"I am a Child of the Omnissiah, cultist of the Machine God. The rites of manifold applications, the liturgies of ignition and the songs of Engine-seeing are mine own to know. I speak to the spirits of ancient tech-machines, from the warrior heart of a battle tank to the secret wisdom of the cogitator."
- — Vox Servitor Theta, on behalf of Cult Mechanicus Adept Manuel.
A Tech-priest, also spelled Tech-Priest or even tech-priest, is an adept of the Adeptus Mechanicus of the Imperium of Man who is generally responsible for maintaining all of the advanced technology of the Imperium, enlarging the Imperium's stocks of technical knowledge and conducting what little new scientific research occurs within the Imperium since the end of the Horus Heresy.
Tech-priests are members of the Cult Mechanicus, the Cult of the Machine, a priesthood which forms an ecclesiastical hierarchy of technicians, scientists, and religious leaders who believe that knowledge represents the only true divinity in the universe.
The Tech-priests provide the rest of the Imperium with its equivalent to technicians, scientists and engineers.
Though their bodies often incorporate many inorganic components as bionic replacements, Tech-priests are fully Human, unlike the cybernetic servitors created by the Adeptus Mechanicus that carry out most of the heavy labour for all of the Imperium's myriad organisations and enterprises.
Despite the never-ending thirst for knowledge of all branches of the order, most Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus have lost the ability to innovate or carry out basic scientific research.
No longer the master of its creations, the Cult Mechanicus is enslaved to the past. It maintains the glories of yesteryear with rite, dogma and edict instead of true discernment and comprehension.
For instance, even the theoretically simple process of activating a vehicle's engine is preceded by the application of ritual oils, the burning of sacred resins and the chanting of long and complex hymns.
Should mechanisms break down, as they often do in service to the Adeptus Mechanicus' war effort, a replacement must be found, or knowledge of how to repair the existing one must be learned.
Across the galaxy, thousands upon thousands of Mechanicus armies and fleets are already searching, guided by a database begun before the birth of the Imperium. Once found, such items and knowledge are confiscated at all costs in the name of the Adeptus Mechanicus and its sacred Quest for Knowledge.
The fabricator-general of Mars is the leader of the entire Adeptus Mechanicus across the galaxy, and also serves in the position of the Magos Mechanicus, the chief priest of the Cult Mechanicus, the religious hierarchy that coexists alongside the Mechanicus' more secular function for the Imperium.
Rulers of other individual Forge Worlds are referred to as "fabricator-generals" as well in addition to whatever local variant of the title they may hold, but only the fabricator-general of Mars holds a seat among the High Lords of Terra and is seen as representing the interests of the Adeptus Mechanicus as a whole.
The fabricator locum is the second highest-ranking Tech-priest on the planet of Mars and other Forge Worlds. The fabricator locum assists the fabricator-general with the governance of Mars, including the meeting of production quotas and ensuring the correct devotions to the Machine God are observed at all times.
The most notable fabricator locum in history was named Zagreus Kane. He sided with the Emperor of Mankind during the Horus Heresy and the Schism of Mars and thus maintained at least some crucial Mechanicum support for the Loyalists.
Eventually, the proposal was made in the later days of the Heresy in 012.M31 for the ancient Mechanicum to be divided so that the Traitors and Hereteks of the Dark Mechanicum could be purged from its organisation, giving birth to the Loyalist organisation of Tech-priests in service to the Omnissiah that was renamed as the Adeptus Mechanicus.
After some controversy from the other members of the Mechanicum who feared cementing Martian dominance over all of the other Forge Worlds, this proposal was accepted by the Council of Terra. Zagreus Kane became the first fabricator-general of the newborn Adeptus Mechanicus.
Magos and Archmagos
A magos (pronounced MAY-gohs) (pl. magi) is a Tech-priest who is a recognised master of a technological or scientific discipline, having devoted many standard years of service to the Omnissiah in that area of study.
There are many specialist divisions within the Adeptus Mechanicus known as divisiones in High Gothic. Magi from these are given a title containing the specialisation of their divisio, such as magos alchemys, magos biologis, magos dominus, magos technicus, magos logis, magos xenologis, magos lexmechanicus, magos orbologis, magos cybernetica, magos xenobiologis, magos astrologicus, magos digitalis, magos fabricator, magos genetus, magos physic, and possibly many more.
There are higher ranks within the divisiones that are variations of the magos title, including archmagos and archmagos veneratus. It is not known what the specific connotations of these titles are, though presumably they are indicative of greater seniority, status and experience within the chosen discipline.
Obsessed with the Cult Mechanicus' Quest for Knowledge, the senior Tech-priests who serve as a magos explorator search high and low across the galaxy for lost Standard Template Construct (STC) databases and ancient Human scientific and technical knowledge lost during the Age of Strife.
A breed apart from regular Tech-priests, any Explorator or member of their team will willingly walk into forgotten catacombs, even at the risk of death, for mere snippets of long-forgotten knowledge from the Age of Technology.
Many magi explorator command the explorator fleets that continue to push outward the frontiers of the Imperium or even serve alongside Rogue Traders.
Something of a jack of all trades, a magos errant studies several scientific and engineering disciplines, including chemistry, genetics, metallurgy and more.
They are then attached to Rogue Trader fleets and other similar Imperial expeditions by treaty between the Adeptus Mechanicus and the individual Rogue Trader houses or the Imperium itself if the expedition is sponsored by the Adeptus Administratum.
In return for the Adeptus Mechanicus' expertise in technical maintenance and general science, the magos errant is allowed to study interesting sites the expedition comes near, transport sensitive materials and generally make use of the expedition's resources for the greater good of the Machine God and His servants.
A magos dominus (fem: magos domina) is a senior Tech-priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus who are the masters of much of what remains of the vast and potent military secrets of the Age of Technology, particularly the ancient technology of combat robots, the Battle-Automata.
During the Horus Heresy, the magos dominus was a master of the arts of the Legio Cybernetica, a sect of the Priesthood of Mars granted the dread right to create and control the robotic cortex-automata built for war.
Such strange and threatening powers were not without price, and by doctrinal tradition such individuals gave up an easy route to power within the ancient Mechanicum, so dangerous did their fellows consider the secrets they wield.
Instead, the magi dominus and their Tech-priest dominus acolytes formed but one of the many factions and sects within the ancient Mechanicum, divided both by technological specialisation as well as rivalry and ancient feud, each vying for power, knowledge and resources beneath the outward unity the organisation displayed, shrouded as it was and still is by impenetrable mystery and arcana.
In the millennia following the Horus Heresy, a magos dominus also became responsible for leading Electro-Priests and Kataphron Battle Servitors as part of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Battle Congregations.
Heavily trained in the art of war and able to skillfully monitor the battlefield with machine-like precision, the ancient and dreaded art of battle-robotics they still study has made many within the Mechanicus consider them dangerous. This limits their chances of rising to greater political power within the Priesthood of Mars even in the late 41st Millennium.
A Logis is a Tech-priest skilled in mathematics and data analysis who serves in the role of a logistician, data analyst, or statistician.
His purpose is to predict future large-scale demographic, sociological or demographic trends and make forecasts about the required expenditure or other strategic needs. They are regarded as prophetic figures by the Cult Mechanicus.
Sometimes referred to as "magi biologis," genetors number alongside the logis, artisan and magi ranks of the Adeptus Mechanicus as its ruling priesthood, possessing access to knowledge and resources far beyond that of the lesser enginseers and lexmechanics.
A genetor's field of study makes them distinct from the majority of Tech-priests as their professional obsession with organic life often makes them seem strange to their more mechanically-inclined brethren. Their interest in the organic is not merely limited to their own forms, or even to that of Humans.
The study of alien genetics, to understand how they function so as to slay them better in the name of the Emperor, is a common field of study for genetors, particularly the sub-sect collectively known as the xenobiologists.
Genetors are very common in the Adeptus Mechanicus, and often accompany Imperial forces on exploration missions to new worlds.
They are also the members of the Mechanicus responsible for testing the 5% tithe of gene-seed provided to the Mechanicus by every existing Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes for signs of mutation or corruption by Chaos.
Regardless, the presence of a Genetor, particularly a Xenobiologist, is seen as an asset by explorator fleets and Rogue Traders alike, as their knowledge of Human and inhuman forms allows them to discern the nature of a newly-encountered xenos or indigenous species, or categorise a new strain of Abhuman found on a far-flung world.
Artisans, sometimes called "Constructors," are the Tech-priests who design and oversee the construction of new devices, edifices, spacecraft, weapons, technology and other Imperial civilian and military hardware.
They essentially serve as the Mechanicus' all-purpose Corps of Engineers and can be found pursuing construction projects across the Imperium. They also control the vast corps of servitors employed by the Adeptus Mechanicus for all of their labour needs.
Electro-priests are fanatical warriors for the Cult Mechanicus, and are tasked with using their cybernetic abilities to support other Tech-priest warriors, Combat Servitors and the Mechanicus' dedicated combat troops, the cybernetic Skitarii or Tech-Guard, in battle.
Their dermal layers are implanted by the Magi Cybernetica with metallic electoo circuits throughout their bodies. These circuits are designed to interlink with the Electro-priests' neural cortex, which allows them to generate a tremendous amount of bio-electrical energy which they can release in powerful and devastating blasts.
When Electro-priests enter battle they chant litanies to the Omnissiah of the Cult of the Machine, whipping themselves into a fanatical state of hatred towards the Mechanicum's enemies and building up the electrical energy that they will release in an orgy of destruction on the battlefield.
Enginseers are perhaps the most common of the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus. They view themselves as engineer-mystics dedicated to the Omnissiah, and each Enginseer possesses a wealth of knowledge on how to maintain and repair mechanical and electronic technology.
Unlike most of the priesthood of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Enginseers can be found serving in almost every Imperial institution (other than the Adeptus Astartes, where the same role is played by the Techmarines), and are often assigned to regiments of the Astra Militarum or other parts of the Adeptus Terra.
