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gunhed
30-08-2005, 10:52
I know that some Inquisitors use Death Cult Assassins in their retinues, but I was wondering what their actual legal status was in relation to the general population.

When a cult goes on the rampage, do the local Arbites and local law agencies sit back and let them get on with it or do they try and stop them? And equally, do the local populace just stay in when the Cult is out looking for fresh blood and accept it as part of living where they do or do they get vigilante groups together to protect their communities from these cults?

McMullet
30-08-2005, 11:02
I would imagine it depends on the cult and the people they're killing. If it's a very pious cult that often provides services to the Inquisition, and who pop out now and again to devote a few average Joe Public Imperial Citizens or criminals to the Emperor, I'm sure that'd be fine.

If they go around killing whoever they see, and never help out anyone who's likely to support them, I doubt they'd be tolerated by the local forces.

Brusilov
30-08-2005, 11:10
Death Cults would probably go on rampage in the Underhive or the slums of whatever world they're established upon (if you're living there you're not praying hard enough to the Emperor type of thought). As such, unless things get out of hand both the local authorities and the Arbites will stay out of it. This could have the added bonus of cleansing a whole sector of the hive/city of its scum.

This would only apply to cults sanctioned by the Ecclesiarchy. Many cults have too radical beliefs to be sanctioned by the Ministorum and as such do their things in secret. As they are considered heretical by the powers that be, any open activity would mean Arbites intervention, again unless that activity can do some good and does not go out of hand.

gunhed
30-08-2005, 11:14
Pious or not, to go around killing people they'd have to be sanctioned to some degree to get away with it otherwise they'd just be serial killers. Whatever the beliefs of the people, not many of them would happily be skinned alive at the altar of the Emperor. And if the cults are tolerated by the Arbites, when if ever would their killings become "illegal"?

For example, I still don't see how the Redemptionists can get away with half of what they get up to without some sort of backlash, and I'm not talking about gang warfare here, I'm talking about the average citizen who wants nothing more that to live his life without being sacrified by some lunatic.

CELS
30-08-2005, 11:20
It depends on the world, for the most part. The Lex Imperialis regulates a lot of things, but the Adeptus Arbites tend to care less about individual murder cases and acts of violence on a small scale. It's when it threatens the Imperium as a whole they get mad. Not as simple as that, but that's basically it.

So, in the case of death cults, if the local government accepts it and it doesn't screw with the tithes or the safety of the adeptus terra, then the cultist are free to slash, kill and maim anyone they want. Some worlds have very strict laws (Like Mordia, I think) and other worlds have not so strict laws (Necromunda underhives, and worlds in anarchy such as Fenris).

Enforcing local laws about killing or violence is usually up to the local law enforcers.

Brusilov
30-08-2005, 11:24
Indeed, CELS is quite right, as long as the Pax Imperialis is not disturbed, the Arbites would probably not intervene (unless they see things spiralling out of control). As such the local government would have the ability to sanction the actions of death cults.

And like I mentioned, these cults could probably not go hacking and slashing through the bourgeois neighbourhoods of the upper hive, and not even in the working class districts, but rather in the slums, where people live on the fringes of Imperial Law and have little protection.

gunhed
30-08-2005, 11:30
So, in the case of death cults, if the local government accepts it and it doesn't screw with the tithes or the safety of the adeptus terra, then the cultist are free to slash, kill and maim anyone they want.

That's a bit "pre-fall" Eldar isn't it? ;)

I can see cults running around the underhives without too much bother. After all, whilst they're killing each other, they aren't killing decent citizens, but I was wondering how the Police or equivilent would justify wiping out a cult that killed the "wrong person" whilst allowing it to have carté-blanché to wipe out normal citizens. Talk about the seeds of revolution.

Brusilov
30-08-2005, 11:35
We're not talking about normal citizens here. Underhivers have no status whatsoever in the hive, they're excluded from it. They're below even the lowliest menial factory worker. He has an identification, a registered place to live, he probably has a tattoo or code bar identifying him... Underhivers have no such privileges, they simply don't exist on the databanks of the hive, they've dropped out of the system.
So there really isn't much trouble killing people that don't even exist. This is also how Spyrers get away with it on Necromunda, they're not killing productive people that are part of the hive's economy.

