Lingua-technis, Low Gothic, High Gothic
|Head of State|
|Head of Government|
Totalitarian Theocratic Technocracy (Before Great Crusade)
"War is the science of destruction."
- John Abbott
"Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God's gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences."
- Freeman Dyson
"Our Wrath Has Come Online"
- War Cant of Mars
Basically what happens when you combine the extreme technophilia and cyborg-fetishism of the Cyberpunk Genre with the religiosity and aesthetics of Medieval Gothic, the Adeptus Mechanicus; Formerly known as the Mechanicum and often shortened as Admech, is an organization in the Imperium of Man (In the loosest sense of the word) responsible for technology, engineering and most of the Imperium's Industrial production, as well as the operation of the Titan Legions. The Adeptus Mechanicus, whose individual members are known as Techpriests, own thousands of heavily polluted planet-factories known as forge worlds, which are covered in massive manufactoria or, as they are known to speakers of Low Gothic, 'work'. The largest forge world of the Adeptus Mechanicus is Mars, homeworld of the Adeptus Mechanicus, on which the most badass weapons ever known to man are made. Despite being part of the Imperium, the AdMech is actually its own nation and a respectable superpower in its own right. The 'being-part-of-the-Imperium' shlick is just a symbolic gesture of goodwill signed by the Treaty of Mars. Because of this, the AdMech is arguably more powerful then the Imperium as they hold claim to all the various Forgeworlds, Miningworlds and Research Stations needed for the production of machines of war for the Imperium. Essentially speaking, the AdMech can survive without the Imperium, the Imperium can't afford to do the same.
They also have a monopoly on all the really cool shit for themselves—like Titans, Ordinatus, and other wonderful stuff—only letting the Imperials have it when really, really necessary (or if they're threatened personally). They have two armies of their own, which are not anything like the Imperial Guard, as they are mostly composed of badass angry cyborgs and boxy technogrunge robots that are more violent than ED209, and giant, tank-crushing, lobotomized minions. They are also technological rivals with the Tau and potentially have made a few advances beyond the Eldar. Only the Necrons, an entire race of robots who's race-wide robotization was not their most advanced feat, eclipse them when it comes to technology; the Adeptus Mechanicus are mostly against this, seeing it as perverse because it's alien (Though there are some who even like or revere the Necrons because of this, and a few who may be jealous of the Necrons). Their primary reason for hoarding all the good shit is to keep it out of the hands of Chaos in case an army rebels, though they're also territorial as fuck when it comes to technology. They typically look like a cross between Jawas and Doctor Octopus, as well as wearing the sort of rebreather masks that you'll typically see on riot police.
- 1 History of the Adeptus Mechanicus
- 2 The Machine Spirits
- 3 Forge Worlds
- 4 On the Tabletop
- 5 The Commandments of the Mechanicus
- 6 What the Mechanicus does
- 7 The Void Dragon
- 8 Why Everything is so Grimdark
- 9 Mechanicum Understanding of Science
- 10 The Religion of the Adeptus Mechanicus
- 11 Gallery
- 12 See Also
- 13 Links
History of the Adeptus Mechanicus
The Mechanicus was established in the distant past, when a bunch of
machine worshiping technophiles normal people terraformed Mars during mankind's dominating of the Solar System and colonizing of the galaxy. Thus Mars became an extremely technologically advanced society of astronauts, scientists, engineers, manufacturers, and miners wherein they could pursue advances in technology and power the Dark Age of Technology. After a while, during the Age of Strife, their precious atmosphere was punctured, and solar radiation beat down on their filthy heads burned the land, boiled the seas, and took the sky from them, nuking all life. Everybody either did one of three things: die, hide underground, or turn feral. After hundreds of years of living from half-working mechanical bunker to partially-pressurized archaic hab spire; people began to look upon technology as a saviour and way to return to the former heights of glory. Thus, did a new cult spread amongst the people of Mars, wherein they paid reverence to the Machine God. Just as planned. And then they joined the EMPRAH because they saw him as an aspect of the Machine God called the 'Omnissiah'. As if the parallels aren't already tremendously clear at this point.
Except it's giant load of bullshit. The Tech-priesthood were FORCED to acknowledge the Big E as an incarnate of Machine God quite literally at gunpoint. This happened after they sent pretty much their entire fleet and army to Terra to prevent the Unification of meatbags, so they can continue to raid ancient Terran tombs and libraries once or twice a century. The Emperor's fleet fucked them so hard only one in ten returned to Mars to tell the tale. Needless to say, the Fabricator-General was very cooperative when the Emprah's armada arrived in Mars' orbit. At least they managed to get a special exemption from the "no religions" rule, possibly because the Emperor already knew about the Dragon of Mars (see below; then again it wouldn't be the first time a head of state was a hypocrite or practiced double standards). In exchange for giving the Imperium all the guns and tanks they needed, the Emperor promised the Fabricator-General full autonomy on all Forge Worlds, as well as access to Navigators and Astropaths for space travel, and all Archeotech found during the Great Crusade. Naturally, this managed to smooth things over between the two factions, resulting in the Treaty of Mars and the beginning of the Imperium; As a sign of their alliance, the Emperor changed his sigil from the lightning bolt, as used by the Thunder Warriors, to the two-headed Aquila.
