Cult of the Redemption
The Cult of the Redemption is one of the few signs that Warhammer 40,000 still accepts that it has an understanding of the phrase "excessive", as the Cult of the Redemption is considered an extremist branch of the Imperial Cult.
Unfortunately, they stopped thinking clearly after that, as they soon decided that humanity was inherently evil (which is open for debate) and could only find redemption in the eyes of the God-Emperor by killing all his enemies: In other words, psykers, mutants, and heretics (which is anyone who decides to work against the Cult or its members). Unfortunately, the Redemption does not stop at mutants, witches, and heretics. Whenever Redemptionists manage to seize power, they immediately go on a psychotic killing spree, slaughtering the recognized mutant populations (which angers the Administratum because it means that factories lose cheap labor), the Ecclesiarch priests (for not being part of the Redemption), nearly all officials (including the planetary Governor) for "Allowing Mutants and Heretics to Flourish", and even go on to attack and slaughter the Astropath Choir of the planet.
On Necromunda, they ended up finding a home in House Cawdor, where it became the official religion of the House.
Though originally confined to Necromunda, the Redemption Cult soon spread across the Imperium of Man thanks to members of the Ecclesiarchy. Commissar Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, noted in the novel The Traitor's Hand that there was a Redemptionist preacher on Adumbria, and believed his old Schola Progenium classmate Tomas Beije was either a member of the Cult, or at the very least a sympathizer.
The Ecclesiarchy has occasionally tried to use Redemptionist Zealots as a means to get around the Decree Passive preventing them from having "men under arms" and limiting their military forces to the Sisters of Battle. (
Emperor's balls, now even the Ecclesiarchy doesn't want the Nuns with Guns. FWOOSH! Silence, heretic! The Ecclesiarchy wants more warriors beside the noble women of the Adepta Sororitas to purge the unclean in holy flame!) In the novel Legion of the Damned, a group of Ecclesiarchs end up getting into a pissing match with the Excoriators over authority long enough for the Marines to get bored and BLAM several Redemptionist militants.
The Cult of Redemption believes that the God-Emperor of Mankind is manifest proof of mankind’s holy destiny to rule the stars, but as they comprise of mostly poor citizens with limited education they very rarely factor in what the Xenos have to say upon the matter. In their minds, the only thing keeping mankind from its destiny is its own sinfulness. So they take it upon themselves to "remove" the sins which are holding back mankind.
Crucially, the Redemption believes that three sins surpass all others:
- Mutation is sin and corruption made manifest on the human body.
- Witchcraft is the ability to use unnatural powers.
- Heresy is refusing the truth of the Redemption, which pretty much encompasses everyone not part of the Cult.
Redemptionists "on business" are relatively uniform wherever they appear, with a particular tendency to wear the colour red and full face concealing KKK masks and have a preference for wielding flame or chain weapons. Though when not on the job they can appear just as typical as the next Imperial citizen, though perhaps with a heightened sense of irritability and racism over and above that of your average Joe living in the 41st Millennium.
The Ludmillan Dictates
Someone in the Calixis Sector actually took the time to sit down and codify how Redemptionists need to behave, essentially turning the Cult from a slightly crazy social gathering of religious nutballs into an organised sect, albeit one still composed of religious nutballs.
The (paraphrased) rules are as follows:
- Red is the colour of blood and therefore the colour of the Redemption.
- "Drugs are Bad M'Kay?" taking drugs is a sin, punishable by death.
- "Suffer not the Witch to live" punish them with death
- "Suffer not the Mutant to live" punish them with death
- "Suffer not the Heretic to live" make them repent, then punish them with death
- When punishing sinners with death, you should wear red as it is the colour of the Redemption.
- When you take up the weapons of the Emperor, you are on His time and not your own, so hide your face.
- Self-Mortification should be done daily, as it is a good pain (Wait a minute, a heretic used that line! *BLAM*).
