“The worm that walks has come for us all..."
—Found carved into a bulkhead, Watchpost Hazeroth/Sentry-17. All Hands Lost: attacker unknown, 123.M40
Considered largely mythical by most that have heard of them, they are named in a few scattered tales as the Maggot Men, Dream Eaters or Carrion Masters, The Inquisition, however, knows better. The
Perhaps one of the vilest races known to exist, the Slaugth are terrible and monstrous beings whose minds and bodies are utterly alien and who are rightly feared and reviled by mankind and with whom only the most depraved or utterly desperate have dealings. The Slaugth (known in some cases as the “maggot men,” the “dream eaters,” or the “carrion lords”) are regarded by most that have heard of them as little more than a nightmarish myth---void born tales or the dark fancy of some mad Rogue Trader. But aside from a few wary Rogue Traders and superstitious starfarers, few take the nightmarish legends seriously. The Inquisition, for its part, knows the race to be all too real, and the Ordo Xenos has numerous documented cases of encounters and many atrocities that can be laid at their door, but have suppressed all knowledge under a blanket of secrecy for millennia.
The Inquisition also knows what terrible desire motivates the Slaugth’s contact with humanity---the desire to feed. They are carrion eaters and crave the flesh of dead intelligent beings above all others, savoring in particular the cranial matter from which they seem to derive an almost narcotic and addictive pleasure in consuming. Some tales even go so far as to say that the maggot men somehow consume the memories and knowledge of their victims this way.
The history of mankind’s involvement with them is uncertain, but if some sources are to be believed, the species may have been encountered at the edges of Imperial space as far back as the Age of Strife. Most encounters follow a similar pattern: black, tenebrous vessels slipping into Imperial space to wreak havoc, isolated outposts or shipping attacked without warning by a vastly superior and horrific foe, bodies left mutilated or missing all together, and vile technologies and blasphemous creations traded to depraved human renegades in return for slaves and captives.
After almost a century of research that took him from the edge of the Halo Stars to the depths of the pre-Imperial archives on Holy Terra itself, the Slaugth Maggot Men were codified and declared Xenos Horrificus Maxima by Lord Inquisitor Quater’maz Knael in M.37. His standing orders were that the Slaugth and any that had contact with them were to be exterminated without mercy wherever encountered, with any information pertaining to this xenos race be brutally suppressed. Despite these measures, the last several centuries have suffered a slow but steady increase in contacts with these foul beings across the Calixis Sector, a development causing alarm at the highest levels of the Inquisition.
Aside from what little can be gleaned from the historical record, the true nature and dangers the Slaugth represent are largely unknown to the Imperium, as are their origin and numbers. Some xeno-savants and Rogue Traders believe that their home system (and perhaps even a great hellish Slaugth empire), lies far out into the Trailing Halo Stars beyond the Imperium’s borders. Sealed inquisitorial archives speculate that several frontier worlds in the Segmentum Obscurus have, over the millennia, been purposefully destabilized and tipped into civil war by the Slaugth in order to give them free reign in which to feed. However, these have been rare occurrences and in any such encounter the number of Slaugth involved has been mercifully few, for the creatures themselves are savagely powerful combatants and nearly impossible to slay.
The Holy Ordos remains unaware of the Slaugth’s involvement with the Amaranthine Syndicate and the threat it represents, although encounters with the Slaugth in the Calixis Sector have been spiking dramatically in the last several years. There are several reasons for this, not least of all the Slaugth’s own abilities as infiltrators and puppeteers, and the degree to which they have already spread their network of agents in the Sector. At present, the Inquisition has no expectation of the Slaugth being behind such a subtle and widespread conspiracy; they know them only as raiders and abductors---extremely dangerous, but few in number and limited in scope. The Holy Ordos, the Calixis Sector, and indeed the Imperium have been blindsided by this strange and subtle invasion. If its true nature is not soon uncovered, then billions of lives stand in dire peril.
Biology and TechnologyEdit
In appearance, the Slaugth are truly horrific to look upon, taking the form of a vague humanoid shape composed of seemingly hundreds of writhing, half-melded maggot-like worms covered in viscous, necrotic mucus. Capable of stretching and reforming their body-mass at will, they move with an obscene, boneless fluidity and are capable of regenerating injury with startling speed. They are impervious to age, poison, diseases, and all but the most extreme injury. Their minds are as alien as any encountered by mankind---coldly savage, psychic voids filled with a monstrous hunger for the dead.
The manifest horrors of this species’ bodies and desires are only compounded by an implacable and utterly alien intelligence, and an ability to exploit human corruption and terror to meet their own needs. Mercifully few in number, it seems that they are not given to open warfare and show no interest in acquiring territory. Instead they favor stealth and secrecy to attain their goals, while their seeming physical near-immortality and powerful technology makes them dreadfully powerful opponents when encountered. From the depths of the void their tenebrous ships slip unseen into Imperial space to work their evil, infiltrating isolated outposts and stations to glut their hunger before disappearing, or trading artefacts of their baleful arts to human renegades in exchange for slave stock to fill their grisly larders. Some evidence even exists that they have slowly destabilized several frontier colonies in order to kill and devour, unseen in the shadow of anarchy and civil war.
Slaugth science and technology is likewise nightmarish and powerful, seamlessly melding the organic and inorganic to achieve its ends in a blasphemous symbiosis of form and function. The Slaugth seem capable of manufacturing strange techno-organic construct creatures of a bewildering variety, carrying out their master’s wishes as need be. Slaugth weapons and artefacts are indeed so advanced and strange as to appear to be the products of warp craft to the uninitiated---a fact that, coupled with their hideous appearance, has mislead some into believing them daemonic in nature.
