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Heretic's diary

9 posts in this topic

Entry 1 - how to find a black cat in a black room... even if your DM claims there are no cats left in the whole universe

At some point during his illustrious career every inquisitor faces a situation when he just can't find a foe to exterminate. It might be that the enemy He was pursuing managed to escape, or He may become bored ferreting out some insignificant cult... or it may even be that a lazy DM didn't bothered to think up an adventure (perish the thought). Whatever the reason, if you ever find yourself in such a situation, despair not!


A little bit of occult scrutiny, and soon you'll notice the universe around you is teeming with heretics of all kinds. The question is just how to find them. Listen then, to the tale of inquisitor Maligas (and retinue) and learn how he uncovered a terrible sector-spanning conspiracy... which never existed

It all began with a rather tedious task heaped upon my great master (lord Maligas) by lord inquisitor Stattford. Maligas - a decorated veteran of Ordo Malleus, scourge of daemons, killer of planets, butcher of sorcerers (and a proud owner of Fellowship 9) - was ordered to "fetch a book". A book, of all things! Now some of you might think it was some arcane tome of great significance, guarded by a warhost of daemons led by dreaded Fateweaver or Anggrath himself. But no, it was nothing more than a boring tale of some long forgotten Imperial Saint wannabe's life, and it was guarded by a single sorcerer of Slaanesh. Worse yet, to get to this book great inquisitor Maligas had to overcome not deadly enemies or devious riddles... but to suffer the indignity of working with imbeciles of the Holy Ordos. Inquisitor Zarkov, inquisitor Gerhardt, lord-inquisitor Stattford of the Ordo Hereticus and lord-inquisitor Morgan of the Ordo Malleus... each and every one of them, it seemed, dedicated their lives to annoying and insulting my master.

It was there and then that I first began to harbour private doubts about the sanity of our employers. The Holy Ordos were supposed to be wise, but they were behaving like morons. First sending my master on a wild goose chase to an arse-end of Marian sector, only to tell him when he actually got there that the very object he was hunting for (a whole book, no less!) was in fact stored in an inquisitorial vault. Then, when he reached the vault, it was conveniently looted, and it was a wild goose chase once again... And every time we tried to catch our breaths, to take a look around, to actually burn a heretic deserving to be burnt - like Zarkov or Ravion noble families, or a corrupt coterie of Imperial archbishops - inquisitors appeared out of the woodwork, spewing threats and obscenities. The first of these neanderthals - inquisitor Zarkov - was soundly beaten by my lord Maligas, and sent back to the Holy Ordos on his knees, wailing in terror. But then came Gerhardt and Morgan and Stattford, and slowly we despaired to see reason in their actions.

It became increasingly evident to us that something was terribly wrong in the Marian sector. And so I - holy father Praevus, follower of the blessed Recongregator creed and a humble servant of inquisitor Maligas - compiled all the evidence we had and, armed with the sacred knowledge of numbers and their meaning (simply put, with SL: Numerology well into nineties), set myself the task to tear down the veil of confusion and secrecy and to expose the truth of all that transpired in the Marian sector to my master.

The basic assumptions were simple:

1. We knew that a great daemon of Slaanesh was due to be brought back into this world (kind of a 'great quest' of the game session), so the number 6 (six) was in the ascendance and had to looked for in all the numbers.

2. We've gathered some hard evidence, including a list of suspects and suspect planets. They all were somehow complicit in the daemon's approaching return, and so their names had to had some significance in the grand scheme of events.

With these two truths in mind, I began my work.

First, I updated the Marian sector map, writing down all the suspect planets on it and then connecting them by lines. And these planets were eleven, but three were obviously false leads. A hereitc born on Innocentius III was post-humously relocated to Santus Primaris, which clearly indicated the forces of Chaos had no interest in this world. Norhok and Nostor were also to be ignored, because they lay on a false fifth axis, not truly connected to the Eightfold Star formed by other eight planets. Yes, the number of truly relevant planets was eight (8), and imagine my horror when - once connected - they formed the dreaded Eightfold Star of Chaos. Once I had drawn the lines of the Star, it became evident that 16 more worlds were bisected by the four axis lines. 16! Twice the number 8, so the final amount of tainted planets became 24. Thrice the unholy 8, which meant my calculations were true.

