Determining Your Characteristics
In Inquisition Chronicles, the major defining aspects of your character are not their strength, endurance, intelligence or willpower; as operatives of the Inquisition, your character is distinguished and determined by more abstract factors of their personality – some might say, their very soul. Unless you specifically want to play an exception, all operatives will be understood as possessing a sufficient level of physical and mental training and/or conditioning to withstand rigours well above the average Human. Instead, the key parameters that influence your character’s capabilities are personal qualities: their faith in the God-Emperor or Humanity itself, their personal code of ethics (or lack thereof), and the level of suspicion or conviction with which they prosecute their duties.
However, rather than simply have single statistics for these qualities, Inquisition Chronicles is developing a binary system where players will have to choose between contrasting and conflicting qualities, each of which will take their character down markedly different paths, and offer distinct advantages and drawbacks. While we’re still in the process of developing precisely what each quality governs in mechanical terms, we would of course encourage players to design a character that they want to roleplay as a starting point, rather than look immediately to mechanics.
For ease of reference, the binary system is referred to as the Grace/Sin system, but please do not interpret that to mean that characters who err towards ‘Sinful’ qualities are inherently evil, or that characters who embody numerous ‘Grace’ qualities are ineffably good. The distinction reflects the predominant Human mindset in the Forty-First Millennium, where mindless obedience is valorised and free-thinking is abhorred. Operatives of the Inquisition are above such simple morality, however, and those who embody ‘Sinful’ qualities may stand as guardians of the Imperium, while supposedly ‘Graceful’ characters find themselves damned by their own qualities.
Sufferance/Defiance – Sufferance is a sense of forbearance, the ability to endure hardship with patience and dignity. It also represents a dedication to seek stability over conflict, and exercising self-control in the face of provocation. Defiance is an unwillingness to obey for obedience’s own sake, rejecting obligations purely for their inherent value. It also represents an attitude that refuses to acknowledge a situation as beyond one’s capacity.
Humility/Ego – Humility is not the ability to think less of oneself, but to think of oneself less. It involves the submission to legitimate authority and the recognition of others’ virtues and talents (especially those beyond one’s own). Ego is a strong, some might say over-inflated, sense of self. It places one’s own interests and goals ahead of others, and often involves a strong sense of pride in one’s own abilities.
Trust/Doubt – Trust is the willingness to place oneself in a position of reliance upon another, and belief in the face of uncertainty regarding their actions and/or the risk of failure. Doubt is not a lack of confidence in oneself, but in others. It most often manifests in a sense of suspicion and scrutiny.
Purity/Ingenuity – Purity is not just the absence of sinful desires, but the motivation towards virtuous goals, such as ‘truth’, wisdom and focus. It is the triumph of the soul over temptation. Ingenuity is an openness to novelty and lateral thinking, often disregarding questions of sin or virtue. It is the secondment of the soul to the brain.
Sacrifice/Avidity – Sacrifice is the offering of that which is valuable towards a higher purpose. It is the ability to give something up, for another or a cause. Avidity is a strong desire to possess, and a reluctance to let go of what one has. It is also the capacity to ration finite resources for the most important undertakings, instead of frittering them away on passing pursuits.
Honour/Utility – Honour is the ability to survey a situation and act based upon abstract principles of worth and respect. It is the adherence to and pursuit of a code beyond the self (and the interests thereof). Utility, by contrast, surveys a situation and judges the virtue of any response based on its outcome. It is the rejection of fixed moral codes in favour of pursuing a desired result.
Zeal/Stoicism – Zeal is a fervour or tireless devotion to a person, cause or ideal, typically transcending passing enthusiasm and incorporating some deep-seated commitment. Stoicism is the exercise of self-control over emotional reactions, valuing clear thinking and reasoning.
