"Man is a total weapon. The mind sees the target, the heart hates the foe, the will commands the muscles to aim and fire. Mankind united in war has greater purpose than man united in peace."
- —Tannen Mortaber, Bounty Hunter
An Arch-militant is an Imperial warrior of nigh-incomparable martial skill who has mastered nearly every form of battle, military tactics and individual combat. An Arch-militant then often puts that knowledge to the use of a Rogue Trader and his or her dynasty, though some choose to serve in the retinue of an Inquisitor or as special troubleshooters for a Lord Militant of the Astra Militarum. The Age of the Imperium is an age of total war, an age of bloodshed and toil into which every human being, from the lowliest hive-serf to the highest scion of nobility, is born. No life is untouched by the incessant wars that plague the Imperium of Man, and countless lives are shed each standard year to hold at bay the forces of the Traitor, the Heretic, and the alien. From amongst the uncounted ranks of human warriors step those for whom a life of bloodshed and war is not a death sentence, but rather a calling. Such men and women are sometimes called Arch-militants, for they have faced death over and over and have mastered every terror the savage galaxy has to offer.
Myriad are the roots of the Arch-militant. Many have served amongst the ranks of the Astra Militarum, and somehow survived against all the odds battles and campaigns that have claimed the lives of their entire regiments. Others have risen up from the native stock of hellish Death Worlds or are the survivors of catastrophes too terrible to contemplate. For every last stand and total defeat, it always appears that one of a handful of warriors will somehow prevail. These are the men and women whose broken but still breathing bodies are recovered from the rubble, who have dug themselves out from beneath a mound of corpses to fight again, those few who the war zone no matter how terrible fails to break but, instead, re-forges into killers without peer. Invariably, they are reassigned to other units, where their invaluable skills, or simply their luck, it is hoped will serve their new compatriots. In time, such individuals may attain the notice of higher commands and become detached "special units" to undertake do or die missions against the deadliest of foes, while others may "go rogue" and disappear. Some even come to serve on the personal staff of such worthies as Lord Militants or Inquisitors, and occasionally, alongside inﬂuential Rogue Traders as their own personal agents of destruction.
The Arch-militant is an expert in every form of combat. It is no idle boast that there is no weapon they cannot kill with or strip and reassemble in the field. Each has an unerring ability to master even the most exotic of wargear with little or no practice, and fears death little and pain less. But it is not just expertise at arms that sees the Arch-militant succeed where others fail; they are marked with the inborn gift to sense danger, to anticipate an enemy's actions, and to overcome any foe they might face as if it was meant to be so. An Arch-militant worth the name can extricate himself and his companions from even the most seemingly hopeless of situations by a combination of cold professionalism, masterful skill at arms, and sheer bloody-mindedness and luck. Out beyond the fringes of Imperial space, men and women gifted with such abilities are priceless, and very few Rogue Traders would set foot upon an alien world without a heavily armed Arch-militant or two by their side if possible.
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 44