A Radical is an agent of the Imperial Inquisition who turns to methods, tools, and ideologies forbidden by the Imperial Creed, choosing instead to turn the darkness of Chaos, xenos, witches and other enemies of Humanity against themselves.
This proves to be a slippery slope indeed, and thus Radicals tread where many others fear to follow, imperiling their very souls in the quest to find salvation for a million worlds.
The path of the Radical is rarely one set upon with deliberate intent. Rather, the terrors that Inquisitors witness over the course of their duties may lead them to make certain decisions, responding to the needs of the moment.
Little by little, step-by-step, an Inquisitor's methods and outlook might change. Perhaps a minor, doctrinal compromise is made, the letter of the law interpreted instead by its supposed intent, a deviant course of action undertaken, a forbidden text consulted, the babbling of a condemned criminal heeded. Before they are even aware of the path they are walking, some Inquisitors are corrupted, and ultimately branded Radical by their fellows.
Such individually insignificant transgressions take many and varied forms, and some Inquisitors labelled Radical by their peers might believe themselves realists, relativists, or possessors of truths others refuse to comprehend.
Common to all such individuals is the unbending belief that what they do, they do for the good of the Imperium. They know, as no others possibly can, that it is not only their right, but their God-Emperor-given duty to use whatever resources they can in the endless battle against the eternal foes of Mankind.
If individual Inquisitors cannot, or will not recognise when they have become a Radical, then who is it that imparts such a label? To the Puritans, those for whom only the strictest adherence to traditional Imperial dogma is acceptable, any who deviate from their rigid philosophies are suspect.
Others know that the true nature of the universe casts such issues not in black and white but infinite and murky shades of grey.
Though all Radicals have by definition deviated from the orthodoxies of the Imperial Creed, they vary immensely in their beliefs, from those who use the forces of the Warp against its inhabitants to Inquisitors who seek to shatter the very Imperium they serve.
A Radical will often say that all Inquisitors start out as Puritans, but that as they are exposed to the realities of the Imperium and the galaxy beyond, they inevitably become more and more flexible in their ideas and all become Radicals in the end.
Puritans, on the other hand, consider the more extreme Radicals to have been corrupted by the very power they wield and the dreadful knowledge to which they are exposed.
Most Radicals try to conceal their divergent beliefs when in the company of many other Inquisitors, preferring to pursue their agendas away from the sight of more puritanical souls. Some, however, are outspoken in their views and can gain many enemies in attempting to convert Puritans to their cause.
Inquisitors are generally wary of such beliefs within their Acolytes, at least until they have proven themselves over many successful investigations.
Notable Radical Factions
The most well-known of the different philosophies currently practiced by Radical Inquisitors within the Ordos include the following named factions.
- Xanthism - The most powerful and obviously Radical grouping within the Inquisition, Xanthites advocate the use of Warp-based weaponry, such as Daemon-possessed swords, Daemonhosts, and other tactics that will turn the power of Chaos against itself. Xanthism is one of the oldest philosophies of the Inquisition, named after Inquisitor-Master Zaranchek Xanthus, who was executed in the 32nd Millennium as a Heretic for reputedly possessing a dangerous and unhealthy amount of knowledge of the Warp and its uses. Note that, unlike other Inquisitors, only the rare openly Xanthite Inquisitors will be denied the use of the Grey Knights if they requisition them. Xanthites are considered too impure themselves to be given command of the Grey Knights; more Puritan Inquisitors fear that they may actually be leading those elite Space Marines into a trap in service to the powers of the Warp, whether they realise it or not.
- Horusians - A sub-sect of the Xanthites, this sect wishes to create a new leader for Humanity, much like the Puritan Thorians. Both factions strive for a powerful, god-like figurehead to lead the Imperium into a new golden age. But the Horusians view the might of the Warmaster Horus as a wasted opportunity; they believe that should the limitless power of Chaos be harnessed and bound into a great leader of Mankind, Humanity could once more become united and crush all before it. Needless to say, even other open-minded Radical members of the Inquisition view the Horusians as dangerous in the extreme, likely to become nothing more than more traitorous pawns of the Ruinous Powers.
- Recongregationism - The Recongregators believe that the Imperium, after long millennia of stagnation, has become decadent and corrupt. To remedy this, Recongregators believe that only through change can the Imperium hope to prosper, believing that the greatest threat that Humanity faces is its lack of progress and terminal stagnation. Working quietly behind the scenes, the Recongregators seek to influence or engineer events that will lead to change and progress. It is a subtle game, and of all the major factions of the Inquisition, they are counted amongst the least visible, keeping to the shadows whilst others charge into the fray. They are most deeply opposed within the Inquisition by the Puritan Amalathians.