Determining Your History
No character is born to the Inquisition – even those individuals raised in the Schola Progenium must undergo extensive training and testing to be inducted into parallel organisations such as the Tempestus Scions or Adeptas Sodalitas, to say nothing of being directly appointed to an Inquisitor as an Interrogator. For the vast majority of operatives, joining the Inquisition is usually an (unhappy) accident: typically finding themselves implicated, requisitioned or caught in the crossfire of an Inquisitor’s investigation, they are torn from their old lives so that they might serve the God-Emperor and His Imperium in a more direct way. How your character first joined the Inquisition is second only to why – what skills, qualities or other personal factors distinguished them as worthy of being made even lowly acolytes, and what eventually made them rise to the forefront of the Inquisition’s operations? Was it their skill in battle, their prodigious capacity to process and deploy knowledge, their cunning, or something else entirely?
Characters in Inquisition Chronicles can come from any corner of the Imperium, and we encourage a diverse membership for the Conclave Nova Tungusk. Whether a frontier Xenos hunter or an over-worked guardian on the Eye of Terror’s fringes, we would very much like to see Inquisitors and Agents coming not only from multiple walks of life, but multiple different sectors.
The second part of their history is then how your character encountered the other members of the cadre to which they now belong. No operative of the Inquisition fights alone, and often the bonds of comradeship within a cadre are deeper than a planet’s core. Were you all once a team of acolytes who eventually proved themselves worthy to be their Inquisitor’s personal cadre? Have they personally worked with their Inquisitor since his/her investiture in a single, slowly-growing team?
Finally, for the purposes of Inquisition Chronicles, each cadre (and, by extension, each character) needs to ask themselves how they came into contact with Lord Inquisitor Wrathchild – the convener of the Conclave Nova Tungusk. Each and every cadre (and character) has been hand-picked and personally invited to Terra by Wrathchild on the basis of some past collaboration that left him with a strong impression of your talents, skills and quality – perhaps you worked together on a joint investigation, fought side-by-side in a crusade, or perhaps even fought against one another over a relic or matter of philosophy. While a history of Wrathchild’s career has been included, please do not feel bound to it – if you have an idea for how your cadre encountered and impressed the Lord Inquisitor, please do run it by us. Chances are we’ll love it and give it the go-ahead.
Forming Your Cadre
Every cadre in Inquisition Chronicles is made up of a maximum of four players: one Inquisitor and up to three of their trusted agents. Cadres can, of course, be smaller, but cadres of larger than four will unfortunately be refused (unless we find ourselves in the exceptional case that there is no other way to accommodate all players).
Inquisition Chronicles seeks to capture not only the conflict within the Inquisition, but also the camaraderie, and so we consider it essential that you have at least one trusted ally watching your back. While we encourage players to arrange their own cadres ahead of time, we are entirely happy to accept individual characters – Inquisitors or Agents – on the understanding that such characters will be grouped with one or more of the other ungrouped characters. This may require some potentially significant adjustments to characters, such as their Ordo or political philosophies (or, in extreme cases, fewer Inquisitors), in order to allow for stable cadres to be formed. On the other hand, we will not be requiring that entire cadres attend events together – half, or even just one member, can attend, but please be aware that you will be required to work alongside other cadres on a linear-by-linear basis. This may occasionally lead to tension, such as if a Puritan is required to work alongside a Radical cadre, but such situations should be approached as part of the game.
Inquisition Chronicles does allow, and to an extent encourage, intelligent and discreet player-versus-player contest, but while temporary partnership is an opportunity to gather (or hide) sensitive information from the other cadre’s members, it is considered amongst the worst form for Inquisitorial operatives to disrupt missions with political bickering, let alone attempted murder.
Some Additional Questions
- Is your character an Inquisitor or an Agent? – While Inquisitors are, de jure, the superiors of their Agents, in practice the length of time they have spent together tends to establish a collective of equals. Although in a crisis or conflict of opinions Agents are expected to defer to their Inquisitor, the Inquisitor is also accountable for the actions of their Agents.
