Disclaimer: The following is sourced entirely from material directly by Games Workshop, which I personally prefer greatly to certain details in books such as Blood of Martyrs. I'm biased towards both the original fluff, and due to the nature of my sources, the following answers may not line up perfectly with what is written in the books of this RPG. Take this into consideration whilst evaluating my advice.
What are the tenets of the Imperial Cult?
I recommend getting your hands on the old 2nd edition Codex: Sisters of Battle (shouldn't be too hard to find on the internet these days *cough*). Aside from a whole lot of other background information on the Ecclesiarchy and the Sisterhood, it also contains a fairly detailed description of the Imperial Creed. It is important to keep in mind that due to how the Ecclesiarchy propagates the One True Faith, the details of its wording may differ from one world to another, but they are still uniform in their core meaning.
The core tenets could be summarised as:
- The Emperor is your god and saviour
- Obey your superiors in all things
- Deny the Alien, the Mutant, and the Heretic (note: "mutant" includes "witches")
Local versions of the faith may interpret these tenets differently, or add more details to them. For example, appreciation of pain as a form of penance for Mankind's eternal debt is a fairly common theme amongst various sub-cults, and I believe Dark Heresy even briefly talks about Death Cults in either the core rulebook or the Inquisitor's Handbook.
Are there any listed Litanies in full?
Is Latin used in their prayers or litanies?
If the sources are to be taken literally, yes. Their most important prayer is "Ad Spiritu Dominatus". Its full version is printed in the 2E Codex.
And although I do not agree with some of the information in the Black Library Uplifting Primer, I would have to echo ThenDoctor's suggestion of getting it. Although some of its contents contradict Codex fluff, it is a very entertaining book, and the litanies included in the back are rather fitting and immersive. I've used them in a few Dark Heresy games in the past myself.
If the God Emperor is the source of rule, and an Inquistor is his shepard sort to speak, then the PCs are an extension of his will. If an NPC refuses a decree by PCs with an Imperial Seal does that automatically make the NPC a heretic?
Let's just say an Inquisitor would certainly have the ability to make it appear that way.
Non-Inquisitors wielding that much influence is pretty much an invention of Dark Heresy, though. It could be less severe in such cases.
I'm looking for details such as the training of a Sister, do they get placed in front of books at the age of 5 and beaten with a stick if they mispronouced or something. I'm looking for details on how they are trained.
Although the Ecclesiarchy’s Schola Progenium accepts underage offspring of any qualifying Imperial servant, only those orphans who have been raised in the Schola from infancy can ever hope to be accepted into the ranks of the Sisterhood. The majority of Progena will become clerks and scribes in the Administratum, whereas the more martial minded graduates may spend the rest of their lives as non-commissioned officers in the Emperor’s fleets and armies or enforce Imperial law in the Adeptus Arbites. Only the very best will even be considered for transfer to the Commissariat, the Storm Trooper regiment or the Adepta Sororitas, and the Drill-Abbots, often retired veterans of the Imperial Guard, are committed to push their charges to their very limit in order to weed out the weak from the strong.
To preserve their purity, contact between the Progena is restricted by gender, the strict separation of sexes suspended only for religious ceremonies. Basic training is similar for all Progena, although special courses can be arranged if a child shows particular promise or, conversely, seems to trail behind the rest of their class. Religious indoctrination and military exercise dominate daily life in the habitat, but the Ecclesiarchy also ensures that each progena graduates with a level of knowledge that far surpasses the average level of education on most Imperial worlds.
A Progena will not know their eventual fate until reaching early adolescence. In this stage of education it is common for the Arch Drill-Abbot of a habitat to confer with his subordinate teachers and evaluate the student’s aptitude as displayed by the skills they have begun to display. Depending on the facility’s capabilities, most Progena will continue their training in the habitat, albeit now grouped into specific classes depending on their qualifications, and with an appropriately amended curriculum. At the age of 16, these graduates will be handed over to their respective organisations.
A girl intended for the Adepta Sororitas, however, will instead begin her novitiate in one of the Orders. At the age of 12, the Arch Drill-Abbot may submit her for consideration. If successful, a Sister Famulous will visit the habitat to personally accept the applicant, shipping her off to a convent capable of advancing her education. The novitiate usually takes five years, although it can be shortened or lengthened depending on when the responsible Mistress of Novices deems her charge ready for advancement. During these years, the Novice will learn about the history of the Sororitas and its Patron Saints, gain a deeper understanding of the Imperial Creed, and internalise the many rules that regulate daily life in the Sisterhood. Between her duties in faithfully serving her elder Sisters, she will also train with the sacred weapons of the Sororitas; the holy trinity of bolter, flamer and melta.
Upon successful completion of her novitiate, the soon-to-be Sister will travel to the Ecclesiarchal Palace on Holy Terra in order to take the Oaths of Adherence, the Ecclesiarch himself blessing the assembled five hundred Novices in a ceremony that lasts throughout the night. At dawn, a Sister Superior will approach the former Novice and formally adopt her into her squad, from now on being directly responsible for her spiritual wellbeing, physical condition, training, and discipline. The newly made Sister is then led away to don the armour and robes of her new Order before boarding the ship that will deliver her to the assigned convent.
In closing, I would say that your example with the stick seems quite applicable. The Drill Abbots are said to be very harsh people, and physical punishment was mentioned in the background more than once:
"Drill Abbots are famed for their stubbornness and tenacity, coupled with a rock solid faith in the Emperor. These are the main qualities they instil in their pupils, along with the ideals of humility and sacrifice. [...] Drill Abbots are a very special type of preacher, being excused from the normal duties of delivering sermons and ministering to the faithful. In appearance, though, they wear all of the normal priestly accoutrements, including robes, symbols of faith and purity seals, and devotional scripts.
It is not uncommon for Drill Abbots to wield heavy, brutal close combat weapons such as power hammers to pulp the heads of the heathens they fight. Some wield Staffs of Belief, which are carved from trees grown in the Garden of Saints on Terra; or the vicious Axe of Retribution that has a sharded, double-headed blade that rips through flesh and inflicts horrifying injuries.
To back up these close combat weapons, a Drill Abbot will normally have at least one gun, usually a heavy duty service pistol picked up whilst in the military. This can be complemented by numerous short swords, knives or mauls, or possibly an electro-baton which delivers a numbing shock and is usually employed to discipline wayward Progena. As veterans of real combat, many Drill Abbots sport prosthetic limbs and artificial organs, usually proudly displayed as trophies of honour rather than concealed beneath synskin or clothing.
In battle, the Drill Abbot lays about himself with his hammer or staff, bellowing hymnals and curses, fired with holy ire and sacred rage. They are staunch fighters, used to the hardships of military service and the stern living conditions experienced in the Schola Progenium abbeys. They are courageous and highly disciplined, a combination of both training and their fervent faith."
- GW Inquisitor RPG
For inspiration, I would recommend perhaps looking at the Third Reich, which had schools called "Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt" (National-Political Education Facility) where young boys and girls would be brainwashed into becoming physically fit, intelligent, and obedient little Nazis to take up positions in the party hierarchy or the military. It's the best real life comparison to the Schola Progenium I can come up with, and the climate could be quite similar.
There should be a lot of reading on the internet about it, but there's also a movie called Before the Fall. Here
is a trailer, in case you're curious.
Soritas are raised in Scholas and then selected to become a soritas for the most part. It likely varies with each chapter (or whatever grouping a soritas holds herself to) of Sisters how they are specifically trained.
Going by the Liber Sororitas in White Dwarf #293, the Adepta Sororitas are an extremely uniform organisation, as (unlike the Guard or the Space Marines) they can all trace back their traditions and regulations to a single point of origin - the San Leor Temple of the Daughters of the Emperor. Furthermore, all Orders are centrally organised in the Convents Prioris and Sanctorum on Terra and Ophelia VII with a singular leader for the entire organisaiton (the Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas, one of the potential High Lords of Terra). Due to this, it is fairly common for a Sister to transfer from one Order into another with a minimum of difficulty. Indeed, one of the early special characters, Helena the Virtuous, originally served in the non-militant Order of the Key, but this did not prevent her to rise to the position of Prioress Sanctorum, and thus become a battlefield commander for the Orders Militant as well. However, the most common transfers happen from the Militant to the Non-Militant Orders due to age or injury, or from the Non-Militant to the Militant Orders in a supporting capacity.
It should be pointed out, however, that a small degree of difference between the various Orders exists in details of its teachings or doctrinal interpretation, influenced by the personality of an Order's Founding Saint who unsurprisingly is treated like an ideal, leading many Sisters to display a noted tendency to that particular Saint's writings and aspire to walk in her path. One of the issues of White Dwarf following the 5E Codex release published a page that mentions what shape these influences may take: [image]
Hope this helps in some way!
Edited by Lynata, 23 August 2013 - 11:00 AM.