I then took a closer look at the names of the four principal axis worlds. Ordinarily one would like to translate all the world names, but in this case four was enough, because 4 is on one hand half the cursed 8, and on other hand - the logical next step of the number of suspect worlds, which started with 8 and ended with 24, or thrice 8. So half-eight and four times eight is both the Alpha and Omega of the cycle, and so it is enough to look at four principal suspect worlds only.

And just what did I saw when I've taken a look?

The number of Ispiy was 78, or 13 times 6, and 13 was in turn a unity of 7 and 6. Two 6 and a 7. So this world is twice cursed by She Who Thirsts, which means it is a world important to our investigation. The loose number 7 has no relevance in this case, because it represents not the Great Father's gaze but merely the number of other worlds lying on Ispiy axis on the Eightfold Path.

The number of Xeth is 57, or 5 and 7, and 5 and 7 give us 12, once again twice the number of She Who Thirsts. Also 5 represents the number of stars bisected by Xeth axis of the Eightfold Path, and 7 is the number of habitable planets around those stars. One might object that there are only 4 stars and 6 planets on the Marian sector map, but for those I would say there must be the fifth star and seventh planet, because the combination of these two figures once again give us the recurring 12, or twice the cursed 6, and that means this elusive planet is real and is the actual birthplace of a daemon - a daemonworld yet hidden from the righteous eyes of my master.

The riddle of Asitorius axis was a real nut to crack. The number of Asitorius was 131, and the sum of its figures gave us 5 - a false number, equivalent to the "fifth wheel of a cart". But then I take another look at the map and finally understood. And so I took the sum of figures of the number of Nostor (101), which lay on the false fifth axis (on which Asitorius' number 5 pointed), but was not touched by the Great Architect of Fate like Norhok (which number was 81, or 9 times 9). And then I digged up the name of heretic born on Asitorius - one named Mallear, whose number was 62. And by combining all the figures: 5 for Asitorius, 2 for Nostor and 62 for Mallear, I got the number 69. 69, or 6 and 9. 6 for the curse of She Who Thirsts and 9 to represent the ever-scheming hand of the Great Architect of Fate, who tried to conceal the truth of Asitorius from me. 9 was also the 6 inverted, and so is gave us two 6's once again.

After that, the question of fourth planet - Santus Primaris - was an easy one. The number os Santus Primaris is 197, and the sum of its figures is 17, which is also the planet's number cleansed of the deceiving 9. By adding to it the numbers of all the six (!) heretics born on this world, and the number of the one who was before them, and the number of the one who died for them, I got the number 739. The sum of its figures is 19, and 1 we must substract, because it represents the Primaris (or First, which is also "1") part of planet's name. So the pure number of Santus is 18, which is thrice the number of She Who Thirsts. But there are two planets in Santus star system, and just as we substracted 1 from the planet's number must we now substract one of its 6's. Ans so the final count is twice the cursed 6 for the fourth time.

Four time two 6's gives us the total of eight 6, which means a single caress of She Who Thirsts per each of the eight axis worlds forming the Eightfold Star. A truly chilling discovery.

So, after confirming in such a way once again that my research is true, I proceeded to uncovering the identity of the one who shall be the daemon's vessel. It was clear to me that this person must also be touched by Slaanesh, which meant I had to look for a person whose name would yield me the pure 6.

The first one I suspected was one Larim Ravion, for his number was 132, which gave me clean 6. But then I realised my error, for Ravion was not a relevant part of his name - a House name. And if we consider names Larim and Ravion separately, the sums of their numbers' figures would be 8 and 16, and 16 is the sum of 7 and 9. So, there are three cursed numbers in Larim Ravion's name - 7, 8 and 9, but there is no 6, and that means this one is clearly abhorred by She Who Thirsts.

And so I looked further... and despaired. Because there was indeed a second person, which name gave me the number 123, and that number also produced clean 6. And the name I speak about was Stattford, and the man known by such name held the title of the lord-inquisitor of the Marian sector Ordo Hereticus. I didn't believed it at first. Lord-inquisitor was beyound suspicions of heresy and daemonancy, he was to be a shining example of Humankind's purity! Surely, my calculations took a wrong turn somewhere along the way. They had to be wrong. They just had to be! A lord-inquisitor would never be a heretic!