Mother_Mercy
30-08-2005, 11:53
...but I was wondering how the Police or equivilent would justify wiping out a cult that killed the "wrong person" whilst allowing it to have carté-blanché to wipe out normal citizens. Talk about the seeds of revolution.
The Imperium tends to promote theocracy over the dispassionate rule of law. Therefore, everything can be justified with "The Emperor says so" or something similar. So, killing a noble who has been placed by providence in a position to rule over the masses is obviously contrary to the will of the Emperor, and therefore not only a crime but a sin as well.

Minister
30-08-2005, 11:58
The Ecclesiarchy tends to promote Faith over Law. The Arbites prefer Law over religious mandate, common sense, justice, peace...

In any case, I would very much doubt that most Death Cults are exactly well known to the populace at large, or to the authorities for that matter.

Wiseman
30-08-2005, 13:51
id say the legal death cults would be those associated with the church, they would then be allowed free reign within reason

Vanisher
30-08-2005, 15:36
IMHO the survival of the death cult largly depends upon its supportes and members.Thw Redemptionist Fanatic article says that the crusade have untold number of symphatics amog the citizens of the hive city,and even amog the nobility of the spire,and lats not forget about the preacher of the eclesiarchy that ofently fill the gap beatwiem the offcial Impeiral Dogmats and more radical beleifs of the Redemption.The mebers of the death cult are ofently people of great influence.Some will support it only because it happends to further their own gains,but many actualy believe in its teachings.

gunhed
30-08-2005, 17:56
So to gain sanction then, a cult would have to act "on behalf" of the church and sacrifice those deemed to be sinners? I would still doubt the reasons for many to join up though :skull: .

It would appear to be a choice of being an ordinary homicidal maniac and be hunted down like a dog or join a cult and indulge yourself. Perhaps they have some sort of background checks and screening processes to weed out the psycopathic killers who just want to kill people for fun ;) Can't have the wrong sort of killer joining up can we. It would take the special magic away.

I can imagine the scene in the Head Arbites Office:

"I'm sorry people, that serial killer that's terrorising downtown; we've had word from the top to back away from this one. It appears to be a Death Cult at work here and not an plain old killer."

Vindikhein
30-08-2005, 23:54
A couple of opinions, hopefully informed ones, to share here.

Firstly, i would imagine the nature of death cults to be rather clandestine. I can't see them being openly organised with an annual massacre in the same way other groups might have a festival or parade. A spate of killings might be investigated by local law enforcement with no results, or covered up, or have the witnesses/information brutally supressed, depending upon local government.

Secondly, with regards to the Arbites. I've always thought they were very much like the FBI (please forgive this metaphor if it falls flat on it's face, i'm English, and my lack of intimate knowledge with the US law enforcement system may show). Local law enforcement, not the Arbites, deals with most day to day crime, including murders, etc. Local laws on different planets vary and so does the local policing. The Lex Imperialis could be seen as Federal rather than state laws with the Arbites upholding that. they wouldn't get involved with anything that didn't constitute a threat to the security of the Imperium.

Anyway, hope my metaphor worked.

Thanks.

Brusilov
01-09-2005, 14:13
Vindikhein has a point here, on the clandestine nature of Death Cults in particular. Although those people have their use and may be officially sanctioned by the Church, to be used as murderers for enemies of the Church (but is it a spiritual matter or a political one?), you cannot allow them to cause major rampage through the cities. On top of that the cults mentioned seem more specialised in stealth than in mass murders.

The political decision of what to do with those people probably lies with the local Ministorum officials. Do they want to keep these people around with the risk of potential backlash? Or do they banish them, either losing valuable assets or turning the cultists against them?

IMHO, such cults do not spring up on every other world, they would be most often found on hive worlds where the cultists can indulge in their "hobby" away from the eye of the law.

Wiseman
01-09-2005, 23:42
On top of that the cults mentioned seem more specialised in stealth than in mass murders.

Yeh i see death cultists as assassins more then mass murderers, but thats just my view on them.


A spate of killings might be investigated by local law enforcement with no results, or covered up, or have the witnesses/information brutally supressed, depending upon local government.

I agree here, the government would cover it up most of the time, as they never know when they would have to call upon the services of the cultists

Mother_Mercy
02-09-2005, 14:53
On top of that the cults mentioned seem more specialised in stealth than in mass murders.

