Dark Ages Inquisitor Companion

July 6, 2017 | Author: Kairn3000 | Category: Monastery, Monk, Nun, Religious Behaviour And Experience, Religion And Belief
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Dark Ages: Inquisitor Companion White Wolf


ISBN 1-58846-291-9 WW20011 $22.99 US

A Sourcebook for Dark Ages: Inquisitor™

Dark Ages: Inquisitor Companion White Wolf


ISBN 1-58846-291-9 WW20011 $22.99 US

A Sourcebook for Dark Ages: Inquisitor™


By Kraig Blackwelder, Myranda Kalis, Jonathan L. Shepherd, Adam Tinworth and Janet Trautvetter Vampire created by Mark Rein•Hagen



Credits Authors: Kraig Blackwelder (The Ways of the Faithful (The Lamp of Faith, Endowments, Curses, Merits and Flaws)), Myranda Kalis (Playing the Inquisition (Life in the Church, The Inquisition in the Church), Soldiers of God, Servants of Hell), Jonathan L. Shepherd (Playing the Inquisition (Sample of Play), The Ways of the Faithful (Orisons and Holy Art)), Adam Tinworth (My Order, My Brothers) and Janet Trautvetter (Prelude, Playing the Inquisition (Serving the Inquisition)). Storyteller game system designed by Mark Rein•Hagen Development and Additional Material: Matthew McFarland Editor: Michelle Lyons Art Direction, Layout & Typesetting: Becky Jollensten Interior Art: Mike Chaney, James Stowe, Tim Truman, and John Wigley Front Cover Art: Adrian Smith Front & Back Cover Design: Becky Jollensten © 2004White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the purposes of reviews, and for blank character sheets, which may be reproduced for personal use only. White Wolf, Vampire, Vampire the Masquerade, Vampire the Dark Ages, Mage the Ascension, Hunter the Reckoning, World of Darkness and Aberrant are registered trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Werewolf the Apocalypse, Wraith the Oblivion, Changeling the Dreaming, Werewolf the Wild West, Mage the Sorcerers Crusade, Wraith the Great War, Trinity, Dark Ages Storytellers Companion, Dark Ages Vampire, Dark Ages Mage, Dark Ages British Isles, Dark Ages Europe, Right of Princes, Spoils of War, Bitter Crusade, London by Night, Under the Black Cross, Cainite Heresy, Constantinople by Night, Jerusalem by Night, Libellus Sanguinis I Masters of the State, Libellus Sanguinis II Keepers of the Word, Libellus Sanguinis III Wolves at the Door, Libellus Sanguinis IV Thieves in the Night, The Ashen Knight, The Ashen Thief, Road of the Beast, Road of Kings, Road of Heaven, Road of Sin, Iberia by Night, Transylvania by Night, House of Tremere, Wolves of the Sea, Fountains of Bright Crimson, Wind from the East, Veil of Night, Dark Ages Inquisitor, and Dark Ages Inquisitor Companion are trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by White Wolf Publishing, Inc. The mention of or reference to any company or product in these pages is not a challenge to the trademark or copyright concerned. This book uses the supernatural for settings, characters and themes. All mystical and supernatural elements are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only. This book contains mature content. Reader discretion is advised. For a free White Wolf catalog call 1-800-454-WOLF. Check out White Wolf online at http://www.white-wolf.com; alt.games.whitewolf and rec.games.frp.storyteller PRINTED IN CANADA




Contents Prelude: Woman’s Intuition Introduction Chapter One: My Order, My Brothers Chapter Two: Playing the Inquisitor Chapter Three: The Ways of the Faithful Chapter Four: Servants of God, Soldiers of Hell


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Prelude: Woman’s Intuition The questioning had been long, punctuated by the creak of the rack and the cries of agony from the woman strapped to it. The rack’s bone-wrenching strength and the tireless interrogation of Sir Augustin were relentless forces, allowing the woman neither rest nor pity as they struggled with Satan for her immortal soul. In the end, the effort had been fruitful; Sister Mathilde’s fingers all but cramped trying to get down the woman’s faltering confession. Mathilde did not pay much attention to the meaning of what she was writing. It took all her concentration just to keep up, letting the words flow from her ears to her fingers without filtering them with her mind. Thankfully, Sir Augustin was an old hand at such interrogations; he waited until the scratching of her pen stopped before asking the next question, skillfully monitoring both the pace and clarity of the confession so it could be properly recorded.

At last, Sir Augustin was satisfied. Even Sir Baudioun, whose limited German prevented him from handling task of interrogation himself, could find nothing more to ask. One-Eyed Huart turned the wheel back, relaxing the rack’s tension, and the two Red Sisters released the weeping Agnise from its bonds. Huart made sure the prisoner’s manacles were secured before allowing Sister Mathilde and Sister Katherin to escort the wretched woman to her cell, a makeshift affair on the women’s side of the chapter-house. “She’s in your care, Sisters,” Sir Baudioun said, with Sir Augustin translating. “Take special note of anything else she says, and harden your hearts to her pleas. Her confession today only proves what Brother Leopold first suspected. There is a foul nest of Satan in this city, and she is but the first we shall uncover; Master Nicolaus shall be the next.” “With all due respect, Sir Baudioun, Sir Augustin….” Katherin shot Mathilde a warning glance, but Mathilde ignored it. “Her confession is hardly sufficient evidence to convict anyone but herself. Her accusation alone won’t be enough to try Master Nicolaus before the Council of Faith, much less bring charges against him before the Salt Merchant’s Guild.” “We will be investigating her accusations thoroughly, Sister, so you may put your mind at ease.” Sir Augustin’s voice brooked no argument, and a disapproving crease appeared between his bushy white brows to signal his displeasure. “Your task is to see to this poor creature until the Council determines her proper fate.” Sir Augustin turned away, but Sir Baudioun stopped him. Mathilde’s command of French was sufficient to dispense with Sir Augustin’s translation, so Baudioun spoke openly. “Wait, Augustin. In Brother Leopold’s absence, Sister Mathilde may be able to assist us — she is his kinswoman, after all.” “Sister Mathilde, my brother knight makes a good point. You are related to Brother Leopold, and a member of the house of Murnau….” Augustin paused, awkwardly. “He is my uncle, yes,” replied Mathilde in her best French, “though I should confess, Brothers, that to me this poor woman smells of sweat and fear and unwashed clothing. Nothing more.”


