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"The path of the Omnissiah has left Humanity dithering in the darkness, incapable of advancing on the paths of knowledge. Embracing the Warp reveals technology that the primitives on Mars could never dream of wielding."

Magos Caine of the Five-Fold Path
Heretek2

A Heretek of the Dark Mechanicum displaying Chaos mutations.

Heretek is the name given by the Adeptus Mechanicus to those tech-priests who turn their backs on the teachings and strictures of the Cult Mechanicus in pursuit of usually dark and forbidden technologies linked to the power of the Warp and the Ruinous Powers of Chaos.

Hereteks value the pursuit of knowledge, of any knowledge, at all costs, regardless of the consequences to themselves or to others and even at the peril of their own souls.

Many Hereteks are loosely connected to the Dark Mechanicum, those members of the ancient Priesthood of Mars who turned their backs upon the Emperor of Mankind during the Horus Heresy and the Schism of Mars and swore to serve the Warmaster Horus and the Dark Gods in return for technological advancements denied them by the Emperor for the safety of Mankind.

Others, however, pursue the dark path of tech-heresy completely on their own, forging their own roads to damnation independent of any direct connection to Chaos or the Dark Mechanicum, though still wholly in violation of the orthodox strictures of the Cult of the Machine God.

Hereteks discovered or captured by the Mechanicus are either executed outright or have all of their cybernetic implants painfully removed and their organic remains transformed into a mindless servitor as penance for their tech-heresy.

History[]

Heretek 1

A Heretek of the Dark Mechanicum

Before the start of the Great Crusade, in 739.M30 the Emperor signed a defining agreement with the Cult Mechanicum, the Treaty of Mars, ensuring their much-needed collaboration to prosecute the unification of Mankind.

Having witnessed the corruption and revolt of the Men of Iron millenia earlier during the Age of Technology, the Emperor forbade the ancient Mechanicum, as part of the agreement, to pursue certain theories and avenues of technology like artificial general intelligence that could easily be corrupted by the power of Chaos.

Over two standard centuries later, in the depths of the darkest hours of the Horus Heresy, the Space Marine Legions turned against each other. Yet, they were not the only adepta within the Imperium of Man at that time to be torn apart by civil strife.

The Mechanicum, the tech-priests of Mars and keepers of the secrets of Human technology, dissolved into their own civil war that is known to Imperial historitors as the Schism of Mars.

The Renegades, bitter about the interference of the Emperor in their sovereignty and the limitations placed upon their research by the Treaty of Mars, sided with the Warmaster Horus, unleashing dark technologies and dabbling in tech-heresy, before finally being driven from Mars by the resurgent Loyalists after the end of the Horus Heresy.

When the Heresy ended in a pyrrhic triumph for the Imperium at the Siege of Terra, the Renegades fled Imperial space during the campaigns of the Great Scouring into the Eye of Terror alongside the Traitor Legions and into other far corners of the galaxy.

There they became the first Hereteks of the Dark Mechanicum, corrupted tech-priests enthralled to the Warp and heretical technologies long-forbidden to the servants of the Machine God.

As these technophiles embraced their new masters and the powers of the Warp, they ignored all of the strictures that the Mechanicum had chosen to embrace, largely out of a concern for the safety of Mankind from certain dangerous and corruptive technologies which had previously presented great threats to the Human race's continued existence.

Consequently, the Hereteks' research often extended specifically towards areas that were forbidden to Loyalist tech-priests. These include the development of true artificial general intelligence, the genetics and physiology of the psyker, technology that made use of or manipulated the psychic energies of the Immaterium, and investigations of a wide array of xenos technologies.

Tech-Heresy[]

Because of the nature of their split from the Imperium, these fallen tech-priests lack a central authority or consistent belief structure. As a result, their reigning ideology is far more diverse than that of their former brethren within the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Hereteks may shun the Omnissiah entirely as a false god, worship Him as an extension of Chaos, or simply ignore their former beliefs to focus solely on their research.

Even among the unusually open-minded Explorators of the Adeptus Mechanicus, there are subjects which must be avoided at all costs to remain true to the dictates of the Machine God. A Heretek enthusiastically violates all such strictures, exploring xenos technology, archeotech from the Age of Technology, and dabbling in all facets of technology related to the manipulation of the energies of the Warp.

They may even be bold enough to develop entirely new technologies, combining components in forbidden manners to produce the ultimate tech-heresy for many in the Cult Mechanicus -- innovation. They may go as far as sharing the tools of their trade and the secrets of its ways with those who have not been trained in the mysteries of the Machine God.

A Heretek actively seeks out new technology and continuously experiments with new techniques in ways that were once forbidden. They no longer believe that any information, experiment, or device can be ignored. Rather, they deliberately focus on those technologies that the Mechanicus' teachings taught them to avoid, with a particular interest in developing Warp-based technologies such as Daemon Engines.

Few inquiries concerning technology are beyond a Heretek's interest, though inevitably many of their inventions and much of their research tend towards the development of tools of destruction. As they build these weapons for their fellow devotees, the Heretek has also invariably rebuilt their own body.

It may be that they have few organic components left and those that remain are often marked by the mutational "gifts" of the Chaos Gods. Their cybernetic and sometimes biological enhancements not only improve their technological acumen, they also grant them additional abilities in combat. A Heretek is likely to be much physically hardier as well as much more powerfully armed than even the highest-ranking magos of the Mechanicus.

Some in the Imperium think of those referred to as Hereteks to be a unified force, like the Adeptus Mechanicus itself. This is not the case, as there is no galaxy-spanning organisation dedicated to tech-heresy, including the Dark Mechanicum, which is often treated erroneously as being a monolithic entity like the adepta from which it schismed.

Rather, there are countless fiefdoms and Dark Forge Worlds or Hell-Forges, each ruled by a fallen magos (or several magi) powerful enough to dominate cadres of their fellows and enslave Mechanicus thralls and servants.

Just like the warbands of the Traitor Legions and the other servants of Chaos, the corrupt tech-priests war amongst each other, or prefer to exist aloof from all of their fellow servants of the Dark Gods.

