Author Topic: The cult of the sacred barrier?  (Read 2910 times)

Offline Ynek

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The cult of the sacred barrier?
« on: March 04, 2010, 12:29:08 AM »
The cult of the sacred barrier was something that I came up with whilst writing a short story about a techpriest, and I was looking for a second opinion on whether or not it sounds feisable...

Basically, the cult of the sacred barrier is a sub-cult within the cult mechanicus. In essence, it boils down to a belief in a metaphysical and sacred barrier between creatures of flesh and bone, and the divine machine. They are also pantheistic, believing that a little piece of the machine god is in all machines (except filthy xenos ones).

Their belief in the barrier stems from the fact that unlike machines, humans are impure, imperfect, fallable, and illogical. Machines, however, are precise, unfeeling, immortal, pure and perfect (from their point of view). To attempt to contaminate the machine's perfection with the imperfection that is humanity would be akin to incorporating rusted cogs into a machine - essentially bad juju. The barrier basically represents the divide between humans and their machines. If a human were to attempt to cross the barrier, they would take their imperfection with them, contaminating the machines, or machine components that they incorporate into themselves, and thus, contaminate the machine god.

So, the cult of the sacred barrier does not believe in the quest to become a machine that many members of the admech seem to follow with their willingness to discard their bodies of flesh and instead incorporate mechanical equivalents. The cult of the sacred barrier doesn't believe in replacing parts of their own bodies with augmetic replacements, since this would impurify and taint the machine spirit of those augmetics, and in their eyes, taint a little piece of the machine god.

I'd imagine that a member of this cult would simply carry tools in their hands and pockets, doing things in 'the old fashioned way', preferring to keep themselves physically separate from their machine tools, so as to not contaminate them with their human imperfection.

Anyway, does this sound a bit too strange? Or does it sound like something that's quite believable in the context of the WH40k background?
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The cult of the sacred barrier?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 12:39:33 AM »
I like the idea, an interesting inversion on the AdMech ideal, and one that makes a kind of weird sense.

How exactly do they react to those who do have bionic components? Kill them for their heresy? Refuse to talk with such a sinner?
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Offline Ynek

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Re: The cult of the sacred barrier?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 01:08:12 AM »
How exactly do they react to those who do have bionic components? Kill them for their heresy? Refuse to talk with such a sinner?

I'd imagine that it would depend on just how seriously they took their belief in the barrier. I could imagine an extremist sacred barrier cult popping up on a forge world, killing tech-priests and stealing their augmetics, before 'euthanising' the tortured, tainted augmetic implants to put the machine spirits trapped within out of their misery.

Similarly, there could be a more pragmatic sacred barrier cult, who realises that in order to serve the machine god, they have to accept the borderline-heretical actions of the other members of the cult mechanicus or else they wouldn't get much done.

I'd imagine that there would be quite a bit of friction between members of the barrier cult and other mechanicus members.

I can imagine an entire forgeworld dominated by the cult of the sacred barrier, with tech-priests choosing to wear masks containing augmetic eyepieces, and gloves/gauntlets incorporating augmetic tools, as opposed to incorporating them into their bodies. Appearance-wise, they might not appear to be particularly different from a normal tech-priest, come to think of it.
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Offline Myriad

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Re: The cult of the sacred barrier?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 02:13:44 AM »
I like the idea as a different take on mechanicus beliefs.  Two questions arise though.  The first is would the mainstream mechanicus really put up with this?  It is, after all, in many ways a direct challenge to their current heirarchy. 

The second is how much mechanicus work is possible without augmentations and direct neural links to the machine god.  As Ynek mentions, this suggests the idea that there would be a more pragmatic element within the cult, recognising the necessity for certain tools, maybe 'until a better way can be found'.
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Offline Ynek

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Re: The cult of the sacred barrier?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 03:22:54 AM »
I like the idea as a different take on mechanicus beliefs.  Two questions arise though.  The first is would the mainstream mechanicus really put up with this?  It is, after all, in many ways a direct challenge to their current heirarchy. 

Well, I wouldn't imagine it would be too outlandish to accept. After all, there are pro-xenos elements within the adeptus mechanicus, and that goes against the ideals of the adeptus mechanicus.... I think there's quite a few contradictory belief systems in the mechanicus, and the imperium as a whole, is there not?

I'd probably need to think up some more background and history for the cult to justify why the rest of the admech tolerate their existence. Perhaps the founders of the cult were the descendants from one of the original arc mechanicus, sent out from mars before the great crusade. Perhaps after leaving mars, they survived to create their own forge-worlds, and over the years their beliefs diverged from the norm. Nowadays, they own several incredibly important forge-worlds, and the cost of removing them would be greater than the cost of allowing them to exist. Thus, it is sensible to just leave them be.

Although the more extremist elements would probably be hunted out like vermin.
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Offline Flinty

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Re: The cult of the sacred barrier?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 08:10:03 AM »
Nice idea. I dont see a problem, there are divergent factions within the Ad Mech, and would they not be pragmatic enough to sanction activities that on thier own would be 'heretec', but as a contributing (and probably closely monitored) part of the whole add to the understanding of the Ommnisiah?

As you say, would it not be possible that the earliest founders of the cult actually gained some advantage in communing with the machine spirit ? No reason why reverting to a screwdriver is not more effective than using a sonic resonator on a screw designed several millenia before the resonator.

Presumably there would be numerous factions each with levels of dogma within the Mechanicus cult, reflecting the conflicting views in the Inquisition, and I think this is a cracking start.

Looking forward to seeing you develop this.
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Offline Kasthan

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Re: The cult of the sacred barrier?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2010, 09:57:32 AM »
I like the idea, for it could send them back down to the Dark age of Technology and the Men of Iron (A.I is banned by the Admech).

Do they think that the machines should replace humanity?
Do they replace their own body parts with biological parts?
What do they think of tau/eldar tech, which both appear to use AI (I know eldar use spirits but the Admech might not)?  
« Last Edit: March 05, 2010, 07:39:22 PM by Kasthan »

Offline Shard

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Re: The cult of the sacred barrier?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 05:37:10 PM »
Ah, what if one of the Sacred Barrier cultists was a genetor or member of the Biologis? Technically, genetic manipulation (better senses, vat-grown muscle, gills, etc) isn't tampering with the machines, and is certainly carried out by some members of the Mechanicus.

Also, how do they feel about servitors? I imagine that menials (possibly slightly skilled ones) would do whatever servitors would on a normal Forgeworld?