|“||Should Overseers Come to Call, Know your Strictures, One and All.||„|
|~ The Heart about the Overseers' fanaticism.|
The Warfare Overseers is the secondary antagonistic faction in Dishonored, its DLC The Knife of Dunwall, Dishonored 2 and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. Next to the Dunwall City Watch they are the enemies encountered the most by Corvo as well as by Daud. Their Karnacan branch is often encountered by Emily Kaldwin and Billie Lurk as well.
The Warfare Overseers, commonly known as Overseers, are the fanatic militant arm of the Abbey of the Everyman, carrying out the will of the High Overseer. Although there are few nice men among them, most of them were successfully manipulated by the cruel indoctrination of the order, resulting in them being feared by the populace for their brutality, and despised by the City Watch for their zealotry.
During the events of Dishonored, they are led by the corrupt and vicious High Overseer Campbell, ally of the Lord Regent and conspirator against the Empress. After Campbell is eliminated by Corvo Attano, Teague Martin is elected new High Overseer but eliminated by Corvo shortly after. Fifteen years later, the new High Overseer is Yul Khulan who seems to have led the Order away from corruption. The Overseers encountered in Dishonored 2 are members of the Karnaca enclave, led by Vice Overseer Liam Byrne. Although the Karnacan Overseers do not seem to be as morally corrupt as the ones from Dishonored 2, they still are fanatics and act as enemies to Corvo Attano or Emily Kaldwin.
Overseer candidates are chosen through a system known as the Trials of Aptitude in which veteran Overseers carefully observe and study children who show the proper inclination to become future Overseers. Neither the kids nor their parents have any say in this, and after sufficient observation, promising entrants are forcefully taken from their homes and brought to Whitecliff where, during an elaborate ceremony, it is determined which of the children will become Overseers and which will be killed.
The Overseers are equipped with swords and pistols and also use grenades in battle. The Overseers' masks also shield them from head-shots. Some Overseers are accompanied by wolf hounds, who are bred and trained by the Overseers at the kennels at Holger Square. The wolf hounds are able to sense intruders and alert the Overseers should they detect any. The hounds also attack Corvo or Daud, temporarily immobilizing them and making them vulnerable to attacks by the Overseers. Some Overseers also carry devices named Overseers music boxes. These devices, once activated, prevent the use of any supernatural abilities granted to individuals by the Outsider within range, and can send out sound wave blasts that harm the users of said abilities. The music boxes also offer additional protection to the Overseer carrying it, blocking frontal attacks.
The High Overseer is the leader of the Abbey of the Everyman and the commander of the Warfare Overseers. He is voted out of the pool of Overseers and elected for life. However, if the High Overseer is marked with the heretic's brand, his rank offers no protection and he is cast out. During the Abbey's history there have been many High Overseers, including Benjamin Holger, John Clavering, Falke Barrowe, Abraham Templeton, Francis Parry, Steven Gainsford, Scott Grafton, Rhye Mattson and Tynan Wallace. At the beginning of the game, the High Overseer is Thaddeus Campbell. He is corrupt, prefering drinking and whoring over his actual faith. Campbell also keeps a hidden diary in which he notes information over other Overseers in order to blackmail them.
After their deaths, the remains of the High Overseers are burnt and the urns are displayed inside the Office of the High Overseer. These urns can be destroyed by Corvo during his visit.
The Heretic's Brand is the ultimate punishment used on Overseers or High Overseers. The brand is used on Overseers who committed a great wrong in failing to abide by the Seven Strictures but have not broken any laws by doing so. Those branded by it are marked as traitors and heretics and are cast out of the order. Offering aid, shelter, or solace to anyone who bears the brand is a crime.
At Holger Square
Together with High Overseer Campbell, Spymaster Hiram Burrows plots the murder of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and takes over the Empire. They blame Corvo Attano for the murder and imprison him at Coldridge Prison. After becoming Lord Regent, Burrows grants the Order additional rights, allowing them to harrass the citizens of Dunwall with their zealotry and punishing, torturing or killing those who do not share their faith. The Overseers also assist the City Watch in patrolling the city and enforcing the curfew. The Overseers brutally enforce their beliefs onto the inhabitants and mercilessly hunt down the heretics which are worshipping the Outsider.
