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The Involved Inquisitor

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#1 Saldre



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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:04 AM

Hello all!

So, my players are almost finished with Sinophia Magna- and with the lot of them unable to cope with the horrible things they've had to do to advance [Up to murdering a small child in order to complete a ritual from the Book of Amicus Tole as requested by a Tech-Witch so they can prove themselves worthy of meeting the master…], they've decided that they REALLY want to start again Rank 0, with brand new "Untainted" characters. 

I see this as a great opportunity to do things "right" this time around. 

For example: 

1) Much, MUCH slower exp game- Granted, we play longer than average sessions [all nighters, lasting from 9-12 hours once every two weeks or so.] I am still going to award about 250 Exp per session, and maybe a bonus or two if they complete something with flying colors. 

2) Much, much slower travel times and investigation- I've rped most of the Investigation they've done up to this point, which stumbles into "Scene and location jumping", which allows for whole cases to be solved in a matter of days. For example, even though I've expanded Damned Cities A LOT [So much so that we've been playing it for FOUR full sessions, and a Fifth one is necessary to conclude] the players haven't been on the planet for much more than a week (And that's only because I started stretching time last session.) 

3) More Downtime! The players require time to breath and do their own thing. They've often requested more downtime, but the chained-up "Campaign" nature of the events make it impossible for them to go ahead and get their own stuff going. The main problem with this… Really throws a monkey wrench in the whole "Campaign" setup- where the villains suddenly start moving at the pace of the players [who, to find a piece of equipment or acquire a certain training, might spend MONTHS of down-time… 

and Lastly, and the topic of this post: 

4) A much, much more Involved Inquisitor. 

In my current campaign, the players have seen Soldevan three or four times and have gotten a certain idea of his radicalism. Only one player has gotten a larger glimpse into Soldevan's radicalism trough a gift the latter gave the former [A Ring with… special powers…]. The others only suspected due to the nature of their characters [The fact that he's accepted them into the cell hints at it from a meta and in-game perspective].

My Soldevan has only ever had one request from his acolytes: bring back the leaders, head cultists, masterminds, guilty parties, etc… ALIVE, so that he may question them himself. The players have only ever done that once- and, this was my mistake, only received a few taps on their fingers for it. 

In hindsight, and this is something I've mentioned to my players, each time they came back empty handed to Soldevan, he should have rolled a d6 and selected one of them to replace the prisoner in the torture chambers, burning one of the pour soul's fate points. And this, if he was feeling nice. The idea is simple: he should have been a lot more involved. He should not have taken their words for "How it happened"

Even though the players had an interrogator assigning them missions, I feel that I did not use him enough either. He should have been more present- if only to give the players a more solid link with the Inquisition.

But then we drop into a problem I ran into at the start of my Gming experience: the players foregoing leadership in favor of turning to the "boss" figure for orders. I am a very hands off type of GM, I don't want a "Gm-pc" running with the group, giving orders and telling them what to do. So this guy always have to be busy, doing his own thing. Kind of a pain… 

In the new game, three Inquisitors have formed a Triumvirate: I am not really sure which ones, save that Al-Subai of Ordo Xenos will be the "Face" of the group, and the other two will be members of the other two Ordos. This alliance essentially specializes in hunting down cases of possession, Infiltration, mind control and other such subversion from within the Imperium.

Al-Subai will be the group's Inquisitor, but the presence of the other Inquisitors will serve to explain the Ordo Malleus tendencies of the players [One of them wants to play a Pyroclast, another wants to play a Banisher Priest, etc etc.]

As a puritan Inquisitor though, I am going to be changing a number of things for the players: firstly, when they return from a mission, he'll have a psyker casting Soul-sight on them, and "Mind Scan" in order to determine what really happened during the mission. They will be drilled, questioned and interrogated in order to make sure they are free of  corruption. People with more then Ten corruption points will be flagellated, lowering their corruption points but taking some damage [which they will need to sustain for the duration of the next mission] - people with more then 30 corruption points will be purged. [Unless they impress the Other Ordo Inquisitors, and in particular the Malleus Inquisitor, who may be more lenient.] 

To compensate for this high death risk, Al Subai will have a chapel where free blessings and confessions can be heard before every mission, helping to mitigate the gain of corruption and insanity points. 

The group is still going to contain some Radicals. Not all my players have caught the Puritan craze- and that's probably going to be the biggest problem at the beginning: the fact that there's  a Mind-cleansed "Warp Touched" assassin wanting to start off as rank 0. Now, I know what you're thinking- "JUST SAY NO!" but I can't do that :P I'd much rather work out a reason for why this guy is here. He's likely going to be put under the remit of the Ordo Malleus Inquisitor straight off the bat- his abilities to resist mind control are going to be his strong suit in order to avoid immediate execution and Al Subai will make it quite clear to him from the start that he doesn't like him, and ANY slip up or corruption gain past say, 10, will cause him to be purged. 

Another problem that I just remembered right now trickles down from the "Kick in the door" approach that most players seem to have: with a puritan inquisitor on their side, they are likely going to want to purge and burn a lot more while branding the sign of the Inquisition… But I think that can be fixed based on the approach of the missions and by introducing Inter-[which, when it comes to possession and infiltration, don't mix well with purging EVERYBODY. Al Subai is not THAT much of a madman.] 

