Astartes and the Inquisition
By Grand Master Tyrak
The Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition is the shadowy organisation that polices the Imperium in an attempt to keep the right from doing wrong, to punish those who do wrong, and to defend against the enemy within and without. Its authority is absolute, its members are (mostly) as fanatical and devout as the Astartes, and there are few doors that can successfully be barred against an Inquisitorial Seal. No-one is truly safe from their judgement, even the Astartes.
And you are?: The theory of the Inquisition
Before we start examining the interactions between the Astartes and the Inquisition, let's take a moment to run through the legal theory on which the Inquisition is based. The Inquisitorial Mandate is what gives the individual Inquisitor his power and authority - it gives them absolute authority over all other Imperial organisations, and the presentation of an Inquisitorial Seal is an authority that cannot be blocked. Unlike the Planetary Governors and the Adeptus Arbites, who merely enforce Imperial Law, the authority of an Inquisitor covers the grey area which the authority of the Emperor covers but which Imperial Law does not. Since the Astartes reside in that grey area, that means the Inquisition can and will police you - unless the Emperor gets up off the Golden Throne and blocks it, it trumps any authority you've got.
Dodging Bullets: How authority is applied
However, the practical reality is not so simple. Thanks to the Imperial policy of the separation of powers and the introduction of Guilliman's Codex, the Astartes Chapters are responsible for their own policing. This doesn't make the Inquisition redundant, but it does mean that they generally operate a "hands-off" policy when it comes to the Astartes. They are still proactive when it comes to policing you, and Inquisitors will turn up from time to time to check up on you, but there is still an underlying responsibility for the Astartes to police themselves. Problems within the Chapters will generally be resolved in-house, meaning that the traditional independence of the Astartes can be maintained. Due to the Inquisition's permanent mistrust of anyone required by their role and the desire of the Astartes to protect their independence, relations between the Astartes and Inquisitors are not going to get any better than mutual respect. The Space Marines get a great deal of latitude under Imperial law, but if they fail to uphold their end of the deal by policing themselves then the Inquisition will definitely step in.
Since interfering with the Astartes always causes a diplomatic stir, the wise Inquisitor will simply tip off another Chapter about the problem, allowing the Astartes to resolve their problems in-house without showing the hand of the Inquisition at work and without any diplomatic baggage. The Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes are still powerful political forces in the Imperium (some more than others), and it doesn't do any good to upset them for no reason. Often the Inquisition can manipulate the situation without causing any trouble, so it's really a rare situation where an Inquisitor has to turn up in person to deal with a wayward Chapter. After all, the original creed of the Inquisition was "Strength through Unity", and there's only one faction who'll willingly violate that on a regular basis (more on that later). It's not really plausible for an Inquisitor to turn up and try to punish your Chapter for a minor misdemeanour - he's going to receive short shrift when his peers hear about it, and is likely to be censured. The ripples caused by censuring an Astartes Chapter are severe, and are even greater if the Chapter is declared Excommunicate Traitoris. Bringing an Inquisitor into your Chapter to punish you requires a good reason, and this is particularly relevant for Index Traitoris articles. If your defection is caused by an Inquisitor, there needs to be a good reason for him to be involved. Why is he there? What has your Chapter done wrong, and why couldn't it have been resolved in-house? If you can't answer these, chances are the Inquisitor is being used as a variant of Deus ex Machina - Inquisitor ex Machina.
The real reason why we came - what the Inquisition wants
Most of the time the reason an Inquisitor will involve himself with your Chapter is because he wants something. Favours have always been the currency of political power, and the same is true of the Imperium. Perhaps there is an emergency that the Chamber Militant cannot get to in time, or he's got some information about one of your Brother Chapters that need acting on without having to officially involve the Inquisition. For those Inquisitors of a Radical bent, maybe he knows precisely what you've been up to and has come to blackmail you into helping him. For the DIYer, the general rule is "Play nice". Ignoring his request isn't going to gain you anything but trouble, and even if you can validate your action because of another emergency you might still end up earning his enmity (this will almost always mean he's lost something important to him/his faction/his Ordo rather than anything petty-minded). Agreeing to his request will mean he owes you one, and if it's a particularly big favour it might earn you something more tangible too.