Hilariously, the "Machine God" may actually be the Void Dragon, one of the ancient C'tan Star Gods. The Void Dragon is actually one of the most powerful of the C'tan, and gains control over machines. All those techpriests are going to have serious problems when it wakes up... Oh yeah. It's on Mars because the EMPRAH roofied it and turned it into an angry cave on Mars...yeah. It's now guarded by the Mechanicus in their Noctys Labyrinth. This point of view is not certain, so the Machine God may be anything like the collective mass of all machines or the sum of all knowledge, neither would all Mechanicus accept a C'Tan as their lord (but that's the point, they don't know it's a C'tan if it is). But it's a more fun version, isn't it?
The Machine Spirits
"If you run from technology, it will chase you."
- Robert M. Pirsig
The "Machine Spirit" is the Imperium's version of Artificial Intelligence, mainly because after the reunification of Terra; the Emperor forbade the use of AI in machinery (partly because of the ancient rebellion of the Men of Iron, but mostly to prevent Chaos-corrupted AIs from skullfucking them, Skynet style).
For all the importance of Machine Spirits to the Mechanicus, it's not entirely clear what they actually are. One theory holds that there is actually a semi-sentient AI fragment in pretty much everything electronic, a leftover from the Age of Strife. These "ghosts in the machine" quite literally must be appeased, or else they'll fuck with the targeting systems in your Bolter at the worst possible moment, start doing doughnuts with your Land Raider, and generally act like dicks. All the ritual and apparent silliness of the Cult Mechanicus, then, is actually necessary to keep the machines operating.
The prevailing theory within the Mechanicus itself would seem to hold that a Machine Spirit is a fragment of the Machine God itself. Whether this is simply rhetoric (you need to keep your gun oiled, or it'll backfire, and the cogboys are just really picky about how you oil it) or the actual truth (the Machine God extends its awareness to literally every machine in the universe, which is disturbingly more possible than one might think), the fact remains that Machine Spirits are real enough to severely ruin your day (or your continent, in the case of an itinerant Land Raider), and the ritual and mysticism surrounding the Cult Mechanicum's everyday activities is far more important to them than even the Imperial Creed.
The Techpriests of Mars got around the restrictions against "Abominable Intelligence" in true WH40K grimdark fashion: cut out the "Artificial" part and make it organic, and vice versa. Nearly every piece of sophisticated machinery in the Imperium operates via a cogitator, analogous to a modern-day microchip, which is basically the cloned or recycled brain of a human converted to function like a horrific cyborg version of a CPU. This interpretation of the "Machine Spirit" is particularly disturbing, to be sure, but is a necessity because the Iron Men incident and Age of Strife in general made the Imperium fear the "Silica Animus". The only true difference between a semi-organic cogitator and a true AI is that their machine spirits have no ability to learn or improve on their own, and therefore must be manually programmed by their operators if they need to learn or do anything that is outside their current programming. Thus, it is now nearly (but not entirely) impossible for machines to rebel on their own, quelling the fears of the Imperium.
In any of these cases, it can be easily understood why machines are revered by the Mechanicus and why they are treated like sentient beings. Although, the AdMech is a bit fuzzy just how sentient machines are; are they somehow capable of thought like organics or no more sentient than your bread toaster at home?
See Forge World#Planet.
Forge Worlds are all based on Mars. Literally so -- the AdMech so revere the nuke blasted hellscape of Mars that they intentionally terraform other planets into it. Filled with a combination of research labs, libraries, churches, forges, warehouses and factories, the Forge Worlds provide the Imperium with the vast majority of their equipment.
Each Forge World has their own color scheme, themes, and specialties, similar to Space Marine chapters or Imperial Guard regiments.
- Mars: The original. Likely has a C'tan (The Void Dragon) buried inside it. Mars is a radioactive desert wasteland where factories and other forge world bits are built on top of kilometer deep ruins of previous bits, all infested with insane robots, sentient demonic warp viruses, and other things that go bump in the night.
- Lucius: Teleportation and Armor specialists. Was attacked by Hive Fleet Leviathan, they survived by hiding inside their planet and sending out hordes of Servitors, letting them get eaten, then using drones to pull the techy bits back underground and put them on new cloned bodies, effectively starving the Leviathan forces to death. Had a civil war called the Inculcata Schism that almost caused the planet to implode (teleportation specialists is a nice way of saying "experiments with warp tech"), so they wear red as a way to kiss up to Mars. This is a common theme among forge worlds.
- Agripinaa: Right outside of and now the front line to the Eye of Terror, after Cadia fell all the refugees fled to Stygies VIII and Agripinaa... who promptly conscripted them into their Skitarii and Servitor forces -- by force. That is to say, they effectively blackmailed millions of desperate refugees trapped on their planet and turned them into various flavors of mindless or brainwashed combat cyborgs. Also known for sending incursions around and occasionally into the Eye of Terror.
