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Warhammer 40K: God-Machines – Warlord Titans

7 Minute Read
Jun 10 2022
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Delve deep into the dread main battle titan of the Adeptus Titanicus – the Warlord Titan and its long twisting walk through the decades.

The Warlord Battle Titan is a class of Imperial Battle Titan. It is the most numerous of Imperial Titans with millions having been built over the many years of its existence; in fact, the design is older than the Imperium of Man itself. The Warlord is essentially a walking fortress, packing enough firepower to wipe out entire armies on its own. The only true threat to a Warlord is another Titan of the same magnitude, such as those used by the traitorous Dark Mechanicus or the alien Ork and Eldar races. Thousands of Warlord Titans saw action on both sides during the wars of the Horus Heresy.

WarpRunners

original Warlord “beetle-back” titan design

Overview

The Warlord is by far the most widely employed, numerous, and versatile class of Imperial Battle Titan deployed by the Collegia Titanica; it is second in power only to the rare Emperor Class Titans. Some Warlords date back to the time of the Great Crusade or even the Dark Age of Technology. The sheer longevity of the Warlord means a variety of different patterns and variants have been built, some mounting unusual upgrades such as landing platforms for aircraft, siege rams to batter down walls, and assault pods to disgorge infantry into the enemy’s strongholds. This also means the design’s capabilities and tolerances are well-known among the Mechanicus, making the Warlord an ideal test-bed for new devices conjured up by the Divisio Investigatus.

Battlefield Role

The primary role of a Warlord is as a front-line combatant where the fighting is heaviest. Its primary line of defense is six Void Shield generators which intercept enemy fire before it even hits the war engine. So powerful are these shields that a Warlord can withstand continuous bombardment from over five dozen armored vehicle and artillery platforms with no loss of shield strength. Beneath the shields are meters of adamantium armored plating, which themselves can ward off a regiment‘s worth of firepower with but minor scarring. 

Warlord Weaponry

The weaponry the Warlord mounts is similarly stupendous, with four primary Titan-grade systems and numerous secondary armaments for fighting in built-up areas. So powerful are these weapons that Warlords can level entire cities with them. A Warlord can easily destroy a Warhound Scout Titan in a matter of seconds, and will handily defeat a Reaver Battle Titan in a one-on-one duel. Warlord Battle Titans do have one weakness in that their plasma reactor is located in the abdominal cavity, making it susceptible to heavy weapons fire if the armor is breached. For this reason, many Warlords are geared towards long-range fire support.

WarlordTitanicusmiddle era Warlord design

Warlord Equipment

The Warlord Titan is equipped with powerful heavy-duty auspex equipment meant to allow it to locate targets within the most hellish and inhospitable conditions. Everything from radar scanners and echo-locators to spectrographic sensors and electromagnetic detectors is used to paint an accurate picture of the surrounding terrain and the location of enemy forces. A Warlord can get an accurate target lock based on heat signatures, seismic activity, motor noise, communication signals, even falling masonry knocked over by foes attempting to flee the war-god’s wrath. A Warlord’s aural phones are sensitive enough to locate the distinct “wailing” made by void shields operating in a high-static environment while in the middle of a sandstorm.

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Warlord Command Functions

The command crew of a Warlord consists of a Princeps and several Moderati housed in the armored head of the Titan, which connect with the Titan on an intimate level through a Mind Impulse Unit and views the outside world through the Manifold. The Princeps maintain primary control of the Titan, thoughts becoming action with a direct link with the mighty war engine’s spirit. 

In the days of the Great Crusade a Warlord Titan could be controlled through a command throne with implants fused into the princeps’ flesh and hard-switches for emergency overrides, but even back then this method was fast becoming obsolete. Both the mental and physical strain of a princeps being disconnected from his engine, combined with the degradation of their body through wear and tear over the many centuries of service, meant many quickly transferred to a fully immersed amniotic tank. This method of being suspended in liquid information means a Warlord princeps is able to maintain remote congress with their Titan, while the loss in personal mobility pales in comparison to being a walking god on the grim battlefields of the far future.

late-“modern” era Warlord design

The cockpit is split into two levels, with the moderati, steersman, and sensori seats placed in the chin while the princeps’ amniotic tank is placed behind them. In the event of an emergency the head contains a fire suppression system and a weapons locker, protected by biometric sensors, containing shotguns and lascarbines to fight off boarders. Access to chemical stimulants means the crew is capable of over eight days of continuous combat, although by this point they will be dangerously exhausted and forced to return to replenish ammunition anyways. While the head is armored against attacks, it is not indestructible and decapitating a Warlord is possible via extreme enemy action.

