The Adeptus Mechanicus
The Adeptus Mechanicus is what remains of the Martian Empire. After the dark days of the Horus Heresy those Priests of the Machine Cult who had survived their own internal civil war made the decision (although some would say they were forced) to become more fully incorporated into the Imperium, becoming one of the Adepti of the Imperium. The Fabricator-General of Mars, as the nominal leader of the Mechanicus, became one of the so-called ‘High Lords’ of the Senatorum Imperialis, giving the Mechanicum a voice on the Imperium’s ruling council.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is unique in its independence from the strictures of the Imperium; many planets have Mechanicus enclaves and embassies that remain independent and sovereign territories of the Machine Cult. However, that independence is dependent solely on the Mechanicum fulfilling its role in supplying the Imperium; there is no clear-cut rule that gives the Mechanicus right to autonomy, and most certainly, willing and overt flaunting of Imperial laws by Mechanicus priests and servants is not politically astute and comes with severe consequences.
The Imperium, including the watchful Holy Ordos, may respect the Mechanicus’ role out of political respect, but it is not beyond their reach to bring a wayward Tech Priest or Forge World to heel by political or military means. The Mechanicus is powerful, but its internal political and religious divides render it disunited. There may be those amongst the Priesthood who dream of a resurrected and independent Martian Empire, but they are easily quietly removed by assassins and the levers of political machination before they reach positions of power where they would threaten the Imperium’s interests.
Five Things To Know About the Cult Mechanicus
- They Revere Machines. The Cult Mechanicus believes that every piece of machinery is inhabited by a Machine-Spirit, and that only through placation – with litanies, rituals and sacred anointing – can the machine be induced to work correctly.
- They Look Back, Not Forward. Despite their vast expertise, the Mechanicus are neophobes. Technological innovation in the Imperium is founded on the rediscovery of historical blueprints and templates, including the priceless and rare “Standard Template Constructs” which hold records of hyper-advanced technology once used by humanity in fathomless pre-Imperial history.
- They Advocate Augmentation. Adeptus Mechanicus often replace organic body parts and systems with technological alternatives, sometimes to the point of near-total augmentation.
- They are not Robots. While some may replace almost all their organic components with mechanical alternatives, the idea of artificial, created sentience is anathema to the beliefs of the Mechanicus and they will destroy it wherever they find it.
- They are a Cult. Despite their love of technology and knowledge, they are not rational scientists; between their ceremonial red robes, sincere techno-animist beliefs, ritual and religious hierarchy, they are as mystical and secretive a mystery cult as any found in the wider Imperium.
Hierarchy and Organisation of the Adeptus
Within the Adeptus Mechanicus there are hugely complex machinations of politics, rank and status that determine where individual Tech-Priests fall within the hierarchy of a Forge World. The political divisions of the Mechanicus are as much religious as they are territorial. Though most Forge Worlds will, broadly speaking, align with a single sect of the Machine Cult, there may be further sub-sects still who divide up the surface of a Forge World and its colonies into their own private enclaves. Above these minor groups, individual Archmagoi will act as regional governors of a particular sector of Mechanicus territory, answering to the Fabricator-General of their Forgeworld.
Within the Priesthood of the Machine Cult, Priests are divided into rough areas of specialisation, the ‘Collegia’ (sometimes translated from the binaric script of the Cult as ‘Ordo’) define both practical specialisation and religious role. A Mechanicus specialised in biological technology, for example, would be part of the Collegia Biologis; a Mechanicus specialised in data and information would be a part of the Collegia Logis; and a Mechanicus specialised in construction of void ships would be a part of the Collegia Exstructio Astra. Each Collegia has its own complex web of ranks and subsections, adding to the further complexity of rank and politics within the Machine Cult.
As should already be apparent, the Cult boasts a vast and often confusing array of religious ranks, titles and offices. All above the Lay-Mechanicus or menials are referred to as “Tech-Priests” or “Adepts”, though may also hold additional titles. Some examples include:
- A Fabricator-General or Arch-Magos and their deputy Fabricator-Locum have charge of a full Forge-World, including temporal authority equivalent to that of a Planetary Governor in addition to their religious duties.
- A Magos is a high-ranking priest with some authority to act independently, and may be referred to by specialisation (for example Magos Biologos or Magos Genetor).
- A Logis is an analyst, statistician and diviner, relied upon for prophecy gleaned through ritual probability analysis.
- A Secutor is a warrior-priest, entrusted with leading the armies of the Mechanicum into battle against its foes.
- A Genetor is responsible for genetics, which might include the study of xenogenetics, the maintenance of womb-vats, and biological enhancement of humans and abhumans.
