“Courage like Steel, Completion in Death!”
– Legio Venator Battle Cry
Of all the wonders of the Machine Cult, none can compare to the awesome might of a Titan. A relic of humanity’s forgotten glory, the term can refer to any of the massive bipedal combat walkers the Titan Legions wield to serve the Cult Mechanicus. They are magnificent engines of destruction, each brandishing weapons capable of levelling entire hab-blocks, and employing dense armored carapaces and powerful void shields. Within every Titan’s core resides a uniquely aggressive and powerful machine-spirit patterned after the terrible predatory beasts of ancient Terra, each requiring immense willpower to wield and control. The servants of the Adeptus Mechanicus reverently maintain and worship these colossal engines of war; for in their eyes, every Titan is no less than the walking embodiment of the Machine God’s power.
The process of constructing a Titan is a close secret within the Adeptus Mechanicus, and each is an immense undertaking, requiring centuries of experience and countless blessings and rituals throughout the process. These colossal machines are held in such high standing that every Titan is granted a High Gothic name upon completion. In the same vein, the death of a Titan is a true tragedy for those who aided in its construction, with entire Foundries mourning the loss of one of their sacred creations.
When not serving on some distant warzone or guarding one of the Legio’s many fortresses, the Titans of Legio Venator rest in the Titan Pens on Opus Macharius. Here they undergo any necessary critical repairs, upgrades, or refittings. The planet’s massive manufactorums contain these pens within their sprawling bulk, and continuously produce parts and armaments for their sacred charges. A single pen often houses multiple Titans at a time, while some of the more illustrious or massive machines warrant an entire forge to themselves. All who maintain the Legio’s machines view their labor as a great honor, and duels and conflicts frequently occur over the right to house Titans of particular reverence.
The Titan Pens also contain facilities to see to the medical and physical needs of the legion’s members, including hospitiller complexes, hab quarters, and training bays. Many veteran members of Legio Venator live and train here beside the Legio’s aspirants, and serve as an example to those who have yet to face the enemy in righteous battle. Unfortunately, these facilities sometimes serve as the final abode to any Princeps that succumbs to the extreme physical and mental toll of controlling the destructive spirit within a Titan. These tortured individuals are sights inspiring both reverence and pity. Some are carefully managed in their declining days as inspirational heroes of the Mechanicum, but most live out their remaining days as pitiful, broken shells of the walking gods they once embodied.
A Glorius LegacyEdit
Legio Venator was a relatively young legion when it accompanied Imperial forces at the commencement of the Angevin Crusade. The Legio was glorious to behold, its immaculate red and polished brass carapaces flashing with each burst of fire, as they relentlessly delivered utter annihilation to all who refused Imperial rule. Winning much glory and honour during the opening phases of the campaign, the legion gained a fearsome reputation for completely decimating their opponents.
During the Bleak Years, the legion fought with particular distinction against a massive Ork Waaagh! that fell upon the crusaders with barbaric fury. A critical victory in the struggle came with the destruction of a massive Mega-Gargant, identified in the Ork’s bestial tongue as Spine Smasha. Following a coordinated orbital lance strike, Princeps Senioris Angevelo Vsevolod of the Warlord Titan Valorus Ira, with support from a Warhound Pack Centurion, engaged the damaged greenskin engine. The battle was close and ferocious, and it was only after Warhound Celerus Moria sacrificed itself through drawing the Mega-Gargant’s fire that the Valorus Ira was able to target the enemy’s internal core with its volcano cannon. The resulting meltdown decimated the Ork hordes, and the sight of their idol’s destruction robbed them of their will to fight.
After pushing into areas thought secure, the foul Yu’vath brought their insane Warp-science and techno-sorcery to bear on the beleaguered crusaders. The Legio Venator encountered a particularly massive and atrocious Yu’vath Warp construct leading the opening attack of one such offensive. Dripping with ethereal energy, the monstrous creation propelled itself forward on five twisted legs, and wielded inexplicable weapons that drew on the power of the Warp itself in three misshapen arms. Four Titans fell to the abomination before the Desidius Rae, heavily damaged and venting plasma from its ruptured core, challenged the beast in close combat. The embattled Princeps diverted all available power to his Titan’s power fist, which caused his first strike to overload the already weakened core containment field. The Titan’s ensuing fiery death ensured the complete and utter destruction of its Warp-spawned foe.
Following the arrival of Arch-Magos Mat Aleph Xenon and the conclusion of the Angevin Crusade, Legio Venator attained the right to requisition one of the newly created Lathe Worlds as its own. However, before the process of selecting a world could begin, Legio Venator joined other Titan Legions in the glorious and historic Macharian Crusade. The remaining Legio forces within the newly formed Calixis Sector instead set to work establishing fortresses within the Lathes themselves, including one on Lycosidae.