Don't bargain too hard though - the Inquisitor can just "pull rank" and invoke his authority to make you get on with your duty. He's not going to be asking for anything outside of your duty (even the Radicals stick with what they believe is the good of the Imperium), and if you strain the diplomatic niceties too much he'll just use his Inquisitorial seal. Play the political games and don't have your Chapter behave like a bull in a china shop. Only the Chapters of Legend have enough political clout to get away with that, and that's because there will always be Inquisitors who think that those Chapters are not worth alienating. Your Chapter will not have this advantage. A Space Marine Chapter is a highly valuable asset to the Imperium, but very few are priceless.
"I thought you were my Brothers" - the consequences
For those of you looking to have a rocky relationship with the Inquisition in your Chapter, I'm afraid there's a lot of baggage that comes with that decision. The biggest and baddest is of course the label of Excommunicate Traitoris. If this happens to your Chapter, it can be a defining moment, especially for Index Traitoris articles. First of all, you need a reason - why have you been excommunicated? It's not quite as serious as a declaration of Exterminatus, but excommunicating a Space Marine Chapter is still a major event in the Imperium and isn't going to happen for no reason. The best way to examine the deterioration of relations which can lead to excommunication is to study the Badab War. In that scenario, that was provoked by the Astral Claws trying to exercise freedoms that they did not have a right to: withholding their gene-seed tithes. That was ultimately exploited by Huron to his own ends, but the important point is the reactions.
First of all, the Imperium steps in. The Astral Claws have responsibilities to fulfil and they are not going to get away with shirking them. Huron manages to sway three Chapters to his side by claiming that the independence of the Adeptus Astartes is being threatened, but only three. The rest of the Chapters do not join him, and stay out of the fight. This shows us that you can't go and do whatever you please and then expect your brother Chapters to back you up. The mythical Astartes vs Inquisition conflict is never going to materialise, not least due to the divided nature of both organisations. The conflict continues until the Fire Hawks are dragged in after an attack on one of their ships by the Mantis Warriors. That's the turning point in the conflict - it's clear that getting a Chapter on-side lends a huge amount of legitimacy to your cause, particularly since the Astartes police each other. If another Chapter has joined an Inquisitor (blackmailed or not) and both have started a conflict against you then your prospects do not look good. Since the Astartes are known for having a degree of pride, it might be easier than you think to convince another Chapter that your behaviour has stained the honour of the Adeptus Astartes and requires punishment in order to cleanse the stain. It is effectively a version of the "Chamber Militant trump" that can be used by the Grey Knights and the Sisters of Battle. For the DIYer, this can be used to have your Chapter be chased out of the Imperium (by a blackmailed Chapter perhaps?), or as a turning point onto the road to redemption for a Chapter that has been blackmailed. Revealing the Radical who's blackmailing you to destroy an 'innocent' Chapter could be enough to reduce your sentence for your original crimes.
There are also lesser punishments that the Inquisition can employ. Censuring is not unheard of, though the exact nature of the punishment has never really been outlined. Comparing it to the other known punishment, the penitent crusade, it seems that this would likely be either a warning of some sort. The penitent crusade can be a defining moment for your Chapter, as it usually involves you being stripped of your homeworld. Perhaps the penitent label has made your Chapter resentful, or perhaps they have found a new humility?
Whatever the punishment, an Inquisitorial sanction is going to be a lasting influence on your Chapter. Since it's going to be hard to run a plausible scenario where your Chapter was completely innocent but was punished anyway (but it's not impossible), you also need to think hard about what your Chapter did wrong. Is it something that can be redeemed? The flaws in a Chapter can be a great place to build character, and it's there that the Inquisitorial sanction is most useful for a DIYer.
The structure of the Inquisition is deliberately designed to be disorganised - much like Guilliman designed the Chapters to be autonomous units guarding against each other, the individual Inquisitors can gainsay one another. Each one has absolute authority, but they have to answer to their peers. For you, this means that some friendly Inquisitors who are willing to stick up for you can go a long way to protecting your Chapter from other Inquisitors, and the motives of either group don't have to be all that pure
. Either way, the idea that "the Inquisition thinks/does" something in a united manner is simply false. There will always be some who disagree about something, even against the big threats like the Black Crusades. Look at Lord Kryptmann - very few Inquisitors agreed with his policy concerning Hive Fleet Leviathan, and he got excommunicated for it, despite being the top expert on Tyranids in the Imperium. Influence only gets you so far.
