“...be fired into ye heart of a sun lest heresies spread even unto death.
2496. Place ye suspect in an airlocke and remove all air for a period not less than one standard Terran hour. If ye suspect survives, then he is a Witch and should be placed in ye vessel’s plasma core until he is reduced to ash.
2497. Chain ye suspect and bury him in a desert up to his neck. Fill his mouth with salt and sew it shut. Observe ye suspect for one week. If ye suspect survives, he is a Witch and should be rendered into four parts, burned, and his ashes scattered to ye winds...”
–Extract from Ye Book of Trials, a common Calixian Witchfinder text
The teachings of the Ministorum can provide immense comfort to oppressed humanity. They are often couched in terms that can appeal to the meanest understanding, with appeals to hope and faith in the darkest of times. Yet they can also be vituperative and hateful, inflaming billions of fanatics against the enemies of the Imperium.
This outpouring of righteous ire unites humanity against its darkest foes. Internecine conflicts between sects can arise over minor doctrinal points. Pilgrims riot over access to holy sites. Restless populations overthrow planetary governors, and the Pax Imperialis is threatened. Worse are the heretics and the apostates who threaten the very souls of the Imperial citizenry. The Ordo Hereticus uses its vast influence and resources to root out cults that corrupt the populace.
The Calixian Ministorum, under Arch-Cardinal Ignato, needs individuals who, in service of the Holy Ordos, bring witches to justice. These Witchfinders are Inquisitorial agents trained by the Synod Calixis to investigate and move against unsanctioned psykers, thus enabling the Imperial Church to protect the populace. The Ministorum lauds particularly successful Witchfinders with the title Peritus Malificarum, a formal designation in the eyes of the Calixian Ecclesiarchy that the holder of the rank is an expert at facing a witches’ wiles. Together with the Ordo Hereticus it equips them with sealed warrants empowering them to requisition resources as they act against such witches, as well as against other deviants such as heretics and mutants.
Many of the more successful Acolyte Clerics are recruited by the Inquisition, particularly by those in the Monodominant faction, as their paranoid views mesh well together. Consequently, some Ordo Hereticus Inquisitors select Acolytes already in their service to become Witchfinders. It is not unheard of for an Inquisitor to maintain the title Witchfinder well into their career.
Witchfinders are colorful, charismatic, and terrifying individuals, with a strong taste for the theatrical. Having legal and moral mandates for their actions makes them brazen in their use of religious iconography and texts to justify the fear they inspire. Well-travelled and experienced, their specialty is the show trial, with dizzying, shifting, and occasionally contradictory accusations, obscure evidence, horrific trials and tests, and nigh inevitable executions. Motives vary between individuals, though most are inspired by a genuine holy zeal for the rooting out of witches.
Witchfinders, to some extent, create their own status. A Witchfinder who quietly and cautiously investigates witches without causing any collateral damage is not worthy of the name: witchfinding at its core is theatre and drama, providing the masses of humanity with both a warning against heresy and instruction on how to act when confronted by it. A Witchfinder is a demagogue and to some extent a showman, who is nevertheless a profound man of faith. His loyalties are principally with the Ordo Hereticus, but also with the Ecclesiarchy, who have sponsored him. He rarely finds these two in conflict and when he does it is, in his eyes, because members of on organization were lead astray from the path of righteousness.
Alternate Career RankEdit
All Calixian Witchfinders are of the Ordo Hereticus and are Inquisitors in training. Prepared to uncover heretical cults and withstand truths that would decimate a lesser mind, the Witchfinder requires practical experience that prepares him for the rigors of facing psykers. A Witchfinder is in many ways a junior Interrogator in service of the Ordo Hereticus. They are trained men of faith who turn their hard earned wisdom to the service of the Inquisition.
Required Career: Cleric
Alternate Rank: Rank 5 or higher (3,000 XP)
Other Requirements: WP 40+, Command
Special: The character must have served an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor and proven himself a potential Throne Agent.
Note: Witchfinders are powerful servant’s of the Inquisition with strong ties to the Ecclesiarchy. They have authority that allows them to pursue their own agenda’s to some degree. GMs should consider this when a player wishes to take the Calixian Witchfinder as an alternate Career Rank.