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The Nature of Heresy


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#1 Gregorius21778

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 02:45 AM

Greetings, brethern

up to now, we do not have any official list for acts of heresy. Besides what common sense tells us (for example denouncing the god-emporer, holding back the planetary tithe). Since for some of us (those GMing a group from Ordo Hereticus) some examples might be handy. A while I go, I noticed that all the "Calixis most wanted" (DotdG) come with a short summary of their crimes. A summary entitled "Confirmed Heresies".

What follows are some conclusion for examples of Heresy, open to discussion. Feel free to enter further points you found out, put please only add those you can quote a DH, RT or DW source for. Thanks!

Atrocities against Mankind; based on Myrchella Sinderfell (DotdG; p233). Based on here, I assuem that any grand slaughter of humans that is not justified by a war against traitors or a just purging would count as heresy

Witchcraft: okay, that is an easy one. Just added for completeness (p.234; DotdG). Funny thing is: "torture and multiple counts of murder" are listed in the same columne. Which leads the source a little ad absurdum. If torture would be heresy, the Imperium would just have turned into a place moraly a little above our actual western civilization. If murder would be heresy, the Arbites would need to sullen there hands witch common crimes. Which is said they do not.

Mental Violation: (p.234 DotdG).A nice point, me thinks. This would forbid a psyker to read another man´s mind if he isn´t justified to do so (working for a court, the inquisiton, the arbites, the governours seret police). But how is a pysker to proof his innocence?

Wanton Destruction: (p.234 DotdG). Again, a point that seems very mundane. Perhaps a question of scale?

Piracy (p.234 DotDG)

Murder of a Witchunter:(p.234 DotDG) which I deem to be only the case for "sanctioned witchhunters". Those announced by the Ministorum and recognized by the Ordo Hereticus (see BoM for Witchhunters).

Destruction/Killing of a Planet: (p.235) which is something... obvious.

Corrupting of faith/a faithfull sect; Founding of a heretical sect: (p.234) which seems to refer to "classical heresy", spreading of a heretical teaching among the faithful

Inciting Rebellion: (p.235) again, an obivous one.

Betrayal of the Holy Ordos / Killing of his agents (p.236) which makes inter-Inquisitional warfare a really dirty deed

Killing of members of the Adepta: This is an extrapolation of the mentioned  killing of an Arbites Team (p.236). My reason behind this interpretion is that it was heresy because they were direct servants of one of the Adepta, which are in turn direct servants to Terra. Under this interpretion, every murder of a member of one of the Adepta would be reason for an investigation of the Arbitrators and/or the Inquisition.
The fact that the destruction of a Member of the Mechanicus is listed on p.237 DotdG supports me in my opinion

Desecration & Tomb robbery: (p.237 DotdG). Desecration is no surprise, but tomb robbery seems to be playing in the same league. Perhaps a proper grave is something sacral?

Possesion of Forbidden Lore; Necromancy (p.237 DotdG) the first one is no surprise, the second is not either. But why is it listed seperately? Perhaps it is even more foul then witchcraft? Or perhaps the FFG authors only wanted to ensure to bring about the point what Magos Vathek (the accused Heretek) is about?

Multiple Accounts of Murder; Cannibalism;  (p.238 DotdG) Again, the mentioning of murder surprises me. This might be a misunderstanding on part of the author (to what is Heresy or what is mere crime). Otherwise, the Arbites will be really busy in the grim-dark world of 40K. Cannibalism is a nice point here. Especially if one takes "corpse starch rations" into account. My conclusion is that the imperial definition for cannibalism is the killing of a human with the intention of consumption. So recycling the dead is not sinful as long as they were not killed for just this reason (alone).

Slaving (p.238 DotdG) again, a little surprise. But on the other hand, perhaps that is the reason why you never here "slavery" in the DH-fluff but only "contract slavery" (holding a worker under a contract which rules ensure that he will never ever be able to repay his oder her depts).

Gerrymandering: (p.238 DotdG): my english is not good enough for this. What is the meaning?

Fraud, Blackmail (p.238 DotdG): this points are to me proof that even official DH sources are to be taken with a grain of salt. Either this, or the Arbitrator or busy with a lot of things.

Impersonation of an official of an Adepta: (p.238 DotdG) I tend to except this a heresy and not as an example of the above since it puts the Adepta into a special place withini the Imperium.

Illegal Sale of Holy relics: (p.238 DotdG) This raises the question: under which circumstances is a sale of holy relics legal? What makes it illegal? Does the Ministorum have to be asked for permission? Is it illegal to buy from other sources but the clerics of the Ministorum?


 

 

 



 



#2 Storhamster

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 03:25 AM

Gregorius21778 said:

Mental Violation: (p.234 DotdG).A nice point, me thinks. This would forbid a psyker to read another man´s mind if he isn´t justified to do so (working for a court, the inquisiton, the arbites, the governours seret police). But how is a pysker to proof his innocence?

Wanton Destruction: (p.234 DotdG). Again, a point that seems very mundane. Perhaps a question of scale?

Murder of a Witchunter:(p.234 DotDG) which I deem to be only the case for "sanctioned witchhunters". Those announced by the Ministorum and recognized by the Ordo Hereticus (see BoM for Witchhunters).

Desecration & Tomb robbery: (p.237 DotdG). Desecration is no surprise, but tomb robbery seems to be playing in the same league. Perhaps a proper grave is something sacral?