Lord-inquisitor... The number of Lord is 49 and the number of Inquisitor is 151, and the sum of the both numbers' figures is 20, which is thrice the cursed 6 plus 2. And 2 is merely the number of lord-inquisitors operating in the Marian sector. And the number of another lord-inquisitor - Morgan - is 68, or 6 and 8, which is 14. And 14 is twice the cursed 6 plus 2. And so we have two lord-inquisitors, once (Stattford) and twice (Morgan) cursed by She Who Thirsts, and three loose 2's: one from each "lord-inquisitor" title and one from "Morgan" name. And three times 2 give us yet another 6, and so the total number of 6's for both lord-inquisitors would be 4 (one for Stattford. two for Morgan, and one for loose 2's), and 4 is the number of principal axis worlds lying on the Eightfold Path.

And so the terrible truth is out: lord-inquisitors Stattford and Morgan are seduced by She Who Thirsts and are plotting to resurrect her terrible champion to unleash it upon the unsuspecting Marian sector. And there is only one man who knows the truth - inquisitor Maligas, the one threading the proud path of the Phaenonite.

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Entry 2 - Do You Confess? ...or how to goad a suspect to damn himself

Each inquisitor knows the value of a successful interrogation. Often the heretic he is about to interrogate is obviously guilty - either caught in the act of committing heresy or so steeped in evil, that his corruption is made manifest in his flesh. In this case the interrogation is straightforward, and the interrogator is free to do with the accused as he sees fit. Mind reading and torture will eventually break anyone, no matter how physically or psychically strong he is.

But what to do when you need to condemn someone who is seemingly beyond reproach, beloved (and protected) by his many followers and shielded by the light of the very same Emperor you so valiantly serve? What to do when the guilt cannot be proven by conventional means, or when the heretic is so devious he could look almost innocent... or he IS innocent, for that matter,

The answer to this may be simple - there is, after all, no such thing as innocence, only the degrees of guilt - but how to expose such a person as a heretic he clearly is?

The most important thing is not to reveal your identity from the very beginning. Remember, you would not be able to just chain the suspect to a metal chair and beat the truth out of him. And - if allowed the time to think that up - the suspect would calm down and then steel himself and you shall lose the most important tool in you arsenal: Fear. So, instead of "going up the centre", ask politely for a private meeting. The possible legends are many: a distant relative, an ardent admirer, a humble petitioner... choose whatever you like, and remember: modesty is the key. This way the person you're about to meet would expect to be in control of the conversation; he would most likely be in a condescending mood, fully prepared to dispense charity or scorn on some hapless ape clearly beneath him. And so when you - once the meeting began - reveal your true identity, the shock of such a revelation will make a dent in suspect's ego. He would be caught unawares, wrong-footed, and unable to collect himself for a few precious seconds.

The next step is to confuse the suspect. Ask him a series of questions he is not expecting. Remember also, that the man you're questioning IS guilty, no matter what he says, and behave accordingly. Make your mistrust and your contempt for him clear and visible right from the start, and keep asking him seemingly random questions.

In my experience, it helps if your questions match three criteria:

1. They must jump from one subject to another and never form up a coherent chain. Remember, the suspect is an adept of treachery and deceit, and would rally his wits if given the slightest opportunity to do so. Not for a moment allow him to get the feeling what you're really after.

2. They must include numbers and names - the two things that are most difficult to remember - as often as possible. Never allow the questions to be general, they must always be personal. As more and more names show up in the questions (each one with numbers - such as birth / death date, height / weight, number of relatives or current age - attached), refer to the first principle, asking every time about a different person and a different number.

3. They should never accuse the suspect directly. At this stage the suspect must still believe he is only being questioned about someone else's sins. In this way he would feel himself both embarrassed at being treated like a cretin and relieved you're not after his own skin.

If you make things right, you'll eventually notice the change in suspect's behavior: he will become highly agitated, desperate to get rid of you and prove his own innocence. Depending on his character this agitation could result in anger, annoyance, willingness to help or even weary resignation.

Now is the time. Accuse the suspect directly. The accusation must be serious enough to warrant suspect's execution if proved right and should be delivered in as blunt and tactless way as possible. The shock of yet another sharp turn in questioning would shatter the already cracked mental defenses of the suspect, if only for a short while.