Warlord Engineering Personnel

Other members of the crew include a Tech-Priest housed in a secluded alcove in the back of the cockpit and an Enginseer who monitors the machinery in the belly of the Titan. Like other Titans, the Warlord is equipped with Servitors who are slaved to individual weapon systems. While it is possible for the firing of weapons to be done manually by one of the crewmembers, servitors are able to do so far more effectively. Assuming manual control is sometimes necessary in cases such as the Titan’s spirit overwhelming the low-grade servitor minds in a fit of feral bloodlust and firing the weapons itself without being commanded.

To steady itself Warlord Titans are fitted with internal gyros and gravitational stabilizers to brace themselves when firing or moving over difficult terrain. Warlords have a stride length of 20 meters.

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Adeptus Titanicus 2018 Warlord titan model

Warlord Sub-classes

Eclipse

The Eclipse Class Titan is a lighter version of the more common Death Bringer. An Eclipse Warlord is deployed if more staying power is needed than a Reaver Class Titan can provide but a Death Bringer is not available or needed. They are typically armed with Volcano CannonsGatling Blasters, and Apocalypse Missile Launchers.

Death Bringer

The Death Bringer Class Titan is the most common configuration of Warlord Class Titans and is equipped with a variety of weapons that can be used for a multitude of battlefield roles.

Nightgaunt

The Nightgaunt Class Titan is a variant of the standard Warlord pattern designed mainly to hunt down enemy Titans and destroy them in close combat. Nightgaunts are faster than other Warlord patterns, always equipped with one or two Titan Close Combat Weapons or lighter, short-ranged firepower.

Nemesis

The Nemesis Class Titan is fielded if brute power is required. These machines excel in long-range firepower and siege warfare but possess poor maneuverability. Usually foregoing close-ranged weapons, they sometimes will nonetheless field a single Titan Close Combat Weapon to discourage any deep strikes by enemy forces. Nemesis Warlords are typically equipped with a mix of Quake CannonsVolcano CannonsInferno GunsPlasma Destructors, and Apocalypse Missile Launchers.

Warlord Sinister Psi-Titan

The Warlord-Sinister Pattern Psi Titan is an extremely limited and secretive design used by the Ordo Sinister, modified to harness the power of Alpha-grade psykers to power the dread Sinistramanus Tenebrae weapon and Ciricrux Anima array.

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Princeps flanked by a pair of Moderati

Warlord Command Crew

Accounts differ as to the exact number of crew aboard a Warlord Titan. Most agree that a Warlord has one Princeps and several Moderati, although the exact number and role of the latter differ. Early sources indicate all four Moderati as being responsible for each controlling one of the Titan’s four weapons. More recent sources indicate that Moderati is a specific role, that of second-in-command and charged with overseeing the general welfare of the Titan and the princeps, with the other command crew consisting of a Sensori tasked with controlling the engine’s sensors and a Steersman charged with controlling its movements. Still, other sources indicate that in addition to the command crew the Warlord has other ordinary crewmen numbering over one hundred, from numerous servitors and tech-adepts to gunnery crews and press-ganged ratings.

Warlord Height

A number of sources list varying heights for Warlord Battle Titans over the decades and even the miniatures vary in size. Direct statements about Warlord height include 33 meters, 40 meters, 60 meters, and even 200 meters (656 feet). Other examples include statements that a Mars-pattern Warlord sitting on its knees is still over 30 meters tall, and that the head of a Warlord Titan is said to rest thirty meters above the ground, with the gunnery deck another ten meters above. According to the scale diagram in the Apocalypse Rulebook, a Warlord Titan is approximately 33m (100ft), equivalent to 23″ tall on the tabletop, with other artwork depictions being similarly inconsistent.

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