Hello 40k (and 30k) fans! Chris Morgan, Chief Librarian of the Forge the Narrative Podcast, is here again with the next weekly segment of Tomes of the Librarius. Also, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
This article series is here to add some depth and narrative dimension to our hobby and the games we play by calling upon the rich lore to highlight some of the cool stories, theories, and characters in the universe. These are meant to be easily-digestible snapshots for people new to the lore, and I hope they serve to kindle further interest and study.
Our character series up to this point has focused for the most part on characters featured on the tabletop, but today I thought I would send some lore love out to the Mechanicum with a character who hasn’t graced our tables yet, and may not ever. Arkhan Land is an interesting character, and a fun mesh of Indiana Jones, robot nerd, and mad scientist. Today we are going to dive into this character, his famous deeds, and cool highlights from his history.
Arkhan Land was a Martian Magos of the Mechanicum, and made a name of himself for journeying into the lost techno-vaults of Mars and uncovering ancient human technologies. Like a robot Indiana Jones, Land would lead many expeditions into Mars during his early years, and discovered many valuable STCs which would make a powerful impact on the Imperium. A devout believer in the Emperor as the Omnissiah, he kept his mechanical augmentations (which were still extensive) on the inside and retained as much as possible of his human form, which was considered somewhat controversial. In his defense, he would often cite the Emperor’s appearance as a human, and argued that the human form was sacred. He was often accompanied by a creature named Sapien, which was his attempt at creating a mechanical likeness of a monkey from Terra’s history, complete with a venomous, barbed tail for, um, ‘historical’ accuracy.
Conceited, arrogant, and annoyingly competent (traits not uncommon among magos), he nevertheless had a strong belief in the machine cult and the Emperor, and when Mars and the Fabricator General sided with Horus during the years of the Heresy, he fled with the other loyal Magoses to Terra. As with all of the exiles from Mars, Land was anxious to return to the red planet, and so volunteered to help his rivals in creating weapons of destruction for the war in the webway fought by the Emperor’s Custodian Guard and Sisters of Silence. He joined the battle himself, and would forever be impacted by the horrors he fought in the webway. Afterward, he spent time with a Blood Angel named Zephon, who he helped overcome artificial limb troubles (in exchange for an audience with Sanguinius).
After the Heresy, Land was lost in an expedition underneath Mars, and recordings recovered later revealed that his part was hunted down slowly by what was presumed to be a warp entity of some kind, though Land’s body was never recovered. Now, there is a small sub-sect of the Cult of Mars devoted to the study of his STCs. They seek to learn from his example and to uncover more lost technologies for the glory of Mars and the Machine God.
Land’s most famous contributions to the Great Crusade were the Raider-Pattern Battle Tanks – which were nicknamed ‘Land Raiders’ by the Legiones Astartes. Likewise, the Land Speeder was named after him as well after its discovery. This was a pivotal discovery, as the anti-gravitic plates on the speeder were later adapted for many other vehicles that saw wider usage across the armies of mankind. The Adeptus Custodes anti-grav bikes and tanks are examples of vehicles and technologies that adopted these technologies, and he had a hand in the creation of them. His discoveries were not limited to vehicles, as he had an extensive armory of recovered weapons that he used to great effect in the battles in the webway.
His other notable achievement, and the one he was the most proud of, was when the Emperor himself summoned Land to Terra to assist him with a project. He met with the Emperor as he strove to find a way to remove the Buther’s Nails from Angron, as the Emperor knew that Land had discovered similar technology during his expeditions. Land was able to provide a second opinion to Emperor, and confirm his suspicions that removal of the nails would kill the homicidal primarch. Land did not tout knowledge of this visit to his peers, and kept it as a private badge of honor.
Dusting Off The Bookshelves
This was a fun sojourn into the lore of the Horus Heresy. I think it’d be interesting and fun to get some rules or a model for Land in 30k or 40k, and it would be an awesome addition to the Mechanicus Codex, which is in dire need of some named characters. What do you think? Would Land make a great addition to the tabletop, or is it safe to assume that he’s dead underneath Mars? I look forward to reading your responses in the comments!
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