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  1. #1

    Default What If: Inqusition goes too far

    I was having a discussion with a buddy about the power of the inquisition, and if they could command marines

    I was trying to argue the poitn that if marines split up again, I think it would break down to Codex vs Non Codex

    Space Wolves
    Templars (and Imperal fists?)

    vs Codex Chapters

    He is arguing that they could even go to calgar and tell him to jump and he would ask how high
    The Dark Angels, The Emperor's First, and Finest!
    A moment of Laxity spawns a lifetime of Heresy

  2. #2


    Inquisitors certainly have the authority to command space marines. The question is whether or not the space marines will care.

    Imperial Armour Volume 4 tells the story of an Ordo Xenos inquisitor investigating what turned out to be an Imperial research station attempting to study tyranid biology. Naturally the tyranids escaped and overran the facility. In addition to the inquisitor's personal band of Elysian drop troops and some inducted Cadians, he was aided by space marines of the Red Scorpions chapter. In the final desperate hours, as the Imperials were falling back to a strong point to await evacuation, one of the Red Scorpions' Thunderhawks went down. With it was the captain of the First Company and one of their dreadnoughts. The remaining Red Scorpions set out on a rescue mission, abandoning the inquisitor, Elysians, and Cadians to the oncoming tyranid horde. The inquisitor ordered the marines to stand with him, and the greater number of imperiled men. He literally brandished his inquisitorial mandate in their faces. The marines didn't even respond, physically brushing past him on the way to their Rhinos, and rescued their stranded comrades. Upon their return the marine commander informed the inquisitor that they were evacuating. Again he ordered them, in the name of the Emperor and by the authority vested in him as a bearer of the inquisitorial mandate, to stand their ground. He threatened them with the wrath of his conclave. The marine commander loaded up his Thunderhawks and evacuated. The inquisitor, the Elysians, and the Cadians were killed to a man.

    The Ordo Xenos, as you might imagine, was Not Happy.

    And yet, in the end, no punitive action was taken against the Red Scorpions.

    I think this is a pretty typical example of the relationship between marines and the Inquisition. Legally, if you will, an inquisitor can absolutely command any space marine in the Imperium to do his bidding. However, if the space marine says no, there is damn all the lone inquisitor can do about it. In order to force the marines to comply, he'll need serious backup, which can come in one of three forms:
    1. Serious political pressure. Depending on the chapter in question, and the inquisitor in question, it might be that there is political leverage the inquisitor can apply. For instance, a very new chapter might rely heavily on a local forge world to supplement its chapter forge. If he has the connections (and the balls), the inquisitor might be able to threaten the recalcitrant marines with cutting off their supply of Thunderhawks and drop pods, which would be a crippling blow to the chapter. Or, depending on the nature of the mission and the personality of the marine commander, he might be able to maneuver the marine commander into a position where he has to comply with the inquisitor's orders or else look like a coward or dishonorable man in front of people whose opinion he cares about.
    2. Another marine chapter. If the inquisitor can demonstrate to another marine chapter's satisfaction that the first marine chapter has effectively gone rogue by refusing his demands, he might be able to get the second marine chapter to threaten the first with war unless it complies.
    3. An Ordo Hereticus strike force. If the inquisitor can't convince another marine chapter, but can convince his local Ordo Hereticus conclave, the Ordo Hereticus could call upon the Adepta Sororitas to put together an elite force of sisters under the command of one of its best battle-hardened inquisitors, and this strike force would be called upon to threaten the marines with destruction unless they complied with the inquisitor's demands.

    The first option is not very likely to succeed. The second and third are essentially nuclear options, since if the chapter doesn't back down, the inquisitor will effectively be forced to try to destroy it. If he succeeds, then he's taught the marines a lesson but has also destroyed the very troops he was hoping to use. If he fails, he looks like an idiot, and he doesn't have the troops he was hoping to use, and he's wasted valuable time.

    So even though, legally, an inquisitor can commandeer marines just like any other imperial citizen, practically, he has to hope the marines decide to play along.

    Gabriel Angelos, captain of the Blood Ravens Third Company, sums it up well in one line: "I shall not cede command of my Space Marines to him, Inquisitor or not."

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Nabterayl View Post
    So even though, legally, an inquisitor can commandeer marines just like any other imperial citizen, practically, he has to hope the marines decide to play along.

    Gabriel Angelos, captain of the Blood Ravens Third Company, sums it up well in one line: "I shall not cede command of my Space Marines to him, Inquisitor or not."
    Which brings up my 2nd point, if the inquisitors went so far as to alienate to the point of rebellion (not push to chaos, just normal human power games)

    Could the chapters above deal with the inquisition?