Hereteks often follow a path of constant innovation. A Heretek may be capable of drawing power for their devices directly from the Warp and controlling them with summoned Warp entities. They might dabble with concepts of artificial intelligence, memory transference, or even attempt to capture and preserve the souls of intelligent beings within their devices through their arcane knowledge of the Warp.

Many of these inventors mindlessly hew to the idea that the new and the novel is always more preferable for accomplishing a given end than established techniques. For them, the joy of a new idea or the recovery of an unknown bit of knowledge is a triumph, even if that idea has already been made obsolete.

With each new advancement, their passion for further such successes grow as does their appetite for ever more knowledge, regardless of its source.

The Heretek is often driven by their hunger for knowledge and is quite willing to use the Ruinous Powers and their Daemonic servants as a source. At other times, they seek out xenos technology and archeotech.

They may even coordinate raids upon Imperial strongholds for the sole purpose of recovering their records of where such devices can be found. In many Hereteks' minds, there is no greater purpose in life than serving the cause of the advancement of technology and knowledge. Any sacrifice is justified in the pursuit of this end.

It is relatively rare for a Heretek to be raised by the Dark Gods as a Daemon Prince. All too often, Hereteks end up as a component of one of their own inventions, with too little left of the original body or its personality to even receive such a reward from the Ruinous Powers.

However, those few who are granted this gift continue to spread their Chaos-tainted technology across the galaxy.

Hereteks in the Galaxy[]

Heretek

A Heretek attended by his Servo-skull familiars.

Hereteks come from any place in the galaxy where the Adeptus Mechanicus operates.

Some of the most common origins for Hereteks include the following:

  • Forge Worlds - As the primary worlds of the Priesthood of Mars, the majority of Hereteks begin their careers within the hierarchy of the Adeptus Mechanicus on the Forge Worlds of the Imperium. Though the adepts of these worlds work to apply the Cult Mechanicus' dogma in all that they do, there are those tech-priests who always rebel against such constraints upon their thought. A Heretek who hailed from a Forge World may well have succumbed to the lure of Chaos while researching sequestered knowledge from the dark days of the Horus Heresy and the schism in the ancient Mechanicum, or even forbidden research from the Age of Technology. Such Hereteks likely to focus on finding forbidden artefacts and the knowledge required, expand upon the sanctioned research which led to their banishment.
  • Explorator Fleets - Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleets travel deep into the remaining unexplored regions of the galaxy seeking out lost knowledge, particularly Standard Template Construct (STC) databases from the time of the Age of Technology. Explorator Magos are already predisposed to curiosity and easily tempted into exploring forbidden secrets. Chaos-corrupted or xenos technology often holds an unhealthy fascination for them and it is easy for one of their number to discover something that can begin his march to damnation. Hereteks who follow this path are likely to be dominated by their curiosity for all the wonders that the galaxy holds.
  • Forgotten Worlds - There are worlds across the galaxy, such as the War World of Zayth in the frontier region of the Koronus Expanse or worlds in the Jericho Reach, where the local strain of Mankind has been out of contact with the Imperium for many millennia, and the local Mechanicus representatives have been corrupted by innovation and unrestricted thought. Such experimentation may lead entire planets of these technological devotees along the path of Chaos. Individuals who hold these free-thinking beliefs might also beseech the Ruinous Powers for protection when their heretical ways are discovered by the Imperium and persecuted.
  • Hell-Forges - There are Forge Worlds in the galaxy that have fallen to Chaos, becoming feudal bastions dominated by the pursuit of forbidden knowledge and the development of dark technologies. A Heretek from these Forge Worlds will be uninfluenced by the stifling strictures of the Adeptus Mechanicus and will hold radical beliefs on the nature of the Machine God and its relationship with Chaos. They are likely to be the most terrifying of Hereteks, to the point that many are no longer even recognisable as human. Their research may be completely esoteric or it might be so focused on the pursuit of the individual paths of the Chaos Gods that any who made use of it would be overwhelmed by sheer corruption.

Notable Heretek Cults[]