@Mental violation: The entire point may be that there is no way for the psycher to prove his innocence. Accusing a psycker of this heresy is probably a usual and reliable way to eliminate rivals. It functions in the same way as the prosecutions of witches in medieval europe.

The heresies of mental violation and murder of a witchhunter kind of makes it very important for a psycher to know his place since it would be very easy to condemn the psycher to burning and the psycher would not be allowed to defend himself 

@Desecration & Tomb Robbery: Doesn´t DoTG say that worship of the emperor revenant and different cults venerating the dead are very common in the imperium? It may well be that death itself is sacred according to the creed. The imperium definitly seem to worship sacrifice in all its forms. And a tomb is the ultimate expression of sacrifice? Therefore to violate a tomb is the same as spitting on the tradition of honoring sacrifice?



#3 Luddite

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 05:27 AM

My first reaction is 'they aren't heresies, they're crimes'.  However, it would seem that heresy and crime is conflated in the 40k RPG fluff so far.  :¬/

Gregorius21778 said:

Atrocities against Mankind; based on Myrchella Sinderfell (DotdG; p233). Based on here, I assuem that any grand slaughter of humans that is not justified by a war against traitors or a just purging would count as heresy
 

This fits well with the eugenicist and racist concepts that put the sanctity of human life above all other xenos/mutants/etc.

However, the implication here is that there are methods and mechanisms for defining and sanctioning 'great slaughter'.  I wonder what they are? 

Gregorius21778 said:

 

If torture would be heresy, the Imperium would just have turned into a place moraly a little above our actual western civilization. If murder would be heresy, the Arbites would need to sullen there hands witch common crimes. Which is said they do not. 
 

 

Torture appears to be an accepted and prevalent part of the modus operandi of the Adepta, although we have no definition of what constitutes torture.  Murder also, seems to be a common part of state sanctioned activity.  Indeed the Administratum planetary governors seem free to institute whatever regime they choose provided the tithes flow and the psykers are purged. 

A serious mess of 'grey area' ensues here i think.

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Mental Violation: (p.234 DotdG).A nice point, me thinks. This would forbid a psyker to read another man´s mind if he isn´t justified to do so (working for a court, the inquisiton, the arbites, the governours seret police). But how is a pysker to proof his innocence?
 

 

This one is VERY interesting given the endless threads moaning about how 'unbalanced' psykers are.  Sanctioned psykers should be roleplayed as humble serveants of the Imperium who live out their lives according to Adepta ascribed rules.  This would seem to be one of them - psykers must not use their mind reading on unwilling subjects.  Very useful.

As you say though, how is this monitored?  Perhaps the Sanctionite must submit to regular peer review where his own thoughts are probed?  Who knows.

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Wanton Destruction: (p.234 DotdG). Again, a point that seems very mundane. Perhaps a question of scale?


 

So the Imperium places great value on material possessions so that its destruction without reason is considered heresy?  I can see such a sanction being in place among the AdMech but really, would the Administratum be concerned with this? 

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Piracy (p.234 DotDG)


 

Against starships?  Sea vessels?  Given the billions of vessels transporting essential tithe-supplies around the Imperium, it makes perfect sense that any threat to that is severely punished.

Gregorius21778 said:

 

Murder of a Witchunter:(p.234 DotDG) which I deem to be only the case for "sanctioned witchhunters". Those announced by the Ministorum and recognized by the Ordo Hereticus (see BoM for Witchhunters).
 


 

Fair enough. 

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Destruction/Killing of a Planet: (p.235) which is something... obvious.
 


 

Outside of Exterminatus presumably.

This raises some interesting questions - what could you do that would 'kill a planet' that would not in itself constitute heresy?  I.e. isn't this one slightly redundant?

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Corrupting of faith/a faithfull sect; Founding of a heretical sect: (p.234) which seems to refer to "classical heresy", spreading of a heretical teaching among the faithful


 

But YET AGAIN this brings us back to 'what is orthodoxy'?  How can we know what is corruption of the faith if there us no clear idea of what constitutes the faith in the first place?
 

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Inciting Rebellion: (p.235) again, an obivous one.
 


 

Really?  Heresy?  Isn't this firmly in the purvue of the Adeptus Arbites, who's primary responsibility is to suppress, prevent, and quell rebellion?

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Betrayal of the Holy Ordos / Killing of his agents (p.236) which makes inter-Inquisitional warfare a really dirty deed
 


 

Absolutely, and it opens the massive can of worms around how the Inquisition actually works...again.  The political machinations and 'inter-Inquisitorial' conflict seems to be an established part of the Inquisition - yet here its shown to be punishable heresy.  Makes no sense....

 

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Killing of members of the Adepta: This is an extrapolation of the mentioned  killing of an Arbites Team (p.236). My reason behind this interpretion is that it was heresy because they were direct servants of one of the Adepta, which are in turn direct servants to Terra. Under this interpretion, every murder of a member of one of the Adepta would be reason for an investigation of the Arbitrators and/or the Inquisition.
The fact that the destruction of a Member of the Mechanicus is listed on p.237 DotdG supports me in my opinion
 


 

Ahh...now this one is very interesting to me.  In my own interpretations of 40k, members of the Adepta are higher status than non Adepts.  To join the Adepta is seen as entering Imperial Society.  So to see that the Adepta are also protected by heretical law is most encouraging.