“After that confession, are you doubting Brother Leopold’s gift?” Sir Baudioun asked, astonished. “No, Brother. I’m telling you I don’t share it.” For which I thank God. She could see the disappointment in their faces; so be it. Her own gift was less practical in application and rather harder to explain. “I’m told I have a good instinct about people, however. Since none of the Oculi Dei yet dwell in this city, perhaps it might be useful if Sister Katherin and I spent some time listening to the talk in the market —” “They would hardly gossip in the presence of two holy sisters,” Sir Baudioun returned, frowning slightly. “Then clearly we must put aside our habits for something less conspicuous, so they will talk more freely in our presence. As the Rule permits — and with your permission, of course, Brother,” Mathilde added, seeing the frown lines reappear on Sir Augustin’s forehead. Sir Baudioun thought about it a moment, then nodded. “As you see fit, Sister,” he agreed, “but with discretion. We do not yet know the extent of the Devil’s conspiracy here. In addition, if you would have the transcription of her confession prepared as soon as possible, I would greatly appreciate that as well.” ††† It had been years since Mathilde had visited a market. She’d forgotten the press of crowds; the clamor of venders shouting, arguing, haggling; the lowing of cattle and squawking of chickens; the squeals of children running about underfoot. All was noise, chaos and disorder. It was a far cry from the order and quiet of the convent: the stillness of the cloister, the rustle of crisp parchment pages, the rise and fall of plainsong chant at services. It felt odd to wear a blue and brown matron’s plain kirtle instead of her red habit and surplice, a simple kerchief covering her cropped hair, her throat bare of any wimple. Strange, indeed, to blend in with dozens of other women in the square, instead of being set apart by birth, profession, and the curse in her blood. “Master Nicolaus, he’s a good man, as fair in his dealings as they come.” Ilse tucked away the candles she had just purchased neatly in her basket. Mathilde’s years in the convent had not prepared her for this task. Inside its walls, she was one of the sisters. Her origin or birth was consid-


ered unimportant, even irrelevant. Out here, however, the sense of displacement was made more acute by realizing that she was considered undoubtedly foreign by those around her, truly a pilgrim in a strange land. Surprisingly, Mathilde’s strong Bavarian accent had made Ilse less suspicious of her questions; perhaps she assumed none of her employer’s business rivals would hire a foreigner as a spy. Even so, Mathilde had to listen carefully, for Ilse’s broad local dialect was sometimes hard for her to follow. “Ten years I’ve been with him, and he and Mistress Anna’s been good to me. I’ll not spread gossip; it’s careless words as raises an ill wind.” “Oh, of course,” Mathilde assured her. “My mother, God rest her soul, used to say the same thing. You’re fortunate to work for a good Christian man. My cousin once worked for a merchant in Hamburg that was like the very devil in his moods. Never satisfied, he was: the soup was either too hot or not hot enough, and if you served him fish, it was chicken he wanted.” “Oh, he’s particular enough on some things,” Ilse said, “but past those, whatever’s on the table is good enough so long as I didn’t spend too much for it. He’s not one to tolerate the waste of either a minute or a penny, is Master Nicolaus. There, now all I need is some onions and the cheese.” Mathilde followed the cook as she wove her way in-between the close-packed stalls and clumps of other market-goers. Ilse stopped in front of a stall displaying a variety of vegetables and herbs as she chattered. Mathilde pretended to examine the hanging herbs while she listened, her thoughts wandering as she nodded occasionally to keep Ilse talking. Ilse clearly had a high opinion of her master; it was hard to think of a diplomatic way of asking about anything Agnise had claimed. Would she even admit to knowing Agnise at all? How did one ask for gossip from a woman she’d just met? St. Scholastica, Holy Mary, please guide my tongue and hers. Let her tell me what I need to know. “There, that’s all but the cheese,” Ilse said, packing the onions away in her basket as well. “What have we here?” She gestured toward the bunch of herbs Mathilde was idly examining. Mathilde touched the hanging bunch of green. “Rosemary. I’ve always liked the smell of it.”

“Ah, yes. Rosemary is sweet. But I’ve little need of it, more’s the pity.” Ilse began to walk again, and Mathilde had to step quickly to keep up. “Why not?” Mathilde asked. Ilse shrugged. “Well, it is for lamb. The master cannot abide even the smell of it cooking — that’s one of the few things he’s particular about. Ah, here’s the brothers and their cheese….” They stopped at a stall run by black-robed Benedictine monks and hung with cheeses of several sorts. As Ilse haggled with one garrulous red-cheeked brother over the price of a brick of hard cheese, Mathilde noticed a man lurking just one stall over. He seemed familiar somehow. At first Mathilde could not place him, then she realized she’d seen him several times before that morning, always just a stall or two away. Was he following them? There were no Oculi Dei in Lübeck. Who did that leave that might be interested in her doings, or Ilse’s? As Ilse paid for her cheese and added it to her basket, their observer seemed to come to some kind of internal resolve and approached them. “I beg your pardon, Mistress,” he began. “You are in the household of Master Nicolaus von Mainz?” Ilse gave him a suspicious look and gripped her basket tighter. “Yes.” He offered a smile, though to Mathilde’s eyes it looked a bit false. “Then you would know my sister, Agnise.” Agnise. Mathilde stiffened reflexively. Fortunately, neither of them were looking at her. “I would, yes,” Ilse said. “I don’t recall her mentioning a brother, though.” He smiled again, a bit too smoothly. “Halfbrother, I should say. Perhaps that is why she didn’t think to mention me. I am her only kin, nonetheless, and as such feel some fraternal concern for her well-being. I stopped by the house where I might expect to find her, but she was unaccountably not available. No one seemed to know where she might be.” Ilse frowned. “Nor do I. I’ve not seen her since Sunday a week ago.” “Neither has anyone else. Surely you can understand how this concerns me. After all, what



