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Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





So there's a discussion going on in the general forum that got sidetracked into a debate over whether it makes sense for a Terminator suit to be a precious, hard-to-replace relic in a setting with anti-gravity drives, and it brought up the much more interesting question (in my mind anyway) of how hard it would be to answer that question with a 21st century understanding of science.

It's an interesting question. Consider; is it harder to build functional DC generator, or a standard machine-thread bolt made of tungsten carbide? Any culture that can build a windmill, a compass, and metal jewelry wire has all the tools it needs to build a generator, but it would never occur to them to put those pieces together in the right order without discovering electicity. On the other hand tungsten carbide is a really hard material both to make and to work with, it requires a fairly high level of material science to make anything out of it at all.

To bring that back to the original question, there's really no way to tell how hard an anti-gravity engine or terminator armor actually is to build. All we have to go on is what we see in the fluff and the art.

Thoughts?

   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





The Imperiums tech is based on copying known design steps, and is enforced by a galaxy-spanning organisation of well armed psychopaths.

Want to build a terminator suit? Copy these steps exactly. Pray exactly this many times at this point. Turn this screw this many times, then turn it back, then turn it back again, pray, turn, pray, turn, three year sabbatical on the meaning of the screw, return, turn, pray, turn, pray, then remove the screw and fill the hole in, because someone spilled coffee on that page or the only copy of the blueprint for that screw and after a thousand years of discussion this was the official reading.

Want to just skip the whole screw thing? Tech heresy.
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




The Imperium's high tech is also manufactured in a craftsman type model rather than mass produced. Things like lasguns are Leman Russ tanks that are mass produced are not the high tech stuff. The Adeptus Mechanicus is a mystery cult where those that have the knowledge are jealous and only grudgingly dole it out to their disciples. These Tech-Priests form their own secretive factions that don't share knowledge with each other. That creates information silo effects that limit the ability to innovate or improve.

This kind of hoarding seems to occur both at the Forge World level and within individual Forge Worlds. That is why for example Ryza continues to have an edge in plasma technology over other Forge Worlds from the Great Crusade time all the way to the current Rift era. From an out of universe perspective, people might argue that sharing the tech would allow the Imperium and the Adeptus Mechanicus as a whole to better fight off all the threats attacking them, but sharing the tech would reduce Ryza's relative power and so they don't do it.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




Pretty much what they said. The imperium/Mars actively discourage innovation or efforts to establish means of producing advanced technology without the permission of those who benefit from NOT proliferating such resources.

If you're the only forgeworld within 6 months' warp travel that has the means to produce terminator armor, then you can exchange an order of terminator armor for a lot of favors from the marines you're making them for. If everyone and their grandmother had the means to make terminator armor, the effective value of that same order of armor would drop significantly.

Like, the mechanicus could probably mass-distribute a lot of the gear they equip their skitarii with if they really wanted to. Bionics for all may not be feasible, but you could probably ensure each regiment had some transauranic arquebus and plasma calivers instead of sniper rifles and plasma guns. They could probably equip a decent number of russes with dunecrawler guns. A lot of heavy stubbers/bolters could probably be cognis stubbers just as easily. Heck, you could probably even churn out a lot of combat servitors if you were so inclined.

But handing out that much tech and knowledge would weaken the mechanicus's personal power

Also, it's possible that there are some genuinely difficult to obtain/manufacturer components involved in the construction of rare pieces of tech. The ceramite for a suit of terminator armor could probably be constructed relatively easily, but maybe its power generator requires a rare gas that has to be irradiated while doing laps in a specialized particle collider. Maybe every forgeworld has at least one such particle collider, but that same machine is constantly booked for use constructing large-sale plasma generator components, and the gas is in high demand as component in refractor field generators. So to make terminator armor, you have to secure access to both a constantly sold-out gas as well as to this piece of tech with a two year waiting list.
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





Wyldhunt wrote:
But handing out that much tech and knowledge would weaken the mechanicus's personal power
There is also heavy restriction on who gets to use tech - a good example of that is probably the rosarius, a portable matter-energy converter small enough to be worn as jewelery, powerful enough to rival the iron halo of a chapter master, and easy enough produce that they hand out to every foaming at the mouth preacher that walks though the door. They must produce those things by the millions but it is strictly priesthood and a few chosen others only.
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




A.T. wrote:
Wyldhunt wrote:
But handing out that much tech and knowledge would weaken the mechanicus's personal power
There is also heavy restriction on who gets to use tech - a good example of that is probably the rosarius, a portable matter-energy converter small enough to be worn as jewelery, powerful enough to rival the iron halo of a chapter master, and easy enough produce that they hand out to every foaming at the mouth preacher that walks though the door. They must produce those things by the millions but it is strictly priesthood and a few chosen others only.