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Desecration & Tomb robbery: (p.237 DotdG). Desecration is no surprise, but tomb robbery seems to be playing in the same league. Perhaps a proper grave is something sacral?
 


 

OK, so this tells us that a person's body after death, and final resting place, is considered sacred.  How does this fit with 'whatever happens you will not be missed'?  In a practical sense, what does a hive world do with the millions of dead bodies that will be generated each day?

However, we know from previous canon/novels that there are indeed 'graveyard' worlds (Shrine worlds also?)  Which means that presumably there are millions of starships ferrying dead bodies around to take them to these burial worlds.  Presumably these also transport grieving relatives?  Their Gellar Fields will have to be pretty robust given the hieghtened emotional turmoil of the passengers.

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Possesion of Forbidden Lore; Necromancy (p.237 DotdG) the first one is no surprise, the second is not either. But why is it listed seperately? Perhaps it is even more foul then witchcraft? Or perhaps the FFG authors only wanted to ensure to bring about the point what Magos Vathek (the accused Heretek) is about?


 

I presume this relates to the above tomb robbing.  The whole undead thing seems something that isn't really part of 40k so perhaps you're right when you say that interfering with the dead is far worse than the usual witchcraft?

I wonder why?

Gregorius21778 said:

 

Multiple Accounts of Murder; Cannibalism;  (p.238 DotdG) Again, the mentioning of murder surprises me. This might be a misunderstanding on part of the author (to what is Heresy or what is mere crime). Otherwise, the Arbites will be really busy in the grim-dark world of 40K. Cannibalism is a nice point here. Especially if one takes "corpse starch rations" into account. My conclusion is that the imperial definition for cannibalism is the killing of a human with the intention of consumption. So recycling the dead is not sinful as long as they were not killed for just this reason (alone).


 

Except that recycling the dead seems to contravene the sanctity of the dead set out above.  Doesn't it?

Also, cannibalism is a part of rituals such as those practiced by many Space Marine chapters.  There was a lot of discussion a while back about what constituted corpse starch rations.  Personally i think its just a rule of cool reference to 'meat' (the corpse doesn't neccessarily mean 'human').  However, if it does (Soylent Green style) it totally contradicts the sanctity of human remains implied by 'desecration/tomb robbing'.

Cannibalism seems a bit of an issue though...and given 'desecration', i'd suggest it reinforces the idea of the sanctity of the dead body in the Imperium.  That however presents a who new set of problems to be resolved.

Gregorius21778 said:

 



Slaving (p.238 DotdG) again, a little surprise. But on the other hand, perhaps that is the reason why you never here "slavery" in the DH-fluff but only "contract slavery" (holding a worker under a contract which rules ensure that he will never ever be able to repay his oder her depts).


 

This one really gets me.  The Imperium is built on slavery; explicit and implicit.  Sanctioned psykers are lifelong slaves of the Adepta.  The Mechanicus is a pure slave-heirarchy often literally, with servitors 'slaved' into machinery for life.

Imperial Guards and typically indentured slaves.

Necromunda has slave pit-fighters.

Slavery is a core part of Imperial Society.  I just don't see it being heresy.  Yet here it is!  So there needs to be some rationalisation done to determine what 'heretical slavery' actually is.
 

Gregorius21778 said:

 


Gerrymandering: (p.238 DotdG): my english is not good enough for this. What is the meaning?


 

Wow!  This one's really wierd.

Gerrymandering is the administrative division of a voting electorate to give your own party an unfair electoral advantage.

So this implies that within Imperial society; within the Adepta, there is fair and open democracy.

This is completely against everything seen so far in 30 years of 40k canon isn't it?  With the exception of the High Lords? Are they elected?  IF so, perhaps gerrymandering would be part of that? 

Not sure at all.

 

Gregorius21778 said:

 



Fraud, Blackmail (p.238 DotdG): this points are to me proof that even official DH sources are to be taken with a grain of salt. Either this, or the Arbitrator or busy with a lot of things.


 

I agree.  I've no idea why this would be heresy, unless associated with the Imperial tithe returns?


Gregorius21778 said:

 


Impersonation of an official of an Adepta: (p.238 DotdG) I tend to except this a heresy and not as an example of the above since it puts the Adepta into a special place withini the Imperium.


 

Aha!  This supports what i was saying earlier about the high status afforded those belong to the adepta.  Nice one.

Gregorius21778 said:




Illegal Sale of Holy relics: (p.238 DotdG) This raises the question: under which circumstances is a sale of holy relics legal? What makes it illegal? Does the Ministorum have to be asked for permission? Is it illegal to buy from other sources but the clerics of the Ministorum?


 

Indeed.  Many questions.  I think it reinforced the parallels to the Catholic church selling relics and indulgences...

 

Some interesting issues arise to be resolved i think!!



#4 Rakiel

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 06:59 AM

I agree, largely these are simply a list of crimes - crimes would be dealt with by the PDF, Imperial Navy, Arbites, Enforcers.etc.etc. And they are not even necessarily universal crimes - there are plenty of places in the Imperium where slavery is okay, and as mentioned, entire aspects of the existence of the Imperium work on indentured slavery. Freedom is not really an automatic human right in the Imperium.

However the books do seem a bit wonky on it, and go back and forth. Generally I would treat it in this case as if they commit something large enough to fall into the sights of the Ordo Hereticus, than all other crimes are classified as Heresy as well, since its not like they would hand him off to the Arbites or what not to deal with the other charges.