- An Enginseer is responsible for the maintenance and spiritual welfare of the Machine-Spirits under their command, and often found attached to Guard units and Naval ships, where they may be called a “Pastor”, with the spirits of the Enginarium considered their “flock”.
- A Transmechanic specialises in communications technology.
- A Lexmechanic specialises in data collation and analytics, and works closely with cogitator systems.
- An Explorator is a senior Tech-Priest who quests across the dark spaces of the Galaxy to uncover priceless Archaeotech, often found in the company of Rogue Traders, Crusade fleets and others who quest the boundless depths of space.
The Adeptus Mechanicus in the Prosperitas Sector
The Adeptus Mechanicus has a long and storied history, both as a part of the Prosperitas Crusade and in the wider Prosperitas Sector. The three major domains of the Mechanicus are their smog-shrouded Forge Worlds, Ferraeus, Castellum and Naximus Prime, where forge-fires are ever-hot and the entire planetary population is committed to ceaseless production lines, feeding the Prosperitas Crusade and the Sector as a whole. Outside these there are many ‘lesser’ domains, such as the manufactorums on Korimesta ruled by their Tech-Priest Overseers, and colonies tithed to the Mechanicus such as Olethros Secunda; and Tech-Adepts are found scattered across the Sector’s worlds, attending to various ancient machines.
However, one of the biggest draws of the Adeptus Mechanicus to the Sector, aside from its abundant resources, is an abundance of Archaeotech and ancient ruins. Vast fleets of Explorator Ships compete with rakish Rogue Traders as they blaze passages into the Untamed Worlds on the Rimward edge of the Sector, eager to find treasures of the Golden Age on human colonies untouched by the Imperium in thousands of years.
The three Forge Worlds of the Sector are all varied and unique in their nature, each one possessing its own complex political relationship with the Imperium. Because of the complex issues regarding the independent nature of these worlds from Imperial governance, one of these Forge Worlds predates M.41, having remained largely independent from the Traitor Regent of the Prosperitas Sector during the ten thousand years the Sector was governed by the Regency Government.
Ferraeus was the first of the Forge Worlds to be brought into compliance by the Prosperitas Crusade, the second primary objective after the conquest of Duroverum. It was taken from its original rulers and granted to the Mechanicum allies of Warmaster Durovera. Its rulers owe their domain to the Imperium, and they know this well; the Legio Ferraeus, the sole Titan Legion stationed in the Sector, has almost constantly been at war since its formation from Engines captured from the former rulers of Ferraeus. The Arch-Magos of Ferraeus is often a regular visitor at the Sector Senatorum, and considered to be a strong ally of the Sector Governor.
Castellum is, by Galactic Terms, the neighbouring world of Ferraeus, and the other Forge’s rival; it is also the youngest of the Forge Worlds, having only been founded in mid M.41. Dismissed as a small, upstart, colony by the Leaders of Ferraeus, Castellum was founded by strong political and religious differences between the two Forges, and it is a point of contention for Ferraeus that Castellum was granted Forge World status. Castellum’s Tech Priests are, however, very good at political manoeuvring, which has otherwise protected their interests thus far, and means their domain is a growing one.
Naximus Prime was the last of the Forge Worlds of the Prosperitas Sector to be united with the Imperium. At the far other end of the spectrum from Imperial-welcoming Ferraeus, the Mechanicus of Naximus Prime still act as if they live in the Golden Age of the Imperium, where the Mechanicum was an Empire unto its own. Though it did not declare for the Warmaster, and remained effectively blockaded for the ten thousand years protected by a narrow warp corridor heavily mined and guarded by Mechanicum vessels, post-unification Imperial Forces remain actively unwelcome within this domain, allowed to enter only by the permission of the Arch-Magos of the Forge.
Naximus is served also by the lush Knight-World of Anaximund Alpha, a fertile bread-basket world, Anaximund’s sole duty is to devote its land-space to producing the crops and raising the animals that feed the ever-hungry worker-populations of the Forges on Naximus Prime. The world is defended by the noble warriors and their war-machine steeds of Knight-House Qureshi – the Knight-House is bound by the ancient Sidon Protocols, forging a strange blend of the passionate warlike culture of the Knight House, and the cold logic of the Mechanicum. Effectively enslaved to Mechanicus protocol, the House is often willing to commit to Imperial endeavours when the Masters of Naximus are not, leading to friction. Given that the Household is the only one of its kind in the Sector, and its machines are sorely needed, it has become something of a point of contention between Naximus and its fellow Forge Worlds over attempts by their Magi to forge bonds with House Qureshi.