After Corvo has fled from Coldridge Prison, he is saved by the Loyalists Conspiracy who want to free Dunwall from the cruel regime of the Lord Regent. In order to do so, they plan on taking out the Lord Regent's supporters one by one, the first being High Overseer Campbell. In order to do so, Corvo infiltrates Holger Square, encountering many Overseers on his way which he either kills or evades. While at Holger Square, Corvo can witness an Overseer giving a guided tour through the headquarter for three civilians, giving counsel and answering questions for the three. Another three Overseers can be seen inside the Overseer baracks, one of them having been infected by the plague. In high chaos, the two other Overseers are furious because he kept his sickness secret and murder them to prevent the plague from spreading. In low chaos he instead begs them to kill him as he does not want to suffer from the plague. One of his friends ends his suffering.
Corvo can eliminate Campbell by either killing him or branding him with the heretic's brand. If the latter way is chosen, Campbell is expelled from the Order and cast out into the Flooded District where he eventually succumbs to the plague. While at Holger Square Corvo also frees Overseer Teague Martin, a member of the Loyalist Conspiracy whose cover had been blown. While he leaves the compound, Corvo encounters an Overseer with his sister who are cornered by two other Overseers. The Overseers accuse the woman of being a witch while her brother tries to defend her. This eventually results in a fight and Corvo can choose wether to intervene and help the siblings. If he does, the brother tells him the combination of the safe inside the Overseer baracks.
After the elimination of Campbell, the Loyalist Conspiracy uses the contents of Campbell's black diary to influence the Overseers into electing Martin as the next High Overseer.
Throughout the city
Royal Physicist Anton Sokolov is protected by Overseers as well as by members of the City Watch. The Overseers guard the entrance of Sokolov's house.
More Overseers are encountered when Corvo infiltrates the Boyle Manor to eliminate Lady Boyle. Various Overseers assist the City Watch in providing security at Boyle's party. The Overseers present carry music boxes.
When Daud infiltrates Rothwild Slaughterhouse in order to interrogate Bundry Rothwild about Delilah Copperspoon, his second-in-commandant Billie Lurk is captured by three Overseers who subdue her with their music box. Lurk is saved by Daud and both leave the area immediately after.
One Overseer can be found patrolling Dunwall tower with his wolf hound. Another Overseer with a music box is located in the Lord Regent's safe room.
During his mission at Coldridge Prison Daud can disguise himself as an Overseer and thus walk into the prison through the front door. This is because a Brigmore Witch was interrogated at the prison earlier and used a spell to kill herself as well as everyone inside the interrogation room. The concerned prison guards called the Abbey to send an Overseer to find out whether an imprint of dark magic had remained in the room. Sound of the Overseer's music boxes is also played in the yards to prevent the use of supernatural powers in order to escape.
Attack on the Flooded District
A large number of Overseers eventually planned a cleansing of the Flooded District in order to drive out the people searching shelter there as well as eliminating weepers. One of the leading Overseers, Overseer Leonard Hume, was appoached by Delilah Copperspoon and Billie Lurk who told him that the headquarter of the Whalers, the assassin group led by Daud, was located at the Flooded District.
Hume led a group of Overseers into the Flooded District in order to wipe out the assassins before the great cleansing took place. Although Hume's Overseers took the assassins by surprise and managed to capture a great deal of them, Hume underestimated Daud who managed to free his assassins as well as taking down Hume. Now warned about the upcoming cleansing, the Whalers were able to plan accordingly. After the Overseers are defeated Daud must decide whether the surviving Overseers are executed or imprisoned for later questioning.
When Corvo's journey takes him into the Flooded District, he can find the remainders of Hume's men. A dead Overseer can be found in a cell at a Whaler base, next to him a note that states that Daud broke both of his legs before interrogating him. With his legs intact, the Overseer would have been able to escape his prison, a sadistic move by Daud. More dead or dying Overseers can be found around the area.
After the great cleansing, the Overseers Pradcliffe and Marcus were assigned to look for heresy around the Mutcherhaven District. They were however captured by the Brigmore Witches and imprisoned at Brigmore Manor. The witches eventually killed Marcus and forced Pradcliffe to eat his former comrade. The imprisonment and torture at Brigmore Manor eventually turned Pradcliffe insane and let him to denounce the Abbey and the Oracles. He can be found by Daud when the latter infiltrates the manor. A Brigmore Witch is about to kill the Overseer and Daud can decide to save him.
High Overseer Martin is eventually killed by either Corvo Attano or Farley Havelock. After much dispute throughout the Abbey, his appointment as High Overseer is ignored by official accounts. Instead, Overseer Yul Khulan is eventually appointed as new High Overseer and the successor of Thaddeus Campbell.