reason could she have for leaving Master Nicolaus’s service so abruptly?” So, Agnise had been missed. Mathilde wondered if this man was truly Agnise’s brother, or another minion of the girl’s master who was sent out to find out her fate. She made as good a note of his face and clothing as she could without appearing too obvious about it. “I’m sure I wouldn’t know. If I see her, though, I’ll be sure to tell her you’re looking for her.” Ilse gave him a stiff nod of the head, and started to walk by him. “Good afternoon.” “As you are a Christian, Mistress, have pity on a brother’s concerns! Can you give me nothing of my sister’s whereabouts?” He moved to follow them. “I would hate to think she had reason to run away, whether for shame or fear for her virtue — that would not bode well for Master Nicolaus’s reputation in the Guild.” Ilse turned on him so quickly that he was forced to take a step back to avoid running into her. “As you are a Christian, sir, you’d best be thinking of your own sister’s reputation before you dare cast any stones! Now be off with you, and leave good folk alone.” This time when Ilse strode off, he did not follow. Mathilde was torn for the space of a breath — this brother might be a lead to Agnise’s demonic master, if she could but follow him back from whence he came. Yet she would lose her fragile rapport with Ilse if she deserted her now. In the end, she followed Ilse, and prayed she might make good use of what she had heard at a more convenient time. ††† Mathilde returned to the chapter-house in time to don her proper red habit again and join the others for mid-day Mass. The Poor Knights departed immediately after Father Hermann’s benediction. Sir Baudioun promised to read her report when he returned, and once again asked her about the transcript of Agnise’s confession. That afternoon and most of the following morning therefore found Mathilde sitting at her copydesk, working from her inscribed notes and rendering one full transcription in vernacular German for poor Agnise to sign later (in keeping with canon law), and another in Latin for the Inquisition archives. She did the German first, then rendered the Latin from it, line by line.


She was in the middle of a line when she stopped, struck by inspiration. She stopped, reread what she had just transcribed, then checked her own notes to ensure what she saw was correct. Now, that’s interesting…. She bent to her task again. ††† When the Poor Knights returned, Mathilde was there to meet them. “Sir Baudioun. A moment, if you please….” Mathilde hurried, taking three steps to the knight’s two until he realized she was trying to get his attention. “Yes, Sister? Have you got the transcripts completed?” he added, noticing the leather folder in her arms. “Yes, Brother. I wanted to draw your attention to something. Look here,” she said, and laid the folder down on a sideboard, opening it up to display the parchment sheets contained within. “Here, on page three, when she begins her true confession... she says that Master Nicolaus urged her to eat meat on a fast day, and so they had roasted lamb during Lent.” “Lamb is flesh, sister. Especially during Lent.” “Yes, of course, but that’s not the point. I was talking to Master Nicolaus’ cook yesterday, and she said that lamb was the one flesh he could not abide. Couldn’t even stand the smell of it cooking, she said. And look here.” She flipped a few more pages. “Here she confesses that Master Nicolaus gave her to this demonic creature Ambrosius, whom he did summon in the garden, and she lay with both of them. But look at the date she claims — the ides of November! According to the testimony that Brother Jander was able to get from the Salt Merchants Guild, Master Nicolaus was in Lüneburg during that time.” “Perhaps they thought he was, and he was instead serving the Devil instead of the Guild. Surely you do not doubt the sincerity of this confession? She could not have invented so much while under such severe question!” “No, that’s not it either. Look here, Brother...” Mathilde flipped back to the very beginning of the confession. “Here, where she first begins her confession. The question is ‘Did Master Nicolaus entice you to sin,’ not ‘Who enticed you to sin?’ She only answered what she was asked, Brother. I think what she confessed was real, except for the name — she accused Master Nicolaus because she


thought that was what we wanted to hear, and he may not in fact be the guilty one at all!” The Knight frowned at the transcript. “I commend you on your thoroughness, Sister Mathilde, but you are new to this city. We have known Master Nicolaus for a long time. A year ago, he sat as magistrate for the city and let a known witch go free — despite the testimony put before him from our Order. I think it far more likely that Agnise mistook the date, or that Master Nicolaus only pretends to dislike the taste of lamb — for there is no doubt he is in the Devil’s service, and I will find the means to bring him down for it.” “Still,” Mathilde persisted. “Perhaps she should be questioned again—” “God’s —” Baudioun cut himself off before the expletive was finished, and took a breath to remember propriety. “Your pardon, Sister — but do not concern yourself with chasing theories without substance. This…” he tapped the pages of the transcript, “…is not enough to convict him, but we have only begun our investigation. The evidence is there, and it will be found, I assure you.” “Of course, Brother,” Mathilde bowed her head. And I intend to find it. ††† Timing was important. Mathilde wore the matron’s blue gown again and kept a sharp eye out — she did not want Ilse to notice her. Fortunately, she spotted her quarry on the western edge of the market, scanning the crowd. Ilse was nowhere in sight, but there was little doubt he was looking for her. Hopefully he would remember Mathilde as well. The man eyed her warily as she approached, but seemed intrigued by her whispered news and invitation. “So that’s what he’s done with her, eh?” The fellow shook his head. “Afraid his fellows in the Guild would hear of it, no doubt. Where is she now?” “I can show you,” Mathilde said. “But we must be quick. He keeps a close watch on her.” “Lead the way. Don’t worry, Fraulein, I’ll make it worth your while….” ††† The window overlooked an alleyway. It was small and high enough that he could not see into it — and see Agnise’s face only when she leaned out. Sister Katherin had cleaned the prisoner’s