However, this does not mean to say that the Inquisition consists of petty-minded, scheming, power-hungry sadists who torture people for fun and conduct Exterminatus' at the weekend for some variety. Nothing could be further from the truth - it's like claiming the Astartes consists of 99% traitors who are just waiting for their chance to break out and join the Traitor Legions in the Eye of Terror. If it was true, then the Imperium would have fallen millennia ago. The majority of Inquisitors are Puritan, a few are Radical, but the chances of finding an Inquisitor who's not dedicated to the good of the Imperium are coming close to nil. What they do disagree on though is their methods, and that's where the DIYer can benefit.
A little formula I like to use when analysing what should happen to a Chapter that's been caught red-handed at something barred by Imperial law is this: for every three to four Puritans who think the Chapter is guilty, there will be one Puritan who thinks the Chapter is innocent, one Radical who thinks the Chapter is innocent but is unwilling to speak up due to his own Radical leanings, and one Radical who thinks he should try to shield the Chapter from harm in order to extract favours and better serve
the greater good of the Imperium. The Inquisition is deliberately disunited, so it's quite easy for the DIYer to find some friends in the Inquisition. The trick is to justify it.
Ideology: Who will help you with dodgy things and why
The factional nature of the Inquisition means that there will always be some groups who are willing to help you, and some who will not. Rather than simply re-listing them, I'm just going to put in a link
to the much more extensive Librarium article on Inquisitorial factions, and you can read up on the nuances as you wish.
Their motivations are the key to using Inquisitors with DIY
Chapters. Why have they come? For the Puritan factions it is much easier - think back to the section on what the Inquisition wants. These are the dutiful, utterly loyal, all-but-incorruptible individuals who'll turn up with a particular problem for you to solve. When you involve the Radicals, however, things get a little more interesting. Perhaps your Chapter is unknowingly being destabilised and brought into conflict with other Imperial institutions by an Isstvaanian cabal, or a Xanthite is manipulating you for his research into Chaos. Perhaps, like the Relictors, you willingly associate with Radicals in order to further their aims in return for protection. You could even interweave factions - perhaps a Monodominant is looking for a squad of Space Marines to add some legitimacy to his raid and arrest on a suspected Horusian? The possibilities are all but limitless.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Some well-known Inquisitors
There are a few restrictions, exceptions and specialities though, which all come from named characters. In the same way that including a named Space Marine character in your Chapter's history can break the suspension of disbelief, including the "wrong" Inquisitor doing the "wrong" things can also break the suspension of disbelief. As with all named characters, including them in your IA is horribly tricky to do well and more often than not is simply a gimmick. Think long and hard about whether or not to include a named character - the Inquisition is vast, and all of the benefits of a named character can be gained from an Inquisitor who you've just made up yourself and with none of the issues that come with including a named character. All you really gain from including a named Inquisitor is the chance that the reader might already know who you're talking about, at the cost of having to work very hard to avoid breaking the suspension of disbelief. That said, if you are set on including a named Inquisitor, here's a list of the seven most prominent Inquisitors and how/if they can be included in your IA.
First off, Inquisitor Lord Kryptmann
of the Ordo Xenos. This guy is the Imperium's premier expert on the Tyranid menace. Being a 41st millennium character, he's not going to be alive earlier than that, so you can't include him in the 36th millennium, for example. He was excommunicated due to his policy on Hive Fleet Leviathan - despite the success of that policy, it's not known if his excommunication has been lifted so it's not really possible to include him after the arrival of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Having him arrive in person is like adding Marneus Calgar to your Chapter though, so it's best if your contact is second-hand. Maybe you've had training from one of Kryptmann's disciple Inquisitors, or maybe you're trying to hunt him down to either bring him back to the (overt) service of the Imperium or to justice.
Secondly, Inquisitor Lord Czevak
, who is assumed to be from the Ordo Xenos. He is to Eldar what Kryptmann is to Tyranids, and is privileged (cursed?) enough to have been into the Black Library itself. Again he's a 41st Millennium character, but his expertise is limited. The power that guards the Black Library prevents him from speaking on what is inside there, so it's not really possible to go and interrogate him for the secrets of the Eldar. His last recorded appearance is at the Conclave of Har, after his return from Eldar imprisonment and his trip to the Black Library, so his current status is unknown. The knowledge he gained about Chaos from the Eldar could lead him to provide advice on Chaos as well as Xenos, which causes the confusing between whether he's affiliated with the Ordo Xenos or the Ordo Malleus. Due to his significant status, I would avoid including him in your Chapters to avoid breaking the suspension of disbelief, but the same trick that can be used for Kryptmann can be used for Czevak - second-hand interaction.