I think that might be game effect or bias intruding in. As in, preachers that serve the Imperial war machine on the front lines may get the conversion fields in a rosarius form, but not every street corner preacher in a hive world will have them. It might not be every preacher in the Imperial Guard either, but only those that end up in the battles on the table top, which are not exactly very representative of every company level engagement.
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





Iracundus wrote:
I think that might be game effect or bias intruding in. As in, preachers that serve the Imperial war machine on the front lines may get the conversion fields in a rosarius form, but not every street corner preacher in a hive world will have them. It might not be every preacher in the Imperial Guard either, but only those that end up in the battles on the table top, which are not exactly very representative of every company level engagement.
While i'd not expect your everyday street crazy or redeptionist to carry one (and indeed the old frateris preachers didn't get one) they do seem extremely commonplace.

To quote the current Imperial Guard codex - "All members of the Ecclesiarchy carry with them a rosarius" (page 60) - and that is going to be a lot of priests even if you limit it to just those in combat positions or of some form of seniority. Every confessor, cardinal, deacon, and even travelling hobos like Jacobus have one. The sheer scale of the church and imperium means that the number they produce has to be absurdly vast for even a lowball estimate.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







No good comes from taking every statement in a codex as infallible truth. I mean, just look at what happens if you try to accept GW's statements about how big a Space Marine chapter is...
   
Made in fi
Water-Caste Negotiator






 solkan wrote:
No good comes from taking every statement in a codex as infallible truth. I mean, just look at what happens if you try to accept GW's statements about how big a Space Marine chapter is...

I know what happens. Your marine army list has a lot of apotecharies, vehicles, automated sentry guns and scouts, who aren't yet fully fledged battle brothers. Makes for a fluffy army on the tabletop IMHO.
   
Made in gb
Rampaging Furioso Blood Angel Dreadnought





Stevenage, UK

The Newman wrote:
To bring that back to the original question, there's really no way to tell how hard an anti-gravity engine or terminator armor actually is to build. All we have to go on is what we see in the fluff and the art.


This is my take on it too - we can't know how comparatively simple or complicated either process is. I think it's fair to say they use different technologies, so it's like saying which is more complicated - rocket science, or brain surgery? Good luck finding someone with the expertise on both to be able to tell you.

The rarity of the technologies in question doesn't really mean anything considering the Imperium's reticence to learn new things, though. Or to put it another way, just because nobody currently knows why the technology works, doesn't mean they couldn't put it together with the right instructions, and that might well be the case for anti-grav tech.
Consider modern PCs - how many people know how to build one from core components? Of those people... how many could program a motherboard BIOS and OS to use it with?

One thing worth noting - I was under the impression that the knowledge to build new Terminator suits was lost. Apparently that's not the case, it's just extremely rare. From wiki:

Very few suits of this early Terminator Armour were ever manufactured by the Mechanicum before the Horus Heresy began, and the secrets of the technology's design have now almost been lost. As a result, every suit of Terminator Armour is treated as an irreplaceable, precious relic by the Space Marine Chapters that own them. In the late 41st Millennium it is a rare thing to see a "new" suit of Terminator Armour. If an additional suit is required, it is usually cobbled together from refurbished parts salvaged from the remains of Terminators killed in action.
Indeed, as time marches onward, the knowledge of how to fabricate some of the more complex pieces of Terminator Armour has become only a desperate hope in the minds of the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, whose understanding of science and technology has been slowly decaying for the last 10,000 standard years.

"Hard pressed on my right. My centre is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I am attacking." - General Ferdinand Foch  
   
Made in fi
Water-Caste Negotiator






We have a lot of old tech at our workplace which hasn't been manufactured in decades, and the industries have moved on to digital/network technologies so that stuff isn't made anymore by anyone. The company has in-house mechanics who know how to maintain and repair these machines, but it is only a matter of time until the machines fail so badly due to wear etc that even the repair techs cannot get them back to operation. At that stage, only option is to turn to ebay scalpers and hope there's someone on the planet that still has functional spare parts to sell, and pretty soon even those will be just a distant memory..

I could easily imagine the same happening in the far future, even if technological knowhow wasn't as scarce and inclusive as it is in the 41st Millennium.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2020/08/25 09:08:20


 
   
Made in gb
Princeps of the Titan 'SDF-1'






There’s also the issue of design complexity, and difficulty of maintenance.

Whilst the Imperium’s resources are staggering, they’re still ultimately finite.

