Imperial Technology Index

posted: 12th Aug, 2007 - updated: 1st Feb, 2013


This Index follows on, and builds upon, the concepts laid down in the previous index: Adeptus Mechanicus. This page deals with the 'Informatum Technicana Prohibitorum', or the secret technologies of the Adeptus Mechanicus. I often refer to these technology concepts when chatting to other fans on forums while explaining how I see technology actually working in warhammer 40,000. While based on the works published by Games Workshop, this is fan fiction (Philverse) and should not be taken as 'canon'.

STC Icon

STC Icon

= Philverse - Unofficial 'fan fiction' =

Standard Template Construct

The STC (Standard Template Construct) is the standard specification of technology used in the Imperium. All technology produced in the Imperium adheres to the STC specifications (similar to ISO standards (Interstellar Standards Organisation)) and all measures are maintained by the Adeptus Mechanicus (i.e. rods of measure). This means that components to an engine can be built on many different Forge Worlds and yet they will fit together flawlessly (with mark 1 persuader (hammer)).

STC Icon


The Adeptus Mechanicus are responsible for the vast amount of goods produced in the Imperium. Though they built and control all higher technology they also supply STC certified kits for local assembly (for more information of STC see: The Dark Age of Technology). The kits can be put together by local 'techs' who are not acolytes of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The concept is similar to a kit car. The idea of shipping kits is to maximise storage space on inter-stella ships. The vast manufacturing muscle of the Adeptus Mechanicus and economies of scale mean that produce goods far cheaper that many local production facilities.

The Standard Template Construction System in 40K

imperial containerisation

A 'B1' universal enclosure is an 8' cube frame with auto-studded side panels. It is used in a number of roles, these being: an intermodal shipping container (rail, ship, truck, air, and space), an enclosure for large 'hot swap' devices (plasma engines, air-recon, recycling systems, etc), and as a basis of a modular hab-unit fittings used in hives, starships, military complexes, and Forge Worlds.

STC Icon


The concept behind B1 enclosure is that all starships, space ports, gravity lifts, hives, military bases, and Forge Worlds can handle these enclosures no matter which role they are tasked with. The external dimension are all the same, and the twist-lock fittings are in the same place. A 'modular hab-unit section' is handled the same as a 'munitions crate', as a 'plasma engine', as 'food drop container'. What fits one: fits the other.

STC Universal Enclosures

Materials of the Imperium [Mundane]

The Adeptus Mechanicus supplies the Imperium with technologies fashions from a number of materials that are difficult to produce on many worlds. The materials require much work and are fashion in the hellish fire pits of the forge worlds. The Imperium makes extensive used of advanced ceramics for all building construction, vehicles, armour and weapons. These materials are complimented with resin based composites.


Advanced Ceramics

Much of the Imperium proper make great use of advanced ceramics and derivatives. The 'Cera' prefix used in this group of materials refers to advanced ceramic based products and composites. All materials in this category have excellent insulation properties and easy to work with. Many of the names that are used for old style ceramics are used to describe advanced ceramics in ordinary situations, such as 'pottery' when describing cups and utensils made of advanced ceramics.

Materials of the Imperium

Cogitator Technology

The Adeptus Mechanicus make use of 'computer' technologies, referred to collectively as 'cogitators', that were developed during the Dark Age of Technology. With in this era, the Golden Age of the Machine, cogitator science developed far beyond what we know today. A cogitator is thought to contain an machine spirit (Spiritus Machina)

Old CPU picture

State of the Art

Our modern day electronic processors are considered the bare minimum required for cogitator function. In the far future these wonders of transistors technology are thought of as a 'transitory technology'; archaic and sub-standard. On many worlds that have be claimed by one of the Imperium's institutions the Adeptus Mechanicus has even outlawed electronics! The Adeptus Mechanicus make use of systems that are several generation ahead of our state-of-the-art.

Developmental time line of Cogitator Technology

Physics of 40K

This is an overview of the basic structure of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Unified Theory of physics. Within the Imperium there is much advanced technology that is virtually 'magic', and this is the basics of how it is explained away. In this re-image, the 'hard science' sci-fi element is completely separated from the fantastical elements of the Warhammer 40K background.

Plasma Engine Diagram

Adeptus Mechanicus' Unified Theory

Within the Aethyr, the laws of physics diminish reducing to nothing as the phase distortion pushes towards to the Great Barrier. A field effect using Aethyr can selectively negate the forces of nature; a power weapon can nullify the bonds between atoms making any armour easy to destroy, a stasis field can stop all chemical reactions indefinitely preserving that which is inside, a conversion field can negate kinetic energy (inefficient fields produce light when struck). However this is not breaking the laws of conservation, energy is still required to produce these effect. All a Aethyr field does is temporally change the rules on how that conversion from one form to another is carried out.

