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The power and limitations of Inquisitors (and Arbitrators)?

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MKX said:

Quite a lot of the Arbites and Inquisitions power is backed up by judicious or excessive force, blackmail, coercion and general bastardry, as required.

Never excessive force. The thing about excessive force, like torture, is often that it makes people confess whether or not they're guilty... and that just won't do.

Beyond that, as the Adeptus Arbites are fond of saying: "To be just, our Law must be cruel". But at least it's cruel to everyone... it's just fairer that way.

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Firstly, on Inquisitors power/authourity.  It is absolute, they have a remit to act however they like, but they are kept inline by the other Inquisitors.  Most have oath to other inquisitors as all were once acolytes.  That being said the Calaxis Sector has a unquie structure to it, with a single lord Inquisitor incharge.  probably due to the number of other Inquisitors in the area.  Mostly an Inquisitor will not bump heads with another Inquisitor in the course of their natural lifes while carring out their sacred duty.

 

The power Structure of the Inquisitoin itself to me is somewhat like a spiders web, with every Inquisitor pulling in a different direction to get things done, but not at the same time so the center of the web moves about, with some Inquisitors have more influence than others for a time, then it shifts.

 

As for Acolytes they are nothing more than expendable resources for Inquisitors to investigate and fetch and carry for them.  Some may carry a badge of office if offical identifaction is warrented, but mostly a big gun and some harsh language will get the Acolytes what they want.

My Acolytes answer to one person, their Inquisitor, and that is as far as they see it. 

As a piece of advice, for anyone who has played White Wolf's Vampire:TM or Vampire:TDA your acolytes are neonates, relatively without power other than what they can grab for themselves and the Inquisitors are like the Elders bound within a web of intrigue, lies, counter lies, and politics, with the ancient decreeds and their own fear of death from just stepping up and killing one another.

 

 

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As one of my playtest group (back when I was playtesting Dark Heresy) once said to me: Acolytes have enough authority to get themselves into trouble, but never enough to get themselves out of trouble.

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

Never excessive force. The thing about excessive force, like torture, is often that it makes people confess whether or not they're guilty... and that just won't do.

 

Beyond that, as the Adeptus Arbites are fond of saying: "To be just, our Law must be cruel". But at least it's cruel to everyone... it's just fairer that way.

 

Its actually a really simplistic answer that people who've not studied the effects of torture and extreme physical coercion in any detail, can't say I blame them as its a distasteful subject- but for the purposes fo running a game focusing on the inquisition that historically draws from a period of human history where there was an epidemic of torture, its something I've done a bit of reading about. At some point, desperate PC's will pull out the pliers, blowtorches and wreck the **** out of one of my poor bloody NPC's willpower stat.

Torture will provide a correct answer if you have sufficient evidence that the person being messed with actually HAS the information

Torture will provide an answer, if the person being messed with hasn't got any knowledge- it will be the wrong answer

If my PC's get the right NPC with the right answers, they get the correct information, if they dont, then they're going to probably get themselves in deeper levels of **** and misinformation that will take them off on a wild goose chase. The interrogation may be successful, it doesn't mean the information is! It's why a lot of professional soldiers still get counter-intelligence training against being interrogated by the enemy- they know stuff and if they're sufficiently molested enough, they'll tell.

Hence, during the actual inquisition activities where they extracted confessions from 1000's of people accused of witchcraft, they got 1000's of wrong answers because there is no such thing as witches riding around on broomsticks, summoning demons and cursing someones milking cow. However, the same techniques where also applied to 1000's of people who actually did crimes (traitors, murderers, rapists and heretics) and they did result in a confession for those crimes that had substantiated evidence to back it up. Thus saving a judge sitting around for months listening to a prosecuter and lawyer's argument and counter argument... with some liberal application of human rights violations.

