Legio Cybernetica

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FW models for the Castellan class Robot
The Robotic Matryoshka Dolls.

The Legio Cybernetica were a part of 40K's first and second editions, before the escalation of grimdark in 3rd Edition made tech-heresy a thing (also, their rules required essentially mapping out their actual programming with logic gates, which was theoretically awesome but practically kind of a pain in the ass). Armies of these thinking war-robots have been fighting alongside the Marines and the Army since the Great Crusade, but without direct command and programming were completely useless.

Some of these robots were rewarded for their service by being made honorary members of the Legions they served with. Incarnadine, a Cybernetica robot was even called "brother" by fellow Word Bearers and started develop glitches in it's system that hinted on it evolving a conscience Daemon. During the Horus Heresy, Horus swayed Kelbor-Hal, the Fabricator-General of Mars (and therefore the ultimate commander of Mechanicum forces) over to his side along with nearly the entire Legio Cybernetica. When the Emperor won his Pyrrhic battle against Horus, the surviving traitor Mechanicum forces fled to the Eye of Terror, where they presumably hide to the 'present day' of the 41st millennium. The Black Legion presumably has heaps of them guarding the Vengeful Spirit, as founding member Iskandar Khayon spent centuries after the Heresy hiring his services out for robots. Some cohorts of the Legio Cybernetica remained loyal to the Imperium (as well as Space Marine Legions and Forge World Taghmata, they also served in the auxilary forces of Titan Legions), but their numbers were minimal, and they were forced to swear binding oaths more terrible than the Space Marines. Yet as of 41st Millenium, the Tech-Priests of the Legio have regained their former glory and (most) of the lost trust.

While thrown out the proverbial airlock since 3rd edition, the Legio Cybernetica have made a comeback in the Forge World's Horus Heresy series (and in Lords of Mars) and in regular 40k! Seriously, look at their store! It looks like the Legio is finally about to return to the 41st millenium, thanks to in Imperial Armour 16. At the November 2016 Weekender the author confirmed Automata such as the mighty Thanatar will soon be handing out cortex controlled carnage To the Tau and other enemies of the Imperium.

Robot types[edit]

Castellan-class robot[edit]

A Castellan Kastelan Castellax robot.

An assault robot designed for anti-tank and siege work. The Castellan is an assault Robot useful for a wide range of battlefield roles. Its twin power fists and heavy bolter give it a dangerous punch, protected by a power field/synchroniser unit. It can substitute its heavy bolter for a lascannon, melta gun or third power fist, while the standard fists can be replaced with a Siege Hammer, autocannons and flamer.

  • In Heresy-era 30k and first to get a Forgeworld model, but for some reason called the Castellax, mounting a Mauler-pattern Bolt Cannon on the shoulder which can be replaced with a multi-melta or a Darkfire Cannon (essentially a somewhat weaker Lascannon Long Range Plasma Rifle with Lance that blinds enemies that it hits) and coming with a choice of hand weapons.
  • In 40k we have the Kastelan which superficially looks similar to the Castellax, being a somewhat rounded, robotic, monstrous creature type with a shoulder mounted weapon and a pair of power fists that can be replaced with twin-linked phosphor blasters. Though these ones can replace the fists for moar guns. Unlike the 30k version they are less autonomous and operate under "Battle Protocols" which are determined by a specialist tech-priest called Datasmith, but if the priest ever goes missing then the robots just follow the most recent protocol issued to them, which can cause them to stand still and shoot, or to forget they have guns.

Scyllax-class robot[edit]

The Scyllax robot.

A robot prized far beyond the servo-automata form which they were developed using ancient secrets uncovered during the Great Crusade, the Scyllax acts as both an elite shock troops or the bodyguards of Magos overseers. Though there are some factions within the Adeptus Mechanicus who will have no truck with the Scyllax, claiming sinister provenance for its design, and that the automata gain a subtle and dangerous self-awareness over time.

No larger than an armored man, the Scyllax Guardian-automata demonstrates formidable power in a more compact frame. Their armored carapaces are as durable as Adeptus Astartes battle plate (sort of... except not, it has 4+), and house instead powerful electro-thermic reactors and banks of lucid cogitator-stacks that process a storm of battlefield analysis engrams and protective tech-incantations; which is so potent that some has proclaimed it as bordering on tech-heresy. They are also radioactive to the point nearby soldiers start dying - be they the enemy's or not.

They also have been adapted with a wide variety of mechadendrites and servo-arms for dissecting living matter as well as a ranged weapon such as a Bolter. An interesting thing about the Scyllax is that these robots were neither true Battle Automata due to their absence of a cybernetica-cortex nor could they be classified as a Servitor due to having nearly no organic components. They look and slither around like mechanical snakes; essentially the Mechanicum version of a Necron Canoptek Wraith.

Cataphract-class robot[edit]

The general purpose Cataphracts.

A general purpose combat robot, popular for its resilience and adaptability. The Cataphract-class robot is a heavily-armoured general-purpose battle robot designed for use in almost all combat environments and situations.

