"To assume the shape of the accursed and deliver death from the purity within you - that is to be Callidus."
- – Dictatus Callidus
Callidus (Latin for sneaky or stealthy, although, ironically, "Callidus" is masculine, even though most of the assassins are female (oh reeeaaallllly?)) is an Assassin temple of the Officio Assassinorum.
Callidus Temple is the oldest temple from the real-life lore-writin' perspective. The very first assassin in 40k, Meh'Lindi, hailed from Callidus (which back in the Rogue Trader days was a planet rather than a temple Terra; this was fixed by 2nd edition). The idea of Callidus Assassins being sexy ladies in skin-tight leather is a holdover from Meh'Lindi's writer Ian Watson being really big on borderline torture porn.
- 1 Overview
- 2 On the Tabletop
- 3 Fan Writings
- 4 Gallery
- 5 See Also
Where Vindicare Assassins are used when you want to end a conflict with a single shot and a minimum of fuss, and Eversor is where you go if a fuss (as well as the hearts and guts of the enemy) is all you care about. By contrast; the Callidus Assassins are masters of infiltration and disguise, used for sowing panic and uncertainty. They use their target's movements, habits, connections and defenses against them, eventually getting them to lower their guard and leave themselves vulnerable for a kill strike. For this reason they are most often employed to take out the leadership of secretive cults or other heretical organisations where the leaders may not be so visible as to present an easily identifiable target that can be taken out with a more direct approach, and where it may take years of deep cover study before the task is completed.
To this end they are trained in language, voice manipulation, suggestive conditioning, and psychological warfare, all the better to get the target to do what they want. Because their role involves infiltration, more-so than any other temple they are likely to have to resort to improvised means to get the job done and are trained in practically every form of weapon known to the Imperium. They are also trained in "innumerable" martial art forms (even though real life martial artists get curbstomped by soldiers in close combat in real life demonstrations), making them some of the finest close combatants the Imperium has to offer. Because of their training they're probably the most socially-capable of the assassins who actually appear on the tabletop. However, that doesn't necessarily make them "normal," since getting "lost in character" is sometimes an issue.
To aid their mission, they train heavily with a drug called Polymorphine (polymorph-ine, not poly-morphine). The drug restructures their bodies, reshaping bones, rearranging nerve endings and altering tissues, allowing them to perfectly impersonate a chosen individual. It can take years of practice before a Callidus Assassin achieves mastery of the process which, for some reason, works on women better than on men (hey at least it works for both genders unlike Geneseed). A single injection of polymorphine will allow a trained user to change their form until they receive a second injection. With the drug alone they can impersonate any human body with ease and can go from role to role while they pursue their target, working their way up the chain of command until the leaders reveal themselves. If a Callidus Assassin wishes to impersonate a non-human, they must undergo surgical enhancements: placing flex-cartilage and modified synskin into their bodies that allows them to completely reshape their bodies to resemble xenos of practically any variety; including Genestealer Hybrids. The drawbacks of those surgeries is that Callidus Assassins assigned to a particular xenoform will have difficulty adapting to a different species without undergoing further augmentation.
On the Tabletop
The Callidus is a great assassin. First of all, she gets the usual stats:
Wargear of the Callidus Temple
Her wargear capitalizes on her role of the assassin that wants to be up close.
- Neural Shredder
- A S:1 AP:2 Flamer Pistol, Neural Shock(4+) . S:1 sure does suck, right? Well, thanks to the Neural Shock rule, it wounds non-vehicles/fortifications on a 4+. Also is a pistol because +1 attack for your Phase Sword, hooray!
- Phase Sword
- S:U AP:2 melee which ignores Invulns if she rolls a 6 to wound. That's right, on 6s to wound in CC, nobody gets a save! In essence, be sure to throw her against all the cheese units running around the game these days with their 2+ invul saves with rerolls (Grey Knights and Daemons, we're looking at you). Does not ignore Feel No Pain.
- Poison Blades
- S:U AP:- Poisoned (3+) and Rending if she bumps into a really tough target like a Nurgle Daemon or a Monstrous Creature.
Special Rules of the Callidus
Standard Assassin Rules
- Hit & Run
- Move Through Cover
- Precision Strikes
- 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.
- No Escape
- Enemy characters suffer a -2 penalty to their Look Out, Sir tests against any Wounds inflicted by a model with this special rule.
- Independent Operative
- Cannot join or be joined, cannot generate Warlord Traits if made warlord.
- When a Callidus Assassin is deployed using her Infiltrate special rule, she can be set up anywhere on the table that is more than 1" from any enemy unit, whether deployed enemy units can draw a line of sight to her or not. If a Callidus Assassin starts the game in Reserves, she can choose to move on from the enemy board edge when she arrives. In either case, during the first game turn, or during the game turn in which the Callidus Assassin arrives from Reserves, enemy units can only fire Snap Shots when targeting her.
- Reign of Confusion
- If your army includes a Callidus Assassin, you can re-roll the die when attempting to Seize the Initiative. In addition, your opponent suffers a -3 to the first Reserve Roll he makes during the game.