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too the avarage person Inquisitors can do what ever they want and they cant say boo about it unless they want too get shot or worse

if dealing with an adept he probly would need somekind of proof and or reson befor acting against him or her

when dealing with nobels even more so. and high ranking personel tripel that

does an new Inquisitor have a lot of power? compared too say 95% of the rest of humanty i would have too say yes

there powerbase can grow or fall apart by what they do (or don`t do) being aloud too do what you want officaly doesn`t mean other ppl don`t want you too know about them!

new Inquisitors are told a lot of things they didn`t know befor that is treating the empire. as they grow in power and infuwance they will find out more and learn that there is more too be know about things they where not told about (weels within weels) if there peers think they should know they will learn even more.

and as we all know knowlege is power, so guard it well

abritrators have there rules too follow writen him on earth long befor the creed come along. law and creed clash becaus of that a lot the same way the Inquisitors will clash sometime with the arbitors and/or the creed becaus there fields overlap (acording too them) and they should be the ones too take the lead (rules of the pax too the rule of the church, spirtiuwal leaderschip v control by any mean even those that are seen as heresy)

Inquisitors have been know too do a lot of things that both the law and the creed have forbidden but get away with it most of the time becaus they are after all Inquisitors. and have the right too do what ever they thing is nesecary too combat there foe`s.

ps deathwatch, the sistershood, and yes even the grey knight are linked groep too there respective ordo`s but doen`t believe that becaus they are linked they will do what ever they are orded too do. in the grey knight book one of them used the inforthe Inquisiton had deamed unsave and not too be used. too defied a deamon lord.

deathwatch kill team will asist or even follow some Inquisitors too there own ends

and even the sister hood does what they do too help the empire and make it work better then befor. don`t think them mindless drones

all 3 arms have sometime taken stands and/or libral interpatasion of the orders too win battles and or wars

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just for the record inquisitors word is law and no one can tell them what to say or do,they fight the darkest of all that 40k has to throw at them,and as well if an inqisitor wants something he or she gets it it might take them forging paper work or shooting a govener to get it but it will happen,or out right destrying a planet to prove there point

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So, inquisitors are the dominant class, right?
They have substituted the nobles and Libricars are not considered radicals.
I think your vision is too simplistic.
Why we must have a Lord Sector, this is more work for inquisition, another person to control: put in charge an inquisitor instead!

Why we must have a Warlord, he could be a traitor: inquisitor, this is the answer!

I understand that designers have made the inquisition more boundless to attract more players (like the Deathwatch), but I don't like this simplistic (and childish) version, so in my game I made the things more complicated.  ^_^

 

My Imperium is not a feudal organization,  is a SOVIET organization!

And in soviet imperium, the adepts made scream the inquisitors! ^_^

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Sebashaw said:

So, inquisitors are the dominant class, right?
They have substituted the nobles and Libricars are not considered radicals.
I think your vision is too simplistic.
Why we must have a Lord Sector, this is more work for inquisition, another person to control: put in charge an inquisitor instead!

Why we must have a Warlord, he could be a traitor: inquisitor, this is the answer!

I understand that designers have made the inquisition more boundless to attract more players (like the Deathwatch), but I don't like this simplistic (and childish) version, so in my game I made the things more complicated.  ^_^

 

Simplistic on paper, mind-numbingly complicated in reality. On paper, an Inquisitor has unlimited authority and remit to do as he or she needs in pursuit of their duty, but in reality, they can only exert the authority that others let them exert. That is the real kicker and where things get real sticky and interesting and not at all simple.

Inquisitors do, on paper, have more authority then nobles but they are not of their class exactly (they, unless a noble as well just don't have the breading ;-) ). Inquisitors can not do the job of the noble. They haven't the time to manage various mercantile affairs, to see that a population is productive or to supply the people of the Imperium with the goods they need. They have far more important things to do and they are, in comparisons to the noble class, so very few in number. A man or woman who would squander the Emperor's time, resources, and trust to engage in such activities instead of rooting out the enemies of man where ever they roosted, as is the calling of the Inquisitor, would not be elevated to such a station (or lose it to another rather quickly). Those activities are for the noble class, not an Inquisitor.