I personally would stick with "If it goes against basic tenants of the Imperial Creed (that we are aware of), or works against the Ecclessiarchy (or any of the other key organizations) it is heresy." Beyond that its easy to make it rather subjective - we already know that Inquisitors stem from a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds, and the fluff has a huge variety of things being accepted. The Imperial Faith is mentioned to often even condone human sacrifice, but its listed as a heresy in other places - perhaps an Inquisitor raised from a place that was okay with human sacrifice would be in turn okay with it, but a puritan from a shrine world would not. 40k unfortunately tends to defy trying to tie everything together into "universal" ideas, but the thread can definitely be used as an idea ground.



#5 The Laughing God

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 09:18 AM

I think a heresy is anything that goes against the order of the Imperium. Denouncing the Emperor, worshiping other gods and entities, that's a clear one. Secession, rebellion, kinds of treason, that also undermines the structure of the Imperium. Calling forth denizens of the warp, meddling in warp magic, which includes withcraft and unsanctioned psyhic powers. Dealing with xenos, forbidden tech-works, desecrating the form of man. Everything that is deemed to work against mankind or its society and empire.

Piracy, serial killing, smuggling, theft, that's just basic crime and not necessary heretical, though such activities might cross the line.


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#6 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 10:27 AM

Luddite said:

My first reaction is 'they aren't heresies, they're crimes'.  However, it would seem that heresy and crime is conflated in the 40k RPG fluff so far.  :¬/

Well, there's going to be some overlap - afterall, heresy could be construed as a crime against the Emperor, and all crimes covered by the Lex Imperialis (disregarding local law) may technically be considered acts against the judgement of the Emperor and thus heretical. Crime is heresy, and heresy is crime...

Luddite said:

So the Imperium places great value on material possessions so that its destruction without reason is considered heresy?  I can see such a sanction being in place among the AdMech but really, would the Administratum be concerned with this?

Going by other sources (the Uplifting Primer, the Munitorum Manual), the wargear of a Guardsman is regarded as more valuable than the Guardsman himself, so this isn't without precedent. Given the value placed on things being ancient rather than new, I can imagine that significant penalties are applied to destruction of property, as any replacement will be inferior by merit of its newness.

Luddite said:

Really?  Heresy?  Isn't this firmly in the purvue of the Adeptus Arbites, who's primary responsibility is to suppress, prevent, and quell rebellion?

The Enforcer/Shira Calpurnia novels depict there being a considerable amount of jurisdictional/doctrinal crossover between the Ministorum and the Arbites, with religious law running parallel to the Lex Imperialis and with many things counted as crimes under both sets of law. The points where military law (enforced internally and/or by the Commissariat of the Departmento Munitorum, itself a department of the Adeptus Administratum), religious law (enforced variously and distinctly by the Adeptus Ministorum and the Adepta Sororitas - remember that the Sororitas exist in part to police the Ministorum) the Lex Imperialis (enforced only by the Adeptus Arbites) and local law (enforced by local agencies) overlap are many and cause many complications.

Luddite said:

Under this interpretion, every murder of a member of one of the Adepta would be reason for an investigation of the Arbitrators and/or the Inquisition.
The fact that the destruction of a Member of the Mechanicus is listed on p.237 DotdG supports me in my opinion

To an extent, so do the Shira Calpurnia novels - the murder of an Adept is a crime under the Lex Imperialis, and consequently a matter for the Adeptus Arbites. 

 

Luddite said:

Slavery is a core part of Imperial Society.  I just don't see it being heresy.  Yet here it is!  So there needs to be some rationalisation done to determine what 'heretical slavery' actually is.

A big part of the reason for the Badab War was the fact that Lugft Huron attempted to do things that are typically the remit of the Adeptus Terra. Few of the things he did were particularly different from what the Imperium does on a daily basis... what differed was the fact that someone other than the Adeptus Terra was doing them.

As far as I'm concerned, a big part of the Imperium is hypocrisy, with a "do as we tell you, don't do as we do" mindset pervading much of the way the Imperium is run. Slavery being simultaneously a significant part of the Imperium and a crime doesn't strike me as particularly wrong - all it means is that the Adeptus Terra don't like you doing it unless you've got their permission/are doing it on their behalf. It's little different from the use of psykers, destruction of a planet, institutionalised murder... it's only a crime if you don't have permission.

Luddite said:

I agree.  I've no idea why this would be heresy, unless associated with the Imperial tithe returns?

I think, in many cases (such as the abovementioned murder), it matters less what your crime is than who your crime was against. Defrauding an Adeptus is noteworthy, defrauding the average man on the street is inconsequential.


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#7 Gregorius21778

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 11:17 AM

Hi Luddite,

 

Atrocities against Mankind

However, the implication here is that there are methods and mechanisms for defining and sanctioning 'great slaughter'.  I wonder what they are? 

Well, I just assume that the difference is in "what is the reason". To be precise, if the slaugther occurs to serve (imperial) law or not. A governeur might have free reign if does what he does "to keep the peasents in line". If s/he is doing the same thing for amusement, he migh be put on trial or be marked for execution (see Miss Sinderfell). In an political centered campaign, acolythes could be ordered to investigate the reason for a massacre. The fact that justice is not about killing but about "if the ends would justify the means" might proof a stomach-turner for some players.


