The Conclave

The Ordos Majoris - Hobby, Painting and Modelling => The Dark Millennium => Topic started by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 12:46:08 PM

Title: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 12:46:08 PM
Since in another topic i touched upon one of my character concepts that is in the pipeline at the moment, i thought now would be as good a time as any to ask how viable it would be. Zophar, being who he is, for me was meant to be a sort of 'Inquisitor who isn't an Inquisitor' in that he has vast resources, infamy, reputation and the ability to get others to do his bidding, and I like to find ways to turn ideas that are commonly used for Inquisitors to fit him (e.g. Severin, a equivalent to a chrono gladiator or arco-flagellant (albeit scaled down a bit). So, after my next character, which is going to be an ex-enforcer, and thus his equivalent of the enforcer/arbites type character, I wanted to make the equivalent of an Eversor Assassin.

So my question is; fluff wise, I realise all assassins are 'brainwashed' and mentally conditioned etc.. but would it ever be possible under any conditions that one may be able to be 'turned' as it were? The means need not be mundane (Sarthuul is a daemon of manipulation incarnate and as such his abilities to persuade and brainwash are nothing to be sniffed at). I wanted to also 'scale-down' the assassin so to speak, and wondered whether it may be possible to suggest that he's been given a lobotomy, like renegade ogryns are said to have in Forgeworld's 'Siege of Vracks' book. I wanted to be able to field the eversor as more than a one-man warband, and thus hoped that I might be able to say that he'd been knocked unconcious, restrained, captured and has had horrible surgical procedures formed on him, meaning that now he is entirely under Zophar's control, but he is no loner as skilled as he once was (his reactions and abilities were imaginably dulled by the procedure). I liked to think he could be used as a 'terror weapon' by Zophar.

So in general is such a story plausible from a fluff perspective? If not, is there any better way that I might be able to implement the idea? I wanted to base him on the concept of a 'turned Eversor assassin' and I wanted to use the eversor assassin model as my basis for the model of this character, so I wanted him to be fairly close to the original concept, but other than that, I'm happy to alter his backstory to bring it more in line with existing fluff.

All help appreciated.

EDIT: To be honest, after reviewing all that equipment, I don't want my assassin to have that much and that sophisticated gear. I wanted him to have a needle pistol and a razor-gauntlet coated in poision, not the fancy, bolt/needler and neuro-gauntlet. I also don't particularly want to give him all the fancy gadgets and drugs etc... Would it be possible that there could be a death cult which styles themself after the Eversor assassins? That way, they emulate them, but don't have access to the same level of technology? They could perhaps be used as a recruiting base for the Eversor temple? Alternatively, could an Eversor assassin perhaps be less fully equipped if sent on a lesser mission? Of if it's the case that it's considered a 'lesser mission' does that mean they wouldn't go so far as to dispatch an eversor assassin?
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: MarcoSkoll on May 03, 2010, 01:00:49 PM
My answer is that Chaos is a very strong force - it is pretty much a given that in any group, there are individuals who are susceptible to being turned. Apparently the Grey Knights are immune to it... but personally, I take that as EYHBTIAL - some have turned, but it is vehemently denied and covered up.
So, I would say it's feasible.

The question of course, is WHY Zophar has encountered an Eversor.

