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Does the Imperium of Man develop new technology?

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Yes. While a lot of their tech is rediscovering Dark Age of Technology ideas, the Imperium has had to develop a whole bunch of technology to deal with psykers. Also plasma weaponry has improved since the Horus Heresy.

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I won't say no, because I suppose they do, but the AdMech, on many levels, is too ignorant about how some of their stuff still works to actually make much new stuff, and it is actually frowned upon, like you are saying you can do better than the C'Ta...um, Omnissiah. In some ways, 40k feels a lot like Star Wars to me; did they have the same stuff in KOTOR era that they do now? Yep. Like the Republic, itself, and the Jedi, various bits have been used, fallen out of use, lost, and "rediscovered" over 4,000 years of time, like we now know some of the machines Romans, Egyptians, and others once may have made, that rival recent innovations of today, somehow. 40k's lack of concrete canon also helps, as they can introduce new stuff, but then tweak their history as presented to act like it's not new (Centurion "not really Terminator" suits, for instance, or the weird, cheesy weapons the Skitarri get in their new codex.

 

With the religious bent that the AdMech has, sometimes I think a person might seem to have an epiphany, sort of be inspired to make a whole new something, but much more often, I see them as being afraid to insult their god, by tampering with what is already provided; innovation is the poison that kills the AdMech, sometimes. They've also forgotten so much, any new discovery is as likely rediscovery, and they just don't realize it. My opinions.

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It's more like they rediscovery old technology... since the modern Imperium is thought to be thousands of years (or more) behind where mankind was during the Dark Age of Technology.  But, yes... as others have said... new things seem to creep up every so often.

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I'll take the less common view, and say no, or at the very least it is really slow. During the Great Crusade/Horus Heresy there were seven iterations of Power Armour for Space Marines that each went through incremental design changes and shifts. The Crusade/Heresy lasted around 250 years. In the 10,000 years since then there has been one new model of Space Marine armour. This is despite the fact that they are still supposed to be the foremost warriors with some of the best equipment the Imperium has to offer. The Imperium can't even maintain the technology that it has because they don't understand it, so how could they be expected to "improve" upon that.

 

I imagine that anyone who deviates too far from standard patterns and the arcane rituals gets branded as a traitor, and anyone who gets too free with discoveries gets their knowledge stolen and then branded as a traitor. The Laws of the Mechanicus preach understanding and comprehension, but not creation. The warnings even caution against breaking with faith, and to put the knowledge of the ancients beyond question.

 

There's likely some wiggle room, but most discoveries are just re-discovering older technology from a time when humanity may have outstripped the Necrons in terms of technological advancement. The Priests/Lord/Gods of Mars trilogy has this lack of innovation as a running theme through it. The few that do try to innovate get branded as Hereteks, which seems to be like what happened with the Logicians.

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I can't remember where  but i read somewhere(one fantasyflightgames books) that  the inquisition was  developing new grenade technology on a research station.

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I believe that the 4chan page on the Adeptus Mechanicus might have one of the best statements on why the Adeptus Mechanicus is the way it is:

 

"The Mechanicus does NOT have the technology. They haven't been living on some fancy paradise planet since pre-Fall. Mars is an anarchic nightmare shithole the moment you leave the safe zones into the kilometres of labyrinthine corridors beneath it full of rogue machinery, self-aware and malevolent AI from before the Fall, and the daemon programs of the Heresy. EVERYTHING in the databases is ******. The databases are fragmented over the entire surface to the extent that it would be impossible to see one tenth of the total files in the ludicrously extended life of a Magos even assuming that they are completely safe to visit. And they are not.

 

The files have been corrupted into madness by the Fall, and the unleashing of the most potent informational warfare systems ever to exist to defeat the Iron Men. Nearly all of Mars was rendered uninhabitable, what they live in now is built on the top of the ruins. They send archeotech expeditions in to find ****, nearly all of them never come back. The sheer number of rogue war machine running around in there is sufficient to **** the mind. Then came the Heresy, which was not earth-exclusive. Mars as the second most critical planet in the Imperium was the site of fighting nearly as ferocious as on Terra, with Mechanicus loyalists and Hereteks fighting tooth, nail, and mechadendrite everywhere. Ancient machines were unleashed, viruses both normal and daemonic unleashed into all the computer systems. Nearly every single stored record on Mars was rendered unusable, and those that survived are half the time self-aware and don't like you, or daemonic and actively try to kill you.

 

If you come back with a schematic, it is almost certainly gibberish, and if it isn't, it's probably corrupted into uselessness. If it does come back whole it was probably malevolently ****** with so that instead of a Lasgun power cell it's a ******* grenade set to detonate the second you finish building it. Why do you think they want off-world STCs so damned much if they had them all here? The ******* Heresy is why. Off-world they only have to contend with the Fall's war and its effects on the machinery plus twenty thousand years of degradation with no maintenance. But at least off-world it'll probably just not work instead of actively seeking to kill you.

 

Why do you think they seek to placate the Machine Spirit? It's because it exists. The fragments of trillions of self-aware programs, flourishing during the Dark Age of Technology and shattered by Man in his war with the Iron men, imprisoning the few who had not set themselves irrevocably into the machinery, a prison smashed wide open by the Heresy. Everything that can hold programming in the Imperium has a shard of a program in it. EVERYTHING. And you'd better ******* please it or it will do everything in its power to make your day ****. Sure, if it's a Lasgun it'll just not work or start shooting off rounds by itself, but if you piss off a Land Raider you can say bye-bye to half a continent. They apply these principles to things without spirits by habit, since they're so used to dealing with tanks that if not talked to just right might go rogue and annihilate the Manufactorum before they can be killed.

 

This is why they do not like ANYONE ******* with technology, because it is so rare to find anything that just works it is critical it not be compromised. That, and they do not have the actual knowledge to **** with it intelligently, just through experimentation, which inevitably leads to slaughter. Pressing buttons to see what works is fine in a 21st century computer, but it is a very stupid thing to do at the helm of a 410th century starship with the destructive power to end solar systems. The entire knowledge base of humanity was lost. Not forgotten, but outright lost. Everything at all, poof. Nobody knows anything because the Fall ****** everything up and the Heresy double-****** it. To rebuild the theoretical framework needed to design new technologies that don't kill everyone near them would require starting from the ground up. They don't have the time, they never have, and they never will.

 

This gets on to the point of war and what it does to technology. Someone will parrot that it makes it go much faster. Yes, it makes practical applications of technology go much faster. It also utterly stops all research on the scientific theories behind those technologies. This means that when war chugs along for a decade or two things get done. It means when it goes on too long you run out of theories to turn into technologies, and then you run out of technologies to apply. You stagnate. When you have been fighting in a war for survival in a drastically overextended empire, this is what happens. You are desperate for any extra materiel that can possibly be produced. Half your entire ******* military might went rogue, smashed the half that stayed, leaving you with the tattered shreds of a war machine to keep hold of an empire that was reaching straining point with an army far larger. There is no time for the sort of applied research programs that took Man twenty five thousand years to develop, in a time of unprecedented growth and prosperity.

 

This is also why the Adeptus Mechanicus insists on cargo cultism. It's because when you are dealing with things you barely understand because everything you knew about them was destroyed it is the safest and most reliable option. The rituals do not exists for mysticism, they exist because they are the most practical means of building, repairing and maintaining the equipment they have with the knowledge surviving. You don't understand why pressing that button makes it go, because the manual tried to take over your brain and the copies are all unreadable and the research base that would let you reverse-engineer it does not exist and cannot be built.

 

Why are the Tau doing so well with their technology? Because they had peace. Eight thousand years unmolested by any enemy and they were helped the entire time by the most advanced biological race in the galaxy. Give the Imperium eight thousand years of peace and I can guarantee you it will be harder than it was during the Great Crusade.

Since some still don't get the idea, try this:

 

Build a library, fill it with all human knowledge. You take it elsewhere when you need a book from it, but the book is only a simplified copy. You don't understand the real book, and you don't need to. Nobody takes the real books anywhere because why would you, when there's a whole library there?