 

Mental Violation & "proof":
Based on the assumption of "member of the Adepta of higher standing" and the general feudal nature of 40K-society, I could imagine that one has either to be of some standing himself/herself to make any accusitions. But I share the point of view: a very handy tool to frame a psyker. In a political centered campaign, the psyker of the group could face just that kind of charge (as part of a plot to make him stop doing something or to blackmail him).


 

Wanton Destruction: (p.234 DotdG).
I cannot really imagine this to be heresy myself. Again, this disqualifies the mentioned source. *sigh* And I really started to like some of the tings I´ve found there...

 


Piracy (p.234 DotDG)
Against starships?  Sea vessels?  It was about starships. In a space setting, I tend to completely forget that there is something like the sea. I think that it is only heresy in space. This is based on the assumption that the void lanes are vital for the survival of the Imperium of mankind and thereby a direct act against the will of the god-emperor.

 

 

Destruction/Killing of a Planet: (p.235)  This raises some interesting questions - what could you do that would 'kill a planet' that would not in itself constitute heresy?  I.e. isn't this one slightly redundant?
You are right. It is redundant. Like the necromancy-thing, I assume that the author only included it to bring a point about the described npc across.


 

Inciting Rebellion: (p.235) Really?  Heresy?  Isn't this firmly in the purvue of the Adeptus Arbites, who's primary responsibility is to suppress, prevent, and quell rebellion?

I say heresy. And as far as I know, all crimes the Arbitrators deal with are heresy. The Arbitrators are to protect Imperial Law. Imperial Law, the Law of Terra, is holy. Acting against it is heresy. Like "being a traitor to the Imperium" is heresy. I always wondered why the Arbs are not seldomly noted to be close with the Ordo Hereticus (in conjunctiong with or instead of the Ministorum).
Nice site note: In "Rejoice" (PtU), it is mentioned that a certain drug is later labelled "heresy" which enable the Arbs to act against it. The first time I remember that different fluff sources actually not contradict each other

 

 


Betrayal of the Holy Ordos / Killing of his agents (p.236): Absolutely, and it opens the massive can of worms around how the Inquisition actually works...again. 
Perhaps the answer are simple this time: once it is not only "on" but clear to everyone, some of the bystanders pic sides and some others stay aside. At the end, the winner declares what is right. More wise people higher up might actually try to put and end to all of this before everyone is drawn in. This would explain why the Inquisitors at open war are a risk of Sector conflict...and why they normally try to keep it in the shadows. Things could grow over everyones head.

 

 

Desecration & Tomb robbery: (p.237 DotdG). 

 OK, so this tells us that a person's body after death, and final resting place, is considered sacred.  How does this fit with 'whatever happens you will not be missed'?  In a practical sense, what does a hive world do with the millions of dead bodies that will be generated each day?Gregorius21778 said:

The point that matters here might be the actual grave, not the body. I could imagine that after a body has been buried with the proper rights of the cult, the desecration of the grave (tomb robbery) would be equal to the desecration of  chapel. In case of the body-recycling of hives or the servitore building, the "rights" might totally include that the body is given over to the recycling facilites. And thereby, there is no desecration of the grave. The grave in that case might be not more but a name on a giant metal plate with thousands and thousands other names of it. Spilling nutrie-slurry on the plate might be a desecration of a grave, so. (yep, it is wobbly. But somehow feels right).


Possesion of Forbidden Lore; Necromancy (p.237 DotdG)I presume this relates to the above tomb robbing.  The whole undead thing seems something that isn't really part of 40k so perhaps you're right when you say that interfering with the dead is far worse than the usual witchcraft?I wonder why?


 

This might again link to (established) prominence of "Death Cults" in the emperium. If a grave is sacrosanct, witchcraft become even more heinous a heresy if said witchcraft (a blasphemy itself) does include the desecration of a grave (by robbing the body and restoring it to life).

Cannibalism:Except that recycling the dead seems to contravene the sanctity of the dead set out above.  Doesn't it?

Also, cannibalism is a part of rituals such as those practiced by many Space Marine chapters.  There was a lot of discussion a while back about what constituted corpse starch rations.  Personally i think its just a rule of cool reference to 'meat' (the corpse doesn't neccessarily mean 'human').  However, if it does (Soylent Green style) it totally contradicts the sanctity of human remains implied by 'desecration/tomb robbing'.

I would say, not really. I raised the recycling point above. I would like to keep the Space Marines out of the discussion. They are a very special case. since they are already beared to commit the worth heresy of all. They do not worship the Emperor as a god. Since this is mostly stomached by the Ministorum (at most points), it does not wonder that other practices are overlooked as well. If they are known at all.



Slavery: This one really gets me.  The Imperium is built on slavery; explicit and implicit.  Sanctioned psykers are lifelong slaves of the Adepta.  The Mechanicus is a pure slave-heirarchy often literally, with servitors 'slaved' into machinery for life. Imperial Guards and typically indentured slaves. Necromunda has slave pit-fighters. Slavery is a core part of Imperial Society.  I just don't see it being heresy.  Yet here it is!  So there needs to be some rationalisation done to determine what 'heretical slavery' actually is.

Good point about the pit slave fighters. I could reason away the rest of it (Psykers serve, conscripts aren´t slaves put free to leave after there term; etc). But pit fighting and slave gladiators have always be a port of a setting. I think, that is another point that the sources cannot be taken for granted.
Which is a really-really sad thing, since it was the first thing close to a list I ever came across since picking up the game.


