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Inquisitorial Fluff - How much is too much?


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Greetings Agents of the Imperium!

 

I'm looking to start my own Inquisitorial Warband, not for gaming but more a case of wanting to forge my own narrative & setting and really get the old creative juices flowing.

 

My question is really a simple one though, I realise that it can be quite open, but how well supported and equipped can Inquisitors be?

 

My idea so far is for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, with his own ship and with a small contingent of Inquisitorial troops, along with the usual henchmen/travel companions that you would expect.

 

But how big a ship could you get away with feasibly? I'm not talking Gloriana Class ships here, but a Frigate of some kind? How big is too big?

 

If he were to have said ship, what feasible explanation could be given for him having it?  Currently the idea has been floating around my head of clearing the name of an Imperial Noble family that owned shipyards on a Manufactorum World?  They could have been accused by a rival family, and could have lost everything?  The subsequent investigation clearing the family name, and damning the accusing family?  Shutting down their main business rivals would be reason enough to gift a small ship maybe?

 

If anyone has any more ideas, I'm eager to hear!

 

Thanks in advance! 

Edited by Lokastus Grimm
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That's easy: how well supported and equipped do you want him to be? :wink:

 

The trick with anything Inquisition I find is backstory. While in theory an Inquisitor's authority is great, practically it has limits - such is the nature of authority by writ. With suitable build up and encounters an Inquisitor can achieve any heights, albeit often for the "bigger" scale things it amounts to borrowing or befriending :tongue.:

 

For example your Inquisitor owning a ship raises some questions on the nature and logistics of this. A system going ship isn't a small thing after all - but he can achieve the same results without owning it. What is important for your needs that he has access to a ship that will go where he needs, or that he owns said ship? Perhaps he has aligned interests with a Rogue Trader, and they work together. Or maybe he holds the Sword of Damocles over a  captain somehow, and can make requests that can't be refused... There are many ways you can achieve this depending on how you want your Inquisitor to act :smile.:

 

Like many things it comes down to context; power is given and not taken after all so if you can answer the question of why said asset is available to the Inquisitor that's at least a start if not the end :thumbsup: As a final tip scale matters too, an Inquisitor is going to have a harder time getting people to do what he wants without suitable justification. A Chapter isn't going to care much if he wants some transportation for example - but if he comes with proof of impending doom they are likely to be more receptive to his requests for aid :laugh.:

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What an inquisitor can do is essentially down to feudal politics. In theory, they carry the Emperor’s authority with them. In practice, so do a lot of people, many of whom will disagree with them.
 
An inquisitor has the authority to command entire fleets if need be, never mind ships. If the admiral of that fleet doesn’t like it, or another inquisitor disagrees with the use of resources, it’ll be resolved by the complex web of alliances on each side. Or by the inquisitor learning the difference between authority and power when their rosette counts for nothing after they’ve been put out the nearest airlock. So, who’s backing him up? Who’s opposing him?
 
The real question is what they commandeered it for. There’s very little incentive for an inquisitor to “own” a warship. They’re not rogue traders. For the most part they can simply demand the use of whichever locally available ship best suits their purposes of the moment. That might mean accompanying a fleet to enact exterminatus on a planet, or the secondment of a fast frigate to get their warband from a to b as quickly as possible. Why would they want to deal with all the logistics, maintenance, etc. of supporting that ship forever? Why attract all the attention?
 
In terms of narrative, I’d caution that it’s hard to make all-powerful protagonists interesting. A scrappy band of poorly resourced underdogs usually make for better heroes. The Millennium Falcon and the Serenity aren’t warships, they’re junk freighters with a couple of tricks up their sleeves. There’s a reason Dan Abnett systematically eliminates Eisenhorn’s every resource at the beginning of Hereticus, and A D-B didn’t have 10th Company get away with both the Covenant of Blood and the Echo of Damnation at the end of Blood Reaver. Make them suffer and struggle, not roll up to every mission at the head of their own personal Crusade.

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Inquisitors are very well supported and can have just about any equipment (mundane equipment) that they desire. Much of what they want/need can be sourced from Inquisition sources, but other equipment can be purchased/commandeered from worlds of the Imperium. Some more esoteric (read: Radical) equipment might have to come from more secretive sources.

