. Battlefleet Gothic Magazine speaks of a trade deal between the Tau Empire and the Demiurg SrrykTok Brotherhood.[7a] More recently the revamped-Squat Leagues of Votann have an organization known as the Seran-Tok Mercantile Leagues, which also trades with the Tau.
- 1: To Unite the Stars: Tau Vessels, pgs. 109–111. Battlefleet Gothic Resources (site accessed 2009.11.01)
- 2: Xenology by Simon Spurrier, [Needs Citation]
- 3: Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pg. 26
- 4: White Dwarf 286 (UK), pg. 29
- 5: The Serpent Beneath (Novella) by Rob Sanders — The Primarchs (Anthology), [Needs Citation], pg. 377
- 6: New Threat Alert, by Andy Chambers, from Battlefleet Gothic Magazine. , pg. 1 (accessed 15 Mar 2013)
- 7: Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 19, pg. 28
- 7a: pg. 9
- 8: Necromunda: The Book of Judgement pg.106
- 9: Warhammer Community: Lore of the Votann – Who Are the Guilds? (Posted on 28/07/22) (Last accessed on 28 July 22)
- 10: Codex: Leagues of Votann, pg. 8