• Adeptus Arbites – The Imperial Cops. If the Magistratorum is the equivalent of the local police department, the Arbites are the FBI. The are above and do not enforce local law; only Imperial Law. Invariably once the Arbites are involved, the sentence is almost always death since any lesser crime would be given to the Magistratorium to deal with. Adeptus Arbites are not bound by the convention of Habeas Corpus as we understand it in the 21st century; once the Adeptus Arbites suspect someone of guilt they can lock the suspect up for as long as needed until one of the Judges of the Adeptus Arbites determines the suspect’s fate – and since the Arbites are never called in unless the crime warrants death…
  • Administratium – The government. In 21st century terms – the Administratium is everything from the clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles that renews your driver’s license to the members of your state legislature or governor’s “cabinet.” If it involves a form, a record, or red tape of any kind, the Administratium is involved.
  • Arbites – See Adeptus Arbites.
  • Autoquill – A printer or auto-typewriter. It works something like an old dot-matrix printer (writing device attached to a moving shuttle). The Warhammer 40K version is actually a quill pen attached to a moving arm that does the writing. Invariably it has some rudimentary servitor components as well.


  • Chastener – An interrogator of the Adeptus Arbites. A chastener has the authority to absolve a criminal of his/her crimes after confession (and usually post-mortem).
  • Cogitator – (aka cogitator engine) A computer; the term is used for an engine of any size (from a pocket calculator to a mainframe that takes up a whole room).
  • Cognomen – A form of personal identification and legal proof of identity. In the Calixis Sector this is a grey metal plate with punched out rectangles that can only be read by cogitator machines. Usually a cognomen will be inscribed with the seal of the issuing authority.
  • Cyber Mastiff – The “sniffer dogs” of the Adeptus Arbites. They are servitors made up of machine parts and canine biology with attack training and equipment.


  • Division (Hive) – A Hive is divided up into many “cells” across its broad honeycombed architecture. Each of these “cells” is known as a Division. A Division is bordered by Hive walls, supported by “bones” (vertical support structures that give the Hive strength), covered by a “roof” made from the underside of the Division above, and has at least one entry area (usually with some kind of door to seal off the division if the need arises; similar in concept to a watertight door/lock in a ship to help keep it from sinking). Divisions are usually the approximate size of several city blocks and nearly always vary in size somewhat from neighboring Divisions.


  • Habblock – Habitation Block – “a residential neighborhood” of a Hive
  • Hive – A gigantic fully enclosed vertical city; often with millions of inhabitants stretching a mile or more into the planet’s atmosphere and hundreds of feet into the surface bedrock. Using 21st century terminology – a massive arcology.


  • Immaterium – The matter (or non-matter depending on your point of view) that makes up the Warp. In other science-fiction settings, this is called “hyperspace” – or the “other dimension” into which ships travel that allows them to move faster than light.


  • Machine Spirit – In most rudimentary concepts, it is a term to describe working Artificial Intelligence programming/software (either simple or complex). However, “The Machine Spirit” has taken on almost mythical and religious connotations due to the lack of understanding of how “Machine Spirits” function (i.e. how to program AI).
  • Magistratum – The local cops. This is the basic “beat cop” that patrols a neighborhood to the specialist detectives of various types of crime. They are the armed “wing” of the local Administratium.


  • Servitor – A cyborg made up of at least a human brain (or most of one anyway) and various mechanical components programmed to perform some kind of repetitive/menial task. One of the last surviving “technologies” from the Dark Age of Technology is the knowledge of how to use a human brain to “hook everything together” between flesh and machine and “program” the brain. Since the knowledge of how to build custom cogitators and write programs for them is effectively lost… it’s easier to modify a human than to create a machine to do the same thing. This process/fate is a common punishment for criminals. Usually all higher brain functions and personality are destroyed regardless of how much of the original body remains.
  • Stack – A building inside a Division of a Hive. Some could think of it as verbal shorthand for “a bunch of rooms stacked on top of each other.”


  • Verispex – A member of the Adeptus Arbites that handles crime scene investigations and forensics. Sometimes a Magistratorum officer will be trained in Verispex, but rarely.


  • Warp – The Warp is what is in other science fiction settings known as “hyperspace.” It is another dimension into which ships must go to reach faster-than-light speeds and travel the galaxy. However, The Warp is a dangerous dimension from which Chaos forces spawn. In old Earth cultures, The Warp would be functionally indistinguishable from Hell. Daemons, ghost, spirits, wraiths, and other creatures of non-matter dwell in The Warp.


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