The Physics of the Warp

Field emitter Technology

Following on the from 'Physics of 40K' this delves into the application of warp physics and derivative technologies. One of these devices is the secret Phase Field Emitter (PFE). The Phase-Field Emitters can theoretically distort the materium up to 99.9% phase. The power to obtain this level of phase increases dramatically as the phase increases. At 99.999% no matter how much more power is added it will not phase to 100% as 100% means it no longer has a link to reality. This point of 'unlimited power consumption' is called The Great Barrier.

The basis of Archaeotech

Phased Materials [Exotic]

When a mundane material is exposed to a powerful Phase Field (from Emitter), the material's atoms may become phased. The phase type depends on field/ atom/ electron harmonics, and only certain phases can be imparted to certain atoms and molecule combinations. Usually simple homogeneous materials readily take up phase, and a wider range of phase types, than complex molecules. Whereas flesh is highly registrant due to it's complexity and bio-electric field (though DNA damage can result).

Imbued Phase

All materials experience phase shift when exposed to a high-yield phase field, yet some will retain the phase even when removed from the field. Materials that retain phase once removed from the effects of the field are said to have be 'imbued phase'. This is an important state of matter that many advanced technologies rely on to function.

Exotic Materials produced by the Adeptus Mechanicus

Power systems

The Imperium uses several power systems are are beyond our current technology. While the vast majority of power systems are relatively mundane (but still highly advanced) in their science; some systems are far beyond our understanding of what science is. These exotic systems dabble in science beyond quantum mechanicus and delve in boarder-space theories. The maths for such systems is 'dynamic' as in the equations are continually shifting as time progresses and the amount of phase level induced. The laws, because of the proximity of the warp are not fixed. These systems rely artificial 'psionic' minds to stabilise and complete the equations.

Plasma Engine Diagram

Plasma Engines

The basic power unit of the Imperium. A magnetic based fusion reactor with an inner lining of thermoelectric cells to directly convert the heat into electricity, and an over lay of high performance (temp) solar cells to convert light. The most common shape is the torus (tokamak) and the spiral. The spiral lead to the armoured plasma cable which is basically a fusion reactor in a very thick cable with plugs.

Powering the Imperium

Warp Drive

During the Dark Age of Technology science advanced beyond logic or reason, only the great Artilects of Mars had the ferocious intellect to rend the very heart of Physics and rewrite it anew in their image. At first such wonders were created, that mankind stood in awe, but as time progress and the cold logic and burning imagination drove the Artilects into the depth of hell and they spawned abominations. Though much has been lost of the era, some archaeotech remains. Guarded by those who do not fear the mechanisation of the Artilects, but desire them for their own. The Adeptus Mechanicus. Of all the archaeotech devices they possess one is prized above all...

Plasma Engine Diagram

Window into the Soul of the Universe

The caged eye. To stare into the engine is to stare into the abyss, to stare into the daemon eye and see all that is and can be. There is naught but madness within this dark pool of reflection, the window to the universe's soul, into chaos itself. Avert your gaze before it temps thee! None can look upon the face of ghod and came away unscathed! Fools! You damn yourself to oblivion with a joyous heart!

Magos Damnidus - The Demonic Comedy (drama)

The Principles of Warp Drive technology and Engine Schematics

Gravity Lift

Archaeotech from the Dark Age of Technology. The lifting platforms are over a hundred meters across and are able to lift thousands upon thousands of tonnes of goods at a time. In orbit there is a corresponding geostationary dock, that interfaces with ships wishing to load and unload goods. The heavy duty emitters are set at the bottom of a shaft deep under ground and are heavily protected and shielded. The Gravity Lifts are found on Hive Worlds, and count as shipping docks for the unloading of goods.

Matter Repulsor Technology

A combination of phase field emitters charging phased materials inserts embedded into lifting platforms.

Wonders of the Imperium

Drop pods

Drops Pods are the second fastest way to get to the surface of a planet. The fastest being the near instantaneous teleporter technology. Drop Pods have completely different design objective to shuttles, or hybrid atmosphere/ space craft like the Thunder hawks used by marines. The Drop Pods sole purpose is to get the occupants to the surface as fast as possible - and they are fast. The only problems with them is that they are so fast stopping is a huge problem, and the technologies use to counter this are so powerful that a Drop Pod is as much an weapon as a transport. Drop Pods are never used in peace time, they are far to dangerous and precious to the Adeptus Mechanicus. About the only faction of the Imperium that get to use them are the legendary Space Marines, and this means the Drop Pods are synonymous with Marine assaults.

