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I want to ask to everyone a question about technology in the imperium of Man!

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Medhia Nox said:

I think the Pre-Heresy Imperium was a lie - and the current one is a corrupted form of the best possible choice given the circumstances.

How could the pre-Heresy Imperium be a lie? It was what the Emperor was building, while the Imperium after the Heresy is essentially cobbled together out of the ruins and held together through formerly-illegal religious zealotry and an ignorance contrary to the "Imperial Truth" being spread only a short time before.

I'm not sure I follow your reasoning here...

Medhia Nox said:

I think it's important to also remember that the average person lives a life free of all the Imperium propaganda. Sure - there's always "fear the xenos" - the church is always saving souls - etc. but -

In the novels you've got mutants rocking out in their dingy clubs - criminal organizations - peaceful farmers - palatial estates. Life goes on. And it largely goes one with a LOT of the technology we have today.

Heck in Eisenhorn he goes to a cafe and gets: four cups of caffein in styro-cups and four rounded pastries. Coffee and donuts?! In the "Grim, dark future!?" you must be joking!

Of course - there's PLENTY of the grim and dark to be had - but it's actually not the majority of someone even of Eisenhorn's stature. It's just that Dan Abnett doesn't write 800 pages of him watching "Pict-screens" and listening to "Vox-Casters" cause that would be boring.

Mutant ghettoes, crime syndicates, agri-labourers and palaces... none of them are rendered impossible by being in a "grim, dark future"... but they're coloured and influenced by it (indeed, mutant ghettoes are a symptom of it - persecution and segregation of the 'unclean'). Sweetened food and stimulant-laden drinks can't exist in a "grim, dark future"? Clearly, you've got different expectations.

I see where we differ. I tend not to take Abnett's works as being primary sources... a good writer, but his books don't tend to gel very well with the way I view the setting, or with other sources. Abnett's version of the 40k universe is far more 'generic scifi' than most - I tend to feel that he ignores any parts of the setting he deems inconvenient - in my experience... it just tends not to feel like the 40k universe as I understand it. For a version of the setting far closer to my interpretation, try Dark Apostle (and its sequels) by Anthony Reynolds, anything by Aaron Demski Bowden, or the Shira Calpurnia/Enforcer novels...

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I would add that you still seem to be stuck on the idea that to have something is to understand it.  Just because the Adeptus Mechanicus are the only ones who can create or repair a camera (pict-o-mat w.e.) doesn't mean they don't sell them to reporters on high-technology worlds.  Re-consider, though, the number of people who have high-technology or high-value items that arn't nesseary to compleate their occupation.  Of course farmers have farming equipment, reporters have reporting equipment, Police have Law Enforcement equipment, etc.  Why would you expect otherwise. 

I can see where you might get the impression that life goes on without a lot of Imperial Propaganda.  But the point to remember is that they don't need it, not any more then the US needs US or Freedom propaganda, maybe even less.  Why? because it's the only thing these people have ever known, everything they've grown up with.  it would never even cross their minds to quesion it.  Just like in christian europe in the middle ages, it could never even occur to the regular citizen to question that the Emperor is God and is watching over us and helping fight the Evil Xenos and Mutants etc.  Propaganda is for when you need to change someone's mind, not when it's already there.

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As for the question of whether an STC is sentient or not...the book in the Grey Knights omnibus ( Dark Adeptus book ) answeres that question as well as whether chaos can permeate and corrupt an STC core over time and just how powerful a true STC core can become over time if its left active instead of deactivated..

 

As for the Debate on the Omnissiah and the Machine god and just who/what they are....Dan Abnetts Titanicus book gives some insight as to that one that does fit with other sources as well in the black library and the actual game. But there are other refferences in other books on the particular subject as well

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Concerning the "lie" of the Pre-Heresy Imperium.

We know now that in the 40K Universe - there ARE gods, there ARE spirits, there ARE daemons. Yet, in the Horus Heresy - Pre-Heresy Imperium is a staunch athiestic society (of incredible hypocrites. They're so blinded with thier own sophistry that they're doing exactly what they say is evil about religion. Beautiful commentary though.)

SO, why did the Emperor decieve humanity into an atheistic science-society? Especially when he was - from what I understand - the culmination of the world's shamans and it is suggested he was every major religious figure through history.

As for the current Imperium? It's honest - free people could endanger entire societies, worshipping daemons or aliens. The entire Imperium would collapse without the Emperor - he's in the Immaterium fighting off daemons - he represents all the spiritual leaders of our past - he is a single binding force of the human race. This oppressive society was already being instilled during Pre-Heresy Imperium. The space marines were conquering worlds and putting them under the Emperor's heel long before Chaos revealed itself.

