New Character and Epic Hero Ideas for Adeptus Mechanicus

Here's a wish list of new character and epic hero ideas for the Adeptus Mechanicus in Warhammer 40,000 10th Edition.

New Character and Epic Hero Ideas for Adeptus Mechanicus
Subdomina Khepra from the Mechanicus PC game (Source: Mechanicus PC Game Omnissiah Edition Digital Art Book / Bulwark Studios / Kasedo Games)

Before I started playing Adeptus Mechanicus on the tabletop, I was an avid consumer of Adeptus Mechanicus lore. I bought the 8th Edition and 9th Edition AdMech codexes just to learn more about the faction. I purchased a few models, and enjoyed seeing AdMech featured in video games like Mechanicus (where they had the starring role) and Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters, where a Tech-Priest Dominus NPC is a vital part of your crew. I also throughly enjoyed the book Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work (by Guy Haley), which portrayed Cawl as a brilliant, intriguing character worthy of the integral role he plays in 40K lore.

While we can select Cawl as a unit on the tabletop, that's the extent of unique, epic characters in the AdMech army list, excluding minor exceptions that I describe a bit later in this post.  

While we have a number of good generic character types, I'd also love to see a few more of those also. I think its important to have a mix of unique and generic characters: Players can act out GW lore with named characters, while generic ones allow players to create their own names, backstories, and motivations if they so desire—both are important!

I cover this topic in video form on YouTube for those of you who prefer video over the written word. Watch the video embed here, or you can also watch it over on YouTube

In that spirit, I've put together my own wish list of the generic leader characters and named epic heroes I'd love to see added to the Adeptus Mechanicus. We'll close out with a look at some character and unit ideas that will likely never see the light of day, but I just think are cool.

Let's get started!

Generic Leader Characters

Time for a quick generic leader review: I think AdMech has a fairly healthy roster of existing generic leader characters, including:

  • Skitarii Marshal
  • Cybernetica Datasmith
  • Technoarchaeologist
  • Tech-Priest Dominus
  • Tech-Priest Manipulus
  • Tech-Priest Enginseer

While there are some tweaks to our existing characters I'd love to see, let's save that for another post. Let's first start with discussing some ideas for new generic characters I think our army needs. I'd love to see at least one or two of these (or a reasonable equivalent) appear in our upcoming 10th Edition AdMech codex.

New Generic Character Ideas

Sicarian Speculator / Explorator
Role: Leader for Sicarian Ruststalkers, Sicarian Infiltrators

Ruststalker Princeps Exitor-Dho-668.2 of Kill Team Theta 7 Acquisitus from GW's Theta 7 Acquisitus Kill Team set from 2019, which is the default Princeps model included in the Sicarian Ruststalkers. (Image Source: Games Workshop)

I'm using the Speculator (latin for scout) and Explorator (latin for explorer) names as tentative placeholders here, but I think we could use a dedicated Skitarii leader character to lead units of Sicarian Ruststalkers and Infiltrators. Both of these units feature models optimized for their roles: Infiltrator units are speedy (8" move) and stealthy, while Ruststalkers are also stealthy, have similar speed (8" move), and lethal combat abilities (well, they did in 9th edition).

These units have great movement abilities, so I think a leader character should as well: With an 8" move and stealth or melee-related abilities to match the unit it leads. Perhaps one character variant provides a precision + stealth buff when with Infiltrators, while the Ruststalker leader might give advance + charge (or maybe the [lance] ability) when leading a unit of Rustalkers.  

Visually I could see a mix of the Skitarii Marshal design with Sicarian design influences, perhaps with the helm / crest and upper torso from the Skitarii Marshal, but with the long metallic legs and limbs from the Sicaran models.

Skitarii Marshal on a Serberys
Role: Leader for Serberys Raiders, Serberys Sulphurhounds, Lone Operative

Nice artwork showing a Serberys Sulphurhound in action. Wouldn't it be nice if this unit had a dedicated Skitarii Marshall riding on a Serberys as a leader? (Image Source: Games Workshop)

Part of what attracted me to AdMech is the coolness of the models, and what could be cooler that a kick-ass leader character riding a Serberys cyber-doggo? There's a precedent for mounted leaders in the Space Marine codex: Every heard of a Space Marine Captain on Bike?

