“Foolish meat-puppet! You preen and prance before a pathetic would-be god kept alive only by our arts! You blind yourself with your talk of heresies and your ineffectual fumblings at keeping the aether at bay, and for what? You know nothing! You are nothing! If you had the slightest inkling of the true patterns of reality you would crawl away and hide! We of the Mechanicum are, were and shall be. We existed long before your vain Imperium and we shall remain after it is naught but cinder ash!”
— The Renegade Magos Malygris, Vox recording recovered from the body of Inquisitor Balliol
The infamous renegade Explorator Archmagos Umbra Malygris, known to Inquisitorial records as Malygris the Damned, was an insane genius who led a widespread and insidious tech-heretic cult that flourished in the Malfian sub-sector three centuries ago, which brought civil war to the Calixian Cult Mechanicus.
Many great crimes against both Imperial Law and the Cult Mechanicus’s own doctrines were laid against him, including the fashioning of forbidden silica animus, corpse vivication and resurrection through rediscovery of the Sarcosan Wave Generator, and the unleashing of experimental viral strains on unsuspecting populations to test their effects. His actions attracted the attention of the excommunicated radical Inquisitorial faction known as the Phaenonites, but he proved too mad for even their dark purposes.
Eventually the renegade was tracked down and he and his followers destroyed in bloody confrontation with a joint Inquisitorial-Mechanicus purgation. Since then his works and researches have been brutally, but not entirely successfully, suppressed. Despite the sanctions against it, Malygris’s lore persists, kept alive in no small part by those tech-priests tasked to hunt down rebellious members of the Mechanicus itself, much in the same way as the more Radical factions of the Holy Ordos seek to turn the tools of the arch-enemy against its own followers, risking destruction at the hands of their own kind.
In the middle of the seventh century of M41, the insular and isolationist Calixian Mechanicus was again thrust into the spotlight when one of their own turned violently, irrevocably renegade and dragged the Lathe Worlds into a sector-wide path of carnage.
Explorator Arch-Magos Umbra Malygris was a militant renowned for his dedication to the destructive potential of technology. Malygris devoted decades to studying the weapons and munitions of bygone eras, poring for years over ancient tomes and datastacks of ancient and suspect provenance. A devotee of the Divine Light of Sollex, the Arch-Magos attracted many of the most gifted weaponsmiths and researchers under the aegis of his organization. Leery of the growing popularity of the militant adept, High Fabricator Castellar moved to sanction Malygris and attempted to break up the cabal he had surrounded himself with, fearing a recurrence of the False Fabricator affair several decades earlier. However, Malygris refused to relinquish any of his power, and declared Castellar as nothing more than an “ineffectual bureaucrat.” Thus, the stage was set for a massive conflict that would reach across the breadth of the Calixian Mechanicus.
Castellar attempted to use the Forge Guard to force compliance upon the errant Arch-Magos. However, bizarre system failures and binary invert-afflictions---themselves creations of the inventive and insane mind of Malygris---rendered even the vaunted and mighty Forge Guard ineffectual. Warned of the imminent attack, Malygris fled the Lathe System with a fully provisioned Explorator fleet containing vast amounts of research, ancient weapons, and blasphemous examples of his own tech-craft. A surprising number of Tech-Adepts rose up in support of Malygris, swayed by his charismatic data-cants and heretical approach to advancing technology. As a result, many of the ongoing works of the Calixian Mechanicus became abandoned, threatening a full dogmatic schism within the Lathe Worlds and the far-flung holdings of the Omnissiah’s Cult.
Aware of the danger posed to the entire Calixis Sector by the renegade Arch-Magos and his deluded followers, the High Fabricator formally declared Malygris and all who obeyed him as Apostate in the eyes of the Omnissiah. Next, Castellar contacted Lord Sector Marius Hax upon Scintilla, and requested assistance. This unprecedented outreach from the formerly isolationist Mechanicus quickly drew Hax’s attention to Malygris’ threat. Convinced of the seriousness of the situation, Hax used his influence to dispatch several major concentrations of Battlefleet Calixis to assist in the search for the missing Explorator fleet. No less than five full battle groups of ships, comprising both loyalist Explorator vessels and detachments of the Imperial Navy, formed the pursuit of the heretical Arch-Magos. Malygris and his followers fled to the furthest reaches of the Sector, always managing to stay at least one step ahead of his pursuers. Along the way, Malygris tested his research and weapons systems in a series of attacks that laid waste to several planets in his path rimwards towards the Halo Stars. Malygris and his followers subjected Xeiros Prime, Loss, and world-designate MMX215 to terrifying experiments. Orbital apostasic arrays drove entire planets into raving insanity. Bio-forged horrors stalked formerly-bountiful wastelands, transgenic atrocities ravaged entire cities, and enormous gene-lathes processed entire populations into ulcerous, writhing seas of living tissue.