Thirdly, Inquisitor Lord Torquemada Coteaz
of the Ordo Malleus. Not much is known about him save what is in the Daemonhunters Codex, but he's still a fairly major character. He's Puritan, so no Radical stuff from him, and he seems to have little time for the political games that plague the Imperium. It's going to be very hard for the Loyalist DIYers to tie him in, but those writing Index Traitoris articles he can be very useful. As a famously ruthless and uncompromising Inquisitor, he's the perfect person to include if you want to legitimize your excommunication.
Next, Inquisitor Lord Fyodor Karamazov
of the Ordo Hereticus. He's also Puritan, and a Monodominant to boot. This doesn't help with Loyalist DIYers any more than Torquemada Coteaz did, but again it's the Index Traitoris writers who can profit from including him. Use him and his Throne of Judgement in the same way that you would use Coteaz.
The newest Inquisitor to join the group is Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex
of the Ordo Malleus. His allegiances are not mentioned, but due to his actions at Vraks and his association with the Grey Knights it's safe to assume that he's a Puritan. There's more space for the Loyalist DIYers to work with, since less is known about him, but otherwise use him in the same manner as Coteaz and Karamazov.
The last two are Inquisitors Eisenhorn and Ravenor
. I'll do these together since the same applies to both of them. Unfortunately, despite being well-known characters they are off-limits to DIYers - they are simply too well known. Their activities have been so well documented that there really isn't enough space to work with - if it's not in the books, then it's not going to work.
Daemonic Awareness: The Grey Knights
All three of the major Ordos have their own Chamber Militant, and each will interact with your Chapter in different ways. The Ordo Malleus have the Grey Knights, the Ordo Hereticus have the Adepta Sororitas, and the Ordo Xenos has the Deathwatch.
First off, the Grey Knights. These guys are incredibly secretive about their existence, so if you want your Chapter to have had contact with them you need a Very Good Reason. Your Chapter is not going to know much about them, and that should be reflected in your Index Astartes article. For those of you with high psyker rates on your homeworld who want to send recruits into the Grey Knights, I'm sorry but it's not going to work. These guys haven't stayed secret for ten millennia with no reason, and no Inquisitor worth his salt is going to ring up the proud parent Chapter to tell them that one of their minions has been accepted into the Grey Knights. Psykers will just be loaded up on the Black Ships and disappear, like they do everywhere else. That doesn't rule out getting people from your homeworld into the Grey Knights, but it's not going to feature in an IA since you will never know. The fact that you never know means that it doesn't add anything to your Chapter, even if your IA is written from an omniscient perspective.
For those of you wishing to fight alongside them, think through it carefully. No Inquisitor is going to waste his favours calling on the Astartes when he can get the Chamber Militant for free. There's little chance of a major Grey Knight deployment alongside an Astartes Chapter without a very good reason (read: Angron), and that sort of significant event is best left to official GW
work. Otherwise it might sound just a little too awesome
. A single squad is a realistic amount - there wasn't enough of the Chamber Militant available, the Inquisitorial Stormtroopers aren't up to it, and so we need your help. If it's a fully fledged Black Crusade, you can have two squads, or one of Grey Knight Terminators. This may sound restrictive, and it is, but there aren't nearly enough Grey Knights to go round. You're a privileged Chapter if you even get to see one.
A successor Chapter based off Grey Knight gene-seed is definitely out. Although there is still confusion about the gene-seed of the Exorcists and how they relate (it at all) to the Grey Knights, it's not possible for your Chapter to use it. Even if there is precedent, it's just too awesome to not break the suspension of disbelief.
For those of you writing Index Traitoris articles, the Grey Knights are to practical Inquisitorial authority what the Inquisitorial seal is to theoretical authority. They are the trump card - if they think you're guilty then no amount of pleading, political guile or favours will save you. Damnation from the incorruptible Chapter is the closest you can get to damnation from the Emperor. If you're looking for a definitive reason for you being kicked out for anything vaguely Chaos-related, these are the guys to include. However, that does sort of rule out the "renegade-but-loyal-to-the-Emperor" angle, unless of course you're going for a hypocritical Chapter.
