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"I come to set straight that which is twisted; to cleanse that which is unclean; to judge he who is guilty; to punish he who has sinned. These things I do in the name of the most holy God-Emperor of Mankind, and I do them gladly."

— The "Missive to the Damned," issued by Lady Garielle of the Ordo Hereticus by way of planet-wide vox-cast, upon her arrival on Fenksworld.

An Imperial Inquisitor ready to defend Humanity from the threats of the galaxy in the God-Emperor's name.

An Inquisitor is a clandestine agent and one of the highest-ranking members of the Holy Ordos of the Emperor's Inquisition. Inquisitors serve as the secret police and intelligence agents of the Imperium and their authority is theoretically second only to that of the Emperor Himself.

They are driven by an ancient order of the Emperor of Mankind to ensure the security of the Imperium of Man from the taints of Chaos, the Daemonic threats of the Warp, internal dissension and the dangers presented to Mankind by intelligent alien species like the Orks, the Tyranids, the Aeldari, the Necrons and the T'au.

Split into three main orders or "ordos majoris," the Ordo Xenos (Alien Hunters), the Ordo Malleus (Daemonhunters) and the Ordo Hereticus (Witch Hunters), as well as many smaller, more specialised orders called the "ordos minoris," the Inquisition is ruthless in uncovering and snuffing out Chaos corruption, heresy, and mutation wherever they may be found among the million worlds of Humanity.

Although many Inquisitors consider themselves answerable only to the High Lords of Terra and the Emperor Himself, in reality there exists a class of high-echelon Imperial servants, to which Inquisitors belong, who all wield more or less the same levels of de facto political influence. Such worthies include Imperial planetary governors and sector lords, Astra Militarum generals, Space Marine Chapter Masters, Ecclesiarchy cardinals, Rogue Traders, Adeptus Mechanicus archmagi, Navis Imperialis Lord Admirals, Adeptus Arbites Judges, and the sector-level representatives of the Adeptus Administratum. Relations between these various groups are often seething with internecine rivalry and bitterness, and even within one grouping, deadly wars may be fought to gain influence and leverage. Imperial Commanders, for example, quite frequently engage in bitter and bloody territorial clashes between each others' fiefs, and the Inquisition is far from immune to internal strife.

Yet the relentless and deadly agents of the Inquisition have infiltrated every facet of Human society to ensure that Chaos can never again take root in the Imperium, and that no alien race will replace Humanity as the dominant intelligent species of the galaxy.

Bearers of the Seal


Inquisitor Adrastia of the Ordo Hereticus and her Servo-skull Familiar.

To be chosen to bear the Inquisitorial Rosette at the rank of Inquisitor is at once the greatest of honours and the weightiest of burdens. Of the uncounted trillions that constitute the multitudes of Humanity, only those marked out by the grace of the Emperor Himself are judged worthy.

The common man rarely achieves more than he is born into, yet an Inquisitor rises far above the circumstance of their birth, being singled out amongst billions for a fate few can ever dream of. Inquisitors enjoy one of the most privileged of stations in the entire Human-settled galaxy, yet they are far from a master of their own fate.

Their life is instead bound up in duty and responsibility. For many, the station is a curse, a cross to bear for the sake of the Emperor and the very future of Humanity. In fact, there are those within the Ordos Calixis of the Calixis Sector, for example, willing to sacrifice their eternal souls for the sake of all Mankind, such as the Oblationists, who give themselves unto Chaos that they might become a weapon against it.

For many Inquisitors, life is a series of terrible revelations as more and more horrifying truths are uncovered. Upon their ascension from service as an Interrogator to their mentor to the rank and responsibilities of a full Inquisitor, the individual may well discover that all they thought they knew was in fact a lie. Although the shock of such a revelation is great, the individual would not have been chosen to bear the seal of the Inquisition had they not been judged able to withstand it by their superiors.

Even more shockingly, this state of affairs is likely to continue throughout an Inquisitor's career, so that one after another supposedly fundamental truths are proved false. Many do eventually go mad, unable to sustain the relentless assault upon their very sanity. These must be hunted down by their peers, lest they turn Renegade and seek to destroy everything for which the Inquisition stands.

Inquisitor with Retinue

An Inquisitor with his retinue of Acolytes and Throne Agents.

Despite the fact that all Inquisitors share the same mission and bear the same burden, they are as varied in demeanour, character and appearance as the worlds from which they are drawn. Some are ascetic and withdrawn, disdaining comfort as an example to their underlings and foes of the sacrifices made by the Emperor for the sake of Humanity. Others attire themselves in regal finery, the better to cow and impress those they move amongst. Some are outwardly pious, while others might appear irreligious to the ignorant. Some Inquisitors are militaristic while others move silently in the shadows or conduct investigations from light years away.

Here follows some examples of the many and varied personality types to be found amongst the ranks of the Inquisition:

