An Assessor of the Black Tontine is a daemon sent by the Ruinous Powers to assess or defend a Black Tontine, a murderous compact made by the ignorant with daemons for the betterment of a sorcerer and scribed in filth upon human skin, with the payment being an unfortunate's soul. These daemonic assessors manifest to bestow powers of the Warp upon the compact's authors. Taking the form of a dire man-shaped being wearing a stinking cloak, they bear a great gaff-hook in which to drag their victims back into the Warp.
A tontine is a compact of mutual support signed by Imperial guild members or brotherhoods. As the pledged die, funds are paid out to the survivors. For the most part, tontines are a tradition of the poor: hive city manufactory workers making their marks with bloodied fingerprints. Some pledge what little they have into the hands of usurers and merchant guilders at the signing ceremony; the value of the compact is repaid in the years ahead, one death at a time. Others pledge division of their paltry possessions to their compact–brethren upon death.
Black Tontines are the mockery of the Ruinous Powers cast upon this tradition. They are murderous compacts scribed in filth upon human skin, made by the ignorant with daemons for the betterment of sorcerers, their payment counted in souls. In place of Administratum clerks and stacked golden Thrones, daemonic assessors manifest to bestow powers of the Warp upon the compact's authors.
The notorious Black Tontine of the Salsurius Glass Manufactory of outer Tarsus was signed by thousands of heat zone habdwellers in the 5th century of the 41st Millennium. Daemonic assessors manifested each day to drag away one screaming soul, payment for the potency of an inner circle of the Glassmaker's Guild. The Heretic sorcerers bestowed a few Thrones upon the brother workers of each victim, as though factors for the Warp.
A daemon sent to assess a Black Tontine manifests as a dire man–shaped being, its abhorrent true form shadowed beneath a stinking cloak. Its twisted hands bear a great gaff–hook with which to drag victims bodily into the Warp. That implement is little needed, for the daemon's gaze and bubbling voice is enough to crush the mind and compel its victims to their deaths.
Daemonic assessors also manifest to defend a compact threatened by the righteous. Attacks upon many signees or the sorcerers who created the tontine will bring forth the vengeance of the Warp in this way. If the tontine bears additional terms, forcing signees or sorcerers to break those terms also invites the assessors' wrath. Assessors can be debated -- in lawyerly High Gothic -- by the foolhardy in search of loopholes, but this can only buy time. Success or failure has much the same result, with the only difference being the anger of the assessor when it slaughters one foolish enough to act as a proctor to daemons.
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pp. 110-111