 

Now that library goes rogue and the maintenance machinery starts killing everyone any-*******-where near it. Where the **** did they all come from, you swear to god there weren't this many, and there weren't because they're using the library's information to fight their war. The government fights a battle that destroys the planet against these robots and tears apart the library to stop them using it, only to be destroyed in the process. The library is leveled, cast into flames, every book burned and every computer virus-laden.

Then comes a man who worked there. He talks to the few surviving library workers, assembles their information, and starts rebuilding a city around the library and expanding it as the librarians find little scraps of paper and fragmented bits of files that stuck together just right read something. They rebuild a library from scrap on the ashes of the old. It isn't a shadow on the glory of the old, but it is all they have.

Then the city turns on itself, kills its master, and the librarians turn to rage. Half of them kill the other half and destroy the remnants of the library because where they're going they won't need science. Everything burns, and the city is left to a scattered few survivors, walls open to the world, with the hungry predators circling.

 

The Adeptus Mechanicus is the sole surviving librarian, desperately scrabbling through the ashes of paper and splinters of hard drives for anything to help him and the city he needs to survive just a second longer.

The Imperium isn't grim because things suck by choice and could be fine if a sensible person came along. That sensible person wouldn't survive fifty seconds of the reality. The Imperium is grim because every single **** decision, every single sacrifice, every single death, every single man woman and child suffering a **** life in the worst conditions imaginable, is the absolute best that can be done. It is a study of the worst happening to everyone and what part of your humanity must be sacrificed today just to stand a chance of survival, and all it asks is whether or not it would have perhaps been better to die."
--Baron von Evilsatan

 

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Neither the Imperium as a whole or the Adeptus Mechanicus are unified organisations. Different factions differ in how much technology they have, how much they understand it, and what they are willing to do with it. There are factions who believe any change is utter heresy, and factions who believe new leaps can come from innovation, xenos, warp-infused maltek, etc, etc. These attitudes vary by faction, (forge) world, and individuals.

Edited by Decessor

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@Senshuken, a good find, but it doesn't mention the half-canon fact that Machine Spirit = Void Dragon, a C'tan that has control over machines. (Also, he probably could stop the golden throne at any moment if he wanted to.)

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By half-cannon we mean, vaguely hinted at in a two codices and a book that the "Sleeping Machine God on Mars" is the Void Dragon.  Machine spirits are intelligent systems, scrap-code and personification.  The Machine God may be a C''tan.

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By half-cannon we mean, vaguely hinted at in a two codices and a book that the "Sleeping Machine God on Mars" is the Void Dragon.  Machine spirits are intelligent systems, scrap-code and personification.  The Machine God may be a C''tan.

 

It almost definitely is, but it's also almost as definitely still asleep at the moment. There's definitely something hidden under Mars, but no one's really sure what it is.

 

Fortunately right up until the edge of the period at which the setting can advance it still hasn't woken up, so let's literally not worry about it. Another great pastime of the Imperium.

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Yep, if it IS the Void Dragon, we have an unshattered C'Tan a planet away from Earth; if Abaddon had won at Cadia, he'd still be further away, and its cosmic breath can, allegedly, destroy Terra, or even Blessed Sol, and tear the literal heart out of the Imperium, just like several other events might, and so long as GW says that the time dilation device they have set up at 999M41 is functional (thank you Old Ones tech!) it won't wake up, and we don't have to care that its even there. If it isn't a C'Tan, we'll never hear what it is.

 

My big problem with the "everything was put to the torch/logic virus" above is that it assumes all of the information stored is all in one central database, and putting all one's eggs in a basket is something Humans today have figured out not to do. While I'm not saying it couldn't happen, I am saying I doubt every copy-cache of the material was found, corrupted, and ruined. Even before the problems of the Crusade, and the Men of Iron before, Eldar, Orks, and other stuff was a threat to Earth, and we wouldn't have left all of our stuff in one spot on Mars, or Terra, and said "nah, it could never happen HERE! If it does, we're all dead, anyway, and then what's it matter?"

 

Also, while one might argue the Imperium is terrible by necessity, the fact that the Imperium, like the Rome it's sort of based off of, in my head, refuses to stop, assess, and fix. There is no population regulation, no growth regulation. Some a-hole (and also the Emperor) said "all that exists belongs to Humanity. Now, go seize it in the Imperium's name!" It needs to keep growing, because there are always more people, but there isn't more stuff to make their lives better; they just crank out the bare minimum to perpetuate a cycle of nothing. Humanity doesn't NEED to own every bit of galactic real estate, it can't support that, police it, barely keep track of it. Even warp travel and communications have significant limits, and the Imperium passed both long ago; it just keeps grabbing because, by no, its practically an automated response. If they said "we only need to be so big, and have this population", it would be terrifying, but they willingly wipe out worlds as is, so not unheard of. Bugs only get so big, and so should the Imperium, and then it stops growing, at least for a while. The Tau might have had peace, and better gear, at this point, but they also planned their growth, and control internal growth, so as not to overtax themselves. They might want everything too, someday, but they are more measured than "send out a fleet, and eat everything, in the name of the Emperor; the Imperium is basically the Nids, at that point, just eating for its own sake.

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I have some thoughts on the population explosion of the Imperium, but it'd be getting off topic. However, while there isn't a central database that tracks every issue in the Imperium, there are numerous cases of specific technologies that get hoarded by Forge Worlds that when they're lost, the technology is gone forever. Despite all their talk of being beyond emotion, the Mechanicus are as petty and greedy as the rest of us, and they keep their knowledge to themselves and only share what is essential.

 

Whereas in the past humanity did make countless (but clearly not infinite) redundant copies of data, which is how the hunt for STCs works at all. There really could be a new, better version of a plasma pistol lost inside of that asteroid belt, or a new, superior genetically grown crop yield mired beneath that planet locked in volcanic winter.

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Yep, if it IS the Void Dragon, we have an unshattered C'Tan a planet away from Earth; if Abaddon had won at Cadia, he'd still be further away, and its cosmic breath can, allegedly, destroy Terra, or even Blessed Sol, and tear the literal heart out of the Imperium, just like several other events might, and so long as GW says that the time dilation device they have set up at 999M41 is functional (thank you Old Ones tech!) it won't wake up, and we don't have to care that its even there. If it isn't a C'Tan, we'll never hear what it is.

 

My big problem with the "everything was put to the torch/logic virus" above is that it assumes all of the information stored is all in one central database, and putting all one's eggs in a basket is something Humans today have figured out not to do. While I'm not saying it couldn't happen, I am saying I doubt every copy-cache of the material was found, corrupted, and ruined. Even before the problems of the Crusade, and the Men of Iron before, Eldar, Orks, and other stuff was a threat to Earth, and we wouldn't have left all of our stuff in one spot on Mars, or Terra, and said "nah, it could never happen HERE! If it does, we're all dead, anyway, and then what's it matter?"

 

Also, while one might argue the Imperium is terrible by necessity, the fact that the Imperium, like the Rome it's sort of based off of, in my head, refuses to stop, assess, and fix. There is no population regulation, no growth regulation. Some a-hole (and also the Emperor) said "all that exists belongs to Humanity. Now, go seize it in the Imperium's name!" It needs to keep growing, because there are always more people, but there isn't more stuff to make their lives better; they just crank out the bare minimum to perpetuate a cycle of nothing. Humanity doesn't NEED to own every bit of galactic real estate, it can't support that, police it, barely keep track of it. Even warp travel and communications have significant limits, and the Imperium passed both long ago; it just keeps grabbing because, by no, its practically an automated response. If they said "we only need to be so big, and have this population", it would be terrifying, but they willingly wipe out worlds as is, so not unheard of. Bugs only get so big, and so should the Imperium, and then it stops growing, at least for a while. The Tau might have had peace, and better gear, at this point, but they also planned their growth, and control internal growth, so as not to overtax themselves. They might want everything too, someday, but they are more measured than "send out a fleet, and eat everything, in the name of the Emperor; the Imperium is basically the Nids, at that point, just eating for its own sake.

 

Oh, but they did make copies. They are spread all over the galaxy, though. Mars was the one place where it was all stored together. Also, there probably were multiple copies of everything on mars. Who would've imagined that the catastrophy could happen on the whole second most important planet in the imperium, at the very heart of it? Sure, some records could get lost, but noone expected the whole planet to colapse into ruin.

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Yep, if it IS the Void Dragon, we have an unshattered C'Tan a planet away from Earth; if Abaddon had won at Cadia, he'd still be further away, and its cosmic breath can, allegedly, destroy Terra, or even Blessed Sol, and tear the literal heart out of the Imperium, just like several other events might, and so long as GW says that the time dilation device they have set up at 999M41 is functional (thank you Old Ones tech!) it won't wake up, and we don't have to care that its even there. If it isn't a C'Tan, we'll never hear what it is.

 

My big problem with the "everything was put to the torch/logic virus" above is that it assumes all of the information stored is all in one central database, and putting all one's eggs in a basket is something Humans today have figured out not to do. While I'm not saying it couldn't happen, I am saying I doubt every copy-cache of the material was found, corrupted, and ruined. Even before the problems of the Crusade, and the Men of Iron before, Eldar, Orks, and other stuff was a threat to Earth, and we wouldn't have left all of our stuff in one spot on Mars, or Terra, and said "nah, it could never happen HERE! If it does, we're all dead, anyway, and then what's it matter?"

 

Also, while one might argue the Imperium is terrible by necessity, the fact that the Imperium, like the Rome it's sort of based off of, in my head, refuses to stop, assess, and fix. There is no population regulation, no growth regulation. Some a-hole (and also the Emperor) said "all that exists belongs to Humanity. Now, go seize it in the Imperium's name!" It needs to keep growing, because there are always more people, but there isn't more stuff to make their lives better; they just crank out the bare minimum to perpetuate a cycle of nothing. Humanity doesn't NEED to own every bit of galactic real estate, it can't support that, police it, barely keep track of it. Even warp travel and communications have significant limits, and the Imperium passed both long ago; it just keeps grabbing because, by no, its practically an automated response. If they said "we only need to be so big, and have this population", it would be terrifying, but they willingly wipe out worlds as is, so not unheard of. Bugs only get so big, and so should the Imperium, and then it stops growing, at least for a while. The Tau might have had peace, and better gear, at this point, but they also planned their growth, and control internal growth, so as not to overtax themselves. They might want everything too, someday, but they are more measured than "send out a fleet, and eat everything, in the name of the Emperor; the Imperium is basically the Nids, at that point, just eating for its own sake.

 

Oh, but they did make copies. They are spread all over the galaxy, though. Mars was the one place where it was all stored together. Also, there probably were multiple copies of everything on mars. Who would've imagined that the catastrophy could happen on the whole second most important planet in the imperium, at the very heart of it? Sure, some records could get lost, but noone expected the whole planet to colapse into ruin.

 

 

 

...Twice. With the second time having actual demons take part in it.

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Couple ideas/points, bit more transhumanist/posthumanist way. Thus quite heretical...

 

For one the stuff from Darkage of technology was mostly designed by post-singularity AIs, ie. They themselves were products of several thousand years of machine evolution, a clade of digital species of their own right. So humans could not even hacked them even if they wanted (incomprehensible code). Early tech-mystics of Mars that eventually would evolve into Adeptus Mechanicus, were kinda singularity obsessed hippies that treated transhumanism as the way to enlightenment. And the rest of the mankind just used the technology that was designed yo be "idiotproof" to operate, no documentation needed, if it failed to work in expected way a friendly "man of iron" would show up and fix-it. No one beyond hobbyist would even bother trying to understand how stuff worked.

 

Now some 15k years later, the AIs are still there, although they are called machine spirits, simple ones are easy to "placate"(maintain). But the big ones like machine spirit of a warp drive or ships core cogitator are straining minds of even the most gifted magos in communion,  why ? They were designed to interface with the human support interface or "man of iron" not with the augmented human or servitor, for example malfunctioning plasma drive tries tell/show magi whats wrong and how to fix-it when he "communes" with machine spirit, but it's the human comprehension that is lacking even with the most augmented magos.

 

So then what is an Abominable Intellegence, a crude attempt to replicate machine evolution of millenias. An AI that lacking in some department of sapience (the first 8 laws/mysteries). This probihition of AI creation was propably given to mystics by "the great machines" (the AIs of machine empire that died when first warp storms broke out distrupted their system). Thus after the warp storms subdised, only way work with some technologies was to turn human into a component (cyborg/servitor).

 

This kinda basis of IMRTU mechanicus.

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Couple ideas/points, bit more transhumanist/posthumanist way. Thus quite heretical...

 

For one the stuff from Darkage of technology was mostly designed by post-singularity AIs, ie. They themselves were products of several thousand years of machine evolution, a clade of digital species of their own right. So humans could not even hacked them even if they wanted (incomprehensible code). Early tech-mystics of Mars that eventually would evolve into Adeptus Mechanicus, were kinda singularity obsessed hippies that treated transhumanism as the way to enlightenment. And the rest of the mankind just used the technology that was designed yo be "idiotproof" to operate, no documentation needed, if it failed to work in expected way a friendly "man of iron" would show up and fix-it. No one beyond hobbyist would even bother trying to understand how stuff worked.

 

Now some 15k years later, the AIs are still there, although they are called machine spirits, simple ones are easy to "placate"(maintain). But the big ones like machine spirit of a warp drive or ships core cogitator are straining minds of even the most gifted magos in communion,  why ? They were designed to interface with the human support interface or "man of iron" not with the augmented human or servitor, for example malfunctioning plasma drive tries tell/show magi whats wrong and how to fix-it when he "communes" with machine spirit, but it's the human comprehension that is lacking even with the most augmented magos.

 

So then what is an Abominable Intellegence, a crude attempt to replicate machine evolution of millenias. An AI that lacking in some department of sapience (the first 8 laws/mysteries). This probihition of AI creation was propably given to mystics by "the great machines" (the AIs of machine empire that died when first warp storms broke out distrupted their system). Thus after the warp storms subdised, only way work with some technologies was to turn human into a component (cyborg/servitor).

 

This kinda basis of IMRTU mechanicus.

This actually makes sense! Well done! It also got me thinking how the Admech became a religion. While the Average Magos probably understands technology at least as well as any modern engineer, Imagine the gap that leaves between current technology and 40k. The physics behind warp drive and high level cogitators (As well as some other things) are just beyond them.

 

Anyone who has dealt with teaching a small child anything will understand what happened here: Imagine that you are the "Machine spirit" of a Manufactorum. Your interface with humanity, the "Iron men" has been cut off for long enough that automated maintenance routines are starting to break down. (A process that could have taken decades). In that time the humans develop a means to "talk" to you and ask what it is you need done. After seemingly endless attempts at explaining your technical specifications and procedural runtimes (To an endless barrage of "Why?" or "What?"), you simply tell the human "Do this because I said so!"

 

After many years, humans have no groundwork  to build upon and "do this because I said so" becomes a ritual. This ritual is combined with others to make up a body of codified rites and rituals that keep the machines happy and working. As time goes on these same rituals are applied to more and more equipment and a religion is born!

Edited by Radwraith

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Couple ideas/points, bit more transhumanist/posthumanist way. Thus quite heretical...

 

For one the stuff from Darkage of technology was mostly designed by post-singularity AIs, ie. They themselves were products of several thousand years of machine evolution, a clade of digital species of their own right. So humans could not even hacked them even if they wanted (incomprehensible code). Early tech-mystics of Mars that eventually would evolve into Adeptus Mechanicus, were kinda singularity obsessed hippies that treated transhumanism as the way to enlightenment. And the rest of the mankind just used the technology that was designed yo be "idiotproof" to operate, no documentation needed, if it failed to work in expected way a friendly "man of iron" would show up and fix-it. No one beyond hobbyist would even bother trying to understand how stuff worked.