  • Apostles of the Blind King - In 550.M37, during a dark period for the Imperium known as the Occlusiad War, the northwestern fringe of the galaxy was ravaged by a Heretek cult of rogue Tech-priests known as the Apostles of the Blind King. The Blind King and his followers viewed the very existence of weak, organic humanity as an affront to the Machine God. The Apostles uncovered wondrous artefacts lost in the Dark Age of Technology that allowed the creation of supernovae from the hearts of living suns. Constellations were forever changed as the Apostles purged the outer Segmentum Obscurus. War raged for a decade, until the Navigator Joyre Macran discovered the palace-warship of the Blind King hidden in a fold of Warpspace. Escaping with his knowledge, Macran guided the Emperor-class Battleship Dominus Astra to the palace's location. The Blind King was killed when the Dominus Astra's Lance batteries pierced the palace-warship's hull, and without their leader's Warp-gifted prescience the Apostles were swiftly overcome and exterminated.
  • Children of Ryne - The Children of Ryne are a Heretek cult that arose with the spread of the Levelist heresy of the notable Arch-Heretek Nomen Ryne, and the Children now worship him as a saint. Through his creation of the constructs known as False-Men (machines built to appear as heavily augmented Tech-priests) the Children of Ryne believe the False-Men bring messages and new tech-patterns from Nomen Ryne himself.
  • Empyric Engineers - The Heretek splinter of the Mechanicus known as the Empyric Engineers operate within the Calixis Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus. They are known to employ numerous device-patterns to turn the Warp upon itself and annihilate daemons that transgress upon their labours. Vast Warp-machines stand within hidden strongholds of the Engineers, used to draw forth the essence of the Empyrean and imprison it within null-field containments for study. Empyric Engineers who infuse the Warp into their machinery are rarely insane -- at the outset of their labours at least. This Heretek faction is also known for creating a foul device known as an Immateria Ward -- a form of null-field projector and Machine Spirit cogitation core intended for armour, portable shield-walls, and other similar devices. They understand the need for protection from corrosive Warp-energies, and so turn to Heretekal archeotech lore concerned with creating Machine Spirits that can channel the Warp. The Empyric Engineers have long granted Immateria Wards to their allies as a form of compact—in return for the loyalty of the Hereteks their allies are expected to embrace Dark Tech. Thus the ward sigil has become a reviled symbol of the outcast Empyric Engineers in the eyes of Loyalist members of the Mechanicus like the militants of the Cult of Sollex, whose Magi direct Auxilia Myrmidon hunter-cohorts far and wide across the Calixis Sector to slay those who bear the sign of the Heretek Empyric Engineers. Mere association with the owner of an Immateria Ward bears a risk of death at the hands of the servants of the Machine Cult—or worse, a short life connected to the interrogation machinery of a Magos-Militant.
  • Logicians - The Logicians are an alliance of Heretic factions who have long been a thorn in the side of the Calixis and the nearby Ixaniad Sectors. Founded not around a single charismatic figure or dark religion, they find their inspiration in a forbidden heretical text called In Defence of the Future: A Logical Discourse. Banned now for several millennia, the Logicians are a so-called "progressive" cult, favouring the advancement of Mankind through progress and the acquisition of technology, believing that they should cast off the oppression of the Adeptus Ministorum, overthrow the High Lords of Terra and put an end to the smothering constraints of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Ultimately, the Logicians aim to bring about a return to the mythic power of the Dark Age of Technology. Finding adherents through a secret network of ruthless mercantile interests and power-hungry nobles, they are a haven for Hereteks and rogue Tech-priests, and are highly organised and well resourced. Although no daemonic force or apocalyptic agenda lies at their heart, the Logicians are still a phenomenally dangerous group, utterly callous in their pursuit of power and unceasing in the hunt for ever better weapons and tools by which to achieve their ends.
  • Malygrisian Hereteks - This Heretek cult is comprised of the corrupt followers of the infamous Renegade Magos Umbra Malygris, who led this widespread and insidious cult that once flourished in the Malfian Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector in the 6th century of M41. Eventually the Renegade was tracked down and he and his followers destroyed in a bloody confrontation with a joint Inquisitorial-Mechanicus purgation force. Since then his works and researches have been brutally, but not completely, suppressed. Despite the sanctions against it, Malygris’s lore persists, kept alive in no small part by those Tech-priests tasked to hunt down rebellious members of the Mechanicus itself, much in the same way as the more Radical factions of the Inquisition seek to turn the tools of the Archenemy against its own followers, risking destruction at the hands of their own kind. Some Heretek Malygrisian Tech-priests, later purged from the foundry wards of Port Wrath, practiced a form of mutational bioforging upon their workers to both improve their quotas and control them, body and soul. For all the dreadful consequences of the bioforging’s eventual failure, the wealthy and powerful have since been tempted by the possibilities of the body remade, both for their "chosen servants" and even for themselves, and the secrets of this blasphemous technology have spread to several worlds across the sector despite a ban by both the Inquisition and the servants of the Machine Cult.
  • Tech-Witches of Ammicus Tole - This Heretek cult is made up of the corrupt followers of the Arch-Heretek Ammicus Tole, who rules the decaying and dying world of Sinophia in the Calixis Sector. To all but the inner circle, Ammicus Tole is a rumour -- a distant and hidden lord of tech-heresy. The cult of Ammicus Tole has made its mark upon Sinophia, its heresy overflowing to taint the poor and the villainous. Sinophia is a decaying world, its civil structures failing, its ancient grandeur rotted. Ruins of the past loom tall, towering above squabbling noble courts and the half-hearted Imperial caste. The Sinophian Machine Cult is as corroded as the manufactories and spires it once diligently maintained. It has fallen into mind-rust -- a mix of disarrayed beliefs and damage to neuroaugmetics that would horrify a Forge World Tech-adept. Another of Umbra Malygris' countless abominations was the creation of the Apostic Matrix -- electrostaves that can scourge the mind and soul with occult energies, tearing down the foundations of faith and loyalty. Some Radical Inquisitors have found the Apostasic Matrix to be a potent addition to an interrogation chamber, and take great pleasure in setting this tool of the Archenemy upon blackened the blackened souls of Heretics.

Notable Hereteks[]

