Servitors are mindless cybernetic drones created from a fusion of human flesh and robotic technology used to carry out simple, manual tasks across the Imperium of Man. While many Servitors are genetically-engineered, vat-grown sub-human clones or replicae created by the Adeptus Mechanicus from human genomes who have their bionic implants installed after "birth," others were once truly human, usually criminals who fell afoul of Imperial Law, particularly a person who has offended or damaged the Adeptus Mechanicus. These unfortunate criminals will be sentenced to Servitude Imperpituis by the Arbitrators or Judges of the Adeptus Arbites and will be handed over to the Mechanicus' Tech-priests to be mind-wiped, reprogrammed, and cybernetically-enhanced to serve some specific, rudimentary function. Servitors are generally mindless, semi-organic robots, possessing only the most basic of instincts, though some are fully capable of speech if such functions and knowledge are programmed into them. Their brains are programmed to perform only the task they were designed for, whether that be maintenance, construction, or even warfare. The altered and fragmented brain of a Servitor functions poorly unless constantly supervised. Most will eventually go into a state of mindlock, babbling incoherent nonsense as the Servitor tries to assert some form of control over its functions.
Servitors are created by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and supplied to departments of the Adeptus Terra such as the Administratum and to the Inquisition, as well as to military organisations like the Imperial Guard and various Space Marines Chapters. Servitors make up the vast bulk of the population of Mars and other Forge Worlds of the Mechanicus, where they fulfill the role of tireless workers, soldiers and labourers.
There are many types of Servitor, each designed for a certain task. Typical Servitor types include "Technomats" which operate and service various machines, "Holomats" which act as holographic recording devices, "Lexomats" which serve as semi-organic computers with tremendous calculating powers for record-keeping and data storage, and "Drones" which are cybernetic robots -- stupid and essentially mindless slaves ideal for menial work and little else.
Servitors are often used to carry out the more dangerous or laborious duties in the Imperium, such as heavy mining in hostile planetary or asteroid conditions. They also accompany Tech-priest Enginseers on the battlefield with the Imperial Guard, as well as the Space Marines' Techmarines. These types aid in the repair of vehicles or sometimes carry large and dangerous weapons such as Plasma Cannons. For both forces, the Servitors are practically identical cybernetically, although the Servitors of some Space Marine Chapters are created from failed Astartes Initiates who were made largely brain-dead as a result of their body's rejection of their implanted Space Marine gene-seed organs before their transformation into cyborgs. However, becoming a Servitor allows them another opportunity to serve their Chapter. Perhaps the most feared of all the Servitors are the Praetorian Servitors, a class of heavily-armed and armoured Gun Servitors deployed by the Adeptus Mechanicus to guard the Tech-priests and temples dedicated to the Machine God.
Common Servitor Classes
Attempting to count all the types of Servitors within the realm of the Imperium would be impossible. The following are the most well-known variants commonly seen throughout the galaxy:
- Arco-Flagellant - For those Heretics found guilty of heresies of insufficient severity to warrant immediate execution, there is another fate in store: arco-flagellation. An Arco-Flagellant undergoes an extended program of surgical modification, including muscle grafts, combat drug injections, and cybernetically-implanted weaponry. At the same time, the subject's mind is reconditioned to turn him into a berserk killing machine who seeks only to destroy enemies of the Emperor.
- Battle Servitor (Charron Pattern) - The Charron Pattern is a light Battle Servitor, humanoid in shape, found often in the service of the Imperial Navy and numerous other star vessels as shock troops and defenders in boarding actions. They can be armed with heavy weapons such as Heavy Bolters or Heavy Flamers for voidship combat. Those found in the Koronus Expanse are often very old, their inorganic components having been recycled through numerous bodies and recovered from the fallen of the battlefield. As a result they have a reputation for their Machine Spirits being unreliable in combat and not knowing friend from foe on occasion. This makes some voidship captains reluctant to employ them save in the direst need.
- Calligraphus Servitor - Outfitted with a cluster of manipulator arms, each tipped with various writing instruments, a Calligraphus Servitor is capable of copying practically any document they are given. They can also transcribe spoken words, and are often used to preserve sermons and speeches as well as taking dictation for letters, orders, and regulations. Many high-ranking members of the Ordos of the Inquisition have at least one Calligraphus Servitor on hand, while large Imperial monasteries and abbeys may have hundreds, usually engaged in replicating and preserving ancient texts.
