The Manei Domini were an elite group of cybernetically-enhanced soldiers who served the Word of Blake from approximately 3060 into the early 3080s. These soldiers were considered their own subgroup within the Word of Blake organization, forming the Shadow Divisions but also often operating as individual agents or in small teams. They were largely unknown to the wider public until the Jihad began in 3068. This warrior-culture answered only to the Manei Domini leadership. Their leadership included the Precentor of the Manei Domini, an individual named Apollyon, who answered to an individual known only as the Master.
- 1 History
- 2 Overview of Manei Domini
- 3 Manei Domini Equipment
- 4 Rules
- 5 Notes
- 6 Gallery
- 7 References
- 8 Bibliography
During most of the 3060s the Manei Domini were reportedly operating strictly as a special operations organization. Intelligence agencies began hearing reports on the Manei Domini starting from the Dragoons' Wolfnet on Outreach. They made their first appearance on the Periphery world of Helios, where the wreckage of a Manei Domini vehicle was found with a Bloody Hand symbol on it (their name in some reports was sometimes mentioned as the Manei Atrocis, or Bloody Hands). Their primary area of operation appeared to be the Chaos March - where the unit wiped out the Capellan-backed Zhanzheng de Guang insurgencies on Caph, Fletcher, Hall, Keid and Liberty - however there was also evidence of their activity in the Marian Hegemony and Circinus Federation.
The exact nature of the Manei Domini was not fully understood at this time since they were apparently waging war against the Dragoons' Wolfnet and Seventh Kommandos, isolating the Dragoons' intelligence network from the rest of the Chaos March so it could not operate properly. Their campaign included the exposure and brutal murders of many Wolfnet operatives, and even the HPG station on Outreach itself was firebombed on separate occasions. The result was that the Dragoons' intelligence network was forced to divide their attention between this new threat and the greater events taking place in the rest of the Inner Sphere.
The Manei Domini were also believed responsible for attacking the other Great Houses' intelligence agencies along with ComStar's ROM. Despite their extensive activities very little was known about the group during this period. ROM was able to gather that its members were fanatical agents, highly augmented with cybernetic prosthetics and myomer implants, extensively trained in terrorism, espionage, insurgency and counterinsurgency operations, and completely amoral. All attempts to capture these operatives alive ended in failure due to the surgically-implanted self-destruct devices in their bodies, which often left few remains to study. At best it was surmised the group was backed by a powerful organization, possibly Capellan in nature, with access to tremendous resources.
It was not until the outbreak of the Jihad that the Manei Domini were organized into thirteen military-style “Shadow Divisions”. These forces were initially raised, trained and equipped for a genocidal showdown with the Clans, as most of their augmentations are aimed at besting the genetically enhanced Clan warriors. However with the fall of the Second Star League they were soon unleashed on an unsuspecting Inner Sphere.
The conflict saw the massive expansion of the Word of Blake Protectorate which formed in 3066, and the Domini's Shadow Divisions were dispatched with regular (formerly hidden) Word of Blake Militia Divisions to attack various strategic targets. These missions ranged from crippling the major Inner Sphere nations' capitals and industries to securing vital resources needed to bolster the Protectorate's integrity. Though used to supplement the Militia Divisions, Shadow Divisions were not under direct command of WoB High Command.
By midway through the War, Shadow Divisions began to strike against Protectorate controlled worlds masquerading as House units for unsuspected reasons. Intelligence reports indicated that the Precentor Manei Domini was being accused by Precentor Martial Cameron St. Jamais of dispatching the Shadow Divisions to strike at Protectorate worlds in 3075.
Overview of Manei Domini
While cybernetic-enhanced operatives were not unheard of in the Inner Sphere, the Manei Domini stood above all others with the complexity and number of their enhancements, and no equivalent to them could be found even among ComStar or the Clans. Outside of actual combat however they were rarely encountered by the general public, and in such instances almost never more than six were seen at a time.
Once a member of the organization many Manei Domini considered their previous life over, but to be inducted into the ranks of the Manei Domini was a rare privilege. The organization was extremely selective in who it allowed to join the "Hands of the Master" - only Blakists who had demonstrated fanatical devotion to the Word, even at the expense of their well-being and with no ambition beyond serving the Word. Even applicants who met this high bar of fanaticism were chosen only after having suffered grievous injuries which required radical reconstruction and implantation as, in the eyes of the Manei Domini, their first sacrifice of flesh must be performed without the promise of replacement.
Characteristics and Combat Style
Manei Domini soldiers were known for their fierceness, fearlessness, and fanatical devotion to their Master, and were rated as elite warriors regardless of rank or duty. In addition, they trusted their fellow Manei Domini kin without question and harbored few ambitions beyond serving the Master, further compounding their combat capability. This level of indoctrination made it nearly impossible to convince a Manei Domini to change their mind or turn against one another. Only by getting through their automatic distrust of non–Manei Domini and appealing to their belief in the Master's will would a person have any hope of a chance.
