View Full Version : Adeptus Mechanicus Praetorians

Flame Boy
30-06-2005, 21:57
Something has been puzzling me about the Praetorian battle servitors recently. They are the caterpillar-tracked, armoured and heavily armed elite of the Adeptus Mechanicus ground troops, second only to the dwindling robot cohorts. They are highly respected and revered.

However, this goes completely at odds with being described as "servitors" in some background. By it's very name a servitor is build to serve, it is a bionic slave. The servitors serving the Adeptus Mechanics in their billions are a slave workforce, subservient to the Tech Priests.

So, how do these terms fit together? Praetorians are therefore the elite of the elite, carrying experimental weapons even other Tech Priests do not get the honour to test, yet if they are servitors that essentially makes them lobotmised toy soldiers, and the fact that these creatures are used as the testbed for experimental weapons means it's not a loss if one is accidentally turned into a steaming pile of molten slag.

In the Deux Ex Mechanicus short story that describes a Necron leader of some kind (most likely the Deciever). In the story the Praetorians seem to be reprogrammed more like machines than humans, so they fit more into the armoured battle servitor niche here.

I simply don't understand how the most powerful and elite fighting force of the Adeptus Mechanicus "footsoldiers" are expected to be effective with half their brains drilled out...? In my mind they are a few steps up from the gun servitors that are sometimes seen on the 40k battlefield, they are not treated as followers of an individual such as an Inquisitor, I believe they form their own fighting units.

I'm asking to see what other people's intepretations are, whether they are just servitors with more blades, more guns and spinny gubbinz instead of legs, or whether they have sentience/authority of their own?

30-06-2005, 22:02
I would believe Praetorians would have a greater ability for initiative than the regular servitors, but they remain just that lobotomised humans bristling with guns. If I were to ever make a Mechanicus army list I would use them as Devastator Squads and have a techpriest lead them.
They are walking gun platforms, nothing more. The real elite of the Mechanicus fighting force are the electro-priests, crazy dervichs with lightning arcs sprouting out of their electoos covered bodies.

Flame Boy
30-06-2005, 22:52
I hadn't considered that approach... I've heard the Praetorians are used in the Skitarii, while the Electro Priest collages send their best to fight for the Explorators... The problem arising that Electro Priests are fanatics just as much as the ecclesiarchy militias, and are prone to collapsing from exhaustion so could they be relied upon for the elite in the explorator ranks...

The background in this link http://www.portent.net/forums/showthread.php?t=4431 seems to suggest there are also other collages that offer specialised troops/priests to the explorators, so it would be more appropriate to compare the battlefield role of Praetorians to roughly what Terminators are to Space Marine armies, though they are not treated in a similar manner and do not behave in the same manner?

From what I have gathered about Praetorians they appear to have powerful laser and plasma weapons in addition to powered close combat weapons like decapitator blades and other similar devices? This would mean they would be sturdier and have more firepower and close assault ability compared to most of the Adeptus Mechanicus forces (in a similar way to the "more of the same, but better" you get with space marine Terminators?). Electro-Priests used to have Str8 in 2nd edition rules, so they might even be able to hunt armoured vehicles, giving them another possible niche to fit into, they seem more like specialists than general "bigger and better" troops.

Anyway, your interpretation is that the Praetorians are packing the big guns, with their brains safely packed away in jars somewhere. I suppose the background suggesting they are used as testbeds for experimental weapons back this, as it would be an honour granted to the servitor, but if anything goes wrong, it's just a servitor destroyed, right?

The main problem in my mind was that the name "Praetorian" was linked to "servitor". I was assuming that "Praetorian" carried the baggage of being elite guard, but my recent checks to the dictionary definition show more links to corruptibility than anything. I suppose my understanding of a "Praetorian Servitor" was somewhat skewed by that.

Would it be safe to assume that fixing powerful weapons to a motive-less bionic mount is a security measure by the Tech Priests that are well known for their suspicious and paranoid behaviour? Better to trust a slave-machine than another man perhaps?

Though only a theory, it seems to suit the potential backstabbing that is suggested in the "Inquisitor" background for the Adeptus Mechanicus.

30-06-2005, 23:11
What's all this about Praetorians being servitors?

Some are, I imagine, but not all.

Son of Morkai
30-06-2005, 23:15
A praetorian is a type of servitor.

A Praetorian Guardsman is a standard Imperial Guardsman.

