The Taghmata Omnissiah
When a Forge World is threatened, the Machine Cult launches a Holy Crusade, or it marches to war alongside its Imperial allies, the Protocol Taghmata Omnissiah is invoked. In response, the Mechanicus musters its weapons of war. From the God-Machines of the Collegia Titanica to ambling Tech-Thralls rapidly converted from Menial levies, the forces available to the Mechanicus are vast.
To see the Taghmata Omnissiah assembled is to look upon a bizarre and eclectic array of weapons and troops arrayed against its foes; for the armies of the Machine Cult are as much examples of rare technologies guarded by the secretive Tech-Priests as they are testing grounds for newly recovered and sanctioned technologies.
The Faith-Militant of the Machine Cult
While the grand majority of the Machine-Cult’s military forces are comprised of non-ordained or ‘lay Mechanicus’, there are a number of sects of the Machine-Cult dedicated to warfare. When the Machine-Cult goes to war it does so in a number of configurations; the majority of the time most Tech-Priests prefer to direct their forces from the safety of a vessel in high orbit, an armoured bunker, or a heavily armoured vehicle far behind the front lines of a conflict.
However there are a few unique Collegia within the Machine Cult who consider themselves to be better put to serving on the front lines. Ravening hoards of Electro-Priests dedicate their entire lives to mastering the energies of bio-electricity and motive forces, using cybernetic upgrades and tesla weaponry to engage in combat with powerful electrified weapons – fanatical devotees of the Priesthood, their obsessions often leave them as more ravening hordes then potential leaders of the Cult.
Leadership and direction of the Taghmata Omnissiah comes from the Siege Engineers of the Collegia Reductor and the War Savants’ Collegia Secutor. Both sects worship the Omnissiah in its form as the ‘Unmaker God’, unleashing the destructive power of hidden Mechanicus technologies on the battlefield, using the wars it fights as the testing ground for rediscovered and rare weapons of destruction. Dedicated as they are to the art of war, the singular focus of these beings makes them terrifying to behold; often augmented into war-machines in their own right, they lead the armies of the Cult from the front in contrast to the majority of their fellow Priests.
Among the Lay-Worshippers of the Cult Mechanicus are the Mechancum’s ‘Protectors’ – the Skitarii (singular Skitarius), elite warriors augmented by arcane technologies into a deadly blend of machine and human lethality. The Skitarii act as bodyguards, shock troops and force projection for their ruling Magoi, dangerous and deadly creations of cybernetics, flesh-crafting and Martian practices of eugenics and social darwinism within their menial populations. The majority of these warriors are mentally augmented, either to increase aggression, or to strip them of fear and other threat responses such as the ability to feel pain.
As with much Mechanicus technology, there is no one ‘universal’ pattern of Skitarii; they are as varied as their masters, ranging from feather-and-fur-clad techno-barbarian hordes whipped on by mechadendrite-wielding overseers to sleek, armour-plated killing-machines with only a few scraps of flesh remaining from their original bodies, marching in precise and silent unison to the noospheric command impulses that send them to war. All are augmented beyond the human baseline, and many equipped with strange and deadly Mechanicus weaponry.
Within the majority of Skitarii units there is a designated leader responsible for coordinating the actions of their squads. This individual is known as an ‘Alpha’ in most configurations. The majority of Skitarii configurations have no need for higher ranked Officers as they are often subservient to an attendant Tech-Priest, but it has been known for Skitarii to be deployed with specially constructed units equivalent to superior ranks of Imperial Officers.
Within the Prosperitas Sector, many patterns of Skitarii have been created, from the crimson and hazard-striped iron fist that form the armed forces of Forge Ferraeus, to the strangely augmented Tech-Guard creations of the young Forge Castellum, who retain their autonomy and often go without the mental augmentations common amongst Skitarii with their strange weapon limbs and bone-white armourplast coating. Forge Naximus makes use of two breeds of Skitarii, the disciplined and highly indoctrinated warriors raised from the menial population of Naximus Prime and its satellite colonies, and savage augmented Techno-Barbarian warriors uplifted from the savage tribes of the moons of Anaximund Alpha that often serve as Auxilla to the Knights of House Qureshi.
The Collegia Titanica
The Imperial Titans or God-Machines are titanic armoured war-machines towering over the battlefield at heights that rival many buildings, made in the image of humankind to fight the enemies of the Imperium. Each is piloted by a specialist Mechanicus-trained crew raised within the massive training halls of the Collegia Titanica.
Within the massive hulls of their vessels, these human crews are neurally linked to the body of their mighty Machine; Titans link the mind of a single Princeps, who serves as the commander of the Machine, to several Moderati who support the Princeps by operating other systems, all working one single will to pilot their great Machine into battle. The sight of a Titan Legion striding to war is one to set the coldest Imperial heart ablaze with righteous zeal, and scatter even the hardiest of foes before the deadly weapons mounted by their God-Machines. There are few pieces of technology more valued by the Imperium, and more sacred to the Adeptus Mechanicus, than a Titan, and the loss of a single one of these increasingly irreplaceable relics is a cause for deep mourning.
Around the feet of the God-Machines the elite Titan Guard, known as Secutarii, act as infantry support and bodyguards to the Titan Legions, clearing the way for their God-Machines to rain fire and destruction down on the enemies of Humankind. Based upon similar patterns as their Skitarii cousins, these troops are augmented for the specialised role of protecting the Titans from infantry attacks and boarding attempts.