Now proceed once again with the questions you asked previously, tying each one to the crime you accused the heretic of. If you asked previously about his children, ask now why and when he killed them, and to which one of the Dark Gods he sacrificed their still beating hearts. If he has a dear friend, ask him why he befriended a dangerous heretic. If he won a great victory for the Imperium, describe how it resulted in untold misery on countless Imperial planets and ask him why he sought to undermine the God-Emperor's rule in such a callous way. Nothing is sacred at this stage, as your goal now is to make the suspect feel he is already damned and has nothing to lose.

There are several possible outcomes at this stage:

1. If suspect was angered by previous questions, he would react violently by now, so you must be prepared to slay him for his insolence. This is not a clear ending, but an acceptable one, because if one attacks the member of Holy Inquisition, he is certainly guilty.

2. If suspect was willing to help, he would be entirely confused by this sudden turn of events and would probably stumble in his answers, making all sorts of mistakes in his confusion. Your job is to "catch him by the sleeve" when he does so. Once he confessed his guilt in such a way, he is all yours, and can either be detained (to be interrogated properly further) or be executed on the spot, whichever do you prefer.

3. If suspect was weary and resigned before, he might actually snap now and either resort to violence ("I've had enough of this!") or just surrender and confess in everything you heaped upon him.

Be wary also of the fourth outcome, when the suspect remains calm or laughs in your face. For this means your previous questions were for nothing and the suspect's will remains strong. Which actually proves him guilty, for who can remain calm when accused by an inquisitor, if he is not truly a heretic? If that is the case, you would probably need some final, damning evidence to prove your point to the audience. As I - a humble servant of inquisitor Maligas - had discovered, the most efficient way in this case is to call upon the sorcerous powers of the Warp. A sorcerer skilled in sublime arts, such as I, could quietly cast a Disease upon the suspect. The spell is marvelous, requiring no material or verbal components, but only an easily concealed gesture made by hand in the direction of the target. No lightning arcs or buzzing of flies - the target just suddenly begins to bleed and vomit, soiling itself and stinking up the place. To an outside observer it seems like it's happening on its own, and so you remain above suspicion. And when the daemon of Nurgle emerges from the victim's corpse, all doubts in his crimes are dispelled and you have your scapegoat.

Of course, it is rather difficult to pull that kind of trick without at least a silent consent from your inquisitor. But if your master is an understanding and just man, like the great Maligas is, he will clearly recognise the poetic beauty of such an execution of a heretic, and the advantages it brings...

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Entry 3 - Practical sorcery, part 1... or how to put an incompetent imperial commander to good use

At some point during his holy quest inquisitor Maligas came on Norhok, a fortress world invaded by Chaos forces some decades ago.

The war on Norhok was a slow, drawn-out affair, with imperial officers either incapable or unwilling to actually win the conflict. Instead they were content sitting on their hands, bemoaning their lot in life and pretending they were mercilessly crushing the enemy in a war of attrition.

When my lord Maligas required these sorry freaks to organize an offensive (our holy work demanded it), there was a great outcry and no end of complaining, and in the end we decided to take the matter into our own hands. We - to be blunt - abducted the miserable, useless lord-commander, and brought him to one place he avoided at all costs: to the frontline.

There, in the ruins of a contested town, we planned and executed a sorcerous ritual of awakening.

First, we located a suitable place: a house standing in the middle of the most brutal battle fought for this town. Its ruined walls were soaked in blood of the fallen, and the very air inside reverberated with the memory of their cries. Using the mortar made from the decomposed flesh and melted bones of the dead, we consecrated the place to the Great Father by drawing a large occult symbol on the floor and then painting unholy runes on the walla and ceiling.

Once the place of the ritual was ready, we prepared a suitably symbolic sacrifice: the above-mentioned lord-commander. Although he was a spineless coward and incompetent wretch, he proved to be an ideal victim. His title meant he was the one the fallen imperial guardsmen once answered to, and so held a measure of authority over their souls. His long stay on the planet's surface meant he was - methaphysically speaking - a part of this war, and recognised as such by the denizens of the Warp.