The death cultists from the Daemon Hunter and Witch Hunter codices better fit the image of a sort of homicidal Zen-Buddhists, kicking ass in the name of mental and physical perfection. The well-trained, sleek assassins from the codices must be the products harsh dicipline, and not just some frothing rabble with an appetite for destruction and mayhem.

That said, there are probably a whole range of different cults, some which might not be more than bands of violent and undiciplined madmen. These particular cults might not find themselves employed by the =I= all that often. Of course, it is also mentioned that a whole lot of the death cults within the Imperium are actually dedicated to Khorne, so I'd say that the legal status of the cults would vary greatly depending on local culture/law, the local Ministorium/Arbites view of them, and lastly of course the cult's own teachings.

Brusilov
02-09-2005, 16:03
Indeed, you could refer to the article from Gav Thorpe on cults in the Imperium. However Death Cults seem like a relatively specific organisation, since they produce more or less the same kind of people across the whole galaxy, more akin to assassins than to mass murderers.

I'll reproduce the aforementioned article below


EMPEROR’S BLADES
One of the oldest Death Cults in the Imperium, the Emperor’s Blades, are only found on the world of Acanon, not far from the Terran system. The legends of the cult claim that it was founded when the Emperor still walked as a man. He fought a great batle against the forces of Chaos on Acanon, and millions died in the conflict. It is supposedly after this battle that the Emperor said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of humanity’s future,” more commonly misquoted as the “seed of the Imperium.” The Emperor’s Blades are the archetypal death cult, revering the use of the blade. They are a hereditary cult, in that no one can be inducted, only those born to cult members can join in their worship,. The cultists themselves use only a sign language to communicate, havng neither speech, nor written word. Their ceremonies of devotion are thus eerily silent, the stillness broken only by the scrape of blade on whetstone and the drip of blod into the offering cups. The assassins of Inquisitor Eisenhorn, Severina and Sevora Devout, were raised by the Emperor’s Blades and exemplify the sect’s values.
HAEMOVORES
To become spiritually strong, one must be physically strong. To be physically strong, one must be at the top of the food chain: the ultimate predator. The Haemovores seek to improve themselves, to gain their rightful positions of power, by consuming those they perceive as powerful. They are cannibals, glorifying in their internecine gluttony, preaching that their unwholesomeacts condense humanity’s magnificence into a few individuals. Many Haemovores have sharpened teeth or metal jaws, most carry marow-spoons and brain forks, whilst the highest-ranking may even have limb-grinders and flesh-strippers fitted directly to their digestive system. Occasionally, a Haemovor may be fitted with additional tanks of bile and stomach acid so that he may consume all the faster (pre-digestion by others is not allowed).
THE FACELESS
Be unremarkable, be average. Don’t stand out in a crowd. The Faceless originally sprang from paranoid fears that swept through the galaxy during the Age of Apostasy and Vandire’s Fraeteris Templars purging whole worlds for perceived heresies. Their philosophy of normalcy perverted over time to the point that they now aspire to become everyone and no one. Ritual brainwashing combines with surgical techniques to remove any evidence of individuality or personality. Physical characteristics are interchangeable, and it is not uncommon for members of the Faceless to have their own skins, eyes and other features removed, to be constantly replaced by those of their victims. Thus the cultist’s face often appears stitched on, stretched or floppy.
GOURDIANS
The Emperor sat at the table and at His right hand the plate with the bread upon it and at the left hand was the gourd brimming with His wine. Upon the eve of battle against the serpent Horus, thus did He sit in quiet contemplation of his fate to come. The Gourdians believe that they own the vessel from which the Emperor drank the night before he faced the traitor Horus and ascended to godhood, his last drink as a mortal. Not content with this, the Gourdians now seek out other relics, first of the Emperor, then of his Primarchs, then Saints, searching further and further abroad for any and all holy artefacts they can find. Their home world is Terra, but their reach stretches far across the Imperium. A network of traders who believe in the Gourdian faith scour the the worlds of the Imperium for anything to add to the immense collection in the Gourdian chapel. The chapel now houses over half a million relics, many of dubious provenance, yet still the Gourdian quest goes on.