Eversor assassins are of course the obvious assassin, designed to make a mess, and make sure everyone knows what a horrible end can face them if they step out of line.
It doesn't necessarily seem like the type they'd dispatch to deal with Zophar himself (the Imperium hardly want to draw attention to Zophar's presence - the other three main temples all make some sense however), so who was it after?
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 01:05:01 PM
I was thinking that an Eversor is dispatched to deal with a rebellion - in that the Imperium have started to try and send out a message. 'You follow this heretic, and you rebel, and this is what will happen to you'. Also, if a rebellion starts, and they don't know why, I considered it feasible that they may send an Eversor into the hive to kill the rebels. A Vindicare would be little use in a hive rebellion - a mass of bodies with no clear individual leading it. Callidus suffers the same problem - no single leader; just mass chaos. Cullexus of course would be inappropriate. If the enforcers have failed to keep order, and the rebels are 'winning out' an Eversor assassin may be a good 'last resort' to show the rebels their actions will not be tolerated.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: DapperAnarchist on May 03, 2010, 01:25:41 PM
Perhaps it wasn't Zophar who turned the Eversor, but a corrupted handler - an Inquisitor, perhaps, or some member of the Officio. Having turned the Eversor to take orders, this traitor then sells him off to Zophar, in exchange for a future favour, one which may not have been called in yet.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 01:29:30 PM
I like that idea a lot. It would also explain his 'stripped down' equipment. After all, they aren't going to give away more than they strictly HAVE TO, and Zophar is in no position to complain, or even notice that he is being given less than he thinks. It also leaves an intersting plot hook for a future game or campaign. Or perhaps someone is conversely paying Zophar back for a favour he has already given? Perhaps it has something to do with the recent elections and the appointing of Lord Calleia? There is a lot of room for intrigue there!

Thanks to the both of you for the help.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Gestalt on May 03, 2010, 01:42:58 PM
Assassins are enhanced in many ways, psychic, physical, biololical and chemical. So it is unlikely. But who knows?
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: MarcoSkoll on May 03, 2010, 01:44:00 PM
An Eversor is still an assassin. It has a direct target - it just doesn't have any subtlety, and kills everything else that happens to be in the way as well. You don't just send an Eversor to kill rebels until they surrender.

I suppose it is possible for Zophar to be the target, but the Eversor is used to the aim of making sure everyone knows that this person died a horribly brutal and sudden death because they overstepped the line. Given that I envision Zophar as generally setting the seeds of a rebellion, rather than personally leading it, he probably has
relative namelessness amongst those that he incites to rebellion. As a result, he probably isn't notable enough a target to warrant an Eversor.

However, here's an idea. With a little luck, Zophar managed to subvert a recognisable figure who took up the leadership of a growing rebellion - now you've got a target for an Eversor. Still got to explain how Zophar came by and captured him (given that Eversors do NOT stop until they are dead, at which point they explode...), but I suppose some psychic chicanery could solve that problem. Eversors may be strong willed, but they are not psychically warded.

Also, if a rebellion starts, and they don't know why, I considered it feasible that they may send an Eversor into the hive to kill the rebels.
No, that's when you send in the PDF or Imperial Guard. As I say, an assassin has precise targets, they're not used for random butchery.

Be it Eversor, Vindicare, Callidus or Culexus, it would only really be there with the intent of "cut off the head and the body will die".

Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 02:19:28 PM
I think I'm going to go with DA's idea that the Eversor was 'traded' to Zophar by a corrupt official - it would explain his stripped down equipment, and lobotomy (the assassin was stripped down and 'modified to serve'). That way I could perhaps introduce a rule where because his lobotomy was a bit 'slapdash' being a secretive and rushed affair, he must make a check at the beginning of each turn or revert back to primal insticts, attacking friend or foe (basically the rules for daemonic possession, but with a different fluff explanation). I could even explain his lower stats (lower by Eversor temple standards, of course) by saying that he was a failed or failing member of the temple, and that's why he was the one chosen to be given over. That explanation for his inclusion also opens a whole new avenue of plot development for me, while nicely explaining his presence.

Thanks to everyone for their input.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Molotov on May 03, 2010, 03:34:38 PM
Honestly, I'm not a fan of an Eversor assassin being turned - but the Dark Heresy rulebook does make it clear that there are many satellite groups around the Officio Assassinorum - many of which the OA uses to induct the most skilled recruits for training. It's conceivably possible that some of these Death Cults would mimic the Eversor, using lesser versions of the equipment but trying enthusiastically to bring the enemies of the Emperor down. Those to me seem as though they could be much easier to turn, and much easier to justify. Plus, if you create your own temple with its own traditions on its own world, you're in control of the fluff, and don't have to worry about impeding the official GW line - whether or not you consider that EYHBTIAL.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 03:51:12 PM
While I appreciate your input, I feel DA's suggestion nicely skirts around the issue of the Assassin turning to chaos themself.

