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I'm currently in the beginning stages of making some fluff for some genestealer cultists for an inquisitor campaign, but find myself unsure on a few important points.
How does the whole genestealer hybrid process work (I know about the ovipostor and the hypnosis), mostly in how genstealer-ish each generation is, and how new purestrains come about.
Tied into that, when are the Magi born and how many could a large cult expect to have (by large I'm thinking the entire population of some isolated world or system).
Also how intelligent and power-hungry are the genestealer patriarchs? Specifically would they intentionally seed new worlds via space hulks?
Any answers would be much appreciated.
Revenge is a dish best served with mayonnaise and those little cheesy things on sticks.
+++ Osric the Loopy, planetary governor of Corania (appointed 756.M41, removed from office by the Officio Assassinorum 764.M41) +++
As far as I remember, the Genestelers have a four generation spawning cycle.
Humans are infested, and the first generation is born.
These are very similar to humans, except that they may be stronger or faster, but would not be noticeably different from men.
The second generation would have several pronounced features to distinguish them from men. Bluish tint to the skin, and perhaps even the precursors to the second set of arms that later generations will have.
Third generation is closer to the Genestealer. They will still have coherent cognitive ability, and the Magi / etc. come from here. As such, they have slight psychic ability, although in some cases, these powers are very advanced.
Fourth generation is purestrain stealer. These are the monsters with rending claws that tear through adamantium like it's paper. They are usually not coherent, but recieve commands and communicate through 'brood telepathy.' The Broodlords and 'Patriarchs' come from this generation, and have massive psychic ability. Again, these powers vary widely from family to family.
Each brood will have a single 'Patriarch' and at most three or four attendent magi. However, once the purestrains are born, the magi has little to no use, unless the population is still largely human, in which they *may* be kept around. That is, unless of course, the Broodlord has not used his psychic dominance to subdue the locals completely.
Brood Telepathy only goes so far, and inevitably communication has it's limits. A whole world would have MANY broods. A brood may extend beyond a city, but typically, each brood will be self-contained within a single settlement.
The Patriarchs are just that, fathers to their broods. Their 'power hungriness' is limited to creating more and more Stealers, and when the population has outstripped it's ecology, to send others out to expand. When an entire planet is consumed utterly, and a veritable army has been raised, they will seperately travel to new planets. However, an entire planet becoming a 'stealer cult is very rare, as the Imperium treats these occurances with utmost importance. Frequently, 'stealers will escape during a purge, allowing the brood to survive.
Of course, if a hive mind comes along, they are instantly attuned to it, and will respond accordingly.
My sources are:
3rd Ed. Codex
Several Short stories from 'Rites of Blood' (or something like that.) It's a collection of short stories, including one about an assassin using polymorphine to infiltrate a brood.
If anyone knows the name of that collection, and more importantly the author and name of that particular story, please post it.
Hope I helped, and please, if anybody has any other info, post it.
Gareth is the person I try to impress when I convert and paint.
Well, dont know how much this will help you, but in the short story compilation "deathwing" and the first Ciphas Cain novel, there are some pretty good details about stealer broods n how they interact n such. Just thought I'd put it out there.
Iâ€™ve been checking the Index Xenos article on the Genestealers, which is the only source material I have available right now - Iâ€™ll look up some more information in my Codices when I get back home. However, for now I can say that the article does not mention the four-generation cycle, though I distinctly remember it from older fluff as well. I'm not entirely sure if the four-generation cycle is still up-to-date fluff, I'll have to check some other sources for that.
However, as far as I remember, there were actually two different descriptions of the generation cycle in the old fluff, the earliest being what Astantia describes above, the later actually reversed compared to Astantia's cycle; this later fluff states that the earliest generations most resemble their genestealer ancestor and reproduce via ovipositor, but with each successive generation the genestealer hybrids come to look more and more like their host species, culminating with the fourth generation which gives rise to the Magus, the most intelligent and psychically gifted of the brood, as well as to either purestrain genestealers or what appears to be ordinary humans. All generations after the fourth can produce either purestrains, hybrids, or ordinary-looking humans still faithful to the brood.
In the old fluff, it was only the firstborn of each generation that became a hybrid or purestrain while subsequent children were always human but still dedicated to the brood. In later fluff, this seems to have changed; the Index Xenos article states that all offspring are born with varying degrees of genetic corruption, which also explains why genestealer cults in Black Library books always seem to consist of only mutants with hardly any humans among them, the only true humans being those having been infected by the purestrain â€˜stealers.
As the cult grows in size, so does the Patriarch, eventually developing a level of intelligence at least equal to that of a human, and the cult will begin to infect the higher tiers of a planetâ€™s military and governmental hierarchy, purestrain â€˜stealers infecting state leaders and generals to make them entirely subservient to the brood with no free will.
The purpose of a genestealer cult is to prepare a world for consummation by the Tyranid Hive Fleet and act as a psychic beacon to guide the Hive Ships to a planet with sufficient life to sustain them. When the Hive Fleet arrives, the genestealer cult will attempt to sabotage the defences presented by the human population, making it easier for the Tyranid Hive to subdue and devour the planet; the genestealer cult itself is also destroyed by the Hive, having served its purpose. However, some purestrain genestealers will usually escape such a doomed planet before the arrival of the Hive Fleet and spread their infections to other worlds. If a cult is discovered and eradicated by the Imperium, purestrains will also jump ship and search out a new place to start a cult. As such, purestrain genestealers must be more intelligent than most people credit them with, being able to hide in human society in spite of their obvious alien appearance, and escaping even the watchful eyes of the Inquisition.I believe youâ€™re referring to the short story â€˜The Alien Beast Withinâ€™ by Ian Watson, found in the Black Library short story anthology â€˜Deathwingâ€™ as well as in the â€˜Inquisition Warâ€™ trilogy by Ian Watson himself; the short story features a Callidus assassin using special implants and polymorphine to change into a genestealer hybrid and infiltrate a brood of â€˜stealers in an Imperial city.Originally Posted by Astantia
To my knowledge, none of the Black Library anthologies are titled â€˜Rites of Bloodâ€™, so Iâ€™ve no idea where youâ€™ve got that name from? :blink:
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
Yes, you are correct, that is the name of the story and the author. I think the collection was maybe 'words of blood...?' can't remember. The first story in it was about a chaos ship crashing on a planet and a SM commander tactically withdrawing into a city, eventually letting the cultists kill each other. The enemy Chaos Commander had a suitably chaos name, I can't remember for the life of me what it was now. But, one of his arms (or both, was a long time ago,) had been replaced with Pneumatic Claws.
The cover was of this Chaos commander (maybe Man Eater, or some such) Anyways, that and 'DeathWing' were the only two collection I ever owned, and as such, I get the stories in them confused at times. Sadly, I gave both to a friend as a gift and haven't spoken to that friend in quite a while.
Either way, thank you for reminding me about those two collections, I may have to go pick them up next time I am out.
Gareth is the person I try to impress when I convert and paint.