- Stygies VIII: Had two Titan legions based on it during the Horus Hersey, both of which turned traitor. They were saved at the last minute by the Eldar, leading to them having a soft spot for Xenos. Home to the Xenarite faction, a faction that believes in studying Xenos technology, officially in order to better understand why Humanity's technology is superior; However Stygies is also home to the "Runic Priests," (No, not those), a faction of AdMech that specialize in intuition, speculation, and improvisation. Ultimately they're too big to fail, so the High Lords of Terra declared they were to be left alone despite flirting with Xenos crap and Heretekal science... but the Inquisition found out and decided to purge the planet anyway in the Xenarite Schism.. Stygies VIII responded by unleashing a computer virus that constantly purges the Administratum and the Ordo Xenos' computer systems of any evidence or discussion of how Stygies VIII is technically a Heretek world, while the Xenarites went mostly underground. Deathwatch Kill teams still frequently attack them, alongside Xenos wanting their tech back. Stealth specialists, which they deny whenever asked; they're also known for pretending to be from Mars when needed due to their color scheme.
- Graia: Even more aspie than normal AdMechs, Graia are nearly immune to psykers due to being too logical to manipulate. Noted for their space station that covers their entire planet, which is actually a space ship which Graia can take through the warp. Both Chaos and the Necrons target them for it. Known for refusing to retreat even when losses are guaranteed. Red on their uniform is ostensibly because they are loyal to Mars, but actually because they like blood.
- Metalica: Totally not noise AdMech -- their guns are intentionally loud to scare people. Metalica is a complete sterile world, no atmosphere, no life, etc. Their titan legion was nearly destroyed during the Third War for Armageddon when their Priceps screwed over the Orks' titans then self destructed to kill still more Orks. Metalica is also known for being the first Imperium force to go on a Tyranid safari. That's right, they're actively hunting Hive Fleet Leviathan.
- Ryza: Shield and Plasma specialists, they have been invaded by Orks repeatedly. The more red on a Ryzan's robe, the more important they are. Led an aborted invasion of the Maelstrom in an attempt to go after the DarkMech world of Sarum. Ryza has a sect of Ruststalkers that have gone rogue, but still worship the Omnissiah so whatevs, it's all good.
8th Edition discussed several "new" Forge Worlds:
- Triplex Phall: Isolated, on the far east side of the galaxy, Triplex Phall has recovered a ton of STC and Archeotech but refused to give it to Mars. Basically AdMech Protestants. Mars now has a Skitarii Legion following them around with express instructions to warn Mars if Triplex Phall forces find any more secret tech. Invaded by Hive Fleet Kraken, attacked by Typhus, and invaded by Demons.
- Deimos: The moon of Mars, gifted to the Grey Knights of Titan at the end of the Horus Hersey. They make Grey Knight wargear and use Servitors to transfer the material between the Grey Knights and Deimos, mindscrubbing them at each end, allowing both to keep their secrets. Has three different Knight houses on Deimos, so fluff wise, Knight heavy forces are a good fit.
- Voss Prime: The most Mars Fanboyish of the Mars Fanboys, has a focus on Legio Cybernetica robots. Voss has a huge asteroid field that repelled an Ork Waagh merely on accident. Known for good tanks, but crappy plasma weapons.
- Gryphonne IV: The lost Forge world. The Tyranids ate their planet so they are the first nomadic forge "world," actively searching out a planet they can terraform into a new Mars.
The "big" Forge World remains Mars, with Cawl being the only unique character in the AdMech force. (Hieronomus Tezla says hello.) Lucius and Metalica round out with Mars as the "main" Forge Worlds, fluff wise.
However, each world has their own rules and details in the fluff, although the new ones remain somewhat intentionally vague for your dudes purposes -- Triplex Phall lends itself to odd conversions because "It's Archeotech," Deimos lends itself to borrowing some Grey Knights aesthetic and allies, whereas Gryphonne IV being a nomadic forge "world" lends itself to battle damage and the like. Even the old forge worlds get some additional flavor in the new fluff -- Stygies VIII lends itself well to sneaky types and Xenos conversions and allies, while Agripinaa force-conscripting refugees leads to Servators / Skitarii being made out of Imperial Guard or even Ecclesiarchy / Necromunda. And, Metalica going on a freaking safari for Hive Fleet Leviathan splinter fleets is just screaming for "Nid Hunter" Skitarii.
On the Tabletop
See also [8E Tactics]
8th Edition has landed, and the AdMech are resurgent. Having Cult Mechanicus and Skitarii merged together into one list was good enough, but they also merged Imperial Knights as "Questor Mechanicus" -- AdMech aligned Imperial Knight houses. Imperial Armor: Fires of Cyraxus is coming out "real soon now" which will have AdMech vs Tau and promises a bunch of new stuff, as well.
The biggest change, outside of the Knights now being part of AdMech (which means they can be repaired~!) is the promotion of Techpriests from Elite to HQ, allowing for a cheap HQ option if a tax is needed.
The Mechanicus received an entire army's worth of new plastic models and rulebook! Praise the Omnissiah!
At the moment, the Admech is divided into a number of different mini-factions. Currently, the Skitarii and the Cult Mechanicus army have been fully released. There is also the "Titan Guard" Secutarii on the way, but they're a Forge World army. The Legio Cybernetica is also part of the Adeptus Mechanicus, though aside from the Kastelan, they're Horus Heresy only.
