- – Creature Feature
Known as the Ordo Hereticus, the Witch Hunters are a branch of the Inquisition dedicated and specialized in hunting down and destroying witches, heretics, and mutants in the name of the Empra but will also kill just about anyone who's an enemy of the Imperium if confronted. Commonly fields Sisters of Battle or Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, though a Witch Hunter Inquisitor Lord may call on the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Deathwatch, and even Grey Knights to assist them in battle.
The Ordo Hereticus was originally created after the Age of Apostasy to ensure that the Ecclesiarchy could never go batshit insane again and stick to the Decree Passive; since then it has expanded into the rigid enforcers of the Imperial Cult, stamping out all traces of unorthodoxy among the populace, whether they are genuinely tainted by Chaos or Genestealers or not. This power creep from the Inquisition's original goal to mainly fight Chaos itself characterizes how far removed they've become from Malcador's original vision for the eternal watchmen of mankind.
All female Sisters of Battle players rage hard when you call SoBs 'Witch Hunters' or imply that they are the same group. Matt Ward apparently agrees because as of 5E they have been separated again. Fucking Ward. They have a WFB equivalent. Also called, unsurprisingly, Witch Hunters. Both flavors get bitchin' pimp hats and the fantasy counterparts have the only reliable guns in the world.
So what is heresy?
IF IT AIN'T INVOLVING THE EMPEROR, IT'S ALL HERESY!
This above sentence may seem an overstatement but really it is closer to the truth then you'd think. To the Witch Hunters anything that veers from the Emperor's light is to be found and purged and the purging is usually done in fire.
Unlike the Daemonhunters, Witch Hunters act as more of a police instead of a military force. While the Daemon Hunters search the stars for daemons and the chaos crazies responsible for them with the Grey Knights; Witch Hunters are instead more focused on rooting out heresy from within the Imperium's worlds, finding heretics that have infiltrated the Imperium already and purging any cults they may have formed.
Apostasy is also an extreme form of heresy and the one viewed most unfavorably by the Ordo. Thus, the name Witch Hunter. Apostates, for the purposes of 40k, are any psykers who have not submitted to Imperial authority and specifically those that avoid said authority. Although, sorcerers are just plain purged period. Sorcery in 40k does not require being a psyker and is easily influenced by Chaos and there is a Chaos God specifically with control over sorcery. Also because the Emperor forbade sorcery. These are witches in the more traditional sense by real life standards.
They are the firebrand Inquisitors which give the Inquisition its (Grim)dark reputation and all you heard about them is very true.
The Ordo Hereticus fights The Enemy Within, the Ordo Xenos fights The Enemy Without, and the Ordo Malleus fights The Enemy Beyond.
Notable Members of the Ordos Hereticus
Lord Inquisitor Fyodor Karamazov
"There is no such thing as a plea of innocence in my court, a plea of innocence is guilty of wasting my time. Guilty."
Lazy bastard. Sits on a massive, dreadnought-esque chair and merely points to where the servitor should aim his triple-linked multi-melta while his trusty aide Dominique makes snide comments. The other thing he's known for is his many flavors of orbital bombardment, all of which seem to be more accurate when blasting his own men rather than the enemy. He's a great believer in Just. As. Planned. but the Empy version. Jokingly called Lord Krazypantsoff by several immature (and hilarious) users of /tg/. Many Thorian inquisitors, and even the Ecclesiarch himself, hate this guy, thanks to an incident where he purged a priest who had just reclaimed his world for the Imperium. Yeah, that quote up above wasn't an exaggeration. Unfortunately the quote ended up being correct this time, as the priest's cult had chaos worshipers in it that would've gone unnoticed (and possibly fucked everything up again) if Karamazov wasn't such an asshole.
To be fair, the priest did break the Decree Passive and the main thing the Ordo Hereticus and Sisters of Battle were created for was to prevent and punish exactly that.
He's also bald due to an anti-aging cream gone wrong - all the workers for the company (called Dove) were subsequently purged and crucified.
As the quote states: even if you're innocent he's gonna kill you anyway. So since you're fucked no matter what, go crazy.
Set that baby on fire.
G'wan. You know you wanna.
He's named after Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and his famous book The Brothers Karamazov - which is known for its chapter The Grand Inquisitor, where the eponymous Inquisitor arrests and judges the risen Christ.