 

Personally, I think that inquisitors would more commonly control smaller vessels on par with small transports and freighters (a la the Millenium Falcon or Serenity). There might be a few rare exceptions that control larger vessels, and these would more likely (in my opinion) be the size of frigates or smaller. There might be in extremis cases where inquisitors temporarily take command of larger vessels, but these would more likely be cases where the inquisitor either has the necessary skills and knowledge to command such a vessel (depending on their background), the inquisitor is very foolish, or there are no other alternatives.

 

Keep in mind, though, that inquisitors are peers of the Imperium. Their authority gives them wide latitude.

 

As far as the background for your inquisitor goes, do you envision this being a permanent control of the vessel? Personally, a ship taken as a gift of gratitude seems less likely to me. What would seem more likely, and much more grimdark, is that the inquisitor condemned some family/organization and then seized the ship and its crew (perhaps some members of the condemned family/organization avoided execution, but were instead turned into servitors aboard the vessel).

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To quote Inquisitor Coteax upon the matter - 

"There are those amongst our Ordo who say that I seek advancement for my own purposes, and they are correct. My purpose is to destroy the daemonic and if I must rise to command an entire sector to do so, then so be it. I am a servant of the Emperor and only those who consort with Warp-spawn need fear my ambition."

In *theory* , that Inquisitorial Rosette gives them the power to quite literally do exactly that - requisition resources as if they were The Emperor Himself up to and including .. well .. you can imagine. Inquisitor Kryptman managing to pull together the resources required to institute his 'Firebreak' cordon is probably an interesting example of this in practice - and also of its limits in practice, too.

Because that's the thing. When it comes to the Imperium and its internal structures, there are no rules. There are, rather, *guidelines*, and one of those 'guidelines' is "there's always a bigger fish", which may have friends. So the 'push' of requisitioning something may be met with a counter-push by somebody who either *directly* can oppose your request (for example, another Inquisitor of higher standing), or who can have strings pulled to mean that while your request isn't outright being denied - it's mysteriously not really being fulfilled, either.

Bureaucratic infighting is a classic example for the latter. Requests getting 'lost' or 'misinterpreted' or just simply delayed - occasionally even genuinely. As applies the former, sometimes an Inquisitor who's demanding too much may find themselves 'disappeared' (e.g. if you should happen to demand to inspect some certain black-armoured prisoners the Dark Angels just nabbed) [although it'd be a pretty bold and powerful sort who'd attempt to cause an inquisitor to disappear in rsponse to them making a pretty reasonable request for requisition - I imagine other Inquisitors might become aware of the occurrence and take a distinctly unamused stance in respons e...] ; other times, an inquisitor that seems to be behaving improperly with the power may find themselves hauled before a Conclave and put on trial. It's self-limiting and self-policing in that regard.

All up, it really is a "how long is a piece of string" kinda situation - although there's a bit of a spectrum of distinction between what an Inquisitor may *personally* lay claim to , perhaps on 'permanent secondment', versus what they're able to requisition on a case-by-case and cause-by-cause , mission-by-mission basis. 

So, *a* ship .. well, ok, sure. An entire battlefleet? That'd be requisition rather than permanent secondment, and it'd probably involve far less of the 'presents Rosette and issues demands', and much more 'politiking' to actually get institutional buy-in to furnish them with the resources they're after. Which is a much more tactful and likely to be successful approach at that scale, anyway.

To quote from a previous codex:

"They may have built up large cadres of Imperial Guardsmen, retaining their services for life as a permanent unit, often with its own uniform. [...]  Conversely, some Inquisitors of a militant mindset are akin to lords general, studying strategic maps or pouring over logistical inventories. They take command of friendly forces, supervising missions from afar through vox-link and gun-cam. They time their assaults with lethal precision and order the deployment of their weapons, whether Death Cult Assassin or orbital bombardment, as an extension of their own body. Some of these Inquisitors attain the highest of ranks, eventually leading not just small cadres of warrior-agents, but entire armies, even crusades. The line between general and Inquisitor may become blurred, for a time at least. Of course, it may come to pass that such an individual’s erstwhile peers come to resent or disapprove of his position, and an entirely new conflict is initiated."

