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Inquisition's relation with the law


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#1 Gurkhal

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 12:11 PM

Ok, at the request of a player I am posting this question:

 

Are the words of the Inquisition law?

 

So in effect, can one sue the Inquisition for criminal acts committed by them and get recompensation if the Inquisitor would be proven to have broken the law?


Edited by Gurkhal, 30 July 2014 - 12:12 PM.


#2 ThenDoctor

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 12:22 PM

Never in my mind did I think I'd read the phrase "sue the Inquisition"

 

From what I understand and run the Inquisition only answers to those above them. Meaning The Emperor, and the High Lords because they speak on His behalf.

 

That isn't to say a low ranking inquisitor couldn't be put on trial by a jury of his peers, note peers meaning other and higher ranking inquisitors, based on his or her actions.

 

That isn't to say there aren't drawbacks for pissing of the Adeptus. Annoy the Administratum and let me know just how long it takes for that requisition to get through without you personally slicing the red tape with a power sword.

 

Generally it's a "In the pursuit of his or her mission and objective the Adeptus Arbites have to let an Inquisitor do as he or she pleases within reason." Like they couldn't summon a demon or something like that.The first Shira Calpurnia novel has an Inquisitorial involvement in the middle of an Adeptus Arbite investigation. It's a very good novel I highly suggest it. Essentially he was allowed free reign because there just wasn't anything they could do to stop him.

 

If an Inquisitor is ever in a trial, generally the result is him or her being stripped of title, and generally mind wiped or killed outright. Depending on who they annoyed possible servitor fodder, or worse given what the Adeptus Mechanicus can come up with.


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#3 Lynata

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 12:56 PM

The exact extent of the Inquisition's authority tends to depend on the interpretation of whoever writes a book - but even in GW's original material, it was very "fluid" in that a lot depended on the individual Inquisitor's connections. In theory, the Inquisition is above the law, can requisition anything into their service, and can make a move even against individual High Lords. In practice, however, Inquisitors operate using resources granted from various Imperial factions, and there is always the option for anyone to simply say "no" regardless of official decrees.

 

It just tends to be so that Trooper Joe Shmuck from Planet Hinterland is likely to just get shot with no further questions asked, whereas more powerful individuals may be considered too important by other Inquisitors, or may even have such a good relationship with them that they can simply refuse to work with anyone but that one guy/gal. Things get very messy as soon as you have one Inquisitor butting heads with another, which is why most of the time such entanglements are to be avoided, and the one with fewer contacts/influence just caves in. Of course, often it is hard to assess for both sides how powerful their opponent is exactly, which is when both sides end up believing they are in their right to demand submission, and that is usually when shots are fired. The real losers tend to be whatever allies the less powerful Inquisitor managed to loop into their mess.

 

 

From the Thorian Sourcebook:

 

"The basic operational unit of the Inquisition is the Inquisitor. In an Imperium that groans under the weight of gargantuan organisations and an impossible bureaucracy, the Inquisition is unfettered by such considerations and is free to operate where and how it sees fit. With an open remit to combat threats to Mankind, the Inquisition operates outside of the other Imperial organisations, though it has absolute authority over them.
 
In practice, the Inquisition must be more political than its mandate allows. Though their power derives from the Emperor himself, and even the High Lords of Terra are not above their scrutiny, the Inquisition must also rely on the other parts of the Imperium for resources. Though the Inquisition has tremendous amounts of power, and has access to troops, weaponry and archives beyond most other Imperial organisations, it must still receive these from the Adeptus Astartes, the Imperial Guard, the Adeptus Mechanicus and others. In essence, the Inquisition exists not as a force in its own right, but as a guiding hand that allows the Imperium to protect itself, after a fashion."
 
 
Ultimately, though, the fluff is malleable and its interpretation is up to you / your group!

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#4 Askil

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 01:51 PM

The Inquisition is the right hand of the Emperor, it is above obeying the petty and incovenient laws of man and beyond legal reproach.

 

The only people who can call foul on an inquisitor are his peers, even then it's really only for moral crimes or treason.


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#5 Adeptus-B

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 10:43 PM

Inquisitors have extraordinary power within the Imperium (-but Ascension makes it clear that even among Inquisitors there are some benefits of power that are experience-dependent, and 'newly-minted' Inquisitors can't wield power as expansively as a veteran Inquisitor). But I think the original post is asking more about the activities of Acolytes. Exactly how much power Acolytes wield has always been poorly-defined in DH (something that I hope DH2 addresses).