Within the Prosperitas Sector there are two forces of Titans:
- Legio Ferraeus
The Legio Ferraeus were instrumental in the birth of the Prosperitas Sector. Their founding is shrouded in history; the Legio was nomadic when it joined Warmaster Durovera’s Crusade, its Titans ancient and in desperate need of repair. Durovera offered them two things for their service to her: the use of the repair bays of her vessels and the promise of a home.
The Legio won its home in the early years of the Crusade when it led a massive assault on the tributary Forge World of the Traitor Regency, destroying the ruling Heretek Priesthood. In its honour, the world was named Ferraeus, after the Legio, and the Titans became bonded to the Forge and their duties to the Warmaster.
The Legio’s relationship with the Crusade has always been close but not without complications. The Legio’s debts to House Durovera are stronger than its ties to the Crusade and this has always made them a valuable political tool to the House, which has often been able to call on their services when Warmasters could not; this has made many Crusade Commanders unwilling to rely on them for fear of becoming indebted to the House.
Chief Princeps Leks Koenig is a formidable warrior but notably arrogant and ambitious. He considers the primacy of his God-Machines above all else on the field. From the control throne of the Warlord Deus Imperatrix he rules like a petty God-King of ancient times. Often overstepping his place in the order.of battle to issue orders to allies outside his command chain, he is considered disruptive by many Crusade officers.
- Demi-Legio Custodi Incudem
A small force in comparison to the Legio Ferraeus, the Titans that form the Demi-Legio Custodi Incudem were stranded upon Naximus Prime during the Heresy. The original name of their Parent Legio lost to the tides of time for ten thousand years, this Demi-Legio served as the defenders of Naximus Prime and its territories, and for ten thousand years a handful of God-Machines protected the Forge from the predations of the Archenemy.
Recently the Demi-Legio has suffered badly at the hands of the Archenemy; its Titans were stationed on Henlock for training maneuvers with the Legio Ferraeus, amidst rumours of the Legios merging as a bridge between their estranged Home Forges. The Archenemy ambush on Henlock claimed the lives of many Legio staff and, worst of all, the loss of the Warlord-class Titan Domina Praelium – leading to a period of great mourning amongst the force.
Aspbed-Princeps Setareh Korrami currently leads the Demi-Legio from the Reaver-class Titan Falx Omnissiah. A stern veteran of two hundred years of combat, she is aging, and considered to be reaching the end of her service life as she becomes increasingly blended with her God-Machine and it becomes hard to distract her from the manifold.
The Questor Imperialis
During the early years of humanity’s colonisation of the stars, before the emergence of the Emperor, many worlds were seeded with human life. Accompanying some of these early colonies were an ancient pattern of exosuits, single-pilot walking frames similar to the technology used in the Titans of the Collegia Titanicus. Unlike Titans, these Exoframes were intended for construction and colony support, but over time, they were armed and armoured by their riders in order to protect the colonies as the Age of Strife progressed. Influenced mentally by their bonds with their machines, the riders of these suits came to view themselves as noble defenders and in time on many such worlds this psychological change brought about the emergence of a feudal nobility of suit pilots, the so-called Knights.
The Machine Cult encountered many such worlds in the waning years of the Age of Strife has made it a quest to locate the worlds where these exosuits were seeded, often indoctrinating the riders and their maintenance crews into their religion, creating a dependence on the Machine Cult to maintain their Knight-suits. There are Knight-Worlds that the Imperium found before the Cult where the Knights serve the Imperium, and some Knight-Worlds have come to serve the Imperium of their own volition after breaking from bonded service to the Mechanicus – something of a point of political tension in the troubled times of the 41st Millenium.
When one refers to a Knight, they refer both to the exosuit and the pilot, for they are one and the same – often when a Knight-suit becomes available the closest legitimate ‘heir’ to the Noble Houses that have formed around the pilots that command them will compete in various tests in order to undergo a sacred rite known as the ‘Ritual of Becoming’ where Knight-suit and pilot blend. As with all the arcane technological rites of the age, it is possible to fail in the ritual – the results of doing so are often psychologically and socially devastating, as a rejected scion is no use at all to a Knight House
- House Qureshi
The satrapy of Anaximund Alpha has long been a part of the colonies and dominions of the Naximus Prime, the Prosperitas Sector’s sole Knight World. For many years, the planet’s rulers, House Qureshi, have been yoked to their Adeptus Mechanicus rulers, but the relationship between them is tense. The Mechanicus have always treated the House as servants, and the House has rankled at the disrespect they have received; the Machine Cult has done little to improve things, their contempt for the House, who they perceive as backwards, ill-treatment, and their induction of the barbarian tribes on the moons of Anaximund have all served to drive a wedge between them.
The grip of the Ouroborus Omnissiah of Naximus on Anaximund began to slip with the arrival of the Imperium. Despite resistance from Naximus, there is an Imperial presence on world and missionaries from the Imperial cult have found willing ears amongst the upper echelons of the Household. Consigned to defensive operations of the Forge for years, the House has seized upon the Prosperitas Crusade to engage in more ‘noble’ endeavours.
The house’s leader Satrap-Princeps Lalah Qureshi is believed to be a convert to the Imperial Cult, but as yet she has not formally breached the Sidonis Protocols and broken with Naximus Prime in an act of sedition. An honourable warrior, she is divided by her belief in honouring the ancient ties she has with her Masters, and her desire to serve the good of humanity by aiding the forces of the Prosperitas Crusade.