face and combed her hair, put a proper kerchief on her, and now sat next to her just out of sight — a reminder to Agnise of what fate awaited her should she say the wrong things to her worried visitor. Mathilde pointed Agnise’s ‘brother’ to the right window and made her escape, pleading fear that she might be seen — in truth, it was as much to get away from his familiar leer as to preserve her disguise. By the time they reached the house, she was feeling quite inclined to slap him. She did nothing to give herself away, though, taking the coin he gave her “for her trouble” and leaving him, slipping in the back of the house. Agnise looked very ill at ease as she leaned towards the open window. Not only was Sister Katherine sitting close by her, but One-Eyed Huart also sat on a stool across the room, grinning and playing with a length of rope he’d tied into a noose. Mathilde picked up a wax tablet and started making notes on the conversation. “Well, if you’re not pregnant,” came the sharp hiss from the street, “then why in God’s name does he have you locked up?” Agnise cast a desperate look at them, no doubt wishing she’d admitted to pregnancy to still his further questions. “I… I don’t know, Martin. Go away now, you might have been seen!” “You know His Lordship is going to ask. What should I tell him? Does Nicolaus know or not? He must be suspicious at least — why else would he lock you up? If you’ve told him anything….” He let the words trail off threateningly. “No, no!” Agnise shook her head frantically. “No, I haven’t told him anything. Please tell him that. I swear it, on my soul!” “He’ll be asking about you tonight. You know he will,” Martin began slyly, and then his voice sharpened, its volume suddenly rising in fury even as it turned away from the window. “You traitorous bitch!” There were sounds of a scuffle in the alley and a grunt of pain from Brother Jander, who had apparently not been as stealthy in his approach as he had hoped. Huart leapt to his feet, pushed his way to the window and sprang out, still holding his rope. Mathilde ran to the window as well, partly to put a firm hand on Agnise, lest she entertain similar ideas, and partly to see what was happen-



ing below. Huart’s arrival had tipped the balance — he’d knocked most of the fight out of Martin by landing directly on him. He was now sitting on the man’s legs, wrapping the rope around his prisoner’s wrists. Brother Jander looked up at Mathilde. “I’m sorry, Sister, he heard me coming.” He had the sense to look a bit abashed. “Now we don’t know where this fellow’s master will be tonight, or who he is!” Mathilde looked down at Agnise. “We don’t know yet,” she said sternly, drawing on memories of Aunt Franziska. That woman’s glare could cause errant squires to bend a knee and confess all. Even Count Frederick’s most frothing pique was no match for Aunt Franziska’s artfully raised eyebrow. She hoped she looked half as imposing. “But I’m sure we will very soon.” Agnise whimpered softly. ††† Supper came and went. The brief service for Compline was held, and still the knights had not returned. Mathilde found herself pacing in the hall and fretting, while outside darkness descended on Lübeck’s streets. “Brother, how long must we wait?” she demanded of Brother Jander, as he came out of the little room that served as their library and scriptorium. “Tonight is the night, you heard Martin say it. Master Baldewin will be entertaining his dark patron tonight, and it will be our best chance to prove his guilt — and catch his demon master as well.” The monk frowned and tucked his hands in his sleeves. “We can’t go without Sir Baudioun and the others. If this Ambrosius is a Cainite or some other sort of devil, we will need their steel.” “But we don’t know what time their meeting is. If we wait and Sir Baudioun decides to watch Master Nicolaus’ house all night, we shall lose our chance. God has given us this opportunity, Brother — we cannot waste it.” She moved closer and lowered her voice. “You said you invoked the Holy Art when Agnise was crying, and God showed you a warehouse near the river. You’d know it again if you saw it, wouldn’t you?” “I think so….” “Good. Let us at least search for that warehouse, then, and see if Master Baldewin or anyone


else visits there tonight. We can leave word with Father Hermann and he can tell the Knights where we’ve gone. We don’t have to do anything, Brother, if you don’t think that’s wise, but let us at least watch as the Oculi Dei do.” He hesitated. Just as Mathilde was about to start yet another round of persuasion, however, he nodded reluctantly. “Very well. But we’re just going to watch, Sister,” he added firmly. Mathilde bowed her head respectfully. “Of course, Brother.” ††† The city was quiet and dark; only a few faint, flickering lights shone from upper windows as its residents prepared for bed. Huart carried their lantern half-shuttered, so as to provide only enough light to avoid the worst of the street’s muck. Father Hermann insisted they bring Huart — not only to satisfy the Rule that did not permit a monk and nun to be together unescorted, but also to provide the added protection offered by the stout club that hung from his belt. They walked west to the bridge over the Trave, but did not cross it. Instead they turned north, keeping the river to their left as Brother Jander had seen it in his vision. They kept the lantern low to avoid attention, having no desire to be delayed in their purpose by the questions of suspicious guardsmen. To the right, the street was lined with tall, narrow brick houses, the lower floors of which often served as shop and warehouse for the merchant or craftsman who dwelt there. The left side of the street ended in a stone quay, where the occasional barge or other small river boat was tied. Huart had quick ears — he pulled them into one of the intersecting streets at one point and quickly shuttered the lantern. They ducked inside a door alcove and drew their cloaks around them. The clip-clopping of hooves and the tread of boots on cobblestones became clearer. A rider on a fine horse went by escorted by four guardsmen on foot, one of whom carried a lantern on a pole. They waited for the procession to go by and let the length of several Pater Nosters pass. “A man of some rank,” Brother Jander whispered to them. “A master of the guild, at least, and he seems to be going where we are going. Most interesting.” They followed cautiously, leaving their lantern shuttered. Mathilde blinked several times


