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Darth Smeg

The subtle game

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So I’ve finally moved my game to Ascension-level, while dropping the actual Ascension-careers. 

I’ve tried throughout the campaign to provide more than one way of reaching their goals, and to let excessive and overt use of force have consequences. With varying degrees of success.

But I’d like to infuse my games with more .. subtle opponents. Opponents that can’t be easily gunned down or condemned as heretics. Not because they have impressive defensive capabilities, but because their deaths would not lead to the desired results. I’d like to set up situations where simple use of arms or claim of Inquisitorial Authority will be counter-productive, and I’d like to do this without totally deprotagonizing my players gran_risa.gif

So I come to you, Evil GM™s of the world, to help me with ideas.

Simple example: Some political leader, who is not actually a cultist or evil, but he (like all politicians) wants something. To be king or something. The players need something from him, or for him to do as they wish. He will refuse, unless they do something for him. Something he can’t get his people to do. It will probably be something … not very nice.

Knowing my players, they will have a bolt pistol to his head by now, and claim his obedience through superior Authority (Tremble at my name, for I am the Inquisitor!). So, how can he refuse, while still keeping his head and avoid the brand of Heretic? He has the support of the people, who will not believe claims of his Heresy. He has control of media, who will support him? But what if the players run around putting gun to every important head in town in turn?

Discuss cool.gif 

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Hi Darth,

this is problematic. It does not matter how many support the guy has on his own planet. It does matter how much of that Media he controls. The Inquisition is the Inquisition, if they brand him a Heretic and the people revolt against it…it just means that the thing results into the IG being dispatched to quench a planet wide rebellion..sooner or later.

OF COURSE a good Inquisitor will try to avoid such things because he understands that a "petty powerplay" is not something that should be allowed to waste a total good resource of the Imperium (a productive planet that is ACTUALLY not rebelling ..and the life of IG regiments that would need to be deployed in the aftermath). But if your players go that way, they go that.

Frankly, I avoid playing "Ascension" for just this reason. 

What could somebody do if he just does not want to…
While an NPC cannot say NO to "the boss", he can make things hard. Troops needed? The troops needed will be ill fitted and not the best at hand.
Support from the administration? Things will get delayed..

The game here is "I will only do the minimum UNLESS you take the time you measure the situation yourself, point out that you want EXACTLY THAT THING AND NOTHING ELSE and thereby force me to"  it is a game unhappy workers play with their employers, always skating the line of insubordinance. 

This will lead to the point that the Player Inquisitor might still get what he want without giving nothing…but not without spending HOURS AND DAYS to get familiar with the situation..losing precious time. #The Player will either learn to grease the machinery..or will execute people until nobody dares to do anything but his or her level best. 

Again, playing Ascension is difficult, especially if the players insist on ruling by force

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Let the mentioned political leader be intelligent or jaded enough, that he knows that a halfly intelligent Inquisitor would never kill him as it would let the political systen of a planet collapse, with all the repercussions to the sector. The leader must be some sort of planetry governor who is loved by his people and whose demise would lead to planet wide revolts and thus the shortage of tithe. A tithe important for the whole war effort of a nearby crusade or for the sustenance of a nearby hive/forge world.

A young unexperienced Inquisitor would get all sort of problems with his peers in the Inquisition as well as with the more powerful organizations in the Imperium (Administratum etc.), if he kills off a planetray governor without any hard evidence of heresy (like a third arm or something).

In a similiar way you could feature a Navy Admiral whose untimely demise would lead to an increase in nearby pirate activity or serious problems in the troop deployment of a nearby war scene. Killing a Titan Princeps would lead to the malfunction of the Titan as he was plugged in neuraly and cannot be easily subtituted. A Guard Colonel could be an imperal war hero whose death or being threatened with death could lead to thousands of Guardsmen deserting or pointing their Lasgun at the responsible Inquisitor. Grandmasters of the Adeptus Astartes are another delicate story as are Navigators. Without the latter you could be stranded in the middle of nowhere or worse in the middle of the warp…

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Luthor Harkon said:

 

Let the mentioned political leader be intelligent or jaded enough, that he knows that a halfly intelligent Inquisitor 

 

 

Ah, well, you see… that's the problem :)

Just kidding. (sorta).

 

As for the evidence of heresy, I'm afraid the general attitude is: "Refusing the commands of the Inquisition is refusing to follow the commands of the God-Emperor, en thus heresy". Instant proof, right there.

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Hi!

Luthor Harkon said:

A young unexperienced Inquisitor would get all sort of problems with his peers in the Inquisition as well as with the more powerful organizations in the Imperium (Administratum etc.), if he kills off a planetray governor without any hard evidence of heresy (like a third arm or something).

and that is a thing that I do doubt. The fluff is ripe with such in-sane actions where a lot of resources and human lives are WASTED by the Imperium just to get a certain point across. If "young Inquisitors" would learn their lessons in this regard as they are still "young" their simply would not be the numbers of bombasts which you find proof of in the fluff. 

If an Inquisitor kills -one- planetary Governour "for disobeying a direct command of the Inquisition" I doubt that he will get any serious trouble at all, no matter the mess that he left in his wake.

If such things repeat, I see that other Inquisitors will either move or speak out against him…or both! And that perhaps he will be reigned in by "the Lord Inquisitors"…but before that, there will be a couple of plots that will be ruined. 

Do not get me wrong, I do not like this either. But the background that was depicted for 40K from the early times till now is not one that is very reasonable but much more autocratic and cruel.

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 I would let the political man have higher up friends. He could be the leader of an important planet thus granting him access to sector wide support from Nobles and adepta leaders.

Always remember that an Inquisitor is nothing without friends to call upon. I they kill a well liked and connected guy without tangible proof, they can themselves be branded enemies of the imperium by their victims allies.

So when he is going to shut them down, let him be on his way to have dinner with the Fabricator general of the subsector. Or an Administratum representative of the sector. If he doesnt show up they will be worried and start asking questions, which could prove troublesome for the group.

TL;DR - friends are nice to have, especially when you're going against the inquisition.

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My Players have reached a fairly epic tier, and now spend a lot of their time speaking civilly and polietly to inquisitors and planetary governors. The thing about the Rosette is, it grant everything and nothing in the same breath. you have absolute authority, but there are few inquisitorial depots to simply requisition stuff from. A political leader who wants something done has a lot of resources to hand that might surprise the inquisitor who points a gun at his head. secret police forces, PDF stormtroopers, even sanctioned psykers and moritat assassins depending on the world. poisioning, sabotage and torture await those who anger powerful people and unless the inquisitor has good reason, he probably needs to minimise the additions to the list of people who want to kill him. the imperium is a very violent place, but everyone is prepared for violence.

A quick fix would be to make him the revered head of the local church. Nobody looks good threatening a priest.

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Gregorius21778 said:

and that is a thing that I do doubt. The fluff is ripe with such in-sane actions where a lot of resources and human lives are WASTED by the Imperium just to get a certain point across. If "young Inquisitors" would learn their lessons in this regard as they are still "young" their simply would not be the numbers of bombasts which you find proof of in the fluff. 


If an Inquisitor kills -one- planetary Governour "for disobeying a direct command of the Inquisition" I doubt that he will get any serious trouble at all, no matter the mess that he left in his wake.

If such things repeat, I see that other Inquisitors will either move or speak out against him…or both! And that perhaps he will be reigned in by "the Lord Inquisitors"…but before that, there will be a couple of plots that will be ruined. 

Do not get me wrong, I do not like this either. But the background that was depicted for 40K from the early times till now is not one that is very reasonable but much more autocratic and cruel.

The backgound material indeed mentions a couple of these "insane" actions, but in my opinion they are the tip of an iceberg and for that very reason mentioned, otherwise it is not that worthwhile to mention anyway. These tend to be extremely powerful and famous Inquisitors. The background material is also full of more "normal" Inquisitors. For the Calixis sector (or DH material anyway) not one such action is mentioned, even though the sector is full of Inquisitors. Even a famous Inquisitor like Kryptman was declared Excommunicate Haereticus just for blowing away a few planets in good faith.

If a new and unknown Inquisitor kills of the Governor of lets say Sepheris Secundus (i.e. Queen Lachryma) for "disobeying a direct command" and only a couple of barons decide they can lower their tithe (or even go into open rebellion) because of her demise and a missing successor, the respective Inquisitor would get into seriious trouble as the output of the sector's most important producer of ores and minerals drops out. Most likely he would be killed of by an Assassin or maybe trialed openly.

Anyway, a new Inquisitor would have problems to manifest his power without a good network in any way. Sure, he can use a Bolt Pistol to blow the head off most people and get away with it to most degree. Though where do you think he will get any Imperial Guard units to deploy from (as you mentioned before) to quell a rebellion? Do you think he can pull them out of thin air? No, he cannot, at least not without knowing the really powerful people up in the military.

Try to proove me wrong. gui%C3%B1o.gif

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Hello All!

Man, my FFG Forums have been broken for a while- Couldn't even log on… Glad its fixed though, or at least I found a way to go around it [backtracked the page until I found one where I was still logged on… Can't believe that worked!]

In any case, to help you solve the problem- if you'd like to challenge the players at that level, the guys have given great advice on the subject, but allow me to provide an extra suggestion on the Inquisition's worst enemy…. The Inquisition! 

People mentioned that to be overly aggressive is likely to Irk other inquisitions, but this can easily be taken to new and interesting levels. Amalathians for example make perfect incentive for "Keeping things as is"- when your new Inquisitor tries to exercise pressure to change or murder someone, he can easily get a message to stop lest he be branded a heretic by an older, more experienced Amalathian that serves as local police. 

The Planet leader with slightly heretical tendencies could be a ploy on behalf of an Istavanian, Xanthite or other radical Inquisitors to catch a bigger fish on the planet, and murdering him could ruin years and years of careful manipulation and infiltration processes… Moving in to stop your Inquisitor might become necessary before they shoot the guy. 

These guys can quickly move in to warn the players as soon as they are on any planet where disturbing the status-quo might piss people off, or they might wait and send a message when the players do something drastic, or to exact horrifying consequences and punishment if the players actually do something drastic. 

The players should understand that hiding behind the Rosette only works if there aren't two other Inquisitors doing the same thing on the planet- Inquisitors with seniority and precedence. And with heresy lurking behind every corner, you should find the Inquisition almost everywhere as well.

There's more than enough Radical and Puritan factions to counter and pressure the players into following strict lines and behaviors regardless of their behavior.  

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