- "Call them what you will—Krell, Psyrens or Enslavers. Just one witch, unsanctioned, caused the destruction of Hive Skorpios when one of those things used her brain as a gateway to this world. Within three days the entire hive’s population was reduced to drooling mindslaves. Within three weeks an entire continent was at war. And all because the governor thought his family should be exempt from the psyker cull and refused to give his daughter to the Black Ships."
The Enslavers, also known as Psyrens, Krell, Dominators or Puppeteers in different parts of the galaxy, are an intelligent race of other-dimensional psychic entities native to the realm of the Immaterium similar in appearance to hybrids of Terran cnidarians (jellyfish) with Terran arachnids. Enslavers will mind control any unprotected psychic being that they can in order to turn them into living Warp portals that more Enslavers can enter the material universe through. This control appears to be psionic in nature. The Enslaver Plague led to the downfall of the ancient and highly advanced intelligent species now known only as the Old Ones, invading their last strongholds and psychically enthralling or destroying their psychic guardians and intelligent servant races, and even drove the C'tan Star-Gods into hibernation at the end of the War in Heaven 60 million Terran years before the present by killing off all the sentient life the C'tan needed for sustenance.
The Enslavers are entities that inhabit the Immaterium and are capable of taking control of the mind of a psychic individual in the physical universe. They are also known as Psyrens, Krell, Dominators or Puppeteers. Enslavers drift with the currents of the Immaterium, and are drawn to the psychic emanations of other creatures who remain in realspace. Once a suitable psyker host is located, the Enslavers form a parasitic mental bond, which over the course of a few days will turn the unfortunate, mind-controlled host into a living Warp portal, so that more Enslavers can enter the material universe and find new hosts. The Enslavers had their most profound impact on the galaxy in a catastrophic event known as the Enslaver Plague that occurred some 60 million standard years before the present. As a result of the tactics employed in the War in Heaven that was fought between the Old Ones and their psychic servant races and the Necrons, the Immaterium became greatly destabilised and a rush of Enslavers into the physical universe through the living gateways provided by the minds of the Eldar and the other psychic servant species of the Old Ones occurred. The Old Ones were ultimately wiped out or fled the Milky Way Galaxy as the Enslavers assaulted their strongholds. Intelligent life in the galaxy almost become extinct as a result of these assaults and the "red harvests" of the Necrons. This included all the intelligent living beings that the C'tan had once used as food, so the C'tan went into hibernation, along with their Necron armies, on the Necron Tomb Worlds to wait for the galaxy to become repopulated with large populations of newly-evolved intelligent life.
The Inquisition's Ordo Malleus and Ordo Xenos both have an interest in combating Enslavers due to their origins in the Warp and their existence as an intelligent alien species. Numerous Enslavers were encountered by Inquisition forces in the Scintilla System in the Calixis Sector in 260.993.M41 and subsequently destroyed. Further evidence reveals that the creatures were embedded within a Renegade psyker smuggling ring headed by the most powerful criminal organisations of the Calixis Sector, most notably the Faxlignae. The Enslavers are also believed to be the potential threat related to the Dark Pattern that is unfolding within the Jericho Reach.
The Necron Overlord Trazyn the Infinite who is a keeper of rare artefacts is known to hold the ossified husk of an Enslaver amongst his relics. By the time of the Age of the Imperium, the origins of these creatures are largely unknown to Mankind and remain a complete mystery to the Imperium. They were known by a variety of other names in different parts of the galaxy such as Krell, Psyrens, Dominators and Puppeteers. Descriptions of these creatures are rare and fragmentary but data had been gathered on their appearance as well as feeding habits.
Anatomy and Physiology
Enslavers are other-dimensional beings that do not possess true physical bodies but appear to exist in Warpspace for at least part of their life cycle and are known to pose a terrible threat to all living creatures when in the material realm. Their true appearance in the Warp is unknown, but once they manifest in realspace, Enslavers appear as barrel-shaped or basic spheroids that measured approximately 2 metres in height and possess a tough leathery skin. They are able to change the colour of their skin at will though they typically appear a leathery brown when not consciously altering their pigmentation. A single large sensory organ coloured either red, pink or orange sometimes referred to as an eye sits at the very top of the body though its actual function remains unknown. Around the upper portion of the body is a cluster of pale white or pinkish tentacles that range between 8 to 12 in number that are all 1.5 metres long. Typically, two of these are longer than the others and end in suckered pads. The tentacles serve as the primary sensory as well as manipulative organs for the Enslaver. Though Enslavers lack legs, they do move about their environment by floating and sometimes use their tentacles to aid them when they wish to move quickly or with great precision. An Enslaver can float up to 3 metres high but are incapable of true flight.