until her eyes adjusted to the gloom. Finally, she could make out the looming heights of the buildings and the shadowy forms of the boats on the moonlit river. The man they were following stopped after a short distance. Light flared onto the street from an opening door, and he was welcomed within the house. His men and horse went down a side street, presumably to the garden back behind. They waited to make sure that no one was watching, then drew closer. Brother Jander stepped out into the street. When he came back, he was excited. “This is it!” he said, a bit louder than he intended. Upon seeing the looks of panic on Mathilde’s and Huart’s faces, his face flushed with embarrassment. “This is the house that Agnise saw,” he added, speaking in a much softer tone. “This must be where they’re meeting; praise be to God..” “Thank God for revealing it to us,” Mathilde agreed. “A pity that Sir Baudioun is not here — he’s watching the wrong house tonight.” “I could go fetch him,” Huart offered. “I know where they are.” “But the Rule —” Brother Jander sputtered, beginning his protest. “— can be set aside if need requires,” Mathilde reminded him. “And if you and I watch from different locations, that should be sufficient, shouldn’t it?” “I suppose so,” he said, although he didn’t look happy. “Very well, Huart will go and fetch the Knights, and you and I will hide and watch the house. I suppose one of us should watch the front and one the back — if there is a place to watch in the front.” “I’ll take the front,” Mathilde said. “I think I know a safe place.” ††† The barge seemed deserted when Mathilde lowered herself from the quay to its deck, holding on to one of its mooring-ropes for balance. She had already noticed that neither Brother Jander nor Huart had cast nearly as many wary looks at the boats they had passed as they had at the darkened windows of the houses themselves — she could only hope that held true of other passersby as well.

This was a larger and cleaner boat than most. It had an enclosed cabin to the rear and several large casks lashed in place near the front. Looking around, she found a place to hide behind one of the casks where she could see the street but was mostly hidden from it. She pulled the hood of her cloak up over the white of her veil, the better to hide from an errant glance. She’d only been there a few minutes when the first wave of nausea struck. She could smell nothing unusual — she never did smell anything — but something was happening, some unnatural power at work close by. Such dark magics always made her ill by their very proximity. Close, she realized, too close. She started to rise and seek a different hiding spot, but the door to the barge’s cabin opened and someone came out. Mathilde sank back into her hiding place and pulled the cloak around her, gritting her teeth against the growing queasy feeling in the back of her throat. Perhaps he wouldn’t see her.... A cold, clammy hand with a grip of iron closed over her mouth, and a damp, hard-muscled arm locked itself around her throat. Mathilde’s hands flew upwards, digging into her captor’s chilled flesh. She struggled to free herself, but it was too strong. “Stay still,” it hissed in her ear, as it tightened its grip on her throat. She stopped struggling only when black spots began to appear in her vision. “Have you caught something, Grim?” The voice was soft, commanding, coming from the boat’s apparent master. “Bring it here. At once.” Mathilde felt herself being hauled to her feet and pushed forward. “I found her,” her captor whined. “She’s mine.” “Come now, Grim. Don’t be greedy.” He came forward to meet her, a young man with dark curls and a handsome face, pale and bloodless as a corpse. His eyes were ice-blue and glittered in the moonlight; his expression sent a chill down Mathilde’s spine. “And what have we here? Are you lost, mistress? Seeking passage, perhaps? Release her, Grim. I’m sure she knows better than to scream — don’t you, my dear?” The clammy hands released her with a rasping chuckle. “Seeking passage, indeed!” Fear gripped her belly and triggered another wave of nausea, making it hard to speak. Unholy



powers. Somehow she managed to turn her gaze away, which gave her a moment’s respite. “Pray excuse me,” she said. The weakness in her voice irritated and frightened her, which in turn gave her strength. No Murnau runs from the Devil. “I was expecting to meet my brother, but clearly I am on the wrong boat. Your man is extremely rude.” By the time she’d gotten to the end of her sentence, the nausea had faded and her temper had roused itself, overpowering her fear. She turned around to give her attacker a blistering reprimand, but the words died in her throat. It was shorter than she, hunched and wiry, dressed in dripping rags. Its face was a hairless, ravaged skull, with barely a pit for the nose, and a lipless jaw sporting a handful of crooked, jagged teeth. It grinned — or at least that might have been the effect had it sufficient flesh on its cheeks. The actual result was far too gruesome to be genial. “Demon,” she gasped, startled. She took an involuntary step backward, clutching at her stomach. “Yes, I’m afraid he is quite the little monster, isn’t he?” the soft voice continued in her ear. Strong hands gripped her shoulders, turning her away from the thing and toward the broad expanse of the river. “But don’t worry, my dear. I won’t let him hurt you. I do think you owe me an explanation, however, as to why you’re on my boat.” “I told you,” she said, raising her chin proudly and turning away from him. Keep him distracted. Keep him looking at you, not towards the shore. “I was looking for my brother. Martin.” She improvised, hoping her luck would hold. “Do you know him?” “Ah....” His voice changed from suspicious to satisfied. “Yes, I do. I’m surprised he’s not here to introduce us properly, but I suppose we’ll have to make the best of it.” His hands slid down her arms caressingly, and he bent closer as if to kiss her cheek. Mathilde stepped away quickly, suppressing the involuntary shudder that came over her at the mere thought of those cold, dead lips on her skin. “We’ve still not been introduced,” she said primly, stepping away from him and toward the barge’s cabin.


