Cultists, mutants, and slavers

Warhammer 40K blog

The first of 50 Chaos cultists that will terrorize the Corvus Cluster in the months ahead.

As with the rest of the Warhammer 40K universe, the Corvus Cluster is a dangerous place–filled with all manner of evil-doers. So when I had the opportunity to pick up a collection of Forge World cultist bitz at a recent convention (at a great price), I jumped at the chance.

So far, I’ve painted up 17 cultists, using no particular paint scheme. They are meant to be a motley crew, and to ensure they look the worse for wear, their skin alternates between pale and diseased, with blotches and scabs scarring their bodies.

How will they be used? Well, in the bio for Rogue Trader Adeon Drake, there’s an entry where our hero clashed with “Balor pirates” who were engaged in human trafficking. I’ve been wanting to play a scenario where Drake boards a Balor slave ship and fights through the corridors to rescue the fair damsels. I now have the figures to fight that battle.

Then there’s the world of Morkai. Look at the articles of this world, and you’ll find repeated mention of mutants. The diseased skin of my figures suggest exposure to radiation and toxins, so I could see an Inquisition team or Arbites enforcers conducting a raid in the slums of Morkai, where my collection of Middle East buildings and modern-day slum shanties will be of use. Perhaps the “good guys” are simply dealing with a particularly violent gang of mutants–or, more ominously, seeking to stop a band of oppressed mutants determined to stir up rebellion.

And then there’s the pernicious influence of Chaos. Although I’m not enforcing it as canon on the campaign as a whole, my use of Chaos in the campaign will emphasize Nurgle–my theory being that any exposure to an alternate dimension has catastrophic effects on the physics and chemistry of life forms in the Material Universe. Thus my Chaos cultists will tend to be mutated, warped, and diseased.

Warhammer 40K blog

Note the rust on the left cultist’s armor and weapon. Tsk, tsk. Very shoddy upkeep of his weaponry.

With this first batch of cultists, I did not attempt to add visible mutations, such as tentacles or two heads. I need some figures that can do triple duty for all the “bad guys” I’ve listed. But I will add more overt and grotesque mutations and other Nurgle-like qualities to future figures. These will be the minions of Voloh Gudag, the Chaos warlord who spread the dreaded “Kassig Plague” that turns people into mindless but hyper-violent victims (zombies).

(Zombies … hmm, possibly another form of “bad guys” to consider.)

Already, I have a Chaos-oriented scenario in mind: I’m building a sizable Wall of Martyrs set. I intend to add two laser-cut barracks so that I can set up an impressive military installation on a snow-covered moon. The goal is to have an Inquisition team arrive in search of Gudag, who is believed to have seized the installation and murdered everyone. I can already see my Inquisition team launching a commando raid on the apparently abandoned, snow-covered installation–and encountering anything from Plague Marines to zombies. Great fun.

As of this week, I may have a new use for my new figures. I could not resist the miniatures offered in the Games Workshop’s new Deathwatch Overkill game, so I’ll soon have 30+ Genestealer cultists arriving on my doorstep. Given the psychic ability of such a cult, it’s very possible that–through political persuasion or simple mind control–that cult members could rally supporters in a hive city simmering with sedition and anger.

After all, why wouldn’t a “normal” mutants offer their wholehearted support to a Genestealer cult, whose fourth-generation members could pass for mutants themselves? How would the uneducated and ignorant mutant population of a planet truly understand the threat of cultists who offer promises of freedom from the Imperium’s prejudice and oppression?

This new wrinkle in the Corvus Cluster should give Inquisitor Serillian of the Ordo Xenos a true headache.

While I love my grudge match over Hegira with The Gaffer, and the Dar Sai campaign with my club, I’m looking forward to playing a lot of small, skirmish-style scenarios with a movie-like quality. Whether it’s a 40K version of Hans Solo saving the day, or the Inquisition chasing Voloh Gudag, or the Deathwatch seeking to stop a Genestealer cult, a sizable band of cultists/mutants/slavers is a must. The first 17 are done. I think a lot more are going to end up in the pipeline.


The Corvus Cluster is a hobby blog that focuses on wargaming adventures in the Warhammer 40K universe.

Categories: Chaos, FromtheGM, Painting

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