This character could use some of the bits from the existing Skitarii Marshal kit, but would have a unique model optimized for his role as a leader of mounted troops. Other factions have flavorful mounted leaders, and I could easily image a Skitarii Marshal on Serberys leading a force of Raiders or Sulphurhounds, pointing the way for his comrades with an electrified calvary arc saber for Raiders, or perhaps holding a flamer of his own when riding on Sulphurhounds. He could also serve as a lone operative sniper character, bringing back the precision sniping ability that Serberys Raiders had in 9th Edition.

In terms of other leader abilities, this character could give similar buffs as the aforementioned Captain on Bike: Swift Assault and Rite of Battle, which give ranged weapons [assault] and let you use a Stratagem for zero CP cost, respectively. GW could simply rename the abilities to something suitable for AdMech to fit within the lore, perhaps Programmed Assault and Binharic Overload. Regardless, a Serberys leader unit would make one of my favorite AdMech units even cooler.    

Electro-Priest Leader
Role: Leader for Corpuscarii Electro-Priests, Fulgurite Electro-Priests

Despite being blind, blue, and eager to smash heretic noggins with his electroleech stave, this Fulgurite Electro-Priest obviously lifts for the Omnissiah. Aren't these guys cool enough to get their own leader character? (Image Source: Games Workshop)

If any sub-faction in the AdMech index desperately needs a leader, it's our crazy Electro-Priests. It's always seemed odd to me that Electro-Priests can only be lead by Tech-Priests, which thematically (and visually) are from entirely different sub-factions. Shouldn't our Electro-Priests be led by a sparky, equally-insane leader character?

Given the rivalry between the Corpuscarii and Fulgurite factions, I'd argue this leader would need to be supplied with two different modeling options: one for each sub-faction. Perhaps the Fulgurite leader option dual-wields smaller electrified truncheons as the leader of the Fulgurites, while the Corpuscarii leader could grip a sparking orb in both hands—not unlike a real-world plasma ball—that buffs the ranged damage of the Corpuscarii unit he is leading.

This leader could grant the unit it's leading the equivalent of the old 9th Edition Voltagheist Blast ability, which was that all models in one enemy unit within engagement range of an Electro-Priest unit take a mortal wound on a 6+ after a charge. Leading Fulgurites, it could also grant the unit the old 9th Siphoned Vigor ability (+1 to Voltagheist blast rolls and 4++ saves). Leading Corpuscarii it could offer the same +1 to Voltagheist blast rolls and also Motive Force Sight, a buff that lets ranged attacks ignore any to hit or BS roll modifiers.

Another idea would be to have that leader give the advance and charge ability to any unit of Tech-Priests it's attached to, which would go a long way to making Tech-Priests more viable in melee than they currently are.

New Epic Characters I'd like to See

Just as important as generic characters are unique, named characters that step from the pages of 40K lore onto the tabletop. These help connect factions to the wider lore of the universe, and bring even more fun to the tabletop. Just ask a Space Wolves player how cool it is to put Bjorn the Fell-Handed on the battlefield, or a Chaos Space Marine player about what it feels like to personally command Abaddon the Despoiler. While I think Belisarius Cawl is a fantastic character for AdMech—albeit a tad underpowered and overcosted at the moment—he's the only unique named character we have so far in 10th edition*. Compare that to Space Marines players, which collectively have dozens of epic characters to choose from.

*Belisarius Cawl might be the only official epic named AdMech character in our index, but we arguably have two more named characters you can field in non-tournament 10th Edition games: Servitor X-101 (datasheet / 45 points), which was featured in the Escalation expansion for the Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress board game and is included in Warhammer Legends in the Adeptus Mechanicus category (which can't be used in tournament play.)

The second character is UR-205 (datasheet / 55 points), a robotic character featured in the Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress core game. Unlike X-101, UR-205 isn't listed in the Adeptus Mechanicus Legends category, but is found in the Legends: Agents of the Imperial Agent legends PDF.