This versatility in a wide range of battlefield roles makes this war engine a highly-deployable and popular machine among the Legio Cybernetica's cohorts. Cataphracts are armed and can mount a variety of weapons for various purposes, the most common being one Lascannon above its chassis and a Bolter mounted on one arm and one Flamer mounted on the other. They and protected by a power field/synchroniser unit. Its versatility makes it popular Robot to deploy, although some commanders regard it as a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. It can substitute its weapons for an autocannon, Siege Hammer, heavy bolter and power fist.

The name Cataphract came from a form of armored heavy cavalry used in ancient warfare by a number of peoples in Western Eurasia and the Eurasian Steppe. These were the guys in heavy scale or chain armor that covered the horsies in even MOAR scale or chain armor. The Cataphract robots was named due to its relatively quick and versatile combat role that is able to provide a modest amount of heavy firepower on the battlefield whilst supporting its allies.

Colossus-class robot[edit]

The Domitar-Ferrum, son of the Colossus and the Domitar's brother.

HULK SMASH!: The Robot. A siege robot given a Siege-hammer for smashing down walls, though it is equally useful squashing opponents. Other armaments include a boltgun mounted on its other arm appendage for use against defending troops. The Siege Hammer can also be used in close combat situations. It also possesses a chassis-mounted Multi-Melta for additional firepower and anti-vehicular damage. Protected by a power field/synchroniser unit, its weaponry can be replaced with autocannons, heavy bolters, and power fists, allowing for a number of combinations.

The Colossus is often employed by the Imperial Guard as a cheap alternative to the use of heavy artillery. A few Colossus-class robots are maintained by the Ordo Reductor of the Adeptus Mechanicus, mainly for testing new and experimental siege weaponry.

  • The Domitar-Ferrum class robots is often called as the spiritual successor of the Colossus whom Perturabo made into personal bodyguards called the Iron Circle. The Domitar-Ferrum is also the larger, more heavily armored brother of the Domitars. They are often armed with a giant Karceri Battle Shield, a big FUCK OFF Graviton Maul, and Olympia Bolt Cannon. They were formed after Ol'Perty's own personal flagship was boarded by enemy raiders. Judging the gross embarrassment in the failures of his own sons, Perturabo decided that robots was just plain better and made the Domitar-Ferrum by combining the existing Domitar and Conqueror robots and building them upon the blueprints and templates of the outdated Colossus robot.

Conqueror-class robot[edit]

The Domitar robots.

An anti-vehicle robot, which specializes in taking down armored vehicles and Dreadnought analogs. Conquerors are protected by heavy armour and a power field/synchorniser unit, as mentioned the Conqueror is particularly adept at taking out armoured vehicles and Dreadnoughts. Standard armament is a heavy bolter, autocannon and power fist, which can be swapped for lascannons, flamers, melta guns and bolter, as well as doubling up on any one. Now also with no less than two FW versions (for some reason called the Domitar and Arlatax respectively), the former has twin gravitational hammers for smashing shit, while the latter is a Robot with a Jump Pack.

  • The Domitar can be called as a more advanced and larger version of the Castellan, the Domitar was also swifter, designed to cross the open battlefield at blistering speeds. Other than its sheer bulk which is in itself a weapon, the Domitar is armed with gravitational hammers that can crush tanks and dreadnoughts into smaller METAL BAWKSES and a missile launcher if it can't get close enough. It was the last type of war robot to enter Mechanicum production before the Horus Heresy, the Domitar was a variant of the sophisticated ancient Conqueror Class Robot. A variant of the Domitar-Class Robot, the Domitar-Ferrum class, was used by Ol'Pert as his Iron Circle honor guard following the Battle of Phall.

Crusader-class robot[edit]

The Preying Mantis Vorax automatas ready to harvest.

An anti-personnel robot, Crusaders are fast on their feet (servos?) and can easily take down multiple opponents. It's basically the Flash with power swords in place of arms. Scary. It also has a chassis-mounted Lascannon for making new doors so it can slaughter a building's occupants. The latest to get rules from FW (for some reason called the Vorax), with a Lightning Gun in place of the Lascannon and arm mounted Rotor Cannons.

  • The Vorax is a hunter-killer robot descended from the aforementioned Crusader that, like the Crusader beforehand looks more like an insect more than anything else. Created on pre-Imperial Mars to search and destroy Mutants and rogue machines, their cybernetica cortex engrams are known to be particularly predatory and vicious examples of their kind. Such are the vicious instincts inherent in their programming that they are wired with numerous override cantos to prevent these tireless hunting machines from devolving into renegades. They fulfill the roles both of search and destroy weapon and exterminator of rogue machines and mutants. Armed with a pair of rotor cannon and a lightning gun for range combat and power blades for CQC. At times they are also dispatched by their masters to conduct a cull of surplus population during famine or plague, their hunts only ending when their masters orders. What dicks they are. As such they are held in superstitious dread by the human indentured laborers of the Mechanicum's worlds.

Thanatar-class robot[edit]

The Thanatar. For when you need the Biggest Robot in the room.