Now - with the Emperor an imprisioned servant - and Mankind knoweldgable of daemons - I find it much more appropriate for our ambitious race. Much more honest. You want to control the unverise? You have to start with your own race. Freedom leads to sloth as people pursue only what they find interesting - and not what they need to have a galaxy spanning empire.

Doesn't mean I believe it's 'good'. The 40K universe is crowded with "necessary evils". But - as I read more of Pre-Heresy Imperium - I find myself more disgusted by the "shiny happy deciever" than I do "the grim, dark future".

===

Please understand - I've not read every book - my understanding of various "facts" about 40K is by no means exhausted.

What I do know is that not every planet is always getting bombarded by the alien, the mutant, and the heretic. Whole worlds go on for tens of thousands of years without ever seeing world crushing wars against evil.

Only - these worlds would be boring to write about.

===

To try to keep on topic.

I still think I'm pretty accurate in my understanding of technology. "Average" tech - which is still way above our current tech-level and still very "sci-fi" is not policed by the Mechanicum at all. So - you have a pretty understandable and relatable universe in 40K ((essential to any good fiction I believe)). People don't pray to the "Vox-Caster" to send their voice through electronic telepathy. They speak into it - they know how to use, without knowing how it works.

But, when you get into the good stuff - then the Mechanicum tells you it's all spooky religious and mysterious. I couldn't concieve of any reason originally for them to get all religious - than to create an air of ignorance around technology in the effort to control it. It's not like civilization collapsed when the warp storms cut Terra off from the galaxy. They still had science - and the scientific method.  

Now - granted. The Acolytes will have to concern themselves with the "spooky mysterious" more than "coffee and donuts" as I had joked earlier. BUT - as a player RPing - I definitely promote the familiar and common without trying to oppress the genre with "dark and grim" all the time. I think if you brow beat your audience with the point you're trying to get across - it gets REALLY lost.

I let my players have a good time during their off time - they can enjoy a universe that is pretty "average" sci-fi. But, then when they're called back into duty - they're dealing with man's many evils - and things start getting strange. But, I try to have a big balance between the two - kinda like putting comedy into a drama (or vice verse) I believe it accentuates a story to encompass all human emotion than to simply grab one and just keep running (lke many White Wolf games - grim, dark, emo cutting world!)

 

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On the Imperial Truth/Lie: So, why did the Emperor deceive humanity into an atheistic science-society? Because he knew what was out there and he knew the only way to defeat it.

Daemons were known to humanity during the early days of the Imperium (unless that was ret-coned). While technology running amok terminator-style coupled with the birth of Slaanish were two major components that brought about the Age of Strife, another major component, or effect of it, was the psyker problem. It was during that age that powerful psykers first started appearing, psykers humanity were ill-prepared for. Their unprotected souls screamed out in the warp attracting anything and everything to them from light-years around. The only planets to survive this terrible time to latter be conquered by the Emperor were the ones who quickly learned that they had to either slaughter any psyker born or at least utterly dominate and control those they kept for the things they would summon forth from the warp would doom worlds. Daemons were known of in the early days and I'm fairly certain the Emperor knew a good bit more then most about such things. I'd hazard a guess that he probably understood the nature of Chaos, how it is shaped, and, as such, how to defeat it.

Chaos and the warp are shaped, ultimately, by two things; emotion and belief. What was he trying to do with the Imperial Truth? Offer up a means to control emotion and eradicate belief. Now, given that he probably understood that Chaos and the powers of the Warp were shaped by emotion and belief, why would he have sought to eliminate belief and control emotion? ;-)

On technology, I can't really add much to what's been said, except for the correction of a slight fallacy: 40k is not science-fiction, 40k is science-fantasy. It doesn't fallow the same dogma as science-fiction. In fact the dogma is fallows seems to be that of fantasy, even high-fantasy at times. It doesn't really subscribe to any current cutting edge scientific theories and attempt to extrapolate a society that would exist if said theory were true or exploited in one way or another. It doesn't even really seem to care what science has to say about much of anything really. Machines function on aesthetic principles more then science as we understand it and, in a lot of ways, they are magic.

I would say that, technologically speaking, the Imperium is neither ahead of us nor behind us. It has neither a higher tech level or a lesser one. What it has is utterly different all together. The Tech-Priests are not so much scientists, engineers, and technicians as they are wizards and sorcerers. Personal Refractor Fields aren't so much like a a micro-field generator with (fill in technobable here) as they are magic talismans or warding made by these unfathomable and powerful wizards. Power weapons are magic swords complete with a spiritual essence and long history of heroic deeds, an auspex is less like a tricorder and more like a mystic scrying crystal, multikeys aren't some mini ipod sized computer that can defeat security systems, it's a talisman that a wizard had summoned a spirit into that knows the Open All Locks spell, etc.