Okay, Servitor X-101 is also technically a "named" AdMech character, but is part of the Warhammer Legends range and can't be used in tournament play. (Image source: Games Workshop)
Like X-101, is also a Warhammer Legends character that can't be used in tournament play. He's also most definitely not one of the fabled "Men of Iron" that boast abominable intelligence that were outlawed ages ago. (Just trust him.) (Image Source: Games Workshop)

A great source for new AdMech unique characters are the 40K books, video games, and other content that GW has produced or licensed over the years. There's a great deal of precedent here in other factions, particularly with Space Marines. One of the best examples is Lieutenant (formerly Captain) Titus—star of the Space Marine and Space Marine 2 video games, and the newly-released Space Marine board game—whose rules will be coming to the 40K tabletop soon. Another example: Captain Messinius from the Dawn of Fire book series.

So where are our unique epic characters, other than Belisarius Cawl? Here are my suggestions, in no particular order. I'll also lump these into two categories: Unique characters derived from official GW books and codexes, licensed video games, and other sources. The second category will include cool character ideas I personally would like to see on the tabletop.

Alpha Primus and Qvo-88

Primary source: Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work
Role: Bodyguard unit (Primus), Tech Priest Adept (Qvo-88)

At the top of my list of epic AdMech heroes I'd like to see on the tabletop is Alpha Primus, a prototype Primaris Space Marine created by Belisarius Cawl when he was tasked with creating the Primaris Space Marines by Roboute Guilliman.

Alpha Primus is featured throughout Guy Haley's excellent Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work book. Quick note: Alpha Primus is not the Space Marine shown on the book cover—that's a Space Marine from the Scythes of the Emperor chapter. (Image source: Games Workshop)

Primus is mentioned in a few Black Library books, the most notable being in Guy Haley's excellent Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work. Here are a few excerpts from that book that describe Primus and his capabilities in detail:

Cawl clattered past the Space Marine, who followed him with soulful, sad eyes. The warrior was heavily scarred, appearing cut-up and stuck back together in haste. His armour bore no heraldry but was the pale, unpainted gunmetal grey of raw ceramite.—Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work, p.49.
Alpha Primus was like no other Space Marine Felix had seen. He was huge, even by Primaris standards, and a strange-looking individual in many other ways. There was a coppery sheen to his pale, horribly scarred skin. His eyes were black with just a hint of white around huge pupils. His habitually shaved head and chin were dark with fast growing stubble. There was an air of great potency around him that set Felix on guard whenever they met. Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work, p.69.

In 40K lore Cawl is always mentioned in the context of being a creation of (and commanded by) Cawl—similar to the relationship between Frankenstein's Monster and Dr. Frankenstein—so I'd suggest he could be available as a bodyguard option for Cawl, or potentially as a stand-alone character unit, as Cawl seems to occasionally send Primus on errands, or allow him to accompany other units. In that sense perhaps he could attach himself to Skitarii battleline units, and potentially Imperium Battleline Infantry ally units as well, similar to how Agents of the Imperium heroes like Inquisitors Kyria Draxus can.

Primus is regularly depicted as significantly larger, stronger, and much more capable than an average Space Marine, perhaps midway in power level between a Primaris Captain and a Primarch. Primus is also portrayed as a supremely powerful psyker, as the following excerpt describes:

Psionic power burst from Primus, buffeting them all, and making the hover
tanks bob about. The ground cracked around his feet with webs of purple light. From his hand emanated a lash of fire the same colour, and where it touched the rockcrete it exploded upwards and outwards, spun about in the air and whirled away over the precipice. The great bulk of the blockage heaved, as if a flat board had been placed underneath and lifted. A glowing bubble through which the way ahead was clearly visible pushed the rubble up and sideways. Primus clenched his fist; the bubble exploded outwards, and the rubble tumbled off the road and down the side of the mountain.
His job done, Primus turned back to the group, his eye lenses shining with
dying power, and walked towards Cawl’s transport. —
Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work, p.112

I'd envision Primus in-game to have some of the abilities of both a Space Marine Captain and Primaris Librarian, and should be somewhere around the 100-125 point range cost-wise. In terms of in-game power, I'd see him as a tad weaker than such notable epic characters as the Blood Angel's Mephiston and Dante, or Trajann Valorus from the Adeptus Custodes.