Manei Domini in combat were lethal, ruthless killers, but they were not just berserkers who killed all in sight with no regard for tactics or discipline. Manei Domini would regularly engage multiple targets at once so as to be as efficient as possible, whilst occasionally adding the odd gory or grisly kill to demoralize opponents. Manei Domini never retreated out of fear but, unless a last stand was conducive to the will of their superiors, they did make withdrawals when the situation proved untenable. For the same reason the Manei Domini never surrendered or allowed themselves to be taken captive, either activating their self-destruct implants themselves or through remote trigger by friendly operatives, unless again it served the Master's will, i.e. getting close enough to kill an enemy commander.
Those times when the Manei Domini interacted with the Inner Sphere in a nonviolent manner, they often displayed an attitude of dispassionate superiority. After all, the Domini were merely humble servants of the Master, sacrifices for the redemption of all humankind. Such indifferent contempt for the "frails" showed itself in a number of areas: for example captives were rarely mistreated, at least if there wasn't a tactically beneficial reason to do so. The exceptions were those of noble birth or otherwise directly connected to the Great Houses, whom the Manei Domini saw as responsible for the dissolution of the Second Star League, and members of the Clans, the enemy for whose destruction they had originally been created. Such was their hatred for the Clans that most captives taken by the Manei Domini were summarily executed on the spot.
When interacting with other members of the Word of Blake, the Manei Domini were noted to have an arrogance ironically similar to that displayed by Clan warriors when dealing with lower caste members. Indeed the fact that the Manei Domini were not formally a part of the standard command structure often caused friction with "common" Blakists forces, though such internal rivalries were little more than passing interests to the Manei Domini. Indeed whenever the Manei Domini served alongside these forces in battle they often saw it almost as a favor to them; if they followed the orders of a conventional Blakist officer it was only so long as said orders were seen to serve the Master's will.
The Manei Domini utilize their own language, aptly named High Dominus, which is a mix of ancient Greek and classic Latin. Used in ceremonial occasions, Domini regularly intermix High Dominus with more well known languages such as English, which understandably confuses others not of the Manei Domini who hear it. Usually it is spoke in greetings to fellow Domini as well as in special chants.
Manei Domini Ranking and Classes
The Manei Domini’s ranking system uses both the standard Word of Blake ranking system and their own, in addition to a separate classification system. Rank seniority went by seven characters from the Greek alphabet, with the first being the lowest rank, and signified how many and what types of cybernetic enhancements could be implanted. In addition to this rank were secondary designations, named after mythological creatures of an undead nature, which signified their basic function. While enough overlap existed for "cross-class" operatives, only rarely would a Domini change class by completely removing their implants and installing new ones to fit their new role.
Low-ranking Manei Domini retained their birth-names, though they were referred to by their formal title with Word of Blake military rank and last name. In some instances their military rank would be modified by their Manei Domini rank and, though rarely used by Domini, their full formal title also included their designation. Once an exceptional Manei Domini achieved the rank of Sigma, they were awarded a "true name" at an "ascension" ceremony. Also known as an "ascended" name, these took the place of their birth names and were modeled after the names of angels or demons (never gods) in ancient religions, related to their duties to the Master. These Domini were also known as the "Ascended" and with their new rank came a Division-level command or other important sub-command within the Shadow Divisions or ROM.
Example: A soldier's birth name is Sarah Marshal, her WoB rank is Adept and Manei Domini rank is Omega, and her occupation is a MechWarrior. If being addressed to, she could answer to as Adept Marshal, Adept Omega Marshal or as Phantom Adept Omega Marshal.
