Today’s lecture, Loremasters, turns towards two common strains categorized by the Imperium as abhuman soldiers. Many have served in the regiments of the Astra Militarum.
Whether you believe that all Abhumans are merely mutants who should be shunned, or that they still somehow have a place amid the citizenry of the Imperium, from them all we can learn an important lesson. That to go meddling with the genetic material of humanity is perhaps the height of folly. Let us talk about the Abhumans, and for data on them, let us turn to the Administratum’s findings.
Defining the Abhuman
The Imperium recognizes 73 stable abhuman strains, of which 46 types are now listed as extinct, with a further 12 suggesting they too have died out or been assimilated into the greater population. The status of the remaining 15 strains is an issue of constant debate within the Administratum‘s Tithes Chamber Notaries, sub. Planetary Census (Abhumans), the administrative body that deals with Abhuman affairs.
In an Imperium where genetic mutation and spiritual corruption are often interrelated, abhumans are a focus of much controversy. In more liberal times under the Emperor, even markedly divergent abhumans such as the Beastmen could serve in the Imperial Guard. Since the Emperor’s stasis, however, only the lesser deviants, such as Ogryns and Ratlings, are considered Imperial citizens. However, they are still distrusted by the more puritan members of the Inquisition.
Imperial Guard armies may make use of Abhumans. These Beastmen (or Homo sapiens variatus), Mutant Slave Levies (ordinary mutant slaves rounded up for cannon fodder), Feral Ogryns (even nastier and more primitive than regular Ogryns), Nightsiders (originating from worlds of perpetual or near-perpetual darkness, little to no ability to see but perfect warriors for Night Fighting missions), Afriel Strain Soldiers (genetically engineered from DNA taken from great heroes of the Imperium, very unlucky and unpopular), Subs (relatively genetically stable but still hideously deformed mutant sub-breeds) and Gland Warriors (Imperial Guardsmen implanted with special organs and glands that secrete combat-useful chemicals, such as stimms and pain-killers).
Let us discuss some two of the most common strains of Abhuman.
Ogryns (Homo Sapiens Gigantus) evolved on cold, high-gravity prison planets. They are huge and stupid but extremely loyal once introduced to the Imperial Cult. It’s even said that those who fought as rebels in the Horus Heresy only did so because their superior officers lied to them about which side they were on. Ogryns are used as shock troops, wielding heavy automatic shotguns called Ripper Guns, which can be used as clubs. They tend to be claustrophobic and thus are difficult to transport in Chimera APCs. They are led by Bone’eads, who have undergone Biochemical Ogryn Neural Enhancement so they’re not quite so stupid.
The issue of Ogryn classification is one of the most contentious within the Administratum‘s Abhuman department. This complex strain is currently listed as seven distinct types (Alpha, Theta, Type IV, Type VIIa, H.S. gigantus gigantus, H.S. gigantus Cranopus, and the mysterious Grey Ogryns). Many within the department believe that many of these classifications are all separate types, and another revision of strain classification is required.
Ratlings are the smallest type of abhuman, their ancestors having become stunted by thousands of years of inbreeding on worlds with naturally soporific climates and abundant harvests. Ratlings are short and squat, although not strong. They are idle, hedonistic, gregarious, over-friendly and sexually promiscuous. Their lives are spent eating until sick, drinking copious amounts of intoxicating liquids, and procreating uncontrollably. These small, loud, hungry and lecherous creatures are called Runtlings, Stunties, Halflings, Maggots and Ratlings, among other things.
Although Ratlings make generally poor warriors, the Imperium still has a use for them, and they are often recruited into the Imperial Guard as snipers, the one battlefield role in which they excel. In this role they operate independently of the rest of the Imperial Guard force, and are equipped with sniper rifles and flak armour.
Now, you might be wondering what, if anything, these miserable wretches have to do with humanity–well, Loremasters, this is where a keen, deeper mind is needed. You can find within each of these creatures an example of the very things that make us all human. Whether the greedy, cowardly, ratlings or the oafish Ogryn, you can find an example of the imperfection and cowardice that make us all unworthy in the eyes of the Emperor.
So take heart, Loremasters, we are all human in the end, and that makes us miserable.