A Standard Template Construct (STC) system was an advanced, artificially intelligent computer database created during the Age of Technology said to have contained the sum total of Human scientific and technological knowledge.
The STC was invented when Human interstellar civilisation was at its technological peak. Introduced during the Age of Technology before the onset of the Age of Strife, an STC allowed workers to build anything from a Lasgun to a fortified bunker or the fearsome interstellar warships now used by the Imperial Navy.
STC systems possessed the ability not just to store information but also to produce new designs to meet changing circumstances.
Examples of STC technology still in use are the Rhino Armoured Personnel Carrier, the Land Raider and the Baneblade. Imperial forces (especially those of the Adeptus Mechanicus) will go to any length to recover a lost or stolen STC, or even a hard copy print-out from one, even if it means the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Imperial citizens.
It is said that even the flimsiest rumors of an STC system will spark cross-galaxy journeys, titanic fleet search operations, and the spending of untold lives and treasure.
An STC system was possessed by every group of Human interstellar colonists before the Age of Strife, allowing them to build all of the equipment necessary for survival on an untamed colony planet. During the Age of Strife the systems fell into disuse, were damaged or destroyed, and so became increasingly rare, until they were lost entirely.
Some Imperial historians have theorised that scientists during the Age of Technology foresaw the coming of the Age of Strife, and created the STCs to ensure that their knowledge would not be lost to future generations.
In the Age of the Imperium, after so many thousands of Terran years, it is unlikely that any have survived.
What technological knowledge remains from the Age of Technology survives only in the form of STC hard-copies that have been preserved and copied over thousands of standard years by the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, who believe that STCs are the most holy of artefacts, gifts to Mankind from the Machine God.
The Age of the Imperium is not a technically-inclined era in Human history. It is an age where problems are solved by brute force and ignorance, where dangers are either too gross or too unthinkable to elicit any other response.
Little, if any, technological innovation and invention exists in the Imperium of Man, and those that come into contact with advanced technology use it with reservations and a reverence that is almost religious.
The Space Marines, for example, treat their equipment and armour as if it were imbued with a will of its own -- a fine chest-plate, well looked after and constantly maintained, may reward its wearer by saving his life; whereas a Space Marine who neglects his equipment may be struck down by a leaking suit or malfunctioning weapon. Such is the will of the Emperor.
Much of the technology used by the Imperium of Man is recovered from Standard Template Constructs, or STCs. These databases were designed during the Age of Technology for use by Human settlers establishing colonies on newly discovered planets.
Their prime function was to enable the colonists to construct any buildings, vehicles or other necessary tools and technologies without prior knowledge or expertise.
Some Imperial historians have theorised that the scientists of the Age of Technology somehow foresaw the coming of the Age of Strife, and created the STCs to ensure that their knowledge would not be lost to future generations.
The designs contained within an STC were intended to be able to cope with anything -- by the standards of their day they were rough and ready, big and brutish, hard to damage and easy to repair.
During the Age of Strife Human civilisation reverted to pre-industrial barbarism, and almost all of the technological innovations of the previous millennia were lost or destroyed.
All that survived from before that terrible time were debased and corrupted versions of the old STC designs, scattered and lost on thousands of back-water planets across the galaxy.
These databases contain lost knowledge from the Age of Technology, and the Adeptus Mechanicus make it their business to find them -- the STCs are their equivalent of the most sacred of holy texts, a font of all knowledge, a quest for the holy grail.
The STC was an advanced, artificially intelligent computer data storage and fabrication system. It was designed to provide construction details for Human colonists during Mankind's early interstellar expansion across the Milky Way Galaxy before the massive Warp Storms of the Age of Strife brought an end to all interstellar travel and communication for several millennia.
Each group of colonists carried such a system with them when they embarked for their new homes. It enabled the colonists to build efficient shelters, power generators and transports without any technical knowledge and using almost any locally available materials.
The user simply asked how to build a house or a tractor and the computer supplied all the necessary plans in the form of holographic schematics.
