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xpdude

NPC reaction to Inquisition

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Hello,

 

I need advice on how NPCs could/should react to my PCs action.

 

Players don't know much about the lore, but understand who are acolytes, and why they should be stealthy. In the most recent adventure they have decided to try something different: to announce themselves as the Holy Inquisition. I guess their plan is as good as any other, but they don't have any official documents (nor permission) from their Inquisitor.

 

They are on the planet Sepheris Secundus described in the core book (brief summary: medieval monarchy + advanced weaponry in the capital, low Adept presence).

 

How would you play this out? How would react a simple trooper or citizen, officer or the queen herself?

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All important criminal npcs go into hiding or push their plans out faster. If there's going to be a demon summoning they're bumping up the time table. This will make them sloppy, but they'll still likely summon the demon.

 

However most small time npcs, ones that could give you information would also be incredibly weary of people asking questions.

 

Nobility would likely not be that afraid, most nobility understand that while they do need to answer to the inquisition, the inquisition can't just go around killing them willy nilly. Anyone lower would try to help or be too afraid of summary execution.

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When 'most' people in the Imperium think of the Inquisition, barring prior experiences with the Inquisition, the stereotypical Inquisitor tends towards be the rather blatant hard-core Puritanical Ordo Hereticus Witchfinder, who perhaps is possessed of an unhealthy obsession with burning people alive - not that anyone's going to say so while he's around, because once he shows up, the denunciations start, and everyone is watching everyone else, and will turn against their neighbors at the slightest hint of potentially suspicious activity to 'prove' their fidelity to the God-Emperor, so as to avoid being the next one up for a show trial followed by a painful execution.

 

The stereotypical Inquisitor for the semi-informed lay person, is a figure of terror come to bring down the God-Emperor's punishment and wrath upon the guilty, who has eyes and ears basically everywhere. Think old-school witch trials from real life and the Spanish Inquisition.

 

Everyone who's doing the slightest bit of activities that aren't completely above board will shut them down until the Inquisitor has left the system. This means criminal operations. Heretics will usually do the same if they aren't extremely close to finishing a major daemon-summoning ritual, or are in the process of something extremely time-sensitive that cannot be safely aborted and started again later, when the cost is clear, or something similarly major.

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Thank you for these answers.

What about the authorities? At some point, somebody will ask for Inquisitorial Rosette, or anything that can confirm their words. What then? Can these be forged? Who can request (demand?) to show him the rosette?

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Any high enough ranking member of an Adeptus can request proof. A rosette can be forged but it takes a long time and a lot of technical know how. You aren't going to be able to find it anywhere, it'd be a mission in itself. It's also incredibly illegal to forge such things.

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Thank you for these answers.

What about the authorities? At some point, somebody will ask for Inquisitorial Rosette, or anything that can confirm their words. What then? Can these be forged? Who can request (demand?) to show him the rosette?

 

Almost anyone can demand to see the rosette, although I'd argue the common layman may not know about it. Even high ranking members of the Imperial Guard don't necessarily know about it. The people who'd actually know to ask for the rosette would be high ranking nobles, high ranking members of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Planetary Governors, etc. People pretty far up on the food chain.

 

As for forging.... Extraordinarily difficult. Each Rosette is unique to the Inquisitor bearing it, and are almost impossible to fake. I can't see anyone short of a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus or very skilled Adept pulling it off, and even then it could take months to do, if they're fast about it.

Edited by ColArana

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The important thing in verification of Inquisitorial Status is (a) basically nobody has the balls to pretend to be an Inquisitor, (b) anyone who knows anything about the Inquisition knows that questioning them tends to be unhealthy, even if you're of high rank, © in general, if you're claiming to be an Inquisitor, unless it's really obvious that you're lying, most people are going to assume that you're probably telling the truth and questioning you is going to get them very dead.

 

However, as far as the technical issues in actually verifying a Rosette, almost any technologically advanced outpost of the Imperial Adeptus would be able to verify a Rosette as genuine. By "technologically advanced outpost of the Imperial Adeptus", I mean basically any AdMech facility, any Arbites Precinct Fortress, any Telepathica facility, any Imperial ship, nearly any Adeptus Terra facility with Imperial-standard cogitators and datastacks, etc.

 

 

However ... while an Inquisitorial Rosette proper would be incredibly difficult to forge, lesser credentials identifying them as Inquisitorial Agents, below the level of full Inquisitor would be somewhat easier, though still difficult.

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Thank you very much for your help.

I have one more question. What are possible NPC reactions when "inquisitor" can't prove his identity? Or if they take their word back and will claim they are not the inquisitor at all?

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It will depend heavily on the locale, but in general, I believe a comparison to medieval Europe may be apt.