Regardless, how do you guys [the ones running puritan inquisitors] handle this type of relationship in your games?

In fact, I am curious as to know how involved you play your Inquisitors and if you've any suggestions on how I can provide a Mentor and Boss figure to the players without having them turn to the guy every five minutes to know if they are on the right track or if he has any extra explanations, details or resources to give them for this or that mission…..  

This promises to be a lot of fun, playing a puritan instead of a radical Inquisitor- can't be afraid of purging Radical Acolytes though :P


#2 Darth Smeg

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:32 PM

If you're sticking to the rules of DH, there is no way a Puritan would use actively outside extreme situation. Because whenever (s)he would Focus a Power, there would be a chance of things going Really Bad. (See the thread on Psychometry for a breakdown of probabilities and consequence).

But he would definitely Interrogate them, using drugs, hypnosis, sci-fi brainscans and whatnot. It wouldn't be hard-torture, but a most unpleasant (but necessary) experience. He need the truth, but not at the cost of blowing up the Hive.

But he could use lot's of other methods of "keeping an eye on them" as well. Send a servo skull with a pict-recorder along. Implant optical bionics in some of them, with a pict-recorder included. 

As for the Acolytes running to their Inquisitor for orders, advice and decisions all the time, have the Inquisitor point out that he hired them so that he wouldn't have to be everywhere and do everything himself. Not to have someone to handhold. He expects them to be able to do their jobs without hand-holding, or he will "fire" them and find someone who can. 

Fire is probably a quite literal term. After all, you don't quit the Inquisition.

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#3 Luthor Harkon

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 12:09 AM

Saldre said:

Regardless, how do you guys [the ones running puritan inquisitors] handle this type of relationship in your games?

In fact, I am curious as to know how involved you play your Inquisitors and if you've any suggestions on how I can provide a Mentor and Boss figure to the players without having them turn to the guy every five minutes to know if they are on the right track or if he has any extra explanations, details or resources to give them for this or that mission…..  

This promises to be a lot of fun, playing a puritan instead of a radical Inquisitor- can't be afraid of purging Radical Acolytes though :P


For the first two or three ranks my PCs had about no contact to their Inquisitor (Kaede) except their initial requisition. They instead got their orders from one of his Interrogators (Sand). At their first mission my players indeed tried to reach the Interrogator by a local vox-net to get further instructions for a mission…
From rank three upwards they also had meetings with their Inquisitor from time to time, though mostly not mission specific. From about rank 5 he started to give them direct orders. Though I kept him often a little distanced and they mostly met him in some extensively decorated offices (with fire place, huge oaken office table and throne and furs lying around as carpets) within the Tricorn. The PCs themselves are not really able to make contact with the Acolytes only the other way around.
Furthermore, as the players normally are stationed on planets far away from the Tricorn and/or their Inquisitor, they are not even able to reach him in any way (except though Astropathic means, which take a while and are hardly available normally).
The players have to learn to respect their Inquisitor and that it is expected of them to think for themselves (which is a sort of unique situation for an Imperial citizen (almost heretical such free-thinking…) and that is one of the reasons they were chosen for Acolytes in the first place.

The players have to try to think themselves into a feudal structure. I made my experience during my “scientific career”, as the (phd-)student professor relationship (at least over here in Germany) is one still characterized by a sort of feudal structure. As an undergrad you were not even noticed by professors, let alone that they knew your name. As a diploma/master student you were sort of recognized (even with name if lucky) and evaluated over time as you could be a worthy workhorse for the professor. As a phd-student the professor took notice of what you did from time to time, but only in periodic intervals (or if pointed towards by a senior post-doc or assistant) and still with the main motivation to have a valuable workhorse; at other times it seems he/she is totally ignorant of the fact you even exist. The Interrogators are the post-docs, but that is another story…
That experience is great to elaborate on in DH…

#4 Gerner



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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

Hey Saldre.

Depending on his level of puritanism, if it is in the extreme end it becomes it's own form of radicalism (like both the left and right wing have political extremes that in the end reminds a lot like eachother - facism & communism). 
Anyhow I think it's a bit too much to punish players for something they mostly not have control over (corruption points), instead I think you should punish them for radical actions. The characters mind should be somewhat there own - unless he have true suspion.
Also as Darth points out using psychic powers all the time conflicts somewhat with the puritan view - instead a servo skull with a recorder or something a long those line should be used.

On the Warp Touched, Mind-Cleansed, Assassin. Have you thought that it could have been some vile xeno creature that warp touched him and not a daemon? That could merge him in more with the group as he could serve the same inquisitor.

As I see it puritans are rarely madmen (madness=radicalism), so the whole burn them all doesn't work when you have to find heretics.

My own inquisitor sits all the way in the background, but he have placed his sage in the fellowship with players informing him of all the movement that happens.

There is always the problem with putting a powerful ally npc into the campaign. Remember the players should be the shine and heroes in the end of the day - I think that is the reason why most gm prefer the shadow master inquisitor type.
A possibility is that the Inquisitor isn't intrested in the search and investigation process of the campaign, but only to destroy the wicked heretics/xenoes/daemons. But I guess it still leaves him out of the playes business most of the time.

Whatever you decide, you have to give the inquisitor some form of disadvantage so he doesn't steal the scenelight from the players. Afterall why should he have the players around if he could do it alone?


Maybe I will get an idea if I know what all the players are playing? 

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