On a related note, seeing as i personally do not have a great deal of knowledge of the Ordo Sicarius, now is as good a time as any to ask; is it plausible to suppose that the particular assassin did something to get on an Ordo Sicarus Inquisitor's bad side, and that is why he is using him as a bargaining tool with Zophar? Perhaps Zophar has some knowledge of use to the Inquisitor? Perhaps Zophar started a large scale rebellion, and is now going to give the Inquisitor vital details about the 'leader' of the rebellion in exchange for the assassin (e.g. identity, weaknesses, location etc...)? Such a story would fit Sarthuul's manipulative nature nicely; he's playing the two sides off against one another.

All input appreciated.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Kaled on May 03, 2010, 04:37:18 PM
I have to say I agree with Molotov in not being keen on the idea of an Eversor being turned.  Once trained and engineered, Eversors are stored within cryo-crypts on secret ships scattered across the Imperium.  When a mission comes in the details are fed to the Eversor via neuro-links while he remains in cryo-suspension, and he's then launched at the target planet via drop-pod.  He's reanimated using remote links which also fine tuning his body for the task at hand.

All this means that in my mind you're stretching things a bit far.  Turning an Eversor would be difficult - even keeping him alive long enough to re-brainwash him would be almost impossible for someone without in-depth knowledge of his biology.  It would make more sense for his former handler to have been able to recondition the Eversor, but you'd still need a huge amount of complex equipment in order to both use the Eversor, and also to maintain the delicate balance of his metabolism.  The supplies for all this are going to be ultra-rare and would form a trail that made Zophar a lot easier to find.  Plus there's the fact that an Eversor doesn't really have a personality anymore - they're psychotically insane, drug crazed killing monsters, with a raging hatred for the enemy and suicidal determination to serve the Imperium.

The idea of the assassin being a member of an Assassin Cult that secretly fed promising candidates to the Eversor Temple is a much better one - it gives you everything you want, but gets around the big objections.  And given the secrecy surrounding the Officio, it still shows how good Zophar's connections are that he managed to find out about the cult and its connections to the Officio.

EDIT: There's an article on the Ordo Sicarius in Marco's repository; of Death.pdf ( of Death.pdf)
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 05:01:01 PM
I had no idea that the Eversors were so locked up and restricted (although it does make sense, given their purpose and methods). I shall therefore persue the idea of a death cult used as an unofficial recruiting grounds for the Eversor temple - i suppose that way I don't need him to be lobotomised and stripped down in order to reduce his power level and explain his presence in Zophar's group. I can explain it through the regular means of corruption to chaos and trickery on Sarthuul's part.

Thanks for the help.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Molotov on May 03, 2010, 05:56:34 PM
I bow before Kaled's skills of persuasion! ;)
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Magos Exarratus on May 03, 2010, 06:52:49 PM
Though theoretically you wouldn't have to turn an eversor to get it going against a target you intended, even an imperial target. You would just have to find some way to be in control of its orders (and possibly transport it to its destination). While admittedly it still wouldn't be particularly friendly and therefore probably not warband suitable, it would have the benefits of being turned without having to actually do the hard work of re-educating it. There's just the matter of somehow infiltrating the ship or wherever it is stored, a place that is probably run by the Officio Assassinorum. The point is though, it is possible. In my view.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Kaled on May 03, 2010, 07:18:59 PM
The point is though, it is possible. In my view.
I agree that it's theoretically possible, and your suggestion is the way I'd work it.  It'd be good for another character, I just don't think it works for Zophar/Sarthuul...
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 07:22:44 PM
I'd be inclined to agree with Kaled - it doesn't really fit with Zophar's levels of resources and general methods. The suggested alternative seems to 'tick all the boxes' I need, and be a much more easy (and suitable) idea to implement fluff wise.