|Word of Blake Rank||Adept||Adept||Adept||Adept||Demi-Precentor||Precentor||Precentor|
|Manei Domini Rank
|Class Designator||Primary Function||Cybernetic Implants Required||Notes|
|Ghost||Reconnaissance||Ear or Eye Implant||Battlefield reconnaissance agents, Ghosts were trained in stealth, surveillance, wilderness survival and tracking, along with how to use (and abuse) communication and security systems, and when necessary how to perform interrogations. They were quite handy with melee weapons.|
|Wraith||Infiltrator||Cosmetic Implants (non-horror type)||Wraiths were battlefield infiltrators, using cosmetic enhancements to appear as outwardly normal as possible. Skilled in demolitions and cryptography, Wraiths also knew their way around communication and security systems, were able to disguise and hide themselves from the enemy and, if caught, trained in ways to fast-talk out of a situation.|
|Banshee||Defense||Full-Body Myomer Implants||These defense specialists were trained to use a wide variety of melee, small arms and support weapons, as well as any form of martial arts. Adept demolitionists and tacticians, Banshees also knew how to operate sensor and electronic countermeasure systems, along with survival techniques in hostile environments|
|Zombie||Assault||Enhanced Prosthetic||The shock troops of the Manei Domini, Zombie agents were skilled martial artists and tacticians, trained to use any weapon from melee to support-class. They could intimidate an opponent into surrendering or draw a weapon and kill them with it before their opponent had a chance to react.|
|Phantom||Vehicular Pilot||Vehicular DNI Implant||Phantoms piloted everything from battle armor to 'Mechs and fightercraft, were trained in how to operate and repair the various systems necessary for their function, and skilled in individual and small-scale tactics.|
|Specter||Command||Communication Implant||The organization's military commanders, Specters were one of the few Manei Domini who could be encountered outside of battle, often acting as advisers or representatives of the Master alongside "normal" field commanders and administrators. Besides training in leadership, tactics and strategy, Specters were cryptographers and knew their way around communication and computer systems. They were also proficient in navigating administrative and bureaucratic systems, and could perform negotiations and interrogations.|
|Poltergeist||Special Operative||Any Implants||These perceptive agents could appear anywhere on or off the battlefield, operating by themselves or in conjunction with ROM. Trained actors, Poltergeists were skilled in the arts of deception, seduction, negotiation, and interrogation. They could blend in among the lower and the upper classes, knew how to hide and survive in hostile environments, conduct surveillance, and crack security systems. Melee weapons were their weapon of choice.|
Manei Domini Equipment
The Manei Domini employed a vast variety of equipment, weaponry, cyberware and vehicles, all of which were used to terrifying effect, fear being a primary weapon of all Shadow Divisions and Manei Domini. With their initial conception of totally eradicating the Clans, the Manei Domini had no qualms about using weapons of mass destruction, whether they be nuclear, chemical or biological. In addition to their own unique gear, Manei Domini had access to any combat vehicle, battle armor, fighter or 'Mech produced by the Word of Blake or Free Worlds League, and if part of an occupation force were not above using captured enemy equipment against their foes.
Manei Domini Vehicles
The Manei Domini possessed a special array of 'Mechs, battle armor, combat vehicles and Aerospace fighters, with most of the designs being enhanced versions of standard vehicles used by armies before. However, some time after their formation the Manei Domini came into contact with the military engineer Doctor Devon Cortland, who was able to develop many new series of armor, fighters, OmniVehicles and OmniMechs. Cortland, also known as Precentor Vapula, designed this technology for exclusive Manei Domini use by implementing cybernetic interface systems in almost all Manei Domini equipment.
Celestial Series of OmniMechs
One of Doctor Cortland's first endeavors was taking over the failed Grand Crusader II OmniMech project which had floundered. In 3070, the Celestial series' premiere shocked many observers who expected to see only one 'Mech design but were greeted with six instead. These six designs were each named after angelic beings from various religions and were made to appear menacing to all who opposed them, thus adding merit to the designs' namesakes.
|Malak Light OmniMech||Preta Medium OmniMech||Grigori Heavy OmniMech|
|Deva Heavy OmniMech||Seraph Assault OmniMech||Archangel Assault OmniMech|
Demon Series of Battle Armor
Designed to accompany the Celestial Series OmniMechs in battle, the Demon series first appeared in 3070 in various hot-spots on the battlefields of the Jihad. Like the Celestial Series, these Battle Armor seldom appeared outside the ranks of the Manei Domini. Also in line with the Celestial Series, the Demon Series of Battle Armor were each named after various demons of ancient lore and were aesthetically designed as such.
|Djinn Light Battle Armor||Asura Medium Battle Armor||Se'irim Medium Battle Armor|
|Tengu Heavy Battle Armor||Nephilim Assault Battle Armor||Shedu (Quad) Assault Battle Armor|
Spectral Series of OmniFighters
The Spectral Series of OmniFighters began to appear on Gibson in late 3071. The three designs share similar design features which include a small cockpit and collapsible wing structures. The collapsible wings were designed to reduce the fighter's profile in space, thus allowing it to be mistaken for an escape pod or small shuttle. However this advantage was more accidental than intentional by Doctor Cortland: his goal was to improve the vector thrust characteristics of the fighters in space.
|Shade Light OmniFighter||Rusalka Medium OmniFighter||Striga Heavy OmniFighter|
Serpentus Series of OmniVehicles
The Serpentus Series was the name of the Word of Blake's ground Combat Vehicles series, which made its first appearance in the early 3070s. Only one of this series managed to reach production, which was named the Bolla. The names or types of vehicles which were slated to be part of the Serpentus are unknown.