The current releases include Skitarii, who are like if the Guard were badass technogrunge medievalpunk super-soldiers with access to all the good shit, spider-tanks, scout walkers that are basically the Sentinel if it was good, Servitors on tank treads that will wreck your shit, giant crazy-tough robots that will wreck your shit harder, and a plastic Magos HQ unit! Truly, venerate the Omnissiah, and He will provide. The Cult Mechanicus, meanwhile, consists mainly of half-naked tech-priests with a fetish for electricity and some battle servitors, including the aformentioned Kastelan. Tech-Priest Magos are also the only figures in modern 40k that carry Volkite weapons. The upcoming Titan Guard are divided into Peltasts and Hoplites, which are fitting descriptions as the former look to be ranged skirmishers, while the latter are heavily armored spearmen (the spears happen to shoot electricity).
The Commandments of the Mechanicus
The Mechanicus have some ideas that they abide by:
- Life is directed motion.
- The spirit is the spark of life.
- Sentience is the ability to learn the value of knowledge.
- Intellect is the understanding of knowledge.
- Sentience is the basest form of Intellect.
- Understanding is the True Path to Comprehension.
- Comprehension is the key to all things.
- The Omnissiah knows all, comprehends all.
- The alien mechanism is a perversion of the true path.
- The soul is the conscience of sentience.
- A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.
- The Soulless sentience is the enemy of all.
- The knowledge of the ancients stands beyond question.
- The machine spirit guards the knowledge of the ancients.
- Flesh is fallible, but ritual honors the machine spirit.
- To break with ritual is to break with faith.
What the Mechanicus does
The main role of the Adeptus Mechanicus is to maintain the advanced equipment of the Imperium; which despite stereotypes, they are actually very good at. Most of their rituals to appease machinery are pretty much the same methods we would use to repair our machinery with a whole bunch of religious iconography mixed in. The terms used by the Mechanicus are actually quite similar to our engineers if you swap some of the words (replace machine spirit with A.I, sacred oils with lubricant etc.) Because of its religious nature some of the components of the rituals are unnecessary but almost all Tech-Priests skip the unnecessary stuff in dire situations while some abandon the unnecessary parts altogether. It's also implied that the so-called holy chants are really them repeating instructions to themselves, which would be useful for remembering what you're doing. The cases where chanting is actually necessary is where they are working with something like a Land Raider or Titan - both of which have a temperamental machine spirit - that you don't want to piss off.
They spend a lot of time traveling across the galaxy looking for some old laptops called "Standard Template Constructs" that have all the info necessary for the first human colonist do their job well (mostly a mix of Ikea and "high-tech for dummies" manuals). This is the reason why you will end selling grox hamburgers if you study to be an engineer (unless you have balls or are a spess mehreen artificer who might make something really good) in the Imperium: everything was already done by the ancients in the Dark Age of William Gibson and recorded in these STCs. Thanks to glitches and borderline developers and programmers, all the STCs found by the Mechanicus are more fucked up than Windows Vista. While often the recovered STCs are useless or incomplete, there are instances where they are actually functional, for example the STC data of the Land Raider and the Land Speeder as well as Centurion armour are well known, another nice example is the one found in the novel Skitarius by Rob Sanders, where the badass protagonist helps the Adeptus Mechanicus priests to find a sort of "Empyrean Bomb", capable to dissipate warp phenomena. More often than not STC data comes from print-outs from fragmented STCs, or copies of these print-outs. These printouts, when discovered, are studied, translated and argued over for centuries before any useful products are made from them. If they ever find an undamaged complete STC, this would likely cause a schism within the Mechanicus, which will tear the Imperium asunder. It's worth noting that different writers seem to have different ideas of what an STC is. Some depict them as a single blueprint for some high-tech equipment, some depict them as a database of those blueprints, and on at least one occasion an STC was portrayed as what can be described as a massive 3-D Printer. The Adeptus Mechanicus also attempt sometimes to loot Necron tombs and will gladly put an entire world at risk for this, and act like it's blasphemy of the most serious kind when people wall it off because of the goddamn killer robot skeletons! The idiots. The Priests of Mars also will not mind getting their hands on Xenos artifacts to see how such "blasphemies" can work, and maybe give a hint of how a "pure" design should have been.
Very rarely the Adeptus will actually invent something. While they do adapt designs occasionally the only things they actually invented from scratch is the Lascannon, the Dunestrider perpetual motion machine (whose creator was promptly executed and all designs lost upon creation), as well all the Titans, except for the Reaver Class and the Apocalypse Class, which were invented during the Age of Strife and the Dark Age of Technology respectively. Which is pretty odd, until you realize that they invented them pre-heresy. Even things like Land Raiders and Land Speeders, which were said to have been given critically important parts by the famous Mr. Land himself, were actually just made from really old bits Land found in the galaxy's third biggest library/archive/warehouse (the one on Terra). Well, they also invented the Infernus pattern Predator. Sure they built it on the Rhino chassis, but they created a pattern without killing everyone involved. Of course, they aren't actually "inventing" it. They are, supposedly, using divinely inspired reason to create something that has always existed, implicit in the logical structure of the universe. This is, interestingly, not a new idea, it can be traced back to philosophers like Plato, ultimately the Mechanicus will play to no end with the meaning of the word "invent" to get the job done, as too often and despite /tg/'s cartoonish flanderization your average techpriest will have enough common sense to "feel divinely inspired" whenever his/her neck is on the line, you know, desperation is the mother of all inven... Ahem, I mean, "divinely inspired reason".