Drop Pods crashing down onto a world

Construction Overview

Drop Pods rely on several high archaeotech devices born in antiquity during the Dark Age of Technology. At its base level the Space Marine Drop Pod is a mono-cermet (Adamantium-13) framed super structure with rivet and bond ceraplate inner skin panels and ablative ceraous outer skin. The central core contains the massive capacitor-cells and fusion engines needed to drive the various Power Field technologies; these being the power canopy, pulsed power field emitter and stasis field. The riders (never referred to as passengers) are seated in a circle with their backs to the central core.

Drop Pods


Teleporters are an advanced derivative of warp-engine technology and hails from the later part of the Dark Age era. They are highly complex archaeotech devices, far more complex than even the warp drive, and jealously guarded by the Adeptus Mechanicus. These devices are never given to other institutions of the Imperium and are always within the direct control of the Adeptus Mechanicus at all times. In base terms the Teleporter tears a path through the living fabric of the Immaterium, a tunnel through the nightmares of mankind, to deliver the traveler to a remote destination in an instant.

Eye of the Teleporter

Linked Gates

It creates two Geller Field Emitters simultaneously. Unlike the emitters found in warp drives which are contained within a spherical phase space, the emitters constructed by the Teleporter are shaped like a torus. The torus shaped Geller Fields are know as Warp Gates, or simply 'gates'. If the two gates are separated from each other, and if fed with enough power, a tunnel will from between the two. This tunnel is referred to as a 'geller tunneling Event' by the Adeptus Mechanicus and as a 'worm hole' by everyone else. The further apart the two gates are moved the more power is required to create and maintain the wormhole.

To hell and back

Void shields

Void Shields are the darkest and most sophisticated of all Cult's machinations of defence. These wards combine several arts into a gestalt shield technology that is all but impregnable to mundane weaponry, and grants the Imperium the blessing of the machine god, a huge advantage in combat. All superstructures are usually clothed in void-shields, this includes the massive 10+ km Battle Ships of the Imperial Navy right down to the Avatars of Ghod (Titans) that stride into battle.

Composite (layer) Fields

Are a class of composite defensive fields which combine power-field, conversion field and warp drop (gate) field into a complete defensive void-shield system. There are a huge number of variants and no two voids shields are configured in the same way. Each void-shield is custom made, and any large shielded structure may have several configurations of void-shield in different areas. About the only thing standard about the void shield is their basic concept, and the fact that they are incredibly robust. These go far beyond 'force-fields'.

The Ultimate Shield Technology

Titans (Daemons of the Machine Ghod)

The Adeptus Titanicus (Collegia Titanicus): Creators of the mighty avatars of the true Machine Ghod: The Omnissiah. These Titans are vast walking engines of death and destruction, great beasts clothed in Dark Age science and armour. To see a Titan is to see Ghod. A personification of the power of science, and the greatest of the death bringers that walk the earth. The Warlord is the backbone of the titan legions. They are the 'core troops' of each divisions and pack some of the most awesome firepower every devised. They make heavy used of grav-repulsion technologies, and are surprisingly mobile considering their size.

Imperial Ship

Warlord Class Titan

A Warlord titans can stride faster than the top speed of a modern day MTB (Main Battle Tank). The can negotiate terrain that would be considered impassable by modern day armour: literally scale mountains and 'walk on water' with full anti-grav, or become fully submerged in the ocean and act as a submarine.

Personification of the Machine Ghod

Naval weapon systems

The Imperial Navy employs some of the most advanced weapons known to mankind, derivatives of dark age technology and post-dark age Adeptus Mechanicus ingenuity. Dark Age ships never needed to overcome void-shields are rebellion among machines was unheard of. Yet in the Imperium rebels are a constant threat, and the Adeptus mechanicus had to figure a way to overcome void shields, which is no small task. The final battleships of the Imperium are a mixture of these two strands of thought, to yield a truly formidable fighting platform enabling the imperium to project its might anywhere in the known galaxy.

Imperial Ship

Ship to Ship

Combat between main battle groups in 40K has developed into a close up and brutal fight due to the powerful shield technologies employed. Whereas un-shielded ships often engage with drones and lance at ranges of hundreds or even thousands on Kilometres, the great battleships can only be taken down with point blank broadside. It is ironic that in 40K much of the massive battleship vs battleship combat between loyal and rebel human forces resemble Man-o'-War tactics 16th–19th centuries, and the larger ships using line of battle tactics . Indeed, many high ranking naval officers often refer to their vessels as Man-o'-War.

The Big Guns of the Imperium


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