A giant monstrous walking engine of death, the Thanatar is the size of an Tau Riptide, and comes with a twin linked Mauler Bolt Cannon, a massive Hellex Plasma Mortar or Sollex-pattern heavy Lascannon, as well as a Graviton Ram. The Thanatar's frame, built to accommodate the huge weapon and its power system, is considerably larger than even the bulking Castellax. Its frame is also heavily reinforced, both to withstand the recoil of firing its weapons and protect it from incoming attacks. Its armor makes it essentially impervious to small arms attacks no matter how advanced. Due to the enormous power required to power its colossal weapons, the Thanatar was considerably larger than other Battle-Automata. Unlike many of the models produced for the Legio Cybernetica, the origins of the Thanatar pattern robot remain unclear. Save that its Hellex Plasma Mortar is only produced on the Forge World of Ryza. There are two variants of the Thanator.

  • The first is the Thanatar-Cynis Class which was a variant of the standard Thanatar-Calix class designed by the Forge World of Estaban III with an attempt to increase their power and standing within the greater Mechanicum. However due to their competition with Ryza, Estaban III was unable to acquire their plasma technology, resulting in the Cynis pattern of Thanatar being more prone to self-destruction despite its fierce power.
  • The second is the Thanatar-Calix Class. The Calix-Class was a variant of the standard Thanatar design developed during the later part of the Great Crusade. Rumored to have been developed by the Sollex Myrmidon and Omega-Shevar covenants of the Ordo Reductor alongside the Legio Cybernetica, this design combines deadly tech-arcana from all three factions into a single deadly weapon. Calix Class Thanatar's are geared towards the vanguard of siege assault warfare, able to sunder the strongest fortifications and conduct targeted strikes to neutralize defensive hardpoints. Its primary weapon was its Sollex Heavy Lascannon, and so precious were these engines that in the rare cases they were deployed many other lesser battle-automata were fielded to protect them.

Vultarax stratos-automata[edit]

The Vultarax. No, we aren't related to Papa Nurgle, we swear on our metallic appendages.

The Vultarax is the only confirmed flying robot within the Legio Cybernatica. You may ask yourself, "Hey wait on the vox for a minute. They look suspiciously familiar... Where have I seen these before?". Well, the answer is that they are essentially the non-daemonifed version of Nurgle's Blight Drones. If you find yourself asking "Why would the Mechanicum copy a daemon engine?" you've got it backwards. These are 30k designs that predate the Horus Heresy, then the Dark Mechanicum nicked the designs to make Blight Drones.

Anyways, the Vultarax was by far the most common Stratos-automata in widespread use by the Mechanicum at the outbreak of the wars of the Horus Heresy. A robust, multi-role war engine, heavily armed and fitted with sophisticated sensory gear and able to operate in diverse and hostile environments, it proved itself a keystone of Mechanicum Explorator Expedition forces both as an armed, high mobility scout and as a hunter-killer and rapid response unit in open battle.

The Vultarax Stratos-automata is a Flying Monstrous Creature armed with a Vultarax arc blaster, a versatile weapon capable of burning out the cogitators and engines of enemy vehicles, and two Setheno pattern havoc launchers, long ranged missile systems designed to wipe out infantry units, even in heavy cover. These armaments, alongside its impressive armour, flare shield, and enhanced targeting array, make the Vultarax Stratos-automata a formidable force on the battlefield.

See also:[edit]

Forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus
Command: Magos
Troops: Combat Servitors - Electro Priest - Enginseer - Kataphron Battle Servitors
Myrmidon - Secutarii - Skitarii - Tech Priest - Tech Thrall - Thallax - Ursarax
Legio
Cybernetica:
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
Imperial Eagle.jpg Institutes within the Imperium of Man Imperial Eagle.jpg
Adeptus Terra: Adeptus Administratum - Adeptus Astra Telepathica
Adeptus Astronomica - High Lords of Terra
Adeptus Mechanicus: Adeptus Titanicus - Explorator Fleet - Legio Cybernetica - Skitarii
Armed Forces: Adeptus Arbites - Adeptus Custodes - Planetary Defense Force - Sisters of Silence
Imperial Army: Afriel Strain - Adeptus Astartes - Gland War Veteran
Imperial Guard - Imperial Navy - Imperial Knights - Militarum Tempestus
Imperial Cult: Adeptus Ministorum - Adepta Sororitas - Death Cults - Schola Progenium
Inquisition: Ordo Chronos - Ordo Grammaticus - Ordo Hereticus - Ordo Malleus
Ordo Necros - Ordo Sepulturum - Ordo Sicarius - Ordo Xenos
Officio Assassinorum: Callidus - Culexus - Eversor - Maerorus - Vanus - Venenum - Vindicare
Great Crusade: Corps of Iterators - Legiones Astartes - Remembrancer Order - Solar Auxilia
Other: League of Black Ships - Navis Nobilite - Rogue Traders
Abhumans & Denizens: Beastmen - Felinids - Humans - Nightsiders
Ogryns - Ratlings - Scalies - Scavvies - Squats
Notable Members: God-Emperor of Mankind - Malcador the Sigillite
The Perpetuals - The Primarchs - Sebastian Thor