Enginseers are highly-trained members of the Cult Mechanicus and are dedicated to the maintenance of Imperial technology.
Through many Terran years of study, they have gained the knowledge of the arcane rituals and processes that form the body of Imperial technical lore as practiced by the Mechanicus, as well as a more secular understanding of the more practical disciplines of mechanical and electrical engineering.
Enginseers serve across the galaxy with the Imperial military, often in harm's way, as they will be called on to make repairs on the battlefield as well as in the workshop.
They are a common sight during engagements where the Astra Militarum's forces have engaged large numbers of armoured vehicles, and are often accompanied by a contingent of servitors for either assistance with the work or defence.
Although most Imperial Guardsmen revere their vehicles' Machine Spirits enough not to irritate an Enginseer by committing blasphemy in the form of "customisation," the modification of vehicles to fulfill a certain need is inevitable, much to the horror of any Enginseers' religious principles.
Enginseer contingents are also included in the mighty Titan Legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Collegia Titanica and the crews of the massive warships of the Imperial Navy, allowing them to perform emergency repairs in the heat of battle.
Despite the respect they usually command among the military units they are seconded to, Enginseers are not held in high regard among the hierarchy of the Cult Mechanicus itself as their skills seldom contribute to the divine Quest for Knowledge which is the chief religious duty of any servant of the Machine Cult.
As a result of the overwhelmingly practical rather than theoretical bent of their knowledge, Enginseers are often perceived as no more than a necessary but lowly underclass in the workings of the Cult of the Machine.
Enginseers almost always make use of the cybernetic enhancements that are common among Tech-priests, in this case bionic arm augmentations that appear to be very similar to serpentine tentacles known as mechadendrites.
A Rune-Priest is a Tech-priest who is responsible for performing the rituals required by the Cult Mechanicus' doctrines for the awakening of Machine Spirits.
These rituals involve the scribing of runes and the chanting of Cult Mechanicus liturgies over the devices to be so awakened.
Rune-priests are often experts after years of studying perhaps the most arcane branch of science explored by the Adeptus Mechanicus: "intuitive mechanics," better known as speculation and improvisation.
Rune-priests are famous (or infamous by the standards of the more logic-minded Tech-priests) for their unorthodox solutions when strict logic and standard procedures prove inadequate to the task at hand.
Transmechanics are those Tech-priests who specialise in the repair, operation and maintenance of the Imperium's various forms of communications technology.
They are often assigned to serve in other organisations of the Imperium like the Imperial Navy.
The purpose of the Tech-priests called Lexmechanics, who are also known as Calculus Logi, is to compile data so that it can be entered into a central cogitator (computer) repository.
Lexmechanics are the librarians and scribes of the Mechanicus. They work with computer-like speed and accuracy, assembling battle reports, economic statistics, planetary reports, and other masses of necessary if mundane data required to keep the massive bureaucracy of the Imperium functioning from day to day.
They are used throughout all the divisions of the great galaxy-spanning bureaucracy that is the Adeptus Terra, but are most concentrated, for obvious reasons, among the bureaucrats in the Adeptus Administratum.
|Astra Militarum Hierarchy|
|General Officers||Lord Commander Militant • Warmaster (Lord Solar) • Lord Commander • Lord General Militant • Lord General • General|
|Officers||Colonel • Major • Captain • Lieutenant|
|Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted||Sergeant • Corporal • Trooper (Guardsman)|
|Specialists||Inquisitor • Commissar • Priest • Tech-Priest • Enginseer • Sanctioned Psyker • Primaris Psyker • Wyrdvane Psyker|
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus (8th Edition), pp. 10, 40-41, 44-45, 74-75, 80
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus - Cult Mechanicus (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation", "The Blessed Priests of the Omnissiah"
- Codex Imperialis (2nd Edition), pp. 41-46
- Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG)
- Fanatic Magazine 5
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, pg. 169
- Rogue Trader: Hostile Acquisition (RPG), pp. 85-88
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pp. 82-83
- The Artwork of Clint Langley, pp. 30-31
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 270
- The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 218
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 138-139, 152
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pp. 106, 110-111
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (4th Edition), pg. 121
- White Dwarf 308 (US), "Priests of Mars", pg. 84
- White Dwarf 191 (US), "Ordinatus: Imperium - The Adeptus Mechanicus", pp. 49-53
- White Dwarf 178 (US), "The Titan Legions: History, The Adeptus Mechanicus - The Birth of the Cult Mechanicus", pp. 45-52
- White Dwarf 140 (US), "Space Fleet: Adeptus Mechanicus", pp. 46-75
- White Dwarf Weekly 62 (April 2015), "Wisdom of the Omnissiah - Imperial Hierarchy: The Adeptus Mechanicus
- White Dwarf Weekly 67 (May 2015), "Disciples of the Machine God"
- Xenology (Background Book)
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Dark Adeptus (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Dark Apostle (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds
- Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Iron Hands (Novel) by Jonathan Green, pg. 122
- Titan (Novel) by Dan Abnett, Anthony Williams and Andy Lanning
- Priests of Mars (Novel) by Graham McNeill