Welcome back to our month of spooky content here at Master of Magics. For those that don’t know, this October we are starting Halloween early here on the site, with a whole bunch of articles covering a variety of creepy topics for our favourite games. If like us you love Halloween, make sure you subscribe to Master of Magics to not miss any of our content in the coming weeks. But for now, let’s get to today look into the deep dark corners of the 41st Millennium.
There are many kinds of horror. From cosmic to supernatural, the things that scary us take on many different forms. But one of the scariest things we can all agree on is the horror of what our fellow man can do. Whether it be unstoppable slasher style killers or the crazy fanatic of some deranged cult, the best and most disturbing notions of horror always comes from our fellow man. And no ideal exemplifies this more than the concept of the Mad Scientist.
Individuals that are able to twist the flesh and forms of their fellow living beings, or that can brew viral horrors in a lab that can cause untold misery to millions are in my opinion far more terrifying that any extradimensional creature or alien threat. It comes as no surprise then that in the grim dark future of the 41st millennium, there are more than a few beings that exemplify all the best (and often worst) of this classic horror trope.
Whether they are on the side of the imperium of man, the forces of chaos, or part of one of the numerous xenos races that inhabit the galaxy, these crazed individuals can be found breaking all the ethical rules in their constant attempt to uncover the mysteries of the cosmos. So, since it is all most Halloween (and with the new Doc Arachnos coming to Necromunda) we thought we would share with you some of our favourite Mad Scientists from the Warhammer 40,000 universe and some of their horrific deeds. So grab your surgical tools and misshapen lab assistant, as well delve it to some mad science.
If you’re in need of a doctor in the sprawling underhives of a backwater imperial world, you don’t usually have the best choices when it comes to medical professionals. If you’re lucky, you may only end up missing a kidney, or having the wrong leg amputated. If you’re really unlucky though, you might just find yourself a guinea pig for a half xenos hybrid wanting to preach to you about his awesome new religion.
The Biophagus of the Genestealer Cults are masters of gene-manipulation and bio-alchemy and are responsible for industrialising the processes of indoctrination and infection for the Cult. Concocting devious new contaminants capable of infecting their victims with xenos genetics, they morph the body and mind of these poor souls and rendering them susceptible to the sinister influence of the cult. At least they don’t seem to care about insurance, so that’s a positive.
What do you get when you cross a Human, a T’au and a razorblade? Well if you are a Haemonculi, probably a very scary new toy to set loose on your enemies. Masters of manipulating flesh, these Drukhari are able to create horrific monstrosities and even regenerate the fallen slain in battle, provided enough of the body remains. Basically, they are what Victor Frankenstein would be if he was a depraved xenos with a leather fetish.
What is most hideous about these alien scientists is the fact they will often experiment on themselves. Adding addition limbs grasping surgical tools or other appendages. Because of their skills, Drukhari lords will often make pacts with haemonculi for medical aid and other services, in return for more victims (or is that patients?) to continue their dark works.
When talking about Mad Scientists, we can forget one of the maddest, and often insane medics in the 40k universe. These xenos medical professionals can replace limbs with random scrap (or even someone else’s missing body parts) or even bringing a decapitated warlord back from death to lead from the front once more. I am of course talking about the Ork Painboyz.
An Ork Painboy (also known as a Mad Dok) is a member of a special class of Ork Oddboyz, who are responsible for fixing injuries even the highly regenerative Ork physiology cannot repair. However, despite their skills in the medical field, an Ork will only go to a Painboy when he has no other choice, since they are infamous for trying out experimental procedures (such as the greatly feared Squig brain transplant) on patients while they are under the knife. Also, and you didn’t hear this from me, but I don’t think they wash their tools after every operation.
Dark parodies of the Apothecaries they once were, the Plague Surgeons of the Death Guard are most likely the worst kind of medical experts in the 41st millennium. Once upon a time, they would have brought healing to those who could be saved, or absolution to those who could not. Now a days however, they are more likely to spread disease and infect among the ranks of the enemy (and most likely their own) troops.
Carrying a bolt pistol and balesword into battle, they are more than ready to break the Hippocratic oath. But where their true horror really lies is in the various corrupted medical instruments they carry. Narthecium-like instruments containing horrific plagues cover all their armour, and the bring with them an ancient, rusted reductor perfect for stealing gene-seeds of any fallen Astartes. Worst still, I don’t think they use any anaesthetic.
Of course, no list of Warhammer 40,000 Mad Scientists would be complete with the one and only Fabius Bile. Originally the Chief Apothecary of the Emperor’s Children Legion, Bile is one of the greatest scientific minds of the grim dark future. His list of accomplishments is extraordinary, matched only by his complete lack of a moral compass.
He has created biological weapons, built monstrous creatures of flesh and bone, escaped death multiple times, and has even cloned multiple Primarchs. All this he has done in his single-minded quest to perfect the Human form. For most players, he is the quintessential mad scientist. I mean, he is even helped in his experiments by a disfigured lab assistant. Surely, no other can claim the title of maddest scientist in the 41st millennium.
Well… there maybe one other worthy of the crown.
You know what is better than a mad scientist? A mad scientist that is on your side. Already old when the Imperium was young, this Archmagos is responsible for one of the biggest advancements in the lore of the 40k universe. For it was Cawl who is responsible for the creation of the Primaris Space Marines, as well as a variety of new Imperial weapons technologies which proved invaluable to the triumphant resolution of the Indomitus Crusade.
He is also partly to thank for the resurrection of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, but he did have some help from the Ynnari for that so we will have to deduct some points from him. Still, in terms of accomplishments, it’s hard to argue with what Cawl has managed to do in recent years. And if the new reinforcements for the Space Marines are any indication, then I think it is fair to say that Belisarius Cawl is far from finished.
We hope you have enjoyed this Halloween inspired article today. What is your favourate mad scientist in the 40k universe? Let us know in the comments below or find me on twitter @MTGTengu and maybe we will talk about it next time.
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