In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, an Inquisitor is a member of the Holy Inquisition in the Imperium of Man. They are mainly responsible for rooting out heresy and other internal threats to the Imperium's interests. If the Imperial Guard and the Space Marines are the shield and hammer of the Emperor, then these guys are like
chemotherapy, destroying the bad with way too much collateral damage a scalpel, quickly and cleanly cutting out malignancies before they spread (Ideally).
This is not to say that Inquisitors work only in the shadows. While this is their preferred method of operation, their unique status in the Imperium means that they can take command of pretty much everything short of an entire Space Marine Chapter, and even then the Chapter would be hard pressed to come up with a reason to defy an Inquisitor's request.
- Acolyte: Inquisitors can call upon any Imperial citizen to perform any task. Acolytes are set apart from the rest by being told that their master is in fact an Inquisitor. That they are trusted with this much knowledge indicates that the Inquisitor who "recruits" them sees that they have promise, and may have what it takes to one day be Inquisitors themselves. Acolytes may acquire sub-ranks within their Inquisitor's cadre, especially as an Inquisitor accumulates more Acolytes than can be used at once. Acolytes may be divided into cells set on particular tasks, and some whom the Inquisitor trusts may be put in charge of a cell, or of multiple cells.
- Throne Agent: Acolytes that have been in Inquisitorial service for some time and have both proven their skill and loyalty repeatedly without being reduced to a red smear are often elevated to Throne Agents. These individuals, though they don't command the same power as an Interrogator, are often either put in charge of operations that the Inquisitor can't attend to him/herself, but can't really just shove onto any random shleb either, or are otherwise assembled into elite strike forces, often led by the Inquisitor themself.
- Interrogator: Acolytes that impress their Inquisitorial master enough get put on the official (more or less) track to becoming an Inquisitor themselves. Although there's a lot of different titles for this rank (and different Inquisitors may use the same name for different roles), "Interrogator" is by far the most common; as their name implies, they are primarily used to interrogate "suspects" (which Inquisitors themselves are far too busy to do), but they're also expected to do anything else their Inquisitor tells them to. Although they don't have the full authority of an Inquisitor yet, Interrogators (or whatever else they might be called) usually have networks of influence themselves and, in any case, operate with the (tacit) authority of their master.
- Inquisitor: So, you've somehow survived far enough to really impress your master; as a result, he and some of his colleagues sponsored your promotion to Inquisitor. Or he just died and left you his Rosette. In any case, you can now use that to bend almost anybody to your will and call on the full resources of the Imperium. Officially, all Inquisitors are on equal standing, but of course there is an informal pecking order, usually based on experience (formalized by the next rank).
- Inquisitor Lord (or "Lord Inquisitor" or "High Inquisitor"): Very senior Inquisitors are sometimes granted the title of Inquisitor Lord. By default, more senior Inquisitors are given more respect and authority anyway, but the title helps make Inquisitor Lords' authority clear to Inquisitors who do not know them personally, and also confers a few formal powers, like the ability to convene High Conclaves (which are better than the ad-hoc conclaves that regular Inquisitors can call... somehow). The only way to become an Inquisitor Lord is to be nominated by one Inquisitor Lord and approved by two more, which raises some questions about who the first three Lords Inquisitor were. A Lord Inquisitor based near Terra may be nominated to be the Inquisitorial Representative on the High Lords of Terra.
- Inquisitorial Representative: Since the Inquisition is by design not a centralized organization, being the Inquisitorial Representative doesn't convey much power to whatever Inquisitor Lord got stuck with the duty. The High Lords are all of a high enough rank that the Representative can't just boss them around like he or she would to other Imperial officers. Mostly the Inquistorial Representative exists to provide some kind of insight as to the plans of the High Lords as well as someone to bitch at when other inquisitors do stupid shit like overuse Exterminatus or lose a genestealer on an inhabited planet. Since the Inquisitorial Representative doesn't get to do much inquisiting while on the job, they usually aren't too happy to get nomination but they only serve for 5 years at a time, so it's sometimes used as a sabbatical for experienced inquisitors to take a break from active duty (and also preventing one faction or school of thought from becoming too powerful).
