At current time of Imperial Cult all sects of Imperial Creed must agree on a following five key tenets or be purged as a heretical sect:
- The Emperor once walked among men, but He is, and always has been, a god.
- The Emperor is the one true god, regardless of what past faiths any human may have worshipped.
- Purge the heretic, beware the psyker and mutant, and abhor the alien.
- Every human being has a place within Emperor’s divine order.
- Unquestionably obey the authority of Imperial government and one’s superiors.
Another recurring theme is the notion of the End Times, which gained momentum towards the end of the 41st Millennium. Often tied to the notion of the End Times is a belief that the Emperor will rise from the Golden Throne and complete the work He began ten thousand years ago, delivering the faithful from the evils of the galaxy. While most view these as a time of deliverance, it is also believed that the Emperor will sit in judgment of all mankind, casting those lacking in faith into damnation.
Aside from these central tenets, there exists a massive body of both sanctioned and unsanctioned dogma which varies from sector to sector and is the subject of constant debate. The subject of the afterlife is a regularly debated topic, with many teachings mentioning the form of an afterlife in which the faithful take their place beside the Emperor for eternity. However other elements of the Holy Synod maintain a different version of the afterlife, and the belief in an afterlife varies greatly depending on the culture of a planet.
Believe that the edifices of the Cult Imperialis should be heavily ornamented works of art, in praise of the Emperor. Strict in treatment of mutants. Founded by Gracius of Armorm. Sect could be seen as reformed continuity for sect Temple of Saviour Emperor.
Originates: Hagia, in the Sabbat Worlds
The Ayatani are a special priesthood devoted to the veneration of Saint Sabbat. Although they are technically members of the Adeptus Ministorum, and thus duty-bound to promote worship of the Emperor, Sabbat is “closer” to their hearts, and thus more prominent in all their rituals and decisions.
There are at least two distinct sects of the Ayatani: sedentary priests, who oversee Sabbat’s shrines in the Sabbat Worlds, and “roving” priests who travel throughout the Worlds.
Brethren of the Light
Originates: Desedna and surrounding space (Segmentum Obscurus)
See themselves as an adjunct to the Inquisition, and carry out much covert espionage of suspected heretics.
Originates: Western Segmentum Solar
Believe the Emperor was always a living god (as opposed to Phanacians). They hold the Emperor to be a complete and eternally divine being who predates even the birth of man. At a deep level, the uncompromising scholars and priests of the sect (in particular those trained for office on the bleak shrine world of Maccabeus Quintus) maintain that the Emperor’s order is the natural order of all things without exception. To them, spiritual truth is the only truth, as it supersedes mundane physical reality and locally imposed temporal laws—although they do hold that the basis of the Dictates Imperialis as “his word” is indeed divine. This belief often leads the sect’s adherents into conflict with the forces of authority, such as the nobility and the Combine Commercia, whose power lies outside of the cult or the core of the Adepta.
Confederation of Light
The Confederation believed that the sacrifice of the Emperor should serve as an example to everyone and advocated ideas of poverty, generosity, and humility, ideas that directly contradicted the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy and its Cardinals who lived lavishly.
- Known members: Penitent Clarissa,
Originates: Calixis Sector M39
Drusianism is a hard and uncompromising reading of the Imperial Creed, emphasizing the purifying quality of suffering, the power of holy relics, and the endurance of hardship. An ascetic and largely mystical tradition for the main part, it is somewhat at odds with the cult authorities on Scintilla, who hold to more traditionalist modes of worship but also claim the sector’s saint as their own. Importantly, Drusianism also has a strong “Calendite” influence.
Many hard-line Drusians consider the noble and mercantile classes to be fundamentally venial and corrupt by nature, and hold little regard for any power or supposed rights such individuals possess.
Some adherents are known to tattoo the 999 Holy Words of Saint Drusus upon their bodies.
Originates: Mostly frontier space, particularly the Eastern Fringe
Pioneering faith devoted to spreading the Emperor’s Light to the whole galaxy and all mankind. Missionary work is highly praised (though they often disagree with the Missionarius Galaxia on how to do it), as is colonization of new worlds and prolific procreation. Especially strong xenophobia.
- Sol Invictus cult: Founded by Missionarius Galaxia preacher Brother-militant Makbae when converting the surviving native population of Gravis Major to the Imperial Creed and a military service in 819.M41. Emphasizes achievement of military victories as form of blessings from True Light of the Universe. Notable members: Brother-militant Makbae, Emperor’s Prophet Martün Underberg, Chief-In-Command Red Tortoise.
Originates: Karis Cephalon and surrounding system
Value poverty and abstinence, favor spartan houses of worship.Often in theological dispute with Armormants.
Originates: Segmentum Pacificus
Believe the Emperor was fully deified only upon the defeat of Horus. Their doctrine balances on a fine line between the heresy and the Imperial doctrine.
At first glance their teachings seem to contradict with Key Tenant One but with theological maneuvering and concepts like “Emperor’s Preordained Destiny” and “Hidden Seed of Godhood” they have, mostly, been able to avoid the pyre.
- Known members: Guildmaster Harten Donte
Originates: Emerging sect in the Segmentum Pacificus, some following on Hydraphur.