Kelbor-Hal Post-Heresy 2

The traitorous fabricator-general of Mars, Kelbor-Hal

Lukas Chrom

Master Adept Lukas Chrom

  • Lukas Chrom - Adept Lukas Chrom was the Forge Master of the mightiest forge temple of Mondus Gamma on Mars during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He pledged his support for the Warmaster Horus alongside his master, the Fabricator-General Kelbor-Hal. Chrom was quite large, his wide-shouldered frame swathed in a deep crimson robe that did little to disguise the many mechanised enhancements with which he had been blessed. Ribbed pipes and cables looped around his limbs and linked into a hissing power pack that rose like a set of wings at his back. His human face had long since been replaced by an iron mask fashioned in the form of a grinning skull. Wires trailed from the jaw and a pulsing red light filled both eye sockets. Besides his contemporary Urtzi Malevolus, Adept Chrom was considered one of Kelbor-Hal's most trusted followers, a Tech-adept who had followed the Fabricator-General's lead in all things, and who had sworn the strength of his forge city to the Kelbor-Hal's cause. An insufferable and arrogant individual, Chrom enjoyed the favour of the Fabricator-General in return. Chrom secretly constructed a deadly war robot known as the Kaban Machine which possessed the forbidden technology known as A.I. (Abominable Intelligence). Despite his best attempts to keep the project concealed from his contemporaries, there were rumours of the work that he was pursuing in his forge -- experiments on war engines designed with artificial sentience. Each time a rumour of this machine surfaced, the data conduits whispered the name "Kaban," a play on the ancient Gyptian word for their "god" Horus. This implied that the Kaban Machine had been built for Horus Lupercal. Eventually, Adept Chrom unleashed his creation upon the plasma reactors controlled by the Loyalist Mechanicum Adept Maximal in the Gigas Fossae, in a covert attack intended to test the Kaban Machine's abilities. Much of the opposition the machine encountered was destroyed until it was sighted by one of the Knights of Taranis, a Loyalist Knight House stationed on Mars. The Kaban Machine was engaged by one of the Knights, but the Loyalist war engine struggled against the formidable sentient machine. After the reactors of the Gigas Fossae exploded, the Kaban Machine seemed to suddenly disappear without a trace. But unfortunately, it would be discovered intact by an innocent cargo hauler by the name of Quixus, who was in turn discovered by Forge Master Chrom and his Skitarii forces. Chrom had his foul creation turn his weapons on the lowly Menial and execute him. Chrom, after successfully testing the Kaban Machine, commanded it to seek out and terminate one Dalia Cythera -- a young Terran girl bestowed with the very unique psychic ability to subconsciously tap into the total sum of knowledge housed within the Immaterium. Cythera was saved from execution for altering a piece of Mechanicum technology in violation of the Machine Cult's sacred proscription against innovation and brought to Mars by High Adept Koriel Zeth, the Mistress of Magma City, who sought to employ her skills in constructing a device that could transcribe all knowledge from the Warp -- the Akashic Reader. Cythera created the device, but to function it required vast quantities of psychic energy. Such an amount could only be harvested from the Astronomican during Mars' and Terra's mutual alignment. By pure coincidence, this alignment occurred at the same time as Fabricator General Kelbor-Hal and the Adept Regulus opened the Vaults of Moravec, an ancient repository of forbidden technology, thus releasing viral Scrapcode upon the Red Planet. The Akashic Reader, however, proved to be unable to channel such amounts of psychic energy due to a miscalculation, and the Emperor's Warp-energy flooded Magma City, shielding it from all attacks by the Chaos-spawned Scrapcode. The Dark Mechanicum on Mars were puzzled and made afraid by this development, and when they learned that Cythera was responsible for the protection of Magma City, they decided that she must be terminated. The Kaban Machine, following one failed attempt on her life, finally tracked the girl down near the entrance to the Noctis Labirynthus. At that point, Cythera and her companions would have certainly died, were it not for two Knights of House Taranis who had been tracking the sentient machine ever since the destruction of Maximal's plasma reactor. The Knights succeeded in overcoming the Traitor robot by outwitting its A.I., but both of their own war engines were damaged in the fight.
Archmagos Draykavac

Ancient Remembrancer sketch of the infamous Archmagos Yelav Draykavac

  • Yelav Draykavac - The infamous Dark Mechanicum Archmagos Yelav Draykavac of the Cyclothrathe Mechanicum first rose to prominence in the Horus Heresy during the wars of the Coronid Deeps, and would go on to become one of the most accursed and hated figures of the Dark Mechanicum. Declared Heretek Ultima by the Great Synod of Martian Unification, and held responsible for, among other atrocities, the Genocide of Goth, the Lucine Travesty and the death of the seventeen worlds of the Donia League, his long war would extend far into the Great Scouring and beyond. His ultimate fate was yet to be ascertained, though his warship the Sacra Astra's abandoned hulk was discovered adrift in the Maelstrom. In its encrypted data-archive was be found much of the extent knowledge of the Dark Mechanicum now possessed by the Adeptus Terra. This dark archive contained many unexpurgated strategic reports, personal analysis and djinn-data from Draykavac's many battles, including a detailed account of the counter-invasion of the Agri-World of Numinal.
Urzi Malevolus - Despoiler of Mars

Master Adept Urtzi Malevolus

  • Urtzi Malevolus - Adept Urtzi Malevolus was a Forge Master during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras who was loyal to the traitorous Fabricator-General Kelbor-Hal and his Dark Mechanicum. Besides his contemporary Lukas Chrom, Urtzi Malevolus was considered one of Kelbor-Hal's most trusted followers, a Tech-adept who had followed the Fabricator-General's lead in all things, and who had sworn the strength of his forge city to Kelbor-Hal's cause. Master Adept Malevolus favoured dark bronze for his face mask, and a trio of green augmetic eyes set into the metal illuminated the interior surfaces of his red hood. Malevolus' red robes were fashioned from vulcanised rubber, thick and hard-wearing, and a monstrously large power pack was affixed to his back, its bulk held aloft by tiny anti-gravitic suspensor fields. Remote probe robots darted back and forth from his body, kept in check by the coiled cables that connected them to the senior Adept. He later openly supported the Dark Mechanicum forces during the Schism of Mars. Following the end of the Heresy, his ultimate fate is unknown.
  • Regulus - Regulus was a high-ranking Tech-adept during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy era. He had granted his forge and all its holdings to the Fabicator-General Kelbor-Hal when he had left to accompany the Warmaster Horus and his 63rd Expeditionary Fleet to the furthest corners of the galaxy during the Great Crusade. He had once served as an emissary for the Adeptus Mechanicus to the emissaries of the new Imperial government established on Terra, honing his diplomatic skills. Horus later sent Regulus, who had already thrown in his lot with the Traitors, to Mars to secure the tentative support of the Fabricator-General for the Warmaster's cause. Regulus convinced the Fabricator-General of the Warmaster's resolve to support increased autonomy for the Mechanicus against the autocratic rule of the Emperor. As a show of his appreciation for the Fabricator-General's support, Horus provided information to Kelbor-Hal through Regulus that allowed the Tech-priest to open a repository of forbidden knowledge known as the Vaults of Moravec, which the Emperor had ordered sealed two centuries earlier -- for they contained innumerable artefacts of technology that had been fashioned or corrupted by the malign power of Chaos. But their dark bargain was struck, and the Fabricator-General accepted Horus' proposal and joined forces with the Warmaster, assisting the Traitors with all of the technology of Mankind at his disposal. Regulus' ultimate fate following the Horus Heresy is unknown.
  • Blind King - In 550.M37, during a dark period of history for the Imperium, known as the Occlusiad War, the northwestern fringe of the galaxy was being ravaged by the Heretek cult known as the Apostles of the Blind King. The Blind King's cult viewed humanity's very existence as an affront to the Machine God. The Apostles uncovered wondrous artefacts lost in the Dark Age of Technology that allowed the creation of supernovae from the hearts of living suns. Constellations were forever changed as the Apostles purged the outer Segmentum Obscurus. War raged for a decade, until the Navigator Joyre Macran discovered the palace-warship of the Blind King hidden in a fold of Warpspace. Escaping with his knowledge, Macran guided the Emperor-class Battleship Dominus Astra to the palace's location. The Blind King is killed when the Dominus Astra's Lance batteries pierce the palace-warship's hull, and without their leader's prescience the Apostles were swiftly overcome and exterminated.
  • Decius Abraxas - Once a disciple of Paracelcus Thule, Abraxas became convinced that the Omnissiah's greatest truths were hidden beyond the Calyx Expanse, claiming that these mysteries were evident in the psycho-technology of certain xenos races, notably the dreaded Yu'vath. Defying the tenets of the Mechanicus, Abraxas sought to unlock the ultimate secrets of the universe by awakening the psychic potential sleeping in the relics of dead empires. For more than a century, Abraxas explored the Expanse, from the Heathen Stars to the Accursed Demesne and beyond into the Unbeholden Reaches and Alenic Depths, delving into the darkest recesses in search of artefacts resonant with psychic power. Amassing a hoard of xeno-technology, Abraxas and his disciples undertook some of the most heinous experiments imaginable (at least in the eyes of the Mechanicus), integrating proscribed alien artefacts into their own bodies and fusing the machine-spirits of their holy augmetics with these profane xenos devices. Though unsubstantiated by any verifiable eye-witness accounts, rumours abound that Abraxas and his acolytes were able to channel the psychic energies of these artefacts through dormant areas of their minds and manifest abilities akin to those of the most potent psykers in the Imperium. While Abraxas himself disappeared into the Rifts of Hecaton nearly seven decades ago, several of his students still wander the Expanse, following in their master's footsteps.
Etolph Cycerin

