The Adeptus Terra
The priesthood which serves the Lord of humanity is often referred to as “the right hand of the Emperor”. It falls to the Adeptus Terra to interpret His will and minister to the Imperium.
Many hundreds of thousands of souls labour across the galaxy to serve this vast organisation. There are numerous ancient institutions that make up the priesthood, each with various names on various planets. These varying Adepta, as they are traditionally known, each have a specific function to carry out in the Emperor’s name.
The Adeptus Administratum
(The Scriptists, The Enumerators)
The huge Administratum sees to the running of the Imperium. Needless to say, its servants are legion. At the will of the Adeptus Terra, the Administratum collects the Imperial tithe, sends out colonists, mobilises the military, catalogues planets and much, much more. Truly stultifying levels of bureaucracy exist within the Administratum and some wayward souls believe that the Imperium survives despite, rather than because of, its efforts. The Administratum has become synonymous with the Adeptus Terra in many places and, incorrectly, the terms are often used interchangeably. The faceless servants of the Administratum can be found all over the Imperium, ensuring that all things are accomplished in the correct manner, even if that may take a thousand years.
The Adeptus Arbites
(The Judges, Lawgivers)
The Adeptus Arbites are the watchers of the law. It is given to them to maintain order amongst the higher echelons of Imperial governance – wherever a planetary governor seeks to abuse his rule, wherever populist unrest seeks to unseat the rightful dominion of the Imperium, wherever thoughts of personal gain at the Emperor’s expense cross the minds of the ruling classes, there you will find the dogged agents of the Lawgivers.
The Adeptus Astra Telepathica
(The Astropaths, Psykers)
Blessed are the blind, for they have looked upon the glorious light of the Emperor directly and no true servant of the Golden Throne could ask for more. Through the agonising ritual of soul-binding, these psykers have been gifted with a small portion of the Emperor’s incredible will. Thus protected from the worst evils of predation by warp entities, these unseeing servants of Terra can fulfil their primary function, preserving communication between the far-flung worlds of the Imperium.
The Adeptus Astronomica
(The Beacon, The Light of The Emperor, The Ward of Man)
The Black Ships bring thousands of psykers daily to the birthplace of man and many of those so tithed find themselves contributing to the vast psychic choir of the Astronomican. This steady beacon burns bright in the warp; it is the Emperor’s will manifest, shining from Holy Terra, and guides Navigators across the Imperium. The process of lending their psychic power to focus the beam quickly leaves the choristers as lifeless husks, but they give themselves willingly, for without the Astronomican the Imperium would cease to exist.
The Adeptus Ministorum
The Ecclesiarchy, Cult Imperialis, Ministorum)
The Adeptus Ministorum is not formally part of the Adeptus Terra. Rather it is a sister organisation which works hand-in-glove with the servants of Earth. The Adeptus Ministorum derives its power and authority from the common belief in the Emperor’s divinity. Also known as the Ecclesiarchy, after its chief high priest, the Ecclesiarch, the Adeptus Ministorum is vast and powerful. Its duty is to guide and interpret the innumerable ways that humanity has found to worship the Emperor, shepherding the myriad worlds of man along the unsteady path that lies between heresy and true devotion. Whole worlds lie within its administration and on many others still they are the most powerful Imperial institution. Like the Administratum, the Ecclesiarchy is a complex and byzantine organisation. A bewildering hierarchy of priests, confessors, cardinals, novices, clerics, bishops and missionaries all owe fealty to the Ecclesiarch in his palace on Earth. Just as varied are the various roles within the Ministorum, from wandering missionaries, to charismatic preachers and theosophical scholars. Two of the most famous institutions within the Adeptus Ministorum are the training orphanages of the Schola Progenium and the battle-sisters of the Adepta Sororitas.
The Adeptus Mechanicus
(The Priesthood of Mars, Tech-Priests)
The domains of the Adepts of Mars exist semi-autonomously within the Imperium, an empire within an empire, a right given to them by the Emperor Himself at the very dawn of recorded history. They are the guardians of technology, the magi of machinery. It is theirs alone to know how to coax forth the life of a sun in a plasma containment field, how best to apply the blessings of activation and maintenance to the massive Titan war machines, how to ensure that the engines of the Emperor’s starships run smooth and true. The Adepts of Mars worship the Emperor in the guise of the Machine God. To them, mankind is in a fallen state that was at the height of its powers during the Dark Age of Technology, when the secrets of the universe were known to all. Knowledge then, lies in the past and the Adeptus Mechanicus will go to any lengths to uncover the great secrets of antiquity, scouring the universe for any scrap of information from their holy book—the Standard Template Construct system. They hold that, were the STC to be restored in full, it would reveal all of the powers of the hallowed past.