- Istvaanism - Even more extreme in their views than the Recongregators is the Radical faction known as the Istvaanians. Taking their name from the infamous massacre on Istvaan III, where Horus virus-bombed the remaining Loyalist Space Marines in his Traitor Legions, said to have been the spark that ignited the Horus Heresy, they seek to ferment conflict and crisis wherever they tread. It is their belief that the Imperium requires constant strife to survive (a reasonable assumption given the galaxy's state of near total war), and if Mankind were ever to find itself at total peace, the Imperium would collapse and decay. To this end, Istvaanian Inquisitors seek conflict head-on, instigating discord within and without the Imperium, starting wars, leading invasions, and stirring discontent into rebellion.
- Oblationism - Born in the fires of the "War of Brass" that wracked the Calixis Sector in the late 40th Millennium, the Oblationist faction is an oath-sworn society of bitter fanatics who wield Warp-forged weapons, bind daemons, and command the power of sorcerers with a self-hating fury that sees all in the Inquisition but their own creed as utterly impure, corrupt, and deserving of destruction. Their infamy long outstripping their numbers, the notorious Oblationist Inquisitors and their trusted servants have determined to sacrifice themselves in the cause of the protection of the Imperium, regardless of the cost. Consumed with vengeful wrath and fanatic certainty, they gather profane artefacts, hoard forbidden knowledge, and wield the powers of the Warp whilst tolerating no others to use such methods. Their intolerance of all other Radicals has much in common with the most puritanical factions; they believe that only other Oblationists may wield the weapons and knowledge of the enemy and remain true in the service of the God-Emperor. They are unbending in their belief and ruthless in all aspects of its application.
- Antiquarti - The Antiquarti are a Radical faction within the Inquisition. Originating from a group that split from the Ocularians led by Inquisitor Thaddeus Hakk, they focus on discovering patterns and events in the past to predict the future.
- Casophilians - The Casophilians are a Radical sub-faction of the Thorians who dedicate their studies to the process by which the Human soul transitions from realspace to the Warp. The Casophilians know that daemonic entities can pass through the barriers between the Warp and the mortal world. This makes them profound experts in the arts of daemonology with a special regard for ritual summoning rather than incidental or malicious possession. They hope to find the means to bring back a deceased man or woman's soul to the mortal world. If these actions are successful, then it would be the first step in bringing the soul of the Emperor back into realspace in a suitable mortal form. Further aspects that differentiate the Casophilians from other Thorian beliefs is the fact that they openly embrace new ideas on their theories and thus work closely with Inquisitors of other factions which prevents them from adopting a general, isolated view of their studies' importance. This allows them to learn much from their interactions with other branches of the Inquisition and allows them to gain greatly from their experiences. Amongst the different philosophies held by the factions of the Inquisition, the Casophilians are often known to work in conjunction with members of the Puritan Anomolian Beholders as both factions study the soul; the Anomalians examine the living while the Casophilians are concerned with the dead.
- Libricaranism - A relatively newly-fanned flame of Radicalism founded from an unexpected source in the Calixis Sector, a Libricar is a member of a faction of the Inquisition that is a relative newcomer to the clash of Inquisitorial ideologies and doctrines. The doctrine of the Libricar is one that earns its fanatical counter-reformers an often outcast status in the Holy Ordos. An extremist outgrowth of the Puritan Amalathians, for the Libricar it is not enough to preserve the institutions of the Imperium, but also necessary to ensure that those who rule and maintain them are ceaselessly watched, mercilessly judged, and made pure by bloodshed. To a follower of the Libricar doctrine the sacred pattern of the Imperium, as divinely ordained by the mind of the God-Emperor, has become weakened from within by petty political corruption, factional strife, and beset by arrogant ideology, not least of all within the Holy Ordos of the Inquisition itself. Above all, they despise those proponents of change who presume to second-guess the will of the divine or betray their Emperor-given power and privilege for petty personal vice. For the Libricar, true order must be restored and Imperial tradition venerated and the path to this sacred goal is clear -- and if they must take it into their own hands and become judge, jury, and executioner in order to show the way, then so be it.