Heretek Etolph Cycerin

  • Etolph Cycerin - Tech-adept Etolph Cycerin was once a loyal servant of the Adeptus Mechanicus. He was stationed on the Mechanicus Forge World of Hydra Cordatus at the planet's single Imperial bastion -- a citadel and manufactorum complex known as the Tor Christo, which secretly contained stored tithes of Space Marine gene-seed. Sometime during the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, an unnamed Warsmith of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion, under the orders of Abaddon the Despoiler, attacked Hydra Cordatus in order to steal the hidden stores of Imperial Fists gene-seed that was kept there. It was Adept Cycerin who commanded the outer defences of the Imperial citadel. When a Chaos Dreadnought smashed its way into his strike-hardened bunker, Cycerin prepared to sell his life dearly, but was spared due to the unexpected intervention of the unnamed Warsmith. The Iron Warriors then proceeded to infect their captive with a techno-virus that altered Cycerin's organic and mechanical bio-components, leaving the Tech-adept hungry for even further change. He later willingly turned to Chaos to satisfy these cravings, serving the Iron Warriors and the Warsmith who attacked Hydra Cordatus' successor, Honsou. As Cycerin continued to change, he all but gave up the rest of his humanity as he became an amalgamation of Dark Mechanicum machinery and mutated flesh suspended inside Chaos-tainted amniotic gel. During the second attack on Calth against the Ultramarines, led by the Warsmith Honsou and his large Chaos warband known as the Bloodborn, Cycerin was able to interface and launch scrap-code (computer virus) attacks from the Warsmith's command vehicle, known as the Black Basilica, that overwhelmed and shut down the Ultramarines' defences. Cycerin was close to overwhelming the Loyalist Magos Vianco Locard's defences and seizing control of the Praetorian Gun Servitors deployed on the Ultramarines' side, but was thwarted in his attempts by Raven Guard Captain Aethon Shaan, who had secretly infiltrated the command vehicle, killing Cycerin shortly before blowing up the Black Basilica with demolition charges.
  • Exospectre - The Exospectre is the undisputed master of Forge Castir, self-proclaimed heir to Hellwhisper, and -- for the present -- pre-eminent Arch-Heretek of The Hollows. The Exospectre is a name that rings with dread and glory in equal measure across many of the Gloaming Worlds. The Exospectre has no other name that is known within the Screaming Vortex, but rumours and conjecture of his origins are nearly ubiquitous throughout the Gloaming Worlds. In appearance, he is a towering figure over two metres in height, his bulky form concealed by layers of mouldering, ragged robes that swathe him from head to toe. A host of slithering Mechadendrites are all the limbs he requires, and the susurrus of oiled metallic scales accompanies his every move. Eccentric even by the standards of Hereteks, the Exospectre does not normally speak, preferring instead to plug one of his Mechadendrites into a number of Servitors specially-modified to issue his commands. Some agents of the Inquisition have claimed that the Exospectre possesses multiple bodies, each kept in its own stasis chamber connected to a transmat altar. Despite his formidable reputation, many Hereteks seek out the Hollows in order to apprentice themselves to the Exospectre and learn what they can of his secrets. The style of technology within Forge Castir is a product of the Exospectre's genius intellect and desire for precision-crafted individual works; nearly all of the technology he personally oversees requires vast amounts of resources and time due to his search for perfection in every rivet, cog, and node. Amongst the Exospectre's finest creations are the Aposticators, the Tech-Assassins and their Velocireaper hunting packs, the Prophitects, and the Excrucimancers.
  • Furnace Lord - On the Dark Forge World of Samech located within the Jericho Reach, the Magi of Samech create profane combinations of authorised Imperial technologies, unconsecrated archeotech, unholy creations of Chaos, and even the inhuman workings of the xenos. These abominations represent the real nature of Samech -- a world where nothing is forbidden when it will garner influence and stature, of technology and knowledge brokers willing to deal with anyone or anything as long as payment is made, of agents ever searching for undiscovered technologies to exploit. Samech is more than a simple fallen Forge World, it is a planet in constant tension between dozens of rival forge cities, each fighting, scheming, and struggling for dominance. Only the forge that can intimidate, bribe, and irrefutably demonstrate its mastery of all technology is fit to rule Samech and its Magos to proclaim himself the Furnace Lord. Such rule extends only so long as another forge does not topple it through their own exhibitions of more powerful weaponry, alliances with xenos and Chaos warhosts, or access to lost archeotech. The current Furnace Lord keeps his heavily augmented head above his rivals by ensuring his personal agents are the first to uncover new technologies for the power of his forge. These agents scour the Reach in their infamous spiderships, questing even into the Black Reef or the devoured worlds far rimward of the Drift in search of technological riches they can exploit.
Illucis Grizvaldi