The people of the Imperium view technology completely different then we do to such an extent that it's almost alien. This is the one thing I can not stand about Abnett's writing -everything feels so normal, so knowable, so modern eliminating the alien and unearthly quality (it is a society 38,000 years in the future after all!) that really makes 40k shine, that really sets it apart from most anything else out there, is the thing that really makes 40k what it is.

This alien quality in regards to the technology and how it is used seems to fallow a fantasy-magic approach as I had outlined above. I find a lot of people have trouble with the technological aspects of the setting and, as a result, the society of the Imperium while trying to deal with the technology as technology.  However, those problems evaporate once they start thinking of it as magic. It doesn't change how the devices work one bit, but dose help them get into the Imperial mindset a lot easier as well as dealing with machines and technology in 40k as people in 40k would deal with such things. They don't push a button to turn on a power-field, they say the proper incantation and activate the magic runes so the shield of protection is cast. Same device, same effect, different and more in-world approach. Likewise, taking the magic-talisman approach with any (and I mean any) form of personal technology really helps hammer home the special feel of it, the fact that it is a valuable and precious thing (even if it's only a Vox) that must be protected especially in situations where our disposable culture (though the Imperium dose have a disposable culture as well, it's pretty much the exact inverse of ours; people are disposable and easily replaced, machines aren't) would dictate that such a machine be tossed out or discounted for only being a machine.

I would also say that, to counter the above poster, people of the Imperium do in fact pray before using a Vox-Caster -they pray before and during the use of any machine. Hell, the imperial guard have a special prayer for reloading a lasgun: "Machine-spirit, accept my gift. Swallow the light and spit out death!" They also have prayers for aiming it, field stripping it, unjamming it, cleaning it, unloading it, assembling it, etc. That being the case, there is most definitely a whole slew of prayers, litanies, and canticles that go into every aspect of something like a vox.

 

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Medhia Nox said:

Concerning the "lie" of the Pre-Heresy Imperium.

We know now that in the 40K Universe - there ARE gods, there ARE spirits, there ARE daemons.

For given values of such. Is a spirit a spirit because naming makes it so? Can the same be said of a Daemon or a God?

Medhia Nox said:

SO, why did the Emperor decieve humanity into an atheistic science-society? Especially when he was - from what I understand - the culmination of the world's shamans and it is suggested he was every major religious figure through history.

Doesn't mean that he should cultivate a civilisation steeped in superstition. Guiding humanity secretly within the guise of a religious figure is one thing (as is secretly contributing towards mankind's scientific advancement)... but the Emperor was operating openly. He wasn't necessarily honest with them, but neither can we be certain as to the full extent of his plans nor how far along they were when Chaos intervened.

Medhia Nox said:

As for the current Imperium? It's honest - free people could endanger entire societies, worshipping daemons or aliens.

Oppressed people can do the same things, and be all the more dangerous and disruptive for it. The influence of the alien and the daemon are everpresent, and the relative freedom of the people makes no difference to their susceptability.

Medhia Nox said:

The entire Imperium would collapse without the Emperor - he's in the Immaterium fighting off daemons - he represents all the spiritual leaders of our past - he is a single binding force of the human race.

I agree with the core sentiment - that the Imperium requires the Emperor - but disagree with the reasoning. The Emperor is integral to the essential matters of interstellar travel and communication. Without the Emperor, there is no Astronomicon, and there are no Astropaths... and without them, the Imperium could not endure.

Whether or not he's actually fighting daemons in the Warp... that's a matter of debate and propaganda.

Medhia Nox said:

This oppressive society was already being instilled during Pre-Heresy Imperium. The space marines were conquering worlds and putting them under the Emperor's heel long before Chaos revealed itself.

Oppressive societies are a matter unrelated to religion or lack thereof. That the Crusade was promoting the idea of a singular Imperial Truth presented as being beyond all dispute demonstrates that it was oppressive, as does its zero-tolerance approach to religious belief.

That was the Imperium... what came after is a distinct civilisation, founded upon the ruins of the first, claiming to be something it isn't...

Medhia Nox said:

Only - these worlds would be boring to write about.

There are interesting things in the galaxy that aren't worlds at war. That is, amongst other things, the point of Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader...

Medhia Nox said:

I still think I'm pretty accurate in my understanding of technology. "Average" tech - which is still way above our current tech-level and still very "sci-fi" is not policed by the Mechanicum at all. So - you have a pretty understandable and relatable universe in 40K ((essential to any good fiction I believe)). People don't pray to the "Vox-Caster" to send their voice through electronic telepathy. They speak into it - they know how to use, without knowing how it works.