There is no hard and fast "rule" when it comes to how the Redemption is organised, as the cult is not officially recognised by the Imperium at large its members can be drawn from all walks of life. In addition, very few individuals devote 100% of their time to the Redemption and take it up as their main vocation of choice, instead donning the hood whenever secretive meetings are held and returning to their original life leaving their friends and employers none the wiser.
Mechanically, they acted quite different from most other gangs both on the tabletop and in the between game phases:
Firstly, they may never acquire territory like other gangs, due to the fact that its members may be members of other gangs in houses, or have commitments when they take the hood off. This means their income is entirely based on donations. This is actually useful to a player in some ways, because it negates the need to feed and shelter your cultists because they can eat at home, removing some of the paperwork. Unfortunately it does mean that credits come to you in a slow trickle and you may not be able to afford nice things. Secondly, thanks to the huge number of faithful waiting for the opportunity to don the hood and start burning heretics, there is the possibility that you can get new gangers without having to pay for them. Whenever a ganger (of any type) dies, there is a 50% chance that a new devotee with a knife will join you for free. Thirdly, they Hate Mutants, Psykers, Ghouls and Zombies, and they may not use hired guns of any kind unless the particular rules say so. Redemptionists are insular like that. Fourthly, they may not ransom or exchange captured prisoners. They burn them at the stake unless the opposing player can mount a rescue mission. Having a Priest in your gang gives you the option to convert some captured gangers, but if that fails they'll burn the heretic anyway.
The unit types for Redemptionist Gangs are as follows:
- Priests: your typical gang leader. Gets access to the best stuff and all skill advance trees, comes with the ability to inspire his gang and convert captured enemies.
- Deacons: the right hand man of the Priest. Come with fewer skill trees than he does and have no special rules. However they do get access to the same range of equipment, and the Techno tree, meaning they are similar to Heavies in other gangs.
- Crusaders: your basic ganger, get access to basic weapons.
- Devotees: your Juvies - are shit, have access to fewer weapons than most other gangs and can only take skills from the Ferocity tree, unless they roll 2 or 12 on the advance table.
- Zealots: Psycho nut-jobs whose only purpose in life is to Rip and Tear heretics. Can only take from an exclusive list of melee weapons (which include Eviscerators) and they suffer Frenzy, doubling their attacks but reducing your overall control of them.
There are two ways to build up your Redemptionist gang, and one could turn into the other several times throughout a campaign.
If you have a Priest then the gang becomes a Crusade and you are allowed to take Deacons who can buy from a larger list of ranged and special weapons, giving your gang much more versatility rather than "beat it to death". Having a Priest also allows you to use "Inspirations", which are practically a poor man's Act of Faith. Allowing you to recover one ganger from pinning, re-roll a failed leadership check or re-roll a recovery check once per turn. If you are running a Crusade, you must have one Crusader or Devotee for every Priest, Deacon or Zealot in your gang, therefore Deacons/Zealots cannot amount to more than half of your gang. If your Priest dies and you have no Deacons to replace him, the gang automatically becomes a mob.
Without a Priest leading them, they are made up of a Mob of citizens who make up for being shit with their enthusiasm: gaining additional leadership based on the number of individuals in the gang. Unfortunately they are not permitted to hire any Deacons (who would automatically become Priests in the absence of one anyway, so you are forced to just hire a new priest at full cost) The Mob rules represent a spontaneous uprising of the faithful, consisting of a lot of cheap, poorly armed fodder. Like the Crusade, Mobs come with restrictions: you must also have one Devotee for every Crusader or Zealot in your gang. So if you are using the Mob rules, half of your gang must be made up of Devotees. If they gain enough experience to be promoted, they stay where they are until a space opens up for them. This has deeper ramifications if you were demoted from a Crusade and had lots of Crusaders and Zealots, meaning that you cannot hire any new gangers (other than Devotees or a Priest) until the balance has been restored.