The renegade Arch-Magos’ pattern was broken when his fleet arrived at Synford II. Many of his materials exhausted, Malygris turned to raiding Mechanicus facilities to acquire the technology and resources he needed to continue his mad schemes. The raids were indiscriminate and widespread, and it was the Synford system that suffered Malygris’ attentions the most---after scouring Synford II down to bare rock for raw materials, the renegade’s fleet bombarded the planet to destruction, leaving only a shattered husk in their wake.
However, the Calixian Mechanicus and Battlefleet detachments had tightened the noose. Malygris was cornered at the edge of the Synford system, caught between the advancing Mechanicus Explorator fleets and the flanking Imperial Navy detachments. At the forefront of the assault was High Fabricator Castellar’s flagship, Iron Promise. One of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ few true battleships, Iron Promise was a heavy combat vessel bearing a proud and long lineage.
Malygris’ fleet opened fire, attempting to overwhelm Iron Promise with a storm of macrocannon batteries and lance weapons. However, Castellar’s vessel had been retrofitted with several unusual devices of war from the High Fabricator’s personal vaults, and it was the blessings of these modifications that granted the mighty ship a chance to survive the attack. Void shields shorted out one after the other, and the massive vessel trembled under repeated hammer blows of nova cannon fire. Reeling in flames, with several decks exposed to the void, the ship seemed nearly crippled, but Iron Promise had finally reached optimal range for its killing blow.
The jutting prow split like a blossoming flower and gaped wide, exposing an enormous weapon that rapidly gathered corposant energy from the system’s sun. In moments, Iron Promise struck back with one final, searing blast of unspeakable power and blinding light. The weapon’s scything beam engulfed the enemy fleet and shattered all but the largest ships in one blow.
The battle did not last much longer, as the Imperial Navy and the Mechanicus fleets ruthlessly destroyed any surviving enemy ships---including any intact pieces of debris large enough to support survivors. With a curt message of gratitude to the Imperial Navy, Castellar and his forces turned about and headed for their home port in the Lathe System.
Whilst Malygris and his followers had been decisively dealt with in the Synford system, extensive purges of sympathizers and secret partisans of the renegade Arch-Magos shook the Calixian Mechanicus for years afterwards. The Divine Light of Sollex sect was severely scrutinized, with many suspect Tech-Adepts quietly replaced and sent back to the Lathes for reindoctrination. The taint brought through Malygris’ actions kindled a distrust of the more militant groups of the Calixian Mechanicus that exists to this day. Many fear that the tech-heresies of Umbra Malygris most likely live on, hidden in secret laboratories and locked away in dark stasis chambers throughout the Malfian sub-sector.
The Altar of GenocideEdit
A fragment of dark lore that has obsessed several of the Calixian Phaenonite’s since the faction’s arrival in the sector concerns what some sources name as the ‘Altar of Genocide.’ Referred to repeatedly but obliquely by the fragments of techno-arcane lore left behind in the wake of the insane Archmagos Umbra Malygris, the ‘altar’ is reputed to be a hidden vault containing the master templates for all of Malygris’s dark creations, as well as dread artefacts recovered or seized in his long career as an Explorator out beyond the Emperor’s light. The myth has brought the Phaenonites into conflict both open and covert with other seekers for its nightmarish treasures that have included rival Inquisitors, Explorators, and----most bloodily---the rival heretical tech-cult, the Logicians. A widespread and powerful conspiracy of uncertain origin, the agents of the Logicians have battled the Phaenonites elsewhere and quickly recognized their rivals for what they were. Since then, the Logician presence in the Calixis Sector has plotted to expose the Phaenonites’ presence to the Holy Ordos, hoping that the Inquisition will do them the service of wiping out this hated rival, whilst the Phaenonites have likewise plotted to do the same in return from within the Conclave.
The apostasic matrix is one of countless abominations spawned by the heretek followers of Umbra Malygris in the 8th century M41. Neuro-augmetic lore and study of the Omnissiah’s universal laws was combined and tainted to produce an unholy technology---the matrix scourges mind and soul with occult energies, tearing down the foundations of faith and loyalty.
Apostasic matrices recovered by Ordo Hereticus Acolytes after the Cleansing of Tarycine were embedded within electrostaves. Each metal staff blisters with cogitation nodules, electro-sensors, and mottled field projection devices. As if in mockery of its origins, devotional prayers inscribed in orthodox machine cant spiral about its length---many Malygrisians remained convinced of their holiness, it seems, even as they fell into the vilest tech-heresy.
A victim so much as grazed by the electrostave is scarred by its power. The apostasic matrix reaches into the very mechanisms of the soul, pouring toxins and pain upon the roots of faith, and burning away memories of worship with agonizing darts of electro-essence. The immediate anguish is terrible, but the true horror is that the matrix causes the flower of faith in the God-Emperor to wither and die thereafter.