The other character I mentioned—Qvo-88—is a Tech-Priest Adept that often accompanies Cawl on his missions. I won't get into more detail about the origins of Qvo to avoid book spoilers, but Qvo-88 could be represented in-game by a modified Tech-Priest Engineer model, perhaps with the ability to provide a bonus invulnerable save or feel no pain buff to nearby units, mimicking his powers as described in the excerpt below. Like Primus, he could also be taken as a bodyguard unit, or perhaps lead other units (like a standard Tech-Priest) on Cawl's behalf.

From the top of Qvo’s staff an energy shield spread, slow as syrup, running
down the air around the Space Marines to encase them in a hemisphere. The
Imperial force continued to fire, blasting apart the front of the plunging mass so that although it drove down at them, the drones were continuously shattered into fragments that rained down thickly, tinkling loudly enough off the paving to be heard over the roar of guns and the thrum of wings. The energy skin reached the floor. p.171

13-Tor and Dostoyon Vladimus 12

Source: Adeptus Mechanicus 9th Edition Codex, p. 18
Role: Standalone characters

I'd imagine that 13-Tor and Dostoyon Vladimus 12 would feature wildly different color schemes, weapon loadouts, and never been seen together on the same battlefield, but this GW Kastelan Robot artwork is too cool not to use here. Enjoy! (Image source: Games Workshop)

One of my favorite AdMech models is the Kastelan Robot, and a pair of unique Kastelan Robots—described in the Adeptus Mechanicus 9th Edition Codex—would make excellent epic hero characters.

I'm referring, of course, to 13-Tor and Dostoyon Vladimus 12, the rogue Kastelan Robots briefly described on page 18 of the aforementioned 9th Edition AdMech codex. These robots are depicted as mysterious figures that occasionally appear on random battlefields to help AdMech armies, and then vanish without a trace after the fighting is done.

Here's the relevant excerpt:

"Some maniples of Kastelan Robots appear to have spent millenia following strange directions and protocols programmed into them by masters thousands of years dead. These ancient machines call no forge world home, and are instead itinerant. They often arrive in battle, unheeded, their appearance taken as a sign of the Machine God's favor. Constructs such as 13-Tor, known as the Automongrel of the Grainan Stellar Drawbridge, and Dostoyon Vladimus 12, the Iron Ghost of Farewell Secundus, fight until the battle is won, seemingly receptive to directives from Tech-Priests. Afterwards, they disappear again, not seen perhaps for centuries."—Adeptus Mechanicus 9th Edition Codex, p. 18.

I'd envision each of these epic Kastelan robots with slightly better stats than typical Kastelans—say an extra bit of toughness (T10 vs T9), a few more wounds (10 vs 7), and be locked in a dedicated protocol that can't be changed: 13-Tor could be melee-focused with a better (3+) weapon skill, more close combat attacks, and with a relevant melee battle protocol, while Dostoyan Vladimus could sport exotic long-range weaponry from the AdMech armory, better BS (3+) skill, and be locked in the suitable ranged weapon protocol.

To represent their rogue, random natures, they could be priced as individual models, only taken as single units, and both couldn't be used in the same game. They'd have to start in reserves and could arrive on turn 2 (or afterwards) as reinforcements, and they wouldn't need a datasmith. GW could also boost their reflective Repulsor Grid ranged fire ability to wound attackers on 5s and 6s, and buff their  saves to 4+++/5+++ FNP to represent their epic, survivable natures.

Introducing this pair of characters would be simple: GW could simply re-purpose the existing two-model Kastelan box, boot the useless Datasmith—now irrelevant per the official lore for these two—and introduce a simple upgrade sprue that would make both of these models individually distinctive. This would give us two cool dreadnought-equivalent stompy walker characters, not unlike the very cool Bjorn the Fell-Handed from the Space Wolves. What's not to like about a pair of rockin', sockin', rabble-rousing Kastelan Robots with serious independent streaks that can mysteriously appear on the battlefield to save the day?

