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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the organisation. For other uses of Mechanicum, see Mechanicum (disambiguation).
Adeptus Mechanicus
Machina Opus.png
Capital: Mars[1]
Official languages: Cant Mechanicus[7]
Major Species: Human
Head of state: Fabricator-General[7] Oud Oudia Raskian
Governing body: Martian Parliament[4]
State Religion: Cult Mechanicus[7]
Military forces

Battle Congregations[7]
Collegia Titanica[7]
Centurio Ordinatus[7]
Auxilia Myrmidon[7]
Ordo Reductor[7]
Legio Cybernetica[7]
Prefecture Magisterium[7]
Basilikon Astra[7]
Knight Houses[7]

The Adeptus Mechanicus, also formerly known as the Mechanicum, is a technological organisation, often known as the Priesthood of Mars. It holds a monopoly on technological knowledge in the Imperium. Their Forge Worlds turn out the Imperium's most powerful and advanced weaponry and equipment. The organisation's adepts, the Tech-priests, are vital in maintaining much of the Imperium's more technologically advanced equipment, not the least of which is the Emperor's life-sustaining Golden Throne.[1]


While the Adeptus Mechanicus is a part of the Imperium, it has developed separately and enjoys a considerable degree of independence. Due to the great amount of power it wields, the Adeptus Mechanicus could almost be compared to be like an allied empire, rather than an organisation within the Imperium. The Adeptus Mechanicus also follows a different religion from the rest of the Imperium. The religion and religious structure of the Adeptus Mechanicus is known as the Cult Mechanicus. The symbol of the Adeptus Mechanicus is a skull, half-bone and half-machine, set against the background of a black and white cog.[1]

Adepts of the Adeptus Mechanicus are known as tech-priests. Any member of the Cult Mechanicus over the rank of menial will often be referred to as a tech-priest, though Magi and higher ranks are usually referred to by rank. As befits the religious nature of the Mechanicus, tech-priests usually wear robes, which are usually either rust-red or white. Tech-priests are often cybernetically augmented. The level of a techpriest's augmentation is highly dependent on his rank within the Cult Mechanicus; a novice may have only one or two augmented systems, if any, while very senior members may have only a few biological organs left in their bodies.[1]

Members of the Mechanicum are often fast-grown in vats, infused with a instinctual level of knowledge due to data uplinks during their gestation. They are then born already post-adolescence and are promptly put to work[24]. Members can also come from Imperials, who have been converted by the Sect Missionarius Mechanicus[41c] and even the Squat Abhuman subspecies.[42]

Origins and history

Early history

A Techpriest.

The birthplace of the Martian Mechanicum was the ancient Forge World Mars. Mars was colonised early in human history, and developed separately from Terra, both culturally and technologically. The arid surface of Mars was terraformed, and under a man-made atmosphere the colony flourished.[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. 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.[Needs Citation]

Because of lack of maintenance during this time, Mars's 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. 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.[Needs Citation]

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. While rival warlords battled over the remnants of Terra 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. 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.[2]

Now unified under the Cult Mechanicus, the Priesthood of Mars began to dispatch Explorator Fleets across the galaxy and even plundered the surface of war-torn Terra itself in hopes of discovering lost technologies. Facing resistance to their quest on the planet's surface, the Adeptus Mechanicus soon became bitter enemies with the Techno-barbarians which plagued Terra and thus welcomed the eventual arrival of the Emperor.[6]

A Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus[7a]

Union with the Imperium

The Adeptus Mechanicus at war[10a]

After the Emperor formed the Imperium, he engendered support with the Martian Mechanicum, an already existing empire. On Mars, he was commonly seen as the Omnissiah, the earthly representative of the Machine God, due to his ability to seemingly instantly repair machinery with a mere touch. After landing in a golden ship on Mars' surface The Emperor came before the Mechanicum Parliament on Mars, pledging that in return for supply arms to his armies and building a mighty war fleet, the Emperor would protect and the respect the sovereignty of the Mechanicum's Forge Worlds. In addition, he would donate six Navigator Houses to Mars, whose supply of Navigator's had since dwindled. Given such incentives the Martian Parliament and Fabricator-General agreed to the terms, and the formal alliance between the Adeptus Mechanicus and Imperium was signed on Terra between the Martian Ambassador and the Emperor.[6]