You're welcome to that interpretation... but it's a far cry from mine.

Medhia Nox said:

But, when you get into the good stuff - then the Mechanicum tells ou it's all spooky religious and mysterious. I couldn't concieve of any reason originally for them to get all religious - than to create an air of ignorance around technology in the effort to control it. It's not like civilization collapsed when the warp storms cut Terra off from the galaxy. They still had science - and the scientific method.

That's not the background I know. In many places, civilisation did collapse in many places across the galaxy, Terra included (rampaging bands of technobarbarians, fighting across the desolate plains where once oceans existed, warlords ruling through fear and sorcery, the starving billions of a great many hives). Where survival is the primary concern above all others, many other things fall away and become forgotten. Civilisation is a side-effect of no longer having to spend all your efforts simply on living from day to day... and it's a fine line between civilisation and anarchy.

On top of that, I agree with much of what Graver has said as well.

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I am onto False Gods - not far at all in the Horus Heresy - but at least it's by Graham McNeill - so I can get a different author's perspective on 40K.

==

So, the question is - when RPing in Dark Heresy - do DMs, especially those answering on this thread - instill all this prayer and alien understanding into their campaigns? If not, why not? If yes, do you do it for every little thing - or just give a general "This is the Imperium - they pray over the watercooler."

As a player - do you roleplay your characters taking these actions or is it just background noise to be thrown in like a "French" character in an American movie who occasionally says "Oui", "Merci", or some other cliched French word/phrase?

==

Am I to expect that other authors will - when writing form the perspective of their characters - constantly be saying. "I pray to the picter to capture the essence of imagery before me." and then - "I take the holy silk anointed fabric and bless the glass eye of the picter and ask for clarity."

I guess I'm asking where this - "People in the Imperium are always praying." comes from. While yes - it has been clearly stated that this is an act, and that the Adeptus Mechanicus clearly believes in a machine god and has mystified technology - there seems to be a baseline tech that doesn't receive this attention.

I'm going on more of what has been shown - than what has been told. In the video-games, the space marines never pray over their bolters - their rhinos - etc. ((Arguably a weak environment to be pushing the full genre.)) In the RPG books - I've never even gotten the impression that the tech-priests are constantly rambling off prayers to replace spark plugs. ((Maybe I'll need to pay more attention - I'm gonna go re-read the materials)) And in the books ((so far even in False Gods - a non-Abnett book)) - they're just people and lights are lights, and they play cards, and things are comprehensible. They don't seem to pray to the elevator spirit to uplift them - nor do they pray to the door spirits to give them the opportunity to cross its threshold.

==

I wasn't arguing the intent of the God-Emperor - but he was deceiving the entire Imperium of Man. How much more different would it have been if the Space Marines KNEW to look out for daemons and predators of the warp? I'll tell you how much - they would have seen Horus for what he was - and they would have killed him.

Now - like a good Amalathian - I can also argue that the God-Emperor knows what he's doing. That he wanted Horus to rebel - that after the Eldar empire fell (from the timelines I've seen - a mere 1000 years prior to the Crusade - please correct me here) he knew he had to do something to stop the future. SO - he sends out humanity to conquer the stars - but, he had already started this "Science is All." philosophy because he was afraid and was trying to use belief to protect his race (I can definitely get behind that idea.)

So - the moral - the Emperor screwed up. I believe out of fear - as he IS just a man - he tried to protect his people with lies. It blew up in his face - and now, he's a corpse on a stasis throne experience unbelievable pain (or so it's claimed) - and his people are falling apart.

==

Anyway, thanks for the information from people on this thread - I'm learning more and assimilating more info about a beloved sci-fi universe. (I believe all sci-fiction to be sci-fantasy - none of it is ever going to happen - just personal belief, not a debate.)

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"Whether or not he's (the Emperor) actually fighting daemons in the Warp... that's a matter of debate and propaganda."

 

Isn't the Emperor siting ontop of a warp gate preventing deamons from invading earth?

Well, that and burning out psykers like fuel to use the Astronomicon like a lighthouse.