 

In my campaign, I've always assumed that Acolytes, upon being formally recruited by the Inquisition, gained the status of Adeptus (if they didn't have it already), which puts them on a higher 'legal plane' than the overwhelming majority of Imperial citizens- able to legally own weapons (although permits may be required) and use them in self-defense, for instance- something an average hab-prol can only dream of. In 'real world' terms, being Adeptus is comparable to being a Freeman in Feudal Europe, while most people are mere Serfs with no legal rights beyond what their liege chooses to allow them.

 

Thus PCs have some inherent legal rights (unlike 99% of the Imperium), but that doesn't inherently give them the right to break existing laws. I operate under the assumption that Acolytes have Inquisitorial authorization to enact specific missions, with much legal leeway given in the pursuit of thereof, but no legal authority beyond the parameters of their current mission- at least, no more than any other member of the Adeptus of comparable rank. So, a group of Acolytes who foil a robbery that was completely unrelated to their current mission could, in my campaign, potentially be prosecuted for vigilantism.

 

And of course the labyrinthine maze of Imperial Law can allow powerful (politically or economically) individuals to challenge the means Acolytes use to pursue their mission if it causes harm to said individuals. Acolytes can usually get away with beating information out of a slumdweller, but they would be buried under a mountain of bureaucratic red tape if they barged uninvited into a planetary governor's home to ask him some questions...

 

But local populations tend to be easily cowed by mere mention of the 'big =][=', so Enforcers and other authorities tend not to challenge Acolytes unless they do something especially egregious. But if my players get too carried away, they know that the possibility is greater than zero that they may become hunted criminals. Their patron Inquisitor might intercede during the trail to exonerate his operatives- if they can provide him with a good explanation for their actions.

 

So, can powerful Imperial citizens 'sue' the Inquisition over wrongdoing? I assume that there are systems in place to file complaints and petition for compensation, judged by trusted high-ranking members of the conclave (who are likely no longer physically fit to perform other functions for the Inquisition), as one form of the Inquisition policing themselves. If this judiciary deems a complaint to be valid, the Inquisitor or operatives involved could be subject to reprimand or even censure. If a complaint is found to not be valid, well, bringing false accusations against the Holy Ordos is a high crime in its own right...

 

That's my take on it.


Edited by Adeptus-B, 30 July 2014 - 10:44 PM.

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#6 Lynata

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:38 AM

I assume that there are systems in place to file complaints and petition for compensation, judged by trusted high-ranking members of the conclave (who are likely no longer physically fit to perform other functions for the Inquisition), as one form of the Inquisition policing themselves.

 

I hear the Celestial Lions have experience in these matters.  :D


Edited by Lynata, 31 July 2014 - 01:39 AM.


#7 Fgdsfg

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:39 AM

Ok, at the request of a player I am posting this question:

 

Are the words of the Inquisition law?

 

So in effect, can one sue the Inquisition for criminal acts committed by them and get recompensation if the Inquisitor would be proven to have broken the law?

Are the words of the Inquisition law? In the most strictest of terms and interpretations, by all accounts I am aware of, that's a yes. Arguably.

The Lex Imperialis is a labyrinthine puzzle-maze of stacked pyramids full of false walls, moving corridors, immovable objects and unstoppable forces. I think that when it comes down to it, yes, the Inquisition's word is law, in so much as in theory, the Imperium is a feudal system, and the Inquisition only answers to the High Lords of Terra and the God-Emperor, while at the same time, the Inquisition has a mandate to investigate even the High Lords, making for a funny relationship.

 

In practice, however, it is much more complicated. While the Imperium is a feudal system built on a pretty much standard pyramid scheme, each servant is more or less only answerable to his own lord (or lady), meaning that while yes, the Inquisition is right there up at the top, that menial communications officer aboard Port Wander only answers to the Navy Commander, he's in fact in his direct "employ".

 

In this example however, it is likely that the Communications Officer would comply simply because, well, it's the Inquisition! A higher officer, however, might insist that it goes through the proper channels, even if he's afraid of the Inquisition. An even lower menial might not even know what the Inquisition really is, while someone part of another organization - let's say the Ecclesiarchy - might insist that you go through his superior, from top to bottom, from the lowest lay priest to the Ecclesiarch himself, simply because they may not recognize the Inquisitor's personal authority, or hold the direct authority of the next higher authority of their own structure(s) in higher regard.

 

So, to answer your question: Maybe?

 

I agree with everything Lynata said (as usual), and I agree mostly with Adeptus-B too (as usual). Note that having the authority to perform certain missions doesn't mean that there won't be a mountain of paperwork to explain your actions, or that the local authorities or power-players recognizes that authority just because you say so. It's my personal interpretation that the Acolytes have very little authority overall, and usually doesn't even have the means to identify themselves as the Inquisition.

 

Last, as for suing the Inquisition? Hahahaha, no.

