"That which is unknown and unseen commands the greatest fear."
- – Motto of the Culexus Temple
Culexus (Games Workshop-Latin of "Culex," meaning "Mosquito", sucking warp power instead of blood) is an Assassin temple of the Officio Assassinorum in Warhammer 40,000. They are all psychic blanks (aka Pariahs or nulls), meaning they have no signature in the Warp and generally mess with psykers.
The origin of the Pariah gene is an unknown, it may have been part of the Deceiver's plans to fuck with the Old Ones, but much of that fluff is no longer referenced and is believed to be retconned. More recent fluff variously considers the gene to be leftover by some tampering during the Dark Age of Technology, or some kind of evolutionary adaptation against the forces of the the warp.
Individuals with the Pariah gene are rare enough, but to regular humans, their aura is filled with some degree of sickness both figuratively and literally that it means that a lot of them are killed during their early years of childhood. Coupled with the fact that the Sisters of Silence have been quietly maintaining their numbers for millennia and the Inquisition have their own various uses for Pariahs means that the Officio Assassinorum has to do well to get their hands on any. That, and most initiates to the Officio Assasinorum undergo merciless testing that thins their numbers out even further before they can even undertake their first apprenticeships within their Temples, meaning that the "rare few" pariahs the temple receives probably dwindles even further. That said, given pariahs’ usefulness and rarity, the Culexus is likely much more careful with their initiate’s lives than the other temples so that failures can still be useful to the Imperium.
As early as the Great Crusade the Culexus Clade/Temple had been working with the Mechanicum to clone their own pariahs in laboratories, which is certainly is one way to bulk up the numbers. Though at some point prior to the Siege of Terra the Tech-Priests declared that they were ending their "Pariah Project" and made a big show of "executing" their specimens. Though the records of the event revealed that the number of executions didn't match the number of pariahs, and what they actually did was move themselves to a hidden fortress on Terra to continue the project.
After the Wars of Vindication in M36, there was a requirement that the temples be separated from each other to avoid corruption, so the Culexus Temple moved to a hidden planetoid somewhere beyond the reach of the Astronomican, and keeps all Assassins within the facility unless they are on active duty; meaning they really don't have much of a social life outside the Officio Assassinorum. Ironically, at some time after M37, the Adeptus Mechanicus attempted to claim ownership of the Fortress of the Soulless on Terra (likely the one they built in the first place, but left abandoned) but got into a conflict with the entire Officio Assassinorum who ended the crisis with a snipers bullet. Say what you want about the Assassinorum, but at least respect that they seriously stand up for each other.
Those who survive their initiation receive biological implants to increase their reaction speed and agility, which when coupled with their extensive training means that a Culexus assassin is one of the deadliest and rarest individuals in the Imperium.
A fully trained Culexus assassin is pretty much the worst thing a psyker could ever encounter, as their mere presence is enough to cause considerable pain and even death to weak-minded psykers. The Eldar harbor a particular hatred and fear of blanks, what with every Eldar being a psyker and whatnot. Furthermore, blanks are totally invisible to daemons due to their lack of warp signature. The Culexus assassins therefore target exclusively psykers, as most psykers would rather chew their own arteries out and slowly bleed to death than face one.
And not only psykers, like that time a full Execution force (4 assassins, one of each kind) was sent to kill Tau VIPs...and the only one to succeed was the Culexus. And Tau don't even have psykers! Still, even against non-psychic targets, the Culexus has the advantages of a maddening aura of distilled fear and pseudo-invisibility, their Pariah gene allowing them to be ignored so hard by both the living, the machines and the neverborn that this one "sneaked" inside a transport by merely not bumping into the passengers, like a fa/tg/guy in a disco.
Culexuses Culexi These guys also somehow manage to have no soul so hard (nah, they just have a weird sort of anti-soul, and psyker's reaction to them is kinda like an anti-matter and matter reaction) that they're able to fire beams of not-soul (anti-soul) out of the gun attached to their heads and assuming there's enough psykers around, this beam can become arguably one of the best anti-infantry guns in the game.
On the TabletopEdit
With the advent of a new edition, the Officio Assassinorum is undergoing a fire sale (no, of course not in model prices)! The culexus is no exception. Still the same psyker-screwing, hard-to-hit unit it always was, it is now even harder to target with shooting thanks to being a CHARACTER. Solo operatives indeed. The downside is the boatload of special rules that made assassins feel special are just available to everyone now. At least you throw your grenade and shoot your... speculum... in the same phase. And you thought your last cancer screening was uncomfortable.
Its stats are as awesome as all the other Assassins:
- Independent Operative: Can't have a warlord trait and can appear out of fuckin' nowhere more than 9" away from an enemy model. Just in range for their Animus and maybe even a charge.
- Lightning Reflexes: A model with this special rule has a 4+ invulnerable save. In addition, they do not suffer the penalty to their Initiative for charging enemies through difficult terrain. That said, initiative is gone now.
- Life Drain: All attacks made by the Culexus in close combat ignore armor saves. Yeah, that's right. No AP -4, no AP -5, no armor at all. Very useful in combination with null zone.
- Abomination: Now gets the credit it deserves for being disliked by everyone, not just psykers. In addition to total immunity to psychic powers, it now just gives a flat -2 to most enemy psychic rolling within 18". Add all these abilities up, and you've just successfully created a bubble with a 18" radius that no smart player using psykers will enter.
- Psychic Assassin: Can ignore the CHARACTER targeting limitations that it so greedily benefits from when trying to shoot at psykers.
- Animus Speculum: Much more normal in 8th, now just gets a better number of shots if within 18" of psykers. Still S5, still not really that concerned about armor (AP -4).
- Psyk-Out Grenades: Now just kinda-crappy grenades with that on-6+-to-hit-deal-a-bonus-mortal-wound rule that replaced rending. Sadly limited only to psykers. As if psykers needed help receiving mortal wounds.
- Etherium: All units targeting the Culexus Assassin, in close combat or range, have to shoot or hit at BS and WS 6+. Psykers hate Culexi by default, but this is why everyone hates him. Be wary of stuff that can ignore this like Kharn hitting on 2+ in CC (why you would try to fight Kharn in assault with a Culexus is beyond us).
All in all, the Culexus is for killing Psykers, and he is horrifyingly good at it. Unless you charge them into the Daemon Primarch Magnus, in which case you deserve the results you'll get.
|Forces of the Inquisition|
|Command:|| Inquisitor (Ordo Malleus Inquisitor - Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor |
Ordo Xenos Inquisitor)
|Retinue:|| Acolyte - Arco-flagellant - Astropath - Banisher - Cherubim |
Chiurgeon - Crusaders - Daemonhost - Death Cult Assassin
Jokaero - Hierophant - Mystic - Sanctioned Psyker
Sage (Autosavant - Lexmechanic - Sister Dialogous)
Servo-skull - Servitor - Sister Hospitaler - Pariah - Penitent
Ministorum Priest - Militarum Veteran Squad - Warp-Seer
|Auxiliaries:|| Inquisitorial Stormtroopers - Deathwatch - Grey Knights |
Sisters of Battle - Callidus Assassin - Culexus Assassin
Eversor Assassin - Vindicare Assassin
|Vehicles:|| Chimera - Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader |
Land Raider Redeemer) - Razorback - Rhino