 

People are clueless, and people live in fear. The Inquisition commands respect. And just like a witch hunter riding into some random village in the 15th century would encounter little resistance to their (occasionally illegitimate) authority, so too would it likely work with the Inquisition in 40k, simply because the idea that someone would impersonate an Inquisitor is so ludicrous that the possibility wouldn't even occur to people.

 

Note: I am also going to assume that any Inquisitor operating on some planet would sooner or later also appear on another Inquisitor's radar, so if they're a fake, it is but a matter of time until the Inquisition finds out. And then a man-hunt will be kicked off with the intention to make the trespasser rue the day they ever got the idea of messing with these people. And I'm talking sentences a la "tortured to death" here, nothing as nice and easy as a las bolt to the head.

 

Furthermore, Inquisitors are dressed and equipped with a certain finesse and quality in gear that will be hard to replicate. When off-worlders in general are already rare thanks to interstellar transport being uncommon, then off-worlders with bolt weapons, power swords and intricately finished armour must be important people. Sure, they might just as well be Rogue Traders or nobility, but then again, this begs the question why they would be so stupid as to try a stunt like this.

 

When someone says they're an Inquisitor and demands you to do something for them, I'm fairly sure it is in your best interest to do so immediately. If you have any doubts about their identity, there are ways to find out after the fact.

I mean, this is not dissimilar to getting stopped by the police and subjected to an unjustified search. The cop hauling you in may break the rules and do an illegal arrest - but do you really want to make a point about that there and then, or submit to the arrest and pursue your legal options later, without a dozen bullets in your stomach?

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If someone finds out and they have the power they can report to higher authority, which is generally the planetary governor or the inquisition itself. Neither are bright prospects for the fakers, they'll be thrown in jail and interrogated. They'll be killed unless their inquisitor steps in, but he may choose not to because it'd look bad for him.

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Yeah, I imagine each planetary governor having an astropath who can transmit a message to an Inquisitorial representative of sorts. This link would not be called upon by any random enforcer on the streets or office clerk, obviously, but depending on what the people faking to be Inquisitors demand, it may obviously warrant further scrutiny.

 

There's also the risk of retroactive discovery - as I hinted in my previous post. For example, even though someone may lend immediate assistance to an apparent Inquisitor, they will likely file some sort of report and pass it on to their superiors, who in turn will pass this on to their superiors, until it eventually does reach the ear of the planetary governor. Because let's be real here, this guy/gal will want to know if they have an Inquisitor snooping around on their world.

 

A clever impostor may attempt to prevent this flow of information by invoking their fake authority and declaring the subject a "matter of Imperial safety", but obviously this will have limits as well. For example, a missing vehicle or weapons will demand an explanation, whilst on the other hand just omitting to report a murder does not. That being said, this is merely a general assessment, and in both cases exceptions may exist based on the individual people the impostor is talking to, meaning how easy they are to intimidate by the prospect of dealing with the Inquisition, and how well they know Imperial law and their organisation's own regulations. Thankfully, as with most P&Ps, this can be resolved by tests such as a simple opposed Willpower check.

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Thank you very much for your help.

I have one more question. What are possible NPC reactions when "inquisitor" can't prove his identity? Or if they take their word back and will claim they are not the inquisitor at all?

 

I'd say this would depend strongly on the attitude of the other party. Have they suffered under the player's actions?

 

A planetary governor who has launched a full-scale offensive against a so-called rebel force (instigated by the fake inquistor), will react differently from the low-life ganger that has been payed anyway for the information he provided on a death cult.

 

It would also depend on the force the players can bring to the table.

 

If they have a full complement of scions at their side when they confess that they weren't actually Inquisitor Steinbach, the planetary governor might still pipe down when they tell him. If the acolytes return before the governor, badly wounded, armour in tatters and broken weapons at their sides, I doubt the governor will brush over things.

 

And it would depend on the moment the players reveil their deceit.

 

If they are reporting to the planetary governor when he's being swamped with status reports of large quantities of Ork ships penetrating the atmosphere and facing an orbital bombardment within minutes, the acolytes might just get away with it (assuming they can evade the Orkish megarokkits themselves of course). If they hand over the information during a normal council of the nobility, they might find themselves behind bars awfully quick.

 

In general, people don't like to be deceived. So a basic attitude of hostility would be in order, but any kind of reaction could be expected, depending on the circumstances.

Edited by Librarian Astelan

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In the Dark Heresy second edition rulebook is mentionned the fact that a person could become Inquisitor by themselves and get a reputation and be recognised as such even if they were fake in the beginning. But it would need a lot of courage, work and also sheer determination/stupidity to fake it to the point that you are recognised as a true inquisitor. But it certainly happened in the past and could happen in 40k.

 

As have been said before, many people would just not risk the wrath of the inquisitor just to see his rosette, but eventually, there are bigger fishes that will act.