Heretek Illucis Grizvaldi

  • Illucis Grizvaldi - The notorious Heretek Illucis Grizvaldi and his Heretek cult followers are known to prey upon Imperial fears in regards to the immortal soul and its possible destruction. They do so by heavy-handed use of Oblivion Volitors. These devices are a corrupted and clumsy pattern of neuroaugmetic; when surgically implanted into the brain, an Oblivion Volitor turns a man into a soulless "Obliviate." Obliviates are empty shells, living on after the soul is consigned to nothingness. Hereteks further augment Obliviates with crudely implanted blades and metal fangs, so as to use them like attack animals. They debase the divine form of Mankind by whipping Obliviate packs to savage their foes. But the true weapon is terror -- terror of oblivion brought to cherished souls, terror that the God-Emperor’s protection is sundered. To the perception of a psyker, there is little difference between an Obliviate and an aggressive Combat Servitor. Illucis Grizvaldi held court for his Heretek vermin upon the world of Scintilla at the opening of the 8th century of M41. Newly made Obliviates were leashed and naked -- bloody, drooling, and empty-eyed. The idea that those torn souls would never feel the God-Emperor’s embrace put terror into Imperial hearts. The Arch-Heretek had destroyed for all to see the essence of the faithful by means of the heavy, clacking augmetics embedded in their skulls. It was through such tools of fear and death that Illucis Grizvaldi held sway over his underhive domain on Scintilla before the Inquisition forced him to flee. Grizvaldi still remains at large to this day, his current whereabouts unknown.
  • Umbra Malygris - The infamous Renegade Magos Umbra Malygris, known to Inquisitorial records as Malygris the Damned, led a widespread and insidious Heretek cult that flourished in the Malfian Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector in the 6th century of M41. Many great crimes against both Imperial Law and the Cult Mechanicus’s own doctrines were laid against him, including the fashioning of forbidden silica animus, corpse vivication and the unleashing of experimental viral strains on unsuspecting populations to test their effects. Eventually the Renegade was tracked down and he and his followers destroyed in bloody confrontation with a joint Inquisitorial-Mechanicus purgation. Since then, his works and researches have been brutally, but not completely, suppressed.
Heretek 2

Magos Phayzarus, the Perjurer

  • Phayzarus - Magos Phayzarus, the Perjurer, is one of the most notorious of the heretical Magi of the Dark Forge World of Samech in the Jericho Reach, whose desecrations not only encompasses the machine, but also the Machine Cult's sacred Quest for Knowledge. Once a respected scion of Forge Dimeris, Phayzarus specialised in penetrating the datacrypts of human memory. Over time he developed a vast network of Cogitators that could extract crude meaning from the neuroelectrical readings of a subject’s brain. While the other Magi of Dimeris were content to reap the secrets his discoveries revealed, it was not enough for Phayzarus’ addiction to knowledge. In the seventh century of M41 he obtained the corpse of a fallen Space Marine and extracted the warrior’s Omophagea organ for study. After years of analysis, splicing, and self-experimentation, Phayzarus succeeded in replicating the Omophagea’s memory-absorbing abilities by grafting a sample of the organ into his own spine. He did not long enjoy his success before the new tissue began to fail. Without the divine interaction with the source of the Space Marines’ blessings, the Progenoid Gland, his ill-gotten gift began to fade. In order to maintain his covetous hold, Phayzarus reforged himself for a single, unimaginable purpose: to hunt Space Marines. He turned all of Samech’s forbidden science to his cause, re-making his body into a self-repairing amalgam of metal and artificial flesh to rival a member of the Adeptus Astartes. Using subsumed knowledge, he acquired powerful archeotech, and ruthlessly documented every scrap of wisdom and every verse of battle doctrine he could absorb concerning the Angels of Death.
Arch-Heretek Nomen Ryn

Arch-Heretek Nomen Ryne

  • Nomen Ryne - The Arch-Heretek Nomen Ryne has plagued Tech-priests of the Malfian and Golgenna Sub-sectors of the Calixis Sector since he issued his Precepts Mechanicus in the 4th century of M41. Originally a Levelist, he taught a tech-focused form of that suppressed creed of equality: that the God-Emperor provided Mankind with technology as weapon and shield against the darkness and that it was His most ardent desire that all men be so armed, equally and in brotherhood. Ryne declared the Mechanicus to be slavemasters and sought to spread tech-knowledge to all. Nomen Ryne vanished into hiding several years after the issuance of his Precepts, declared Heretek by the Mechanicus and Heretic by the Adeptus Ministorum. The Cult of Sollex hunted Ryne’s followers most zealously, as their number included many known for their skill in constructing unsanctioned Cogitators. The Mechanicus' hatred of Ryne has not diminished, as his name and influence have only grown over the centuries.
Cyyric Scayl

