Monday, October 31, 2011

5 Minute History: Exorcist

The Exorcist is a specialized artillery platform utilized by the Sisters of Battle in the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop miniatures game. It is usually fielded within a Witch Hunters army making use of the forces of the Adepta Sororitas. The current model draws on cues from a pipe organ more than any modern day weapon system, although the original model was most likely inspired by the Hydra-70 rocket system.

Image from Kirby, 3++ is the new black

The tank first appeared in the Sisters of Battle army list published in the Chapter Approved Annual compilation released in 2001. The Exorcist in its first incarnation has just as much protection as a standard Rhino. For armament, the tank had a single weapon - the armor piercing, yet extremely random Exorcist Launcher. While it was as powerful as a krak missile launcher, the launcher was a rather unreliable weapon in-game as the number of shots it fired was determined with the roll of a die. The tank's stats were updated and upgraded with the release of Codex: Witch Hunters. That version of the Exorcist featured upgraded armour, more in-line with the tanks of the Space Marines. The newer rules for the Exorcist also gave it better accuracy and the Exorcist Launcher received better armor-piercing capabilities although it was still random.

For a while, most Sisters of Battle players had to convert their Exorcists from other, more readily-available vehicles. The only model available was a resin conversion kit produced by Forge World. This version of the Exorcist sported two missile pods similar to the modern-day Hydra 70 rocket pod system. Soon after, Games Workshop released an Exorcist kit combining the new MkII Rhino with metal conversion parts, along with the plastic Sisters of Battle Immolator sprue. This official release of the Exorcist gave the tank a more baroque make-over, with the tank's signature exorcist launcher shaped more like a pipe organ than a conventional missile launcher.

Image from My Dice Hate Me
According to background information, Exorcists are incapable of being manufactured in the game's current timeline. Thus, they are rare vehicles and are regarded as works of art, as much a symbol of the Emperor as a provider of long-range fire support. As the STCs for the Exorcist have been lost, fewer and fewer people are capable of conducting repairs and the remaining tanks that are in service are rather unpredictable in operation. This is reflected by the randomness of the vehicle's Exorcist Launcher rules in-game.

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