But as the technological level needed by the majority of the Human population at that time was simple, most STC systems were for producing relatively unsophisticated technology like threshing machines and simple transport aircraft, not Warp energy taps or holographic field emitters.
Very few examples of STC schematics for the more advanced devices have been found. The STC systems themselves worked by providing in a hololithic format the full schematics for a machine, device or vehicle according to the given needs of the user.
This resulted in the production of some extremely sturdy, functional designs still found throughout the Imperium. Since no confirmed reports of a fully functional STC Library have been made since the Age of Technology, the full nature and contents of the STC -- and what technological secrets and wonders it may still contain -- remains unknown.
STCs in the Age of the Imperium
Although the most advanced technological information eludes the Adeptus Mechanicus in the Age of the Imperium, through their efforts, much has been either recovered or reconstructed through the comparison of copies of STC databases already held by the Tech-priests of Mars.
Recovered STC data eventually led to the ability of the Imperium to construct such mighty vehicles as the Land Raider and Land Speeder, and rediscovered STC designs serve as the basis for all other Imperial technological advancement.
While the STC would prove to be the crown jewel of Human technological achievement, they would also lead to the loss of that same knowledge. The Men of Iron, artificially intelligent (AI) constructs created by Humans to fight their wars and carry out tasks that might otherwise risk a Human life, eventually turned on their masters.
This machine rebellion, the Cybernetic Revolt, sparked a major war with Humanity that would see much of the advanced interstellar Human civilisation that flourished during the Age of Technology destroyed and lost.
This war occurred early in what was later named the Age of Strife, though it is unclear whether it came before or after the cataclysmic Warp Storms that destroyed the earliest interstellar Human empires.
After Mankind's downfall and the following years of deep technological neglect and regression, it became very rare for an intact STC database to be found. Only through the recovery of the ancient print-outs from the full STC systems has Mankind scraped together much of its knowledge and its current understanding of advanced Dark Age technology.
Known STC data in use by the Imperium at present has created the ubiquitous Land Speeder, the Thunderhawk gunship and the Land Raider of the Adeptus Astartes, along with Lasguns, starship components and most of the other advanced technologies of the 41st Millennium.
Perhaps the most important fragments of any STC led to the creation of the Land Crawler, a farming and utility vehicle that has kept the worlds of the Imperium fed since its earliest days.
STC Discovery Incidents
- Unknown Date.M30 - Technoarchaeologist Arkhan Land led an expedition into the Librarius Omnis of Mars. Within, he rediscovered the STC hard-copy templates for the Land Raider and Land Crawler. He also discovered the templates for rare anti-gravitic plates as well as recorded theories of their use. These would later be used in the development of the Land Speeder.
- Unknown Date.M30 - The STC designs for the Baal Predator were discovered on the planet of Atium III amidst the ruins of the Arch-heretek Lord de Ladt's fortress by the Blood Angels Space Marine Legion. The Blood Angels never handed the designs over to the ancient Mechanicum as Imperial law required and instead returned with them to their homeworld of Baal, where the original database remains to this day.
- Unknown Date.M30 - During the Great Crusade, the STC for the Leman Russ Tank was discovered by the Space Wolves Legion after they had destroyed the Noman xenos. They named the fruits of the STC in honor of their primarch, Leman Russ.
- Unknown Date.M31 - After the Imperial Compliance action remembered as the Battle of Sixty-Three Nineteen, 3 new STC fragments were recovered from the planet Sixty-Three Nineteen by the Luna Wolves Legion.
- Unknown Date.M31 - Just before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy the Warmaster Horus encountered a technologically advanced Human faction known as the Auretian Technocracy who still possessed some amount of Standard Template Construct-derived technologies. Having been corrupted by Chaos by this time, Horus declared war on them. After a brutal conflict, Horus gifted the recovered 2 STC fragments to the fabricator-general of Mars in return for the assistance of what became the Dark Mechanicum in his war against the Emperor of Mankind, but no more has been heard of it since then. It is possible the recovered technology, which included a new pattern of power armour and designs for lightweight solar generators capable of "supplying the power needs of an Epsilon 5 pattern forge complex", is still on Mars, hidden away and hoarded by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Unknown Date.M32 - During the period of Imperial history known as "The Forging," there was a slowing of the decline in the Imperium's technology level and new growth in the interstellar economy due to the rediscovery of a valuable STC database in the Cana System as the Imperium expanded.