As the above text shows, he is the butt of many If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device jokes due to being one of the main characters in the series. As of now, he's also the motherfucking Starchild's vessel. (Still a little bitch though)
Witch Hunter Tyrus
This guy is so badass that all the motherflippin' ladies get PURGED when he enters the room. He was taken under the care of an inquisitor as a child after a Daemon Prince ripped one of his ears and eyes out for fun before razing the rest of his village. Years later, the same Daemon Prince killed his mentor in battle but Tyrus was able to banish the bastard back to the warp again. His favorite method for finding HERESY is forcing the accused to consume a jug of holy water. If they choke then they are considered heretic and crucified, shot, burned, then he lets a blind butcher loose on them, then they get shot again.
Plus he loathes psykers, even the ones in the Inquisition. So don't ask him if he wants to see your new magic card trick.
Adrastia is a lot like what you'd expect from a Witch Hunter. Suspicious, ruthless, uncompromising and utterly devoted to finding and destroying all things heretical for the Emprah. She has a haughty and cavalier attitude and frequently found herself in conflict with Sergeant Merrick who was convinced she only came to sub-sector Aurelia because she hoped to capture Kyras and net herself a promotion rather than actually giving a crap about the sub-sector's imminent annihilation. She doesn't really bother to confirm or deny his accusations instead telling him to quit bitching at her and get on with his work but when Kyras turns into a gigantic Daemon the option to capture him alive quickly disappears so who knows. Her personality is somewhat grumpy and harsh having very little time for anyone who is not a heretic or pointing her in the direction of one (then again being kind of a buzzkill is pretty normal for Inquisitors who are not Amberley Vail so we can't really fault Adrastia for that).
In Warhammer Fantasy
After Sigmar himself defeated the bone daddy Nagash, he appointed Wolfgart Von Krieger (his best friend <3) to create an organization known as the Order of the Silver Hammer, a precursor organization which would then become the Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar under Emperor Magnus the Pious' reign.
They are the agents of the Sigmarite church who specialize in hunting down necromancers, chaos cultists, and any other sorcerer who practices any magics proscribed by the Colleges of Magic (which ironically means the wizards have huge power over them as the wizards decide what counts as witchcraft). They are about as ruthless and as much bad news as the 40k version. They also wear pimpng pilgrim hats and are equipped with the best shiny pistols available. The witch hunter's other job besides killing the wyrds and sorcerers is to also spread propaganda among the Empire's proviences. Sadly, even a secretive organization such as this that's supposed to know any deviant cult still refuses to acknowledge that the Skaven exist until the shit hit the floor, though it could be argued that this is to ensure that there are no panic attacks among the populace. Notable examples include Wolfgart Von Krieger, Sigmar's own best friend (The capital of Ostland Wolfenburg is named after him), Victor Saltzpyre, the single most Witch-Huntery Witch-Hunter in the entire realm of Witch-Huntery, and Mathias Thulmann, the single deadliest individual who has the biggest balls of steel in the entire order (as well as being the most humane and competent one, which is surprising in case of the first one).
Be warned, the only model you can buy these guys in is Failcast, and his model is both incredibly prone to bubbles (Oh Boy) and includes a sword which is always bent beyond usability in the casting process. (Double oh Boy)
Fun Fact: Archaon the Everchosen used to be a witch hunter under his birth name, Diederick Castner in the older lore.
As a wonderful irony, the Witch Hunter's Handbook actually implies decent reasons for hunting things like fortunetellers and healers. Basically, both are charlatans whose guidance causes more harm than good. Like claiming putting a certain flower in a hat will cure insanity and drunkenness. Hint: it doesn't. Logically, people who believe this and try it and release the "cured" nutters just cause madmen to cause more harm before they can be captured again. Holding the "healer" who caused the mess responsible for it is totally justified. The same for fortunetellers who feed crap to wishful thinkers and end up damaging or ruining lives because of it or just scamming people (which happens a lot from the meddling of real-life fortunetellers "give me your life's savings and I'll 'purify it' for you and your problems will go away") The callous mass-burnings and such are implied to be genuinely necessary due to Chaos corruption or the like and the witch hunters allow the public to think the hunters go around murdering innocents and accept the hatred for it to keep them blissfully ignorant of the true threats constantly assailing the Empire in secret. Until a hunter ends up insane due to all the horrible things he's had to do crushing him with guilt and the mind-breaking things he's seen and fought finally becoming too much. Then it often becomes his turn at the stake.
Also noteworthy is that the introduction to the handbook explains that the author is probably insane and so the methods of hunting are not to be taken at face value or as solid fact. So how much of what is in the book is how the witch hunters actually operate and how much of it is the ramblings of a paranoid madman obsessed with the belief that everyone is a heretic even if they're innocent is up to the real-life reader to determine. Probably everything given how incredibly "you're guilty especially if you're innocent" the book tends to be.
|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