- "Wherever the Overseers go, common folk tremble, and brother accuses brother."
- —The Heart
During the reign of Hiram Burrows, Overseers are feared by the populace for their brutality, and despised by the City Watch for their zealotry. Their Order is headquartered at the Office of the High Overseer within Dunwall, and headed by a High Overseer. During the events of Dishonored, this position is held by Corvo Attano's first assassination target, Thaddeus Campbell, who is soon replaced by Loyalist conspirator Teague Martin.
Overseers wear golden masks stylized in the face of Benjamin Holger; their back supports lay partially over a piece of cloth covering the rear of the overseer's head while the front provides protection. The symbol of the Abbey: a trident passing through a capital C shows prominently upon the forehead. These same symbols are embroidered onto the sleeves of their dark gray jackets, which appear to be standard issue.
In Dishonored 2
The Karnacan Branch of the Overseers wear grey masks that are also emblazoned with the symbol of the Abbey. Unlike the masks of the Overseers in Dunwall, these masks cover a larger portion of the head. Karnacan Overseers also wear vestments that include gloves, and tabard emblazoned with the Abbey's symbol. Dunwall Branch Overseers are also seen, wearing the old golden Holger masks, and similar vestments to the Karnacan Overseers, although with darker colors.
Overseer candidates are chosen through a system known as the Trials of Aptitude in which veteran Overseers carefully observe and study individuals – often children – who show the proper inclination to become future Overseers. After sufficient observation, promising entrants are taken from their homes and brought to an outpost, where they are further assessed and evaluated. On the last night of the Month of Rain, they begin a pilgrimage to Whitecliff where, during an elaborate ceremony, it is determined which of the children will become Overseers and which will be "put down".
The Heart suggests that some candidates with the "proper inclination" to become Overseers are actually the sons of heretics and apostates who have been executed by the Abbey. If Corvo points the Heart at an Overseer, it claims that the Overseer "watched as his parents were tortured for the worship of the Outsider".
It is also possible that some recruits join the Order willingly; in one of his announcements, the Propaganda Officer states that parents should send their children to be tested by the Overseers, suggesting the practice was perfectly acceptable. Eavesdropping on various Overseers also reveals that some joined the Abbey at a later age rather than being drafted through abduction.
Overseers are highly durable. Thanks to the metallic masks they wear, they are also immune to frontal headshots, though if they are shot there, they will be momentarily stunned and their current action disrupted. They can also command wolfhounds, which can immobilize and inflict serious damage to the protagonist. In combat, Overseers fight with sabres and are additionally armed with grenades or pistols. Unlike City Watch Officers, who usually prefer to dodge, Overseers are more likely to block melee attacks while aiming their pistols.
In addition, certain Overseers can use technological devices attached to their abdomens, known colloquially as "Overseer music boxes". They negate the power of supernatural abilities granted by the Outsider, and deal a continuous stream of damage to any supernatural target.
- "Die, you filthy little furball." (when crushing a rat)
- "Ha! I shit bigger than you!" (when crushing a rat)
- "Rat! Damn you!" (when crushing a rat)
- "Think you'll get your own squad after what happened last night?"
- "Should we gather for whiskey and cigars tonight?"
- "I'll write to her again. She has to see reason."
- "Is it true that more bone charms have been taken from apostates since the plague started?"
- "Will our sisters in the oracular order make a pronouncement regarding the plague soon?"
- "Are the new applicants as weak as the last set?"
- "Ricardus claims he memorized the Litany of the White Cliff in a night. Is it possible?"
- "Will you be leaving the city during the Fugue Feast this year?"
- "None of this would have gotten so bad if that damn fool Corvo hadn't killed the Empress."
- "Never doubt it."
- "Chances are very good."
- "Indeed, I believe so."
- "Yes, yes."
- "No, no no."
- "Oh I'll find you."
- "Where are you?"
- "I know you're here somewhere scum."
- "I know you're here."
- "When I find you, it's gonna be bad."
- "You'd like to reveal me to have an errant mind, but that won't be happening, I'm afraid. Come out."
- "Do you think you're being quiet?"
- "Let's see who's hiding about. A severe caning might be in order."
- "I'm going to find you, whoever you are, and then I'll demonstrate your failings."
- "Come out and I'll go easy on you."
- "The Abbey doesn't train fools. I know someone is here."
- "Present yourself! Don't make me find you."
- "Let my hands not be restless. Reveal yourself."
- "I'll feed your heart to the hounds."
- "Restrict the Wandering Eyes that look hither and yonder for some flashing thing that easily catches a man's fancy in one moment but brings calamity in the next."
Searching in Groups
- "We got a prowler on the loose."
- "Stop messing around and come out at once!"
- "Give yourself up. Come out. We both know you're weak at heart."