- Cenobyte Servitor - The Cenobyte Servitors assist the Chaplains of the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter in their holy duties. Marching in the shadow of the Chaplain, they are used for carrying relics into battle, intoning prayers of worship to the Emperor, and bolstering the faith of nearby Battle-Brothers. They often carry equipment, repair technology, and operate basic interfaces on Black Templars vessels and vehicles. They are considered a symbol of the Chapter's faith, as a Black Templars Battle-Brother can gain the service of such a Servitor as a symbol of status and trust from his peers.
- Combat Servitors - Combat Servitors are modified mono-task lifter Servitors intended to fight in close melee combat, and they are normally equipped with some form of Power Fist or Power Sword in place of their lifter arms.
- Spatha Pattern Combat Servitor - Originally intended as a heavy-duty utility Servitor that could operate in hazardous conditions, the Spatha Pattern Servitor first gained notoriety during the ill-fated Siege of Cyclopea. Home to a host of Imperial research stations manned only with Servitors, three raider vessels entered the star system in the hopes of boarding and pillaging whatever they could before Imperial forces could respond. The Fabricator that controlled the network of Cyclopean stations had no choice but to do the unthinkable, and modify the Spatha engram patterns so that he could repel the invaders. Astonishingly, the Spatha Pattern Servitors proved to be better at this task than their previous duty, their heavy armour and mechanical attachments making them natural Combat Servitors. It took a further 50 standard years for the leaders of the Lathe Worlds to sanction the Fabricator's variant design, a relatively short approval period by Mechanicus standards, but by then the notoriously impatient man had taken the design and already left the Calixis Sector for greener pastures. In more recent years, Spatha Pattern Servitors have been pressed into service as bodyguards in some of the more remote areas of the Lathe Worlds.
- Velox Pattern Security Servitor - Found mostly on research stations across the Lathe Worlds, as well as Explorator vessels leaving the Calixis Sector for regions unknown, the Velox is an exceptionally fast and overly-aggressive type of Combat Servitor, programmed to track down and eliminate would-be intruders. Tightly bundled coils of vat-grown muscle give the Servitor its incredible speed and dexterity, and its arms each mount an integrated coil-whip, which the Velox tends to use in a frenzied spinning motion, pulverising whatever happens to be in its way. Kept dormant when not in use, they are rightly feared by friend and foe alike.
- Contego Pattern Bomb Disposal Servitor - The Contego-Pattern servitor is optimised for the analysis and defusing of suspect explosive devices. The underhive of Gunmetal city is notoriously unstable, and explosive devices can cripple production for months or years. The Adeptus Mechanicus within the manufactorums originally crafted this servitor to dispose of volatile substances (which are common in firearms manufacturing). These designs are regarded as relatively disposable, and are usually based around the lobotomised bodies of former arsonists and bomb makers. An up-armoured general purpose servitor chassis is fitted with a small limb-mounted shotgun pistol (for destroying explosive devices at close range), a combi-tool, and a pict-recorder. The local Precinct Fortresses have re-purposed the servitor for explosive disposal. When fitted for this purpose the servitor is issued a demolition charge for controlled explosions. While used in the notorious 'Falls Incident' which halted laspack production on Synford for nearly a year, the servitor has not fallen out of favour with Calixian Adeptus Arbites.
- Gun Servitors - Gun Servitors are intended to provide fire support for a Tech-priest as he works, and often they will have whole limbs replaced with cybernetically-implanted weapons. Many will have ammunition hoppers mounted somewhere on their bodies so they can lay down continuous curtains of fire without needing to reload.
- Herakli Servitor - Herakli Servitors are large, vat-grown, genetically-enhanced Combat Servitors who carry multi-barrelled Assault Cannons and Heavy Lasers as easily as a Skitarii carries a Lasgun. They were utilised during the Horus Heresy era, but are rarely seen in the present day.
- Industrial or Heavy Repair Servitor - These Servitors have been modified with rigs to lift loads, drill rocks or smash ore in one of the Imperium's countless industrial complexes, or are fused with specialised repair gear and are responsible for the maintenance of all or part of an industrial complex.