 

My take on why weapons technology is in hands other than the Preisthood of Mars, is because the imperium is an empire at war.  It has a seige mentality that every Imperial citizen is part of the war effort even if the war might be billions of light years away.  They produce what their plannet can and ship it off.  If you keep people naked and almost starving they wont rebell.  You give them an enemy to hate and work against and more importantly to fear.  Tools for control to keep billions of billions of humans in line fighting the dreaded xenos. Look at Metallicus Hive with Gunmetal City.   It producess massive amounts of ammo and small arms to protect the imperium from the Alien, the Mutant,  and the Witch.  The Number of Forge worlds are very small in comparison to the rest of imperial plannets, so it would be logistically imposible to arm all of humanity with just the tech preists alone.  Thus guilds make weapons to arm the greater imperium as a whole.  They follow the rote procedures and make the various patterns from the scraps of data from STC fragments they have recovered, traded or coppied over the last 40k years.  Most ideas for modifications or upgrades ect have already been thought of at some point so one merely needs to find the vender with the right pattern or serries of patterns and assemble them.  It seems to be important that every plannet or even region has it's own look and feel thus weapons from a different worlds will have different design asthetics or construction materials, but the same underlining mechanism are there from the standarization of the STC's.  Thus your weapons are availible throughout the imperium for defense against the enemies of humanity and your parts are largely interchangable.

Tech Preist would come into play when they make NEW patterns based on centuries of research, bio medling and  experimenting.  They have a captured necron god (the dragon of mars) to consult with for the advanced stuff right? 

 

 

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Medhia Nox said:

So, the question is - when RPing in Dark Heresy - do DMs, especially those answering on this thread - instill all this prayer and alien understanding into their campaigns? If not, why not? If yes, do you do it for every little thing - or just give a general "This is the Imperium - they pray over the watercooler."

I've made a point of it, but I seldom have to labour the point - my players are familiar enough with the setting and my preferred interpretation of it that they carry on with things like this without prompting.

Medhia Nox said:

As a player - do you roleplay your characters taking these actions or is it just background noise to be thrown in like a "French" character in an American movie who occasionally says "Oui", "Merci", or some other cliched French word/phrase?

Last time I played rather than GMed, it was an all-Guardsman campaign. I brought along my copy of the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, which has a section on common prayers, litanies and incantations in the back.  I made use of it for that purpose extensively, as did the other players.

Medhia Nox said:

I'm going on more of what has been shown - than what has been told. In the video-games, the space marines never pray over their bolters - their rhinos - etc. ((Arguably a weak environment to be pushing the full genre.))

Not in the heat of battle, no. But every Rhino has been produced in the appropriate ritual manner, and will have been awoken from its garage with the correct invocations and ritual practices. Every Marine maintains and appeases the spirits of his armour and weapons (which, given their sophistication, are as likely to be integral computer systems as anything else, alongside the normal animistic beliefs that "machine spirit" often refers to) as a matter of course... but he won't necessarily pray to it every time he squeezes the trigger.

Medhia Nox said:

In the RPG books - I've never even gotten the impression that the tech-priests are constantly rambling off prayers to replace spark plugs. ((Maybe I'll need to pay more attention - I'm gonna go re-read the materials))

Prayer doesn't have to be long-winded speech... it can be outwardly silent, or it can as easily be ritual motions, and in the case of a Tech-Priest, may often be in binary, broadcast at high-speed through his implants. The skills Trade (Technomat) and Tech-Use both cover this sort of thing, Trade (Technomat) in particular, as it covers the kinds of skills that most manufactory workers will have rather than the more detailed skills of a Tech-Priest.

Medhia Nox said:

And in the books ((so far even in False Gods - a non-Abnett book)) - they're just people and lights are lights, and they play cards, and things are comprehensible. They don't seem to pray to the elevator spirit to uplift them - nor do they pray to the door spirits to give them the opportunity to cross its threshold.

The key here isn't prayer, really. It's belief and ritual. Prayer is part of that, but not the only part. False Gods - or any of the Heresy novels - are poor examples here, as they represent a time with a different mindset and a different outlook, and quite deliberately, because the Emperor is trying to promote logic and reason in place of superstition and misplaced faith. It didn't stick, but that's another matter.

The basic notion remains the same in all cases, whatever your outlook upon technology. A device requires certain things to be done to it in order to maintain its function - it might need cleaning or lubrication or some other basic maintenance task. That idea remains at all times... but the justifications given for it change.

If a machine is content, it will be cooperative - it will do what you want it to do (the machine is working properly). Specific simple rituals please it if performed regularly (it needs maintenance to function properly). If those rituals are not performed regularly, the machine will be displeased and it will become uncooperative until it can be sufficiently appeased once more (if not properly maintained, the machine won't work as well or as reliably). Certain conditions may influence its mood - it may dislike the cold or the damp (it doesn't work properly when cold or damp), and require additional or more frequent rituals to keep it content.

Most of the rituals have a purpose that stems from that idea - running a virus scan on a computer, disassembling and cleaning a rifle, changing the oil in an engine... all fundamental maintenance tasks that become ritualised as knowledge is lost but their purpose and necessity remain. The rituals continue to work, and the explanation is as good as any other for any day-to-day purpose. The prayers appear on top of that as ritual is joined by belief, but also to aid learning - the prayer may be a particular length or flow in a particular manner when spoken to provide simple cues to people performing the task.