Between the Forge Worlds, the Explorator Fleets, and House Qureshi, the Mechanicum in the Prosperitas sector is in something of a fractured state, always bickering with itself and the Imperium at large about the best met quotas and the correct deployment of the military might of Titans, Knights and the augmented Skitarii Legions that all three Forges possess. Most Administratum representatives to the Mechanicus will point out that on the surface, none of this strife shows, carried out in binary blurts and noospheric skirmishes; to outsiders, the Mechanicus present a united face, no matter how friendly their Forgeworld is with the Imperium. This doesn’t mean that senior Imperial officials aren’t AWARE of this strife, just that they know better than to become embroiled in the Machine-Cult’s politics.
The Explorator Fleets
Beyond their traditional territories, vast fleets of vessels adorned in the Cog Omnissiah and filled with arcane technologies jealously guarded by the Machine Cult carry out the ultimate will of the Omnissiah across the Stars. These are the Explorator Fleets. Their crews of void-nomad Tech-Priests and Mechanicum servants explore ancient worlds and lost sectors in a ceaseless quest to reclaim technologies lost to the depredations of time. No one Explorator fleet is alike, each has their own character and nature, and within the Prosperitas Sector where the Rimward Marches contain the promise of the remnants of lost human cultures each of the Forges maintains a sizable fleet, though a number of independent fleets and those who began their journeys from forges years away from the Sector ply the warp-ways too.
Service in the Explorator Fleets is something of an unusual duty for a Tech-Priest. The majority of the Priests and Menial servants within them are born on one of the vessels, but there are those who are assigned to the duty from more static places of birth. For these latter Priests, the Explorator fleets are something of a place of exile; to be assigned to an Explorator fleet without the declaration of a Crusade by the Machine Cult is a sign that a Priest has been cast out by their superiors. To this end, most Tech-Priests look upon those who serve in the fleets as eccentric strangers at best, and at worst, blighted exiles best kept outside the perfectly ordered society of their Forges.
People of Note
- Fabricator-General Every-Simply-Connected-Closed-Three-Manifold-Is-Homeomorphic-To-The-Three-Sphere Lockwood of Castellum. A pious and efficient Magos, “Three” Lockwood runs her new and vulnerable planet with a canny political eye for advantage. Despite the constant manoeuvering and political sparring with her neighbours on Ferraeus, Lockwood gives the outward appearance of being concerned with nothing more than the spiritual and moral welfare of her charges.
- Her Fabricator-Locum, Continuity-For-All-Delta-There-Exists-Some-Epsilon-Such-That-If-Y-Lies-Within-Epsilon-Of-X-Then-F-Of-Y-Lies-Within-Delta-Of-F-Of-X Witherick, concerns themself with the day-to-day running of the manufactorums, orbital shipyards and Skitarii regiments of Castellum, and is known as an efficient and ruthless logistician.
- Archmagos Myrioi-513, the Fabricator-General of Ferraeus, is a truly immense augmented being with little flesh remaining upon their bones. The Archmagos has augmented and expanding their neural capacity to ridiculous levels, forgoing a Fabricator-Locum for operating several independent digital facets of their personality and spreading their biological matter amongst multiple host armatures. Considered highly conservative by their peers, the Archmagos enjoys a close relationship with Crusade High Command and the Sector Government as the most closely Imperial-loyal Forge in the sector, and the only forge with a full Titan Legion at its command.
- Magos Eikosi-154 is the Master of the Explorator Fleet of Ferraeus, the second most senior Priest amongst the Ferraian hierarchy. Their position amongst the Explorator fleet exists because they presented a clear political rival to Arcmagos Myrioi; their ‘exile’ to the vast nomadic fleet represents an ousting from the political hierarchy of their Forge, and an attempt to remove them as a potential rival to the throne of Ferraeus.
- The Archmagos Naximus is a strange figure in that he has forgone his identity. The traditions of his strange and long-isolated Forge World mean that when an individual ascends to the rank of Archmagos they are stripped of any identifying features, becoming a masked almost-neutral figure in Forge politics. This is largely due to the fact that Naximus has not one but fifteen Fabricators-Locum each representing one of the fifteen administrative regions of the Naximan territory – the duty of the Archmagos is more akin to a chairman of the board on Naximus than a singular high priest.
- Satrap-Princeps Lalah Qureshi is alone amongst the political figures of the Prosperitas Sector Mechanicus political hierarchy in that she is not a member of the Priesthood. Rather, the services of her Knight-House and the food supplied by her world are essential components of the domain claimed by Naximus Prime, and she is afforded great individual political might within the Mechanicus owing to the attempts by other Forges and Imperial Commanders to court her loyalties and gain her support. In any other sector she might simply be dismissed as a minor ruler of an agri-world, but her independence and the Knight-class War Machines at her command make her uniquely powerful despite her traditionally servile position within the hierarchy.