Or it can be a praetor.

Multiple defs of the same word, the first one (combat servitor) being the one used here.

30-06-2005, 23:17
I understand which Praetorian we're talking about.

Where does it say that Praetorians are exclusively servitors?

30-06-2005, 23:18
Praetorian would imply close protection to the higher ups of the Mechanicus, but that does not mean they need a brain, especially not when they're remote controlled by a Magos centuries old with mind impulse unit and improved brains.

So yes in a sense you get more of the combat servitor in a better package. It's probably tougher, better armoured, with better sensors for improved accuracy and the like.

You don't have to have brains to be elite troops, especially not with the Mechanicus. Especially not when it comes down to the size of your gun.

Son of Morkai
30-06-2005, 23:26
Exploritor Warbands article, Specialist Games website, Praetorian Servitors entry. (http://www.specialist-games.com/inquisitor/articles.asp)

Sorry, but I can't get a direct link to the article to work. Just ctrl+f, search for exploritor, and scroll down. The bit about Praetorians is on page 5.

30-06-2005, 23:30
Just because a Praetorian has half his brain drilled out does *not* IMO mean that the Adeptus Mechanicus hasn't replaced it with an artifical half-brain that is far better at dealing with military situations...

Just because it's a machine doesn't make it worse than a human. Rather, in the Cult Mechanicus opinion the machine is far superior to humans. Praetorians are certainly servitors, but they are the best of servitors. Their programming and 'standard' is superior in every way(apparently) to 'standard' servitors. Particularly devout Skittarii may perhapsbe upgraded to Praetorians by being fully augmented by Bionics and Implants so much so that they are no longer human, but servitor...

The thing is, a 'boring' servitor is punishment, being turned into a Dreadnought on the otherhand....


Flame Boy
30-06-2005, 23:33
Thank you. I didn't even know about this article. Funny, considering I've been wanting to convert an Explorator Warband for Inquisitor for years. Sadly, I only have one model and a large pile of bits to shw for my pipe dream...

I'm reading it now. It's reassuring that there is some background lying around that isn't decades old and either forgotten or redundant.

Again, thanks to everyone for the discussion, Its helped clear up a discrepancy that I thought was there, but I was just over-analysing when it boils down to it. :D

30-06-2005, 23:52
I will also point out that only intheir original appearance (in Epic 40,000: Firepower) were they ever Skitarii. All other appearances have had them as heavy combat servitors.

Puffin Magician
01-07-2005, 09:08
The way I see it is that the Praetorians are indeed Servitors and yes they are the best of their kind; I don't find it contradictory. Think of it as comparing the robots that build Hondas [normal "blah" servitors] and the X-45 UCAV (http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2002/q2/nr_020523m_facts.html) [Praet.]. They're both soulless robots but one is a legless construction worker and the other is a stealthy airborne assassin. I don't believe they have a sentience [and if they do it's very rudimentary], but more of a complicated wet-ware relationship with all it's combat programming and normal "Servitor-Brain stuff", topped off with some decent combat kit and a set of tracks to rip around in.

If I were to ever make a Mechanicus army list I would use them as Devastator Squads and have a techpriest lead them.
I find that odd, because nowhere I remember has them given Heavy Weapons; they're fast and powerful assault troops; an Assault Squad or something equally resilient with lots of power weapons would be more appropriate IMO. Just for a semi-canon example, Tim Huckelbery thinks they should have the following profile [taken from his latest Codex update on the Adeptus Mechanicus Yahoo Group]:

Ws4, Bs4, s5, t5, w2, i3, a2, Ld8, Sv4+, 35pts
Armed with Hellguns or Hellpistol/CCW, options to upgrade to Bolters, 0-1 Powerfists, 0-2 Heavy Weapons; Feel No Pain and Stubborn, and can be transported in a Rhino.

...which I think is not combat-oriented enough. Sure they can each get 4 attacks on the charge, but they're as slow as infantry and have a rubbish Initiative. Personally I'd go for something more mission-dedicated:

Ws5, Bs0, s4, t4, w2, i4, a2, Ld8, Sv3+ [or 4+/5+I], ~40pts
Fast [9" move, 9" assault], close combat attacks are either Power Weapon or Rending, and Preferred Enemy [combat programming?].

They are specialized and rare units, and shouldn't have stats that don't reflect them as actually being able to charge and survive an assault phase [which is what they are designed to do].