- Unknown Date.M35 - At the end of the Icaria Crusade in the 35th Millennium, an ancient manufactorum complex with databanks from the Age of Technology was discovered on the world of Fornost by the Frateris Templars. The Ecclesiarchy bartered the knowledge of the location of these databanks in exchange for exclusive rights to any technologies stored within them. While the databanks only had half-formed STC designs for a flame thrower equipped tank, these STCs were combined with the STC for the Rhino to create the Immolator subpattern of that vehicle later used by the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas.
- Unknown Date.M35 - An intact STC was discovered within a starship that had crashed on the Hive World of Necromunda by a group that would eventually become House Van Saar, one of Hive Primus' Clan Houses. This STC database was incomplete and flawed, and unleashed high levels of radiation from its damaged power core on those who made use of it. One of House Van Saar's goals is to recover the missing pieces of this STC that would allow it to find a way to repair it to prevent the radioactive contamination.
- 104.M36 - The War of Recovery unfolded when patchy reports of technological wonders on the planets of the Mortuam Chain reach Mars. Hoping that it might be possible to recover new STC database fragments, the Adeptus Mechanicus launched an expedition which began an escalating war that lasted for over a standard century. Aided by the advanced weaponry they recovered, the forces of the Mechanicus freed the Human colonies of the region from xenos occupation and several first generation copies of STC databases concerning certain individual technologies were returned in triumph to Mars.
- Unknown Date.M36 - The STC templates for cybernetic combat suits known as the XV Bellam Ravager and Thermae Missile Suit were discovered by the Adeptus Mechanicus, but proved too difficult to reproduce.
- Unknown Date.M36 - The STC for a larger chassis of Land Speeder are discovered by the Dark Angels Chapter. These fragments would be used to created the Land Speeder Vengeance and Darkshroud variants in use by both the Dark Angels and their Unforgiven successors.
- Unknown Date.M36 - The STC schematic for the Centurion was unearthed in the aftermath of the Age of Apostasy and, once sanctioned by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the vehicles produced from it found their way into the armouries of almost every Space Marine Chapter.
- 322 - 384.M39 - STC fragments called the "Aegis Data Fragments" were discovered in the Calixis Sector during the Adranitian phase of the Angevin Crusade. They contain a few new small arms patterns, systems schematics and augury interfaces. Known schematics within these fragments included the Minerva-Aegis Las Carbine, Aegis Anbaric Shock Blaster Pistol, and the Sollex-Aegis Energy Blade.
- Prior to 189.887.M39 - Archmagos Plosk recovered five print0outs from a first-generation STC database.
- 189.887.M39 - An STC was discovered aboard the Spirit of Eternity, a starship from the Age of Technology entombed within the space hulk Death of Integrity. Archmagos Plosk was able to download a significant fraction of the database's contents. It turned out that this database was an uncorrupted STC, but the ship's guiding Machine Spirit (artificial intelligence) was insane with grief over the death of the vessel's original captain and disgusted by how Humanity's civilisation had regressed during the Age of Strife and the Age of the Imperium. The original starship Spirit of Eternity contained one of the last, complete STC databases ever created during the Age of Technology. The vessel possessed technologies that made it capable of both time travel and travel across intergalactic distances.
- Unknown Date.M39 - The STC template for the Omega Pattern Plasma Blastgun was discovered by Explorator Magos Valistle Hum'nal.
- Unknown Date.M40 - The STC template for improved jet engines was discovered by the Dark Angels while hunting a suspected Fallen Angel known as Baelor the Imposter in the Nephilim Sector. Designated the "Lionheart Engine," the technology was used to modify older aircraft designs and the end product was an agile aircraft with improved speed called the Nephilim Jetfighter. This vehicle is still exclusive to the Dark Angels and their Unforgiven Successor Chapters. The Dark Angels also possess an STC database containing the designs for weapons known as Rift Bombs that can cause fluctuations in space and time. When faced with an inquiry by the Adeptus Mechanicus amid allegations that the Chapter had illegally hoarded lost technology in contravention of Imperial law that requires all recovered technology to be handed over to the Mechanicus, the Dark Angels adamantly denied possessing STC databases of any kind.