- To which Ordo do you belong? – Obviously, an operative’s Ordo determines their jurisdiction and expertise, and the enemies they have dedicated their lives to fighting. While the Conclave Nova Tungusk emphasises cooperation between the Ordos, each Ordo will have its own unique avenues of investigation, mysteries to unravel and threats to survive. A character’s Ordo will also determine one of the two spheres to which they will belong (the other being their philosophical beliefs), and the support they will be able to draw upon as a result. While Inquisitors and/or agents changing Ordos is not unknown, it is an uncommon and messy affair, and should only be considered in extreme circumstances. For the sake of game organisation and plotting, characters unattached to one of the Ordos Majoris will not be accepted.
- What are your philosophical beliefs? – An operative’s philosophical affiliation(s) are often just as influential in how they develop, and what connections they make with other operatives, as the Ordo to which they belong. Not only does membership of particular factions (overt or otherwise) suggest what an operative seeks to achieve through the prosecution of their duties, but to whom they can look for support and assistance.
[STs’ note: While characters within a single cadre do not need to be uniform in their philosophical beliefs, we would strongly encourage players to discuss amongst themselves how certain combinations of philosophies could be sustained, and be aware of the potential tensions that such combinations might cause further down the line. While such tensions are a deliberate part of the story we are seeking to tell, we want to make sure that it remains an enjoyable experience for players, and not a cause for conflict or upset.]
- What is their personality? – While the Grace/Sin system seeks to tie a broad vision of your character into the fundamental mechanics of the game, the devil is always in the detail. How the character joined the Inquisition and their time and role therein will undoubtedly influence their personality, but to further decide who you are roleplaying, you might want to consider some of the following questions:
- What is your character’s/cadre’s greatest pride?
- What is their greatest shame?
- What is the first thing they’d want another Inquisitional operative to know about them?
- What is the last thing they’d want another Inquisitional operative to know about them?
- What is their greatest strength?
- What is their greatest weakness?
- What do they want to achieve? How do they seek to change the world, or sustain the status quo?
- What would they do or sacrifice to fulfil their duty?
- Where would they draw the line in fulfilling their duty?
- What sends them into the jaws of death and damnation every day?
- What torments them in the darkest moments of the night?
A Few Final Points
While we are attempting to be reasonably permissive within the themes of the game, there will be some character concepts we will outright reject. The most obvious are characters who already belong to one extreme of the Puritan/Radical divide: as a game that seeks to challenge characters’ philosophies and beliefs, rabid and unwavering adherents of any singular philosophy will not only make for a less engaging game, but may have a potentially disruptive effect on other players’ experience as well. In a similar fashion, there are certain character types that are simply too disruptive: Xenos and Daemonhosts being the two most obvious, but other concepts drawn from the more impersonal aspects of the Imperium will also be rejected – Culexus or Eversor Assassins, Arco-Flagellants and other such personality-dead characters. Otherwise, our general rule is that if you can phys-rep a character, you are welcome to play it (please note, however, that for certain concepts which are iconic or have in-game bonuses such as Space Marines, our standards will be high). Finally we do not initially want characters who originate from the Tungusk Sector so that we can preserve a sense of mystery and threat.
Additionally, regardless of your character concept, we expect characters to be able to function in a group with operatives of differing philosophies. Puritans are expected to be able to get through a Conclave meeting without purging, and Radicals without summoning Daemons or injecting themselves with Xeno goop. This unspoken contract does go both ways, however: in the same way we won’t tolerate characters being disruptively confrontational, nor will we tolerate characters being disruptively provocative. Characters are expected, and their players encouraged, to keep secrets and move against their rivals from the shadows.
Finally, this is a game focused on a blend of combat, investigation and social interaction. While we of course encourage specialisation, we would like to caution players before slaving a character, or entire cadre, towards a single facet of the game, in case that results in a diminished experience.