Strategies for Use
In short, she's to melee what the Vindicare is to range; she picks one model and fucks up their day. BADLY. She is the type of assassin meant to get on the nerves of your opponents, scaring them into keeping their powerful warlord units out of the way and then killing them anyway. Put her an inch away from the enemy warlord, then sieze the initiative with that re-roll if you weren't going first already. Then, fire the neural shredder to turn any bodyguards or meat shields into gibbering mush before charging in and challenging (ALWAYS challenge with her; if the enemy accepts they get their ass handed to them; if they refuse they lose their attacks and get their ass handed to them regardless). Roll six attacks that hit on 3+ against most opponents, then punch through their armor (and hopefully their invuln) save with your phase sword. Finally, assuming you haven't swept the enemy squad, pull out using Hit and Run and escape under a rain of snapshotting misses.
In terms of targets she is best served avoiding wasting her talents on things like infantry or vehicles (the latter of which she is virtually useless against anyway), those are best served with the Eversor and Vindicare anyway. Send her against targets that will make best use of her talents such as warlords with stormshields, cover camping TEQ's, assignation duty on some Tyranid synapse creatures, specific characters or models you need dead ASAP, etc. In essence out of the four she functions as the actual assassin of the bunch, instead of a living bomb, sharpshooter or psyker wrecker. She isn't meant to clear the board, simply decide what you specifically want dead, send her in and enjoy the show. Just always be mindful of an exit strategy otherwise she might get gunned down (she isn't quite as durable as the Eversor or Culexus when getting shot at).
8th Edition version
Her abilities have gotten a slight re-tooling, but she's still the assassin you're supposed to send in against that one critical unit.
She still has a 4++ and can infiltrate, but now if she chooses to reveal herself, she can instead deploy D6+3" away from enemy units instead of the usual 9", meaning she's far more likely to make that charge immediately after that she is now allowed to perform. Lastly she has Reign of Confusion: when your enemy tries to use strategems during the first battle round, on a 4+ they cost one extra CP.
Strategies for Use
In 8E, she's not actually much of a killer unit. The other assassins are better for that. She's a lot better as a tactical threat, thanks to her chance to negate enemy CP expenditures. Priority Neutralized, which means she can gain CP for killing a character, much like other assassins, AND she can fall back and still shoot and charge. Her attacks cause mortal wounds or ignore leadership. Hit and run is key, but with that? She can kill a Custodes Captain. She's the bane of Alpha Strike armies that require CP, combined with being great against low-leadership, low-wound units, and ESPECIALLY units that rely on high toughness or armor saves. Her Phase sword has crazy AP, while her Poison Blade always wounds on a 3+. You have to know your opponent, but she can be killy if used well. Learn how to kite with her, and she can do great. Just be careful, she is VERY weak against mortal wounds. (Or high volume attacks, don't let her get mobbed).
Second Time was Curiosity
Some write-fag Callidus story
The first time, it was a mission - handed down from the highest levels of the Officio Assassinorum, cleared in every instance, and signed and sealed in triplicate. "Pretend to be the Emperor himself. Seduce the farseer named Macha, and then reveal your identity. Kill no-one."
A simple enough task, and work as usual. Easily accomplished. But even a hardened assassin has heart-strings, and somehow, the crying face of the xeno witch managed to give them a slight... tug.
The second time was curiosity. Would it feel as good, if repeated? It was not a mission, there were no orders, but even so, it was accomplished quickly and professionally. A cute pizza delivery boy, that time. And yes, it was the same! That feeling! From then, it moved to become a habit, then closer to an obsession. Watch the target at every turn. Foil her every attempt at escaping from the woven web - and let no-one else get close. Every time, it was a little easier, and every time, it felt... even better! The rush of the hunt, of deception, but without the murder, without the blood and the inevitable extraction - instead, wonderful sex, and the rush of seeing resistance slowly, - or did she imagine it? - slowly, turning into despair... and, perhaps, in the future, acceptance?
She, who had no name to call her own, nothing but an order and a call-sign, had finally found the love of her life.
Typical Behavior of said Callidus
Some dumb shit to fap to. This is why people don't like you neckbeards.
"Mfh... ...e..h? Oh, morning already... wait. What's that rubbing against my... oh. You again."
"Look, I wish you'd sto--- ah! No! N-not there!"
(muffled hard breathing)
"Ah, I-- I'm not i-i-nterested in wooOOmen in t-the first place, s-so just stop doing t-this!"
(more muffled sounds, accompanied by something that might be described as a repeated... "schlick" of a sound.)
"...aaaAAh, j-just... no, I'm..."
(The sounds and the frequently interrupted protests, continue for a time, growing more fervent and more subdued, respectively, until they cease, with a creaking of the bed marking a climax of sorts.)
"You... it's hopeless. How am I ever going to find someone when you keep...?"
"Don't look at me like that! And answer me! Why do you never speak when you look like yourself?"
"...well fine. I'll go get myself cleaned up, and you... well, do you want some breakfast before you go?"
The nameless assassin shakes her head - that would be getting too close. Too unprofessional. It's not work, but... even so. It would feel wrong. By the time Macha returns from the shower, the Callidus assassin who shared her bed yet again is long gone. As usual.
Callidus loves playing pretend.
|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