  • Militant - There are those who bear the Inquisitorial Rosette who believe above all else that the only way to combat the enemies of the Imperium is to burn, blast, and scour them all wherever they may be found. Such individuals frequently extend their opinion to the wider populace, such that an entire city might be blasted from orbit simply to eradicate a mutant enclave sheltering in its sewers, or an entire orbital quay should be sent plummeting to the earth because a dozen voidsmen shared the same portentous nightmare. Militant Inquisitors tend to shoot first and ask questions later. Many do the shooting themselves, being as adept with blade and bolter as any veteran Imperial Guardsman. Militant Inquisitors tend to employ cadres of men and women with a similar demeanour, commonly packing as much firepower as a Space Marine Devastator Squad. They may have built up large cadres of Imperial Guardsmen, retaining their services for life as a permanent unit, often with its own uniform. Militant Inquisitors lead assaults on enemy strongholds from the very front, glorying in the act of slaughtering the Emperor's foes, and equip themselves with the very finest of artificer-crafted weapons, armour and other equipment. Many acquire wargear of ancient and well-established pedigree, while some employ weapons of unique, unknown, or even xenos manufacture. Conversely, some Inquisitors of a militant mindset are akin to lords general, studying strategic maps or pouring over logistical inventories. They take command of friendly Imperial forces, supervising missions from afar through vox-link and gun-cam. They time their assaults with lethal precision and order the deployment of their weapons, whether Death Cult assassin or orbital bombardment, as an extension of their own body. Some of these Inquisitors attain the highest of ranks, eventually leading not just small cadres of warrior-agents, but entire armies, even Imperial Crusades. The line between general and Inquisitor may become blurred, for a time at least. Of course, it may come to pass that such an individual's erstwhile peers come to resent or disapprove of their position, and an entirely new conflict is initiated.
  • Investigator - An Inquisitor must have a mind as keen as a power-stiletto, and a heart as cold as the Death Cultist who wields it. For many Inquisitors, it is in the tracking down of their foe, the sifting of evidence, and the uncovering of long-dormant secrets that their calling finds its true expression. These are the arch-investigators, individuals who can smell a dirty secret from half a sector away. From the scantest of clues, they have the uncanny ability to hunt down the culpable, and bring the criminal to justice. Inquisitors of an investigative nature surround themselves with sages and adepts. They often employ a vast network of specialists from across the many organisations of the Imperium as Acolytes, and are gifted with the ability to draw upon the unique skills of all those in their employ, bringing together the disparate strands of an investigation and acting upon the truth as it is revealed. The appearance of such an Inquisitor is often a portent of a ruthlessly thorough process and strikes such fear into the hearts of the guilty that they often flee, revealing their guilt even before an accusation is made. The investigative Inquisitor may also rely on a number of guards, often Crusaders, for they may eschew the martial skills displayed by others of their kind. Nonetheless, even the most stooped and aged of Inquisitors have a few tricks up their sleeves, saved for the moment they must deliver the harsh judgement of the Inquisition in person -- their foe at bay, with nowhere to flee.
  • Machinator - The Machinator is an Inquisitor who maintains the most convoluted and intricate web of contacts and agents imaginable, each of whom they control with masterly skill as a puppeteer controlling a thousand marionettes with but a single hand. The identity of the Machinator is often withheld from those they control, their missives and instructions passed to them by encrypted, untraceable transmission conduits or delivered by way of a dead letter drop. Indeed, the Machinator's agents may have well met their master face-to-face without ever having known of it. The Machinator is a political animal of the highest calibre. They invariably involve themself as much with the convoluted power struggles within the Inquisition as they do with the broiling heresies of the greater Imperium. In all likelihood, they have many enemies in both camps, and even their fellow Inquisitors may not have met them in person for many solar decades, so mindful must they be of their rivals' petty hatreds. Such Inquisitors plot and scheme to manoeuvre their foes into positions of weakness, slowly infiltrating agents into enemy organisations. Evidence of guilt is gathered, but that is merely the opening phase in the Machinator's scheme. Next, they work tirelessly to seed weaknesses in their enemy's power base, compromising systems, assassinating allies and servants and infiltrating defences. Yet, even the Machinator must take to the field when their enemies arise. That is why they gather about them a cadre of the most trusted of their agents, those they trust above all others not to betray them. Only when their enemy's defences are wide open do they strike, with utterly merciless precision. Key installations are destroyed, enemy servants slain. The target sees their entire power base collapse around them, and through the smoke and rubble appears the form of the Machinator, Inquisitorial Rosette brandished in one hand, Bolt Pistol raised in the other. There are many Inquisitors within the Ordos Calixis who may be described in these terms. The greatest is perhaps Inquisitor Silas Marr, who appears to many to be seated at the vast spider's web of conspiracy and power. Those who intrude upon Marr's business are often warned off, in the first instance at least, though rarely by Marr in person. Those too arrogant, or ignorant, to heed such a warning make themselves a powerful enemy. Many are the times an Inquisitor has followed a lead, only to find it leading back to some concern of Marr's, and been forced to drop the matter lest they make a foe of this powerful individual. To what ends Silas Marr intends to put his vast network none can say, or would dare to openly speculate.
  • Bombast - Inquisitors are men and women of unshakeable faith in the God-Emperor, yet some are so consumed by their faith that they wield it as a weapon in and of itself. These firebrands often blur the line between preacher and Inquisitor, many attiring themselves in robes akin to those worn by the highest officers of the Adeptus Ministorum. A Bombast Inquisitor is quick to anger, and even quicker to denounce. They see heresy and sin wherever they look, and are quick to throw those they judge guilty to the pyres of justice. Such Inquisitors recite a constant stream of holy invective, quoting passages from the holy texts and invoking the names of saints and martyrs of the Emperor with every breath. They are exceptionally intimidating, invoking quivering fear in the unfaithful and utter horror in the Heretic. The cadres of these types of Inquisitors often include all manner of hierophants, Exorcists and Confessors. Their links to the Ecclesiarchy may, in addition, result in them being accompanied by one or more Sisters of Battle of the Adepta Sororitas, potent and zealous warriors indeed, with a fearsome reputation amongst the enemies of the Imperial Cult. Bombasts are unsubtle individuals, with a tendency to ignore the minutiae of an investigation. This often brings them into conflict with others of the Inquisition. The arrival on a world of a bombastic Inquisitor might ruin standard years of work by a subtler agent. Yet, sometimes covert Inquisitors follow in the Bombast's wake, often without their knowledge, watching to see whether any previously unknown enemies attempt to flee, or otherwise reveal their hands. Despite a blunt approach to the calling of the Inquisitor, the Bombast is amongst the boldest of all of the servants of the Holy Ordos of the Emperor's Inquisition. They have been known to face the most terrifying of enemies armed with little more than the word of the Emperor, and prevail. The deeds and words of such an individual can rally an entire population to cast off a Renegade planetary governor, or to take up arms against an overwhelmingly powerful alien invasion. They often lead from the very front of the armies of the faithful, imbued with a burning faith in the God-Emperor of Mankind so fierce that it kindles similar zealousness in the hearts of all who witness it.
  • Judicar - The Judicar Inquisitor is an individual who approaches their calling in almost the exact opposite manner to the Investigator. They assume guilt, and demand evidence to the contrary. Being the prosecutor, judge, and often executioner, such individuals rarely accept any evidence placed before them that contradicts their charge. Such Inquisitors normally travel about from world to world with great ceremony, surrounding themselves with an entire travelling court of clerks, attendants, and flunkies. Upon arrival, they announce a "court of assize," often commandeering the most awe-inspiring of locations for their purposes. Charges against certain individuals are then posted, and the accused brought before the court. Only those of the highest rank have any hope of refuting the charges, but in all likelihood these would not have been charged in the first place. Volume after volume of case law is produced, and added to, during the trial. The Judicar often ensures that the proceedings of their court are entered into the rolls of the planet's own laws, enshrining their every word into law for generations to come. Some such individuals maintain entire armies of seconded Arbitrators, imposing their own law upon those forced to suffer their visitations. When such itinerant precincts arrive upon a world, no one is immune from the smashing in of doors in the middle of the night, constant searches and the spontaneous imposition of totalitarian laws. Entire worlds have burned at the command of such Inquisitors, and their names often live on for many standard centuries as the subject of cautionary tales to strike fear into the hearts of the multitudes.
  • Idealist - Upon being granted the Inquisitorial Rosette, many Inquisitors are at a stage in their lives when they still harbour a faint hope that Mankind can redeem itself of its sinful ways and turn back the tide of darkness that threatens to engulf the entire galaxy. Most are soon disabused of this notion, by bitter experience or an untimely death. Idealists often gravitate towards the various Puritan schools of thought concerning the Inquisition's role, although in time, some find themselves travelling a very different path. Idealists seek out that in the spirit of Mankind which is worth saving, but in so doing often find themselves renouncing that which falls below their exacting standards. They embark upon personal crusades to exact vengeance upon the criminal and the Heretic, and often seek to rally others to their cause. Sadly, many find themselves estranged from their peers, many of whom have simply seen it all before, and cut off from aid when they need it most. Many of the older, more embittered Inquisitors of the Ordos Calixis have been observed to take great delight in watching such young firebrands come to ruin. Some may even have engineered such a situation, only to offer the hand of friendship which the individual has no choice but to accept. And then, the young idealist might find themselves in the thrall of a far more powerful master, whose philosophies and factional leanings might be entirely at odds with their own. Despite the obvious pitfalls faced by such Inquisitors, every now and then one of their kind achieves truly great things. Some even attain sainthood, so genuinely pure and good are their intentions. In a galaxy as corrupt and barbaric as that of the 41st Millennium, the lives and deeds of such individuals are often little more than a brief spark of light amidst a looming, all-encompassing, stygian night. Yet some make their stand against the forces of darkness, and make a difference, no matter how slight, in the battle for the very survival of Humanity.

Inquisitor Ranks

The Inquisition tends to be a surprisingly flat organisation once one reaches the rank of a full Inquisitor, as the only check on one Inquisitor's authority tends to be another Inquisitor or a group of them acting in concert as an organisation called a "conclave."

However, within the conclaves of the Inquisition, which are usually organised to include the Inquisitors of every ordo operating in a given sector or sub-sector of the Imperium, there is some differentiation based on functional roles and the need for basic forms of administration, though such titles are more often seen by other Inquisitors as designating their bearer more of a "first among equals" rather than an outright superior within a strict hierarchy.

This egalitarian attitude does NOT apply, however, to the Acolytes within any given Inquisitor's retinue.

  • Inquisitorial Representative/Inquisitor Lord Terran - The Inquisitorial Representative is the voice of the Inquisition on the Senatorum Imperialis of the High Lords of Terra, the governing body of the Imperium. Although the role does not bring any additional authority above that held by any other Inquisitor Lord, it does put the bearer of the title in a position of unrivalled authority due to the influence they can bring to bear at the highest levels of Imperial power. The Inquisitorial Representative is nominated from amongst the Inquisitor Lords of the conclaves active in the sectors surrounding Terra, and Inquisitors that have previously filled this role for a term of service are thereafter referred to as an "Inquisitor Lord Terran." It is not unusual for several Inquisitor Lords Terran to share the role of Inquisitorial Representative at the same time. The maximum term that an Inquisitor Lord Terran can serve on the Senatorum Imperialis is five standard years, after which they must stand down to make room for a new representative.
  • Grandmaster - The title of "Grandmaster" is sometimes granted to the Inquisitor Lord who leads a sector or sub-sector conclave of the Inquisition; they essentially are viewed by outside Imperial organisations as the Inquisitorial authority for a specific sector or sub-sector of Imperial space.
  • Master - Where one of the Inquisition's ordos has a strong presence in a sector or sub-sector, the senior Inquisitor Lord of each ordo in the sector or sub-sector may be given the title of "Master" in the sector or sub-sector conclave. Their role is to oversee and guide the activities of the members of their ordo active in the region and provide counsel to the conclave's grandmaster. Upon the death of a conclave's grandmaster, a successor is chosen by secret ballot between the three existing ordo masters of the conclave.
  • Inquisitor Lord - Also known as "Lord Inquisitors" or "High Inquisitors," Inquisitor Lords exist to help maintain the integrity of the organisation, and to watch over and guide its members. The title is granted by the Inquisitor Lord's fellows in their conclave as a recognition of an Inquisitor's power, influence and seniority within the organisation rather than an absolute rank, and is more a formalisation of a position enjoyed by the Inquisitor rather than an actual promotion. Promotion to the ranks of the Inquisitor Lords is by invitation only; an Inquisitor must be nominated by an existing Inquisitor Lord and have their nomination approved by two others. It is an honour that is only extended to those that have proven their courage, ability, loyalty and integrity numerous times. Although the title of Inquisitor Lord in itself brings no further temporal authority than that already held by all full Inquisitors, it is likely that such a respected and influential Inquisitor will have some measure of control over resources within the Inquisition or their chosen ordo and their control of those resources will give them some measure of authority over those other Inquisitors who wish to use them. For example, a Lord Inquisitor may oversee the activities of all Inquisitors operating in the area of the Imperium covered by a regional or sectoral conclave; or they may orchestrate and monitor the activities of Inquisitors who are part of an ordo or the smaller group of allied Inquisitors and their retinues known as a "cabal."
  • Inquisitor (Inquisitor Ordinary) - The Inquisitor Ordinary is the official title of the vast majority of all Inquisitors are of this rank and title, with all the nearly unlimited political, investigative and military power it conveys.

