40K Lore: Psychic Masters – Astartes Librarians

Today loremasters we delve deep into the Librariums of the Space Marines to discover the heroes within.

Librarians are Space Marine psykers. They fulfill several important specialist roles in a Chapter: off the battlefield they are responsible for interstellar psychic communications. In battle they utilise their abilities as powerful psykers. They are among the most knowledgeable of the Chapter’s history and traditions.

History

The early history of the Librarians is chequered with mistrust and intrigue. Initially the Legions made no use of psykers within their ranks, however Magnus the Red, Sanguinius, and Jaghatai Khan proposed the Librarian program, allowing the Thousand Sons to train and create Librarius departments in a variety of Legions. Librarians were favoured for use or have been seen within the White Scars, Night Lords, Ultramarines, Thousand Sons, Word Bearers, Salamanders, Alpha Legion, Dark Angels, World Eaters, and Raven Guard Legions. Some of the Primarchs were against using psykers in the Space Marine Legions at all, or at least within their own Legions. Legions that did not favour their use or employ them were the Iron Warriors, Space Wolves, Imperial Fists, Iron Hands, Death Guard, and Emperor’s Children.

The first Librarian experiments were sanctioned by the Emperor. They were seen as a good way of controlling the random development of psychic powers among Space Marines. Magnus and his fellow pro-psyker Primarchs then asked the Emperor to allow recruitment of psychic individuals into the ranks of the legions. The Emperor accepted, and the Librarians became some of the most loyal troops to the Emperor. The debate over Librarians came to a head when Mortarion, Leman Russ and others accused Magnus of sorcery. The Emperor summoned a meeting at Nikaea in an effort to provide a final solution to the Librarian issue.

The Emperor’s decree following the Council of Nikaea banned the use of psychic powers, demanding the systematic dismantling of all Legion’s psychic corps and redistribute them back into the battle companies as standard troops. Further, the Emperor threatened any who contravened his order with heavy censure and summary destruction. How this decree was amended Post-Heresy is not known.

Training

All potential recruits into a Chapter are scrutinised by Librarians for psychic ability. Those with psychic powers undergo judgment that divides them into those who will join the Chapter as Librarians, and those who are so weak in power or character that they would present a danger. Worthy psychic candidates are passed on to the chapter Librarium for training. The rate of attrition is the greatest for psychically gifted candidates, as they must not only be strong enough to survive the training that the normal candidate must undergo, but possess the mental strength to endure the shaping of their minds and to fend off the daemons and entities of the Warp who see the strong form and mind of a Librarian as a great prize.

During their training they must hone their psychic power as well as gain some measure of protection from the predators of the warp. The greatest danger psyker recruits face is the loss of their very sanity.

Disciplines

There are four primary psychic disciplines mastered by Space Marine Librarians.

  • Librarius – Specialize in researching ancient psychic lore, combating the Immaterium, mental defenses, and severing the connections of other psykers.
  • Techomancy – Enables the user to influence a targets Machine Spirit or otherwise manipulate machinery. The psyker reaches into the workings of his target, subverting its vital energies to turn guns on their owners or cause tanks to roll to a shuddering halt. The power to destroy can also be turned to more benign ends, and Technomancy is equally effective in mending ailing machine spirits, readying them for war once more. Even fortifications can be targeted.
  • Fulmination – Enables the user to manipulate warp-spawned lightning. This allows abilities from emitting simple electric projectiles and anti-daemonic wardings to teleportation.
  • Geokinesis – Allows the user to manipulate the very ground and earth itself.

Role

There are four primary psychic disciplines mastered by Space Marine Librarians.

  • Librarius – Specialize in researching ancient psychic lore, combating the Immaterium, mental defenses, and severing the connections of other psykers.
  • Techomancy – Enables the user to influence a targets Machine Spirit or otherwise manipulate machinery. The psyker reaches into the workings of his target, subverting its vital energies to turn guns on their owners or cause tanks to roll to a shuddering halt. The power to destroy can also be turned to more benign ends, and Technomancy is equally effective in mending ailing machine spirits, readying them for war once more. Even fortifications can be targeted.
  • Fulmination – Enables the user to manipulate warp-spawned lightning. This allows abilities from emitting simple electric projectiles and anti-daemonic wardings to teleportation.
  • Geokinesis – Allows the user to manipulate the very ground and earth itself.

Heraldry

According to the guidelines of the Codex Astartes, the armour of Librarians is blue with gold and yellow highlights, regardless of chapter colours. The left shoulder plate of the Librarian’s armour displays the chapter symbol in the case of power armour; for Terminator armoured Librarians, the chapter symbol is displayed on the right shoulder armour (leaving the Crux Terminatus for the left). The free shoulder pad displays the Librarian symbol, its exact form denoting the rank of the Librarian. Librarians wear golden yellow tabards which are edged with black patterns, the complexity of the pattern denoting the Librarian’s rank.

Their equipment is often heavily ornamented by artificers of the chapter due to the heroism and valour shown by the Librarians, making every piece individual.

Ranks

Learn More of Famed Librarians

Lexicanum

  • Christie Bryden

    it should be remebered that leman russ was a hypocrit as he still had wolf priests.

    • NNextremNN

      And mutants which would have been purged in any other Legions.

    • Kefka

      Nono, they used the energies of Fenris, not the warp *wink wink*

      • jmaximum

        oh yeah, the energies of Fenris are accessible………across the galaxy. Nope, no Warp magic here

  • Terminator armoured Librarians, the chapter symbol is displayed on the right shoulder armour (leaving the Crux Terminatus for the left)

    Crux Terminatus is always on the left shoulder

  • “How this decree was amended Post-Heresy is not known.”
    If I remember correctly, the HH novel, “Know No Fear” saw the use of a psyker to defeat daemons, and when Bobbie G realizes this, he suspends the Nikaeean order and and promotes this as another weapon against them. I could be wrong and be thinking of Mechanicum (?) on the WB ship…
    Moving on, it’s easy to assume that Bobbie G’s subsequent Warmaster role and High Lord rank, that he we would re-authorize the use of psykers across the newly formed Chapters. That’s my thought, anyway.