Despite the elimination of two High Overseers, the Order continues to exist. The new High Overseer, Yul Khulan, is a benevolent overseer, opposed to his predecessor. After being appointed High Overseer, he forms an alliance with empress Emily Kaldwin and is on friendly terms with both her and Royal Protector Corvo Attano and is described as "fiercely loyal". Yul Khulan serves as advisor to Emily and, together with Corvo, reigns the Empire for nearly a decade until Emily is old enough to do so herself.
Fifteen years later, during the fifteenth anniversary of Jessamine Kaldwin's death, Dunwall Tower is taken over by Delilah Copperspoon and the Duke of Serkonos. High Overseer Yul Khulan is able to flee the slaughter in Dunwall Tower and returns to the order. He remains fiercely loyal to usurped Empress Emily Kaldwin and rallies the Order against Delilah. When the situation in the Empire worsens under Delilah's reign, Yul Khulan leads an army of Overseers against Dunwall Tower. Due to their music boxes, the Overseers are able to defeat most witches but they are not match against Delilah's Clockwork Soldiers. All attacking Overseers, including Yul Khulan, are slain by the mechanical soldiers, leaving not a single surviving Overseer in all of Dunwall. Khulan's corpse is then displayed at the foyer of Dunwall Tower, where Corvo or Emily can find it on their return.
Karnaca enclaveThe Overseer enclave in Karnaca, the capital of Serkonos, is led by Vice Overseer Liam Byrne. Byrne leads his overseers in battle against 'heresy'. As Paolo, the leader of the Howlers Gang, is rumored to own a magical artifact, Byrne has declared war against the Howlers. Both fractions are fighting over the Dust District of Karnaca, much to the displeasure of the inhabitants.
When Emily or Corvo arrive in Dunwall after Delilah took over Dunwall, they start plotting to get back the throne. On the way, they encounter Overseers multiple times should they so choose. On one occasion, the protagonist is tasked with retrieving a corpse from an Overseer outpost, the man having been tortured to death for worshipping the Outsider.
Unbeknownst to the Overseers, they are manipulated from an outsider. Breanna Ashworth, second-in-command to Delilah, has built a device called Oraculum. With the Oraculum, Breanna manipulates the Sisters of the Oracular Order whose prophecies influence the Overseers. Breanna intends to use the manipulated prophecies to force the Overseers to join Delilah's cause. After Breanna is eliminated by Corvo or Emily, the Oraculum is destroyed, saving the Order from the witches' manipulation.
When Emily or Corvo are searching for a way to enter the mansion of Aramis Stilton in the Dust District, they can either ask Paolo, leader of the Howlers, or Vice Overseer Byrne for help. However, before they help each faction leader demands the corpse of the other one. Thus, the protagonist can either deliver Paolo to Byrne or eliminate Byrne to side with Paolo.
Re-taking the Conservatory
After the chaos in Karnaca and Dunwall has been settled and Emily has re-taken the throne, the Abbey starts resurfacing in Karnaca as well. The Overseers, combined with the Oracular Order, plan to re-take the Royal Conservatory from the now powerless Brigmore Witches. They storm the Conservatory where the Overseers capture or kill the former witches who have remained at the Conservatory. While the Overseers torture and interrogate the witches, the Oracular Sisters start searching for heretical papers, books and artefacts - destroying everything they find.
While the clean-up efforts are still ongoing, Billie Lurk infiltrates the conservatory in search of a heretical silvergraph archive, putting her at odds with the leader of the Abbey factions inside the Conservatory, Cardoza and Rosewyn.
- The Overseers music boxes' powers are based on mathematics. They produce "mathematically pure" notes, which act on the theory that there are hidden waves throughout the natural world.
- Two City Watch Officers can be overheard in the Estate District discussing a rumor that a group of Overseers declared a woman a witch because she lost her voice just as Overseers passed by with a music box.
- Overseers occasionally play the music box even when not alerted. This does no damage but still negates supernatural abilities when close by
- Music boxes can also break glass and cause whale oil tanks to explode
- Even though it is implied that Bone Charms, which usually emit some warmth, turn cold and useless close when in the vicinity of the music, Corvo and Daud's charms will continue to work normally.
- An Overseer being sentenced to receive the Heretic's Brand is a rare occurrence, indicating the seriousness of the offense necessary to incur it. Also, in a conversation overheard during the High Overseer Campbellmission, it is revealed that no one questions why someone has received the brand, and they are automatically ostracized.
- Campbell mentions his intent to use the Heretic's Brand against "undesirables", including Hiram Burrows. However, as the brand can only be used on members of the Abbey, it is unknown how he meant to accomplish this.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider