Author Topic: Officio Assassinorum: Common Knowledge?  (Read 2898 times)

Offline greenstuff_gav

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Officio Assassinorum: Common Knowledge?
« on: September 11, 2009, 08:04:36 PM »
so, as i'm idly sculpting an Exitus Rifle onto the side of a tank, i'm wondering; how well known is general information on the various temples?

It's often said that the mention of an Eversor can halt a rebellion in it's tracks, plus the not-very-stealthy actions of the Vindicare in that WHMonthly comic strip hint information isn't advertised but not highly classified, while the story about the Callidus taking on the form of a concubine it's suggested the Imperial Noble had never heard of or seen a Callidus' outfit before.

just wondering :)
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Officio Assassinorum: Common Knowledge?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009, 08:23:45 PM »
so, as i'm idly sculpting an Exitus Rifle onto the side of a tank, i'm wondering; how well known is general information on the various temples?

It's often said that the mention of an Eversor can halt a rebellion in it's tracks, plus the not-very-stealthy actions of the Vindicare in that WHMonthly comic strip hint information isn't advertised but not highly classified, while the story about the Callidus taking on the form of a concubine it's suggested the Imperial Noble had never heard of or seen a Callidus' outfit before.

just wondering :)
This is a subject akin to knowledge of the Skaven in Warhammer - and the answer is much the same, IMO: people know of something along those lines, but they don't know details.

The Officio Assassins (not necessarily known by that name, it should be remembered) are legendary in the way that Space Marines and the Inquisition are, where a rumour and supposition go along with half-heard 'true stories' in defining what people 'know'.

They are the Emperor's Wrath, retribution-given-form, unspeakably destructive. Skull-faced abominations whose every touch is death and whose blood is an annihilating fire. Invisible, omniscient killers who strike from afar without ever being seen. Vile killers whose very presence makes the soul scream. Deaths without cause or reason, accidents that should have been impossible, people simply vanishing.

Eversors would be, IMO, the best known because they're so iconic and distinctive in their methods and appearance, and because they exist to terrify and leave a very obvious, very clear message.

Assassins of Templum Vindicare would be next best known, because their methods do allow them to coexist with other Imperial Forces within a warzone (An Eversor should be kilometres away from any Imperial forces, for their own safety, a Callidus is better suited to infiltration away from the front lines, and a Culexus is utterly demoralising to be near, without considering the less-well-known Venenum and Vanus Assassins) even if they never directly interact.

The rest - ghosts and rumours and whispers and legends, none of them accurate and none of them containing more than the tiniest speck of truth. With the Callidus in particular, their success relies upon people not knowing about them - their targets cannot suspect someone of being a shape-changed assassin, because that risks compromising the entire mission, which may be years of planning and months or years of field work.
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Offline Nash

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Re: Officio Assassinorum: Common Knowledge?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 03:29:56 PM »
In fact, how widely known an event or organisation is can vary deeply from source to source in the fluff. For example, some sources (Codices) suggest that, to the average Imperial citizen, the Horus Heresy is at best a myth if he's heard of it at all, and knowledge of Chaos should be restricted to a handful few... Yet, in most BL novels people know about it in "surprising" details. The same is true, as you've pointed yourself, about the knowledge of the assassins Temples. The fluff is unfortunately not very consistant on these issues...

However, with a little "logic" it's quite easy to make the different knowledge about the different Temples make sense.

The Eversor Temple isn't a very subtle one, being based on shock and awe tactics, and they may "advertise" themselves to the general population (maybe even in the pict-feeds depicted in a few sources) as "monstruous killers able to take a whole army by themselves in the name of the Emperor", hence explaining why mention of their name could maybe halt a rebellion...

The Callidus Assassins being infiltrators by nature would be very secretive and the knowledge of their existence not widely known even to the well-informed... Moreover, in most cases, even after the Callidus revealed herself to her prey(s) she would probably use a false identity to extract herself and to most it would appear as if it was a relative/friend/relation of the victim who did it, giving no hint as to the Callidus Temple's existence.

As far as Vindicare are concerned, well, all along that story in WHM the forces that hunt the Vindicare never refer to him as something else as "the assassin"... The Planetary Governor of a technologically advanced planet, who thinks himself smart enough to successfully seccede from the Imperium, may have a clue that among the Imperial organisation there's probably a "guild of assassins" of some sort and particularly of the "sniper" sort, but his "knowledge" very likely ended there.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 10:13:02 PM by Nash »

Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Officio Assassinorum: Common Knowledge?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2009, 10:19:15 PM »
For example, some sources (Codices) suggest that, to the average Imperial citizen, the Horus Heresy is at best a myth if he's heard of it at all, and knowledge of Chaos should be restricted to a handful few... Yet, in most BL novels people know about it in "surprising" details.
Few characters in the novels are the uninformed masses of mankind, however. It's reasonable to assume that those with power and those in positions of authority or danger might know more than the hordes of agri-labourers and manufactory workers that vastly outnumber even the massed ranks of the Imperial Guard.

Personally, I like the idea of the Heresy (in a heavily distorted form) as a explanatory tale, a core part of the mythology of the Imperium that demonstrates the Emperor's Sacrifice - the notion that "this is what He did for us; give yourselves unto the Imperium as He did". The details change (it would be self-defeating to reveal that the leaders of this rebellion against Mankind were nine of the Primarchs; the idea that the Astartes and the Primarchs could be tainted by Chaos should be ruthlessly suppressed), and even those who consider themselves well-informed about the distant past of the Imperium know only a distorted tale (every difference between the Horus Heresy novels and prior examples of that history can be seen in this light - it's a historical event that happened millennia ago, much of which has become legend rather than historical fact).

Precise levels of information will vary based on the individual planetary/sector cultures that lay scattered throughout the Imperium, of course, but it strikes me that the Heresy should be fairly commonly known of, even if what they know is a morality tale presented to them by their local preacher, old stories spoken of by the legless (in more ways than one) Guard Veteran in front of the tavern's heater, or a play by a sanctioned group of travelling performers.
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Offline Lucidum

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Re: Officio Assassinorum: Common Knowledge?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 11:28:32 PM »
Like someone above said, it's similiar to the skaven from fantasy. The educated of the imperium know about the assassinorum, as do military leaders and inquisitors. For the average imperial citizen, the masses of which are largely ignorant of all but what occurs on their worlds, the assassins of the god-emperor are probably akin to ghost stories, a sort of "you better not say that, or the eversor will get you!" kind of thing.

Offline DapperAnarchist

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Re: Officio Assassinorum: Common Knowledge?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 11:55:31 PM »
I'd imagine that the Peers and Commanders (that is, the powerful and the dangerous) would actually know quite a bit - in a similar way to the details of assorted dirty tricks units around the world are (apparently) much more common knowledge among the political class than everyone else - Northern Ireland is like that. Its needed, almost, because of the need to control the political or, in the Imperium's case, Noble, classes.
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