Believe in the absolute separation of humans and psykers; the two can be combined only in the Emperor. Even sanctioned psykers should for preference be turned into servitors or otherwise lobotomized. The astropaths are tolerated as they have been purified with the glory of the God-Emperor. Navigators are considered to be mutants, not psykers, and for that to be hated but not purged systematically
Red Redemption Cult
The Imperium is swollen with corruption and it must be cleansed by fire and by the weapons of the pure. Only then will it be made into a realm of piety and purity, or so at least the Cult of the Emperor’s Red Redemption believes. An extreme militant cult of the Imperial Creed, they believe the only way to achieve redemption for themselves, and ultimately mankind, is to cleanse it of sinfulness. This cleansing is best achieved by fire, which leaves no trace of corruption, and by the death of the corrupt so their taint cannot spread. The Redemption justifies their purpose with a simple belief that the God-Emperor of Mankind is manifest proof of mankind’s holy destiny to rule the stars. The sinfulness that is all around keeps mankind from fulfilling its density. So it is the duty of the faithful to remove the sin that holds back mankind, to remove the chains of impurity.
The cult is drawn to poor underhives, wild frontier worlds and primitive feudal cities, feeding on the fears of common men. This extreme faith is particularly attractive to citizens who scratch out their living in remote, dangerous and forgotten parts of the sector, who are eager to blame their ill fortune and problems on the presence of unbelievers and the faithless.
Crucially, the Redemption believes that three sins encompass and surpass all others. These are the sins of abomination, witchery and heresy. Abomination is sin and corruption made manifest by the distortion and corruption of the flesh into unnatural forms, generally referred to as mutation. Witchery is the ability to use unnatural powers. Heresy is refusing the strict and harsh interpretation of Imperial Creed or working against its holy purpose.
Resurrectionism, edited for Ultima Tectum campaign
The strong funerary nature of the Imperial Creed and the God-Emperor’s own deathless state is the basis for the Cult of the Emperor Revenant. Death is an ever present fact on most Imperial worlds and how citizens deal with it is often as important as how they live. This is where the Revenant Cult has taken root and why they can be found on many worlds within the Imperium, administrating to the dead and fostering beliefs in the power of the Imperium’s ancestry and the countless dead that its glory is built upon. Of all the cults the Revenant Cult is perhaps the one closest to the core Imperial Creed itself, so much so that many Ministorum servants can’t see a difference between it and the more mainstream worship of the God-Emperor.
It is an order of Imperial preachers and confessors dedicated to a life ministering to the Imperial fold and protecting the Imperial faithful out among the stars. They are missionaries who travel whenever need or the calling of their faith takes them, be it along the famous pilgrim trails or to all but forgotten worlds on the fringes of explored space. Fiercely independent wanderers, Mendicantines take and train novices as they find them, teaching them their creed in an ad-hoc and earnest manner.
This reliance on providence over doctrine is the cause of some distrust within the wider clergy, and many well-situated cardinals find them and their ministries outside of the control of “proper” Ecclesiarchical authorities to be threat. The Mendicantines, however, have the protection of ancient tradition that holds that their order was created by no less than Sebastian Thor himself and thus they enjoy the respect of the common citizenry to maintain them.
Mormonites, created for Ultima Tectum campaign
Origin: Unknown and ancient, First noticed in M33 at Imperial archives
An eccentric Imperial cult which dictates that the amount of children that one sires or births increases the blessings of the God-Emperor one gains. Members of the sect are known for extensive families and large networks of relatives. Some zealots of the sect are not satisfied with natural procreation and rely on artificial insemination of the population through medical technology.
- Known members: Mayor Usindra
Sisters of the Void
This benevolent all-female cult spends much of its time plying the pilgrim paths and space-routes between worlds, bringing comfort to travellers and crew to help deal with the stresses of the warp. Formed unofficially as a group of clerics and priests to help travellers, they were eventually recognized and sanctioned by the Ecclesiarchy. Since that time, their numbers have continued to swell. The Sisters can mostly be found on pilgrim trails, though there is a chance of encountering them on any Imperial vessel. Few captains would refuse passage to a Sister and most crews readily welcome their presence. No one knows why the cult only allows female members, although it has been rumoured that it has something to do with the nature of warp travel. There is an old, though unproven, belief that women can cope better with this kind of travel, their minds being more resilient to its inherent dangers. In any case, few males would probably be interested in joining what they see as a non-militant cult of “nurses”.
The cult has no saints of its own, but they often set way-shrines for Lost Pilgrim and it does revere holy days that reflect its beliefs. The cult attracts strong women, from all strata of society, who have decided to leave their lives behind to help others. A large proportion of the cult is made up of void born, many of whom have grown up with the Sisters in their midst. The symbol of the cult is a black disk, representing the emptiness of space.
As a martial cult, the Vitrian Covenant honors the holy days of warrior saints, including Saint Drusus and Saint Brannicus, especially those that won great battles against the greenskins. They have also been known to stage great symbolic Ork sacrifices during the Feast of the Emperor’s Ascension. On more civilized worlds, this is usually the burning of effigies or the killing of criminals painted green, though in some places actual Orks are used (though they are usually battlefield dead).
The membership of the cult varies widely, though most have had some part of their life affected by Orks. This could be as traumatic as the loss of a loved one or as trivial as having the supply of your favorite cheese interrupted by an Ork raid on Imperial shipping. Whatever the case, all cult members passionately hate Orks. The cult’s symbol is a flaming spire, commemorating the formation of the Covenant.
The cult undertakes the dual purpose of spreading the faith beyond the edges of the Imperium and combating the orks. For this reason the Covenant are mostly found on the edges of the Calixis Sector, supporting armies or helping missionaries to settle new and wild frontier worlds. Their fanatical hatred of the greenskins has also seen them travel around the sector using their influence and skills to drum up support for the Margin Crusade, a venture which they view as a vital part of both bringing the Imperial Creed to the lawless void and also curtailing the spread of xeno from their worlds within the Halo Stars. Of course the fact that the Covenant is not wholly aware of the truth behind the crusade has not stopped the Sector Synod from using them to raise troops and resources for it.
Source A edited for Ultima Tectum Campaign.
Source B edited for Ultima Tectum campaign