There was a rasping chuckle from the demon at her words. The man turned on his lackey with a hiss of barely suppressed fury. “Another word from you, Grim, and you will go hungry tonight.” He then turned back to her, crossed the distance between them in two long strides. With a vicious snarl, he spun her around and pushed her against the cabin wall. “Enough playing harlot games, woman!” he said. Before she could resist, he ripped the veil from her head, and then the wimple from her throat as well. He stopped then, staring dumbfounded at her cropped hair and finally recognizing her red habit for what it was. “What the — you’re a nun? What was Martin thinking? What good is a nun to me?” His voice rose dangerously with every word; his fury beat at her, his fingers digging into her shoulders like an animal’s claws. Bile burned in the back of her throat and her stomach churned dangerously, but she could not risk becoming ill now. Weakness would mean her death. A wave of relief swept over her (accompanied by overwhelming nausea) when she glanced over the Cainite’s shoulder, desperate for a sign from God. Miraculously, she spotted a white tunic with a broken red cross appearing out of the darkness above them on the quay. Oh, thank God. She let it come then, vomiting forth a bitter flood of bile and ill humors churned up by ungodly arts and the curse in her blood. Her captor cried out in disgust and let her go, quickly stepping back to avoid soiling his clothes. He found himself facing a far greater danger, however, as Sir Baudioun jumped down on him from the quay. Mathilde dropped to her knees, still retching, spitting out the last foul dregs from her mouth as she tried to stay low and out of the way. By the time she was able to look up again, the battle was over. The Cainite was prone on the deck with a stake protruding up from its chest, the once-handsome face frozen in a terrible grimace. Its severed arm lay nearby, a long knife falling from its withering fingers. Augustin stood over the charred, broken remains of the hideous Grim, stamping them into ash. “Sister — are you alright?” Baudioun stepped closer and extended a hand down to her. Gratefully, she allowed him to help her to her feet. “Are you ill?” he asked, bending a bit to peer into her face. “You’ll pardon me, but you look terrible.”


Mathilde managed a brave smile, and accepted the cloth Brother Jander offered her to wipe her mouth. “By God’s grace, I am quite recovered. Thank you, Brother.” For such a graceful recovery of her dignity, Aunt Franziska would have been proud. She could not help but add, however, “I think you’ll find the rest of this creature’s accomplices in the house there, if they have not already fled. This includes Master Baldewin of the Salt Merchant’s Guild, with whom it appears Agnise is most intimately acquainted.”

“God’s blood, woman!” Baudioun grinned and shook his head. “Don’t worry, we’ve got men at all the doors. We’ll have to go have a little talk with Master Baldewin very shortly. You Murnau, you never give up, do you?” “No,” Mathilde said, a wry smile on her lips. “We don’t.” “Good,” Baudioun replied. “Because if you’re right — which I am almost willing to concede — you’re going to have a lot of transcripts to do.” “Of course, Brother,” Mathilde said, and smiled. †††



Introduction The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. — 1 Samuel 2:4

The Inquisition has a daunting task ahead it. Its ultimate goal is nothing less than the cleansing of Satan’s get from the world — ambitious, to say the least. The inquisitors have seen their orders derided by high-ranking Church officials; they have seen what happens when servants of the Lord overstep their boundaries; and they have seen the horrors that the Adversary is capable of wreaking in Earth through his minions. The Inquisition has barely scratched the surface.

The Catechism A catechism is a book giving the basic principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form (it can also simply refer to any body of basic knowledge on a given topic). This book, the Dark Ages: Inquisitor Companion, is a catechism of sorts. While you probably already know the history and current state of the shadow Inquisition — likewise with what inquisitors are capable of doing with a little Conviction and good dollop of faith — there’s definitely more to the story.

Logistics For instance, few of us are scholars of Catholic history or of medieval monasticism. As Storyteller or player, you probably want to represent the Church and life within it at least somewhat fairly. Doing so without engaging in lengthy, rather arcane research, however, is difficult at best. This book therefore contains quite a bit of information on the medieval Church and, more importantly, how the Inquisition functions within it. How, for instance, do Holy Sisters leave cloister to undertake missions for the Inquisition? How does the Inquisition handle having inquisitors of different genders working together (something the Church was rather touchy about, to say the least)? We’ve given these and other matters some scrutiny, and you can read the results herein.

The Orders Rather than publishing a book for each order of the Inquisition (which, frankly, would have been overkill), we’ve presented a bit of information here on all of them. In this book, you’ll find each order’s recruitment policies, tactics for dealing with the minions of Satan, role within the Church, and attitudes toward each other and the flock as a whole explained in greater detail. You’ll also find a chapter-house for each one, with enough detail to spark ideas of characters and stories.

New Toys The Blessings published in Dark Ages: Inquisitor are by no means the only ones that the Inquisition has seen. Herein, you’ll find new Endowments, Orisons, ritae and Merits and Flaws. Of course, nothing comes easily — we’ve also provided new Curses to inflict upon your characters.

Chapter by Chapter Prelude: Woman’s Intuition introduces Sister Mathilde von Murnau, a Red Sister and a daughter of that infamous Bavarian family. She shows us what the Inquisition must go through in order to build a case against a possible sinner. Introduction: The part you’re reading now. Chapter One: My Order, My Brothers has information on each of the five orders, their tactics, their recruitment procedures, their chains of command, and their strongholds. Chapter Two: Playing the Inquisition devotes attention to the Inquisition’s role within the Church and the special privileges that stem from it, how each of the orders fits into monastic life (including the two orders that don’t fit in — the Oculi Dei and the House


of Murnau) and what temptations await such inquisitors. It also presents sample of play, including both preparing a case and direct confrontation with the Enemy. In addition, the Cardinal’s secret weapons, the Daggers of God, are revealed. Chapter Three: The Ways of Faith includes not only new Blessings, Curses, Merits and Flaws, but a discussion on what it means to have Conviction. How does the flock perceive an inquisitor who is so full of faith that she can literally work miracles? How does the Enemy perceive such mortals? How does the Inquisition itself regard Blessings and Curses? All of these topics and more are covered in this chapter. Chapter Four: Soldiers of God, Servants of Hell discusses the development of an inquisitorial cell and what happens as the inquisitors therein become promoted. We include rules for playing inquisitors with no special Blessings, as well as inquisitors who belong to more than one order. This chapter also presents six possible antagonists for the Holy Inquisition, some of whom know little of God’s Soldiers… and some of whom know far too much.