- Prior to 775.M41 - An STC database template for a Combat Knife was discovered by two Astra Militarum scouts that proved "sharper and lighter and tougher" than previous designs. They were hailed as heroes by the Imperium for this discovery, and were each rewarded with being raised to the Imperial nobility and made planetary governors. The new Combat Knife design was adopted by 30 Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.
- 755 - 778.M41 - An STC template was found by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt on the world of Menazoid Epsilon during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. The full abilities of the device were never made clear, but it is known that the device could make the actual objects (constructs) corresponding to a standard template, rather than producing just the designs. In this case, it made the legendary "Men of Iron"; robotic soldiers and labourers that were considered heretical in the Imperium because they possessed true artificial general intelligence, but it is possible that the STC Constructor also held and/or could create other STC designs. However, the device had been tainted by the power of Chaos and the robots it produced were misshapen monstrosities that attacked Humans on sight. To prevent the use of these robots, Gaunt destroyed the device.
- 992.M41 - The STCs outlining the design for most of the Astraeus Super-heavy Tank were recovered by Minotaurs Chapter Astartes during the Perun Cross Incident.
- Unknown Date.M41 - Less than 500 standard years before the events on the Ark Mechanicus Speranza (see below) Magos Phlogiston discovered a nearly complete STC design for a certain pattern of Titan-class Plasma Reactor kick-starter. The kick-starter was designed to bring the reactor up to full power in the shortest time possible. Among the missing data-fragments were components needed to prevent the kick-starter from driving the reactor into uncontrolled critical mass. Due to this, the designs were archived, instead of being put into production.
- Unknown Date.M41 - Magos Ozimandian unlocked the STC engine fragment of Beta Umojas. This led to a 5% paradigm shift.
- Unknown Date.M41 - While connected to the Machine Spirit (artificial intelligence) of the Ark Mechanicus Speranza, Archmagos Lexell Kotov discovered that the ship contained a complete and still updating STC database containing all the knowledge of the Men of Gold and their ancestors. He theorized that all Ark Mechanicus ships contained such a database, but that the Priesthood of Mars had been unable to access the files. This information was wiped from his mind upon disconnecting from the ship's Machine Spirit.
- Unknown Date.M41 - A large STC Library was located on the planet Hito. This planet had escaped from the Warp and was reclaimed by the Imperium. The library was hidden by the local clerical Order of Heavenly Virtues who managed to deceive Imperial agents as to the library's existence to keep its secrets out of the Imperium's hands.
- Unknown Date.M41 - A rare STC template known as "Panacea," containing the cures for several types of common diseases and toxins, was unearthed by the Forge World Verdigris IX. Despite the Verdigris Mechanicus' best efforts to protect it, it was stolen by a Drukhari named Aurelia Malys and her Kabal during the Panacea Wars.
- Unknown Date.M41 - The STC for the Lion Pattern Boltgun and the "Inferno" Pattern Avenger was discovered aboard the space hulk Olethros by a Dark Angels Terminator squad. It was found in the fused wreckage of a pre-Heresy Dark Angels warship called the Caliban's Will. Lesser STC fragments were also recovered, such as those for an industrial plasma cooler, a bunker, and a military cot. STC fragments for Mark IV Maximus Power Armour and an Arc Rifle were also recovered from throughout the space hulk.
