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Imperial Culture

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The culture of the Imperium can be said to be cosmopolitan in that no two worlds are exactly alike. Making all these disparate cultures into one that owes fealty to one source — Earth — is in itself difficult. Some general statements may be made, but the scale and variety of the Imperium defies even these.


Mass media is rigidly controlled by the Ecclesiarchy and is usually political or religious in nature, forcing many to find other sources of entertainment.[14]


Most recreation is achieved through religious festivals, music, and drinking. Many, particularly those who can not find fulfillment outside of worship to the Emperor, resort to drug use to escape the reality of their lives. There are parks and shows for the nobility, but these are too expensive for a commoner to enjoy. On particular regressive worlds, gladiatorial combat may be used for entertainment.[14]

Food and Drink



Many types of currency in the Imperium exist, such as Credits[9], Crowns[10], Aquilas[13], Thrones[11], Scrip and ecclesiarchy-certified tithe beads[15]. Often goods, resources, and manpower are substituted as currency on a planetary level.[12]


Main article: High Gothic
Main article: Low Gothic

Unlike currency, there is a unifying language to the Imperium: High Gothic and Low Gothic. High Gothic (and a technical dialect know as "Tech") is the first language on a large minority of worlds, a well-known second language on still more. In the greater Imperium, High Gothic is largely unknown, and is mainly used formally, as in pious benedictions or between adepts, as High Gothic has remained uniform throughout the Imperium.[1].

Throughout much of the Imperium, Low Gothic is the lingua franca, although it has developed a large number of local dialects and lexicons throughout the Imperium. Despite the wide usage of Low Gothic, there are other languages in use on some worlds. The Nalsheen[3] and the Sleepwalkers of Gereon use one such language. Very few feral and feudal worlds have native High Gothic speakers.[1]

Within the Mechanicus, while the Gothic languages are known, they prefer the use of binaric and Lingua-technis (which are arguably the same).


Since the end of the epoch known as the Dark Age of Technology, mankind's technology level has regressed. The Imperium is largely reliant on maintaining technologies from the Dark Age - such as the warp drive — which are vital to its continued operation, but which are little understood and cannot be replicated.[1]

Transmission systems

Electricity is the simple most important means of transporting energy from one place to another in the 41st millennium.{{Fn|1}. However, some of the technologies within the Imperium rely upon Photon Lines (a refined development of fiber optic cable), Phased Crystals (to transport information), hydroplastics (which generate power through pressure), Sucrosol (an abbreviation of Sucrose based solution, a synthetic 'blood' that allows bio-engineered parts to be maintained. It is usually white) or radio signals (utilizing radio band widths previously unavailable).[1]

Generation systems

  • Crystal Batteries
  • Plasma-generators
  • Conventional


Main article: Imperial Bionics

Bionics are used throughout the Imperium, though with no real standard to make or quality. They are commonly used to repair severely wounded soldiers, although there are many other applications. High-ranking officials of the Imperium such as Adepts and members of the Inquisition are most likely to have high-quality bionics. Generally, they represent a special acquisition and would not conceivably be available to the poor or even moderately well-off.[Needs Citation]

Generally speaking, bionics are available to soldiers of the Imperium, including guardsmen (such as Domor from the Tanith First regiment, and Space Marines.[7] They are also available to other servants of the Emperor of rank, and to the rich (such as Captain Maxilla of the Essene)[8].

Standard Template Constructs

Main article: STC

A Standard Template Construct (STC) is a system created in the Dark Age of Technology to assist colonists in creating and maintaining technologies vital to survival on new planets. In the current era of the Imperium, very few exist. The Adeptus Mechanicus is constantly searching for any rumour of an STC as part of their "Quest for Knowledge."


Main article: Imperial Cult

In the 41st Millennium, the standard religion of the Imperium is the Imperial Cult. The cult venerates the Emperor as a divine being, borne out by a number of miracles and saints in his name. Variations of this cult appear across the galaxy, and the Adeptus Terra investigates some of them to ensure that they do indeed pay fealty to the Immortal Master of Mankind. Note that not all of humanities' defenders worship the Emperor in the same manner: for instance, some of the Adeptus Astartes chapters' beliefs would be heretical for an ordinary citizen to hold.[7]

Unfortunately for mankind, there are other gods that demand worship. Warp entities require tribute in order to remain in the physical realm[1][6], while still others venerate aliens.[4][5] These deviant cults are the maggot-ridden underbelly of human culture, and it is the role of man's best investigators to root them out and burn them before they infest the rest of the race.


Known instruments include:


  • High Gothic is represented in most editions of 40k as a "latinised" form of English, which enrages Latin scholar fans of the game still, some still complaining that the book Deus Encarmine should instead have been called Deux Encarmine(See Black Library forum).
  • The prestige of bionics has wavered through the editions of Warhammer 40,000. In the 1st edition, bionics were a fairly broad selection of gear and equipment, including such devices as tendril sensors and bionic limbs. By third and fourth edition, with the focus coming much more as a large-scale warfare game, the role of bionics has diminished to giving only minimal advantages.[7]