Author Topic: Scythians?  (Read 6390 times)

Offline Molotov

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Scythians?
« on: October 10, 2009, 12:16:16 PM »
Does anyone have any information regarding the Scythian race? I can only think of two sources of information on them; the Inquisitor rulebook itself, and the old Index Astartes: Crimson Fists article.

Quote
Alexis Polux remained the Chapter Master [of the Crimson Fists] for eight centuries until he fell in battle in an unnamed system codified HR8518. The system was occupied by the previously unencountered xenos now known as the Scythians. The vile aliens made use of repulsive venom based weaponry, and a dart from one such poisoned weapon pierced the temple of Alexis Polux and brought him low. Polux fought the toxin for many days before he finally went to stand at the side of the Emperor, but before he passed he instructed his warriors well. After Polux's death the Crimson Fists enacted his plan and the Scythians were driven from the system in a short but very brutal xenocidal campaign. The Scythians suffered such a defeat that they now rarely engage Imperial forces openly and rely on assassinations and covert strikes instead.

Quote
The Scythians are a race of warrior-monks, dedicated to a peculiar form of armed
martial arts. The dagger-like venom talon is one of the more basic weapons they use,
able to incapacitate a foe with the slightest scratch.

I'm interested in making a Scythian character for Inquisitor, and I'm keen to know if there is any more information floating around, or if people can make any supposition regarding the Scythian race.

Thanks in advance!
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Offline Ynek

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2009, 03:22:31 PM »
Other than the quoted references, I don't think that there's much else going around. However, the oft-poorly informed Lexicanum has this to add: "Some were able to survive the genocide, and the race lives on as mercenaries, often offering services as assassins. Like the Tarellians, they are always keen to exact revenge against the hated Imperium."

Other than that, I can only offer supposition.

Personally, I think that the name "Scythian" was probably an Imperial designation, rather than the aliens actually calling themselves by this name. Therefore, I reckon that scythes must be involved at some point or another to justify this title.

Maybe the venom talon has a singular, large, scythe-like blade, similar in principle to a Tyranid Scything talon? That would go some way to explaining the "Scythian" title... Or, perhaps one of their larger weapons is more recognisable as a scythe?
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Offline Inquisitor Sargoth

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2009, 07:41:08 PM »
Or, of course, they're named after the place they were first encountered like the 'nids themselves. Scythia sounds a reasonable name for a planet.

Pretty much all we know is they have fairly analogous hands, as humans can use their 'venom talons' easily enough. How many of said hands they have, and even how many digits, is an open question. So you have quite a lot of leeway...
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Offline Discy

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2009, 10:25:44 PM »
Well, as Scythian warrior-priests, I would see them as robed, hooded shadows. They could be any size, I suppose. As for their faces, howz 'bout a mask. Can't go wrong there ;D.
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Offline Ynek

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2009, 03:16:25 AM »
As the Scythians tend to prefer cloak-and-dagger, behind-the-scenes style attacks, I would say that Discy's vision of a 'robed, hooded shadow' seems very appropriate.

Clandestine, sneaky and lethal. That's the way I imagined them.

A single dart from one of their needle weapons was all it took to kill a space marine chapter master. There are entire ork armies who couldn't manage that... So their knowledge of poisons is not to be overlooked. Maybe a heavy negative modifier to one's resistance roll would be appropriate?
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Offline Molotov

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2009, 09:52:51 AM »
Guys, thanks for the input so far - it's definitely provoked some nteresting thoughts.

Ynek: I hadn't seen the Lexicanium quote before; It seems like fan-written supposition, though it's pretty reasonable (for the most part).

As for the name, I hadn't given much thought to the idea that "Scythian" was an Imperial designaton. It makes sense, but then 40k is that bizarro-science-fantasy-world where sometimes we have to suspend our disbelief! Then again, I suppose even the Eldar don't call themselves the Eldar, do they?

 
Sargoth: An interesting idea as to why they're called Scythians. You also raise an interesting point (and the sort of careful insight I'm looking for) about their hands.

Discy: Yes, they're Warrior-Monks. In fact, the book characterises them as a "race" of warrior-monks, which raises interesting questions. Can you be a monk without a religion? If not, then it seems that a religion of sort occupies a central position within Scythian society.

As far as their look, I did consider the robes and hoods - though then again, that's a look occupied squarely by the Imperum! I'm planning on using this model from Eolith Miniatures (converted to have suitably Scythian weaponry):



Having the head bare will really emphasise the alien-ness of the model, which I think is key - on the 40k battlefield, he might be "just another alien", but on the Inquisitor battlefield an alien needs to be alien.