"Those of a more martial standing may amass a small, private army of troopers drawn from the ranks of the Astra Militarum and other arms of the Imperium's sprawling military machine. An Inquisitor who requisitions the services of a Tempestus Scions platoon is unlikely to feel any compulsion to return the troops to their former command when his immediate need for them has passed.

 
Many hold on to such warriors, marshalled for future deployment. Such forces may in time develop their own traditions and histories, and wear with pride the heraldry of their master. The Inquisitor's untold powers allow the force to be equipped with such weapons and wargear as would be unobtainable to a conventional line unit, making them the envy of their former colleagues when their paths occasionally cross."

"Throughout his career, an Inquisitor is likely to amass a great wealth of personal assets. There is little they cannot requisition by dint of their position, from side arms to starships. "

All up, it comes down to leverage. 

If you can make it sound plausible that your inquisitor possesses the appropriate degree of leverage over the individual or institution (or, over the individual heading the institution, to then come down on some hapless individual) - then it flies.

Having a noble family 'owe a favour' to an inquisitor that results in a ship on loan , permanent secondment , or even perhaps a gift ? I can see it - must be one pretty substantial noble family, though, and no doubt one with interesting and intensive ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus to be able to have such things constructed. 

An interesting 'twist' in the narrative could be that said noble family weren't *quite* so innocent after all - and that it's only thanks to the inquisitor's "understanding" and covering up some bits and pieces that they didn't wind up burned at the stake and publicly disgraced due to the investigation. 'Leverage', you see - there's more to it that way, because it's not simply 'gratitude' but rather self-preservation that's the motivator for the benefactor.

In that sense, the "owe you one" becomes more prominent precisely because it's also a payoff to ensure the inquisitor in question is inclined to 'forget' certain things (and be far away - a starship is a great tool and facilitator for getting elsewehre, after all); which opens up another interesting plotline potential if somebody were to then decide it's too much of a risk for the inq to still be breathing, and they *just so happen* to be on a starship built by the people who now have an interest in it disappearing / suffering catastrophic failure somehow, who presumably also supplied the crew ... 

 
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Ah, yes, "requisition" is a much better word than "commandeer." I only used the latter because it's stuck in my head after watching So I Married an Axe Murderer recently.

 

If you don't already have them, I highly recommend the Inquisitor [game] rules. You can find links to three sites that provide them, including various homegrown rules, expansions, etc., in our Inquisitor [game] Resources (the Conclave is the best). All are freely available for download.

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One pathway to requisitions is through a given chamber militant, so for Ordo Xenos, that would be Deathwatch. 

 

I've always liked the Hunter Class Destroyer, and a Watch Fortress might have one. I don't know how closely you want your Inquisitor to work with their chamber, but the closer they are, the easier the requisition becomes. Typically, a Hunter will only transport a squad or two of Marines, though its crew would be much larger.

 

I know you said your purpose isn't gaming, but flying an Inquisitor and a Deathwatch Lieutenant around in a Corvus Blackstar with a Proteus Kill-team, split so that each character has a five Marine combat squad running escort duty... It's the whole reason I started building a Deathwatch force. Again though, for a story, that can be limited- the Chambers Militant are only going to be involved with certain types of story.

 

Which brings up another point: your Inquisitor's warband and the resources they bring to bear will, to some extent, depend upon the nature of the antagonist. You might want to give them some thought to figure out what the Inquisitor will want/ need in order to confront them.

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Thanks very much everyone, you've all given me some serious food for thought!

 

I think the ship as a gift idea is going to get thrown out of the window.  I must admit I do like the idea of having 'requisitioned' a ship from a guilty party though!  I must admit my knowledge of ship classes is very poor, and I think a smaller ship is the way to go - maybe big enough to hold some form of transport for planetary work.

 

I also love the Sword of Damocles idea, maybe the Inquisitor brought in a ship's master that owed him, thanks to some shady activity that the Inquisitor threatened punishment for, unless he served under the Inquistor?

 

Anyone got any idea on smaller ships, just so I can visualise it a bit better?

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With the leverage idea you could go further if you wanted your Inquisitor to be extra shady and/or "ends justify the means" - perhaps the great weight held to control ship is in fact contrived by the Inquisitor himself? If there's not a path before you there's something to be said for making one :tongue.:

 

I'm not too familiar with ships beyond the most common ones, but a quick search should find you more than you could ask for :thumbsup:

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Thanks WF!

 

I'm thinking maybe the ship is owned by a disgraced Rogue Trader, whose own hubris cost him his explorator fleet, leaving him with a single vessel, having to make ends meet by taking odd jobs.

 

The Inquisitor knows that it was the trader's own actions that caused the death of his fleet and uses that knowledge to guilt the trader into servitude, while maybe offering payment to soften the blow of the blackmail?

 

Just need to figure out what kind of ship to use, I liked the idea of the Loki Class Q ship, a military craft disguised as a merchant ship, but armed to the teeth, maybe that could be the only survivor of the aforementioned fleet, most of the crew replaced by servitors after losing so many of the human crew?

 

Man, the creative juices are flowing!

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I'd go with the more direct, so the Inquisitor is holding the Rogue Trader's fate in his hands explicitly. There are lots of ways you could play this, the Imperium could be unaware of his failure/crime/etc and the Inquisitor holds this in his palm. It also offers up potential internal conflict as the captain wants to worm out of his predicament, or it could be a more willing engagement as he seeks to atone for his failure - whether the Inquisitor thinks he can complete his debt to the Emperor is another matter :laugh.:

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I'd go with the more direct, so the Inquisitor is holding the Rogue Trader's fate in his hands explicitly. There are lots of ways you could play this, the Imperium could be unaware of his failure/crime/etc and the Inquisitor holds this in his palm. It also offers up potential internal conflict as the captain wants to worm out of his predicament, or it could be a more willing engagement as he seeks to atone for his failure - whether the Inquisitor thinks he can complete his debt to the Emperor is another matter :laugh.:

 

Yes, yes, I like this.  The Inquisitor imposing that this is the one way to atone for his failure in the eyes of the Emperor, making the Rogue Trader willing, but unwilling at the same time.  That internal conflict would be quite interesting.

 

I've bitten the bullet and ordered my first models to represent the Inquisitor & one of his closest confidants, so lets see where this goes!

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Excellent, don't forget to keep us updated on your progress :thumbsup:

 

I often find that once you start aligning the pieces the doors open by themselves. Perhaps the Inquisitor needs to dangle the carrot from time to time, when the RT starts to get cold feet or doubt if absolution is achievable? Maybe he incurs extra sins as he goes to remain in service - possibly orchestrated by the Inquisitor. There's also options for a cunning Inquisitor to insert his agents amongst the crew, to make sure he knows what's happening and everyone stays "on mission"...

 

There are many things you could do, but maybe these ideas can get the grey matter going :wink: If you get them on to the battlefield then their stories write themselves; one of the many merits of the DIY :biggrin.:

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Another player in the game you say?  Colour me intrigued!

 

Yeah, I'd like to be able to model all my ideas and get them on the table.  I wonder what the next set of Kill Team rules would be like?  Unless the Inquisition finally get a decent Codex to allow a bit more freedom rules-wise.  From what I understand, it's pretty restrictive at the moment?

 

I delved through my collection of half started projects and managed to find three Vostroyan lasriflemen, an acolyte, a Chimera and an old character model with a shotgun and massive beard, holding a skull brazier atop a small standard.  His name escapes me though.

 

So it's looking like some small foundations are being laid as we speak!

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We're a long time from the Inquisition's heyday so I'd keep hopes and expectations tempered for the future as GW isn't really interested in them currently aside from some flavour. Better than nothing at least :tongue.: If you haven't got it already Battlescribe is great for playing around with lists to see what you can do :thumbsup:

 

Sounds like you have the starts of an Inquisitorial warband so with a few more additions you're probably set to start looking into the supplementary codex forces :smile.:

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Yeah, I've never really understood why GW keeps them as such a fringe faction, when there's so much potential creativity!  To be honest, the project is more just that, a narrative project for my enjoyment rather than gaming, but it would be nice if one day things improve and I could field them on the tabletop.

 

Yeah, I have Battlescribe, I've mainly been using it to catalogue the forces I do have, but it could be interesting to play around, see what I can do!

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