Inquisitor Lords


An Inquisitor of the Ordo Malleus in power armour modified to be used by a normal Human.

The Inquisition does not have a truly formal organisation, and therefore there is no official system of ranks or command as there are in the Adeptus Terra or the Imperial military. Authority within the Inquisition is governed by two factors -- reputation and influence.

An Inquisitor may be willing to gainsay one of his fellows, but if confronted by several he will defer; thus an Inquisitor with experience and contacts can exert control over younger, less influential comrades. Seniority is in itself no true test of authority, but most Inquisitors will default to the wisdom of another that is older and more experienced.

Despite this, there is a need for a higher tier of Inquisitor to help maintain the integrity of the Inquisition and to watch over the rest of the organisation and the marshalling of resources. They are known as "Lord Inquisitors," "Inquisitor Lords" or "High Inquisitors."

Promotion to the rank of Inquisitor Lord is by invitation only, and is extended to those that have proven themselves numerous times, not only their courage and ability, but also their integrity and loyalty.

OrdoHereticus Inquisitor

An Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor, armed with Power Sword and Inferno Pistol.

To become an Inquisitor Lord, an Inquisitor must be nominated by an existing lord, and to have the nomination approved by two others. Quite often this is a formality, as the word of an Inquisitor Lord is sacrosanct to his fellows and the chances of an Inquisitor actually being known personally by more than one Inquisitor Lord are exceptionally small. However, there is occasionally contention over a proposed choice and a conclave may have to be convened to discuss the matter -- usually, but not always, with the nominee in attendance to answer inquiries as to their activities and beliefs.

Being an Inquisitor Lord is a recognition rather than an absolute rank, and is more a formalisation of a position enjoyed by the Inquisitor rather than an actual promotion. This is because an Inquisitor Lord has no real temporal dominion -- they are not responsible for any given area of the galaxy nor possess direct authority over specific individuals.

Instead, it is reinforcement of the Inquisitor's authority and in particular his or her power within the organisation. The most obvious benefits of the title are the ability to recognise the appointments of others to the rank of full Inquisitor, to convene High Conclaves of many Inquisitors from multiple existing sectorial or regional conclaves and to requisition greater resources from the Inquisition's forces and agents than a less well-regarded Inquisitor.



Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn of the Ordo Xenos. Eisenhorn was known to maintain a relatively small but highly effective retinue of Acolytes.

Inquisitors are truly exceptional individuals, standing alongside, often above, the most influential and powerful of the Imperium's servants. But few operate alone, for the galaxy is too perilous a warzone for a single man or woman, even one of their standing, to face without allies. Throughout their career, Inquisitors will form their own cadre of agents of various roles and functions in order to achieve whatever goal is put before them.

These agents fall into two classes, known as Acolytes and Throne Agents. Acolytes are initiates into the Inquisition's service who may eventually become Inquisitors themselves one day if they perform well and please their master; Throne Agents are mature Acolytes who have served the Inquisition and a particular Inquisitor for standard years and sometimes solar decades and are considered full members of the organisation. They are among the most powerful beings in the Imperium of Man after an Inquisitor themselves.

Some of these agents are common tools used throughout the Imperium, including priests of the Ecclesiarchy, astropaths, servitors, tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, etc.

Others may be more subtle and even serve a more specific role, such as high-ranking members of the Administratum, the apprentice Inquisitors called Interrogators, elite members of the Astra Militarum like Storm Troopers or the Adeptus Arbites' Judges, and the highly-trained Assassins of the Officio Assassinorum's four temples or various Imperial death cults.

Any member of any organisation within the Imperium that can help in achieving an Inquisitor's objective will likely serve a purpose for the Inquisition at one point or another. Some may be used briefly for special tasks or one-shot missions while others may serve alongside the Inquisitor for the duration of their career. Over time, older, more experienced Inquisitors will have built an extensive network of spies and agents that make seeking out and destroying threats to the Imperium all the easier.

The number and type of allies an Inquisitor surrounds themselves with depends on many factors. Perhaps the greatest factor is the mission the cadre must perform. A mission involving infiltration and fact-finding requires a different range of skills than one where combat is anticipated. Thus, some cadres are made of up warriors and assassins, while others feature tech-adepts and sages.

There are, however, some Inquisitors who, for whatever reason, have less choice in their allies. Perhaps a newly ascended Inquisitor has only a small pool of allies on which to draw, or one of a more Radical bent has, by way of their metaphysical viewpoint, fewer willing to aid them. Many Inquisitors favour a small, permanent group of highly trusted allies, with a balanced range of skills, while others maintain a large pool of retainers, selecting the most appropriate on a mission-by-mission basis. Although the Inquisitor is the leader of the cadre, its members are often every bit as important to a mission's success or failure.

An effective cadre is a tight-knit group, each member able to anticipate the thoughts and deeds of the others. Inquisitors rarely find themselves with a surplus of what they might consider friends amongst the Inquisition, for Inquisitors often end up in opposition to one another. However, within their cadre of Acolytes, an Inquisitor may form relationships, even friendships, not possible otherwise. Ultimately, the cadre "belongs" to the Inquisitor rather than to the Inquisition. The Inquisitor's enemies are their cadre's enemies, meaning the fates of all involved are entwined for all time.

Furthermore, most Inquisitors gather individuals with a similar philosophical outlook to their own. Should an Inquisitor's factional leanings cause them to be denounced by their fellows, the same fate befalls all of their allies in their cadre. Thus, the cadre is bound together by a common cause.

The tragedy is that many cadres fall apart if the Inquisitor loses their life in the execution of their duty, often finding themselves severed from the greater institution of the Inquisition. The fortunate are able to call upon other Inquisitors known to be allies of their erstwhile master, perhaps becoming part of a new cadre of Acolytes, but for others, a far darker end awaits.

Throne Agents


A Throne Agent of the Inquisition seeks the guidance of the Emperor.

As Acolytes, best serving the Inquisition meant following orders, no matter how difficult to understand or achieve; accepting any challenge, no matter how dangerous or deadly; and acknowledging that any true understanding of the machinations the Acolytes are involved in may never be reached.

However, upon ascension to the ranks of the Inquisition itself as senior Trusted Acolytes, better known as Throne Agents, all of that changes, utterly and forever. Acolytes no longer, these individuals have ascended to join the ranks of the most trusted and powerful extensions of the Emperor's Will -- they are now Throne Agents, and they form the retinue (also known as a cadre) of an Inquisitor, and sometimes eventually become Inquisitors themselves.

The role expected of a Throne Agent is complex, but at its core, it revolves around the concepts of power, responsibility, and scale. Throne Agents possess many resources that mere Acolytes do not, ranging from the nearly limitless authority of the Inquisitorial Rosette to the blend of sophisticated technology and lethal skills of the Vindicare Assassin. In addition, more is expected from a Throne Agent than from an Acolyte -- the level of responsibility grows, and the risks of failure increase commensurate with the threats Throne Agents routinely confront.

For most Throne Agents, it is not enough to simply uncover a conspiracy or locate the core of a heretical cult. Instead, Throne Agents are often solely responsible for completely rooting out the conspiracy, or are charged with the utter and complete destruction of every cult cell within a star system. Throne Agents also work on a completely different scale than Acolytes. The affairs of an Inquisitor move in a very dangerous and complicated game played by the various factions and ordos of the Inquisition itself. To serve as (or directly with) an Inquisitor is to place oneself squarely as one of the foremost pieces on the game board, and there are many both within the Inquisition and without (often powerful members of the Adeptus Terra) who seek to use the Throne Agents to their own ends.

No longer is it enough to merely confront the enemies of Mankind -- Throne Agents must also watch their back and prepare to defend against the machinations of their allies.

Acolyte Ranks

With long service within an Inquisitor's retinue, an Acolyte may rise up through multiple ranks, serving multiple purposes for their patron Inquisitor and ultimately perhaps even rising high enough to be considered for Inquisitor status themselves. The most common ranks handed out to Acolytes of the Inquisition include the following, ranked from highest to lowest:

  • High Interrogator - A High Interrogator is the senior-most rank of Interrogator, an individual who is among the most trusted agents and servants of their patron Inquisitor but still short of full Inquisitorial status themselves. High Interrogators are very likely to eventually rise to become full Inquisitors themselves within a short time of achieving this rank.
  • Interrogator - Achieving the rank of Interrogator represents the second stage of achievement for an Acolyte who is considered by their patron to be a future Inquisitor-in-training. Interrogators are both capable and strong, and possess a tremendous will to survive battle alongside their mentors. Some Interrogators never rise to the rank of High Interrogator and instead simply move on when they are deemed ready by their patron to become a full Inquisitor. Interrogators often possess an Inquisitorial Rosette of their own, though it lacks the full powers and ability to unlock certain highly classified archives of information that a true Inquisitor's rosette allows.
  • Explicator - An Explicator is an Acolyte who has been marked out by their patron as competent and loyal enough to be treated and tested as a potential Inquisitor-in-training. They learn how to extract information from subjects using physical and mental torture techniques under the direction of their mentor Inquisitor, hence their title.
  • Legate Investigator - Some ordos, such as the Ordos Calixis in the Calixis Sector, make use of Acolytes such as those drawn from the Adeptus Arbites gifted with a formal carta of inquiry and a Sigil of Question, granting them the formal authority of the Inquisition for the duration of a particular investigation, essentially making them temporary Inquisitors for the span of a single mission.
  • Prime - "Prime" is the title given to the Acolyte who has been selected by their patron to serve as the commander of a given warband or retinue.
  • Throne Agent - Throne Agents are the most trusted members of an Inquisitor's retinue, and are drawn from many different backgrounds, often from the Adeptus Arbites or one of the other Imperial adepta, including the various Imperial military services. Throne Agents have ascended to join the ranks of the Inquisition itself, and now possess both political power and responsibility accordingly. Throne Agents are not true Inquisitors, but are recognised as bearers of the organisation's authority wherever they go. They often act independently of their Inquisitor while still carrying their full authority and possess an Inquisitorial Rosette of their own.
  • Trusted Acolyte - A Trusted Acolyte is one who is often given positions of responsibility by their patron, such as running an Inquisitor's facilities while they are away or operating in long-term undercover operations. A Trusted Acolyte is someone the Inquisitor now trusts to be loyal and competent and may one day be considered for promotion to Throne Agent or even Explicator.
  • Proven Acolyte - After a cell of recently selected Acolytes has completed several successful missions for their patron Inquisitor, they are inducted more fully into the workings of the Inquisition and can operate more independently of their patron's direct supervision.
  • Acolyte - Acolytes are the chosen servants, agents and aides of an Inquisitor. Though not of the rank of Inquisitors, they are nonetheless considered full agents of the Inquisition, and can be delegated some of the authority of their patron Inquisitor. However, some Acolytes are chosen simply to serve as cannon fodder by more ruthless Inquistors to deal with a specific problem, such as those selected to combat the Darktide of Chaos threatening Hive Tertium on the Moebian Domain Hive World of Atoma Prime, who are nicknamed "Rejects" by the Ordo Hereticus. Those who survive their original purpose may continue on in their patron's retinue, eventually rising to gain more power and responsibility, perhaps even eventually becoming Inquisitors-in-training themselves.

Inquisitor's Holdings

As an institution, the Inquisition employs relatively few staff, especially compared to the vast bureaucracy that is the Administratum. Instead, most of the Inquisition's endeavours are carried out by individual Inquisitors, or by groupings of such and their retinues of Acolytes. Over time, some of these groupings become more or less formalised, establishing their own traditions and spheres of influence, and while some members move on, others join.

Even where very formalised and well-established Inquisitorial bodies exist, such as the Ordos Calixis of the Calixis Sector, it is important to remember that these are not controlled by some central body, but by the will of their own members. In the main, Inquisitors rely not on large groups of functionaries and staff to carry out their mission, but upon their own devices. Although groups like the Ordos Calixis do maintain significant numbers of support staff, most Inquisitors look to their own tried and trusted allies to accomplish any given task. While plenty of Inquisitors work alone and unencumbered, others gather their own personal "households."

Throughout his career, an Inquisitor is likely to amass a great wealth of personal assets. There is little they cannot requisition by dint of their position, from side arms to starships. Wealth is a petty triviality to an Inquisitor, and currency irrelevant to them; others handle such things on their behalf. Given the nature of the factional infighting that besets the Inquisition, much of an Inquisitor's assets are kept secret, sometimes even from his closest allies, lest they become a target for his rivals.

It is common for Inquisitors operating in a defined locality to establish permanent holdings, bases of operation to which they can return for rest and recuperation. While most maintain a residence in one of the Inquisitorial fortresses, such as the Tricorn Palace on Scintilla, few would rely on the security of such places should they come into conflict with a rival.

Instead, an Inquisitor employs a network of agents to purchase for him what facilities he feels he needs, from run-down hive shanties to the most luxurious of spire-manses. Such holdings may be attended by a permanent staff, often unaware of the true nature of their duties. Many safe houses are maintained for decades or even centuries at a time, attended by several generations of house-serfs, only to be used once, when most needed as a place of refuge. Then, the safe house may be forgotten, its existence compromised, its security and secrecy never to be relied upon again.

Some Inquisitors maintain stockpiles of weaponry and other equipment, some held in gene-locked stasis vaults, others buried out in the wilderness. Should the Inquisitor come into possession of tainted artefacts such as Daemon Weapons or xenos-tech, he may decide to secret them away, far from the judgemental eyes of his peers, lest they be used as evidence for some imagined heresy.

In addition to such holdings, many Inquisitors maintain an entire household of staff and retainers. Those of a more martial standing may amass a small, private army of troopers drawn from the ranks of the Astra Militarum and other arms of the Imperium's sprawling military machine. An Inquisitor who requisitions the services of a Tempestus Scions platoon is unlikely to feel any compulsion to return the troops to their former command when his immediate need for them has passed.

Many hold on to such warriors, marshalled for future deployment. Such forces may in time develop their own traditions and histories, and wear with pride the heraldry of their master. The Inquisitor's untold powers allow the force to be equipped with such weapons and wargear as would be unobtainable to a conventional line unit, making them the envy of their former colleagues when their paths occasionally cross.


"I am minded to raise you to the position that you have craved and dreamt of for so long. I am, though, reticent. My friend, you are the finest apprentice I have ever tutored and there is no one I would trust more between here and the Golden Throne. Because of this I am loathe to place the burden of our high office on you: Its glitter is a lie and its rewards no more than the dry ash of a funeral pyre."

— Inquisitor Whitlock to Inquisitor Cydan before Cydan was raised to the rank of Inquisitor.

A look at the wide diversity of Acolytes chosen to serve in an Inquisitor's retinue, including, from left to right and top to bottom: a servo-skull, a Cherubim, a Lexmechanic, a Sister Hospitaller, a penitent unsanctioned witch, a Crusader, and a Sister Famulous.

Potential Inquisitors are often drawn from the Progena (graduates) of the Schola Progenium who show the most promise in intellectual or psychic areas prized by the investigative arms of the Inquisition. As is the case with all aspects of the Inquisition, the matter of recruitment is not a centralised process but the power to recruit is left in the hands of the individual Inquisitors.

Some Inquisitors are known to not recruit at all and instead spend their years of service in pursuit of their enemies as well as dedicating their hours to duty for the rest of their lives. Others, however, feel that it is one of their many burdens to bring about the next generation of Inquisitors who are destined to carry forth the battle that the Inquisition must wage on behalf of Humanity.

Ultimately, the matter is left to the judgement of the individual Inquisitors who are subject only to the scrutiny of their peers, as is the case in most matters. A majority of Inquisitors typically leave such matters to chance or perhaps to Fate in regards to picking a suitable candidate from amongst the groups of individuals whose paths cross that of the Inquisition. There are a number of Inquisitors who are more rigorous in regard to the pursuit of Acolytes and will spend a proportion of their time seeking suitable candidates -- often from the ranks of other Imperial adepta.

There exist no set criteria in regards to physical condition for a possible candidate when being selected to join the ranks of the Inquisition. All that is required is proof of intelligence and loyalty to the Emperor of Mankind which are key requisites for such a choice. There is no proper method of judging these attributes until later in life. However, there may exist an extraordinary circumstance which leads to an Inquisitor choosing a boy or girl whilst they are still within their teens if the subject shows exceptional ability.

Generally, an Inquisitor will take note of an individual if they are a free-thinking person with great willpower and determination as well as unflinching principles. If a suitable candidate is found, they will become part of the Inquisitor's retinue as an Acolyte where they may serve in a minor capacity whilst the Inquisitor continues their evaluation. Those that later prove their worth whilst working with the Inquisitor can be taken into the greater confidence of their master.

Over the standard years of his or her service, the Acolyte will begin to learn what they can of the Inquisitor's knowledge and their many duties. Certain Inquisitors often refer to these apprentices as Interrogators, though they are also known as "Novitiates," "Neophytes", "Explicators," and "Approbators." At this stage, the individuals can undertake missions of their own or control operations in concert with their master or mistress, though ultimately they are still subordinate to them until the Inquisitor agrees with several of his peers that one of his Acolytes is ready for the responsibilities that come with being a full Inquisitor.

