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.
Overseers wear golden masks with a symbol that resembles a crescent with a trident passing through it horizontally. These same symbols are embroidered onto the sleeves of their long, black jackets, which appear to be standard issue.
Overseer candidates are chosen through a system 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, immune to frontal head-shots due to their masks. They can also command wolfhounds, which can immobilize and do serious damage to Corvo. In combat, Overseers fight with both swords and pistols, and occasionally throw grenades. Unlike City Watch Officers, Overseers can block melee attacks while aiming their pistols. In addition, some 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.
- Originally, Overseers were designed as "Witch Hunters." Their original appearance was similar to the members of the Spanish Inquisition.
- An outpost for abducted Overseer candidates can be found in the Backyard 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.
- The Overseers are a hat-tip 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.
Enemies in Dishonored