Libricator's are considered Radicals... by others who have unlimited authority. They are a radical faction because more people with "unlimited" power say they are then those who would disagree. In those kinds of situations, the majority mob wins. In having such authority, they could decide what is acceptable or not after all. If their were more Libricator's then any other faction within the Inquisition, then they wouldn't be considered Radical.

There must be a Lord Sector as opposed to an Inquisitor, again, because governance of an Imperial body and all the headaches and details that goes along with such is not for an Inquisitor. They can not be concerned with how much wheat Farmasious IX has produced over the past 12 years and which of the famine struck worlds gets it, nor can they be concerned that the Adaptus Arbitus of the Calixus Sector has enough Rhinos to quell the potential riots on Hive-Riotus V, VI, and VII and, if they don't, how to get them from the dwindling supplies of the Ixanade sector. They have other concerns which they must busy themselves with. For one of them to become the Lord Sector would be a waist of their authority and remit. They would no longer have the time they need to investigate and root out the enemies of man as they are buried in petitions for tithing forgiveness due to blight #128 or petitions for more damned rhinos be shipped in from sub-sector 2's stock-pile (they're the only ones which any left after all) against that sub-sector governor's wishes (never mind all the minor brush fires of sub-sector commanders stepping on each other's toes in their power plays that has to be put out regularly, etc.).

Beyond that, there just aren't that many Inquisitors and their never can be. If they have unlimited power, you have to be really selective with who actually gets it. After all, you can't have someone who's easily corrupted or lead astray have such power and even with so few getting such power, it still happens now and again. Increasing the chances of it happing more then it already dose by increasing the number of Inquisitors so that the majority of them could handle the mundane affairs of governance is just not a good idea at all. It is an overly simplistic solution to problems that not only wouldn't solve any of the problems plaguing the Imperium, it would lead to destruction. And let's face it, the Inquisition has a hard enough time making sure the Lord Sectors affairs are clean and he doesn't have unlimited authority --the problems if one did would be astronomical and require that many more Inquisitors to deal with...

Besides, in a feudal society, everyone has their place. An Inquisitor's place is not in governance but in hunting the enemies of mankind.

 

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Well said, graver!

 

A point which has occurred to me since reading all these wonderful and thought provoking replies is that the Inquisition was also founded to prevent a Warmaster Horus incident from happening again. In fact, much of the post-Horus Heresy Imperium is organized to prevent such a thing from happening again.

So the last thing the Imperium would allow is for one man (say someone waving a little rosette) to be able to command untold power without any limitations, with entire IG regiments, battlefleets and governor's resources at his beck and call. Power corrupts and the Inquisition (and those that established it and subsequently allow it to exist and function) know this. Thus there would have to be limits to what an individual Inquisitor can do and can't, if only to prevent "mishaps". And that's not even considering Istvanians running amok.

When considering the Inquisition and the byzantine Imperial organizations I am always reminded of the main players in the Third Reich. Like the General SS, the Inquisitors are essentially an internal security force and they are pretty scary with wide powers. Commoners have little defence against SS agents (Gestapo/SD and whathaveyou).  But military personnel or those people belonging to equally powerful organizations could not be touched (or only after extended political machinations). For example, the SS could not punish or even try soldiers. They were under military jurisdiction. Even after the 1944 attack on Hitler, suspected army plotters had to tried under military rules. Some had to be first expelled from the army so the SS could get their hands on them....Only in the end, with all order collapsing and the political power of the Army depleted, could the SS truly gain dominance.  

Another example is Luftwaffe Field Marshal Milch. The SS accused him of being Jewish to which Goring replied: "I decide who is Jewish in the Luftwaffe".

I think that is a good way to play the limits of Inquisitors in RP. Players may suspect or find proof of corruption and heresy but actually bringing powerful opponents to justice is not that easy. Certainly not as simple as pointing a bolt gun and shooting 'cause you're an Inquisitor (or perhaps even just an acolyte). Maybe that is why untraceable assasins are so popular?

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