    Would they have to fight the codex chapters or would all space marines band together?
    The Dark Angels, The Emperor's First, and Finest!
    A moment of Laxity spawns a lifetime of Heresy

  4. #4


    Well, it kind of depends on the folks involved, circumstances and what they were being "asked" to do. Inquisitors certainly can go too far but that is kind of a gray area since there are many factions of the Inquisition. The Inquisition is broadly broken up into Puritan and Radical camps and then each of those viewpoints is further broken down into many differing ideals, Thorian, reincarnation of the Emperor, et cetera. For a Radical Ordo Malleus Inquisitor, using a bound Daemon is perfectly acceptable but for a Puritan Ordo Malleus Inquisitor, that would be an unforgivable heresy. The same can be applied to their relations with Marines.

    Space Marines fall outside of the normal structure of things for Inquisitors. An Inquisitor can see pretty much all of the Imperium as theirs. I want that battleship... by the power of the Inquisition, this battleship is going to do what I say. You, Guardsman, you're my personal servant now, got it? That kind of thing. With the Space Marines, though, they do not have any compunction to obey other than what they decide to abide. Some Chapters have long-standing agreements to work with the Inquisition or certain Inquisitors. Some Chapters will obey out of loyalty to the Imperium and to an Emperor's servant. Some Chapters will actively resist the interference of an Inquisitor or anyone else they want to ignore. Space Wolves, Blood Angels and Dark Angels are all somewhat famous for resisting Inquisitorial investigation generally.

    Some Chapters have very strong ties to an Inquisitor and follow their lead quite easily or willingly. For example, the Relictors who were tied to a Radical Inquisitor for some time. They will use Daemon weapons to fight Chaos and will often pursue their own agenda without regard for the greater needs or strategies of other Imperial forces. During the Third War for Armageddon, the Relictors participated but they were essentially a non-entity as they barely engaged the Orks. Instead, they were searching for artifacts from the First War for Armageddon, relics from the Daemon and Chaos invasion of the planet. Almost as soon as the 13th Black Crusade started and the call for assistance at the Eye of Terror was received, the Relictors pulled up stake on Armageddon and most of the Chapter made their best time to the region but again they may have been following their own plan and not necessarily the overall plan to defend Cadian space.

    The Inquisition maintains some Marine units possibly because they can not depend on some of their ties to the Astartes providing unequivocal support. Kryptmann was strongly criticized by Uriel Ventris when he virus bombed a planet about to be taken by the Tyrannids. It seemed that Ventris was about to cut his Ultramarine forces from the Inquisitor when he joined the Deathwatch force for the attack on the Norn Queen. The Ordo Malleus maintains very close ties to the Grey Knights and the Ordo Xenos maintains ties to several Chapters and forms the Deathwatch from those Chapters. There have been some different mentions of the structure of the Deathwatch, though. In some fluff it is implied that only certain Chapters are used to form the Deathwatch. In other fluff it was stated that all of the Chapters have a commitment to tribute some troops to the Deathwatch for a period of service. Those Marines who return to their Chapter are then able to spread their knowledge of how to fight the alien to the rest of the Chapter. This is similar to an exchange program but some writings imply it is a lifelong deployment to the Deathwatch and those Marines have a duty to serve the Ordo Xenos until death. Until we get a Codex and an official word, who knows which is more accurate.

    The short answer is, Marines can obey an Inquisitor but are mostly not required to obey since they are a separate entity from the rest of the Imperium. They are also one of the few organizations which could successfully resist an Inquisitor's "request".

  5. #5


    Could all the space marines in the Imperium handle the inquisition? Almost certainly.

    There is no question in my mind that the Imperial Guard could defeat all the space marines in the Imperium, if they were willing to pay the cost. Heck, the marines would have a hell of a time with just the Navy. And that doesn't even start to count the Adepta Sororitas, who are a lot closer to space marines in terms of combat power than some people give them credit for, and more importantly are closer to space marines in training and capabilities than any other troops in the Imperium except the storm trooper corps.

    The thing is, I doubt very much it would come down to that. A crusade against the Inquisition (which is surely how the marines would think of it) would boil down to a series of large-scale assassinations as marines hunted down inquisitors and whatever troops they had managed to surround themselves with. Space marines own their own fleets. They barely register in terms of combat power compared to the Navy, and even on a ship-for-ship basis Navy vessels are at least the equal of their space marine equivalents. But the mere fact that every chapter has its own fleet, with superior Navigators, while the Inquisition is forced to commandeer Navy vessels, means that the space marines would have a fairly easy time seizing and retaining the strategic initiative. It would be very difficult to force the marines to battle.