3rd Edition/Chapter Approved
The Cult of the Redemption acted as the cheap troops choice for the Sister of Battle. At 5 point per model with squads ranging between 10 and 20, it was hard not to take these guys. One-in-five could get their signature Evicerator. They also got their Exterminators, which were just one-shot flamers; which could be scary, as the entire squad could have them. For 15 points, they could have a Redemptor Priest. Said Priest would make the squad immune to psychology. He would also generate one faith point while alive.
Dark Heresy alone introduced three ways for a citizen (read: character) to become a member of the Redemptionists and the rules for them were not all mutually exclusive either, so some people could go FULL crazy and take them all if they felt their character needed to be more one-dimensional like that, although no where in rules does it say you cannot play mutant Redemptionists, though your DM might cock-slap you for doing it, or force you to commit seppuku if you've also taken the elite advance that changes your behaviour, have fun:
- Cultist - basically what you took as an elite advance if being a member of the cult was done in your spare time. This broadly meant anyone can take up membership unless you were a mutant, psyker, tech-priest, priest of another denomination or disagreed with the cult in general. They are indoctrinated very heavily into the teachings of the cult, and have real difficulty from acting against the ludmillan dictates.
- Firebrand - Essentially a Cleric of the Redemption, taken as a background package at character creation. These would be the sect leaders of the cult, such as the deacons or pastors, they make it their job to spread the teachings of the redemption, either with a chainsword or a flamer and a whole lot of shouting.
- Redeemer - more correctly called the "Redemptionist", though is referred to in the text as Redeemer a couple of times which is less confusing for this article. A Redeemer is a professional Redemptionist, the sort of person who lives every day as a Redemptionist and doesn't go home for the evening after the Sunday witch-burning. They can either be a Cleric - much like Klovis from the "Redeemer" comic books or they can be Assassins - like Silas from The Da Vinci Code. Both all-round psychopathic zealots who get to perform acts of Faith and perform practically supernatural feats while murdering heretics, but one focuses on bravado and leadership while the other focuses on killing efficiently and quickly.
- House Cawdor - An entire Hive House that espouses the Redemptionist interpretation of the Creed, possibly an insightful look into what would happen if the Imperium adopted the extreme view of their own religion. They wear elaborate masks when outside of their house though they are not required to wear the colour red all the times. Funnily enough, extreme-extremists sometimes speak out against House Cawdor, since the Imperial Nobility is usually the hotbed of sinners that the cult seeks to purge. Though these particular voices tend to suffer *BLAM*, since Cawdor is one of the biggest fundraisers for the cult.
- Klovis the Redeemer - the most well known Redemptionist (to us at least); called the Arch Maniac by some, he is a notorious rabble rouser who endlessly crusades against sinners. He's pretty much the much noisier, grimdark version of Batman too, as he is originally a noble of House Cawdor and has a variety of gadgets to help him out; from the Holy-combi-Eviscerator/Flamer called the Sword of Persecution, a flaming mace called Mortifier, as well as a plasma pistol. And he even has his very own autocannon armed pimp-mobile called the Pulpitek.
- Malakev - The Robin to Klovis' Batman, though far more useful. Malakev suffers Fear from everything in a fight if Klovis is outside of 6" and is armed with only a stub pistol and a knife. His job is to chronicle everything that Klovis does and carry around the Big-Giant-Book-of-Torture, said to be imbued with the power of the Emperor which grants him 5++ protection.
- The Arch Zealot -
the Grand Dragon of the K-- the most well known Redemptionist on Necromunda, more so than the Redeemer. Considered to be a prophet, he does not belong to any particular local cult, but travels between them, preaching the creed. He's no-where near as good a fighter as Klovis on the tabletop, but he's far more inspirational and makes his whole gang immune to bricking it and running away.
- Archdeacon Ludmilla - Leader of the Redemptionists in the Calixis Sector, which automatically makes her bigger than the Arch Zealot of Necromunda. She is the one who wrote the Ludmillan Dictates and she has made it her mission to get the Redemption incorporated into the Imperial Creed proper and become part of the Ecclesiarchy. To this end she sent gifts of burned or flayed sinners to the Cardinal of the sector, much like a pet cat bringing home dead animals.