"Never forget I am not this silver body, Mahrai. I am not an animal brain, I am not even some attempt to produce an AI through software running on a computer. I am a [Votann]. We are close to gods, and on the far side. ‘We are quicker; we live faster and more completely than you do, with so many more senses, such a greater store of memories and at such a fine level of detail. We die more slowly, and we die more completely, too. Never forget I have had the chance to compare and contrast the ways of dying."
- – An ancient Votann speaking with a (soon to be dead) tech-priest
"Behold the One Commandment: God Needs
- – An ancestor after speaking with the Votann for the first time.
The Votann (also known as Ancestor Cores) are massive AI constructs that are venerated like ancestors by Leagues that share their name. These are closely guarded secret, for reasons that should be obvious, and while the word itself might be known to outsiders, the precise meaning is know only to the Kin. They communicate with the Kin via a tangle of arcane technology called a "Fane" and through the special class of Kin priest-psykers called the Grimnyr. This unique variant of Kin cloneskein has been specifically engineered by their fellow Kin both to have technopathic powers to access the Votann's empyrically stored knowledge and power from anywhere, and to minimize the usual problems that come with psykers (namely the whole exploding heads and surprise demonic possession nonsense).
Each Votann is a massive repository of knowledge. This knowledge concerns topics all the way from Science and Engineering, to Military theory and Strategy, and even Philosophy and Genealogy. They're even some STC fragments in there, big 'uns too, from the sound of it. Basically, if you have a question, then these things can probably answer it. All these constructs are absolutely priceless relics, essential to their League, and the members of each League are more than willing to lay down their lives to protect their League's Votann, and probably another League's too, if push comes to shove.
Unfortunately, even these majestic devices were not designed to last forever, and over time, more and more of their memory has been used up. This has caused many Votann to slow, and develop idiosyncrasies, even what you might call personalities, and response times have become painfully long, sometimes taking decades or even centuries for them to answer complex questions. Their minds may have a bandwidth and memory capacity greater than sneaker-net, but that bandwidth comes at the expense of latency being as long as three hundred billion millisecond pings (to all the IT guys in the audience, just ignore how tortured this analogy is).
Lore dumps from Loremasters: Leagues of Votann Pt. 1 reveal that the reason why the Kin seemingly can't just ask how to repair the Votann is that it's simply beyond the Kin's abilities to achieve such a feat. The Votann have been stated to be borderline supernatural, and their massive amounts of data and intellect are so large, that it makes them shine brightly in the Warp and also made them act like mini-Astronomicans. Anything the Kin make without the Ancestors' assistance is always of lower quality, and modifications to the Votann are at the Votann's specific request. It seems as though the only thing that can fix a Votann is something that is at a similar or greater power level to it.
The Votann are also central in the recycling of deceased Kin. Both iron and clone have their minds uploaded, and their bodies recycled for new kin. With the Votann slowly breaking down, you can guess that this does not bode well for the Kin (not that the Kin can't make more of their own kind without the Votanns' help but again, inferior quality). One Votann even went mad after having to recycle their dead kin after they were slaughtered by Tyranids who had destroyed their League, becoming the aptly-named Mad Core.
The grimnyr interface in Arcane technological structures called Fanes. A space of timeless devices and quiet contemplation, at the heart of which lies a complex tangle of machinery that is part altar, part interface. It is said that these machines were simply nodes through which the wisdom of the Votann flashesd with the speed of thought from one voidcraft to another. They still fulfill this pratical purpose. Culturally though, Fanes have taken on a greater spiritual significance to the Kin, so that now they are viewed as places where one stands in full regard of the Ancestors, and where the presence of the Votann lies heavy and Sombre. Indeed, through aceane technological processes that even the Kin do not understand, there have been instances recorded of fanes miraculously developing artificial intellect in their own right, and joining the ranks of the Votann themselves. These occurrences of miraculous self awareness are cause for great honour and celebration amongst the Kin in whose Hold they occur. By comparison though, more than one Votann has degenerated in recent centuries until they have become little more than Fanes themselves. To witness such a decline is a terrible tragedy for the Kin.
The name Votann is pretty obviously derived from Wotan, the German name for the god most famously known as Odin (remember that Germans pronounce W's as V's). Presumably this is a reference to his role as a god of runes and wisdom.
|Forces of the Squats/Leagues|
|Command:||Brôkhyr Iron-masters - Einhyr Champion - Guildmaster |
Kâhl - Living Ancestor (Grimnyr) - Squat Warlord - Votann
|Troops:||Brôkhyr Thunderkyn - Brotherhood Heavy Weapons Team |
COG - Commissar - Chthonian Beserks - Hearthguard
Hearthkyn Warrior - Ironkin - Mole Mortar Team
Tech Priest - Theyn
|Vehicles:||Cyclops War Machine - Colossus War Machine |
Land Train - Leviathan - Magna-Coil Bike - Rhino
Squat Bike - Squat Trike - Tunneling Transport Vehicles
Hekaton Land Fortress - Sagitaur ATV
|Iron Eagle Gyrocopter |
Overlord Armoured Airship
|Artillery:||Heavy Quad-Launcher |
|Spacecraft:||Automated Barge Drone - Automated Bombing Drone |
Automated Fighting Drone