    And, as you've said, it wouldn't even come down to that, since the odds of all the space marines in the Imperium turning on the Inquisition are almost nil. You could of course construct a scenario where it happens, but any scenario that is sufficiently drastic would also see the rest of the Imperium turning on the Inquisition (e.g., suppose every Inquisitor in the Imperium ascends to daemonhood. Would that unite the space marines against the Inquisition? Yes. But by the time the marines even got there the Grey Knights, Deathwatch, Imperial Guard, PDFs, Adeptus Arbites and Adepta Sororitas would already have gutted the Inquisition).

    So in any scenario that was bad enough to actively turn marines against the Inquisition, but not bad enough that everybody else piled in, yes, the marines would almost certainly be split.

    I don't think it would boil down to codex vs. non-codex chapters, though. I don't think the codex vs. non-codex divide is as big a deal as that. I think the division would come down to less predictable things, based on a chapter's history of dealing with the Inquisition, the precise things the Inquisition had done to turn some marines against them, and each chapter master's assessment of what would ultimately benefit the Imperium more.

    Quote Originally Posted by RogueGarou View Post
    The short answer is, Marines can obey an Inquisitor but are mostly not required to obey since they are a separate entity from the rest of the Imperium.
    That's not true. The space marines are part of the Adeptus Terra, which firmly places them within the overall umbrella of the Imperium. They aren't separate from it. Space marines are formally required to obey an inquisitor. They just don't necessarily care.
    Last edited by Nabterayl; 10-30-2009 at 01:05 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Sydney, Australia


    That's basically how the Badab War started. Huron was being hassled by the man over late tithes and not submitting to testing by the AdMech. Eventually the Administratum, Inquisition and AdMech got sick of the run-around, and sent some guys to enforce their will.

    Huron, being a tricky fellow, used this to persuade loyal Astartes that their independance was being infringed upon over a matter of taxes, so got allies. Other Chapters, who were likely better informed, came in against Huron and his buddies.

    Also, DA, BA and Fists are all codex. The only variences are DA have Death/Raven wing, and BAs have the Death Company. The Wolves hate the Inquisition for what they did after Armageddon I, and have actively stymied them at times. However the Wolves are highly regarded by the Guard, Fleet and almost all other Chapters, so any action against them would not be well recieved. The Inquisition wanted to crush Grimmnar for his impertinance towards them, but had to stay their hand as they knew if they did it would likely lead to a second heresey of sorts.

    It depends on the Chapter's age, prestige and background IMO. For instance a new, 100% codex chapter would do whatever the Inquisition asked of them, or be disbanded or destroyed - being new means they would have few allies aside from those with the natural bond of Astartes Brotherhood. The circumstances would see how many would come to their aid (see Badab War).
    An older, more established one could probably get some leeway (see Vraks III where the Angels of Absolution only enter the war on their terms). They'd have enough of a history that if they were known as great warriors they'd have the other Chapters more willing to back them. If they were known as being flakes or psychos, they'd be on their own (like the Flesh Tearers after Armageddon III).
    A wierd isolationist chapter (like the Red Scorpions) would just ignore them (and everyone except the Emperor himself) when it suits them better. Same for Chapters who believe in the humanity of the Emp, as opposed to the Imperial Cult, or don't recognise the authority of anyone outside the Primarchs or Emperor - Codex Chapters could take this mindset, seeing the Administratum, Ecclesiarcy and High Lords as upstarts and usurpers, and the wisdom of Calgar, the other Primarchs and the Emperor (also their genetic forebears) as the only authority over them.

    So the short summary is that it would really depend on who was involved, why the =I= and marines are going against each other, and what each side has to lose by forcing the situation to escalate.

  7. #7


    First of all, the Fists are very much a codex chapter, and the Templars, while they don’t actually follow the codex are fiercely loyal and puritanical (they don’t even use psykers of any kind), so much so that they make some puritan Inquisitors look like radical loose cannons.