 

Gerrymandering: Wow!  This one's really wierd. Gerrymandering is the administrative division of a voting electorate to give your own party an unfair electoral advantage. So this implies that within Imperial society; within the Adepta, there is fair and open democracy. This is completely against everything seen so far in 30 years of 40k canon isn't it?  With the exception of the High Lords? Are they elected?  IF so, perhaps gerrymandering would be part of that? Not sure at all.

Tricky for me to talk about it, since I am not quit sure if I got the term. But does the term really imply a democrcy or could it be any body where there is a number of votes? The heresy is listed with Tobias Belasco. Since he was a high-and-up player, it might point to gerrymandering in the actual senat of terra or a body that votes the local senator for said senate. This might put it close enough to terra that it is not only a crime, but heresy.



#8 Gregorius21778

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 11:21 AM

Hi No-one-here (sorry, I never remember the correct numbers. No disregard intended)

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

I think, in many cases (such as the abovementioned murder), it matters less what your crime is than who your crime was against. Defrauding an Adeptus is noteworthy, defrauding the average man on the street is inconsequential.



Excellent reminder!   Since the source seems to establish that murder/impersonation of members of the Adepta are not only crime but heresy, it would be the logical conclusion that other crimes against them (as the mentioned) are heresy as well!

Again, thank you!

 

EDIT: Now, as  a GM only needs to decided if infact every crime against a member of the Adepta is heresy or if it is about how grave it is and/or how high up the victim was. I could very well imagine that i.e. stealing personal belongings from the high comptroller of the tithe bureau would be a simple crime. But blackmailing him would not since it has the potential to mess with the tithe that is due to the god-emperor and the imperium.

 



#9 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 11:43 PM

One thing I think is worth considering is that the Inquisition frequently (and intentionally) blurs the line between crime and sin in their judgements. As chosen representatives of Him-on-Terra, their word is that of the Emperor and consequently their judgements fall on both sides of the line. An Inquisitor, then, as they aren't bound by any restrictions but their own conscience (and the politics of the Inquisition, but that's another extremely messy matter), nor are they hindered by any law, can choose freely whether someone should be declared a criminal or a heretic (or both). The distinction is irrelevant to them, so long as they achieve their goals.

The point where the distinction makes a difference is when dealing with interactions between the Adeptus Ministorum and the Adeptus Arbites, and the respective jurisdictions of those organisations. I imagine that this matter, and matters of Imperial Law in general, will receive more attention when Book of Judgement comes out in the summer.


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#10 Gregorius21778

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 12:42 AM

Hi N0-1-h3r3

N0-1_H3r3 said:

One thing I think is worth considering is that the Inquisition frequently (and intentionally) blurs the line between crime and sin in their judgements.

To be honest, I do not blame the Inquisitors here. As far as I remember, breaking imperial law (as opposed to local law) is the same as committing heresy. Since imperial law is holy.  Since they normally do not bother with petty local affairs but with threats to the Imperium, I am quit sure that every crime they are about to put to an end is heresy indeed. And thereby, sin.

 That the reason why I started this whole crunching of lines. Getting some practical examples.

@Book of Judgment
Honestly, I do not share your hope. We all had similiar hopes about the Imperial Creeds as BoM was announced. Only where few tangible lines where given (all of which I found are listed here: http://www.fantasyfl...=3&efidt=423025):
From Book of Judgement, I do expect the same: new rules, new pathes, new equipment, new backgrounds...but in regards to background just recycling of what was already printed, a lot ot "it depends on" and about eight definite sentences in the whole book.

I would be happy if I would be proofed wrong, but I doubt it.

 



#11 Kyorou

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:59 PM

Would it be possible that, once someone has been declared heretic (for whatever reason), every crime he commits or has committed is requalified into an heresy, as it is part of his (broader) crime of heresy ? That would explain how some "mundane" crimes get listed in the DotDG Most Wanted profiles and stranger things are known to happen in real-world judicial systems.



#12 Friend of the Dork

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 12:21 AM

Hmm well in RL heresy is any variation in interpreting the True Faith™.

In DH that would mean peaching that the Emperor is truly dead or impotent, that there are other gods as powerful as he (or maybe even that other gods exists), and other issues that goes directly against the Imperial Creed. Now since the IC is a bunch of wishy washy variations and different everywhere, it either means that everyone are heretics or no one.

To actually denounce the Imperial Creed altogether and worship Chaos would actually be Apostacy, which is also a more serious crime.

 

But the authors simply call everything heresy, including petty crimes that really shouldn't be part of Imperial Law in the first place.

As for the list of Heretics I think the sins listed are meant to be simply a list of crimes and "evilness" and not a definition of what constitutes Heresy.

I especially noticed the part about Myrcella Sinderfell and have asked before why is she a heretic? I mean, sure she's a hedonistic sadistic corrupt noble, but the setting gives us the impression that this is the norm. If she had dabbled in warp magic it would be different. Atrocities against Mankind is very vague but is problably just copied from "Crimes against Humanity" which for RL examples would be the Holocaust. Which is ironic as the Imperium is supposed to be Nazi-germany and Soviet Union's big bad brother....