THE CREEPING SHADOW
Fear is the key. Terror brings understanding. The Creeping Shadow believe that Mankind should be scared, terrified of what waits for it in the galaxy and beyond. They decry the ignorance perpetuated by the Inquisition and other Imperial authorities, seeing a lack of knowledge as a weakness, forewarned is forearmed, after all. The Creeping Shadow works by spreading discord and panic, believing that any kind of terror is beneficial, that Mankind should be paranoid, afraid and phobic. Sabotage, mass poisonings, terrorism, kidnappuing, nailing dead cas to the front of shrines, mass hysteria and warmongering are all the tools of the Creeping Shadow. The darkness holds the horror, and there are great gulfs of darkness between the stars.
RESURRECTIONISTS
The Emperor shall come again. Once more His mortal shell shall be invigorated by His Divine Will. His great spirti can be brought back from heaven and he shall throw away the shackles of the Golden Throne and step forth once more to finish the Great Crusade to make the galaxy Humanisty’s forever. The Resurrectionists are one of the oldest and most heretical cults, springing from a common foundation in the Holy Inquisition itself. They believe that certain rites and rituals can return the Emperor’s soul to His body, imbuing it with true life again. Such an occurrence, should it ever happen, would be Mankind’s downfall, as a schism of believers oand disbelievers would tear the Imperium apart. The Resurrectionists have powerful allies in the Ecclesiarchy, the Adeptus Terra and even amongst the Inquisition itself.
REDEMPTIONISTS
To live is to sin, and to be a sinner is to be cleansed. Only the fiery wrath of the Emperor, as pronounced and executed by his mortal followers, can save Humanity from destroying itslef in a morass of carnal wantonnes and tolerant servitude to those who have been corrupted. The Redemptionists will bring fire and they will bring death and those who oppose them are sinners themselves for they shield the dark and unholy from the righteous works of the Redemptionists. Repent and join, or be cursed and die
THE DEVOURED
From the blackness of our souls comes the Great Devourer. It is here to purge our sins. Pure in its unending appertite the Great Devourer shall consume us all and we will be reborn into the future in glorious new obdies. Welcome the Great Devourer, feel your soul cleansed as its might shadow pass over us. The chosen of the Great Devourer walk amongst us unseen, worship them as you would worship the Great Devourer itself.
DISCIPLES OF MANDRAGORA
Stagnate and die, revolt and survive. Mandragora, the Ever-Shifting God, shall come from the heavens and nothing will remain the same. All will be changed, adapted and fashoined in his image, to overcome the tribulations of the future. The alignments of the mundane world must be prepared to allow his fraverse from the Realm of Many Faces, the foes of change must be removed to pave the way for the Great Upheaval. Wield his magicks with pride, glorify in the transformation of your physical shell, and bring down his servants so that you might be a host to an aspect of Mandragora.
THE HIDDEN HAND
Upon the pyres of the dead and dying, we shall light a fire to the heavens that the gods themselves might see us once more. Thus spake the found of the Hidden Hand, the Plague Lord. Mankind is a disease, spreading across the galaxy like a stain. The gods have turned from the filth of their presence. It must be cleansed so that the gods will pour their bounties upon Humanity once more, and pestilence and plague shall be the tools for a thief to catch a thief, a plague to kill a plague. Poison the wells, defile the air, pass contagion by touch to all those who pass by. When the corpse outnumber the living, light the fires of purification and pass their souls unto the netherworld to take your pleas and prayers to the gods.
MARTYRS OF THOR
The Martyrs of Thor were a small sect located on the world of San Sebastian in the earliest years of the 38th Millennium. All of them believe themselves to be descended from the mighty Saint Sebastian Thor himself, despite the fact that he was known to be chaste his entire life. The Martyrs of Thor were a suicide cult, who believed that only through the ultimate sacrifice could Humanity be accepted by the Emperor. They believed this so strongly that even unbelieving Imperial citizens would be borne up to Him in the great conflagration they would create. Unfortunately, the cult was a victim of its own success, its founders having killed themselves with a series of suicide bomb attacks only a few years after they had formed. With no one left to carry forward their teachings, the sect simply became another notation in the history books of San Sebastian