- Janus Simulacra - These human-form Servitors are advanced indeed, often containing only the barest minimum of living tissue. They skirt the edge of the direst techno-heresy with their Cogitator-assisted cortex functions and seeming parody of human responses. Playthings of the most fantastically wealthy, Simulacra are often fashioned in the shape of gilded works of art—human-sized dolls come to life or seemingly animate statuary. But beneath their resplendent finery lives a clockwork heart and hydraulic-fed piston limbs slaved to a harvested, living cortex and spliced-in nerve ganglia. Despite the wonder and sophistication of these creations, only the most depraved or foolhardy would attempt the sin of passing one as human or aping sentience too closely, for to do so would provoke the unbridled wrath of the Cult Mechanicus, and entire worlds have burned for this transgression in the past.
- Monotask Servitors - A Monotask Servitor carries out the most tedious labours within a Space Marine Chapter. Techmarines often replace at least one of this kind of Servitor's hands with a less powerful version of their own Servo-arm manipulators. Monotask Servitors will not hold up long in the gruelling battles Space Marines face, but they can be useful on missions to carry out simple repairs, perform menial labours, and to stand sentry duty.
- Ministorum Choir Drone - A light-weight form of Servitor drone, Choir Drones are found in Imperial cathedrals and Shrine Worlds across the Imperium. Most are configured to sing (in some extreme cases only a single note) and then gathered into choirs numbering anywhere from a few dozen to a thousand or more. Other Ministorum Drones may be set to repeat a sacred chant or prayer over and over, swing incense censers, turn prayer wheels, wave prayer flags, or play an instrument (such as blowing a sacred horn or beating on a drum).
- Murder Servitor - The lobotomised cyborgs known as Servitors fulfil innumerable functions within the Imperium, and often outnumber sentient humans amongst the domains of the Adeptus Mechanicus. While most Servitors are slow and methodical in whatever routine task they exist to perform, the aptly named Murder Servitors are a breed apart. Since their circuit-laced brains have been inlaid with numerous kill-routines and slaughter-protocols, Murder Servitors are literal killing machines -- all the native viciousness of the human brain combined with the ruthless efficiency and durability of cold steel. Murder Servitors are almost exclusively utilised aboard spacecraft and orbital stations for a number of reasons. With limited space and resources for guards, Imperial prison starships controlled by the Inquisition often maintain a sizeable contingent of Murder Servitors. Hunched, evil things, Murder Servitors are smaller and quicker than their more benign cousins. Armed with blades and hooks and programmed with a homicidal nature, they stalk the passages of their assigned vessel, ambushing trespassers and dragging their corpses back to their Inquisitorial masters. Boarding actions and similar battles are often decided in brutal melee combat. As deadly as these battles are when Imperial forces clash with Traitors, ordinary humans are simply no match in these situations for many xenos. Orks, Genestealers, Eldar Corsairs, and other aliens are a major concern in many areas of human-occupied space. Armsmen, no matter how well-equipped and trained, can little hope to stand against such horrors within the narrow confines of a voidship or void station. Murder Servitors are brutally efficient against pirates or mutineers, where Gun Servitors that sport heavy ranged weaponry would be ill-suited to space combat. Murder Servitors could be very effective in other environments, from Death World jungles to teeming hive cities. However, as massive as Imperial starships are, they are still contained environments. Murder Servitors have been known to devolve or malfunction, locking into a kill-imperative and ignoring further commands to cease. If not contained, such deviant Servitors could even escape and go on to cause further slaughter amongst the population.
- Lathe Pattern Murder Servitor - Commonly used aboard starships to supplement boarding parties and raiding forces, these Murder Servitors are ghoulish, skull-masked killing machines. The Lathe-Pattern, developed on and favoured by the augment-artisans of the Forge Worlds of the Calixis Sector known as The Lathes, is a hunched, predatory monster, driven by sadistic and aggressive Machine Spirits. Mono-talons and viscerator-limbs allow them to tear apart most living foes, while Melta-cutters allow them to burn through bulkheads and destroy equipment. Designed to intimidate as much as to kill, Lathe-Pattern Murder Servitors are consummate hunters, stalking their prey and moving with inhuman speed. If not ordered otherwise, they spend hours hunting any living creature not programmed into their spoor-targeters, undeterred by any obstruction and unhindered by fear or humanity. Their nature is intended to inspire dread, from their chrome skull-masks, to long, razor-sharp talons and steel weapon-limbs, to the electronic howls and moans of their Vox-boosted throats.