Also important to mention is what they do not do. The Mechanicus by and large are the greediest gits in the galaxy. They hoard technology like it is going out of style, which would be fine, if they didn't hoard and defend it, but that isn't the point. The point is that they're basically a mega-corporation that will try to own, buy, sell and take by force any existing technology. Getting a part, gun, computer, vehicle, schematic, program, eyepatch, cookie recipe, or even a tiny plastic model that wasn't specifically mass-produced and shipped to the Departmento Munitorum so they can give it to you, is nearly impossible. Anything with any kind of passing significance or interest to the Mechanicus is guarded by 7-foot cyborg death machines. Anything in the private possession of a Mechanicus operative that might be harder to make than a bolt or nut is treated like the holy grail. I dare you to try and take a 8,000 year-old flash drive from a techpriest who just found it. It's worse than taking little plastic models from fat men with beards.
The Void Dragon
A lot of their tech stuffs come from the Void Dragon that the Emperor bested and imprisoned on Mars ages ago as so humanity could gain mastery over machines. While it might have worked pretty well back when the Imperium wasn't the festering portaloo of a grimdark shitpit that it is today, it's pretty much a matter of time now. The Necrons already attempted to raid Mars - and succeeded, well, sort of. They got vaporized before they could really even do anything, but the fact that they managed to even land proved a point the High Lords of Terra had been turning a blind eye towards for ages.
If the T-800s get what they want and party on Mars long enough to wake the Void Dragon up, you can bet it's going to be a pretty goddamned bad day for just about any human not wearing loincloths and still bashing rocks together. The few Mechanicus agents who have figured this out have either gone rogue, blammed or gone totally bonkers, ripping all the implants from their flesh. And when you're a member of the Mechanicus, that's about 80% of your body.
Of course, the even worse possibility is that the void dragon enjoys this situation, as every time the tech-priests remove their flesh and place more machine into it, they could be feeding him a fraction of their soul. As there are quite a few tech-priests out there, and humanity being the rabbits they are, this would give him a lifetime of souls to be eating, and a personal army that is very much willing. Ironically, given this, it could mean the Void Dragon might side with humanity as an endlessly increasing supply of soul-stuff. The Mechanicus gets its implants and technology and does not lose enough of their souls to not pass on when they die, the Void Dragon gets a bit of soul from each of them and their numbers endlessly increase with humanity's ever growing population. Everyone wins and, as we all know, Dragons are rather protective of their hoards....
By the way, the "Void" Dragon is actually only called "The Dragon" in the official fluff, probably as a reference to Metropolis.
But for God knows what unreasonable reason, /tg/ insists on calling him the "Void Dragon", thus confusing him with an Eldar aircraft, or with an Eldar pirate warband. Unless it's an obscure vidya reference. Whatever, maybe it just sounds cooler. The Eldar refer to it as the "Void Dragon", and the aircraft and pirate warband take their names from it.
UPDATE: The new Codex: Necrons written by our Spiritual Liege reveals the necrons are no longer enslaved by the C'tan, instead they are their sworn enemies for tricking them into giving up flesh, thus they were probably going to Mars to capture the Imperial held C'tan shard of the Void Dragon as they won't see humans reliable, or perhaps they were under control of another shard, and wanted to liberate it, oh whatever, for what we know it may have been Trollzyn trying to loot Mars. Or, maybe they simply realize that having a C'tan that can control technology on a planet-sized machine-scape is a bad idea. It is unlikely that the Void Dragon would have been shattered, though. Because it is hard to do that to something with technology when that something has complete control over all technology. Yeah. Which, in hind-sight, might be part of the reason why the Necrons went into hibernation. Because when you are a living machine and you just pissed off something that controls machines... it is a good time to run away really fast.
The only thing that changes as a result of that is once the Void Dragon (shard or whole, who knows?) wakes up, it will be the only C'tan with ready access to an army, and a pretty damn huge one at that- so it's not only going to be a real bad day for the Imperium, but the Necrons as well.
UPDATE 2: And now it seems the World Engine of Astral Knights fame was supposed to be in route to Mars in order to allow his usurper Phaeron to get himself a new Void Dragon Pokémon, good thing he got sabotaged.
Why Everything is so Grimdark
"The Mechanicus does NOT have the technology. They haven't been living on some fancy paradise planet since pre-Fall. Mars is an anarchic nightmare shithole the moment you leave the safe zones into the kilometers of labyrinthine corridors beneath it full of rogue machinery, self-aware and malevolent AI from before the Fall, and the daemon programs of the Heresy. EVERYTHING in the databases is fucked. The databases are fragmented over the entire surface to the extent that it would be impossible to see one tenth of the total files in the ludicrously extended life of a Magos even assuming that they are completely safe to visit. And they are not.
The files have been corrupted into madness by the Fall, and the unleashing of the most potent informational warfare systems ever to exist to defeat the Iron Men. Nearly all of Mars was rendered uninhabitable, what they live in now is built on the top of the ruins. They send archeotech expeditions in to find shit, nearly all of them never come back. The sheer number of rogue war machine running around in there is sufficient to rape the mind. Then came the Heresy, which was not earth-exclusive. Mars as the second most critical planet in the Imperium was the site of fighting nearly as ferocious as on Terra, with Mechanicus loyalists and Hereteks fighting tooth, nail, and mechadendrite everywhere. Ancient machines were unleashed, viruses both normal and daemonic unleashed into all the computer systems. Towards the close of the Heresy, Rogal Dorn sent some Space Marine operatives to wipe the planet clean of all life. Nearly every single stored record on Mars was rendered unusable, and those that survived are half the time self-aware and don't like you, or daemonic and actively try to kill you.