 

Stuff like this is exactly why I make the Imperum less extreme than depicted, because then Sinners like Myrcella becomes less "meh" and more evil. The point is supposed to be that although the Imperium is not good, it is clearly the lesser of many evils. Although it's fun to throw in some good guys enemies and heretics now and then to remind the players of the grimdark, it seems most heretics, cultists etc. from official sources are usually evil, and "bad" in some way or self-destructive. Corruption in 40k is not just a spiritual concept unrelated to the material world, it is something real which will physically and mentally change a person, usually for the worse, or downright kill/destroy him.  The Ministorium, perhaps of ignorance, equates corruption by supernatural evil with merely the desire to survive or thrive, the desire for freedom etc.  Rebellion will not make you spout extra limbs and worship chaos, but it will usually mean a disruption in tithe to the Empire, thus it has been branded Heresy even when the instigators have very good cause for their grievances.

While minor rebellions and slightly incorrect religious views may be Heresy, it is not Dark Heresy and should really not be a major concern for acolytes. This is the perview of the Arbites and Ministorum. Only when a significant revolution that can spread to other star systems is encountered is Ordo Hereticus directly involved. It would be very boring game if most sessions consisted of the acolytes going to a town, trying to find out which hapless manufactorium workers had incorrect views, and then burn them for Heresy.



#13 Valdek

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:41 PM

Just caught up on most of the posts, and have to say some of the best forum stuff i've read in a while.  I've only recently started collecting and plan on running a game of DH but for what counts as a Heresy DH:Ascension has quite a lot helpful information.  Most importantly that Heresy is all in the eye of the beholder.  You could be put on trail and convicted of heresy by one inquistor or just silenced by another, likewise other might find you completely innocent.  It all depends on their methods.

I think that the line is very blurred to allow the players to make up their minds what counts, and take action on it, whether that it direct, indirect or nothing, but they have to be prepared for the consequences that they are going to annoy someone, from the inquistor they work for (if acolytes) to other inquistors not to mention other branches or the Adepta.

I hope that in someway helped a little.

As for Tomb Robbing, only Heroes or high classes get buried as I read the setting, and some gaves might not be human, remember that there are 3 enemies of the Imperium "within", "without" and "beyond" and all ordos' will investigate what ever they feel like but will have more experience with one.

 Radical or Puritan you choose?



#14 Lightbringer

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:26 PM

To me, the clear point here is the line between secular and religious power in the Imperium. It is clear that although there are numerous power blocks, the issue which actually has the potential to cause the most upheval is the clash between the secular power of the Adeptus Terra and the religious power of the Ministorum. 

These two massively powerful organisations in effect rule the Imperium, and are often antagonistic towards each other. They also, given their vast size, will each have their own complex body of law. 

Offences against the Ministorum or its creed would largely be covered by religious law. And one imagines that the Ministorum has its own massively complex legal system that defines such offences against them as Heresy in thousands of different (and probably contradictory) ways. The Shira Calpurnia novels, for example, portray a Ministorum that is able to imprison Imperial Citizens in fairly bizarre ways in order to address religious crimes. These laws would probably be enforced (where possible) by the Adeptus Sororitas. However, although powerful, the Ministorum is to some extent hamstrung in its ability to enforce these laws in a meaningful way by Sebastian Thor's reforms. These reforms deliberately curtailed the secular and military power of the Ministorum, forcing them to concentrate upon less worldy issues. This probably still rankles with the Church.

Secular law is going to be even more complicated, as the Adeptus Terra relies so heavily upon local governors. Local Governors-as long as they pay the tithe-have the freedom to run their own domains pretty much how they want. Local law enforcement on many worlds is more likely to resemble the secret police forces of the former East Germany or modern Burma. One imagines that "law" on such worlds will be a fairly brutal and ill defined thing.

The secular law of the wider Imperium is enforced by the Adeptus Arbites. The Shira Calpurnia novels portray the primary role of the Arbites as the internal policing of the Adeptus Terra, the enforcement of its laws and the investigation of crimes against the Adepts of Earth. It sounds simple when you put it like that, but one imagines that this is a nightmarish tangle of jurisdictions in practice.

For example, let's say someone murders a confessor. Who investigates? Well the Ministorum would say that the murder of a confessor is defined as Heresy, and as such should be covered by religious law. The Arbites would say that they should investigate, as the murder of an Adept (Adeptus Ministorum) is within their jurisdiction. The Governor's local enforcers might say that THEY in fact should investigate, as the crime took place on their world. 

One imagines that in practice how this would be approached depends on the relative authority of the local arms of the major power blocks. In the example above, if this happened on a Shrine World, the local governor and the Ministorum will in effect be the same thing, so the Arbites probably won't get much of a look in. Plus, as anyone who's ever watched "The Wire" will tell you, just because a Homicide detective is tasked with solving Homicides, it doesn't mean he will relish the opportunity to do so, and will often "pass the buck" where he can. 

One imagines that this is why Inquisitors are so important. Having the power to cut through all of this red tape is immensly important to actually getting anything done in the Imperium. The balancing of power blocks and the clashing jurisdictions of the various legal systems could combine to produce complete inertia in the Imperium if it wasn't for the threat of a bunch of Inquisitors sweeping in and executing all involved for forgetting the spirit of service to the Emperor...        

Just a few thoughts!

  



#15 MKX

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 11:39 PM

I think the whole aspect of Heresy is the most appealing of all the 3 main ordos to run, in that at times it can simply a subjective judgement by someone in power, where the accusation of Heresy is placed upon a person, activity or practice as they see fit to maintaining the status quo. Keeping in mind that the Inquisition on Earth through the ages was really was just a bunch of church and state nominated thugs that went out persecuting to what they saw as the letter of the pope or current ruler of that nations wishes.

