View Full Version : Skitarii/Tech Guard

08-08-2010, 01:11
Are they one and the same thing?

I had it in my mind that Tech Guard were an equivalent to an Adeptus Mechanicus Planetary Defence Force and that Skitarii were something different, possibly equivalent of IG regiments or even Storm Trooper brigades.

The Skitarii in Mechanicum are represented as bestial and requiring a pack leader/controller but elsewhere they are far more.... Machine like.

Are we looking at two different types of warrior within the same faction or are the definitions entirely unresolved?

08-08-2010, 01:14
Originally in 2nd edition Epic/Titan Legions the human troops of the Adeptus Mechanicus were called Tech Guard. They were armed similarly to IG but had a few more vehicle variants. Since then, GW has opted for use of Skitarii as a more exotic name instead of the bland Tech Guard name.

08-08-2010, 01:49
I know many people tend towards the term being used both to describe non-Titan Mechanicus armed forces collectively, and the augmented-but-intelligent warriors that make up part of those forces, the difference determined more by context than anything else. We know from older background that there are many kinds of Skitarii trooper, augmented to various degrees and for different purposes (line infantry, heavy weapons operators, shock troops, vehicle crew, etc) and supported by servitors, Knights, non-Titan war engines, etc.

The Judge
08-08-2010, 08:25
The bestial Skitarii in Mechanicum and Titanicus are no different from the more machine-like Skitarii seen in Soul Hunter and Dark Apostle, much as different Guard regiments will have different patterns of dress or tactics. Some Skitarii regiments favour utterly obedient brain-dead servitor like warriors, and some favour troops with ramped-up aggression and fearsome appearances, but they are still Skitarii

Ordo Hydra
08-08-2010, 10:50
The Skitarii in Dark Adeptus had that quiet machine obediant like version as mentioned. So yeah I think the different regiments will... well act differently. The Mechanicus might like certain soldiers to be more aggressive in order to be used for shock attacks and others more disciplined so they don't get out of hand.

Anyway, to the OP, I always assume that Skitarri and Tech Guard are the samething. Tech Guard is an ordinary term for others whilst Skitarri being the more accurate one... thats my view though.

08-08-2010, 15:40
I always thought that the Skitarii where the ground troops for the Titan Legions and that the Tech-Guard where the fighting forces for the rest of the Mechanicus.

08-08-2010, 17:55
According to Firepower #1:

Known to the uncouth and uninitiated as the Tech-Guard, the Skitarii are raised from the populations of the Forge Worlds and are armed and trained in a similar fashion to the Imperial Guard.

There are different ranks within the Skitarii/Tech-Guard: the Hyspapists are standard infantry; Sagitarii are heavy weapons teams or specialists; Cataphracts are vehicle crews; Ballisterai are artillerists (or artillery crews); and Praetorians are super-enhanced combat troops.

09-08-2010, 03:05
First, Praetorians are combat servitors. The other units you mentioned (Cataphracts, Hyspaptists, etc..) have alwayse made me think that Tech-Guard are different than Skittarii. To me, the Skittarii have alwayse been the elite of the Tech-Guard, kinda like Storm-Troopers are to normal Guard. The Mechanicus though, due to vat-growth cloning, have many more Skittarii than the Imperial Guard has Storm-Troopers. And please remember, there are as many varieties of Skittarii as there are varieties of Guard regiments.

09-08-2010, 12:30
The term Skitarii refers to these regiments as a whole, but the different troops that make up the infantry and tank columns also have ancient titles which refer to their battlefield role and their position within the Cult Mechanicus. The Hyspapists form the standard infantry squads, and are armed with lasguns. Heavy weapons specialists earn the title of Sagitarii, while the honoured tank crews are dubbed Cataphracts and are afforded a great deal of respect for their close links with their machines. The Ballisterai are the artillerists of the Skitarii, experts in raining down fire at extremely long range. The Ballisterai often field large, experimental weapons, designed to smash or cut through armoured tanks and enemy strongholds.

Then there are the Praetorians: biologically enhanced warriors , with brain-stem implants, neuro-linked processors and alloy reinforced skeletons. Unlike Space Marines, who are genetically altered from an early age, the Praetorians are fully grown men who act as walking test beds for the rediscovered technologies of the Imperium. They are fearsome fighters whose devotion to the Machine-God makes them zealous combatants willing to fight to the death. They are the terror troops of the Adeptus Mechanicus, enforcing the will of the Machine-God wherever they are deployed.