The Treaty was not celebrated by all of the Tech-Priest elements on Mars. Many Tech-Priests saw the Emperor as a warlord seeking to subordinate the Mechanicum and limit their technological research. Among these was Kelbor-Hal.[4]

Horus Heresy

During the Horus Heresy, the Mechanicum like most other branches of the Imperial military, found itself divided in loyalty. Many Mechanicum units declared for the Warmaster Horus, some retained their loyalty to the Imperium and some seceded altogether to remain neutral during the conflict.[38]

Horus was able to convince the Fabricator-General himself, Kelbor-Hal, to join forces with him on the condition that the autonomy of the Mechanicum be ensured, and that the STCs the Sons of Horus had captured from the recently subjugated but technologically advanced Auretian Technocracy be handed over to him. Kelbor-Hal's deputy, the Fabricator Locum Kane, remained loyal to the Emperor however, which initiated a civil war on the Red Planet known as the Schism of Mars that mirrored the larger conflict raging across the galaxy.[4]

The Mechanicum considered the division of the Mechanicum with Hal and Kane both claiming the title of Fabricator General an unresolved equation, known as the "binary succession". In an attempt to resolve this, Ambassador Vethorel, Fabricator General Kane's representative on the Council of Terra, proposed to resolve this by the creation of a new Adeptus, the Adeptus Mechanicus. Despite the Mechanicum's concerns for their independence and the council's fears of a Martian power-grab, the resolution passed after the Collegia Titanica threatened to abandon the Solar War and the Imperator Titan Magnificum Incendius of the Legio Ignatum marched on the Great Chamber of the Senatorum Imperialis.[9]

The Mechanicum units that fought against the Emperor would come to be known in later times as the Dark Mechanicum.[Needs Citation]


In the last 10,000 years since the Great Heresy, the Adeptus Mechanicus has become fanatically ingrained in the dogma of the Cult Mechanicus. As their Forge Worlds supply mankind with vital weaponry and technology, the Adeptus Mechanicus continues their Quest for Knowledge and vigorously hunt for remains of precious STCs. Major conflicts over the tenets of the Cult Mechanicus have plagued the Adeptus Mechanicus, most notable of which include the Moirae Schism, Martian Civil War, and Elucidan Schism.[7]

However, over the millennia, the ability of the Adeptus Mechanicus to reproduce technology from the Great Crusade has gradually diminished. Even the Golden Throne, cornerstone of the Imperium, is proving beyond the ability of the Adeptus Mechanicus to repair and maintain.[8]

Dark Imperium

With the creation of the Great Rift, many worlds of the Mechanicum became stranded within the Dark Imperium. Other worlds were using isolation as a pretext to declare independence. Faced with crisis, the core Forge Worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus organized reclamation fleets to reestablish contact with these lost worlds and remind them of their duty to Mars.[37]


Cult Mechanicus

Techpriests performing their rituals[39]

Although the Emperor is venerated by the Adeptus Mechanicus for his ancient knowledge and comprehension, the techpriests do not follow the Imperial Cult, but a wholly different religion, known as the Cult Mechanicus or the Cult of the Machine.[1]

The Cult Mechanicus originated during the Age of Strife. According to its teachings, knowledge is the supreme manifestation of divinity, and all creatures and artefacts that embody knowledge are holy because of it. Machines that preserve knowledge from ancient times are also holy, and machine intelligences are no less divine than those of flesh and blood. A man's worth is only the sum of his knowledge - his body is simply an organic machine capable of preserving intellect. In the Cult's tenets, life itself is of no intrinsic value. One of the most obvious examples of this belief is the techpriests' use of humans as raw material in the creation of the machine-slaves known as servitors.[3]