01-07-2005, 10:22
Nearly all mentions have had them as heavy weapon units, augmented and heavily armoured, but heavy weapon units none the less. The only mention of a close combat one I can think of is in the Explorators article where it is an option for them to be close combat units.

01-07-2005, 11:18
Methinks of the Praetorians as just a robot with more programming other than the "Kill Maim Burn MMMM ALCOMAHOL" Bender programing of the average Servitor. Minor nobility in the AM merely means in a world of brain dead robotic kittens, zombie bots and walkers that are the size of that ridiculous high school crush, they are the robots with the best weaponry. The best armour, the best stickers and the best and biggest Female AM consorts.

Jaq Draco
01-07-2005, 14:40
I dont find a contradiction either,

i just think of Praetorians as super servitors
arghh i cant believe i just said that

yeah but they are elite's that have better cybernetic enhancments, both neural and physical

Flame Boy
01-07-2005, 19:26
The thing that was bugging me was that "servitor" just smacks of servant, slave, the lowest rung of the ladder, yet Praetorians have been described as powerful and dangerous troops, and held in high regard.... the two terms seemed to fit badly in my opinion.

I'm still interested in converting one for Inquisitor... The character that got fitted with tracked propulsion in the Inquisitor campaign was halfway there.. so I guess I'd work on that and try to mechanise and armour him slightly more.

This is a unit I'd really like to see on the 40k battlefield sometime soon, too.

01-07-2005, 23:16
The thing that was bugging me was that "servitor" just smacks of servant, slave, the lowest rung of the ladder,

Have you ever heard of the elite Ottoman Janissarian troops?
They were state owned slaves, originally formed from children given as tribute. Status and ability are not directly related.

If a human is trained for all his life exclusively to be a soldier, his position in the society is necessarily restricted (why wasting precious training time for skills that are not elementar to combat, like science, art or politics). Of course this is even more so if you do not need to worry about civil rights or something along that line, and can cut out unnecessary parts of his brain and hardwire usefull military equipment in. Their status for the society is that of a valuable tool.

02-07-2005, 07:53
Except IIRC Janissaries could rise fairly high in the hierarchy of the Ottoman Empire, some of them even becoming Viziers, which would not be the case for servitors obviously (but again my knowledge of Ottoman society is fragmentary at best).

And Minister is quite right, every time I've seen Praetorians mentioned in the fluff they always wielded all sorts of heavy weapons. I can think of the short story Deus Ex Mechanicus as an example.

02-07-2005, 10:45
Well, naturally Janissarians were unaltered humans and as such had abilities beyond their mere fighting qualities. I only raised them to show that a "slave"-status and a high regard are not exclusive. Neither need Praetorians be lobotimized the way that nether servitors are.

02-07-2005, 10:50
Along with their appearances in one of the Eisenhorn books (Hereticus?) and I seem to recall the same for Legacy, although they may have been standard gun servitors.

02-07-2005, 22:43
Yes, the servitors in the scene within the Mechanicus temple in Legacy seem to remind of Praetorians for some reason. I'm not so sure about the Eisenhorn trilogy, it's been some time since I last read it.

I can see your point Axel. It does not means that because Praetorians are an instrument they should not be held in high regard, if simply because they're incredible pieces of technology.

03-07-2005, 02:19
AS far as I am concerned, the praetorian calss of servitor is simply a more tooled up and advanced version of the others.

The name does not necessarily define the role (praetorian guardsmen aren't the bodyguards of anything) but rather is a label that is given to a specific class of servitor.

I have always imagined them to be a sort of robot/dreadnought amalgam. I am not too keen on the entire tracked servitor idea, as it makes them too restricted and they have been written into the fluff as being legged aswell (specifically in =I=).

THey are however really big, as they are either servitor ogryns or vat grown slave giants, and thus can carry much larger weaponry than a normal servitor.

I personally see them as similar to Tim's version except that they are all heavy weapon toting and ALL carry power fists aswell.

A combination of the combat and gun servitor with a meatier stat line to reflect their size and power (although this is not a rules forum I think the following stats highlight my opinion of their background:)


Heavy bolters would be standard weapons with options for swapping out for plasma cannons etc (as they would be most likely to be used as platforms for ancient and revered weapons), and power saw/fist attachments for demolishing enemy in melee.

Being a praetorian class servitor gives no indication of 'rank' within the AdMech, nor does it describe the esteem with which they are held, it simply gives them a title.