Thanks to everyone for the input.

EDIT: although thinking about it, the suggestion Magos Exarratus makes might make for a really good story/fluff piece, where Zophar uses his influence to have a minion tamper with an Eversor's mechanisms. It would cause a lot of problems for the local authorities and be difficult to trace back to him (it certainly wouldn't give anything about him away). With the bonus that he gets a killing machine sent after a target of his choice. Could make for an interesting read/writing exercise.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Myriad on May 03, 2010, 07:27:00 PM
IMO, the fact that assassins more or less do what they're told makes them potentially easy to turn.

An eversor would be near impossible to capture and turn - their metabolism is after all highly unstable.  It seems that if you could get hold of one still in cryo-storage you could manipulate his orders quite extensively, though.  Probably the best way would be to intercept one in transit to be deployed - naturally you would need a tip off as to the exact location.

Keeping their metabolism from going haywire, however, would probably require specialist knowledge (or possibly demonic powers given the character, although the chaos gods aren't known for fixing stuff).  I suppose this gives you a relatively neat explanation for the reduced power level, in that the character lacks the supercharged metabolism normal for the assassin (and/ or is badly programmed).
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Molotov on May 03, 2010, 07:58:14 PM
The thing to consider is that an Eversor is designed to tear the throat out of any enemy organisation, killing everything that gets in its way. It's meant to terrify the foes of the Emperor into submission. A stark, potent symbol of what happens to those that cross the Imperium. It's designed to inflict as much collateral damage as possible, as messily as it can.

Assuming that Sarthuul could somehow gain control of an Eversor's orders so that it could be (innocently) turned against whoever is inconveniencing Sarthuul, Zophar probably couldn't be on the same board as it; it'd just tear apart anyone, friend of foe. It would be the "one-man-warband" that Brimstone was seeking to avoid.

At least a Death Cultist would (hopefully) be a little more discriminating in who it kills, especially once he's been indoctrinated into Sarthuul's service.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Robert_the_damned on May 03, 2010, 07:59:25 PM
Of course a guaranteed way to turn one would be to make it a daemon host, of course that would probably be a rather pointless (and difficult) endeavour as then you'd just have a daemon host and not an assassin.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 08:22:38 PM
I think molotov sums it up nicely. While an Eversor could be used to assassinate the 'wrong person' through having been given different instructions from those he was meant to receive, it would only be able to occur once, and would not work as a consistent warband member (however, as i say, it could make for an interesting fluff piece or even game setting - stop the assassin before he reaches his target!). I also must extend my congratulations to Molotov for using Zophar and Sarthuul's names correctly in each instance - even I often have trouble working out which to use in some situations!

This topic seems to really have captured the forum's interest. Thanks for everyone's responses - i've learned a lot about the OA and particularly Eversor assassins.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Heroka Vendile on May 03, 2010, 09:42:30 PM
you know, it isn't even necessary for the assassin to have been turned/manipulated/etc, it's fairly obvious that there are numerous of both neutral (i.e. don't care who the target is, only that they get paid) and chaos-aligned assassin organisations around, both within and out-with the Imperium. So it would be far simpler to simply have an assassin presented to Zophar/Sarthuul as a sign of their allegiance, instead of contrived manipulations (even if that is Sarthuuls speciality).
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Brother_Brimstone on May 03, 2010, 10:27:05 PM
While that is a fair point, I can't imagine it being in the best interest of a death cult styling themself after the Eversors to show allegiance to someone like Zophar. Especially not if they're a cult in which the Eversor temple show special interest. What if they're found out? The Eversor temple are not a group you would want to have personally angry at you. Even if they didn't retaliate themselves, you'd at the very least become a target for either the Hereticus or Sicarius. After all, a Death Cult which is rabidly loyal to the Imperium is a very tolerable thing, one which has been seen to allign itself to Chaos is a very dangerous thing. And having one of your members 'do the dirty work' for a heretic is a very good way to be caught. 'Hey, doesn't that guy on the vid feed killing everyone look exactly like a member of the sanctioned Death Cult X...' (the Eversor temple are not exactly un-distinctive and neither would a member of a cult who dress to look like the Eversor temple).

