= = by Graham McNeill = =
As well as the Sisters of Battle, the Ministorum can call upon the masses of the faithtul to wage its wars and smite its foes. Though forbidden by the Decree Passive from maintaining 'Men under Arms', the armies of the Ecclesiarchy often include whole bands of zealous fanatics who rally to the Emperor's cause. Graham McNeill provides rules for using these frothing maniacs on the battlefields of the 41st millennium.
After the Age of Apostasy and the death of the insane High Lord of the Administratum, Goge Vandire, the Ecclesiarchy was forbidden from raising and maintaining standing armies of professional soldiers or "Men under Arms". The Adeptus Sororitas were excluded from this ban by virtue of their sex, and the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas have served as the fighting arm of the Ecclesiarchy since that time. But though there are prohibitions on raising such armies, there is a tacit understanding that, in times of crisis, the faithful may rise to fight alongside the forces of the Ecclesiarchy or be called to battle by a Witch Hunter in service of his own designs.
These armies of fanatics range from the ordinary citizenry of the Imperium to those sects of the Imperial Cult who preach fiery persecution of the heretic, the xeno and the unbeliever. Such cults can be useful tools for the Ministorum or an Inquisitor, but are sometimes more troublesome than any benefit they might bring, often utterly destroying in a frenzy those whom might best be captured. Whipped into frothing fits of religious ecstasy by the fiery priests of the Ecclesiarchy, whole towns and cities can be raised to fight against those declared heretic or Excommunicate. Armed with whatever weapons are to hand, these fanatical zealots march alongside the Sisters of Battle, with the light of adoration shining in every face. As battle approaches, the preachers and confessors pass amongst the rabid followers they have gathered, passing out more advanced weaponry to those whose desire to fight and die for the glory of the Emperor seems especially strong.
Thrown into the thickest of the fighting, zealots fight with fanatical fury, heedless of danger or their threat to their lives. Indeed, the more deadly the fighting, the harder they fight. Frequently, at battles end, these will be few. if any survivors once the smoke has cleared and the final butcher's bill recorded. But such is the price of devotion to the Emperor and there are always more zealots where these ones came from...
If you wish to field these frothing maniacs in your Witch Hunters force, then you can include them as Troops choices, though they do not count towards the minimum number of compulsory Troop choices you must include. Therefore, you must include two Troop choices from the army list in Codex: Witch Hunters before you can include the Zealots in your army Alhough there aren't any Zealot models available Warhammer Flagellants (see picture) would make ideal substitutes.
Number/Squad: 10-20 Zealots
Equipment: Mob weapons.
Zealots may not be pined by any other models, with the exception of a Priest, and may never be transported in a vehicle.
Options: Up to two models may be armed with one of the following weapons each; plasma gun at +8 pts; flamer at +6 pts; meltagun at +10 pts; heavy stubber at +3 pts; grenade launcher at +5 pts.
Up to one model in five (round up) may be upgraded to a Fanatic at +5pts. Fanatics may be given Eviscerators for +15 points each.
The entire squad may be armed with Exterminators for +3 pts per model.
"Here comes the Pain". Death holds no feat for these zealous followers of the Emperor and it is rare for them to retreat from battle. Indeed, the more desperate the fighting and bloodshed, the more likely they will fight to the death. Whenever a unit of Zealots is forced to take a Morale test, Pinning check or Leadership check for any reason, treat any negative modifiers as positive modifiers to their Leadership instead. Enemy models or items of wargear that affect Leadership, such as Warp Amps or Pariahs etc, will also affect the Zealots in this way. For example, a unit of Zealots led by a Demagogue (Ld8) that loses an assault with a unit of Pariahs (who reduce their Ld to 7) and is below half strength (-1) and outnumbered 2:1 (-2) would in fact gain a +3 to their Leadership for the purposes of that roll, giving them an effective Leadership of 10. Note that regardless of how dire the circumstances, the Zealots' Leadership can never rise above 10.
Demagogue. One model may be upgraded to a Demagogue for +10 points. He may be given up to 25pts of wargear from the Witch Hunters' Armoury.
Mob weapons. Few of those called to fight for the Ministorum are equipped with proper armaments, often bringing their own weapons as service to the Ecclesiarchy. Even then, these are generally of poor quality and are often come equipped with inadequate ammunition. Moreover, each Zealot often carries an eclectic mix of 'favoured' weapons, which makes any kind of weapon training irrelevant. In game terms these count as laspistol and close combat weapon.
Exterminators. Exterminators are compact, one-shot flamers fitted to the barrel of a gun or close combat weapon, and are used almost exclusively by Zealots. Exterminators may be used once per battle the first time the Zealots charge an enemy unit. They are used in the first round of the assault and are worked out at Initiative 8 (in addition to the model's normal number of Attacks). Roll a D6 for every model in the unit of Zealots. The score required to hit depends of the number of Exterminators firing (all models in a unit must fire their Exterminators at the same time). Models hit suffer a Strength 4 hit with an Armour Piercing value of 5.