If you come back with a schematic, it is almost certainly gibberish, and if it isn't, it's probably corrupted into uselessness. If it does come back whole it was probably malevolently fucked with so that instead of a Lasgun power cell it's a fucking grenade set to detonate the second you finish building it. Why do you think they want off-world STCs so damned much if they had them all here? The fucking Heresy is why. Off-world they only have to contend with the Fall's war and its effects on the machinery plus twenty thousand years of degradation with no maintenance. But at least off-world it'll probably just not work instead of actively seeking to kill you.
Why do you think they seek to placate the Machine Spirit? It's because it exists. The fragments of trillions of self-aware programs, flourishing during the Dark Age of Technology and shattered by Man in his war with the Iron men, imprisoning the few who had not set themselves irrevocably into the machinery, a prison smashed wide open by the Heresy. Everything that can hold programming in the Imperium has a shard of a program in it. EVERYTHING. And you'd better fucking please it or it will do everything in its power to make your day shit. Sure, if it's a Lasgun it'll just not work or start shooting off rounds by itself, but if you piss off a Land Raider you can say bye-bye to half a continent. They apply these principles to things without spirits by habit, since they're so used to dealing with tanks that if not talked to just right might go rogue and annihilate the Manufactorum before they can be killed.
This is why they do not like ANYONE fucking with technology, because it is so rare to find anything that just works it is critical it not be compromised. That, and they do not have the actual knowledge to fuck with it intelligently, just through experimentation, which inevitably leads to slaughter. Pressing buttons to see what works is fine in a 21st century computer, but it is a very stupid thing to do at the helm of a 410th century starship with the destructive power to end solar systems. The entire knowledge base of humanity was lost. Not forgotten, but outright lost. Everything at all, poof. Nobody knows anything because the Fall fucked everything up and the Heresy double-fucked it. To rebuild the theoretical framework needed to design new technologies that don't kill everyone near them would require starting from the ground up. They don't have the time, they never have, and they never will.
This gets on to the point of war and what it does to technology. Someone will parrot that it makes it go much faster. Yes, it makes practical applications of technology go much faster. It also utterly stops all research on the scientific theories behind those technologies. This means that when war chugs along for a decade or two things get done. It means when it goes on too long you run out of theories to turn into technologies, and then you run out of technologies to apply. You stagnate. When you have been fighting in a war for survival in a drastically overextended empire, this is what happens. You are desperate for any extra materiel that can possibly be produced. Half your entire fucking military might went rogue, smashed the half that stayed and a whole swathe of the logistical side of your society, leaving you with the tattered shreds of a war machine to keep hold of an empire that was reaching straining point with an army far larger. There is no time for the sort of applied research programs that took Man twenty five thousand years to develop, in a time of unprecedented growth and prosperity.
This is also why the Adeptus Mechanicus insists on cargo cultism. It's because when you are dealing with things you barely understand because everything you knew about them was destroyed it is the safest and most reliable option. The rituals do not exists for mysticism, they exist because they are the most practical means of building, repairing and maintaining the equipment they have with the knowledge surviving. You don't understand why pressing that button makes it go, because the manual tried to take over your brain and the copies are all unreadable and the research base that would let you reverse-engineer it does not exist and cannot be built.
Why are the Tau doing so well with their technology? Because they had peace. Eight thousand years unmolested by any enemy and they were helped the entire time by the most advanced biological race in the galaxy. Give the Imperium eight thousand years of peace and I can guarantee you it will be harder than it was during the Great Crusade.
Since some still don't get the idea, try this:
Build a library, fill it with all human knowledge. You take it elsewhere when you need a book from it, but the book is only a simplified copy. You don't understand the real book, and you don't need to. Nobody takes the real books anywhere because why would you, when there's a whole library there?
Now that library goes rogue and the maintenance machinery starts killing everyone any-fucking-where near it. Where the fuck did they all come from, you swear to god there weren't this many, and there weren't because they're using the library's information to fight their war. The government fights a battle that destroys the planet against these robots and tears apart the library to stop them using it, only to be destroyed in the process. The library is leveled, cast into flames, every book burned and every computer virus-laden.
Then comes a man who worked there. He talks to the few surviving library workers, assembles their information, and starts rebuilding a city around the library and expanding it as the librarians find little scraps of paper and fragmented bits of files that stuck together just right read something. They rebuild a library from scrap on the ashes of the old. It isn't a shadow on the glory of the old, but it is all they have.
Then the city turns on itself, kills its master, and the librarians turn to rage. Half of them kill the other half and destroy the remnants of the library because where they're going they won't need science. Everything burns, and the city is left to a scattered few survivors, walls open to the world, with the hungry predators circling.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is the sole surviving librarian, desperately scrabbling through the ashes of paper and splinters of hard drives for anything to help him and the city he needs to survive just a second longer.