Heretek Savant Cyyrik Scayl

  • Cyyrik Scayl - Cyyrik Scayl is a Tech-priest Magos of the Lathe Worlds, the Forge Worlds of the Calixis Sector. Cyrrik Scayl left behind his homeworld of Hadd to serve in the Ordo Hereticus in the 7th century of M41. During his time with the Inquisition, Scayl became obsessed with tech-heresy, deeming it endemic to the Calixis Sector. He became famous for his long-winded rants that the Inquisition should take a deeper notice of blasphemies against the Omnissiah occurring under its purview. When his clumsy attempts at oratory failed, Scayl withdrew from the Ordo to pursue Hereteks personally. Once in the field, Scayl found his perspective changing. An encounter with the Arch-Heretek Nomen Ryne led to an epiphany for Scayl, and rather than hunting Hereteks, he joined their number as an ardent convert.
  • Votheer Tark - Votheer Tark was a senior Tech-adept of the Dark Mechanicum who joined the Warsmith Honsou's Bloodborn warband of Iron Warriors and the Daemon Prince M'kar before the invasion of Ultramar in 999.M41. Tark's warband participated in the bloody contest known as the Skull Harvest, hosted by the Renegade Chaos Lord Huron Blackheart on the world of New Badab, located within the Maelstrom. When Honsou won the Skull Harvest, Tark swore allegiance to the Warsmith after his victory. By the time of the invasion of Ultramar, Votheer Tark had all but given up his organic body, and was little more than scraps of tissue and brain matter, preserved in an amniotic vat, suspended within a spider-like machine that appeared deceptively fragile. When Honsou dispersed his Bloodborn forces across several planets within the Realm of Ultramar, Tark's forces deployed to the world of Quintarn. There, he quickly planted a series of Dark Mechanicum forges across the planet. With these Dark Forges, Tark was able to convert salvaged agricultural machinery and the wreckage of destroyed war machines into refurbished war engines. With this ability to replace his losses with impunity, Tark's forces soon overran many of the cities and quickly began to outnumber the Ultramarines forces deployed against them. Though Tark lacked strategic acumen and failed to grasp essential military tactics, the overwhelming numbers of his forces and his ability to replace his losses soon put the Ultramarines on the defensive. Perceiving the threat that Tark's forges presented, Ultramarines Scout Sergeant Torias Telion valiantly led a group of Scout Marines behind the Forces of Chaos' lines. The Ultramarines were then able to infiltrate the Dark Forges and destroy them from within. Losing his single advantage, Tark's forces were soon routed by the wrathful Ultramarines. It is not known whether Votheer Tark survived the Bloodborn's defeat. His current whereabouts are unknown.
  • Paracelsus Thule - Many standard centuries old, Archmagos Paracelsus Thule's Explorator fleet disappeared out beyond the edge of Mankind's domain for decades at a time. It is said to be vast, and many Explorator Tech-adepts and Magi have served under his tutelage over the years, passing on his teachings to their juniors in turn. Thule's instruction centres on identifying pre-Imperial human technologies and sets the goal of finding the relics of Mankind's glorious past above all other concerns and risks. This lack of caution makes Thule and those following him something of a radical faction within the Cult Mechanicus, but a powerful and influential one in the Calixis Sector. Thule's disciples centre their pursuit of the Quest for Knowledge entirely on analysis and study, valuing the acquisition of pure knowledge above all other concerns like engineering or other applied sciences. They disdain physical confrontation and are often so wrapped up in cogitation they fail to notice what is in front of them. Some Inquisitors appreciate this curiosity in their Tech-priests, finding it preferable to the narrow thinking and conservatism many others of their kind demonstrate, even though curiosity almost always carries its own dangers. Thule's beliefs formed the basis for the radical faction of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Calixis Sector, known as the Disciples of Thule.
  • Ammicus Tole - The Arch-Heretek Ammicus Tole controls the decaying world of Sinophia and its corrupted Sinophian Machine Cult. He fled to Siophia to hide there from the Inquisition. Tole’s followers include Tech-witches, Hereteks, and lesser Chaos Sorcerers who clutch at words written by their master. Their tech-knowledge is a mix of rote practicality and mysticism, gained either from tortured Mechanicus Adepts or gleaned from Tole’s own writings. The Tome of Ammicus Tole, while largely consisting solely of heretical ramblings, hides true Warp-rituals and working device-patterns. Most Tech-witches possess only a few pages or fragments within a failing dataslate. To all but his inner circle, Ammicus Tole is a rumour -- a distant and hidden lord of tech-heresy.
Magos Vathek

The infamous Heretek Magos Vathek

  • Vathek - Little is known of Magos Vathek's career, before he was cast out from the Adeptus Mechanicus and became a hunted Renegade. It is thought that he was a student of Archmagos Thule before some incident or event drove him mad, turning him into a Renegade hunted equally by the Inquisition and the forces of the Machine Cult. Vathek is obsessed with acquiring and perfecting dark technological lore. In particular, he desires the technological means to restore full life to dead tissue, although he is also known to have created forbidden weaponry, crafted flesh Gholams, and experimented with a variety of prohibited alchemical and energy systems. His forbidden experiments are already reckoned to have cost upwards of 3,000 lives. Aside from his drive for dark scientific lore, Vathek appears to have no known goals or plans. He also does not cooperate with or serve others, fashioning only unliving Servitors as his needs arise. Some theorise that Vathak's true obsession is somehow discovering a means to restore biological life to his own decaying flesh. Vathek's current whereabouts and activities remain unknown.
  • Epsilus Dammek-Yoth - Epsilus Dammek-Yoth is an Arch-heretek and Xenarite, a Tech-priest who believes in studying and using alien technology, from the Forge World of Stygies VIII. He wields the master-crafted Power Axe called the Sufferer Shattering Axe. He infiltrated the Ark Mechanicus Caestus Metalican under the command of Magos Dominus Faustinius who led a Mechanicus expedition to the world of Silva Tenebris. When it was revealed that Tenebris was actually a Necron Tomb World, Epsilus used other tech-priests that he had corrupted to stage an uprising aboard the Caestus Metalican in order to claim the Necrons' technology for his own.

Notable Heretek Cults[]

