Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Technology in Warhammer 40,000. 6: Standard Template Constucts

The last part in this series of Technology in Warhammer 40,000 from Rogue Trader is about Standard Template Constructs.

 In essence, imagine you are a colonist flung to the far reaches of the Universe on a planet that has some resources (whatever they might be: trees, iron ore, etc.). What do you do to survive and thrive on your new planet? Either you already have the knowledge, or you ask somebody or something that does. The Standard Template Construct (STCs) machine is one such "something".

In Rogue Trader it is described as a vast repository of knowledge. A kind of idiot-proof wikipedia computer in many ways. Given a set of circumstances and raw materials, this STC device would return to the colonist a way of building shelters, cars, and so forth. Everything they might need to survive.  I actually see the STCs as something a little more akin to a giant 3-D printing machine. Given sufficient raw materials it is capable of pumping out a vehicle at the other end. The question of how much human intervention is required is debatable to my mind.

Despite those considerations the STCs are in Warhammer 40,000 canon one of the great enabling devices for the human conquest of the galaxy. Although they have largely decayed over time, become quirky, or simply curated poorly, they have lost many of the possibilities they once offered. That said, a number of their core aspects has been preserved (think of Rhino chassis -- they're all the same on predators, whirlwinds, rhinos, etc., simply because STCs pumped them out as the easiest to maintain). Rogue Trader even offers the opinion that the entire Ork empire would not have been possible without human plundered STCs!

No wonder the adepts of Mars seek these decaying artefacts out. They're a vast repository of lost knowledge from a former age...


Greg McDonald said...

Thanks for this series. I'm old enough to have bought the original Rogue Trader when it first came out. Sadly I sold it a while ago. I guess its nostalgia now, but I remember it blowing my mind at the time. I hadn't encountered that kind of sci-fi before (well maybe Dune).

jabberjabber said...

Am very happy to hear you enjoyed the series, and took the time to say so :-)
Best regards, jabberjabber

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