The point here is that the idea isn't actually so alien - people attribute personality and even malice to machines all the time in real life (ever shouted at or pleaded with a car or computer that wasn't working properly? Same idea) - it's just been taken to a particular extreme in part because of the ever-present ignorance and superstition of 41st Millennium humanity.

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Please don't think I'm in any way disagreeing with you N0-1. Well, maybe to the extent of the belief of the Adeptus Mechanicus vs. the average man in 40K.

Great line in False Gods - a book I know to be ineffectual for this discussion as it (and all of the Heresy novels) have little, if nothing, to do with the present 40K universe. Anyway - one of the pilots of a Titan anthropomorphizes the Titan by calling it a "she" - a fact which he is made fun of.

I know the Mechanicus feels this way - but, I believe page 264 of Dark Heresy presents a slightly different picture for the regular populace. I'll chose some quotes, but I don't think they'll be used out of context to get my point across - I'd just rather not write the whole thing.

"A machine that is both old and complicated is given the same status by the Tech-Priests as the Ecclesiarchy would giev a major saint..."

"All machines though, no matter what their pedigree, are treated as living things by the Tech-Priests..."

"Woe betide any man who fails to treat his weapon with respect or hurls abuses at his desktop logicator within the range of the machine enhanced senses of a Tech-Priest."

If you notice - the only people who worship machines in this paragraph on page 264 - are the Adeptus Mechanicus - and the Machine Cult.

===

Solely from Dark Heresy - this paints a picture of a tolerated, fanatical cult of machinists.

It also suggests that the average man is likely not so fanatically - especially if they're not part of the Machine Cult.

So, while a Mechanicus will perform the "prayers" over a Rhino before it leaves - if it broke down on the field what would the average Guardsman say?

1) "The machine's spirit is being incorrigible! It has broken its own unity rod!"

Or

2) Damnit! We busted an axle!

I mean, even the orks know what a gear or axle is. Granted - for them it's genetics - but still...

===

Now - when it comes to a toaster in 40K I also don't believe the average hab owner would simply stare at it and then call 1-800-TEK-PRST.

BUT - when the average hab owner finds a "broken" logicator and turns it on and sees strange information being regurgitated - then it's off to your local Machine Cult recruiter.

The average Imperial citizen isn't a moron - or we would need tech priest pilots, tech priest doctors, tech priest amusement park ride attendants, tech priest soda fountain vendors. I believe the average citizen can be a hacker, can be a mechanic, can be a pharmacist (without being a Mechanicus Biologus), and many other things -

BUT - what I believe they couldn't be in the 40K universe is an inventor of those fields - a hacker, but not a program writer - a mechanic, but not an engineer - a pharmacist, but not a scientist.

To me - this is because the Adeptus Mechanicus has hidden the building blocks of technology behind their little mystery cult and they're not letting anyone play with the big toys. And - as stated - think they're doing this to control the masses and keep their power. The Imperium can't survive without the Mechanicus - the Mechanicus can't survive without its stranglehold on STC, invention, and esoteric tech - so, it controls it.

===

Honestly - how could an entire half of a galaxy produce enough Tech-Priests to fix every stupid little electronic device out there?

I think they're more interested in the real tech - not the common stuff that anyone can get their hands on.

Citizen 1: "I have a bolter Mr. Tech-Priest."

Tech-Priest: Thinks: I have seen so MANY bolters - I know what a bolter looks like by rote. "May the spirit bring true aim and unfailing firepower! AMEN!"

Citizen 2: "I have an Eldar "Harliquin's Kiss" weapon Mr. Tech-Priest!"

Tech-Priest: SCREW the bolter - it's just a frigg'n gun! Gimme that sweet xenos toy! Gimme gimme!

((shrugs - dunno - that's how I see it))

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There doesn't need to be a tech priest for every little thing. There would be plenty of lay-techies all over a hive, possible they were trained by tech priests. These technomat's would know the basic of technology but hidden as a vast number of rituals.

So for a technomat that deals with cogitators he would know the rituals such as: The sacred rite of empowerment (plugging in), the rite of visualisation (plugging in a monitor), the rite of prime calculation ( /run ).

If there is an problem with the machine, often the cogitator will start speaking in tongues (error messages) that most sacred of mantra's: 'Have you tried turning it off and on again.'

If that doesn't work (and you've tried blowing in all the ports) it needs to tended to in the most holy of shrines for recovery and rehabilitation (be sent into the shop for a week).