To be honest, I find that entire plot to be more contrived than simply 'There was a member of Death Cult X (i haven't thought of a name yet), he was seduced by Chaos, which Sarthuul introduced him to. He decided to escape his own Death Cult to join Zophar and perhaps pursue the benefits which Chaos can bring'. That, to me, seems fairly reasonable, credible and straightforward.

While I disagree, I still appreciate your input. I think I simply have a different vision of this character's fluff.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Heroka Vendile on May 03, 2010, 10:46:03 PM
My point was more that not all death cults and assassin organisations (both imperial and non-imperial) are linked to the Eversor Temple. And that there is potential for much more interesting origins - for example coming from an assassin temple on a chaos-held world.

Just because they share the same trait of a skull mask doesn't make them automatically have to be linked - after all it's not even like there's just the one design of mask used by the Eversor Temple and there will be plenty of other groups (both martial and non-martial) in such a highly gothic environment as 40K that will also use skull-masks.

But it is up to you in the end how you develop the character.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: Alyster Wick on May 08, 2010, 01:48:03 AM
Assassin turning is a quite interesting idea (though I suppose I'm coming in late in the game).  I rather like the idea of an Ordos Sicarius operative that deals in black market assassin gear and (very rarely) assassins themselves. 

With multiple identities they could pull off operations to get someone their very own assassin.  For example, during warp travel Operative X modifies the Eversor's orders to kill the ship's captain then puts themselves in temporary stasis.  The Eversor kills their way through the ship then returns to its slumber when the mission is accomplished.  Operative X awakens (along with a Navigator in his employ that he smuggled aboard), goes to the bridge with said Navigator (planting melta charges along the way), brings the ship out of warp travel far off from its original destination then leaves in a smaller vessel with his Navigator and newly liberated Eversor shortly before the melta charges go off.  The ship is chalked up to being lost in the warp (no communications were possible during the warp travel so no one could report what was going on and it's unlikely that anyone aware of the ship's disappearance will find it in the random region of space they left the warp in.

Elaborate, yes.  Plot holes?  Almost certainly a few (though nothing beyond fixing).  Overall it seems right up the ally of an Ordos Sicarius operative though.  Not that they could do this often (each time it would cost them an identity) or even more than once, but it would be possible for them to get their very own Eversor and rent it out to Inquisitors whose views would make them unlikely candidates to otherwise receive help from the formal temples.  The more I think about it, the more I really like the idea of an unscrupulous Sicarius dealing in ultra-rare black market merchandise from the Temples who trades with Inquisitors who have fallen out of grace with main stream Imperial Society. 

Another thought is that there was an Eversor with a faulty off-switch who refused to go back into it's cryo-sleep (or perhaps there was a long delay).  Their technician reported the Eversor eliminated but secretly had the thing operated to lobotomize it/install a more "reliable" method of controlling it (I've wanted to have a ferocious and uncontrollable warband member with an electrode in its head that did variable settings (1-4d6) of shock damage to the victim's head when activated by the master).  Their deadliness would be decreased by necessity but they'd still make for a dangerous opponent.

Anyway, that's enough of my off the wall ideas.
Title: Re: Could An Assassin Be Turned?
Post by: DapperAnarchist on May 08, 2010, 10:44:45 AM
Another option would an Ordo Sicarus or Officio agent who smuggles out trainees. An Eversor trainee, 9 months in, is already a fearsomely powerful killer, relentless and amoral, and quite quite mad - but still relatively controllable. And if there is any group easy to cover up the disappearance of, it would be Assassin Candidates - its one in several hundred who survive, isn't it?