Returning to Idle
- "Must've been rats, into everything."
- "Okay where did you go?"
- "Alright, I won't be catching this rat bastard."
- "Righteous and Pure, I do Every Man's Work."
- "Die, dammit!"
- "Die in fire!"
- "Die, idiot!"
- "Take out his legs!"
- "I need more men!"
- "I'll read signs from your entrails!"
- "I'll feed your heart to the hounds!"
- "You're going down!" (when enemy is out of reach)
- "Watch it!" (when throwing a grenade or aiming pistol)
- "We're not taking this one alive!"
- "We'll burn your body tonight!"
- "You're gonna bleed, damn you!"
- "Your spirit is failing!"
- "Your blood will be ours!"
- "A promotion for the man who kills this one."
- "Take this!"
- "Take it!"
- "It is here that we unite against the Spirits of the unknown that would drag us screaming into the night."
- "Restrict the Roving Feet that love to trespass"
- "Am I being presumptuous, hoping to cross paths with that Assassin?"
- "Think you're being quiet?"
- "Anyone here, show yourself!"
- "Don't make me search the whole place, I don't have time for that."
- "One of us is down!" (when finding a dead Overseer)
- "You died serving the Abbey, brother." (when finding a dead Overseer)
Searching in Groups
- "I smell heresy!"
Returning to Idle
- "I'll get him next time."
- "I'll stand against the faithless any day!"
- "Shame on you!"
- "Take it!"
- "I smell heresy on you..."
- "Accept your fate, miscreant!"
- "Come at me then. The strictures guide my hand!"
- "I'll perform rites over your corpse, blasphemer!"
- "How dare you!"
- "I'll cure the world from the likes of you!"
- "Die heretic!"
- "Surrender and die!"
- "For the Abbey!"
- "You're gonna pay for his death!" (when finding a dead Overseer)
- "No, that hound was loyal to the Abbey!" (when finding a dead wolfhound)
Fighting a Howler
- "Thank the strictures, an opportunity to cleanse Karnaca from the likes of you!"
- "You Howlers need to die!"
- Originally, Overseers were designed as "Witch Hunters". Their original appearance was similar to the Puritans of 17th Century England.
- The mask of the Overseers resembles those of the Persian Immortals from 300.
- An outpost for abducted Overseer candidates can be found in the Back Yard at the Office of the High Overseer.
- During The Knife of Dunwall, Campbell sends a team of Overseers to the Flooded District to combat Daud's assassins. Corvo can find the remains of the squadron scattered throughout the district, but during the actual DLC, Daud can choose to spare or execute them as he sees fit.
- An Overseer outfit is available in The Brigmore Witches mission A Stay of Execution for Lizzy as a disguise if the "Overseer Daud" favor is purchased.
- Bundry Rothwild's younger brother was an Overseer candidate who allegedly failed the Trials of Aptitude and was put down.
- The Overseers appear to take part in a form of divination, as they claim they will "read signs on Corvo/Daud's entrails".
- The Overseers are a reference to the Order of the Hammer, or Hammerites, from the Thief games. The Hammerites are religious zealots loyal to the Builder and enemies to worshipers of the Trickster, and are known for working as a police force before the City Watch.
- In some places where Overseers are present, they can be heard reciting the Seven Strictures.
- In the mission The Surge, two Overseers can be heard discussing how consuming rats is an offense against the Abbey.
- The collar of the Overseers' uniforms resembles the collar of a priest's vestment.
- Overseers are the only character class that utilizes grenades.
- A pistol-wielding Overseer can inflict friendly-fire damage upon his comrades should they obstruct his line of fire. This can be exploited to weaken the opposition if combat with Overseers is unavoidable.
- Because Overseers share most of their voices and lines with the Watch Officers, their exclusive lines may be recited in a different voice than that used for their shared dialogue.
- Two City Watch Officers can be overheard in Lady Boyle's Last Party recalling an incident where a woman was supposed to sing for officers of the City Watch, but lost her voice right at the beginning. Coincidentally, an Overseer patrol passed while blaring a music box right when the woman stopped singing. She was then tackled by the Overseers and detained as a witch. The Officers had to go to the Lord Regent and request a letter of pardon to get her released from the Abbey, saying that she "hasn't been the same since".
- It seems to be a common misconception that Overseers are not allowed to be married. However, Overseer Jasper does have a wife, indicating that this is not the case.
- Overseer masks from each nation in the Empire seem to have a different design: In Dishonored 2, Emily Kaldwin comments on how the dentistry mannequin heads resemble the masks used by Overseers in Morley.
- ↑ "Wherever the Overseers go, common folk tremble, and brother accuses brother"
- ↑ Bundry Rothwild, The Opportunist
- ↑ Wikipedia:Haruspex
Enemies in Dishonored