The Game System
Inquisition Chronicles focuses on a character-driven system of progression. A character’s capacity for action is not going to be determined by an abstract set of numbers tied to skills, but rather a range of talents developed according to the characteristics that reflect their personalities. As a result, progression is going to be a much more open and customisable process (for those familiar with the 40K RPG systems, think along the lines of Black Crusade), with a character’s background providing some initial unique benefits but otherwise exerting no influence on their development.
In terms of combat, Inquisition Chronicles aspires towards a streamlined system with simple damage mechanics and a tight, clear collection of special effect calls. Our hope is that this will allow for combat that focuses more on high risk/reward fighting and mid-battle roleplaying than attritional, complex melee. Lethality will be a key factor in the game’s combat: players who are not careful or clever may find themselves on their bleed-out count very quickly.
More important even than combat, investigation will have a significant role to play in Inquisition Chronicles. Examining scenes of crimes, heresies and mysterious happenings will be integral to pursuing plots and completing objectives. How characters conduct investigations – what they look for and the knowledge they can bring to bear – will largely be determined by the talents they have selected in their development.
Finally, there is the social aspect of Inquisition Chronicles. At the outset the characters cannot trust anyone beyond the core team of Inquisition Grandmaster/Masters and their Viper agents. Many of the NPCs you encounter will be major players in the Imperium’s great political game – a game in which Inquisitors and the Inquisition are only one facet, albeit a powerful one – and while they will fear you, they will also try to manipulate you to their own ends. They will lie, dissemble, coax, bribe, provoke and perform any other social manoeuvre they can concoct to protect their interests and advance their own plans. Many will be beyond your capacity to simply threaten or bully – unless you want to make very powerful enemies – and so you will have to stay one step ahead of them, forever scrutinising their every word.
Inquisition Chronicles events will represent grand convocations of the Conclave Nova Tungusk: a gathering of cadres drawn from all three Ordos Majoris and both sides of the philosophical divide to investigate some pressing issue or stand against a looming threat.
One of the things we want to achieve in our events is to lessen the demand upon players to organise each other into linear groups. Since every character will belong to a cadre, and cadres will develop distinct strengths in terms of their capabilities, Inquisition Chronicles will have a much stronger focus on several cadres being assigned a particular linear by the Grandmaster/Masters based on those capabilities. Obviously, if individual characters particularly want or don’t want to participate, places can be traded, but we hope this will relieve the stress often shouldered by individual players of acting as a linear administrator, ensure an equal distribution of linears, and encourage interesting roleplaying opportunities as different cadres with differing agendas must work together – or at least alongside each other. Individual cadres may also have opportunities during events to pursue their own investigations or leads independent of the ‘caseloads’ they are assigned by the Grandmaster/Masters.
As suggested above, linears in Inquisition Chronicles will involve a varying mixture of combat, investigation and social interaction. Different events will vary in content, as such, we encourage players of characters with a singular focus to ensure they are happy with long periods of ‘downtime’ between times when they are specifically needed. Given the ‘caseload’ assignment system, players with similar interests will be able to enjoy a largely bespoke gaming experience – cadres with a stronger combat focus are more likely to be sent out to smash heretic compounds, or guard investigative teams exploring a Xenos ruin, while cadres with a more social focus might be relied upon to act as the Inquisition’s ambassadors to Imperial potentates.
Inquisition Chronicles’ downtime system is being developed as a strategic challenge wherein players will have to grow and deploy assets such as assassins, spies and acolyte groups across the Tungusk Sector. The key difficulty will be in finding a balance between responding to emergent threats and crises that arise during every downtime cycle, and pursuing one’s own agenda in accumulating temporal power and furthering occult research. Cadres that put out fires wherever they arise but neglect their own growth will soon find themselves incapable of addressing greater threats to the sector, whilst those who focus too much on their personal interests will be held to account for letting the sector slip further into anarchy.
The system is designed to be simple but involving, and to provide challenging uptime discussions and planning, as well as to give a sense of scope and grandeur to the game world. It will require detailed planning and consideration from an in character perspective, but will not require complex mathematics or out of character planning, and the focus of the system will always be to improve play and interactions between characters.
Inquisition Chronicles seeks to maintain a core of player-versus-player action focusing on the disagreements and conflicts between the opposing political and philosophical ideologies of the Inquisition, but this element is only one aspect of the game. It is an aspect that may be dominant for a time due to character action, but it is bounded by constraint and tradition and will not dominate the entire game. The Inquisition abhors open, armed conflict between its operatives (the dreaded ‘Inquisition War’): a struggle between even two cadres can lead to excessive bloodshed and collateral damage, and distracts all involved from the true enemies of Humanity. The Grandmaster/Masters will be quick to move against any individual or cadre felt to be disrupting the conclave’s operations, and will demonstrate the same lack of mercy with which they prosecute their normal duties.
However, every cadre in the Inquisition, whether they realise and accept it or not, is embroiled in a shadow war with their colleagues. Secrets are the most valuable commodity in the Inquisition, and the task of guarding one’s own whilst uncovering those of your rivals (and even allies) is often integral to gathering greater power and influence. Knowing what clandestine research one’s Ordo peers are undertaking can help you influence the Ordo’s entire direction, whilst ensuring another philosophical faction doesn’t learn the compromising truth of your own faction’s pursuits is paramount.
Thus, PvP in Inquisition Chronicles is less about duelling and overt warfare or violence between cadres, and more about the ever-shifting allegiances of a highly political organisation. During one downtime cycle, you may rely on a fellow Puritan to lend you aid in pursuing a common objective, but at the following event you sell them out to another for support in the Consilium.
Despite this, sometimes people just need to be assassinated. Or left to die. Or have a close comrade murdered to make a point. As ever there is one simple, golden rule: everything is permissible, so long as you don’t get caught. But be aware that this is a game about the galaxy’s greatest investigators and hunters of truth. Not every slight is cause for vendetta. Not every philosophical disagreement is grounds for retribution. Not every manipulation is treachery. An ‘eye for an eye’ leaves the Inquisition blind.
Gender & Sex
Our Imperium of Humanity is both gender- and sex-blind, it does not discriminate based on these real-world concepts on a broad scale and all concepts are open to all characters. However to retain the feel of single-sex/gender organisations, we have retained the possibility for individual sub-factions to be of a single sex/gender. As such, any biased factions are open to everyone: specific Space Marine Chapters may be all female or all male (although the Codex Astartes’ approach is for mixed-gender chapters), while the Adeptus Solidatus replace the Adeptus Sororitas and operate under a similar protocol, with specific Convents or Monasteries operating as they choose. Specific historical changes to setting (such as certain Chapters being all-female) will be noted and are done for setting and thematic reasons, rather than to discriminate or prevent individuals playing within these groups.