In normal conditions, the consent of three Inquisitors or a single Inquisitor Lord is needed to bestow the full powers of an Inquisitor on an Acolyte as well as grant him or her the full Rosette of the Inquisition. There have, however, been rare occasions which warranted an Acolyte taking on full Inquisitorial powers immediately. This is likely the case when the Inquisitor in charge has been killed during an ongoing operation, which requires the Acolyte to immediately inherit their master's or mistress' position.

Acolytes may pass from one patron Inquisitor to another as fate dictates, and through this way the ideals of the Inquisition are passed on. This in turn allows the various competing factions and institutions of the Inquisition to propagate across the centuries. In addition to his master's or mistress' personal philosophy on the duties of the Inquisition, the Acolyte also learns what their teacher knows of the internal, byzantine political workings of the Inquisition itself. However, such knowledge cannot be freely given and it cannot be taken without effort as that would devalue the knowledge itself. This goes in line with the Inquisitorial saying "Knowledge is power; guard it well."

All Inquisitors begin as Acolytes, apprentice-Inquisitors given over to the tutelage of a full member of the Inquisition. Acolytes accompany a fully experienced Inquisitor in his Inquisitorial duties. He may perform a number of tasks for his superior, including serving as warrior, scribe, and interrogator. After a set amount of time, his master will provide a recommendation on his behalf to one of the Ordos of the Inquisition to advance his pupil to full Inquisitorial rank. After this recommendation is accepted by three full Inquisitors or an Inquisitor Lord as noted above, the Acolyte is raised to the rank of a full Inquisitor and can initiate his own agenda and operations. Although the new Inquisitor is no longer bound to his old master, they will have formed a personal bond and may work together and help one another in the future.


As the most important arm of the Imperial government dedicated to ensuring the security of the Imperium of Man, the authority of the Inquisition technically supersedes all others, including, in theory, a High Lord of Terra or even a Chapter Master of the Adeptus Astartes. Thus, Inquisitors have access to an almost limitless variety of Imperial resources that allow them to act in full strength against any threats they perceive to the Emperor's domain.

Despite this comprehensive legal authority, experienced Inquisitors seeking the assistance of the Space Marines or the knowledge and resources of an archmagos of the Adeptus Mechanicus have learned to act with discretion towards such powerful adepta of the Imperium.

Uniquely, Inquisitors have been known to use a wide variety of artefacts and wargear throughout their careers as a result of such heavy interaction with the other Adepta of the Imperium and even xenos cultures. Despite their seemingly powerful capabilities, even the Inquisition may not be able to fight back a rampant and well-rooted infection of Chaos or unusually powerful xenos force like a Tyranid hive fleet.

On worlds where such infections have been discovered, an Inquisitor may condemn the planet to Exterminatus, the ultimate Imperial sanction which is granted only to an Inquisitor or a Space Marine officer to unleash upon a world.


To truly understand Chaos is to be consumed by it, and such dealings with the horrors of the Warp often require a near-heretical interaction with the forces of Chaos by a given Inquisitor, especially among the members of the Ordo Malleus and the Ordo Hereticus. To effectively battle and exterminate Chaos, some Inquisitors, especially those of the Radical persuasion, believe that they must fully understand and tinker with its workings in order to fight it more effectively.

However, such actions are either deemed heresy by Puritan Inquisitors or cause the Inquisitors themselves to fall victim to the corruption of Chaos. Such individuals are named Excommunicate Traitoris by their fellow Inquisitors and as such will be hunted down and destroyed at the first opportunity like all such enemies of the Emperor.