  • Apostles of the Blind King - In 550.M37, during a dark period for the Imperium known as the Occlusiad War, the northwestern fringe of the galaxy was ravaged by a Heretek cult of rogue Tech-priests known as the Apostles of the Blind King. The Blind King and his followers viewed the very existence of weak, organic humanity as an affront to the Machine God. The Apostles uncovered wondrous artefacts lost in the Dark Age of Technology that allowed the creation of supernovae from the hearts of living suns. Constellations were forever changed as the Apostles purged the outer Segmentum Obscurus. War raged for a decade, until the Navigator Joyre Macran discovered the palace-warship of the Blind King hidden in a fold of Warpspace. Escaping with his knowledge, Macran guided the Emperor-class Battleship Dominus Astra to the palace's location. The Blind King was killed when the Dominus Astra's Lance batteries pierced the palace-warship's hull, and without their leader's Warp-gifted prescience the Apostles were swiftly overcome and exterminated.
  • Children of Ryne - The Children of Ryne are a Heretek cult that arose with the spread of the Levelist heresy of the notable Arch-Heretek Nomen Ryne, and the Children now worship him as a saint. Through his creation of the constructs known as False-Men (machines built to appear as heavily augmented Tech-priests) the Children of Ryne believe the False-Men bring messages and new tech-patterns from Nomen Ryne himself.
  • Empyric Engineers - The Heretek splinter of the Mechanicus known as the Empyric Engineers operate within the Calixis Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus. They are known to employ numerous device-patterns to turn the Warp upon itself and annihilate daemons that transgress upon their labours. Vast Warp-machines stand within hidden strongholds of the Engineers, used to draw forth the essence of the Empyrean and imprison it within null-field containments for study. Empyric Engineers who infuse the Warp into their machinery are rarely insane -- at the outset of their labours at least. This Heretek faction is also known for creating a foul device known as an Immateria Ward -- a form of null-field projector and Machine Spirit cogitation core intended for armour, portable shield-walls, and other similar devices. They understand the need for protection from corrosive Warp-energies, and so turn to Heretekal archeotech lore concerned with creating Machine Spirits that can channel the Warp. The Empyric Engineers have long granted Immateria Wards to their allies as a form of compact—in return for the loyalty of the Hereteks their allies are expected to embrace Dark Tech. Thus the ward sigil has become a reviled symbol of the outcast Empyric Engineers in the eyes of Loyalist members of the Mechanicus like the militants of the Cult of Sollex, whose Magi direct Auxilia Myrmidon hunter-cohorts far and wide across the Calixis Sector to slay those who bear the sign of the Heretek Empyric Engineers. Mere association with the owner of an Immateria Ward bears a risk of death at the hands of the servants of the Machine Cult—or worse, a short life connected to the interrogation machinery of a Magos-Militant.
  • Logicians - The Logicians are an alliance of Heretic factions who have long been a thorn in the side of the Calixis and the nearby Ixaniad Sectors. Founded not around a single charismatic figure or dark religion, they find their inspiration in a forbidden heretical text called In Defence of the Future: A Logical Discourse. Banned now for several millennia, the Logicians are a so-called "progressive" cult, favouring the advancement of Mankind through progress and the acquisition of technology, believing that they should cast off the oppression of the Adeptus Ministorum, overthrow the High Lords of Terra and put an end to the smothering constraints of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Ultimately, the Logicians aim to bring about a return to the mythic power of the Dark Age of Technology. Finding adherents through a secret network of ruthless mercantile interests and power-hungry nobles, they are a haven for Hereteks and rogue Tech-priests, and are highly organised and well resourced. Although no daemonic force or apocalyptic agenda lies at their heart, the Logicians are still a phenomenally dangerous group, utterly callous in their pursuit of power and unceasing in the hunt for ever better weapons and tools by which to achieve their ends.
  • Malygrisian Hereteks - This Heretek cult is comprised of the corrupt followers of the infamous Renegade Magos Umbra Malygris, who led this widespread and insidious cult that once flourished in the Malfian Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector in the 6th century of M41. Eventually the Renegade was tracked down and he and his followers destroyed in a bloody confrontation with a joint Inquisitorial-Mechanicus purgation force. Since then his works and researches have been brutally, but not completely, suppressed. Despite the sanctions against it, Malygris’s lore persists, kept alive in no small part by those Tech-priests tasked to hunt down rebellious members of the Mechanicus itself, much in the same way as the more Radical factions of the Inquisition seek to turn the tools of the Archenemy against its own followers, risking destruction at the hands of their own kind. Some Heretek Malygrisian Tech-priests, later purged from the foundry wards of Port Wrath, practiced a form of mutational bioforging upon their workers to both improve their quotas and control them, body and soul. For all the dreadful consequences of the bioforging’s eventual failure, the wealthy and powerful have since been tempted by the possibilities of the body remade, both for their "chosen servants" and even for themselves, and the secrets of this blasphemous technology have spread to several worlds across the sector despite a ban by both the Inquisition and the servants of the Machine Cult.
  • Tech-Witches of Ammicus Tole - This Heretek cult is made up of the corrupt followers of the Arch-Heretek Ammicus Tole, who rules the decaying and dying world of Sinophia in the Calixis Sector. To all but the inner circle, Ammicus Tole is a rumour -- a distant and hidden lord of tech-heresy. The cult of Ammicus Tole has made its mark upon Sinophia, its heresy overflowing to taint the poor and the villainous. Sinophia is a decaying world, its civil structures failing, its ancient grandeur rotted. Ruins of the past loom tall, towering above squabbling noble courts and the half-hearted Imperial caste. The Sinophian Machine Cult is as corroded as the manufactories and spires it once diligently maintained. It has fallen into mind-rust -- a mix of disarrayed beliefs and damage to neuroaugmetics that would horrify a Forge World Tech-adept. Another of Umbra Malygris' countless abominations was the creation of the Apostic Matrix -- electrostaves that can scourge the mind and soul with occult energies, tearing down the foundations of faith and loyalty. Some Radical Inquisitors have found the Apostasic Matrix to be a potent addition to an interrogation chamber, and take great pleasure in setting this tool of the Archenemy upon blackened the blackened souls of Heretics.

Sources[]

  • Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 64-65
  • Black Crusade: Tome of Fate (RPG), pp. 36-41, 84-92
  • Dark Heresy: Enemies Without (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 12, 21, 25, 32-33, 70-71, 75, 141
  • Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 201-202
  • Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pp. 16-17, 21-22, 26-28, 32-36
  • Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods (RPG), pp. 40-51, 62, 192
  • Dark Heresy: Edge of Darkness (RPG), pg. 28
  • Dark Heresy: Enemies Within (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 52, 56
  • Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pg. 38
  • Dark Heresy: The Radical's Handbook (RPG), pp. 44-47, 52-53, 120-122, 162, 175-178, 189-196
  • Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pp. 85-93
  • Deathwatch: The Achilus Assault (RPG), pp. 89-94
  • Deathwatch: The Emperor Protects (RPG), pp. 104-131
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