Vocabularium The following monastic and Church-related terms appear in various places throughout this book, and the reader might find having them listed here useful. • Abbot/Abbess: The spiritual and administrative head of an abbey of monks or nuns, generally elected by the community. • Advocate: The designated protector of a monastery, abbey, or convent. • Anchorite/Anchoress: A monk or nun living in strict cloister as a religious hermit. • Armarium: The monastery library. • Beguinage: Unenclosed communities of religious women who support their charitable activities by begging for alms. Popular among women as an alternative to the cloister. • Clerg: A commandery or monastery of the Military Orders, particularly of establishments belonging to the Hospitalers and the Poor Knights of the Cross of the Passion of Acre. • Cloistering: In passive form, the barring of nonmonastics from entering a monastery. In active form, preventing monastics from leaving a monastery. • Dowry: The gift given by a monk or nun when entering an order, usually in the form of cash. • Hospice: A hospital generally established to provide aid and comfort for pilgrims. • Leprosaria: A hospital established for the care of lepers.


• Novice: A man or woman who has entered a monastery but who has not yet taken final vows. • Oblation: The act of offering oneself or a child to serve God as a monk or a nun. • Opus Dei: The Divine Offices of the Hours; the eight cycles of prayers celebrated each day by monks and nuns. • Preceptory: A monastery of the Military Orders, referring particularly to establishments of the Templars. • Rector: The designated leader of a cell of inquisitors.

• Regular Clergy: Ecclesiastics who have taken Holy Orders and who follow a Rule (monks, nuns, and the like). These individuals have professed solemn vows to their order and have chosen to live in religious poverty in an enclosed Christian community, in essence abandoning the world. • Secular Clergy: Ecclesiastics who have taken Holy Orders but who do not follow a specific Rule (clerks in minor orders, ordained priests, many high Church officials). These individuals make no profession and follow no religious rule, own their own property, owe canonical obedience to a bishop, and practice celibacy.



Chapter One: My Order, My Brothers They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. — Joel 2:7 The five orders that make up the shadow Inquisition are the thin line of faith that stands between the Christian people of Europe and the subtle fiends of Hell. In their few years of association, they have destroyed demons, banished spirits, and — most challenging of all — begun to learn how to work together. The Inquisition is in its infancy. When it matures, all those who use supernatural power in mockery of God will have much to fear. For now, though, the orders are imperfect gatherings of faithful men and women, all with one goal but with varying opinions of how to get there. Each order has a different way of viewing the enemy and different ways of recruiting new members. Each pursues the great work in its own way. Because of this, the differences (and similarities) between the orders are worthy of deeper exploration.

The Poor Knights of the Passion of the Cross of Acre

You ask, sir, why we carry the relics of the saints with us and risk them in battle. My answer is this: without them, our struggle would be for naught. A sword? It is a good weapon, true, and well able to cleave through both flesh and bone in the service of the Lord Our God. The creatures we face are more than flesh and blood, though. Should we strike down their mortal casements, we do nothing but free the spirit within. Such a spirit is then free to possess another Christian, turning them from God’s true path. The relics of the saints are our swords against these evil spirits. We use them with faith and courage, so that no remnant of evil lingers in this world. Each thrust of the sword must be matched with a prayer; each blow that lands on the cursed flesh of the sinner must be backed by the power of faith and the relics of the saints, that the spirit of the damned may be banished from this earth. — Sir Baudioun le Breton


“Still in your cups, good knight?” Sir Ollier snorted in disgust. “What concern is that of yours?” “Ah, we are always concerned when a goodly man strays from the narrow path,” said another voice. Ollier stared blearily up at the two knights who had sat down opposite him. He didn’t recognize either of them. Probably more youngsters from the order come to have a little fun at an old Hospitaler’s expense. “Have you come to mock me then, like the others? Has the tale of my madness, of the creature I dreamed in the heat of the sun spread so far?” “Why no, good fellow, quite the reverse. We are here to hear that tale with our own ears. If it is as we have heard, then we think that God has chosen a new path for you.” “One without quite so much ale,” said the other, pulling the tankard from Ollier’s unresisting hands. The Poor Knights of the Passion of the Cross of Acre have a reputation for being demanding. Many young men of good birth and sound of body, mind and purse find themselves turned from the door of the order without explanation. Those few who do gain admission to this most selective of knightly orders rarely speak of their ordeals, or consent to train others for admission. While this selective policy might seem likely to attract further would-be knights, two things prevent this from happening. The first is the relatively low profile of the order. It lacks the renown among the common people of the Knights Templar and Hospitaler, and those few stories that do surround the order are disturbing.


The second reason is the order’s openness to forsworn knights from those other, better-known orders. Any group of knights so accepting of those who defy one of the basic tenets of chivalry are indubitably suspect in the eyes of serf and noble alike. While the order does gain a few direct recruits, most of its members come directly from the other military orders or from the inquisitors’ own families.

To The Order Born The knightly calling is a family affair. A knight’s sons, usually born to him in the years before he took the order’s vow, are welcome to follow in his footsteps. Perhaps this is driven by the family values that the House of Murnau brings to the Inquisition; perhaps it’s a young man’s natural drive to emulate his father. No matter: the sons of inquisitors make good additions to the ranks of the order. Any son of an inquisitor, even those from other orders, may join the Knights of Acre with his father’s blessing. If the boy’s father has fallen, the order still accepts the child. The testing of such orphans is far more rigorous in the early months of training, however, than it is for those who have their fathers still living. Each of the order’s eight tongues maintains a chapter-house devoted solely to the training of the sons of knights. The tutors in these houses are often elder knights whose wounds or advanced age have made the pursuit of the enemy too dangerous. They instead impart their experience to the next generation of inquisitors. Other instructors and caretakers are those knights whose hearts have hardened in pursuit of the enemy. They often spend a few months teaching in one of these academies, reacquainting themselves with normal life among innocents and regaining their spiritual balance until they are ready to resume their duties in the field. The youngsters in training face regular tests of both their faith and their fidelity to the order and its ideals. Some are already aware of the true nature of the order through their fathers, while others are ignorant when they begin training. It is only after the first year that the instructors tell them of the order’s true business and begin their training in the very specific martial skills needed to face the spawn of the Devil. Those who know are sworn to secrecy for the first year of their true training. After several more years in the company of their peers and many more tests of faith and loyalty, the young men are given as squires to knights in the field, taking the first step toward becoming a fully-fledged inquisitor.