Once the victim was prepared, all that remained was to seal the compact with the souls of the fallen by sacrificing him in an appropriate fashion. After much thinking, I decided the victim was to be disembowelled by razor wire, and his feetand hands sawn off by the same means. Disembowelling was to be the 'wake up' call for the dead, for there are a few things a common grunt dreads more than a loving caress of a razor wire and a savage wound to his stomach. By combining both factors I played upon the darkest fears of the fallen, causing them to stir from their slumber. The cutting of hands and feet served two purposes - first, it was to unsettle the fallen further, and second - to give me the means to control the horde. By cutting the said extremities from the victim's body (who by now became the personification of every fallen in vicinity) and then gritting them to a pulp and ritually devouring them, I claimed the hands and feet of the fallen as my own. Now their feet walked in the direction I wished and their hands slashed and grabbed at whatever or whoever I chose. With zombie horde stirred from slumber and prepared to march, it was now time to actually awaken it. And so the victim was strangled and posthumously hanged by its innards in the center of the sacrificial symbol, with strangulation necessary to crush any vestiges of zombies' free will and hanging representing their rise from the graves.

A grim affair, but it was done as my lord Maligas commanded. With the zombies awakened and under my control, we have unleashed it upon the Chaos scum, driving them from the town and breaking their battle lines on a kilometre wide front. There were obstacles, of course.

Firstly, some upstart Chaos sorcerer wannabe tried to usurp my control over the zombies. Unfortunately for him, my will and knowledge of the black arts of daemonology were far greater than his. He died, screaming, and his zombie minions further swelled the ranks of our horde.

Secondly, three chaos space marines tried to stop my lord Maligas. He dispatched them all single-handedly, scouring their tainted souls with righteous fury of the Soulkiller technique.

At last, the ungrateful freaks of the Imperial Guard bombarded our positions with the Basilisks. Once again inquisitor Maligas was forced to intervene, travelling to the artillery emplacements in spirit and killing every living soul there with the power of his mind.

Once we've dealt with all the distractions, we proceeded behind the enemy lines, releasing the zombies to wreak havoc in our wake. So, as you can notice, those who claim one man can't make a difference in the vast mechanism of the Imperium, are wrong. Even the most pathetic and useless, like the lord-commander in question, have their uses and can be of great value if used properly.

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Entry 4 - Treatise on the nature of Cults, part 1

As we all know, cult activity is one of the great evils plaguing the worlds of the Imperium. Genestealer cults, Taooist cults, Daemon-worshipping cults and even radical Imperial cults - they all cause unrest and woe, all are elements of an immense fifth column trying to undermine the Imperium from within. That, however, is not necessarily a bad thing.

The Genestealer cults are a clearly defined danger and there can be no compromises and half-measures on their account, because - let us be blunt - their members are no longer human, but merely an extension of some alien race. They must be eradicated on sight and at all costs.

The same measure of intolerance must be applied to Taooist cults, but for another reason. Tau Empire creed - the so-called "Greater Good" - proclaims that different alien species can actually co-exist peacefully, if only united by a common goal. From this we must draw the logical conclusion that each alien race must be "given a chance". Which in turn means we must "give a chance" to Tyrannid, Hruud, Enslaver, Necron and Dark Eldar. An entertaining but entirely counter-productive notion, which could only result in genocide for the human race. So, perhaps with great sadness, we must state that this "Greater Good" doctrine is just as evil and insidious as the above-mentioned Genestealer infection.

The former is a disease of the body, the latter - a disease of the mind. Both are irreversible and can only be cleansed by fire.

When it comes to radical and heretical cults, however, the things are not so clearly cut. After all, what is so harmful about a daemon-worshipping cult? The obvious answer would be "the cultists worship a daemon, so they have betrayed the Emperor". But tell me, is this always true?

Now if we're looking at some warmongering cult backed up by the Traitor Legions and set upon the path of overthrowing the Imperial rule, that's one thing. In this case the cultists actively stand against the Imperium and in doing so renounce their right to be part of human race. They must be put to the sword with maximum prejudice, just like genestealers' victims or xenos-loving Taooist freaks. They are no longer humans, end of the line. The same goes for daemon worshippers who seek to appease their patron at Humanity's expense.

But what if the cultists are not directly opposed to the Imperium? Radical Ecclesiarchial cults for example, which are just as many as there are stars in the Galaxy? Or the (relatively rare) Chaos cults, whose members are either misguided by a single corrupt individual or whose actions are actually beneficial for the Imperial cause? An over-zealous, self-righteous Puritan will say they must all burn. But for what crime? Because they make the sign of the Aquila against their backside instead of their chest? Because they believe the Emperor sits on Brass and not Golden Throne and is fond of blood being spilled in His name? Or maybe because they feed the souls of captured Eldar to the White Maidens who are reputedly the Brides of the Emperor? The already-mentioned Puritan would say "Yes!"... and in so doing would perform a great disservice to the Emperor.