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When this came up in my game, they had been caught by a hive city's Royal Enforcers (the hive city being a monarchy with a High Queen and the Enforcers are they royal army basically) and the Scum, in a moment of desperation after seeing the REs draw swords, declared themselves to be servants of the Inquisiton. I always assumed that no one would believe some bunch of guys that had been just caught breaking in. The enforcer yelling "how dare you use such a vaunted title in vain?!" So they got "royally" whooped up on by 10 guys with shock batons and thrown into the street. Luckily the REs were stupidly corrupt, so the guy just took it as "more political intrigue horses**t" and kept it to himself.

My point being that I don't think someone would actually believe you of you said so without looking like a badass a in a black trenchcoat and a really ornate carapace chestplate. So in my 40k, administratum Officials and arbites wardens and all that have ways of knowing the truth, so they know they aren't being jerked around. Of course I also tell my players that inquisitors often work incognito for EXACTLY that reason: sure you can ask the arbites warden for a platoon. He'll check you out for two minutes and see you are totally legit. He stammers an apology and gives you a platoon. MEANWHILE the heretics with friends in high places saw the check taking place in the administratum cogitator banks and promptly told their drug cartel friends to bug out as quickly as humanly possible. So yeah.

Edited by filliman

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And one more thing: It depends on which world your akolytes are. There are worlds where announcing "we are the Holy Inquisition" will only lead to a shrug. For example on feral worlds. People on those worlds might simply never have heard about the Big I. So they are neither afraid nor especially helpfull. On other worlds powerfull individuals like governors will smile and be polite. And in the next moment they will try to stab the akolytes in the back or let them disappear - if they think they will get away with it.

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My group is currently on a Feudal World, Acreage from the GM Kit. It's using blackpowder weapons, has at least 1 church in every settlement and the people are very pious.

My PCs  were fed up with the slow reactions of the officials when their Cleric asked for something. For those officials  it was just another priest (trying to get his things done, so more or less who cares? Thousands of those run around and request things.

Fed up, they produced the Writ of Authority given by their superior (meant as a last meassure) to get a move on.

And this got things done faster. The guard asked no questions for arresting people in a full market place, shopkeepers are very friendly, and officials like to help too.

 

And they found out that 4 groups are keeping tabs on their moves, the spies from both Rhoze's, the criminal underworld and another unknown party.

And somewhere are some Slaugth.

 

Every body knows who they are.

Everybody!

Edited by segara82

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My group is currently on a Feudal World, Acreage from the GM Kit. It's using blackpowder weapons, has at least 1 church in every settlement and the people are very pious.

My PCs  were fed up with the slow reactions of the officials when their Cleric asked for something. For those officials  it was just another priest (trying to get his things done, so more or less who cares? Thousands of those run around and request things.

Fed up, they produced the Writ of Authority given by their superior (meant as a last meassure) to get a move on.

And this got things done faster. The guard asked no questions for arresting people in a full market place, shopkeepers are very friendly, and officials like to help too.

 

And they found out that 4 groups are keeping tabs on their moves, the spies from both Rhoze's, the criminal underworld and another unknown party.

And somewhere are some Slaugth.

 

Every body knows who they are.

Everybody!

They failed as undercover operatives.

So who tries to kill them off 1st?  Or who tries to use them to destroy their enemies, who has nothing to do with the mission at hand.

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They failed as undercover operatives.

So who tries to kill them off 1st?  Or who tries to use them to destroy their enemies, who has nothing to do with the mission at hand.

 

Ahhh. I like the last thought. That is truly Warhammer 40k at its best.

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All of the above. Both sister now have the opportunity to get rid of the other, the criminals and the Slaught ponder how to make the PCs end up in a battlefield with several thousand soldiers on both sides.

And of course there are still some other groups at play . Fun times as a GM ^^

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Every body knows who they are.

Everybody!

 

That's how it should be done. Sensible consequences and no artificial dead ends. :)

 

And they still have the option (or rather the only recourse) to go all out Witch Hunter Firebrand McBurnington now, if they can retain control of their little crusade. Although the risk that they won't get everyone / won't uncover everything is of course a lot higher now, to say nothing of the collateral damage...

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In my Dark Heresy campaign (a couple years ago now!) the PCs barely changed their names.  As a result the bad guys were always able to find them within a few weeks at most (considering the campaign was set across two sectors this is pretty much 24 hour survelliance).  On the plus side the group was rediculously lucky when it came to combat as well as being bad asses.  they'd also been given alot of authority by thier Inquisitor who was a very high ranking Inquisitor Lord.

 

This campaign was far more pulpish and action hero movie based.  The next campaign I am planning which will interact with a Deathwatch campaign will have the PCs at a far lower starting social standing.  In this game half the PCs will barely have met their Inquisitor.  

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