To begin comprehending such machinations we have to distance ourselves from the polite, egalitarian and politically correct society most of us grew up in and put yourselves in the shoes of such people of the time who where crude, ignorant and bigoted in a staggering amount of ways- reason being is that the 40K universe is those three things and the price of such niceties is the down payment to damnation. The Ordo Xenos hunts bugs, the Ordo Malleus hunts daemons and warp entities... the Ordo Hereticus hunts thought crime and the species traitors to humanity. Because the first step to damnation in 40K is the act of concession, for when you allow someone to think outside the strictures of Emperor's will, you're also allowing them to go hug the xeno and invite the daemon into the real-space. Heresy, its the little crime that brings about the catastrophe's that will topple worlds into alien subjugation, cause trillions to become possessed and mutated all because someone got a bit soft.

Our ancestors, saw it much the same way. Its why the inquisition went through places like Spain torturing and terrorising jews, foreigners and the muslims to the point of conversion to christianity. In Germany they sent 1000's of women to the pyre in equally barbaric acts because they used folk remedies and had nosy neighbours accuse them of craven acts. They did truly believe that if they allowed these people to believe and practice something different to what the church and state believed, then that was the downfall of civilisation as they knew it and would go to any length to stop it. Most I guess went to their grave without a scrap of regret for the horrific things they perpetrated, believing they where right and done their bit to hold off the apocalypse just that bit longer.



#16 Werewindlefr

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 06:09 PM

 Actually, I consider the Inquisition like a sort of KGB-style organisation, and the word "Heresy" as an imperial equivalent of what a KGB executive would call "treason". Just like in the KGB, there are factions in the Imperial Inquisition, and they do not necessarily agree on what constitutes treason against mankind and what doesn't.

 

Because of this vision of mine, I'm putting my players in a situation where they are faced with a merchant house bombing another's assets. The point of this is to show the players that most crimes aren't inquisitorial matters, and meddling with such things is usually a very bad idea. The point being that Heresy and imperial-law level crimes are two different things, and that's why there's the Arbites.

The inquisition isn't the armed hand of the Ministorum. Actually, when the emperor created the inquisition, he certainly did not have in mind an organisation that would be in charge of hunting misbelievers. The crime of Heresy, at the core, isn't related to the faith due to the Emperor of Mankind. However, practically, since this faith is important to the strength of the Imperium, not believing becomes treason as it robs Mankind from one of its sources of power.



#17 Idaan

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 04:05 AM

Luddite said:



Gerrymandering: (p.238 DotdG): my english is not good enough for this. What is the meaning?

 


 

 

Wow!  This one's really wierd.

Gerrymandering is the administrative division of a voting electorate to give your own party an unfair electoral advantage.

So this implies that within Imperial society; within the Adepta, there is fair and open democracy.

This is completely against everything seen so far in 30 years of 40k canon isn't it?  With the exception of the High Lords? Are they elected?  IF so, perhaps gerrymandering would be part of that? 

Not sure at all.

 

 

The Imperial worlds can have whatever political system they wish to have as long as they follow laws and submit tithes. Think about it: if Imperium doesn't intervene when a civil war is waged on a planet, when the king/governor is replaced in a court intrigue etc as long as the world stays Imperial, why would they have anything against people voting to elect their legislative and the governor? Also, Pavonis in "Nightbringer" and Solomon in our own "Disciples of the Dark Gods" have democratic (to various degrees) govermnents.



#18 Friend of the Dork

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 06:13 PM

Idaan said:

Luddite said:

 



Gerrymandering: (p.238 DotdG): my english is not good enough for this. What is the meaning?

 


 

 

Wow!  This one's really wierd.

Gerrymandering is the administrative division of a voting electorate to give your own party an unfair electoral advantage.

So this implies that within Imperial society; within the Adepta, there is fair and open democracy.

This is completely against everything seen so far in 30 years of 40k canon isn't it?  With the exception of the High Lords? Are they elected?  IF so, perhaps gerrymandering would be part of that? 

Not sure at all.

 

 

 

The Imperial worlds can have whatever political system they wish to have as long as they follow laws and submit tithes. Think about it: if Imperium doesn't intervene when a civil war is waged on a planet, when the king/governor is replaced in a court intrigue etc as long as the world stays Imperial, why would they have anything against people voting to elect their legislative and the governor? Also, Pavonis in "Nightbringer" and Solomon in our own "Disciples of the Dark Gods" have democratic (to various degrees) govermnents.

Well they may allow it but they certainly don't encourage it. Democratic institutions are not forbidden in the Imperium but the Adepta prefers to deal with feudalistic societies where "people know their place." After all, a democractic country might vote to secede from the Imperium and are generally considered less stable.

Solomon IIRC is not a democracy but more of a Oligarchy with an elected figurehead.. wait that's Sinophia. Solomon is a Munitorium controlled planet with a reputation for going downwards and being host to rebellion and disloyalty, not a democracy!



#19 ak-73

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 03:02 AM

HERESY.
I know it when I see it.

 

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#20 Salindurthas

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 03:39 AM

I don't have my books with me at the moment, but I'm almost certian the core book basically says that the Laws of the Imperium are based on the Emperor's will, so any breach of those laws (so any crime) is technically heresy
My Experience is that you only bother actually calling a crime a "heresy" when someone with more authority than you says you should.

I guess, it is like how if you poke me then you have technically assaulted me, although it is more appropriate to say you harrased me.






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