You're probably also given the average citizen too much credit when it comes to technology, sure tech priests and military have radios and scanners but most of the hive is going to run off clockwork computers etc.

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I guess one just seems comical to me - turning literally every action involving machines into a ritual or prayer.

and the other seems reasonable - a baseline complacency with static tech - and an avarice cult mindset of secrecy over important technology.

That doesn't make it right - or fact. Just an opinion.

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Medhia Nox said:

 

I guess one just seems comical to me - turning literally every action involving machines into a ritual or prayer.

and the other seems reasonable - a baseline complacency with static tech - and an avarice cult mindset of secrecy over important technology.

 

Not important technology, any technology...

The two ideas aren't mutually exclusive either. At no point have I claimed that the Mechanicus don't endeavour to maintain a stranglehold over technological knowledge... indeed, that's partially the reason why the Imperium is the way it is. In the Imperium, ignorance is pervasive, knowledge is guarded carefully by all those who have it... and the Mechanicus control access to knowledge of technology.

But the same thing applies within the Mechanicus. Those at the top know far more than those at the bottom.

There's a slow trickle of information that passes from the rulers of the Adeptus Mechanicus, through the ranks of the Martian Priesthood, down to the rest of the Imperium.

Knowing how a car works or a computer or a toaster isn't inherent to the human mind... it has to be learned. That's easy for us, because we live in a society where knowledge is freely given and encouraged. But the Imperium doesn't work like modern society - the people serve the will of church and state, rather than the state existing to serve the people. In the Imperium, people are taught and unsubtly encouraged to know and accept their place, unquestioning and without doubt. It is a society where a person's duty is deemed more important than their life, their freedom and their happiness.

"A questioning servant is more dangerous than an ignorant heretic"... "An Empty Mind Is A Loyal Mind"... "Analysis is the bane of conviction"... "Ignorance is a virtue"... all these are amongst the many maxims and axioms of humanity, the words that the people are 'encouraged' to live by through ten thousand years of enduring tradition. It is a place where hereditary indentured labour is likely more common than free enterprise, where a man's grandchildren can be executed for treason because his trial took over a century to come to judgement and he died of old age before that, where stagnation and fear rule. Is it any surprise that technology - dreadful, terrible technology that so long ago turned against its human masters (or so legends tell) - is feared and appeased in blind ritual rather than questioned and examined?

Consequently, people tend only to learn the things that they need to learn. And the only place to (legitimately) learn it is the Mechanicus, or through some Mechanicus-sanctioned endeavour (for example, Manufactories on Hive Worlds construct devices to STC designs... the STC designs are granted by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and thus the Manufactories remain under Mechanicus scrutiny to ensure that the holy knowledge is not misused). The Mechanicus have the knowledge - it is their purpose in the universe to seek it out, afterall - and they want to keep it... but they're as prone to ritual and superstition as anyone else in the Imperium.

One thing to remember above all that is that this is the baseline, the standard around which the Imperium works... people will deviate from it... but that's undesirable, and tends to be punished when discovered. The Mechanicus know that there are innumerable examples of 'least tech-heresy' going on all the time, but even they lack the numbers and the resources to seek out and punish every tiny infraction... but that's no different from the Ecclesiarchy punishing the sin of Impious Thought - they can't easily seek it out, but they'll crush it when they find it, even though it's a relatively minor sin.

I recommend you find a copy of Enforcer (shouldn't be too hard, it was only released last month), which is the omnibus of the Shira Calpurnia novels, Crossfire, Legacy and Blind. It follows a senior Adeptus Arbites officer posted to the Hive World of Hydraphur, the capital world and primary naval base of the Segmentum Pacificus. It features no war, nor is it anywhere near the front lines... it deals with conspiracies and politics and all the things that go on in the Imperium that aren't related to Chaos, Xenos or grand heresies. It is, in my opinion, one of the best depictions of daily life in the Imperium, showing just how pervasive religion and propaganda are in the Imperium and just how different their civilisation is compared to all we take for granted.

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I will definitely check it out - though, I have a suspicion that the "average" citizen is not who the books are really written about. To be interesting enough to have someone actually enjoy the novel - I suspect the characters are going to have to be guilty of "free thought" - a lot.

That's easy for Astartes, Inquisitors and their cadres, and Rogue Traders - free thought is what sets them apart. That's why they're the only things standing between the Imperium and its many enemies. Sure - the average Imperial citizen isn't some haughty modern Earth-human overpowered with a glut of technology and sense overload - but there's still art in the Imperium - and even though the vast, VAST majority is likely sanctioned religious art - all artists are dangerous minds in an oppressive society. There's still thought - there's still humanity - even if the vast majority has abandoned free will that still leaves millions, out of trillions, who use their imaginations in the Imperium of Man (and some will use the imagination for technology)

I suppose one of my points is - these are the only interesting characters. I couldn't find myself being interested in reading about the "adventures" of an Admistratum scrivner's eighty years of mindless droning. So - while a fine background - it's not too relevant for the free thinkers in the party (or most novels I imagine).