Notable Inquisitors

  • Agmar - As a young member of the Ordo Hereticus, he led attacks upon Ichar IV's capital city of Lomas to break up a rebellion among strange cult members. It turned out that the rebellion was created by a massive Genestealer infestation. With the Adeptus Arbites, he destroyed enough defenses to allow the Ultramarines to seize the planet. It was then that Angmar's Astropaths felt the approach of Hive Fleet Kraken and it was his initiative that led to the breaking of Hive Fleet Kraken at Ichar IV.
  • Ario Barzano - Member of the Ordo Xenos. Barzano disguised himself as an Adept of the Administratum on the planet Pavonis in order to help the Ultramarines stop the awakening of the C'tan called the Nightbringer. He died in the attempt and was buried on Pavonis.
  • Covenant - One of a new breed of Daemonhunters who hunts down traitorous members of the Inquisition itself and their Daemonhosts. He trained the Inquisitor Ivixia Dannica. Covenant is equipped with a Power Falchion, a Psycannon and limited psychic powers.
  • Torquemada Coteaz - Torquemada Coteas is an Inquisitor Lord of the Ordo Malleus who gained his reputation for being a fearsome Daemonhunter through years of action against the Forces of Chaos. He is now known as the High Protector of the Formosa Sector. With his power and popularity, he is served by literally thousands of Acolytes and Throne Agents, and he arms himself with rare weapons like his Anointed Daemonhammer, Artificer Power Armour, a Glovodan Eagle, and various potent relics of the Inquisition. (Torquemada Coteaz's name is a reference to the medieval Spanish Inquisition leader Tomás de Torquemada.)
  • Bronislaw Czevak - High Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak was a distinguished and controversial member of the Ordo Xenos active in the Moebius Sub-sector during the second half of the 41st Millennium. After almost 400 standard years of service to the Imperium and the Inquisition, and already suspected by some of corruption, he disappeared during an archeotech reclamation on the planet Darcturus. Except for a short interval, he was missing for some 30 standard years and was presumed dead. He secretly resurfaced in the first century of the 42nd Millennium having spent much of the intervening time as a prisoner in the Black Library, the secret Eldar Craftworld that is hidden in the Webway and acts as their repository for Chaos lore. He eventually acquired a new retinue of Acolytes, and has since embarked on a self-imposed mission as a freelance agent, working to thwart Chaos and champion the cause of the Imperium of Man. He directs his main efforts against the Chaos Sorcerer Ahriman, who is his prime opponent and nemesis. Imperial authorities regard him at best as a Renegade in possession of dangerous but valuable knowledge, and at worst as a Heretic and Traitor liable to be summarily executed. Throughout the galaxy, Traitors, Chaos Cultists, Heretics, Imperial opportunists and many aliens crave his knowledge of the Black Library and its lore, while the Eldar Black Council has likely condemned him to death, considering the same knowledge too dangerous to be held by an untrustworthy Mon-keigh.
  • Jaueg Drag - In his earlier years, this headstrong Thorian Inquisitor conducted secretive investigations into the remains of Imperial Saints on the ancient world of Gallilenus III. His operatives infiltrated catacombs to probe the revered corpses, questing to learn what allowed their bodies and souls to achieve such divine achievements. The Sisters of Battle who guarded the crypts discovered the desecrations, and rather than reveal himself, Dag and his Acolytes attacked and killed many in his escape. Realising his horrible actions, he has since served in the Ordo Hereticus to atone, though whispers still exist of the ghastly tomb-robbers within those sacred crypts.
  • Ivixia Dannica - After her father Colonel Dannica was murdered by a daemon summoned by cultists who wanted revenge for the purge he enacted on them and their brethren, Daemonhuntress Ivixia was trained by Covenant. She had her father's skull fitted with an autogun and fitted to her armour so he could serve the Emperor beyond death. She wields a Power Halberd made from the shards of Saint Josmane's armour. The weapon is filled with the power of the saint and has sent scores of daemons screaming back to the depths of the Warp.
  • Emil Darkhammer - Darkhammer firmly believes that the Imperium’s only hope of survival is for all other races in the galaxy to be destroyed. He has no tolerance for any deviation from the purest interpretations of Inquisitional lore. For him, there can be no shades of grey when it comes to interpreting the Emperor’s word, only darkness and light. All Inquisitors are ruthless – they must be to protect Mankind from threats both within and without -- yet Darkhammer's uncompromising philosophy is harsher than most. It is a cornerstone of his methodology that nothing and no one can be ranked as indispensable in the cause of Mankind’s survival. The Imperium must, after all, be kept safe at all costs – no matter what the tally in lives or worlds might be. This belief has earned Darkhammer many detractors, not only within the ranks of the Inquisition, but in the wider Imperium as well. However, even the highest-ranking dignitaries are reluctant to disobey or criticise an Inquisitor, let alone act in opposition to him, so Darkhammer's actions meet with few obstructions. In pursuance of his credo, Darkhammer has ordered Exterminatus on over thirty worlds. Sometimes this has been to end rampant war, corruption or plague, but as often to destroy a mere handful of subversives or aliens, or to obliterate ancient artefacts and Warp-tainted devices sought after by his radical colleagues. Such forthright acts have long since polarised the opinions of other Inquisitors. Some believe Darkhammer to be a beacon of righteousness in dark times, the spiritual heir of Inquisitors Goldo and Jeriminus, who first codified the Monodominant credo that he follows. Others consider Darkhammer to be only fractionally less destructive than the Daemons of the Warp.
  • Erasmus Cartavolnus - Over 300 standard years old, the Inquisitor and psyker Erasmus Cartavolnus of the Ordo Malleus has devoted his long life to the study of all that is unholy. A Puritan, he condemns the use of Daemonhosts and other Chaos artefacts even in order to fight the servants of the Ruinous Powers. Despite this, he himself maintains a library of arcane lore and specialises in rituals binding Daemons. Cartavolnus believes himself free of the heresy and Chaos corruption that has befallen his Radical counterparts, maintaining a strict discipline so that his collection of dark lore is used only for "holy" purposes. During the battle on Agrofar against a mutated Chaos Sorcerer of Nurgle known as Grolgafax, Cartavolnus lost an arm slaying the foul creature. It took standard years for the Inquisitor to fully free his limb from lingering rot and Chaos taint. Like many Inquisitors, Cratavolnus maintains ties with others of his order. He is a Reclamator-Emeritus of the Dzijeni Conclave, which operates in the Nachmund Sector as well as a Magister of the Khandar Brotherhood and a representative of the Vorkhan Defenders. Some of his titles are more esoteric, with the Mercantile Leagues of Deverres honoring him as "the Three-Eyed." After the birth of the Great Rift in the Era Indomitus, Cartavolnus saw combating its expansion and corruption as his holy duty. To that end he has deployed to the Vigilus warzone in an effort to topple blackstone constructs magnifying the Warp known as Noctilith Crowns. At Nemendghast, the Inquisitor infiltrated the world and uncovered the Noctilith Crown erected by a Black Legion Master of Possession. Realising these foes were beyond his means to destroy, he contacted the Ultramarines and requested aid. Cartavolnus maintains the Black Iconoclasts as his personal fighting force of Acolytes. These are elite, hand-picked specialists recruited from a variety of backgrounds including the Astra Militarum and the military forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
  • Jaq Draco - Jaq Draco is the main character in the Inquisition War series of novels. Draco gained access to the Craftworld Aeldari's Black Library and stole the Book of Rhana Dandra. Draco is also one of the few individuals in the galaxy to have entered the Emperor's Sanctum Imperialis and have an audience with the Emperor of Mankind since his internment in the Golden Throne. Draco has, for much of the Inquisition War Series, a retinue consisting of a Navigator, an Assassin and a Squat. He is a formidable psyker.
  • Drogan - Inquisitor Drogan was a Radical Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos who developed an arcane technological device capable of opening up multiple portals into the Warp. Drogan was slain and his body possessed by a Daemon from the Warp at the direction of the Chaos Sorcerer Nemeroth, who used him as a pawn to trick the Ultramarines 2nd Company, under the command of Captain Titus, who had arrived on the beleaguered world of Graia to bolster its defences, for the vital Forge World had been invaded by a large Ork WAAAGH! composed of over 1 million Orks led by the Warboss Grimskull. It was Drogan's intent to trick the Ultramarines into activating the archaic device. The rogue Inquisitor had deceptively named the device the Psychic Scourge, and claimed that it could kill all of the Orks invading the planet by overloading the Greenskins' gestalt psychic field of WAAAGH! energy and destroying their minds. Instead, the Psychic Scourge was actually intended to open portals into the Warp from Realspace and bring the Chaos Sorcerer Nemeroth, a horde of daemons and the warband of Chaos Space Marines known as the Chosen of Nemeroth to the Forge World. The Sorcerer then appeared to extract some sort of "essence" -- manifested as purple light -- from Drogan, whose body fell to the ground, lifeless.
  • Gregor Eisenhorn - An Amalathian member of the Ordo Xenos, he was the infamous Inquisitor who orchestrated the downfall of Quixos the Bright and Pontius Glaw using a stolen daemonhost named Cherubael, a former tool of Quixos. He seemingly vanished soon after the downfall of Pontius Glaw. Eisenhorn changed over the course of his career from being a staunch Puritan Amalathian into a Radical Inquisitor through the justified choices he made. These choices included keeping the Malus Codicium for himself, and trying to save his comrades from the attack of Cruor Vult (a Chaos Warhound-class Scout Titan) by summoning Cherubael. Gregor also caused the downfall of many other foes, including Beldame Sadia, Mandragore, the House of Glaw, Cruor Vult, and the rogue Inquisitors Lyko, Molitor and Quixos.
  • Ghent - Since earning the title of Inquisitor, Ghent has spent much of the past thirty years working closely with members of the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach. During this time, he has developed a deep appreciation for the Chapter’s methodology and abilities, as well as some understanding of their limitations. Though he readily defers to their expertise in matters of tactics and strategy, Ghent has been known to attempt to manipulate their strategies to suit his own beliefs and desires. He most often attempts to perform such manipulations by focusing on particular beliefs during his discussions and briefing with Battle-Brothers. While he is not always successful in these strategies, he continues to employ these techniques in the hopes that it may lead to a more thorough eradication of any xenos threats. From a philosophical standpoint, Ghent is near-fanatical in his devotion to the Imperial cause and the utter annihilation of all xenos. His faith in the Imperium is unshakeable, and he often pushes his compatriots to take extreme actions as signs of their devotion. The Inquisitor often ignores the theoretical limitations of his equipment and his compatriots, depending upon raw faith and determination to overcome any opponent.
  • Felroth Gelt - Felroth Gelt is a renegade Inquisitor who has been branded a Radical and a heretic by the Tricon Palace. A former Monodominant Puritan, Gelt hounded the enemies of the Imperium across the Calixis Sector for more than three centuries. Gelt was a bold and courageous man, and quickly earned the favour of Lord Inquisitor Caidin, under whose mentorship Gelt flourished. He explored Death Worlds, sailed on ships of the Imperial Navy, commanded a personal regiment of Stormtroopers in the field, and kept a series of captive psykers for his personal use. He became well known for having encountered a wide variety of foes, from mutants to beasts, to stranger things like the daemon of Kinog and the Kantressian Foulmind. Each victory, however, came at a price: the lives of his Acolytes and a gradual wearing down of his once-firm adherence to the Monodominant Creed. Each success seemed empty, devoid of true importance. Gelt bent his attention to transcribing his journals into a tome that would guide younger Inquisitors and Acolytes, imparting some of his own hard-won lessons of survival. All that changed upon the cursed world of Kasha. Gelt had travelled there to assist with the suppression of the Rebellion of the False, an uprising triggered by a macabre heretical cult. It was during this turmoil that he first met Inquisitor Draven, a dark and driven man who reminded Gelt of his younger self. But where Gelt had been steadfast to the Puritan path, Draven chose to seek out any advantage he could find. Gelt then bore witness to the fruit of Draven's labours: the power of Chaos turned against the Emperor's foes. Enthralled, Gelt accompanied Draven on further expeditions throughout Imperial space and beyond, Having been enlightened by the teachings of the Xanthites, Gelt's aged frame is now revitalized by the power of the warp. Since coming to the Xanthite doctrine, Gelt abandoned his journals, his Acolytes, and every other aspect of his former life. He chose instead to dedicate himself to seeking out more tools to turn against the enemies of Mankind, and subsequently vanished from known space. Gelt has not been heard from since, and his absence has led some members of the Inquisition to conclude that, in fact, he never existed at all; the journals and notes left behind must be fabrications designed as a distraction or a trap for the unwary. Those same rumours declare that only Lord Inquisitor Zerbe knows that truth.
  • Silas Hand - He is an important character of Daemonifuge, a graphic novel by Kev Walker. He was first a Witch Hunters serving under the Ordos Solar and eliminated thousands of heretics. After being approached by an important Daemonhunter, Inquisitor Lord Hephaestos Grudd, he was invited and joined the Ordo Malleus. Inquisitor Hand was sent to Ophelia VII to identify if Ephrael Stern was tainted by Chaos. Mysteriously, she was the sole survivor out of 12,000 Imperial Guardsmen that were sent to the planet Parnis. His investigation led to no conclusion, and Hand was forced to return with her to the planet Parnis. During the return, their vessel's Navigator was possessed by Chaos and destroyed their starship the Hammer of Thor. Escaping, both Hand and Stern were able to land upon the surface. However, they soon confronted the Daemon Q'tlahsi'issho'akshami. Only Stern managed to live through the battle.
  • Jason Hunt - Ordo Malleus Inquisitor and Warden of the Stromgard Sector. Hunt is closely affiliated with Commander Marcus Flintlock of the Storm Dragons Space Marines, and has used detachments of that force frequently in pursuit of his missions. He is also a high-level psyker.
  • Lady Helen Jerico - An Ordo Xenos Inquisitor. She has had numerous dealings on the planet Necromunda. Mother of bounty hunter Kal Jerico.
  • Fyodor Karamazov - An Inquisitor Lord of the Ordo Hereticus, also known as the Pyrophant Judge of Salem Proctor. (This is a reference to Authur Miller's "The Crucible", Proctor being the name of one convicted, yet innocent, witch; and Salem being the Puritan township he lived in.) A staunch Amalathian, Karamazov habitually judges and does battle atop his Throne of Judgement, a walking mechanical cathedral containing servitors to record sessions as well as carry out the invariable sentence of guilt upon all he judges. While others might act in secret, he instead often leads entire armies to descend upon worlds he finds wavering from the grand destiny the Emperor set forth. Karamazov is generally hated by the Ecclesiarchy and Thorian Inquisitors for his actions on Salem Proctor. For this Inquisitor, there is no defence or mercy in his court; even the innocent are guilty of wasting his valuable time and are set aflame with the many witches and traitors he always discovers.