Subdomina Khepra

Source: Mechanicus game
Role: Leader for Skitarii Rangers, Skitarii Vanguard

Subdomina Khepra advises caution for the conditions her Skitarii warriors are being asked to operate in. (Image source: Mechanicus PC game / Grokvar screenshot)

Arguably one of the most popular epic hero ideas among AdMech aficionados, Subdomina Khepra—a Tech-Priest senior commander of Skitarii featured prominently in the Mechanicus PC game—would be another excellent addition to our faction on the tabletop.

While she still agrees with the Omnissiah's the flesh is weak mantra, she still cares deeply for the Skitarii troops under her command: Throughout the Mechanicus game she continually vouches for and expresses concern for the Skitarii cohorts she leads, which often puts her at odds with several other NPC game characters who see Skitarii as disposable cannon fodder. She reports to Magos Dominus Faustinius, the NPC Tech-Priest who leads the expedition.

"Khepra is a military officer rather than a Tech-Priest so she provides a more "human" outlook compared to the Tech-Priests. Faustinius finds her alternative outlook refreshing, and is always impressed by her concern for the wellbeing of her troops which is something Faustinius feels he is in danger of losing. He respects Khepra, even if the other Tech-Priests do not, and usually accepts her advice on military matters."
—Mechanicus: Omnissiah Edition Art Book

On the tabletop, Khepra's concern for her troops could be represented as her granting a bonus to invulnerable or feel no pain saves to a unit she leads, in addition to more powerful versions of buffs that a Skitarii Marshal has: She could also give the unit she's attached to the ability to re-roll hits, and perhaps the ability to use a Stratagem for 0 CP, similar to the Rites of Battle ability that the Primaris Captain has.  

Other Mechanicus Game Characters

There are a host of other good AdMech characters in Mechanicus, including Prime Hermeticon Caprix, a Tech-Priest who seems to specialize in tracking down enemy bosses and assassinating powerful enemies—perhaps a good choice for an assassin/sniper type character?

The Mechanicus Mission screen, showing all of the Tech-Priest characters on the left side of the screen.(Image source: Mechanicus PC game / Grokvar screenshot)

Xenobiologis Tiresus and Tech-Acquisitor Scaevola are both interested in the acquisition of Xenos technology, with Tiresus focusing more on Xenos language and culture, while Scaevola seems more interested in Xenos biology and technology. Perhaps both could be represented on the tabletop by an Apothecary Biologis-type character that gets buffs after researching the enemy.

Getting a mission from Tech-Acquisitor Scaevola.(Image source: Mechanicus PC game / Grokvar screenshot)

There's a number of internal idealogical factions within the Adeptus Mechanicus, with the Xenarites being one of them. The Xenarites believe that Xenos technology should be studied, while other groups within the Mechanicus see that as blasphemy against the machine god.

In the context of the Mechanicus game, Tiresus and Scaevola lean more towards the Xenarite philosophy, while Lector-Dogmatis Videx leans towards keeping the Mechanicus pure by destroying Xenos technology on sight. Perhaps a Videx character could get a bonus when fighting Xenos faction? Just thinking out loud, but having any of the aforementioned Mechanicus characters appearing on the tabletop would be a treat.

Lector-Dogmatis Videx from the Mechanicus game. (Image source: Mechanicus PC Game Omnissiah Edition Digital Art Book / Bulwark Studios / Kasedo Games)

Tech-Priest Dominus Lunete

Source: Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters game
Role: Named Tech-Priest Dominus character

Tech-Priest Dominus Lunete from the Chaos Game: Daemonhunters PC Game. (Image source: Chaos Gate on Twitter)

Another licensed game character I'd like to see on the tabletop is Dominus Lunete, a Tech-Priest that keeps the player's ship running and handles ship upgrades in Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters (CG:DH). Unlike Subdomina Khepra and all the NPC characters in the Mechanicus game, there are a few missions in CG:HD where you can actually control Dominus Lunete in-game, but only if you also purchase the Duty Eternal DLC.