Imagine the scene. You have uncovered a cult which worship practices are clearly deviant or even heretical in nature. The cultists, however, believe their way is the one true path, the one actually set for them by the Emperor or one of His Saints. Then comes the Puritan, all high and mighty, armed with litanies of hate and condemnation, and a host of warriors bedecked in Imperial colours trailing in his wake, killing everyone in their sight. "A triumph of Imperial justice", he would say, "the heretics got what was coming for them!"

Now consider the consequences. The Puritan would not catch and kill every single cultist. It is perhaps a sad reality of our Holy Work, but at least a single bastard always gets away, and if even by some miracle he does not, then some of his relatives or friends or just some "innocent bystanders" survive, or a copy of "heretical tome" is misplaced and resurfaces many years later... Whatever happens, the outcome is the same: the cult returns like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes, and this time it is a hostile one. Of course, there ARE means at our disposal to make sure absolutely nothing remains of the cult teachings: Exterminatus. But even then the echo of atrocity resonates within the Warp, infusing thousands of mad prophets and demagogues galaxy-wide, leading to an up-surge in cult actitivity. So the Puritan had succeeded; his bloodthirst sated for a while and his ego futher swelled by mountains of skulls and oceans of blood at his feet... and the Imperium ended up to deal either with a hostile cult instead of a neutral one, or with a thousand cults instead of simply one. Keep up the good work, my dear Puritan!

But what should be done with such non-hostile cults? Clearly they could not be left alone to fester in their ignorance, for sooner or later they will fall prey to their own deviancy and become the very evil the Puritans believe they already are? This is where the guiding hand of the Inquisition must come into play. Properly guided and motivated, the cults could prove to be a valuable resource. Insight into the world Beyond, reconnaisance missions behind Great Enemy lines, a pool of skilled would-be acolytes... even an execution force in delicate situations where Inquisition involvement must not be detected. The uses are many, the investments negligible, and if a cult proves to be a hindrance you can always dispose of it: it IS a heretical cult after all.

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Man, this is amazing- but you SHOULD change the tittle to a "Radical's Diary" :P (After all, the methods are extremes, but the intentions are all that matters!) 

... This is also going to become required reading for my acolytes... whose Inquisitor is a secrete Phaenonite as well... 


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The diary's name is a concession in memory of the only puritan of our (now finished) game session: the GM. He really tried to save us from the path of Radicalism 

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Entry 5 - Treatise on the nature of Cults, part 2

Theoretical matters aside, just how could one use the Cults to his advantage?

The most obvious (and least effective) way is to manipulate them subtly, by means of anonymous membership (Hidden Cultist talent). In my humble opinion, this is a half-hearted approach, because it offers only limited possibilites with ultimate punishment looming on the horizon. Indeed, if you're caught, you burn for your crimes - just who would kill you: cultists or your fellow colleagues - hardly matters in the long run. And because you're just a "figure in the shadows", you can't really make the cults do your bidding - just push them gently in the right direction.

The second option is to have a cult all of your own (adapted Acolytes Network talent). By raising your own cult, you can have direct access to all of its resources and often benefit from fanatical devotion of your followers. Unfortunately, such practice is frowned upon by many of our more… narrow-minded… colleagues and such a direct association with cult activity could prove to be difficult to sever in time. Of course, there are ways to minimize the dangers:

1. The cult's beliefs could mirror one of the numerous Emperor-devoted Death Cults. The fact that you're the cult's chief demagogue could bring trouble with the Ecclesiarchy and pesky Amalathians of the Ordo Hereticus, but it will not warrant your summary execution.

2. Remember to remain the cult's holy father and not the object of worship. Cult's loyalty must always supposed to be to the Emperor, so restrain your dreams of grandeur.

3. Always remain the One and Only True Prophet. Denounce and eliminate any charismatic leader wannabe that could emerge from the cult's ranks. Holy zealots' minds work in predictable patterns: give them one chance to disagree on some minor matter of Faith, and you'll never hear the end of it.