Slaugth Warrior Vassal ConstructEdit
One of the reasons the Slaugth have avoided engaging the Imperium openly is they are far outnumbered by humanity. A single human is no more a match for a Slaugth than an insect is a bull grox, but the grox can still be devoured by a swarm of Blood Locusts. Thus, the Slaugth are well aware that should they provoke open warfare, they will be rapidly defeated.
In order to correct this imbalance of forces, and prepare for the day when they have to attack the Calixis Sector openly, the Slaugth have looked to their strengths. They have a keen and terrible grasp of biological sciences, and instead of training an army, they have decided simply to grow one.
The Slaugth commonly use biomechanical construct creatures to serve them as laborers, guards, and spies. All appear horrifyingly repulsive to humanity, but the warrior vassals stand apart in that regard. Their shapes can vary, but most are ovoid masses of pallid, fungal flesh shot through with purple veins and metal lattices. Locomotion is provided through three skeletal, spider-like legs, and their upper torso stretches into a thick, stumpy tube, capped with a mass of tendrils surrounding a radial, fang-filled mouth. The tendrils are surprisingly strong, and can stretch into sharp bone-blades at a whim, but the vassal is also quite capable of using the frighteningly advanced weapons of the Slaugth. Embedded within it is a device capable of generating terrible necrotizing beams that can disintegrate a man in seconds.
Warrior vassals are not particularly intelligent, although they do have a basic grasp of tactics coupled with a complete disregard for their own well-being. They usually operate in teams of three to five. When they locate a threat, their favored tactic is for one or two of their number to charge headlong into the foe. While their opponents are focused on taking it down, its fellows rake the melee with a fusillade of necrotic blasts, uncaring of whom they hit. Should they encounter a threat far greater than they can handle, the entire cadre attacks, while one slips away to warn their masters.
Aside from their control over the Amaranthine Syndicate, the Slaugth occasionally strike out on their own. They usually lack the support of their worm-brethren, as overt actions draw attention to a group that would rather stay hidden. Three such Slaugth have taken up residence on Acreage. The feudal world, currently embroiled in a bitter civil war, provides plenty of opportunity to feed upon corpses. They have a large collection of various xenos beasts accompanying them, acting as both guards and pets. They have taken up residence in an old sky mill in the city of Olrankan and have negotiated a deal with the local corpse-haulers to get access to bodies.
One particular Slaugth, Intendant Recusant, has found himself consumed by his desire to feast upon necrotic brains and has broken away from his kind with has taken a small cadre of warrior constructs and Slaugh infiltrators with him, as well as a splinter group of the Amaranthine Syndicate. His plans, however, are short-sighted and driven by hunger and hunger alone, causing him to take increasingly risky moves to secure his treasured cranial confections.
To allow the Slaugth to pass unseen and conceal their terrifying nature, these multi-layered robes and mantles absorb and refract light, and seem to move and twitch of their own accord. They provide 3 Armor Points to all Locations, provide a penalty of -30 to detect the wearers with the use of scanners, and grant wearers a +20 bonus to Concealment Tests. The cloaks also allow Slaugth to attempt to hide in plain sight if they remain stationary in an area of gloom or low light conditions. By constraining their bodies and commanding the shrouds to conceal them, the Slaugth can pass for a misshapen human at a distance if they wish.
Resembling nothing so much as ragged robes, this armor creates a strange projection affect that clouds the eyes of those watching, allowing the wearer to disappear in plain sight.
Anyone wearing Shroud Armour gains a +20 to their Concealment Tests. In addition, during any round they are not in combat, the wearer can make a Challenging (+0) Concealment Test to turn invisible (this does not protect against being detected by motion-sensors, heat-trackers, or psychic powers). The wearer will remain invisible until he attacks or physically interacts with another. Shroud Armour provides 5 APs to all locations, weighs 5kg and is of Unique availability.
This device, resembling a corroded copper scepter, pulses with sickly light and unleashes arcs of eerie, moaning energy when fired. It may also be wielded in close combat like a mace with deadly effect.
Basic, 100m, S/-/-, 2d10+8, E, PEN 6, Clip —, RLD N/A, Disintegrate†, Recharge, WT 5kg, Unique
Melee: 1d10+15, E, PEN 4, Disintegrate†
†Disintegrate (New Special Quality): Any victim suffering Critical Damage from this weapon is blasted into a cloud of ash and vapour and is completely destroyed.
The weapon of a Slaugth Intendent, this weapon appears to be a long-bladed spear made entirely of swirling strands of bilious green energy. At the wielder’s command, it can project its energy into a searing beam capable of blowing apart battle-tanks.
The lance has a profile as a melee weapon and ranged weapon, and may be used as either. It may only be used in one manner each turn, however.
Heavy, 100m, S/–/–, 2d10+10, E, PEN 8, Disintegrate, Reliable, WT 15kg, Unique
Melee: 2d10+2, PEN 8, Disintigrate, Power Field, Unbalanced, Two-Handed
Little is known about this brutal weapon carried by Slaugth shock-constructs, except they project raking beams of energy capable of turning their victims to clouds of drifting dust.
Heavy, 80m, –/2/8, 1d10+10, E, PEN 4, Diffuse Fire, Disintegrate, WT 20kg, Unique
Diffuse Fire: When fired on Full Auto, the weapon does 1d10+5 damage.