"Lunette is a Tech-Priest that even by their order's own standards has gone on a holy quest to divest herself of all flesh. She is dedicated to the Baleful Edict, and sees the vessel as more important than even the Grey Knights aboard it."—Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters 

Lunete is portrayed as logical, practical, and as always putting the safety of the player's ship above everything else. She also has a potent mix of abilities when played in-game in CG:DH, and it's nice to see yet another Tech-Priest depicted in video game form.

From the Archives: Legacy Named Characters

A quick aside: There have been a number of other AdMech characters that have appeared in miniature form over the years, and I'll list a few here. I'm not too familiar with these characters or their origins, but if you'd like to suggest additional names for this list—or provide some additional insight here—add a comment to this post or drop me an email and I'll be happy to add it.

  • Imperial Robot UR-205: Included as a playable character in the original Blackstone Fortress board game. (Source: Warhammer Community)
  • Hieronomus Tezla: A Xenarite Runic Priest / Tech-Priest from Stygies VIII. Had a 54mm miniature of him produced several years ago for the old Inquisitor game. (Source: Lexicanum)
  • Delphan Gruss: Hailing from Forge World Arenxis Minoris, Delphan Gruss was another AdMech Tech Priest character that was part of the Inquisitor game and produced in 54mmm form. (Source: Lexicanum)
Produced for GW's Inquisitor skirmish game in 2001, Delphan Gruss wielded a grenade launcher and, well, a drill for a hand. (Image source: Games Workshop)

Other Epic Hero Ideas

The final category of characters I'd like to propose are a few of my own crazy ideas, based on concepts I think would be cool to see in the AdMech army roster.

  • New Kataphron Characters - RoboCop Meets AdMech: Paul Verhoeven's original RoboCop (1987) is one of the best sci-fi movies of all time, and Peter Weller's portrayal of the fallen cop Murphy-turned-cyborg—who is simultaneously recovering his lost memory, grieving from being separated from his family, and adjusting to his new identity as RoboCop—is massively underrated. (Apologies for the movie review tangent.)
    Regardless, I feel like RoboCop provides loads of inspiration for new AdMech characters. What about an AdMech version of the Imperial Exaction squad, all composed of servitors made from former Adeptus Arbites officers?
    Or a squad of combat servitors formed from elite Imperial Guardsmen, or up-sized Kataphron Walker units created in the same spirit as Space Marine Dreadnoughts? Lots of creative RoboCop-esque cyborg unit opportunities here.
RoboCop (1987) is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, and should serves as creative inspiration for a host of new AdMech cyborg characters and units. (Image Source: Orion Pictures / The Internet)
  • Cyberpunk-Style Assassin / Hacker Character: What about an AdMech assassin / infiltrator character that features advanced cybernetic limbs and upgrades? I'm thinking a fusion of the Cyberpunk video game vibe with the gothic AdMech aesthetic could be an interesting combination. Granted, the grimdark aesthetic of 40K may not support this level of advanced, human-like cybernetics, but something world and lore-appropriate would be cool.  
Wouldn't it be cool to have an AdMech assassin character with cool augmentations / enhancements like this? (Image Source: CD Project RED Video)
  • Separated at Birth: Ironkin = Kastelan Robot = Men of Iron? It's obvious that several robotic creations in the 40K universe have a shared history and visual identity. Has anyone looked closely at the League of Votann Ironkin and Kastelan Robots and seen the family resemblance?
    I think there's ample creation room here for more new AdMech (and Votann!) units and characters with this design aesthetic, and I'd love to see new units with this design language on the tabletop.
Anyone else notice that the Leagues of Votann Ironkin looks a lot like....
...the Kastelan Robots in the Adeptus Mechanicus, which look a lot like...
...UR-205, which is totally not one of the fully sentient "Men of Iron" from the Dark Age of Technology? (Image Sources: Games Workshop)

And that's a wrap! I hope you've enjoyed walking through all of these character and leader options and ideas with me, and I'd love to hear your ideas on the topic as well.

To that end, feel free to connect with me on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, or sign up to leave a comment on this post and to join a free monthly email newsletter dedicated to Warhammer 40K content.