- Ocularians - Of all the factions of the Inquisition present in the Calixis Sector, the Ocularians (literally "they who see") are among the strangest and most unfathomable, even to their peers. They are united not simply by doctrine but by obsession -- knowledge of the future; of predictions and omens, patterns of events, divination and destiny, and above all, in keeping their own secrets. The faction's detractors range in their accusations from charges that the Ocularians waste their attentions on meaningless and futile attempts to predict future threats to the Imperium of Man while blithely ignoring present dangers, to attempted witch hunts raised by hardline Puritans against Ocularians they believe have courted damnation in their desire to know the unknowable. Ocularians are a sect whose provenance, exact origins and age are shrouded in a tangle of myth, apocryphal data, and outright contradiction. Those few that know of the Ocularians in any detail consider them to be a paranoid faction of diviners and scholars -- Inquisitors whose obsession with prophecy and prognostication has long skirted outright heresy. Ocularian Inquisitors and their tightly-knit coteries of Acolytes, (who feature a preponderance of Adepts and Sanctioned Psykers among their ranks) are generally regarded by the Conclave Calixis' powers-that-be as a useful if often erratic resource. The Ocularians' abilities and skills make them asset enough to remain tolerated despite their eccentricities and adherence to internal secrecy. This status quo does not, however, sit well with many of the Conclave's Puritans and over the centuries internecine strife has occurred on numerous occasions. The Ocularians often emerge as the victor, much to the shock of the firebrands who have challenged them. The true nature of the Ocularians' power, their history, and goals are more subtle and more terrible than even the most rabid Witch Hunter would dare believe.
- Phaenonites - A Phaenonite is a member of a malevolent Xanthite splinter faction of the Inquisition, reviled even by their fellow Radicals, that has long been declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Ordo Malleus. They are dedicated to the overthrow of the God-Emperor and the Ruinous Powers alike, seeking a new future for Humanity through the blasphemous fusing of flesh, machine and the powers of the Warp into a new mode of existence for Mankind. Once thought utterly destroyed in more recent years, the heretical Phaenonite philosophy has reared its head again and taken dangerous new shape in the Calixis Sector.
- Polypsykana - The Polypsykana is a faction consisting of like-minded Radical Inquisitors in the Calixian Conclave who believe in the ascension of Humanity into a purely psychic species. They believe that they themselves must serve as guardians and guide Mankind down this path of transformation. This way of thinking is not unique to the Calixis Sector or to the Imperium in its long history, as similar thoughts have appeared in the past. The Inquisitors of the Polypsykana believe that this metamorphosis is inevitable so long as attempts are not made to prevent it from happening. This interference is most likely from other Inquisitors who see psykers as witches and abominations that need to be purged. The Polypsykana Inquisitors and their agents seek out as well as protect psykers from Puritan firebrands who are intent on the destruction of such individuals. This is more so the case in the Calixis Sector which sees a higher number of Humans born with psychic talents than average which is attributed to the influence of the Tyrant Star. As such, Polypsykana Inquisitors are ever-vigilant for seeking any nascent psykers within a sector's population and spend considerable resources in the pursuit of this task. Any psykers that are found to be at risk are quickly moved to safety before they are burned at the stake or otherwise executed. Agents of the Polypsykana are also known to search for ways to hasten the full psychic awakening of Mankind. Such an act is to be accomplished through eugenic techniques as well as the use of powerful psy-active drugs that can transform even those without the genetic profile of a psyker into a potent wielder of the energies of the Warp.
- Revivificators - The Revivificators are a Radical faction who descend partly from the Thorians' beliefs. Unlike other factions who seek the resurrection of the Emperor, the Revivificators have few ties with the Adeptus Ministorum. Their goal is the study of the transition of the Human soul to the Warp at the moment of death. Though their studies of the soul are very similar to those of the Casophilians and the Anomolian Beholders, the Revivificators seek a means through which death can be slowed or even halted and ultimately the individual can be made resurrected. This peculiar field means that Inquisitors that follow this philosophy tend to be found on the battlefield or in plague areas where they conduct investigations on those that are nearing death. In addition to such locales, they are also common visitors to tombs and mausoleums which leads to a certain amount of disrespect to the practices of the Ecclesiarchy. This has led to Revivificators gaining a reputation as "ghouls" and "ravens" due to the morbid nature of their practices. Revivificators are known to have learned much from the capture of various Aeldari over the centuries. This is because they find the Aeldari spirit to be a fascinating object of study because of that xenos species' ancient ability to reincarnate themselves after death and their other necromantic practices in the wake of Slaanesh's birth and the fall of their lost empire. They have conducted numerous experiments in replicating the Asuryani's practice of capturing a departing soul in a Soul Stone. However, all these attempts have been unsuccessful as Mankind's psychic technology is far inferior to the psychic engineering properties of Aeldari wraithbone. In addition, there are also those who follow this belief who have read Inquisitor Lord Van Hinkel's Treatise on the Soultheft Methods of Eldar Pirates which was written in the 39th Millennium. The detailed text contains a report of the Inquisitor's interrogation of a captured Drukhari which also contained collated information from many other sources which were previously scattered in various libraries and datafiles that were present throughout the Inquisition's fortresses and void stations. The least scrupulous of the Revivificators have attempted to make use of the torturous practices of the Drukhari on Heretics and other criminals. There are few within the Inquisition who are aware of the grisly dungeons that are staffed by Revivificator telepaths and which are wired to arcane machinery for the detection as well as the extraction of psychic energy. The ultimate goal of these Inquisitors is to study the Golden Throne itself and find a means of altering its functions in order for the Emperor's body to be restored. As such, they study not only the passage of a soul into the Warp but also the means through which a corpse can be maintained in a state of readiness for a possible re-infusion of the soul. Access to such knowledge and technologies often mean that the Revivificators live far longer than other Inquisitors. The oldest is Inquisitor Lord Verinath who was shot and killed whilst hale and hearty at the age of seven hundred and sixty-three Terran years.