 

Edit: You might be able to file a complain, but the Inquisition will police itself and itself only. Nothing they do will go on public record, and no public trials will be held. Expect this only to even be debatable if you are a major power-player of some kind, like a noble with significant pull, a sector commander, a general or admiral, or a planetary governor.


Edited by Fgdsfg, 31 July 2014 - 01:42 AM.

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#8 Routa-maa

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:54 AM

 

I assume that there are systems in place to file complaints and petition for compensation, judged by trusted high-ranking members of the conclave (who are likely no longer physically fit to perform other functions for the Inquisition), as one form of the Inquisition policing themselves.

 

I hear the Celestial Lions have experience in these matters.  :D

 

You have no Idea how much my Black Shield (ex-Celestial Lion) wants to strangle any Inquisitor he encounters.


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#9 Laoin

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 09:25 AM

As we all know, the Inquisiton is anything but a monolithic institution. There are orders and factions and sub-factions and radical splinter groups. There are disagreements and conflicts and even secret Inquisition wars. So what is the most dangerous enemy of an Inquisitor? Another Inquisitor. If there is anyone who tries to sue an Inquisitor, it's most likely another Inquisitor or faction of Inquisitors who wants to get rid of a rival or just someone with a different conviction. This can be done by legal instruments, by force or even by plain assassination. Who comes out on top of such conflicts depends more on the ressources, connections, power and influence of the conflicting parties than on the paragraphs of the Imperial Law. The Law is just one more weapon in such conflicts.

 

Apropos conflicts between Inquisitors: I think they are more probable in sectors like the Calixis Sector, where the Inquisition is very well organized and present, than in sectors like the new Askellon Sector, where there are only very few Inquisitors and groups of Acolytes. But that is up to every GM, I think. Same for the reaction of "the public" to a member of the Inquisition. On most worlds of the Calixis Sector people will know at least rumors about that institution. In the Askellon Sector or on barbarian worlds people might never have heard of the Inquisition or only as tales to frighten the kids ("Behave or the Inquisiton will come and get you").



#10 darkforce

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 09:55 AM

Technically, as mentioned multiple times, an Inquisitor only answers to the Emperor (praise be to him) and the High Lords.

 

HOWEVER! Practically, the situation looks different. Let's say you want to mobilize the PDF of that one planet and the local commander says 'nope'. You can certainly go the "HERESY!" way, shoot him in the face and put someone more to your liking on the vacant office. However, it'd probably have an (ever so slight) effect on morale (One way or another I guess) so sometimes, you're better off in trading favors. 

 

Also - accidents do happen. As long as whoever wants to get rid of an Inquisitor does a good job at covering their tracks, hell, there's probably nobody asking questions cause nobody knew what "that guy with the fancy hat" was doing here in the first place. 

 

Thus, an Inquisitor's power is very much situational, depending on who he's talking to, what is he requesting, how is his fame, etc etc [...] etc.

 

At least that's my interpretation. 


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#11 Mikmaxs

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:56 AM

Not to mention, if an Inquisitor pisses enough people off, you'll end up with a very short investigation.
He, uh... Fell. Down an elevator shaft. Onto some bullets.

#12 Lynata

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 02:02 PM

Not to mention, if an Inquisitor pisses enough people off, you'll end up with a very short investigation.
He, uh... Fell. Down an elevator shaft. Onto some bullets.

 

Of course, that's usually only the end of it if he/she was such a loser that they did not have any friends/allies.

 

Otherwise, be prepared for further surprises.

 

A lot depends on circumstances, connections, public exposure etc. The last thing the Inquisition as a whole wants is to see its authority undermined, and even the most "unimportant" Inquisitor must be considered sacrosanct by anyone except their peers, so if they are killed, even those who did not like them will have to support sanction.

 

That said, if you really do manage to keep it clean and prevent knowledge of this incident from spreading... well, let's just say other Inquisitors might not be keen to investigate that death too closely, if they didn't really like that guy/gal. The Emperor's servants die heroic deaths in pursuit of their duty all the time, after all. Minor details such as those wounds looking a lot more like being caused by explosive rounds rather than a splinter rifle can easily disappear from the records. Autoquills are so unreliable these days. And that autopsy report? Someone must have misfiled it.  ;)


Edited by Lynata, 31 July 2014 - 02:05 PM.

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#13 Jargal

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 02:52 PM

 You can certainly go the "HERESY!" way, shoot him in the face and
 

 

And get a bullet in the nape from his adjutant, or bodyguard, who had just entered the room and did not hear your conversation.



#14 Gurkhal

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 04:31 PM

Thanks everyone for the input. With the help of this we have managed to reach some form of common ground and can now move forward. :)






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