    Second, you are grotesquely over simplifying the power structure of the Imperium. The Imperium is not a unilateral organization with clear-cut political divisions. It’s more like a giant house of cards. Built on a stack of oil drums. And all of the cards are explosives. And the person building that house of cards has palsy. Humor aside, the ONLY things that keep the whole thing from falling into an anarchistic disaster are; a) inertia, b) the tacit understanding that all of the organizations play nicely with each other. To try another simple analogy imagine the different factions of the Imperium as a daycare full of toddlers and there aren’t enough toys for everyone, and most of them have lethal weapons, and some of them are genetically enhanced super beings, and others are religious zealots, and… You know what? There is not simple way to descried the power dynamics of the Imperium, it’s just a f*cking mess.

    Could the unified Astartes take on the Inquisition in full blown war? Hell yes! Would that ever happen? No. The Astartes chapters can barely work together when they are fighting on the same side; they are by their very nature fiercely independent organizations.

    The thing to always recall is that the Inquisition can order ANYONE to do ANYTHING. But… There are organizations that have the political clout to “interpret” or ignore those orders. The Astartes and the Mechanicum are notorious for doing that, partly because they are special cases and are semi-independent of the Imperium proper, and the Ministorium and Navis Nobilis also has the power to do so if they pick their moments. However, all of said organizations are perfectly well aware that the Imperium is always in imminent danger of flying apart, and are quite adept at pushing only just so far.

    With this in mind the whole thing becomes an almost elegant political dance. Only the most arrogant self righteous Inquisitor would try to enlist the aid of an Astartes chapter in the form of an order (not that it doesn’t happen, and sometimes it even works), they request that aid ever so politely, cite ancient oaths of fealty, point out the importance of their need, etc. Most of the time the Astartes agree to help, but if they don’t the Inquisitor must ask himself just how far he wants to push things. Does refusal to give aid really mean the chapter has gone rogue? Or is it more likely that there are other legitimate concerns the Astartes have which actually necessitates their refusal? Does he really want to start another Badab war over what might have been nothing more than a legitimate conflict of interests? Most of them will be more circumspect than that.
    Cry woe, destruction, ruin, and decay:
    The worst is death, and death will have his day.

  8. #8


    Just a side comment for those whom overvalue the Astartes: don't let the arrogance of the Astartes get in the way of the simple fact that the Inquisition can, if it really wants to, destroy an Astartes chapter completely and utterly. It has done so in the past and it will do so in the future. The Marines are valuable, but the treason is a crime worse than heresy and punishment will come, even if not immediately or directly.

    That said, if all the Marines in the Imperium somehow turned on the Inquisition? What about inquisitorial servants such as deathwatch (or even former deathwatch members) and grey knights, whom have obligations to the Inquisition? Or chapters which themselves have a good relationships with the Inquisition or even specific inquisitors?

    Remember, the Inquisition is even MORE individualistic than Space Marines are. Every single inquisitor is a unique individual with unique beliefs (whereas Marines are typically trained so that their division and individuality still reflects the chapter's general theme), even the various members of an Ordo or belief group debate amongst themselves-- monodominants might debate on just how extreme they need to go, for example. Getting two Inquisitors to agree on anything can often be harder to do than getting the Inquisition and Space Wolves to work together.
    Last edited by Melissia; 10-30-2009 at 01:52 PM.
    The mouth of the Emperor shall meditate wisdom; from His tongue shall speak judgment

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Question Iquisition authority

    You can't overvalue the Astartes chapters. They are needed just as much as the Inquisition authority. The Astartes are autonomous and have a sworn allegiance to the Emperor and he is the only authority they fully recoginize.Being loyal and faithful servants of the Emperor they also recognize that the Imperial authority is the one he set up and will obey as long as does not interfere with their faith in the Emperor or their loyalty to their respective chapters. The DeathWatch respond to command of the Ordo Hereticus and Inquistion. These Marines that serve their are hand picked and willingly serve. They in their service to the Imperium authority give glory to their respective chapters. The Inqiuisition and the Space Marines work together and would/should not come into an open conflict. This would destroy the fabric of the Imperium and both recognize what's at stake even with all their differences. It is interesting how in spite of their differences they both manage to accomplish their various missions and protect the Imperium.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by rkiviman View Post
    You can't overvalue the Astartes chapters. They are needed just as much as the Inquisition authority.
    I think she meant overvalue in the sense of overestimate their combat power, which you certainly can do. Mel's quite correct that the Inquisition can and has gone nuclear on individual marine chapters in the past and wiped them out. A space marine chapter is valuable, but not so valuable that they can do no wrong in the Inquisition's eyes. They're powerful combat formations, but not so powerful that the Inquisition (with the appropriate assistance from other marine chapters or one of the Chambers Militant) can't wipe them out.


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