Upon the completion of the Macharian Conquests, the Titan battle groups returned with fresh tales of heroism as well as regret at the loss of Macharius himself. In recognition of his glory and the legion’s participation in the great crusade, the Lathe Covenant designated a forge world within the Drusus Marches “Opus Macharius,” and ceded it to the Titan Legion as its new home world.
Over a thousand years later, the Legio Venator was one of the forces to heed the call to arms against the self-proclaimed Emperor of Brass. The Titan Engines were invaluable in breaking the rebellions bordering the Gelmiro Cluster, ruthlessly cleansing any worlds that rebelled against their Imperial masters. During the final assault on the remaining hive clusters within the system, the Legio Venator came face to face with a new and terrible enemy: Chaos Engines. What followed was a four day conflict in which Engines on both sides relentlessly stalked their foes through ruined spires and destroyed hab blocks. Several of Legio Venator’s damaged Titans even volunteered to act as bait to lure the Chaos Titans into ambushes, occasionally sacrificing themselves to destroy their targets.
The eventual arrival of two Imperator Titans signaled the end of the fighting, as the remaining Chaos forces were unable to stand up to the might of these awe-inspiring machines. Entire swathes of ruined cityscape vanished beneath the power of their mighty armaments, as the Chaos Engines that did not escape off-world fell to the overwhelming onslaught. The battle groups then turned their efforts towards supporting the remaining loyalist forces, and the entire cluster was eventually left a smoking ruin, though the cost in lives had been high. However, the escaped Chaos forces would return to face the Legio again, under the banner of the Forsaken Reavers Chaos Warband.
When the Meritech Wars erupted across Imperial space almost five hundred years later, the Legio Venator dispatched forces to help quell the massive uprising. These included the Ignis Inferorum, an ancient Imperator Titan dating back to the Dark Age of Technology, which strode the battlefield like an avatar of wrath, its twin Plasma Annihilators belching fiery retribution. The defenders found themselves hopelessly outmatched and, in the end, not a single living creature survived.
Following the conclusion of the Meritech Wars, the Legio Venator focused on rebuilding and strengthening its holdings, occasionally dispatching battle groups to honor treaties and obligations from the distant past. The Legion currently has forces operating in both the costly Margin Crusade and the on-going Achillus Crusade. Here they have encountered the deadly bio-titans of the Tyranid Hive Fleets, and many valuable Engines have fallen to these ferocious monstrosities. As a result, Princips Majoris Maxilohv has decreed that no additional battle groups are to leave the Sector, except to fulfil the Legio’s current treaties, until the destroyed Titans are replaced. Such an undertaking is expected to require centuries.
As One BeingEdit
One of the most critical roles of the facilities on Opus Macharius is the training of aspirants and crews to function as a single, cohesive unit. The Princeps, as the leader of the crew, and his Moderatii, who implement his directives, must learn their Engine’s unique quirks, tolerances, and individual temperament so that each can instinctively anticipate and interpret the Titan’s intentions during combat. Without this mutual link, the Titan is slow to react and unruly, the rebellious machine spirit struggling against its crew instead of directing its boundless rage against the enemy. In contrast, a Titan and crew who have bonded are a true wonder to behold: man and machine communicating and reacting without a moment’s hesitation to deliver the wrath of the Omnissiah down upon their foes. To truly walk as one with their Titan’s machine-spirit is akin to a holy experience for all within, the Princeps in perfect communion with his Engine, and his Moderatii in seamless anticipation of his commands.
To better achieve this end, the Legio Venator conducts endless training drills, and has authorized the creation of an area known as Perdition. This large section of the planet’s surface is now a vast expanse of artificial warzone. Within this purposeful desolation, the Legio train to deal with almost any threat and combat situation. Here countless captured enemies and prisoners from across the Sector are penned in place, surrounded with enormous ferro-crete walls that house automated sentry guns and targeting servitors, and used in live weapons training. The lowly wretches within live out their dangerous, and often very short, lives perpetually rebuilding the remnants of buildings and battlefields, only to have them destroyed anew each session.
Food and other essential supplies arrive at designated zones within the complex, with little care given to rationing or the maintenance of order among the confined. This process has resulted in the rise of ruthless individuals, who are able to organize and intimidate prisoners into massive work gangs to curry favor from their mechanical overseers. The Tech-Priests responsible for this labor force frequently encourage such behavior, often dropping additional supplies, such as slightly higher quality protein-pastes and starch packs, as motivation for exceptional productivity. Fighting amongst these groups is quite common, and is believed to add to the authenticity of the Legio’s training.
One of the more obscure types of war machines the Legio Venator employs on the battlefield are the ancient Knight Engines. Individual Princeps pilot these small, one-man Titans, each hailing from the nobility of the distant Knight Worlds. The history of the Knight Engines is extensive, and stretches back into the depths of the Imperium’s murky past, during the turbulent era known as the Age of Strife.