Spectral LAM Series
The Spectral LAM series were a trio of new Land Air 'Mech designs, utilized by the Word of Blake's elite armed forces in very limited numbers. The series first emerged in 3075 and saw limited action a year later, deployed from both factories on Terra and Gibson. The Spectral LAMs utilize a combination of old Star League and Clan technologies to increase these new designs' potential. However, each of the designs disappeared due to a lack of parts after both factory sites were lost in the fighting.
|S-PW-1LAM Pwwka||S-YR-1LAM Yurei||S-WN-2LAM Waneta|
Omni Configuration Names
Like all Omni related vehicles/'Mechs/etc, they have a number of configurations. However, instead of using common configuration names such as "Primary" or "A Config", Latin terms are instead used. Other follow-on OmniVehicles and OmniFighters have used the same naming conventions.
|Conventional Omni Names||Prime||A||B||C||D||E||S||U|
|Manei Domini Names||Invictus||Dominus||Infernus||Comminus||Luminos||Eminus||Caelestis||Exanimus|
Manei Domini Cybernetics
This is a brief listing of the array of cybernetics that are offered to the members of Manei Domini. All Manei Domini agents receive enhancements, however their availability is dependent upon the job and rank of the individual. In addition all Manei Domini implants contain either an explosive, incendiary or chemical self-destruct which could be triggered by the operative themselves, remotely by another Manei Domini, or automatically go off if the agent is killed or incapacitated.
|Manei Domini Rank||Alpha||Beta||Omega||Tau||Delta||Sigma||Omicron|
|# of Implants (Min/Max)||2/3||3/4||3/4||3/5||4/7||4/8||6/10|
|Max. Implant Level||2||2||3||4||4||4||5|
Shadow Division Force Specific Abilities
BattleTech has special Force Specific rules that allows enhancement of game play when playing against a specific. The Shadow Divisions each have their own unique traits, abilities, and even penalties. In addition to these specific abilities, every Shadow Division also has several standard Force Specific abilities: Immunity from Forced Withdrawal Rules, they can negate Overrun Combat, and Forcing the Initiative abilities an opposing force may have.
|Force Specific Ability/Name||Who it Affects||What it does|
|Forced Withdrawal Immunity||Shadow Division||Immunity to effects of this ability in scenario|
|Overrun Combat Immunity||Opposing Player's Force||Opposing Player's Overrun Combat ability is negated|
|Forcing the Initiative Immunity||Opposing Player's Force||Opposing Player's Forcing the Initiative ability is negated.|
- The rules for implants listed above were originally created for the Third edition of the MechWarrior Role Playing ruleset.
- In a 2019 posting on the BattleTech Forum, author and former Line Developer Herbert A. Beas II explained the nature and outlook of the Manei Domini thus:
"But, ultimately, Apollyon and his fellow Domini have accepted that their existence is monstrous, and that their ultimate purpose is a form of evil the rest of humanity would condemn. Their lot is much like The Operative from Serenity, in that they know the better world they are expected to carve a path for has no place for them. Unlike the Clans, they don't glorify the slaughter they know they'll be asked to commit. One might actually pity them, were it not for the horrors they basically dedicate themselves to as the Jihad unfolds. This was what we wanted to show every time you saw them on scene, at least whenever they weren't wiping people out wholesale."
Manei Domini Zombie trooper, of the 43rd Shadow Division
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 119 - "Rules Annex" - Manei Domini - Creation rules mentions Domini existed during the 3060s as small special operation teams.
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 81 – "Apollyon profile" – Title of Precentor Manei Domini and him answering only to the Master are listed
- A Guide To Covert Ops p. 105
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 104 - "Armies of Blood and Steel"
- Interstellar Players p. 15 - "The Sixth of June"
- A Guide To Covert Ops p. 105 - Manei Domini - the sketchy early history of organization from ops book.
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3076 p. 50 - Feuding Children - St. James transcription with Apollyon about Shadow Division attacks.
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 120
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 123
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 122
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072 pp. 121,123-124 - Rules Annex/Manei Domini Classes/Manei Domini Nomenclature: - Manei rank/class structured explained and chart provided.
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 121
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 100 - "Grand Crusader II Variants" - Variant sections the OmniMech project due in 3070.
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 134 - "Dr. Copeland takes over the failed Grand Crusader II OmniMech project and makes into new series of OmniMechs".
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 142 - "Djinn Battle Armor" - Early stories describe the beginnings of the Demon Series of Battle Armor.
- Technical Readout: 3075, p. 102 - "Striga Heavy OmniFighter profile" - Striga appeared in late 3071 with lighter sisters fighter appearing later.
- Technical Readout: 3075, p. 98 - "S-HA-O Shade" - Capacities - Collapsible Wings abilities.
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3076, pp. 112-113 - "Bolla Stealth Tank" - OmniVehicle series name given.
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 138, 155-160, "Spectral LAM series info".
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 142 - "Rules Annex/Force Specific Rules" - Shadow Division (General) Force Specific abilities and 45th Shadow Division.