Enslavers possess the ability to transcend normal space-time, which allows them to easily traverse the galaxy and perhaps elsewhere in the material universe. Enslavers are able to travel through the Warp by navigating towards the psychic emanations in the Immaterium of other sentient beings, which shine like beacons to the hungry Enslavers. The name Mankind has given these creatures stems from their ability to mentally enslave other psychically-active beings to their will. Through this mental control, they are able to take over the minds of other sentients with a single Enslaver able to dominate the minds of up to 10 individuals. The victims of this mental control retain all of their basic faculties, knowledge and physical attributes even when under the control of the Enslaver. Victims of the Enslavers become helpless and complete puppets to their alien master's will and perform even the most self-destructive actions such as suicide without hesitation. This mental command, however, is limited to a range of only up to 50 metres. If the dominated individual moves more than this distance away from the position fo the Enslaver in realspace, he or she will be free of the creature's psychic control.
Their attraction to the minds of psykers dictates the movements of the Enslavers through the Warp into realspace, as they are naturally drawn to the potent and easily traced psychic emanations coming from unprotected human psykers. Human psykers have potent minds but often lack the training or the mental control maintained by more refined psychic species like the Eldar which allows them to prevent Enslaver assaults. The psychic emanations of powerful and newly emergent human psykers can be detected by an Enslaver as far away as ten light years in realspace. When such a potent potential source of psychic energy is detected within the Warp, three Enslavers often merge into a predatory group to create a mental bond with their prey. Victims of Enslaver attack are often unaware of the Enslavers' control over their actions, but in time gradual changes are forced upon their body's biochemistry. Soon after the Enslavers have dominated their mind, a victim often becomes lethargic and tired. Their skin will become discoloured and approximately 50-75 hours after the Enslavers secured effective control over the victim psyker's mind, their physical forms will swell as their body tissues disintegrate and reform into an organic Warp Gate of ruptured, pulsing flesh. The trio of controlling Enslavers will then travel between the Empyrean and realspace through this gate without restrictions. Once in the material world, the creatures begin to enslave more psykers who are turned into similar gateways that permit more trios of Enslavers into the Materium. Upon the death of an Enslaver-possessed psyker, the body is destroyed and the Enslaver or trio of Enslavers emerge into the physical world, the psyker having served its purpose as a gateway into the material realm for the creature. On a world with many psykers, the population of Enslavers can quickly grow geometrically through this process.
The Magi Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisition has been unable to determine if the Enslavers are actually sentient beings. Though they seem to be capable of concerted group effort and of carrying out complex plans in a manner that would suggest true intelligence, Enslavers have never communicated with other sentient races. Whether this is because they are incapable of doing so or simply see little point in it is unknown. In addition, Enslavers have never been observed to make use of tools or any other form of technology. Theoretically, an Enslaver is certainly capable of using a weapon but has never been seen to do so. Instead, manual labour, when deemed necessary to carry out their mysterious goals, is conducted by their psychically-dominated slaves.
Enslavers are slightly larger than a grown man, however other size ranges are possible. These xenos have sac-like bodies which contract with movement and are almost completely transparent. The front of the Enslaver is recognizable by the numerous tentacles originating from the anterior end of the organism and extending down to the posterior surface of the creature's body. The face of the Enslaver is an arachnid-like visage with numerous eye-holes of differing sizes. An Enslaver also has the abilty to phase in and out of the Materium as it manifests from a possessed psyker's host body. The creatures possess the mind of a psyker as a daemon would, yet Enslaver-possessed psykers do not show any outward signs of possession as their daemon-infested counterparts usually do until they begin to transform into a living Warp Gate. Instead, Enslaver-controlled psykers work clandestinely and subconsciously to further the Enslaver's own ends -- which is ultimately always the possession of other psykers to allow the passage of more Enslavers into the material universe.
Unlike daemons, Enslavers can also psychically enslave or possess non-psykers, whose minds they can consume, furthering their own power and allowing for the control of more potential slaves. Eventually, with enough Enslavers in one place or with one Enslaver of extraordinary power it may be able to psychically control an entire hive city and then spread across the planet. Once this geometic expansion of the population of Enslavers occurrs, the only remaining recourse to stop the spread of the infestation is for the Imperial authorities to issue an order of Exterminatus against the affected Imperial world.
Despite the virus-like actions and considerable threat this species represents to the Imperium of Man, the Enslavers cannot possess Sanctioned Psykers as easily as unsanctioned or Renegade psykers due to the preparation and training their minds have undergone and their soul-binding to the Emperor of Mankind, which strengthens their mental discipline. An Enslaver can be overwhelmed if enough psychic minds are present as it will have too many minds to try and assimilate at once. Unfortunately, the immunity to Enslaver attack that Sanctioned Psykers possess is temporary and if enough pressure is brought to bear upon one's mind, he or she will break and become a pawn of the Enslaver. Even so, the resistance of a Sanctioned Psyker would be great enough that the psyker and any compansions would have a short window of time in which they could mount a physical attack upon the creature or its possessed host.
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition)
- Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition), pg. 26
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pp. 88-89
- Deathwatch: The Achilus Assault (RPG), pg. 36
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pp. 204-205
- White Dwarf 291 (US), "Chapter Approved: Creature Feature"
- Innocence Proves Nothing (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- "Creature Feature – Enslavers" by Andy Chamber, Games Workshop Website. (Defunct)