Sai-Lauren
02-09-2005, 16:25
We're not talking about normal citizens here. Underhivers have no status whatsoever in the hive, they're excluded from it. They're below even the lowliest menial factory worker. He has an identification, a registered place to live, he probably has a tattoo or code bar identifying him... Underhivers have no such privileges, they simply don't exist on the databanks of the hive, they've dropped out of the system.
So there really isn't much trouble killing people that don't even exist. This is also how Spyrers get away with it on Necromunda, they're not killing productive people that are part of the hive's economy.
Considering it's the underhive familes that are the industrial producers on Necromunda, and the Spire families are little more than mercantile aristocracy, I'd say they are productive members of society - the problem with the underhive is that it's essentially lawless - the local police stop at the wall, and apart from psyker/mutant sweeps and press gang parties for the navy and guard, below it you're looking at guilders (who'll protect themselves and possibly their trade contacts - if the contacts are lucky), watchmen (most likely corrupt and certainly tied to settlements) and the gangs of the houses themselves (who're probably more interested in avenging family honour and advancing their houses interests to increase their own standing than keeping the peace) to keep order. It's basically a mob war down there, although the last horse's head decayed millenia ago ;) .
Spyrer kill teams (along with outlaws, redemptionist cults, and other undesirables) would get away with it because people aren't going to go after them unless they're a threat to them or their goals - if they're attacking a rival so much the better, and it's fantastic if you can capitalise on them being attacked.

Vindikhein
02-09-2005, 16:37
Underhive families are not the industrial producers of Necromunda. The underhive is full of the drop-outs of society. It is the populace of the hive proper, which lies between the spire and the underhive, that are the industrial producers. It is a strictly regimented way of life which is why many people migrate to the 'bold frontier' of the underhive.

Anyway, back to death cults.

Thanks.

CrimsonTider
02-09-2005, 16:53
Like many times in our own past, if something is considered "Ordained by God" then it is okay to do it. Crusades, Inquisitions, Witch Hunts, etc... all were preached as a thing God wanted, while of course it was simply the desires of mortal men.

The 40K universe is rife with political/religious fervor, and anyone reading the Inquisitor series will know that anything will be looked upon as the "right thing to do" if it is proclaimed such by a personage with political/religous power.

So, the Red Redemption can cleanse an underhive with fire and blade, and its okay because they are a religous organization often associated with the Inquisition. However, if they ever go off the deep end completely and kill off someone important to the Inquisition, they could then find themselves being hunted by others and wiped out.

gunhed
02-09-2005, 17:25
So really then they only have "sanction" as long as they confine their killing/cannabalism/stepping on baby birds etc to real or possibly imagined enemies of the Church? That's a pretty subjective target group isn't it?

Heresy is in the eye of the beholder :D

I suppose Sebastian Thor should have been grateful that these cultists didn't see fit to have a stab at him during his ascension, as he was deemed to be a heretic wasn't he?

CrimsonTider
02-09-2005, 17:36
I would say that Sebastian Thor probably did have several cults targetting him... but he probably also had several who believed in him and thus protected him.

But you correct, hersy is in the eye of the beholder. You believe different from me, so you must be evil.

Minister
03-09-2005, 02:11
I'm struggling to recall whether Mina took down twenty or fourty of the death cult assassins sent against her...

In any case, I shall ensure that no such blood-crased tainted lunatics sully the Order of the Bloody Rose by being present in my army. :D

gunhed
03-09-2005, 10:10
I'm struggling to recall whether Mina took down twenty or fourty of the death cult assassins sent against her...

You're going to have to remind me...Mina? This sounds like a story worth telling.

*edit* damn no spellcheck :(

Minister
03-09-2005, 16:00
Saint Mina, patron of the Order of the Bloody Rose. WD 293.

"Mina was known as a dark and brooding sister, quick to anger and deadly in combat. The order of the Bloody Rose was not created until two and a half millennia after the founding of the first four orders, and by this time Mina was long dead. Her Order had existed as a small group of Sisters who provided a bodyguard for the Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas, and it was from this group that the new Order was formed.

Mina was martyred at the hands of a sanguinary cult, the agents of which are said to have ambushed her at prayer in a small shrine on Hydraphur. None of her sisters were present, but it is said that when they came upon her body the entire shrine was covered in the blood of her assailants, a score of which lay dead around her own blood-drained form.

The symbol of Saint Mina is a red rose, with prominent thorns, representing her nature. Behind the rose are crossed two knife blades dripping in blood, symbolic of the circumstances of her martyrdom.”