- Seculos Attendous - This minor Radical faction maintains that the religious beliefs spread and enforced by the state church of the Ecclesiarchy is hampering and holding back Humanity from advancing, and therefore they seek to reduce its power and influence wherever and whenever possible. They believe that the hulking dogma and doctrine of the Adeptus Ministorum is slowly corrupting Mankind and hampering its growth, and that the light of the Emperor does not need the hand of the Imperial Cult to reach those who wish to embrace it. As yet, the faction has remained very quiet about its intentions and goals, no doubt to avoid immediate censure and the risk of excommunication. The operations of the faction are twofold. First they seek to twist the Ecclesarchy's power from within, making small alterations in its operation that will ultimately help to weaken its power over the masses, while still maintaining the populace's firm faith in the God-Emperor and His glory. The second is managing the state church's contact with new worlds and remote frontiers, places where a freer, more natural worship of the Emperor is easier to perform. In both cases, the faction must tread very lightly, as the power of the Ecclesiarchy is not to be casually trifled with and should even the barest hint of its subversion come to light retribution would be swift and final.
- Xenos Hybris - The Xeno Hybris is a Radical faction that has existed within the Calixis Sector for almost as long as it has been a part of the Imperium. It is speculated that the faction grew out of a gathering of Radical Ordo Xenos Inquisitors and agents drawn to the sector in search of clues to lost alien civilizations. Whatever the case, today the faction works diligently to uncover alien technology and better understand the alien mind. Inquisitors of this faction believe that there is much to learn from the aliens of the galaxy and only by cooperation with the other intelligent species can the true enemy of all sentient life -- Chaos -- be defeated. Needless to say, these beliefs often bring them into conflict with Monodominants and their followers, who view any dealing with xenos as an abomination. Much of the faction's operations centre on the investigation of alien civilisations so that members might better understand and emulate them. This understanding is important to the faction as adherents believe that Humanity's understanding of the universe is incomplete and dangerously flawed when it comes to combating its true foes. For most faction members, this kind of scholarly endeavour represents their total involvement in the faction, with members gathering together from time to time to share and compile information and present new theories. The second major undertaking of the faction is the recovery of xenos tech. While some artefacts are recovered as part of the faction's involvement in archaeological missions, most must be stolen, purchased, or traded for. The more adventurous faction members often take considerable risks in the pursuit of such things, especially when trying to bring xenos items back into Imperial space. They also maintain ties with "benign" alien species that have nominal contact with the Imperium and only limited hostilities to date. This contact is often performed under the cover of Rogue Trader activity.
- Unnamed Ultra-Radicals - These Inquisitors, who have no name for their faction that is yet known to the wider Inquisition, are an extreme Radical sub-faction of resurrectionists. They believe that the Emperor's final ascension into the Immaterium, and thus His ability to finally destroy Chaos, requires the death of His body in realspace, which is trapping Him in a weakened form. Since these Radicals are essentially calling for the death of the Emperor, the Adeptus Custodes are known to ruthlessly hunt down any Inquisitors of this faction whenever they are identified or their activities are detected.
- Codex: Adeptus Custodes (8th Edition), pg. 7
- Dark Heresy: The Radical's Handbook (RPG), pp. 6, 22, 78-92, 98-123, 128
- Inquisitor Rulebook (Specialty Game), pg. 8
- Dark Heresy 2nd Edition: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 316
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pp. 77-78
- The Thorians (Specialty Game) by Gav Thorpe, pg. 7
- Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods (RPG), pp. 181-183