- Penitent Engine - Although most Heretics are executed out of hand, and some are made into Arco-Flagellants, there are those for which even these fates aren't proper punishment. Heretics who have been sentenced to death, but truly wish to atone for their crimes and sins, may be given over to a Penitent Engine. Hard-wired directly to the Engine, the repentant pilot knows only death can grant him or her release, and thus they are often at the front of any battle, seeking both enemies to engage and an end to their suffering. Some devout worshippers have even been known to volunteer for such a fate, seeking to purge themselves of sins (both real and imagined), or to die in service to the Ordos of the Inquisition and the God-Emperor.
- Praetorian Servitors - Praetorian Servitors are perhaps the most feared of all the Servitors, for they are a class of heavily-armed and armoured Gun Servitors deployed by the Adeptus Mechanicus to guard the Tech-priests and all temples dedicated to the Machine God to be found on the various Forge Worlds. Praetorian Servitors are massive constructs created from the vat-grown bodies of genetically-engineered giant humanoids or from mind-scrubbed Ogryns committed to the service of the Adeptus Mechanicus for some crime against the Emperor. As a result of their tremendous size, Praetorian Servitors tower over even Space Marines on the battlefield and their sheer size and intimidating appearance alone is often enough to dissuade attacks or wrongdoing. Praetorian Servitors are normally outfitted with tracks or mechanical legs to support their immense bulks and provide them with enhanced combat mobility. Praetorian Servitors can also be assigned to serve as bodyguards to important Tech-priests and to bolster the Mechanicus' Skitarii troops in particularly difficult combat situations where their heavy support can often win the day.
- Remidium Pattern Medicae Servitor - One of a number of patterns of Medicae Servitor used throughout the Calixis Sector, the Remidium Pattern Servitor is known for its reliability and steady hands (such as they are). Often used when true medical staff are absent, the Remidium can perform numerous common procedures, including basic cybernetic implantation and augmentation.
- Samech Redemption Servitor - This type of Servitor was created by Dark Mechanicus Hereteks from the Dark Forge World of Samech to be used as a punishment reserved for criminals and unruly serfs. To become a Redemption Servitor is therefore a fate reserved for traitors, weaklings, and hated enemies of those in power. Many say that the feral intelligence of these drones still bears the tormented, malicious echoes of those now trapped in servitude. Scholars suspect the Redemption Pattern Servitor originated in the Lest District, where it remains extremely popular. However, the model can be found in use throughout the world of Samech and in the wider Jericho Reach. The pattern involves heavy replacement of the organic neck, arm, and leg joints with pivots that provide almost 360 degree rotation. The torso is then augmented with four additional limbs, creating a squat, arachnid profile. Most models also use Epidermal Armour Plating, although its design varies with the forge city of manufacture. The Redemption Servitor incorporates several pieces of Samech’s electromagnetic wargear, although it is of substantially poorer quality than the devices used by the world's Dark Magi. The standard configuration includes a Techxorcism Cannon—usually installed in the chest and fired through the gullet— for neutralising other technological enemies and scavenging machines that may not be completely inert. In order to reach and disassemble precarious wreckage, the Redemption Servitor contains an auxiliary magnetic repulsion system that allows them to traverse unstable structures, and its spindly limbs are capable of puncturing steel. These limbs also double as dangerous weapons, which the savage Servitor needs little provocation to use. The Redemption Pattern’s principal drawback is that its programming works as intended. In order to scavenge Samech’s wastes effectively, they must be relatively autonomous, with the capacity for self-repair and an instinct to seek out valuable technology. Not only does this cause the automatons to kill for the smallest scrap of tech, it has led to a high incidence of the Servitors infesting starships bound offworld, spreading these dangerous cyborgs across the galaxy.
- Guardian Configuration - Magi employing Redemption Servitors for specific tasks usually replace their Plasma Cutters with more formidable armaments. Solid ammunition weapons are a popular choice, as an extended ammunition feed can be stored in the Servitor’s hollow chest cavity. Up to two climbing spindles can also have Chain or Power Weapons affixed without impacting the automaton’s climbing ability.
- Retriever Configuration - Their feeding instincts make Redemption Servitors excellent at live capture, provided the target can be recovered from the Servitor afterwards. If one is employed for this purpose, a Webber is usually mounted on its exterior, and a primitive Auspex package is often added for tracking bio-signs.
- Skulker Configuration - Despite a lack of physical or pictorial evidence, anecdotes persist of Redemption Servitors equipped for the sheer purpose of causing terror and disruption in Imperial populations. It is claimed that such versions have enhanced Vox units that produce a range of unhallowed cries. The units are also frequently described as being rusty and in poor repair.