To the Cult Mechanicus, machines represent a higher form of life than that created through biological evolution. The ultimate object of the cult's veneration is known as the Machine God (or the Deus Mechanicus), which is believed to have given rise to all technologies and made them manifest through his chosen illuminati among mankind. The Machine God may be the C'tan Void Dragon, who may be the Dragon of Mars that has been entombed on Mars for millennia and was worshipped by the Cult Mechanicus before the rise of the Emperor.[1]

The Cult Mechanicus await the arrival of the Omnissiah, a prophesied physical avatar of the Machine God. During the Great Crusade the forces of the Emperor liberated many of the forge worlds founded as colonies of Mars in ancient times. On his arrival at many of the worlds, the Cult Mechanicus recognised the Emperor as the long awaited Omnissiah.[1]

The sacred number of Adeptus Mechanicus - is a 12. So each macroclade of this organization is composed of four cohorts, each consisting of three maniples (12 maniples in total).[10]

The Quest for Knowledge

The Quest for Knowledge is the driving mission of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The quest consists of research and exploration, but ultimately the focus of the quest is on the recovery of a working Standard Template Construct ("STC") system. The purpose of the many exploratory missions is the recovery of STC knowledge.[1]

For thousands of years the Tech-priests have pursued all information about the STC. To the Mechanicus, it is their lost bible. Any information on the STC including the scraps of knowledge recorded on hard copy designs are sought out and kept as holy texts. No functional STC systems have ever been recovered. The STC survives only as print-outs, some of which are many thousands of years old. Although considered the most reliable, there are very few first generation print-outs, and these are regarded as the most sacred of texts.[1]

Through the Tech-priests' efforts much has been recovered or reconstructed through comparison of copies, although preserved knowledge of the most advanced technology eludes the Adeptus Mechanicus. Most of the early colonists' needs were simple and very few would have bothered to preserve the more theoretical and advanced technological information the STC contained.[1]


Like the Inquisition and the Ecclesiarchy, the Adeptus Mechanicus has a number of philosophical factions within it which dictate an individuals pursuit of the Quest for Knowledge.[25] These factions include:


Among the Mechanicus, there are those factions who have been declared hereteks for deviating too far from the teachings of the Mechanicus


Main article: Cant Mechanicus

Lingua-technis or Techna-Lingua is the official language of the Adeptus Mechanicus and part of the collective Cant Mechanicus. It is a binary language, optimised for quick communication of technical data, which consists of a burst of static emitted through the bionic implants of members of the Mechanicum which cannot be understood by unaugmented humans.[4]

Forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus[10]


Adeptus Mechanicus Hierarchy[7]

The Adeptus Mechanicus is internally organized along a feudal structure, with lesser domains owing allegiance to major Forge Worlds, who in turn have sworn fealty to the Fabricator-General of Mars. This feudal hierarchy extends to their military forces, with each Forge World being responsible for raising and maintaining their own forces for the service of the greater Mechanicum.[14] Many Forge Worlds oversee their own petty empires.[40]


Main article: Tech-priest
Adeptus Mechanicus territory across the galaxy[7]

Adeptus Mechanicus Fleet

Because the Quest for Knowledge can involve long, ardurous forays into unexplored space; the Adeptus Mechanicus have at their disposal a large fleet of starships. It is important that these vessels be heavily armed and armoured, not only for their own protection from those who covet their technology but to engage in combat when necessary to secure vital data or artefacts that may prove cruical to the Quest. Though the total number of ships the Adeptus Mechanicus has at its disposal dispersed among its many forge worlds is far outnumbered by that of the Imperial Navy, it goes without saying that those responsible for all starship construction reserve for themselves among the most powerful and best-equipped warships encountered anywhere in the Imperium.[Needs Citation]

Mechanicus fleets have access to the same types of vessel as the Imperial Fleet, as well as other unique vessels such as the near-legendary Ark Mechanicus.[5]

Military forces[7]

Non-military divisions

Notable Members of the Adeptus Mechanicus

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