 

Now some 15k years later, the AIs are still there, although they are called machine spirits, simple ones are easy to "placate"(maintain). But the big ones like machine spirit of a warp drive or ships core cogitator are straining minds of even the most gifted magos in communion,  why ? They were designed to interface with the human support interface or "man of iron" not with the augmented human or servitor, for example malfunctioning plasma drive tries tell/show magi whats wrong and how to fix-it when he "communes" with machine spirit, but it's the human comprehension that is lacking even with the most augmented magos.

 

So then what is an Abominable Intellegence, a crude attempt to replicate machine evolution of millenias. An AI that lacking in some department of sapience (the first 8 laws/mysteries). This probihition of AI creation was propably given to mystics by "the great machines" (the AIs of machine empire that died when first warp storms broke out distrupted their system). Thus after the warp storms subdised, only way work with some technologies was to turn human into a component (cyborg/servitor).

 

This kinda basis of IMRTU mechanicus.

This actually makes sense! Well done! It also got me thinking how the Admech became a religion. While the Average Magos probably understands technology at least as well as any modern engineer, Imagine the gap that leaves between current technology and 40k. The physics behind warp drive and high level cogitators (As well as some other things) are just beyond them.

 

Anyone who has dealt with teaching a small child anything will understand what happened here: Imagine that you are the "Machine spirit" of a Manufactorum. Your interface with humanity, the "Iron men" has been cut off for long enough that automated maintenance routines are starting to break down. (A process that could have taken decades). In that time the humans develop a means to "talk" to you and ask what it is you need done. After seemingly endless attempts at explaining your technical specifications and procedural runtimes (To an endless barrage of "Why?" or "What?"), you simply tell the human "Do this because I said so!"

 

After many years, humans have no groundwork  to build upon and "do this because I said so" becomes a ritual. This ritual is combined with others to make up a body of codified rites and rituals that keep the machines happy and working. As time goes on these same rituals are applied to more and more equipment and a religion is born!

 

As for rituals of AdMech there is also another reason for them, a checklist. Although done in form of question-anwers type chanted ritual. Each step of maintenance or starting up machine rendered into a question (like "to waken this luminen furnace, charge the initial plasmabanks") and answer ("Omnisiah est, plasmabanks are charged and the feast of wakening is ready"). Imagine this done chanted Techspeak, with assisting (junior) techpriest using "holy cog" like rosary beads.

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I would say that the Imperium does not truly develop new technologies. They recover lost technologies (some of which may have been lost still by the time of the Horus Heresy) and combine old technologies into new formats (such as Baal Predators and Land Raider Crusaders), but do not develop truly new technologies (and I would include developing new technologies independently of it having already been developed in another time and/or place). 

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also the tech rituals are one more level of "password" or security.

 

someone devoted to chaos will not have the patience to do a ritual,

or will have sworn off all things imperial, and the machine spirit will not work for the cultist then.

 

some xeno will not know the language or the ritual,

 and again the spirit won't work for them.

 

if you are mutated beyond reason, you may not be able to do or say the ritual clearly,

 and again the machine spirit won't work without doing the ritual right and completely.

 

so as a modern pre-flight checklist makes sure the machine is ready, then 

a 40k pre-flight ritual does all that PLUS ensures the operator is someone we want behind the wheel.

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Even if someone independently comes up with something new it was probably invented a long time ago and got discarded as something even better came along.  I don't see ever introducing a new technology into one of my games, and I certainly am never going to let the party's explorator become an inventor.  Those people stay at home.

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New technology is created but rarely and slowly, inovation is not approved by with the Mechanics and much like the dwarfs in Warhammer Fantasy each new invention must be throughly tested and approved though in the Mechanicus case it is due to their religion. Machines are sacred and their creation is very ritualistic and tradition bound. 

Most new inventions are also not exactly new inventions, they have the same weapon types now as 10.000 years ago, they are more improvements of technology that already exists, a tech-priest could perhaps invent a battle cannon-pattern with a greatly increased range but he would not invent an imperial pulse-weapon or a stasis-gun. So if a player wishes to do "inventions" direct him towards "improved versions of existing technology" instead and just name them as "charactername-pattern equipmentname", preferably with a cool nickname.

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