Though now generally serving as support and reserve forces, the Knight Engines of Legio Venator continue to fight with distinction, utilizing their increased mobility to the best possible advantage. No less than eighteen Knights from four separate worlds serve across the Calixis Sector, and they continue to wreak particular havoc against the marauding Orks on Kulth. Here, elite formations of Burst-pattern Lancer Engines dart across the battlefields, expertly striking the flanks of their opponents with torrential fire. Meanwhile, the Paladin Engines of the Adamantine Order stand defiant against the barbaric xenos in superb displays of martial combat, time and again striking down their crude warmachines with righteous fury. These honorable warriors are all dedicated servants of the Omnissiah, and each expects nothing less than a glorious death in the service of their Martian lords.
Defiant to the LastEdit
Princeps Senioris Lenodius von Maxilohv is the Princips Majoris of Legio Venator and is over 250 standard years old. His body is permanently confined to his command throne, an ornate brass device that contains the necessary life-support systems and tox-scrubbers to keep him alive and allow him to interface with his Titan’s machine spirit. He retains only his head, right arm, and half of his torso, following a stand-off with Titans of the Forsaken Reavers Chaos Warband.
During a clash against these foul raiders, Maxilohv intercepted orbital surveillance that five of the Fallen Engines were attempting to flank the Imperial assault through a canyon south of the battle. As the rest of his command could not abandon this critical phase of the attack, Maxilohv disengaged his Engine Imperialis Potestus from the battle and challenged the enemy Titans alone.
The canyon’s rock walls reportedly echoed with the twisted scrapcode of the lead Chaos Warlord Titan when the lone Imperial Engine encountered them, while the meaning of Maxilohv’s brief reply burst is lost to history. While the servants of Chaos could not all bring their weapons to bear on him at once, neither could they miss. Maxilohv’s Titan sustained massive damage from the withering enemy fire, including a direct hit to his command bridge. Maintaining control of his Titan through sheer force of will, Maxilohv continued to engage the enemy despite his terrible injuries. Upon seeing the final Chaos Titan fall, Maxilohv finally lost consciousness, and his Titan ground to a halt. Following the battle, he was placed within the command throne he currently occupies. After repairing his Titan, tech-rites added the new honor to its glorious annals.
Diviso Perditus PrincepsEdit
A Diviso Perditus Princeps embodies the Legio Venator’s penchant for ensuring that every trace of the enemy has been annihilated by fire and death, regardless of the cost. Veterans of many conflicts, these individuals elect to remove the parts of their brain that house their slowly crumbling mental state, and replace them with implants that maintain and enhance their cognitive processes. This procedure obliterates the Princeps’s own fracturing personality, instead allowing him to direct his Engine’s spirit with cold and calculating logic.
However, with time, the continued melding with their Engine’s predatory temperament gradually alters this emotional void, creating individuals who believe that methodical and overwhelming application of force is the only logical way to fight an enemy. Occasionally, the machine-spirit’s nature also intrudes upon the Princeps’s mental consciousness, and influence the Princeps to continue fighting even when logic would dictate withdrawing from a conflict. They are supremely confident opponents, undaunted in the face of danger after decades of wielding the power of a walking god.
Legio Venator Redactus ModeratusEdit
Moderatus is the term for the various crew members within the command bridge, who maintain and monitor a Titan’s vital and secondary systems during deployment. Their labours supplement and facilitate the Princeps’ control of the Titan, and allow him to focus on the battle itself. Within the Legio Venator, the task of interacting with the Princeps falls primarily to the Redactus Moderatus, who sits below the command throne within every Titan command bridge.
These experienced individuals filter all the data and reports of the other Moderatii, and relay any vital information into the command throne’s cogitators via synaptic link. They are essential members of every crew and often serve as advisor and second-in-command to the Princeps. Redactus Moderatii also ensure the survival of their commanding officer, and each is willing to sacrifice himself for his Legion and his Princeps.
Shield Wardens are the elite guardians of Legio Venator, whose sole responsibility is the defense of their assigned Titan Engine from those who would do it harm from within. During combat, each warden neurally links himself to the Titan’s hull sensoria and integrity actuators. Here he remains, actively monitoring the hull’s integrity and ready to quickly converge upon any enemy incursion like the auto-immune cells of some great beast. All wield deadly equipment specifically suited to the confined spaces of a Titan’s interior, and are physically augmented using vat grown and synthetic muscle fibers. Their great shield’s rigid design makes use of the same material as a Titan’s outer hull, and each is equipped with magnetic punch-seals and pistons to create makeshift barricades and temporary hull repairs. However, their most notable feature is the Internal Injector Mass, a specialized implant within the Shield Warden that uses stimulants and other chemicals to turn this skilled soldier into an enraged bomb when close to death, yet leave the Titan’s precious interior undamaged.