 
Ynek (again): Thanks for the input. I also picked up on the fact that a single Scythian dart was able to kill a Space Marine Chapter Master. It took "many days" to kill him, which I suppose we could put down to the rigorous immune systems of the Astrtes delaying the poison. The article talks about "darts" - whilst I'm not really a fan of a Scythian with a blowpipe, I wonder if they might be able to use some sort of projectile weapon - a Needler or a Flechette weapon?


Given that the Crimson Fists article talks about "covert strikes", it makes me think that there might be a Scythian military of some kind, which leads me to consider that there might still be vestiges of Scythian society.

I suppose the other thing to consider is the Scythians'  "peculiar form of armed martial arts" - what might that entail?

I also noticed that the Inquisitor rulebook mentions that the Venom Talon is a "basic" weapon, which suggests more esoteric weaponry might exist!

(Edited to actually include the picture I wanted to use)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 12:26:14 PM by Molotov »
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Simeon Blackstar

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2009, 10:04:56 AM »
To be honest, I'm getting the vibe that these are Shaolin Monks In Space with added poison theme and a little bit of ninja thrown into the mix.  I'm trying to think what constitutes a 'peculiar form of martial arts' when contrasted to the many varied fighting styles of the rest of the galaxy.

Offline DapperAnarchist

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2009, 10:47:03 AM »
If you don't want blowpipes, but want a "martial art" style - what about a thrown dart? Obviously, not like the sport with the most heart attacks (not necessarily true, but seriously, those guys are not fit men), but little needles that they flick at people, ninja or Bullseye style.

Actually, that makes me think of The Doctor's dinner date with the Slitheen woman "Did you know, that when she is at risk of her life, a Slitheen female can generate a poison dart?" *flings dart, Doctor catches it" "Yup. What do you think of this red?"
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 12:04:19 PM »
As for the name, I hadn't given much thought to the idea that "Scythian" was an Imperial designaton. It makes sense, but then 40k is that bizarro-science-fantasy-world where sometimes we have to suspend our disbelief! Then again, I suppose even the Eldar don't call themselves the Eldar, do they?
I've seen suggestions that the Eldar collectively may refer to themselves as the Eldannar, but in other places that term has a very specific meaning (which is, for the Eldar, fairly appropriate really). However, for the Eldar (and the Orks, and the Tau), designations used by the Imperium tend to be as often translations of the native terms as they do strictly Imperial-invented terms (the term Falcon comes from its Eldar name, Faolchú, which is in turn a reference to a creature in Eldar legend that delivered the sword Anaris to the hero Eldanesh after Vaul was crippled by Khaine, and consequently represents "deliverance in preparation for retribution"; on the other hand, the XV-? designations given to Tau Battlesuits literally mean 'Xenos Vehicle', and are presumably one small part of a much larger Administratum identification code, a notion further demonstrated by the fact that the Tau use a base-8 numerical system yet their Crisis Suits are referred to as XV-8s, when the number after 7 in a Base-8 system is 10)

The point to all this... there's plenty of room between terms as self-designation, and terms as Imperial classification, mainly found in the area of the Imperium translating native terms, sometimes poorly.
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Offline Adlan

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2009, 05:21:42 PM »
The Tribe of Scythians were Famously Tattooed, Drunk, and on Drugs. It might be cool to have some of that for the Alien Scythians.

 They were a Horse archers and that would also be pretty cool. Zen Archery might count as a strange martial art. A Compound bow would be a tricky, but very cool conversion.

Offline Dust King

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2009, 08:25:57 PM »
Just a thought, in order to manage covert operations and assassinations in imperial society the Scythians must be able to pass for something vaguely human sized and shaped. The robes previously mentioned would also help the Scythians blend in to a crowed or city.

Offline sergeis64

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Re: Scythians?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2009, 01:44:11 AM »
Historically Scythians were a conglomeration of protoiranian tribes living in a swath of land from Black to Caspian seas from about 700 BC to roughly 100 BC. They were exceptional horse archers with powerful noble armored cavalry. Culture was noted for high degree of metalwork- especially gold. Many of the kurgans ( burial mounds) in Southern Russia produced multiple jewelry pieces and coverings for bow cases and sword sheaths made of gold and highly decorated- pectorals, hair combs, goritos ( sheaths). If there is interest I will post some pics from Osprey Men-at-arms series. It MIGHT be interesting to do the Inq Scythians loosely based on historical ones...