"Those who play with the devil's toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword."
- – R. Buckminster Fuller
"Science never sacrifices itself. It is always murderous."
- – Jean Baudrillard
"MAKE PEE NIS IN TO ROBOT."
Ever wonder how Chaos Space Marines get ammo for their Bolters? How they repair their armor when it gets inevitably damaged? Who maintains the Traitor Titan legions? Look no further, because it's all done by the Dark Mechanicum.
As Horus plotted his rebellion, he knew that having the Adeptus Mechanicus would be a major advantage against his father. In an effort to buy them into following him, Horus promised them the Standard Template Constructs in possession of the Auretian Technocracy, and access to the Vaults of Moravec. Infected with Chaos-tainted scrapcode upon opening the Vaults, Fabricator-General Kelbor-Hal declared his allegiance to Horus, and subsequently slaughtered everyone on Mars who didn't. When the Traitor Legions arrived in the Sol System, Mars was used as their staging point for Terra. Following the end of the Heresy, the Dark Mechanicus continued to function, supplying weapons and technology to the Traitor Legions. In return, powerful Chaos Lords such as Abaddon keep them in line with their shiny hoards of Archaeotech they found during the Great Crusade.
In opposition to the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Dark Mechanicus favors exploring technology to its limits and trying to create new technology. This often means finding better ways to create Daemon Engines, and making even weirder Warp-based tech and weapons. They even managed to make Servitors out of that which must not be named called Death-Masques, back when they had been derided as largely useless.
Many members of the Dark Mechanicus consider the Omnissiah to be a combined aspect of Chaos Undivided, holding it as a means of progress and innovation. However, it also contains all the drawbacks one would expect of Chaos. Instead of machine-spirits, the Dark Mechanicus uses bound Daemons to provide the intelligence and power sources needed to run the machines. In addition, the Dark Mechanicus has techno-organic technology. So everything they make is not only very much alive, but it also wants to kill you. More than usual, we mean.
Unlike the AdMech, the DarkMech hasn't been running around the galaxy all that much. While on paper they should have evil Skitarii, Titan Legions, and warships at their command, they haven't been out with the rest of the forces of Chaos to rape, pillage, and burn the Imperium. However, instead of sitting on the couch for the past 10,000 years, they have been operating the daemon-forge worlds within the Eye of Terror and beyond to keep anyone on the Imperium's bad side armed and happy.
A good look into the Dark Mechanicus in the fluff is to read Ben Counter's Dark Adeptus in his Grey Knights series. Seriously, check it out. It will give you a good idea what kind of demented madmen fill the ranks of the dark order. Also Graham McNeill's Dead Sky, Black Sun from his Ultramarines series has a few chapters that show what life might be like underneath the Dark Mechanicus. Aaron Dembski-Bowden's Night Lords has a Dark Mechanicus who evidently decided to do as the Romans do and try to look as intimidating as hell by coating his skeleton with steel and wearing a black robe over it, so he looks like a steel-boned Grim Reaper. He also invented a jamming device that runs off of torturing a Titan pilot and broadcasting the resulting binary screams at max power. The Adeptus Mechanicus Duology is also set on a DarkMech forge world, and gives you a nifty insight into how they function and live.
What about a Codex?
Well it wouldn't be far off: the loyal Adeptus Mechanicus has been getting Codexes since 7th Edition, and GW has been adding "new" factions to the game for a while, so it wouldn't be too surprising. It also would be pretty cool because of all the different stuff that would be added in - either absolute cheese or some pretty nifty Daemon engine rules, say finally getting Stalk Tanks. Or better yet Servitor daemon hybrids.
Forge World has heard our prayers as the 30k Dark Mechanicus will finally have rules (and hopefully, models) in the 10th Horus Heresy book after Crusade. Ave Omnissiah!
See These Sick Fucks As Well
- Iron Warriors, who dabble in pretty fucked up mad science from time to time.
- Savage Morticians, a Dark Mechanicus Magos Biologos division of complete sick fucks who tended...
- The Daemonculaba, a pretty fucked up system of hothousing Space Marines, devised by another completely sick fuck.
- Haemonculus, sick counterpart of the Dark Eldar.
- Anacharis Scoria, pretty sick tabletop wise.