The Guard alone comprise untold billions of soldiers, spread over millions of war zones. Sure, anti-grav vehicles are probably more useful than tracked vehicles. But, when trying to arm billions, cheap and cheerful is the order of the day.

Hence the lasgun, Russ and Chimera. All are simple and robust designs. Easy to maintain, simple to operate.

This is also of benefit when you consider that relatively few Guardsmen are going to be terribly literate.

Sure, you probably could produce masses of Plasma, Melta and Bolt Weapons on a given Forgeworld. But if you can produce one of those to say, ten Lasguns, what’s the better idea?

Do you want your Enginseers spending their finite time repairing 10 Leman Russ, or 1 Land Raider? What’s going to keep your Regiment in the fight the longest?

When it comes to Ad Mech, they tend to be more private armies than regimented ones.

As for the Ad Mech’s aversion to innovation? I’ve a theory on that which I’d like to present. I’ll try to keep it succinct.

See, they fear AI, but don’t really know what AI is. They know it likely came from STC designs, but not what caused it., or why it rebelled. They likely have some concept that Machine Spirits are close to AI, especially when it comes to Titans, Throne Mechanicum and Land Raiders. These have all been known to act independently on their crew, but rarely (only example I can think of is in Abnett’s Titan graphic novel) against their allies.

So those can, given time, be repaired, built entirely anew, or replaced etc. But never, ever tampered with. They daren’t, because just that one step beyond could bring a Forgeworld crashing down, and even spread into the wider galaxy.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives?Why not join us?

 
   
Made in gb
Battleship Captain




Very much so. Whilst the boundary between 'understood' and 'archeotech' will vary by forgeworld and even by individual, "don't mess with the potentially autonomous superweapon" is probably one of the most important rules for a tech-priest with an experimental bent.

One fundamental element of their beliefs is that all sanctioned knowledge is already out there: that is, you don't have to determine it experimentally - it's written down, if only you can find and comprehend it. So unless you're actively researching the forbidden, research means archaeology, not experimentation.

I agree about logistics, by the way. It's not just about cheap-and-cheerful, it's also about tonnage shipped between star systems (notice PDFs, for whom that's not an issue, tend to default to autoguns), compatibility, and also battlefield effect in extended attrition wars.

"Normal" 40k doesn't include ammo limits, but the RPGs do - and the fact that a mars-pattern bolder has 8 semi-auto bursts in a clip before you have to reload whilst a lasgun has 20 makes a serious difference if you're providing suppressive fire.


Termagants expended for the Hive Mind: ~2835
 
   
Made in us
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Right behind you.

One of the things to remember about Terminator Armor is that new suits being few and far between has another limiting factor...

The Crux Terminatus. It's said to contain a shard of the Emperor's own armor, which is where the invulnerable save comes from. I wouldn't be shocked if the retrieval of a Crux Terminatus but no other usable parts might be what spurs a new suit being built.
   
Made in gb
Been Around the Block




locarno24 wrote:
Very much so. Whilst the boundary between 'understood' and 'archeotech' will vary by forgeworld and even by individual, "don't mess with the potentially autonomous superweapon" is probably one of the most important rules for a tech-priest with an experimental bent.

One fundamental element of their beliefs is that all sanctioned knowledge is already out there: that is, you don't have to determine it experimentally - it's written down, if only you can find and comprehend it. So unless you're actively researching the forbidden, research means archaeology, not experimentation.

I agree about logistics, by the way. It's not just about cheap-and-cheerful, it's also about tonnage shipped between star systems (notice PDFs, for whom that's not an issue, tend to default to autoguns), compatibility, and also battlefield effect in extended attrition wars.

"Normal" 40k doesn't include ammo limits, but the RPGs do - and the fact that a mars-pattern bolder has 8 semi-auto bursts in a clip before you have to reload whilst a lasgun has 20 makes a serious difference if you're providing suppressive fire.



Logistics is why the lasgun is the best infantry weapon in 40k. Wherever you go in the galaxy you just need to plug the batteries into the mains for a bit and they’re fully charged. In extremis you can even throw them in a fire apparently (though that quickly knackers them). No vast supply chain for rounds needed, easy to improvise if you get cut off. When there’s as many guardsmen as there are, going as many places as they do, the lasgun is exactly what they need. Furthermore there aren’t any exposed moving parts so it jams much less than a solid round weapon.

This can be seen in Necromunda where an ammo roll (representing both a jam and running out of rounds) is failed by a boltgun 5/6 times, by an autogun 1/2 times but by a lasgun only 1/6 times.
   
 
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