  • Kryptman - Member of the Ordo Xenos, Tyranid expert, saviour of the Imperium in the Hive Fleet Leviathan crisis, and the discoverer of a full 82 new alien species (all of which he subsequently deemed a threat to the Imperium and ordered eradicated). Kryptman was the first Inquisitor to witness the devastating effects of a Tyranid invasion during the attack of Hive Fleet Behemoth and fought the Tyranids for over 250 years. He was one of the most active members of the Inquisition against the Tyranid invasions, even taking drastic measures to the dismay of other Inquisitors. During the Invasion of Hive Fleet Leviathan, Kryptman led Deathwatch kill-teams to the Tarsis Sector to aid the Mortifactors Chapter and the Ultramarines of Tarsis Ultra. By capturing a Lictor, Magos Biologis Locard (Kryptman's Adeptus Mechanicus biologist) created a biological weapon to use against the Tyranids and his Deathwatch members used it to destroy the Norn Queen. Kryptman later authorised the largest single act of genocide the Imperium has ever inflicted on itself by abandoning or destroying all worlds in Hive Fleet Leviathan's path. He was later issued a "Carta Extremis" and was stripped of his title. However, this did not stop him and he soon led his loyal Deathwatch warriors to steal Genestealers in stasis and used them to lure Tyranids to the homeworlds of the Orks of Octavius.
  • Ligea - Inquisitor Ligea can be described as "Looking more like an elegant family matriarch rather than a hunter of Daemons." Ligea was an unusual Inquisitor, in that she did not see much combat, but rather focused her efforts on texts and ancient writing. She possessed at least one minor psyker ability, which allowed her to apprehend information simply by contacting an object, such as a book or a statue. She was recruited into the Ordo Hereticus at a very young age. Her most notable action occurred when she was attached to the Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter who were on the trail of Saint Evisser, looking for Ghargatuloth, Prince of a Thousand Faces, a powerful daemon of Tzeentch. Unfortunately, Inquisitor Ligea eventually succumbed to the taint of Ghargatuloth after allowing herself to delve too deeply into tainted knowledge, opening her mind to daemons which caused her to lose her mind. Having gone quite insane and fallen mostly to Chaos in the process, Ligea was captured by the Inquisition she once served. However, having opened herself up to Ghargatuloth, she was able to learn and reveal the true name of the daemon to Justicar Alaric, through a recording of her interrogations, in which she babbled what was apparently a meaningless string of syllables. This gave the Grey Knights the advantage they needed in order to destroy Ghargatuloth every thousand years. Inquisitor Ligea died in an interrogation room high above the planet Mimas when Inquisitor Nyxos ordered her cell opened to the void of space.
  • Solomon Lok - A veteran of the Hrud infestation on Chinchare, Lok was the Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Lord charged by his brethren with investigating the sudden loss of contact with an Imperial Adeptus Mechanicus biological research facility on Beta Anphelion IV in 850.M41. His retinue consisted of a Servo-skull, Major Durra of the 99th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment's Detachment D, the Magos Biologis Arthon, Autosavant Wassily, who kept a log of the events that transpired on Beta Anphelion IV to the end, and Astropath Zarneck, who transmitted the log to Inquisitor Lord Varius, Lok's superior.
  • Gideon Lorr - Inquisitor Lorr has an uncompromising and simple directive towards any who display psychic abilities: death. Across the Segmentum Pacificus, he has overseen the execution of countless psykers, including Sanctioned Astropaths and even Navigators in his quest to eradicate any who even remotely utilise the Warp. Lorr has witnessed first-hand the terrors of Daemonic incursion, and would rather see all psykers dead than allow a single Daemon access to realspace. Often described as the ultimate Puritan, many suspect his actions are sure to bring retribution from other Inquisitors, as his purge could possibly cripple interstellar travel and communications within the Imperium.
  • Xavier Mendoza - Xavier Mendoza is possibly one of the most notorious Inquisitors in the history of the Imperium of Man. A fanatical man, he quashed Chaos wherever he found it. Active in the later centuries of the 31st Millennium following the Horus Heresy, he became convinced that all Space Marines were the secret servants of Chaos because of the betrayal of the Chaos Space Marines during the Heresy. He began an all-out holy war against the remaining Loyalist Adeptus Astartes. Mendoza's action came to a head when he boarded a Chapter Cruiser of the newly-formed Black Templars, a Successor Chapter created from the Imperial Fists Legion during the Second Founding. He accused the crew of harbouring daemons and declared them Heretics. After a swift trial, fifty Space Marines of the Chapter were burnt at the stake. Xavier Mendoza was later found dead, probably assassinated by agents of the Black Templars or the Officio Assassinorum itself.
  • Antonia Mesmeron - Antonia Mesmeron is a follower of the obscure Oblationist school of Radicalism. She believes that the powers of the warp, the weapons of the alien, and the devices of the unclean are utterly corrupting and any who truck with them must face the ultimate sanction. Yet to the Oblationist, only through the weapons of the enemy can the enemy be defeated and so those of pure soul must embrace the damnation and sacrifice themselves for the future of the Imperium. Her unknown master passed this doctrine to Mesmeron long ago, and her conviction in its truth has only deepened in the years that she has roamed the stars seeking out the weak and misguided who have fallen to the temptations of the warp or the whispers of the alien. Her approach is that of a righteous executioner who rips out heresy root and branch when it is discovered without remorse or distinction of innocence. Wielding weapons of unspeakable horror and sorcerous power, she usually personally removes the root of a heresy and instigates a storm of purges that removes any possibility of corruption remaining. Then, as quickly as it began, the storm passes and Mesmeron is gone.
  • Lady Jena Orechiel - The daughter of an Imperial Governor and member of the Ordo Xenos, Jena is currently investigating the supposed reawakening of the C'tan. Jena is a character in the game Inquisitor.
  • Lady Olianthe Rathbone - Lady Olianthe claims membership of none of the three great Ordos. She originated among the Calixis Sector's nobility and still favours magnificent ballgowns and elaborate wigs, which would not look out of place in the ballroom of some governor’s palace. Beneath the finery, her piercing, ice-cold grey eyes betray a keen and ruthless intelligence. Some say she was originally an Interrogator in the employ of Lord Inquisitor Zerbe but there is never any obvious familiarity shown between them. Lady Olianthe is very difficult to know and impossible to befriend, and manages to suggest that everyone around her is her inferior without actually stating it out loud. Secretly a deep-seated Radical, Lady Olianthe is an Istvaanian and believes that for the Imperium to become stronger, it must be exposed to war and catastrophe. The Calixis Sector, to her way of thinking, is bloated and irredeemable, and desperately needs a major cataclysm to weed out its weak and corrupt citizens. While she is not averse to combating particularly horrible threats like Chaos Cultists or the mutants she personally despises, Lady Olianthe is also constantly on the lookout for ways to manipulate the power structures of the Calixis Sector towards strife. She intends to do this by subtly coaxing the sector’s leading noble houses towards conflict or rebellion. She is willing to pursue this agenda personally, treating her acolytes as little more than intelligence gatherers who have no idea of her destructive ambitions. The Tyrant Star would be a wonderful tool for her purposes.
  • Gideon Ravenor - Previously an Acolyte to Gregor Eisenhorn, a more powerful psyker than even Eisenhorn himself, and author of many famous texts such as the Spheres of Longing. Ravenor's early career saw him in action with Gregor Eisenhorn and together they brought down many heretics, most notably the Beldame Sadia -- an accursed cybernetically-enhanced xenophile. During the Triumph under the Spacian Gate (a large parade to celebrate the Warmaster's victorious purge of the Ophidian Sub-sector) Ravenor is caught on the edge of an explosion caused by a crashing Lightning Attack Fighter. He is rendered blind, deaf, mute, and senseless. Were it not for his genius and psychic potential it would have been the end of the finest Interrogator Eisenhorn ever raised. He has been encased in a mobile life support system that serves as his protector as well as amplifying his already considerable psychic abilities. He communicates through telepathy with members of his retinue.
  • Reynaard - Reynaard discovered a cult worshipping aliens on Mandall IV. Using a Deathwatch kill team, he attempted to destroy the cult, which proved to have taken over most of the capital city. After escaping, Reynaard returned with over 500,000 troops and eradicated all in the city.
  • Scarn - A very secretive Inquisitor who avoids combat at all costs, and is instead a master manipulator. Last seen at an Inquisitorial Conclave six decades previously. For the past sixty years he has been working his ultimate plan, which he believes will solve all the problems that the Imperium faces, and only now are the pieces in place for stage one. Scarn was featured in the Inquisitor Campaign Supplements.
  • Silberthorne - Since ascending to the position of Inquisitor after his parting of ways with Inquisitor Loquacious Thule, Silberthorne has tracked and killed a great many heretics, aliens, mutants, and worshippers of the Ruinous Powers in and around the Calixis Sector and the Koronus Expanse. A subtle man, Silberthorne favours a measured approach to his work, often utilising other forces outside his own moderate team of acolytes. His typical modus operandi is a lengthy campaign of observation and careful intelligence gathering, followed by a period of infiltration and careful manipulation, misdirection, and even mental re-programming to move all the pieces into place. Once his conditions are cleared, Silberthorne prefers to orchestrate a battle of misfortune against his target, setting up “accidents” or causing internecine strife within his target’s circle of allies. If the resulting chaos resolves the situation without him having to draw a weapon, so much the better. Often Silberthorne’s work is accomplished without anyone ever being aware of an Inquisitor’s involvement.
  • Thaddeus - An Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, he was put in charge of hunting down and destroying the renegade Soul Drinkers Space Marine Chapter. He is a rather patient man and does things slowly and concise as to do them right. He shuns other Inquisitors who use force and fear on Imperial citizens to get their information. He believes in speaking to people politely and with respect to get what he needs. He seemed to make a deal with Sarpedon, the Chapter Master of the Soul Drinkers, when Sarpedon was injured badly and held almost in death by an insanely powerful mutant attempting to gain godhood in the Warp known as Teturact. Thaddeus decided to spare Sarpedon after months of trailing the Soul Drinkers and fired on Teturact, giving Sarpedon time to finish him with the Soulspear. Thaddeus decided that Sarpedon wasn't nearly as dangerous to the Imperium as Teturact was. Thaddeus fell out of favour with the Lord Inquisitors for allowing the Soul Drinkers to continue to exist, but he still pursued them and eventually met his end facing down the Howling Griffons Space Marines after being seen as Sarpedon's ally.
  • Mordecai Toth - Featured in the Dawn of War real-time strategy game. Wielder of the Daemonhammer God-splitter, crafted from a fragment of the weapon of an Eldar Avatar of Khaine, which he later gifted to the Blood Ravens Chapter. In the Dawn of War novel series, he reclaimed the God-splitter from the Blood Ravens, and is portrayed as a probable agent of Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Change. Toth tricked Blood Raven Captain Gabriel Angelos into freeing a powerful Daemon imprisoned by the Eldar.
  • Tyrus - One of the most fervent followers of the Monodominant faction, Tyrus’ power-armoured form has left untold thousands burning in his wake. The Inquisitor particularly abhors witches of any type. This includes alien psykers, and he readily attacks xenos forces if he suspects they use Warp-powers, or any he suspects of harbouring such deviant beings. Tyrus is fond of ancient trials and ordeals to establish guilt, believing that it is the Emperor that brings final judgement on his captives. He also actively watches over his fellow Inquisitors, and can be as terrifying to those he finds to be heretic as he is to any witch he captures.
  • Amberley Vail - A member of the Ordo Xenos, she acts as the editor of the Cain Archive. It has been intimated that her relationship with her famed subject, Commissar Ciaphas Cain, is more than just professional.
  • Commodus Voke - Ancient and famous Thorian leaning towards Monodominant save for his very powerful psychic abilities. Lived to be extremely old due to being extremely difficult to kill. Arrogant and open with his position and fame, he was a sometime ally of Eisenhorn. A legend during his time, a testament to his ability, is the fact that he fought an uncontained daemonhost in a psychic duel and was not obliterated outright.
  • Glavius Wroth - Glavius Wroth is a staunch Amalathian, an outspoken champion of order and unity in the face of the manifold threats that the Imperium faces. Unaligned to a specific Ordo, Wroth is a powerful and experienced operator within the Ordos Calixis, well-connected to the pillars of Imperial order across the sector. However, he has arguably as many enemies as he has allies within the Holy Ordos and must maintain a careful balance in order to survive – chiefly through knowing far too many secrets to easily move against. Wroth is a tough and robust figure with a subtle mind and a blunt tongue. His bearing and manner give the impression of a no-nonsense Arbites Investigator, and this bluff exterior conceals much of his true depth and intellect. Little is known of Wroth's distant past or apprenticeship within the Inquisition, a state that he undoubtedly deliberately maintains, but his present reputation rests in no small part on the excoriation and execution for heresy of his fellow Inquisitor Eustis Ionfell and his network.
  • Grendyl - Grendyl is an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus who is in command of all the Acolytes and other Inquisition forces that have been deployed to the Hive World of Atoma Prime in the Moebian Domain to eliminate the Nurglish Chaos infestation which has taken root in Atoma's capital of Hive Tertium. Grendyl's true identity and appearance is a closely guarded secret. The only interaction between the Inquisitor and newly-recruited Acolytes aboard the modified Firestorm-class Frigate Mourningstar that serves as the mobile headquarters for the Inquisitorial force seeking to cleanse Hive Tertium is through a holographic transmission provided by a servitor outfitted with a hololithic projector. This message is seen during an initiation ceremony where the image of the Inquisitor's face and voice changes multiple times, taking on male, female and even Ogryn identities. While Grendyl and their true goals beyond cleansing the Nurglish infestation of the hive city remain mysterious, it is believed that the Leman Russ Battle Tanks produced in Atoma Prime's manufactoria are vital to the Inquisitor's future plans. There is also mention that Grendyl has a personal interest in the investigation of the different strains of Nurgle's supernatural blights and contagions to be found among the Chaos Cultists and members of the Moebian 6th Traitoris Militarum regiment driving the spread of the corruption in Hive Tertium. Grendyl requisitioned use of the Mourningstar, a Rogue Trader vessel, to serve as the headquarters for all Inquisitorial operations on Atoma Prime. The Rogue Trader hosting Grendyl's retinue and warband of Acolytes is Shipmistress Emora Brahms, who appears to be a close ally of Grendyl, and perhaps even a friend. Although Brahms is wary of the Inquisition's machinations and would gladly leave Atoma Prime if she was free to do so, she will remain resolute in the Ordo Hereticus' service until the Chaos corruption of Hive Tertium has been cleansed. Grendyl's retinue of trusted Acolytes and the warband accompanying them was known to have quelled uprisings by Heretics in four other star systems prior to arriving at Atoma Prime.