The Imperium isn't grim because things suck by choice and could be fine if a sensible person came along. That sensible person wouldn't survive fifty seconds of the reality. The Imperium is grim because every single shit decision, every single sacrifice, every single death, every single man woman and child suffering a shit life in the worst conditions imaginable, is the absolute best that can be done. It is a study of the worst happening to everyone and what part of your humanity must be sacrificed today just to stand a chance of survival, and all it asks is whether or not it would have perhaps been better to die."
--Baron von Evilsatan
Mechanicum Understanding of Science
There's the common misconception that the AdMech don't really understand science and approach all tech with rituals. That's arguably wrong. In the "Mechanicum" novel they are shown to have actual theoretical knowledge of physics. Yes, that's 31st millennium, but it's quite clear that even in the 41st they know about "normal" science like mechanic, thermodynamic, biology, optics, quantum physics etc. AdMech has probably as much science as we have today and more. And they are quite happy to play with it. What they don't really understand and they don't like to play with (unless they are really forced to) is the hyper advanced tech from the dark age of technology.
Take the lasgun as an example. There are almost infinite patterns of lasguns. They are almost all developed after the great crusade because we know that the lasgun wasn't that common back there. So they understand materials and mechanics well enough to create different stocks and triggers. They understand optics as they can focus the las beam with different barrel lengths. And they do use this knowledge to create new patterns. What they won't modify is the power pack. Because the power pack is a scary super advanced piece of technology that not only will hold enough energy for a hundred las shots powerful enough to kill an armored man, but it will be easily rechargeable thousands of times. And they don't have a clue on how that works.
There's a quite good reason to that. The ultra advanced science used in the Dark Age of Technology was developed with the aid of AIs and super advanced computers. It's entirely possible that even the scientists of that time didn't fully understand their science and a lot of r&d was done automatically by artificial intelligence far superior to humans. Now you can't do this anymore because you know that AIs will try to kill you. In the "Mechanicum" novel the Dragon Caretaker says that the Emperor engineered the creation of the Mechanicum. Why the atheist Emperor would create a machine cult if not because it was the only way to retain a technology that the humanity would have no possibility to comprehend anymore once that the AIs would be wiped out?
This is interesting because it's said that the Emperor defeated the Dragon during the late Roman Empire, for this purpose. This means that he foresaw the rebellion of the machines and the long night and allowed it as a mean to develop a technology that could then be salvaged after.
Then the Horus Heresy came and fucked up everything. And yes, the cult mentality of AdMech involved probably more than should have been. But the real reason that they don't go around innovating and creating new stuff, it's that id doesn't pay off. The real "power" of their technology comes from the Dark Age of Technology stuff and they are not able to touch that.
And this is not all. The lack of AIs and uber computational power might hinder you from understanding advanced science to a point, yes. But it will absolutely wreck your ability to produce practical applications of said advanced science. Let me make an example, ok? You are fifty years in the future and fusion energy is an everyday reality from fusion power plants. ITER worked after all. You are transported on to a desert island and you have all the scientific knowledge of humanity in your brain. You are asked to build a practical fusion based power source. You can use any tool and component but you don't have access to computers. Can you do it?
Nah. You can understand perfectly how the thing should work and how to design one. But without computers you don't have the ability of run the extremely complex calculations and simulations to optimize the reactor to the point that it produces more energy than it consumes. So they hand you a blueprint of a currently working reactor. Can you build it now? Sure. You have a blueprint and the theoretical knowledge to understand what you are doing, so you build the damn thing.
Then they ask you if you can build another but slightly different. Bigger? Smaller? More powerful? Less powerful? Doesn't matter. Can you do that?
Well... maybe? You have the blueprints of a working design and you have the theoretical understanding on how it works, so you can try to modify it. But you still don't have the computational power to validate your modifications so... you can try? Best case scenario, it works. Worst case scenario? You nuke the whole fucking island. On the average? It will kinda work but it will less efficient/polished/optimized than the original design.
So you don't really like to modify the original (standard) template (construct), unless you are really forced to. Does it remind you of something? Yep, that's the mechanicum mindset.
The Religion of the Adeptus Mechanicus
(Forgive OP's bellicose statement, but the fluff and novels pertaining to the AdMech are rather obscure to whether or not they truly understand what they talk about.)
Begin Rant/file exc.//>>
Children, I'm fucking fed up with your shit. Cult Mechanicus IS NOT a replacement of rational thought with religion for the sake of operating machines.It's a (in-universe) developed philosophy of collective rationalism. AdMechs don't throw their critical thinking out of the window. They just already took this thinking, put it on a pedestal, brought it to it's apex (Dark Age), suffered for it, suffered for it again (Horus Heresy, Schism of Mars), then looked at it and asked : "What do we do now?" Every Mechanicum is a rationalist, in a meaning that when he goes through all the critical thinking to the basic reason of his existence, he takes on the dogma of Quest for Knowledge. That he exists to Rationalize the Universe, move towards learning and understanding the Universe and it's laws. It's also a collective quest - adept doesn't seek knowledge just for himself, he sees all the Adeptus Mechanicus as one single huge Gnostical Engine, a Machine of Comprehension designed to learn. He's just a single little gear in the heart of enormous Over-Intellect gathering and producing knowledge.
For what sake? AdMechs thought a lot about this question, and took one answer.
For the sake of Mankind.
Now THIS is where shit gets religious.