Hence - worlds revolt - Planetary governors "go native" - there are feral worlds (a place where a mechanicus would probably be afraid to go) - or, you just escape the Imperium on the nearest Rogue Trader - or, worse comes to worse - you find freedom in the dregs of society where the Ministorum, the Arbites, and the Mechanicus are reluctant to go.

I guess my point has always been - there are trillions of humans - on potentially tens of thousands of planets. No government could have uniformity over all of it. Therefore - the closer you get to the Mechanicum - the more this techno-worship holds sway - but I don't believe it should be considered: "This is the only way for humans in the Imperium to act - over tens of thousands of worlds and trillions of people."

I get dystopia - but that seems just ludicrous.

Note: Though I believe we're primarily speaking of Hive and Forge worlds with Forge worlds being the absolute extreme case.

====

So, off I go to get a more refined view of the Imperium of Man - also known as, why I would do anything necessary to join the Tau Empire - the Eldar - or heck, Chaos if I had to become some labotimized idiot of the Mechanicus.

Note 2: I dislike technologists - so the Mechanicus recieves a good portion of my personal loathing as an idea. So take all this with the bias that is there.

Thanks for being patient with me btw - I appreciate the conversation (and I hope it's even helping the OP! :D)

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Medhia Nox said:

That's easy for Astartes, Inquisitors and their cadres, and Rogue Traders - free thought is what sets them apart.

Less for the Astartes - remember, the average Marine is extensively hypno-indoctrinated.

But you're right, broadly speaking, the (in this case) player characters will be the exception... those who find the service of the Inquisition are those for whom doubt and inquiry come more easily than they do for most. A Rogue Trader and his cadre are those who cannot abide the dutiful subservience that defines the majority of mankind and instead have ambition. The Deathwatch are special even amongst the Astartes, entrusted with greater freedoms and greater responsibility away from the comforting familiarity of their Chapters.

I've been speaking fairly broadly; there will almost always be exceptions to the rule, and that's part of the point. In some cases, the characters represent that exception. In others - particularly in Dark Heresy - those who deviate from the norm are the enemy. In all cases, the player characters - and similar can be said for the protagonists of many of the novels - are outsiders to the Imperium, set apart from it because they aren't like the normal, average, dutiful and fearful people who make up the overwhelming majority of the population.

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i think is very interesting to see how many different interpretations are of the technology and of the God Machine, as all in the Imperium, it depends of the

place and customs, some technology and even invention by non Mechanicus people may be tolerated as a "worship" maybe, some new knowledge or way of doing something, as a upgrade or a new gun. But of course, revered and old technology , and also more complicated one, should be "done" by proper Mechanicus hands, holy enough to treat it as it deserves. I believe a civilian armorer or inventor is like a devote worshipper of the God Emperor: If a cleric sees one worshipping the God Emperor, he will let him, no matter their actions, as long as it is similar to the tenets of the Ecchesiarchy and is not recognized as heretical. But, of course, the worshippers, are not the proper ones to do a religious mass, as that is the proper place of the Clerics. IF they (the worsh,ippers, keeping with the example)try to do a mass, then all the Ecchlesiarchy will not tolerate it, and they will : a ) punish or kill them , B) recluit them as possible future members of the Church.

I believe the same does the Mechanicus, since they keep the most brilliant and adept with technology as future techpriests. Just my 2 cents :)

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

As for Machine Spirits... the matter is simple if you ascribe all of it to superstition... but it gets complicated when you consider that sometimes, a machine spirit is a form of automation, below the sophistication of an Artificial Intelligence (which are illegal), such as the systems that operate at the hearts of starships, Titans, and Astartes vehicles like Thunderhawks and Land Raiders (in all cases, the upper end of the scale) down to simple, hidden electronic systems in smaller devices (something simple and single purpose akin to a camera's autofocus). Some devices may be attributed with a single machine spirit, while others may be viewed as having many lesser ones that all do different things... and the line between these different types of machine spirit is deliberately unclear...

 

the closest thing to a legal AI are called cogitor engines and monitored closely. Should they develop too much autonomy they are then heretech and destroyed. 

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-= Spoilers =-

There are rumors that a big splinter faction of the Adeptus Mechanicus of Mars as fallen under Necron influence.

Shroud class necron vessels where seen landing and vanishing on Mars.

 -- BFG Necron expansion and some necron fluff

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