The third option is to keep your cult friends "at arm's length" (adapted Wide Correspondence talent). In this way you have a number of cults you could influence both subtly and overtly, and a number of demagogue allies which you keep relatively close. Achieving such a position could be tricky however: whether a cult leader in your own right, or an independent "specialist", you must somehow win the favor of your new "friends". To do so, one must keep in mind the following:

1. Respect the cult's ways and tenets of faith. Do not be a zealot - they would not have it from an outsider anyway - but show a healthy respect for their demagogues and their teachings. Simply put, shove your puritan mindset where the sun doesn't shine and smile upon the prospect of a ritual bloodbath, even if the idea normally makes you vomit.

2. A favor for a favor. Don't expect the cults will help you out of kindness of their hearts, and be prepared to repay them for their services. And I don't mean the proverbial "bullet in the head"; no, you must genuinely help your new allies at least once to seal the compact.

3. A chance at greatness. Keep in mind that most of the cults are founded by deluded fools. Whether worshipping the Emperor in some radical way or following a heretical creed, the cults usually live a meaningless life, and their demagogues - being relatively intelligent people - are aware of it on some fundamental level. So, convince them that by helping you they usher in some Golden Age, paving the way for the Greater Good of All Mankind.

3.1. Dealing with daemon-worshippers is a bit more tricky, but at the same time a lot easier. The most difficult part is to procure access to the original daemonic lore the cult is founded on, and then unlock its meaning to understand what is it the daemon wants. Then, depending on the nature of his ambitions, you could strike a mutually beneficient deal, enslave the daemon to your will or just banish the poor bastard for good. In latter case, the cult will obviously be no more though, so just be careful where you spit that catechism of banishment.

What task could possibly be accomplished by the cults?

In theory - pretty much anything. The puritan might object that everything the cults could accomplish could be done using more conventional Imperium-approved means, and the only "benefit" the inquisitor gets out of the deal is the damnation of his immortal soul. To a certain degree it is the sad truth. By embracing the cults an inquisitor would surely damn himself, that's the part the puritans got completely right. What they fail to see however is the number of innocent souls an inquisitor would save using the "forbidden" resources. A topic for theological debate, I know, the one raised in the times of great founder of Xanthine faction and still not answered…

So let us not argue and merely consider the possibilities:

1. Heretek sects can provide many otherwise unavailable technological wonders. In my career, I worked (briefly) with a renegade explorator who actually managed to "capture the music of the Warp" and built an emitter capable of affecting the Immaterium waves. The device was never finished (destroyed by a band of short-sighted puritans), but in theory it could affect even the dreaded warp storms, dissipating or creating them at the operator's will. Less bizarre examples include all kinds of technologies frowned upon by the Adeptus Mechanicus, such as Murder-Cogitators, Goleph- and Slinnar-class war machines, etc.

2. Truth-seeking cults, such as Followers of Atheanos, are indispensable when it comes to acquiring proscribed knowledge. The lack of vital information on the nature of our Enemy killed many inquisitors and their acolytes, and many more where lost exactly because they sought to know too much. Much more safer is to have some organization with access to such dangerous lore, which shall provide you a filtered version of the information, free of the taint it normally heaps upon the seeker.

2.1. Free-thinking acolytes. An offshoot of the above-mentioned truth seekers are those who actually seek to share their knowledge. The most (in)famous examples are the so-called "Blighted Schola" and "Cognitae" illegal academies, but these are not the only ones. Such n organization - if kept in check so that its teachings would not devolve into outright heresy - could provide an inquisitor with a well-educated cadre of acolytes; truly a valuable and vital resource.

3. Militant cults. These are the most numerous of all and can be used in the most straightforward way: to eliminate inquisitor's enemies and to harass his all-too-successful competitors. Usually less disciplned than Inquisitorial stormtroopers and Chamber Militant troops, such cultists have one undeniably positive trait: they are devoted servants not of the Holy Ordos, but of their own creed, and if handled with care, such misplaced fanaticism could be a great advantage.

4. Interstellar cult networks. Some cults' influence spreads far beyond a single planet or solar system: Pale Throng, Children of the Saviour, Pilgrims of Hayte and some others are encountered on many worlds of the Imperium. Such cults' network of informants and power base are immense, with thousands upon thousand of cult cells working independently towards some common (and usually Grand and Sinister) goal. If allied to, even a single such cult could make the life of inquisitor a lot easier, for it will effectively become an instrument of his will. Remember the case of great Quixos; his dreams could have been shattered by a band of misguided fools in the end, but look at how much he managed to achieve with just a single cult at his disposal.

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