As of it now, humanity utilizes science for egoistical purposes of survival (scientists need something to eat) and/or domination, which can be understood by every human through his instincts. Society of Mars, however, got devoid of this motivators, as they dropped their human instincts, so they had to find new goals. This is where the Schism takes roots, as well as the "Cult" part. Every rational human can tell you that objectively life has no meaning. Accepting that fact is what brought the galaxy Necrons and Iron Men. AdMechs knew that this is what they wish to avoid. And the most effective way to avoid that is to walk the irrational way and put a sense for your existence through Faith.
This is what they did.
They are the fanatics in the sense that they BELIEVE that Universe CAN be comprehended, while they have 0 proof of that. They BELIEVE that critical thinking works, while living in a Galaxy that laughs at any attempts of rationalization. They BELIEVE that Quest for Knowledge can be completed. And it this faith, they are being paradoxical and irrational. And they know it. Lets have a look at Universal Laws, that Mechanicum use as the foundation of their philosophy.
01. Life is directed motion.
This gives a definition to "life", as existence of individual. A definition that basically says "Only that thing which irrationally takes a (faith) direction for it's way can be called a Living Thing".
02. The spirit is the spark of life.
Here they recognize the illogical existence of Souls and Warp, and their defining roles in being representation of one's beliefs.
03. Sentience is the ability to learn the value of knowledge.
04. Intellect is the understanding of knowledge.
05. Sentience is the basest form of Intellect.
Here they define ability for rational thinking.
06. Understanding is the True Path to Comprehension.
07. Comprehension is the key to all things.
And HERE they put this thinking as their Way to exist.
08. The Omnissiah knows all, comprehends all.
And establish an ideal, to which they are heading. --Anon
Another Magos adds: There's definitely variation in the creed between forgeworlds and different cults-- even post Heresy, Mars is not unified-- but a lot of them operate on this sort of platonic/hermeticist logic. Regardless of whether they believe all knowledge already exists or that the disciplined mind can create new things, the religion is trying for union with some perfect being. Whether that's taken to mean "become a robot because the flesh is weak", "find salvation in logic", or even "cultivate the Omnissiah within you" (which would lead to radical differences in practice, from penitent cyberization cults to contemplative engineering orders, which we see in the many faces of the Mechanicum, Koriel Zeth, Forgeworld Mezoa, the Myrmidon Orders, etc), it all leads back to a cautious quest to be the best you can be with logic as your guide.
Someone got Chaos on my Mechanicus, now with theme music!
- Mechanicus Tactics. - Yes, they have rules now.
- Heresy Era Mechanicum Tactics. - 6th/early 7th edition rules. Very different from either of the 40k versions.
- Mechanicum: Taghmata (30k) - Current 7th edition rules. Still very different to the 40k versions.
- The Adeptus Mechanicus are avid music lovers.
- This is their theme done by HMKids.
- And one for the Machine Cult.
|Forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus|
|Troops:|| Combat Servitors - Electro Priest - Enginseer - Kataphron Battle Servitors |
Myrmidon - Secutarii - Skitarii - Tech Priest - Tech Thrall - Thallax - Ursarax
| Castellan-class robot - Cataphract-class robot - Colossus-class robot |
Conqueror-class robot - Crusader-class robot - Scyllax-class robot
Thanatar-class robot - Vultarax stratos-automata
|Walkers:||Ironstrider Ballistarius - Onager Dunecrawler - Sydonian Dragoon|
|Vehicles:|| Chimera - Galvanic Servohauler - Karacnos Assault Tank - Krios Battle Tank |
Land Raider - Macrocarid Explorator - Minotaur Artillery Tank - Ordinatus
Rhino Transport - Triaros Armoured Conveyer
|Flyers:||Avenger Strike Fighter - Lightning Fighter - Storm Eagle|
|Titans:|| Imperator Battle Titan - Imperial Knight - Reaver Battle Titan |
Warhound Scout Titan - Warlord Battle Titan
|Playable Factions in Warhammer 40,000|
|Imperium:||Adeptus Custodes - Adeptus Mechanicus - Imperial Guard - Imperial Knights - Space Marines|
|Officio Assassinorum - Inquisition - Deathwatch - Grey Knights - Sisters of Battle|
|Sisters of Silence - Squats - Militarum Tempestus|
|Chaos:||Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines - Lost and the Damned - Renegade Knights|
|Xenos:||Dark Eldar - Eldar - Eldar Corsairs - Harlequins - Ynnari|
|Genestealer Cults - Tyranids|
|Necrons - Orks - Tau|
|Governments, Empires, Nations and Astropolitical Powers of the Galaxy|
|Imperial Powers:||Imperium of Man (Adeptus Mechanicus - Ultramar)|
|Chaos Powers:||Prospero/Sortiarius Systems - Scourge Stars|
|Eldar Powers:||Commorragh - Craftworlds (Alaitoc - Iyanden - Saim-Hann - Ulthwé)|
|Necron Powers:|| Sautekh Dynasty - Maynarkh Dynasty - Nihilakh Dynasty |
Mephrit Dynasty - Thokt Dynasty
|Ork Powers:||Ork Empire of Charadon - Ork Empire of Octarius|
|Other Powers:||Tau Empire - Farsight Enclaves - Q'Orl Swarmhood|