Sin Eater powder
The Officio Assasinorum is one of the few Imperial institutions that is more secretive and feared than the Inquisition. True Imperial Assassins of the handful of Assassinorum Temples (as opposed to the many “unofficial” Imperial death cults) are amongst the deadliest killers in the galaxy, capable of slaying almost any target, given sufficient time to plan their approach.
The Officio utilises a wide variety of exotic tools in order to carry out their sacred duties. Most of these are weapons: however they also employ more mundane equipment such as rope harnesses, lockpicks and night vision goggles. On occasion, an assassin is forced by circumstances beyond their control to utilise a very specialist piece of Officio equipment: sin eater powder.
The powder is a genetically engineered variant on the horrific life-eater virus deployed in Imperial Exterminatus bio weapons. The original life-eater weapon is an awesomely vituperative agent capable of consuming entire planetary populations in minutes, and rendering their living flesh into explosive chemicals capable of burning whole worlds in hellish firestorms.
Its counterpart – the sin eater virus – is a more benign (though still potent) agent which dissolves only dead flesh, though it does so with a rapidity that astounds those unused to its effects. Usually deployed in a matt-black container which resembles nothing so much as a saltshaker, the sin-eater virus is used to dispose of inconvenient dead bodies left behind by Imperial Assassins in the course of their duties. A single shaker-full can dispose of over a dozen bodies in less than a minute apiece. The virus rapidly converts all dead flesh into an odourless steam that rapidly dissipates, leaving no trace of any human body. Any corpse (indeed, even its trace DNA) will vanish completely, leaving behind only its clothes, augmetics and equipment. Variants are commonly used to dispose of Ork corpses and other dangerous Xeno species.
The powder is so rare as to be unheard of on the open market, though well connected Inquisitors may use their Ordo Sicarious colleague’s sources for the benefit of their acolytes.
Lesser versions of the powder are common in the underworld, as someone always needs a way to rapidly dispose of a body. “False” sin eater powder – usually taking the form of powerful acids – is relatively easy to acquire from any large hive world if one knows where to ask. Its effects on a human corpse are spectacularly messy: they render a corpse down into trace fats and tissues, which can then be flushed away down any normal sanitary system. This process is usually traumatic for the “cleaner” forced to do the duty, takes about half an hour per corpse, and leaves much trace evidence. Clothes, augmetics and equipment worn on the corpse will be ruined, but not disposed of.
Item: True Sin Eater Powder
Cost: 5,000 per shaker
Availability: Ordos and Imperial servants only (GM issue only)
Special rules: completely dissolves human corpses in under a minute apiece, leaving only augmetics, clothes and equipment. Traceless.
Item: False Sin Eater Powder
Cost: 50 per corpse
Wt: 2 kgs per corpse
Special rules: using false sin eater powder is a horrifically unscientific process that tends to unhinge those unused to its effects. The first time anyone witnesses the dissolving of a corpse at close range with powerful acids, they must take a fear test. A failure gives the witness 1 insanity point. Furthermore, the process is messy and will cause the surrounding area to stink for at least 5 hours afterwards, even if carefully washed.
“Making a low buzz like an angry insect, a cyber-drone flew in through the hatchway. It was travelling at head height, and as soon as it was in the bay, it decelerated and began to hover gently along, as if sniffing the air.
The drone was small. It had been built into the polished skull of some deer or grazer. The red glow of motion tracker-systems shone from its eye sockets. Under the base of the occipital bone, the drone’s tiny lift motors whirred and pulsed.”
-Ravenor by Dan Abnett
Tracker drones are a miniature and inferior version of a cyber-skull, designed principally to assist hunters and beast-drovers in the pursuit of wild animals. Driven by an extremely rudimentary machine-spirit, what the tracker lacks in the mechanical purity and faithful soul of a true servo skull, it makes up for in persistence and simplicity.
A Tracker Drone’s sole purpose is to silently explore a particular area in order to acquire a target for its master. As soon as it locates any target which matches preset parameters (typically a human or animal heatsource) it signals its controller (usually via a chime in a paired earpiece) and then follows the target until its master shoots it.
Although initially designed for big game hunters, these devices are also popular with killers and bounty hunters. Tracker Drones are always unarmed, and are usually formed from the skulls of small to medium sized animals.
Tracker Drone Profile
WS: - BS: - S: 05 T: 15 Ag: 40 Int: 10 Per: 35 WP: 15 Fel: -
Skills: Awareness +20, Tracking +10, Dodge +10, Silent Move +10
Traits: Dark sight, Flier 6, Machine (1) Programmed instinct, Size (puny)
Cost: 750 thrones, availability Scarce
Special rules: The Tracker Drone has a single programme: Locate. The Drone will methodically search a given area until it locates a human sized heatsource. As soon as it locates one, it will notify its master via a silent signal, and then follow the target until it stops emitting heat. It will then continue searching.
The Ordo Hereticus’ primary duty is arguably the capture and suppression of psykers. Identifying psykers is – for non psykers – often a tricky business. While some psykers are stereotypically wild-eyed bald cacklers with glowing eyes, the vast majority resemble perfectly normal humans, with no uniformly reliable way of identifying them, especially if their powers are feeble, or if they are consciously seeking to conceal their abilities. Many Ordo Hereticus Inquisitors are driven to insane paranoia by this issue, creating increasingly bizarre and contradictory tests for identifying “witches” that involve ducking into water and the burning or mortification of the flesh.
Psy Trackers – temperamental handheld devices easily confused by psychic background noise – are a mainstay of the Ordos, but they are often inadequate to the task at hand and prone to catastrophic false positives.
One alternative employed by some Ordo Hereticus witchunters is the Witch Hound. This is a small, nondescript looking breed of dog with a short, wiry grey hide that has been shown over the centuries to have some limited talent for identifying psychic ability. The dogs are rather like sniffer dogs employed by some planetary police forces to identify contraband or explosives. They react according to their training whenever they detect psychic ability or the taint of the warp, usually whimpering or barking to identify their discovery to their handler.
The dogs often make mistakes, and are easily confused or unsettled by new psychic phenomena. No scientific explanation for their talent has ever satisfactorily advanced, (although it is not believed that they are themselves psychic) and many Inquisitors disdain the use of the animals.
Witch Hound Profile
WS: 30 BS: - S: 15 T: 20 Ag: 30 Int: 15 Per: 38 WP: 40 Fel: -
Skills: Awareness +20, Tracking +10, Dodge +10 Swim
Talents: Sprint, Psyniscience
Traits: Bestial, natural weapon (bite) Quadruped
Weapons: Bite (1d10+1R, Primitive)
Cost: 2,000 thrones, availability Very Rare