Types of Inquisitors
As usual, due to the sheer size (And clusterfuck) that is the Imperium of Man as well as the myriad of threats facing Humanity, there are three main variations from your bog-standard Exterminatus-happy Inquisitor. Each specializing in a specific threat that the forces of the Imperium face on a daily basis.
- Daemonhunters: One of the more famous types of Inquisitor and the one everyone thinks off when it comes to the big I, but is also the most secretive and confidential due to the nature of the threats. The Ordo Malleus Inquisitor are those specializing in hunting Daemons along with their bros for life, the Grey Knights.
- Witchhunters: The special sub-branch of the Inquisition dedicated to hunting down those filthy HERETICS! Considered as more of a step down to the Daemonhunters in both of the threats they face and prestige, but is the most common and legally known of the Inquisition. They are the BFF to the Space Nuns.
- Alienhunters: Inquisitors specializing in hunting and er...'containing' the diverse array of xenos deemed a threat to humanity. Allowed use of various weaponry deemed too heretical and unorthodox in nature (And giving the respectable Techpriest a collective seizure). Often tasked along with the famed Deathwatch.
- Amberley Vail, assembler and editor of Ciaphas Cain's memoirs (and
possiblyobviously Cain's lover)
- Gregor Eisenhorn, protagonist of the Eisenhorn trilogy
- Gideon Ravenor, Eisenhorn's student and protagonist of the Ravenor trilogy
- Jena Orechiel, mother of famous underhive bounty hunter Kal Jerico
- Fyodor Karamazov
- Hector Rex
- Torquemada Coteaz
- Helynna Valeria
- Erasmus Crowl, Inquisitor Lord in Corvain and protagonist of The Carrion Throne.
- Mordecai Toth, Previous owner of the God-Splitter Daemonhammer.
- Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau, First named inquisitor from Rogue Trader, the obvious joke being that 1st editions Inquisitors were a mash up of these three characters. Has become a meme amongst fa/tg/uys due to the name. Also he looks like a young Michael Moorcock.
- Katarinya Greyfax, Eye of the Emperor. Shows up in the Gathering Storm Fall of Cadia book.
- Inquisitor Covenant - Moody bugger wielding a big sword with a hard-on for chasing down Horusians, owing to his tragic backstory of killing his formerly Thorian master went off the deep end. Travels with an obligatory cadre of varied henchmen.
- Dark Heresy, in which the player characters are Acolytes of an Inquisitor.
- Inquisitor (film), a cheesy live-action 40K short film starring an Inquisitor and some Dark Angels.
- Inquisitor (role-playing game), which is Games Workshop's fuckawesome 40K role-playing game that has since been discontinued.
- The Lord Inquisitor, a fan film about Lord Inquisitor Torquemada Coteaz.
|Forces of the Inquisition|
|Command:|| Inquisitor (Ordo Malleus Inquisitor - Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor |
Ordo Xenos Inquisitor)
|Retinue:|| Acolyte - Arco-flagellant - Astropath - Banisher - Cherubim |
Chiurgeon - Crusaders - Daemonhost - Death Cult Assassin
Jokaero - Hierophant - Mystic - Sanctioned Psyker
Sage (Autosavant - Lexmechanic - Sister Dialogous)
Servo-skull - Servitor - Sister Hospitaler - Pariah - Penitent
Ministorum Priest - Militarum Veteran Squad - Warp-Seer
|Auxiliaries:|| Inquisitorial Stormtroopers - Deathwatch - Grey Knights |
Sisters of Battle - Callidus Assassin - Culexus Assassin
Eversor Assassin - Vindicare Assassin
|Vehicles:|| Chimera - Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader |
Land Raider Redeemer) - Razorback - Rhino
|Famous members of the Emperor's Holy Inquisition|
|Ordo Xenos:||Amberley Vail - Gregor Eisenhorn - Gideon Ravenor - Jena Orechiel - Kryptman - Bronislaw Czevak - Solomon Lok - Velayne Ramaeus|
|Ordo Hereticus:||Adrastia - Katarinya Greyfax - Fyodor Karamazov - Anton Zerbe|
|Ordo Malleus:||Hector Rex - Mordecai Toth - Torquemada Coteaz - Jaq Draco - Phaedus Falconet Horst - Covenant - Ivixia Dannica - Ghankus Dhar|