Imperium of Man
During the Golden Age of Man, the Emperor of Mankind, a living myth of humanity, was born. He was larger, stronger, smarter, wiser, and more attuned to the ebb and flow of the Warp than any other human before. He was a kind man that fought for ideals to expand mankind’s understanding of the universe, as well as their reach. Using his gene seed, he crafted the Primarchs, paragons of mankind, only shadowed by the Emperor himself. These were then given the best technology mankind had to offer and formed into the Space Marine Legions.
The Emperor’s first Primarch and warmaster, Horus, eventually became twisted by the taint of the ruinous powers of Chaos and the Warp. Turning several legions against itself, mankind fought in a centuries long civil war, recorded as the Horus Heresy. In the end, the Emperor and Horus defeated each other and the Great Enemy fled back to the Eye of Terror, taking Horus’ body and about half of the newly formed legions. The Emperor was given proper rights and buried in a large cathedral-tomb on Earth.
With the newfound knowledge that there was a threat as great, or possibly greater than, the various Xenos of the galaxy, a new branch of power in the Imperium was to be formed. It was known as the Church of the Emperor. Worship of the Emperor of Man was not a new thing, but this codification of beliefs helped to push mankind forward in a spiritual manner. Rather than worshiping the Emperor as the God of Mankind, it taught that by upholding the beliefs and virtues that the Emperor upheld could lead towards purity of spirit and a shield to protect from the taint of Chaos.
Within the Imperium, the Adeptus Terra and the Adeptus Ministorum became different, but parallel organizations, funded by their own taxes and tithes. The Adeptus Terra controlled all secular matters: government, the Imperial Guard, Planetary Defense Force, Adeptus Arbites, Adeptus Administratum, Adeptus Mechanicus, etc. The Adeptus Ministorum controlled all spiritual matters: houses of worship, the Inquisition and it’s orders, the Adeptus Astartes, etc. It is commonplace that the two organizations work together and corroborate on many things, but they are separate entities altogether.
Common Branches of the Adeptus Terra
- Adeptus Administratum – The main governing force of the Imperium. Makes the laws that try to keep Humanity heading in a forward direction.
- Imperial Guard – The Imperium’s general army and navy. Each system has a number of regiments that go wherever the Administratum sends them.
- Planetary Defense Force (PDF) – A given planet’s defense force, meant to protect only their planet.
- Adeptus Arbites – The Imperium’s police force. They travel to systems as instructed by the Administratum.
- Adeptus Mechanicus – The Imperial College governed to teach and expand on the sciences, as well as recover and upkeep the artifacts of yore.
- Schola Psykana – The Imperial College of research and registration of psykers. Works closely with the Ordos Malleus for obvious reasons.
Common Branches of the Adeptus Ministorum
- Ordo Malleus – The order of the Inquisition that deals with daemons and Warp events. Includes the Grey Knights.
- Ordo Hereticus – The order of the Inquisition that deals with heretics and internal problems.
- Ordo Xenos – The order of the Inquisition that deals with Xenos threats, though they have had much more work on their plate with refugee Xenos coming into the Imperium. Includes the Deathwatch.
- Ordo Sicarius – The order of the Inquisition that houses their assassins.
- Ordo Astartes – The Space Marines, monastic super-human men and women that house the gene-seed of the Emperor and come to aid those in need from the direst of threats, mostly external.
As you travel farther and farther from central, the explicit laws stated by the Adeptus Terra and somewhat rigid tenants of the Adeptus Ministorum get more and more muddled. They are still followed, but treated more like a base to work off of. If you’re far enough from Earth, it takes years or decades for things to be processed. As such, once one leaves the Segmentum Solar, they will find that many systems and planets work on their own authority, based off the laws and tenants from Earth, but wholly functioning for the benefit of the area. In many of these cases, many different types of Xenos have appeared not to fight, but to seek refuge from war. With less focus of the xenophobic teachings of the Church, most people are somewhat accepting of the Xenos. All that is universally required is that they go through the process of becoming Imperial citizens with an identification card that they must keep on them at all times. In many places they are relegated to second class citizens, but on many frontier worlds they are treated as equals (at least by the public). In some cases, they have even been allowed to colonize a planet for their own use, albeit with an Imperial mandated government hub and permanent Arbites detachment stationed.
There were many other effects that the Heresy had on the Imperium. First of all, it sent the Imperium into a sort of Dark Age of Technology. Advancement in many of the sciences almost came to a halt, as all resources were used to simply sustain and replenish what was used. And in many cases, so much destruction was caused that many technologies were lost altogether. But with the war over, the Mechanicus and other like minded people can work towards advancing technology and recovering what was lost. Mars was turned into a large store house and campus, dedicated to being the Adeptus Mechanicus’ base of operations. With a campus, they could get new students in to learn the various sciences and work on projects to test theories and advance technology. It has been a slow and steady progress for the time being. But with the help of the Navis Nobilite, the Schola Psykana, and their new found Eldar and Tau allies, the creation of the Warp Gate has helped to speed up and make Warp travel much safer, especially for smaller vessels. And as such, the Adeptus Mechanicus has been able to spread its reach, basically giving each Imperial sector a campus.
During and after the Heresy came an influx of new information on the fairly newly viewed phenomena of psychic prowess. Before the Emperor was born, there was very little to say about it, even less since the Heresy ravaged so much. But since the birth of the Emperor, psykers have become more and more prolific. Once it was discovered that psykers were an open link to the Warp and Chaos itself, regulations were quickly made to oversee how to handle them. As such, the Schola Psykana was created, to house, train, and research the effects of psykers and psychic abilities. As with the Adeptus Mechanicus, there are many outsourced campuses across Imperial space, though not as many as the Adeptus Mechanicus. Even though their numbers have technically increased, such a link to the Warp can be devastating on the body, resulting in only about a million registered psykers at any given moment. Though there is still a strong stigma against psykers, and an outright ban on sorcery, many psykers can lead a fairly normal life if they agree to let the Schola and Arbites keep tabs on them.