Some Radicals have found the apostasic matrix to be a potent addition to an interrogation chamber, and take great pleasure in setting this tool of the Archenemy upon blackened heretic souls. In the same way that loyal Imperial citizens collapse into tormented apostasy, even the strongest devotees of the Ruinous Powers are given to babbling despair under the matrix’s ministrations. Istvaanians in the Calixian Conclave have more ambitious aims: to replicate the Plague of Apostasy engineered by Malygrisians upon the hive world of Piety, where colossal matrix devices infused the very air with faithlessness and madness. Istvaanian covens study the electrostaves for hidden signs of this greater tech-lore.
Killing with Kindness: The wielder may choose to deal no Damage and not employ the Shocking quality of the electrostave. The Apostasic Energies effect will still occur.
Apostasic Energies: Even a gentle touch of the Apostasic Matrix ravages the target’s soul and dearly held beliefs. The victim makes a Fear (4) Test for each touch—with all the usual consequences, including a roll on the Shock Table on failure. Mitigating Talents, such as Pure Faith or Unshakable Faith, have their normal effects upon this Fear Test.
Mental Disorders acquired by a victim of the Matrix after suffering its effects take the form of a growing loss of faith in everything most vital: religious belief; enduring loves; and fundamental truths held close to the heart. For Imperial citizens, the most anguished loss is their relationship with the God-Emperor. As apostasy claims the soul, a victim feels the Emperor grow distant and tenuous, prayers become empty words, and the Ministorum is revealed as a hollow façade. The despair is crippling.
Melee, 1d10, I, PEN 0, Balanced, Shocking, WT 4kg, Cost 30000, Very Rare
Heretek Malygrisian tech-priests—later purged from the foundry wards of Port Wrath—practiced a form of mutational bioforging upon their workers to both improve their quotas and control them body and soul. As the bioforging took hold, the workers grew addicted to the addition of a rare and synthesized promethium extract called nephium added to their food rations by their masters. Over time, unnatural biomotes grew within their bodies and began their dreadful work of twisting the sacred human form. An irregular, lumpy rind of organic plasteen developed beneath the skin, and their flesh became laced with filaments of that tough material. Eyes and mucus membranes also became plasteen-saturated. Within a few weeks, menials could enter the void unclothed, shrug off heavy blows, and survive terrible injuries. Over time, however, the bio-motes and plasteen growth reshaped the flesh to give the appearance of horrific mutation and went out of control, turning the body on itself with appalling consequences. The tainted workers died in drooling agony as plasteen formed in the brain, crushed vital organs, or broke through the skin in ridges, horns, and fronds. Before long, the heretek’s blasphemies could not be hidden from their just punishment.
For all the dreadful consequences of the bioforging’s eventual failure, the wealthy and powerful have since been tempted by the possibilities of the body remade, both for their ‘chosen servants’ and even for themselves, and the secrets of the blasphemous technology has spread to several worlds despite ban by both the Holy Ordos and the Machine Cult. For its proponents, the bioforging is a glorious opportunity; Flesh is sculpted and changed in its constituent material, potent new organs grown within, and the mind warped to grant unnatural focus and clarity. Is it not noble to ascend beyond the limits of your birth-genes? To the Imperium, however, such thoughts pave the road to tech-heresy and mortal sin.
Effects of Bioforging
Malygrisian bioforging grants the following Traits and takes 1d5 weeks to take effect after the first biosurgical implantations:
- Unnatural Toughness (x2)
- Natural Armour (2)
- Mutant: purity tests show the bioforged to be impure.
- Void Resistant: the bioforged is unaffected by the cold and vacuum of space, but still requires air to breath.
For a few weeks thereafter, the bioforged appears little changed even through his flesh is armored within. Without ongoing intervention by heretek tech-adepts, however, the Malygrisian bio-motes will consume him. The bioforged will permanently lose 1d5 points from each of Agility, Intelligence, and Fellowship for each month passed without at least one painful course of treatment to remove excess plasteen and restrain the bio-motes. After losing 10 points from a single characteristic in this way, the bioforged can no longer pass as pure of gene---his flesh is too distorted.
Malygrisian Bioforging: Cost 20,000+, Very Rare
Nephium (1 month supply): Cost 200, WT 5kg, Scarce
Tech Priest: Malygrisian Tech Heresy
Package Cost: 200 XP
A tech-priest inducted into the Inquisition who has absorbed Malgrisian data walks a deadly tightrope. On the one hand, he is armed with knowledge of occult science few others can match, making him a very able opponent for the dark powers of heresy and corruption. On the other hand, such tech-priests already stand half-steeped in shadow, and are thus in peril for their very souls.
Effects: Apply all of the following changes to your character:
Skills: You begin play with Ciphers (Malygris Codex) (Int), Forbidden Lore (Warp) (Int), Forbidden Lore (Xenos) (Int), Scholastic Lore (Legend) (Int) and Scholastic Lore (Numerology) (Int).
Corruption: You start play with 1d5 Corruption Points.