When a Princeps is promoted do they also leave there engine and move to a "bigger" machine? For Example a Warhound Princeps would be promoted to a Reaver, then a Warlord or does the engine have no bearing on legio rank?

Alot of what I have read indicates that Princeps and Titan have a symbiotic relationship so it almost feels like taking a Princeps out of the titan they demonstrated there ability in would then weaken them for a while as they got used to there new machine. However it would also make sense that you put your Legio Commander in the most heavily armoured and protected engine?


A Princeps' rank does seem to be relevant to the type of Titan they command. A higher-ranking one, such as Princeps Majoris Zarha Mancion of the Legio Invigilata, controls the largest type of Titan, the Imperator-class Titan "Stormherald". Mancion commanded a full third third of Invigilata during the Third War for Armageddon, and her rank of Princeps Majoris is in the top three most powerful ranks of Princeps in the Collegio Titanica. Most likely the reason for such a high-ranking member of the Legio being in command of the strongest and most powerful engines is, as you suggested, because they provide the most protection.

However, it does not appear from anything I've read that an individual Princeps actually gets promoted to a higher rank or that they ever leave the Titan they're bonded to before their death. A Princeps and its Titan are one and the same, more or less, due to the sheer amount of mental (and often physical) bonding that is required to control such a massive war engine and become symbiotic with the Titan's own sentient computer system. Removing a Princeps would be difficult at best and deadly at worst, and as it takes years to bond with a Titan, it wouldn't make sense that the Imperium would simply transplant different people to heavier grades every so often even with the much-expanded lifespans of Mechanicus.

That said, at some point or another, it would certainly become necessary to replace a Titan's Princeps. I would think that the Collegio Titanica would draw from its newest members, assuming they were found compatible, to command one of the Titans in need of a human component. It may be that when a new Princeps is required, the ones with the highest scores on whatever testing methods the Collegio make the candidates undergo are automatically bonded to the best and strongest Titans as they are made available rather than giving an exceptional candidate a weaker engine or risking transferring a Princeps from Titan to Titan without a guarantee of success. This seems to be the most likely explanation. The WH40K wiki states that one in ten million candidates (or fewer) may be qualified to be considered as a Princeps and even fewer succeed in completing their training. Since their numbers are so few and far between, easily some of the rarest individuals in the Imperium, it would only make sense that a Princeps is bonded to single Titan their entire life.

  • so by this logic a brand new princeps placed in say a Warlord Titan because its previous princeps died, would outrank a warhound princeps who had 100's of battles and tactical experience behind them? Although that would be no different to a general out of Officer Training taking over an army of battle hardened recruits and ordering them to all run across no mans land armed only with a knife and fork and the Gaunts Ghosts novels show plenty of examples of that lol. – Richard C Mar 6 '19 at 17:12
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    @RichardC Well since a Princeps comes out of an academy or something similar, I'd imagine it would be like someone graduating normally gets to be a lower-level Titan's operator, magna cum laude becoming the operator of a middle-level Titan, and summa cum laude being Princeps Majoris. You'd already have the qualifications, if not the battle experience. But a Princeps also relies on his/her Moderati, who would likely be transferred from Titan to Titan because they're more easily replaced, or who may stick with one Titan their whole time because they know it inside and out. – SpaceWolf1701 Mar 6 '19 at 21:11
  • having got deeper into Titan Death, the book that triggered this question it seems this may be Legio dependant, Legio Solaria princeps Esha Ani Mohana a reaver Driver is named as successor to the commanding Princeps and during the battle of Beta Garmon II is placed in charge of about 45 engines of varying sizes including Warlord Titans while still commanding her own Reaver Titan. – Richard C Mar 7 '19 at 13:03
  • @RichardC Hmm, that makes sense. More sense, actually. There's no rule that says a Princeps Majoris has to be in command of the super-duper Titans, I guess. I suppose it's not unlike how, during the Battle of Helsreach, Reclusiarch Grimaldus promoted one of the remaining Black Templars to the position of Emperor's Champion when the Champion Bayard fell. The Emperor's Champion was a rank bestowed upon a knight who had a "vision" of some kind during the ritual prayer before a Crusade, not just any warrior, but obviously Grimaldus was able to make him Champion because the Crusade needed one. – SpaceWolf1701 Mar 7 '19 at 16:12

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