Astra Militarum Hierarchy
General Officers Lord Commander MilitantWarmaster (Lord Solar) • Lord CommanderLord General MilitantLord GeneralGeneral
Officers ColonelMajorCaptainLieutenant
Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted SergeantCorporalTrooper (Guardsman)
Specialists InquisitorCommissarPriestTech-PriestEnginseerSanctioned PsykerPrimaris PsykerWyrdvane Psyker


  • Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 321
  • Codex: Daemonhunters (3rd Edition), pg. 14
  • Codex: Inquisition (6th Edition), pg. 60
  • Codex: Imperialis (2nd Edition), pg. 39
  • Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 48
  • Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pp. 16-17
  • Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 40-94, 276-277
  • Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 20, 50-98, 157
  • Dark Heresy: Enemies Within (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 7,12, 13, 22
  • Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 41-51, 54-85, 213
  • Dark Heresy: The Radical's Handbook (RPG), pp. 42-63, 141
  • Dark Heresy Second Edition: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 62-77, 296-299
  • Deathwatch: The Emperor's Chosen (RPG), pg. 114
  • Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 26-27
  • Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 192
  • Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project
  • Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks, Part Three
  • Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War, Part One
  • Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War, Part Two
  • Inquisitor (Specialist Game)
  • Inquisitor: The Thorians Sourcebook (Specialist Game Background Book) by Gav Thorpe, pg. 24
  • Rogue Trader: Twilight Crusade (RPG), pg. 91
  • The Inquisition: An Illustrated Guide to the Secretive Protectors of the Imperium by Nick Kyme, Lindsey Priestley, George Stirling
  • The Inquisitor Sketchbook by John Blanche
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (Video Game)
  • Warhammer Monthly 12, pg. 7
  • White Dwarf 304 (UK), "Witch Fynder," by Gideon Lorr, pp. 66-67
  • War Zone Nachmund: Vigilus Alone (9th Edition), pg. 20
  • Atlas Infernal (Novel) by Rob Sanders
  • Dark Adeptus (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • Ghostmaker (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • The Inquisition War (Novel) by Ian Watson. The new omnibus edition contains the trilogy Draco (previously released as Inquisitor), Harlequin and Chaos Child, as well as two interconnecting short stories.
  • Maellus (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Xenos (Novel) by Dan Abnett, Ch. 22
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (PC Game)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (Video Game)
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