- Unknown Date.M41 - The STC schematics for a "Geller Device" or "Empyeral Bomb" was developed on the Forge World Velchanos Magna and deployed in an attempt to combat a nearby Warp Storm. Unfortunately the device caused the Warp Storm to envelop the planet instead and it was declared lost in the Empyrean for many Terran centuries. The problem was that the Gellar Device did not only clear away the storm but the effect travelled back along the closest path through the Warp to the detonation point, usually that of the voidship which deployed the device. Because of this, the device had only been deployed twice, and had resulted in the loss of both the Forge Worlds Satzica Secundus and Velchanos Magna to the Warp. The STC database for this item was rediscovered by Magos-Explorator Omnid Torquora in the wreckage of the starship Stella-Xenithica. In reality, the ancient STC had been planted in the derelict voidship as a trap by the Iron Warriors, in a ploy to capture both lost Forge Worlds. Omnid destroyed all of the copies of the database due to it causing the destruction of two entire Forge Worlds and the countless Adeptus Mechanicus forces upon them.
- Unknown Date.M41 - The STC fragment for a type of paint, provisionally known as Substance 145XX22, was rediscovered by a combined force of Skitarii and Astra Militarum. The paint possessed a unique chemical composition that allowed for the painting of wargear to be completed in a much shorter time. While the Skitarii suffered heavy causalities in recovering the STC, it was secured for the Imperium by Commissar Trast. The discovery of this STC fragment caused rebellion on several Hive Worlds responsible for painting vehicles and forced the Imperium to enact a full compliance action upon the citizens of the pigment-wells of Agrax. Due to this revolt, the STC was suspected of being somehow corrupted by Chaos. The STC took several hundred standard years to be declared uncorrupted and fully sanctioned by the Senatorum Imperialis. For securing the STC, Commissar Trast was rewarded with a governorship over a low-level Agri-world and the naming rights for Substance 145XX22. Unfortunately, as it took several hundred years for the STC to be fully sanctioned, it is unlikely that Commissar Trast survived long enough to receive the reward.
- 998.M41 - An artefact called the Omnicopaeia was sought after by Magos Delphan Gruss. This device was believed to be a data storage mechanism that contained every STC schematic created during the Dark Age of Technology. Its existence became known after Delphan Gruss examined numerous STC legends; he has since devoted his life to finding the artefact. In 998.M41, rumors erupted across the Imperium that the Omnicopaeia lay on the Daemon World of Hell's Teeth in the Maelstrom. Due to the immeasurable value of the device, the Adeptus Mechanicus mobilised billions of Skitarii for the reclamation operation.
- 999.M41 - An original STC template for a new Battle Titan, a so-called Castigator-class autonomous bipedal weapons platform, created for fire support and siege operations, was discovered on the planet Chaeroneia by a team of Grey Knights led by Justicar Alaric investigating that long-overrun Imperial Forge World . It was much larger than an Imperator-class Emperor Titan and made use of superior technology. The STC was also discovered on that world, but was unfortunately destroyed by the Grey Knights as it had become corrupted by the forces of Chaos.
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pg. 73
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pp. 16-17
- Codex Imperialis by Rick Priestley, pg. 42
- Codex Adeptus Mechanicus - Skitarii (7th Edition), pg. 31
- Codex Supplement: Dark Angels (9th Edition), pg. 17
- Dark Adeptus (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines & Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 45, 83-84, 223
- The Horus Heresy Book Seven - Inferno (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 81
- Index Astartes: Centurions (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition) by Rick Priestley, pg. 271
- Necromunda: Gang War III, pp. 6-7
- First and Only (Novel) by Dan Abnett, Chs. 23, 25-26
- Dark Adeptus (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Monastery of Death (Short Story) by Charles Stross
- Adeptus Mechanicus: Skitarius (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Adeptus Mechanicus: Tech-Priest (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Space Hulk: Deathwing (Video Game), Chapter 4
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 170
- Codex: Imperial Knights (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "A Noble Legacy"
- Necromunda: House of Artifice (Specialty Game), pp. 12-13, 25
- Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Death of Integrity (Novel) by Guy Haley, pp. 25, 114
- Imperial Armour - Apocalypse Second Edition, pg. 20
- Priests of Mars (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Microcontent 05, Microcontent 15, Microcontent 21
- Necromunda: Gang War III (Specialty Game), pp. 6-7
- Regimental Standard - STC for Paint Rediscovered!