"To sit the Throne Mechanicum feels like ascending to godhood. Piloting your Knight into battle, it is easy to believe you are invincible. Make no mistake, you are not. Your enemies will try to destroy you with massed firepower from afar. They will surround you, and hope to overrun you with sheer numbers. Your very might makes them desperate, and in their terror they will resort to any means, no matter how underhanded, to lay you low. Be wise. Be vigilant. Fight with your mind, as well as your weapons, and they will never defeat you."
- —Precept Artur Dol Nassatar
The Knight Preceptor is a close-ranged powerhouse of a Questoris Pattern Imperial Knight. Its design is intended to exemplify the core tenets of the Knights' Code Chivalric in battle: close with the enemy to an honourable range, engage them with sufficient force to show respect for their fortitude, and kill them quickly and cleanly in the Emperor's name.
Traditionally, it was also the role of the Nobles who piloted a Knight Preceptor to recruit and train those lower-ranked Nobles and former peasants who are raised above their station to pilot the Knights Armiger, the Armiger Warglaive and the Armiger Helverin.
As an exemplar of knightly combat doctrines, the Preceptor is most often piloted by the arms-masters or precepts of the Noble Houses. Grizzled veterans who have lived through solar decades of warfare, it is the job of these Nobles to set an example to their fellows, and to train their lessers in the arts of war. When not in battle it is their duty to train young squires in the skills they will require to pilot a Knight, and to instil the mental fortitude their wards will need to endure the Ritual of Becoming. The pilots of Knights Preceptor are therefore figures viewed with equal amounts of fear and respect by those of their House, with even Barons of the Exalted Court speaking respectfully to the steely-eyed war dogs who taught them to fight.
It also falls to the arms-masters to recruit, train and mentally prepare the Bondsmen who pilot Armigers, the better to ensure that stable neural links are maintained and no act of dishonourable defiance occurs. As part of these duties, Knights Preceptor often take to the battlefield with one or more pairs of Helverins or Warglaives loping at their side. Some precepts form such strong neural choirs with their Bondsmen that they become permanent fighting units, acting as one with near-perfect synchronicity.
Yet even those Armiger pilots who only serve for a short while under a precept are inevitably inspired by their feats of heroism, finding it easier to see the honour in their duty and submit willingly to the neural imperatives of their betters.
Most Knight Preceptor pilots seek to set an example upon the field of battle by hunting down and besting the largest and most fearsome enemies. This is a role well suited to the close-ranged lethality of their steeds, and one that the Machine Spirits (artificial intelligences) of the Knight suits themselves relish. Countless battles have been turned in the Imperium's favour by the actions of a Knight Preceptor, marching fearlessly through hails of enemy fire before unleashing the screaming fury of its Las-Impulsor even as its flanking Armigers add their own firepower to the punishing salvo. Such an attack is more than all but the most resilient of enemies can survive, and even they last only long enough for the Preceptor to draw back its melee armament and finish the fight with a single thunderous blow.
As a close-combat specialised Knight, the Knight Preceptor is armed with a roaring Reaper Chainsword or crackling Thunderstrike Gauntlet, and the rare and terrifying Knight-grade Lascannon known as the Las-Impulsor. These weapons are best wielded at such close quarters that a Noble can look their enemy in the eye even as they slay them.
The Las-Impulsor is a ferociously powerful directed-energy weapon that, while comparatively short-ranged for such sizeable ordnance, is more than capable of bringing a Heretic fortress down in ruins or scything the leg from under an enemy Titan with a single concentrated salvo. The weapon works by building up an enormous charge of energy within capacitor shrines before cascading it down poly-sanctified conduits in escalating pulses.
The result is a lightning-fast and devastating volley of laser blasts that can strip force shields from enemy war engines one at a time, and hammer their way through even the thickest armour or chitin to annihilate the vital systems beneath.
Notable Knights Preceptor
- Canis Rex - When the Iron Warriors attacked the Knight World of Randoryn Alpha, the ruling House Cerberan marched out in force to deny them. But after a final, courageous stand before the gates of the Stygian Keep, House Cerberan was defeated. The last of its Knight suits were disabled by invasive electro-gheists, their pilots hauled out for torturous reconditioning and their serf chattel enslaved by the millions. Sir Hekhtur Cerberan was amongst those taken captive, but refused to give in to the horrors inflicted by the Iron Warriors. Praying to the Emperor for a miracle, his mount Canis Rex, acting purely under the direction of its ferocious Machine Spirit (artificial intelligence), tore free of the Iron Warriors' remaking engines and blasted a path to its pilot and made good their escape. After undertaking the Freeblade oath as the last loyal Noble of his House, Sir Hekhtur led a resistance, but eventually came to the conclusion that his world was lost to the forces of the Archenemy. Taking his Knight and a small complement of Loyalist Sacristans he had managed to save, he stole an Imperial frigate, and set off to find a war that he could win for the Imperium. He has voyaged the stars ever since, freeing Imperial citizens enslaved by foul oppressors and punishing the scions of Chaos with vehemence and fury.
- Reaper Chainsword
- Thunderstrike Gauntlet (As replacement for Reaper Chainsword)
- Heavy Stubber
- Meltagun (As replacement for Heavy Stubber)
- Multi-Laser (As replacement for Heavy Stubber)
- Ion Shield
- A choice of Ironstorm Missile Pod, Stormspear Rocket Pod or Twin-linked Icarus Autocannon
- Titanic Feet
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
The technical specifications of the Knight Preceptor have not yet been made publicly available by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Codex: Imperial Knights (8th Edition), pp. 59, 66-67, 92