I should point out that this is from the most recent official Adeptus Mechanicus army list, and has yet to be updated, changed or retconned. Skitarii and Tech-Guard are the exact same thing - the other names are combat roles within that.

Of course, I'm not doubting the variety that you suggest, as the Epic 40k list descriptions were often (frustratingly) short and vague, but these are the basis. Adeptus Astartes and Space Marines are the same thing, and Tactical, Devastator, Sternguard and all the rest are roles and ranks within this structure, and although many Chapters have slightly different variations, very few differ massively from it apart from in name, even including the Blood Angels and Dark Angels.

09-08-2010, 14:40
Skitarii (pronounced, skit-tar-ee-eye, not skit-tar-ee like I previously thought) is a catch all term for all military forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus, except the Titan Legions, although they may also have indentured skitarii. Tech Guard is just another term for them. They are similar in appearance to IG, but are characterized by utilizing advanced weaponry, bionic modifications etc. Each skitarii force functions as the private army of an Ad-Mech Magos, whose character traits colour the forces under his command.

Lexicanum has the following to say:

The Skitarii are the warriors of the Adeptus Mechanicus. They generally have more advanced weaponry and equipment than their Imperial Guard equivalents, due to the technological expertise of their Techpriest masters. Bionics are quite common and devices such as weapon links and sensory feeds are also common amongst them.

They are also the bodyguards of the Adeptus Mechanicus Survey teams. They were present at the First Encounter with the Eldar. The Eldar of the Biel-tan craftworld slaughtered the Skitarii present and only one ship was able to escape, though the crew died from lack of food and oxygen.

Skitarii is the Adeptus Mechanicus' official term for all military forces under its command (except for the Titan Legions, though the Legions may possess their own Skitarii forces). It is a term equivalent to 'the Imperial Guard' as it generally includes almost all combat personnel and armour that the Mechanicus possess. Skitarii are also known as Tech-Guard (or Tech Guard) to outsiders, and the singular form of Skitarii is Skitarius. "Skitarii" however is often also used in published background to reference only the augmented infantry1.

Skitarii are often armed with similar equipment to Imperial guard, though this can vary massively based on which Magos, Mechanicus Organisation or Forge World has raised and equipped them. There is little standardisation or central command of Skitarii across the Mechanicus, as each individual regiment is the personal army of a particular Magos. For example, the Skitarii of the Titan Legion Invictus are gene-bulked humans with weaponised limbs and augmetic armour4, whereas a different type of Skitarii investigated the dead world of Tarsis Ultra, and were seen to be wearing something similar in both function and design to Terminator armour.2

Skitarii can also be divided into several types, based on their battlefield role.5

Hyspasists: These are the basic tech-guard infantry, and are armed with lasguns. They are more augmented than the normal Imperial Guardsman, and may have received emotional-suppression surgery.

Sagitarii: These are the heavy weapon operatives. These only include dedicated heavy weapons squads, as heavy weapons attached to Hypaspist squads are still called Hypastpists.

Balisteria: These are the artillery units. The range of artillery goes from Thudd guns to the massive Ordinatus pieces. This includes both the vehicle/machine, as well as the crews manning them.

Cataphractii: These are the armour units. The range of armour goes from small transports to heavy walkers and superheavy tanks such as Baneblades.

Praetorians: These are the elite of the Skitarii. They are super-enhanced (bionically/cybernetically/chemically/genetically etc) humans who are augmented with a huge array of cybernetics and heavy weapons. They are, essentially, a sort of counterpart to Obliterators. However, many old sources also suggest that Praetorians are instead an elite Skitarii type following the fashion of Imperial Guard storm trooper units, but with slightly more augmentations, putting them somewhere between storm troopers and Space Marines. In the short story Deux es Mechanicus, Praetorians are in fact servitors, rather than living humans. They move on tank treads and are armed with powerful weaponry, such as plasma cannons*3. All of these are completely plausible, and based on the preferences of the Magos who build them.

Tribunes: These are the Skitarii officers. Though all skitarii bow to the authority of Adeptus Mechanicus Magi and Archmagi, these are all personnel of high ranking roles. The skitarii have low-level leadership roles, and these are filled by the tribunes.