- Self-Flagellant - A Cherubim variant, Self-Flagellants are designed to inflict constant corporal mortification on an individual. Normally, this is accomplished through the use of Scoriada, but a particular Self-Flagellant may be programmed to take an individual's food away, interrupt his sleep, howl constantly, tug at his clothes and hair, or otherwise engage in nonstop acts of annoyance. In extreme cases, the Self-Flagellant has been set to inflict actual physical harm, usually by cutting the targeted individual with a small knife or replacing the Scoriada with an Excoriare. However, the Ecclesiarchy takes a dim view of such practices.
- Shade Servitor - Hot environments are often doubly dangerous to travellers because they can compel visitors to a new planet to strip off their armour in order to withstand the heat, almost invariably a fatal mistake. Shade Servitors have no organic parts and are not, in fact, truly Servitors in the strict Imperial sense of the word, but more like robots. They are relatively small devices resembling a cone surmounted by a series of ceramic lamellar blades that swiftly rotate in different directions. The devices hover about their master, using their blades as natural fans and parasols, occasionally supplemented with a cold blast of air sent over an internal cooling coil. Shade Servitors have a small internal battery with a 12-hour reserve that constantly recharges via a series of photonic cells along their blades, allowing them to function near ceaselessly in hot, sunlit environments.
- Sibellus Pattern Suppressor Servitor - When the Hive Sibellus Magistratum on Scintilla, the capital world of the Calixis Sector, needs to disperse crowds of rioters or belligerent hive residents, they employ Suppression Servitors to aid the Adeptus Arbites or their local Enforcers. Designed for intimidation and maximum semi-lethal force, these hulking brutes stand two and a half metres tall with a hunched, ape-like posture. Their faces have been replaced with the gilded seal of the Lord Sector, and one hand has been replaced with a massive pneumatic piston launcher capable of scattering rioters like leaves or tossing a single malefactor through the air with a crushed chest. The other arm has been removed entirely, replaced with a complicated dual weapon-attachment. The Magistratum knows that a squad of these can scatter a rampaging crowd of thousands, and they make a point of turning the instigators of these riots into the next batch of Suppression Servitors.
- Technical Servitors - A Technical Servitor is a common sight in the Imperium as they are not really intended for use in combat but are very useful in assisting battlefield operations. These Servitors are often referred to as "mono-tasks", being physically augmented and programmed to perform only a single, very specific function. Commonly they are used as load lifters and cranes in construction tasks, but more exotic mono-tasks include the heavy weapon mount and the mobile weapons rack. These are the standard Servitors that accompany a Mechanicus Tech-priest.
Servo-skulls are drone-like robotic devices that appear to be human skulls outfitted with electronic and cybernetic components that utilise embedded anti-gravity field generators to allow them to hover and drift bodiless through the air. They are fashioned using robotic components from the skulls of loyal Adepts of the Adeptus Terra and other pious Imperial servants so that they may continue their work for the Emperor of Mankind even after death. Presumably, to have one's skull chosen to serve as a Servo-skull is a great honour in the Imperium. Servo-skulls form an important niche in Imperial work, serving as everything from auto-scribes that copy down important conversations and confessions of prisoners, to simple moving torches, hovering about their charge with candles and electric lanterns to illuminate the area. Certain Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus and high-ranking Imperial officials have special logic engines or Cogitators (computers) that slave Servo-skulls to a particular owner. Servo-skulls are used throughout all the different governmental organisations of the Imperium of Man, and each is built to perform a certain task. Some are designed for military roles, and among these some are built with enhanced optical sensors to allow them to fulfill a role as a reconnaissance scout. Servo-skulls are often used by Inquisitors and Inquisitor Lords as non-human assistants referred to as Familiars. In this case they are mentally linked to the Inquisitor through psychic or cybernetic means, allowing him to control them and see and hear through their senses.
- Black Crusade: Broken Chains (RPG), pg. 31
- Codex Imperialis (1st Edition), pp. 22, 41, 45
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 340-341
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 141, 153
- Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG), pp. 67-68
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 122-124
- Dark Heresy: The Book of Judgement (RPG), pg. 75
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 107
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pp. 90-91
- Only War: No Surrender (RPG), pg. 138
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, "The Cult Mechanicus"
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 374-375
- Rogue Trader: Hostile Acquisition (RPG), pg. 87
- Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe