Often referred to as the Priesthood of Mars, the Adeptus Mechanicus are properly known as a technical organization, holding the monopoly on the technical knowledge of the Imperium. Their Forge Worlds are responsible for producing the Imperium's most advanced and powerful equipment and weaponry. A vital necessity for maintaining the majority of the Imperium's advanced equipment, including the Emperor's life sustaining Golden Throne, are the adepts of the organization, the Tech Priests.
Although developed separately from the Imperium while still maintaining cohesion, the Adeptus Mechanicus enjoys a relative degree of independence. Thanks in part to the massive amount of power it controls, the Adeptus Mechanicus is viewed more as a friendly empire than a subdivision of the Imperium, although Adeptus Mechanicus does adhere to a religion and religious structure differing from the remainder of the Imperium, known as the Cult Mechanicus.
A half machine, half bone skull, set within the backdrop of a white and black cog. This is the emblem of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Adepts adhering to Adeptus Mechanicus are referred to as Tech Priests. Members of the Cult Mechanicus ranking higher than menial is often referred to as Tech Priest, although Magi and higher rankings are usually referred to by their specific rank.
Befitting the nature of the Mechanicus, Tech Priests often wear robes of rust red or white. Often, Tech Priests are Imperial Bionics. The level of a Tech Priest's enhancement is directly proportional to his ranking within the Cult Mechanicus; a novice may have only one or two enhanced systems if any, while very senior members may have only a scant few biological organs remaining.
Origins and History
Mars, the ancient Forge World, was the origin of the Martian Mechanicum. Mars was colonized early in human history, culturally and technologically developed separately from Terra, the alien surface of Mars underwent terraforming and later a colony flourished under an artificial atmosphere.
To the benefit of both the empires of Terra and Mars, they co-existed throughout the Dark Age of Technology. Mars launched scores of colony fleets into the great void during the Age of Strife and Golden Age, when they saw the height of the splendor. Though few survived, the great majority were never heard from again due to the horrible Warp Storms which plagued the galaxy at the time. Those few survivors ended up founding new worlds in the Machine God's name, doing their best to imitate the grand temples and factories resembling their distant homeworld.
The Age of Strife saw the end of the peace and glory of the human domains. Throughout the galaxy, humankind suddenly turned in upon itself; and as a new breed of Warp touched humans emerged, civil war engulfed thousands of human worlds, not sparing the dual empires of Mars and Terra.
Mars' atmospheric radiation shields soon dissipated due to lack of care during this time, making way for solar radiation to wreak havoc upon the fragile ecosystem that had taken millennia to propagate. Mars once again returned to being the red wasteland of an age past. Plagues caused by lethal radiation laid waste to most of the population. Gibbering cannibals or mutants were all that were left of the devolved survivors. The destruction of the entire planet seemed impending. Yet this was not to be the case, for a new idea caught fire amongst the people began to spread among the people, a religion of the most basic of needs, of survival - the Cult Mechanicus; unyielding dedication to the Machine God.
The religious converts had to seek out the scattered technology needed to rebuild temporary radiation shelters. The cult demanded unwavering devotion from its converts. Only through selfless dedication and personal sacrifice could the planet be saved or the machines recovered. Under the directing eyes of their Tech Priest leaders, the cultists then set about restoring the world. Shelters were built to provide protection from the radiation storms. Food processing machines and oxygen generators once again enabled them to live within the shielding.
Scarce were the shelters for the Tech Priests. Nonexistent were they for the unturned. Mutant raiders and marauders made good to force themselves within the hastily constructed structures. Converts made valiant yet fatal attempts to defend their shelters, yet those remaining emerged hardened through the ordeal. They saw their survival as a proving for the Cult Mechanicus, and thus their dedication and resolve became infallible.
While Terra saw it's remnants squabbled over by petty warlords, the Tech Priests rebuilt Mars as she had never been, and the Machine God's first temples were thus erected. The Tech Priests scoured the surface of Mars to scavenge remaining machinery to be enshrined inside the Temple of All Knowledge. Inside, shining plasteel shell pistons held a mile high vaulted roof. Each piston shaft was constructed with the intention of raising and lowering the root, changing the audio dynamics in order to of the The shafts of each piston were so constructed that they moved to raise and lower the roof, altering its acoustic properties in order to better channel the hymns sung in honour of the Machine God.
Inside, the High Alter takes the form of a vast database holding the entire knowledge-base the Tech Priests have garnered. To this day, each new discovery is dedicated to this alter. Each and every temple on the Forge Worlds and throughout Mars is connected to the High Altar via biological Transmat link, a specialized psychic Servitor whose mind brings into union every altar of the Cult Mechanicus into one cohesive holy machine entity.
Union with the Imperium
After the Emperor formed the Imperium, he garnered support with the already existing Martian Mechanicum empire. On Mars, he was viewed as the Omnissiah , the physical representation of the Machine God. After the Mechanicum had smothered a small rebellion by senior Tech Priests, the Fabricator-General of Mars and the Emperor so-signed the Treaty of Mars, allowing the alliance of the two empires, each guaranteed their sovereign rule. Any and all technology discovered by the Imperium would be given to the Mechanicum in return for supplying the Imperium with war machines and upkeep of the technology.
The Mechanicum split during the midst of the Horus Heresy, with a number of Forge Worlds double crossing the Emperor, some maintaining their allegiance, and some choosing to withdraw and remain absolutely neutral throughout the conflict. Kelbor-Hal was the Fabricator General at the time, and allied himself with Horus, yet was met with a fatal end.
Although the Emperor is exalted by the Adeptus Mechanicus for his omniscient knowledge and comprehension, the Tech Priests choose not to follow the Imperial Cult, but an entirely different religion, known as the Cult of the Machine, or the Cult Mechanicus.
The Cult Mechanicus came to age through the Age of Strife. It holds that the supreme manifestation of divinity is knowledge, and all creatures and artifacts that embody knowledge are holy for this reason. Machines that contain knowledge from ancient times are also holy, and machine intelligences are no less divine than those of biologicals. The worth of a man can be correlated with the sum of his knowledge. His corporeal body is simply a biological machine able to preserve intellect. In the Cult's doctrines, life itself holds no intrinsic value. One of the simplest examples of this belief is the use of humans by the Tech Priest's as basic materials in the spawning of the machine slaves, Servitors.
Machines represent an elevated form of life instead of those come about by biological evolution. The Machine God is the ultimate receptor of the Cult's veneration, and as such, is believed to be responsible for all technologies, and making them manifest through his chosen illuminati amoungst mankind. The Machine God may very well be the C'tan Void Dragon, who's been entombed within Mars for millennia and was worshiped by the Cult Mechanicus before even the rise of the Emperor.
The Cult Mechanicus eagerly awaits the arrival of the Omnissiah, the much prophesied physical embodiment of the Machine God. Throughout the Great Crusades the forces of the Emperor freed many of the Forge Worlds originally founded as colonies of Mars in the ancient times. Upon his arrival at many of the worlds, the Cult Mechanicus recognized the Emperor as the oft prophesied Omnissiah.
The Quest for Knowledge
The Quest for Knowledge is the driving goal of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Quest is composed of research and exploration, yet ultimately the ultimate focus of the Quest is the recovery of a working Standard Template Construct (STC) system. The purpose of the great majority of the exploratory missions launched is the recovery of any and all STC knowledge.
For thousands of years the Tech Priests have eagerly pursued any bit of information pertaining to the STC. To the Mechanicus, it is their grail. Any information within the STC including the scribbles of knowledge recorded on hard copy designs are immediately sought out and instantly kept as holy texts. Yet a single functional STC system has yet to be recovered. The STC survives simply as print outs, and even the majority of those are many thousands of years old. Though they are considered the most reliable, there are very few first generation print outs, and these are the ones regarded as the most sacred texts.
Thanks to the efforts of the Tech Priests much has been reconstructed or recovered through detailed comparison of copies, though the preserved knowledge of the most advanced of technology eludes the dogged efforts of Adeptus Mechanicus. The needs of most of the early colonists were simple and as such, very few bothered to preserve the more theoretical and advanced technological information the STC contained.
- Fabricator General
- The Ruling Priesthood (Tech Priests)
- The Ordinary Priesthood (Tech Priests)
- Electro Priest
- Rune Priest
- Secutor: Individual Tech Priests that transform themselves into machines of war
- Skitarii: The techguard of the Cult and Adeptus Mechanicus
- Collegia Titanica: The Titan Legions and the Knights
- Centurio Ordinatus: Organization dealing with the leviathan Ordinatii warmachines
- Legio cybernetica: Robotics branch of the Mechanicus
- Ordo Reductor: Organization dealing with the siege weaponry