Burn the Heretic: Sisters of Battle
Secondly, the Adepta Sororitas, also known as the Sisters of Battle. These ladies have a very good reputation in the Imperium too, and are much easier to involve in a DIY
Chapter since there are more of them. Whilst there are much fewer Grey Knights in the Imperium than Space Marines, there are probably about the same number of Sisters of Battle in the Imperium as there are Space Marines, if not more. It's quite easy to include a battle alongside them in your IA without interfering with any fluff. Politically, it's a bit more complicated though. Although they are the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus, they are also the militant arm of the Ecclesiarchy. A dispute between the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition over your Chapter is unlikely to result in the Adepta Sororitas taking sides. In the interests of diplomacy, they're likely to just sit it out until a conclusion is reached.
There are numerous orders of the Adepta Sororitas in the Imperium: the six major militant orders are the most prominent and are spread all over the galaxy, but there are also many minor militant orders. Feel free to exercise your creative side and invent your own Order. There are also the non-militant orders: these too are spread galaxy-wide, but generally don't have much business with the Astartes. The most likely place to come across a member of the non-militant orders is on an Inquisitor's staff.
For those making Index Traitoris articles, these ladies are also politically very powerful. When acting as a Chamber Militant, their credibility is second only to the Grey Knights. Despite widespread speculation among the Warhammer community, only one Sister has been confirmed to have fallen to Chaos. For any of you wishing to include fallen Sisters of Battle in your warbands, be aware that you are on very shaky ground. In my opinion, it's best to avoid that controversy. Whatever the truth, their faith still makes them highly regarded and a damnation from them is not one that can be brushed off. Despite not being Space Marines, the combination of numbers and training mean they are quite capable of turfing a Chapter out of their homeworld.
Suffer Not The Alien To Live: The Deathwatch
Last but not least, the Deathwatch. Information on these guys is scarce, so although there's not much you can use there is plenty of scope for filling in the gaps. What is known is that their recruits are taken from the Chapters themselves, and unlike the other Chambers Militant do not draw on a separate source. For the DIYer, this means there can be plenty of Deathwatch links in your IA. Whilst the Deathwatch retain the ability to pick and choose who it wants seconded to its Kill-teams, this is likely to be subject to the political reality of the Imperium. They aren't going to refuse a recruit lightly, but by the same token nor will a Chapter refuse to send a particular Battle-Brother if he's been specially requested. Once a Battle-Brother has served a tour of duty and survived, he returns to his parent Chapter, retaining the distinctive Deathwatch shoulderpad. For the Chapter, this means he gets access to certain special items that he brings back with him from his tour of duty - not much use to the rest of the Chapter, but a tour of duty with the Deathwatch can be useful for building up a particularly character. Alternatively, you could do what the Ultramarines did after the Battle for Macragge and send large numbers to the Deathwatch in order to replace the lost veterans of the First Company. A Chapter that suffers a particularly harsh loss may find that Deathwatch service can help fast-track replacements in getting up to standard. It may even be that the Ultramarines were not the first to do this - who knows?
For Index Traitoris articles, there's really not much to go on here. Being Alien Hunters, the Deathwatch don't really have much of a role in dealing with renegade Chapters. Alien-based corruption is always a possibility though, if done well. The insistence on a particular Battle-Brother for Deathwatch service may plant the seed of resentment in the Chapter, or it may inadvertently reveal a secret that the Chapter wanted to keep hidden.
A note to DIYers: as per the guide to the Don'ts of DIYing
, it is not possible for your Chapter to have been created in order to fulfil the specific role of the Inquisition, one of its component Ordos or one of the Chamber Militants. The job is already taken. However, it is still possible for a Chapter to take it upon themselves to fulfil the role of a pre-existing organisation. This area is by no means "closed off". Perhaps the Chapter's mistrust of the Inquisition has led it to try to take over parts of its role, leading to the Inquisition in general interpreting it as a massive insult to their loyalty (which it is). Sparks will inevitably fly as a result of it, but a good story can overcome the set background if you are prepared to deal with the severe consequences of muscling in on another Imperial organisation. The Inquisition Factions of the Inquisition The Thorian Sourcebook
- more detailed information on factions, free to download from GW
's website.The Grey Knights The Adepta Sororitas The Deathwatch