The Forsworn The military orders are rich and powerful organizations, with land and holdings across Europe and the Holy Land. Despite their vows of poverty, their knights




knight who is already a family man when he joins the order has to make a difficult sacrifice: he has to leave his family behind him. His order demands his full loyalty. For most members of the order, however, this is no greater sacrifice than that which they have already made. The knights gave up their families when they joined their original order. The stigma attached to being a family member of a Poor Knight doesn’t make life for the knight’s relatives any easier. Friends who once supported them now shun them, while the agents of the enemy who are aware of their affiliation often place them under scrutiny. These additional concerns are a difficult burden for even the most steadfast of the knights to carry. The addition of the Oculi Dei to the ranks of the Inquisition, however, has given the Poor Knights a solution. Increasingly, close family members of the Poor Knights are now members of the Oculi Dei. They function as links between the anonymous Eyes and the Poor Knights. This brings two benefits to a knight. First, he can be sure that fellow inquisitors are watching his family for signs of the Devil’s influence. Secondly, should his family, or any member of the Eyes in the area, find evidence of the enemy’s work, a knight returning home with his comrades-in-arms makes excellent cover for establishing a new chapter-house in an area — the first step towards greater investigation of Satan’s activities in the region. are often men of power and status, too. All too often, this brings them into contact with the pawns of the enemy. Even the orders’ day-to-day struggles seem to bring knights into conflict with demons and other supernatural creatures. These encounters between knights and the spawn of the Devil are the major source of the Poor Knights’ current membership. God opens their eyes to the nature of their enemies and grants them the power to defeat them. Such knights usually cannot resist telling tales of their exploits to their fellows, and these tales often find their way to the agents of the Inquisition secreted in most of the existing military orders. Soon, the talkative knight finds himself meeting with members of the Poor Knights, who seem far more willing to believe the details of his story than many of his peers. In the end, few of those who have told their stories turn down the offer to join the Inquisition. Once the decision has been made, the order intercedes on the knight’s behalf with the Church. The knight then receives direct leave from the Church to renounce his vows to his original order, alleviating a little the claims

of apostasy that dog him. A new set of vows is sworn to the Knights of Acre, and after a short period of training (no more than a few months) in the ways of the Inquisition, he is assigned to a chapter-house to begin the work in the Lord’s service. Usually he is assigned as far away from their former brethren as the order can manage. Even the blessing of the Church is not enough to spare him from the disapproval of his former comrades-in-arms.

The Recruited Some do come to the order’s door and gain acceptance. All such postulants are asked to pass tests of skill in arms, endurance and strength. If they fail any of these, they are sent away immediately. After that, they must pass a far more difficult test, that of their piety and faith. The order’s priests quiz them for days and nights on matters of Biblical theology and Church doctrine. They also quiz the would-be recruits on how they might react in certain situations, to test both their piety and their resolve. If they have any suspicion of deviation from the orthodox, the candidate is dismissed without explanation. Those few who excel during this crossexamination travel to one of the order’s training chapter-houses to begin their tutelage alongside the sons of current knights. They find themselves subject to close scrutiny throughout their training, however, especially by tutors descended from a certain German line who have an uncanny talent for spotting those whose hearts are less than pure….

The Vows “Every brother who is professed in the Holy service should, through fear of the flames of Hell, give total obedience to the Church; for nothing is dearer to Jesus Christ than obedience, and if anything be commanded by the Master of the Order, or by the holy Inquisition, or by one to whom he has given his power, it should be done without demur as if it were a command from God. Each brother who petitions for service before the Cross of Acre must despise wealth and embrace poverty, must despise licentiousness and embrace chastity, must despise willfulness and love obedience. “No brother shall shirk from the duty of facing the Adversary and driving him from this Earth with the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Nor must he fail to give succor to the poor, and to the orphaned, and to the innocent victims of the road. All this he must swear on the True, Holy and Beloved Cross of Acre on which Our Lord, crucified, suffered and died for the salvation of the sinful soul.”



The Enemy Of all the orders, the Knights are the least likely to try to identify exactly what it is that they’re dealing with. Bitter experience has taught them that doing so is a fool’s game. Knowing exactly what kind of demon is tearing you limb from limb is little consolation to a dying inquisitor. No, the order needs something far more important if it is to be successful: the ability to gain a rapid understanding of exactly what the enemy’s capabilities are and how to circumvent them. Thus, the order has evolved its own way of describing the enemy, based solely on its fighting ability. It’s a pragmatic approach and one well suited to the mentality of most Knights. In the last few years, the order has gathered enough information to formulate basic strategies against the major types of devils it faces. Most cells of Knights spend long hours practicing different tactics to use against these different groups of the enemy. Commanders within each tongue meet at least once every few months to exchange tactics and information, and the heads of all the tongues gather most years to share experience across Christendom. The Knights have two main pillars that support these strategies. The first is observation. Despite the order’s reputation for throwing itself into battle, most of the Knights are experienced military men, all of whom know the value of intelligence in formulating a battle plan. The lay of the land, the strength of the enemy and the weapons they wield are all critical pieces of information to a Commander or Knight Brother in planning the battle to come. The second pillar is surprise. Most Knights are keenly aware that the enemy is usually stronger and faster than they are, even with the blessing God bestows upon His Knights. An ambush affords them the chance to negate these advantages long enough to wound or destroy the creatures. To aid in this, the Knights try to avoid displaying their Godgiven powers until the battle is joined. Most creatures find these gifts


surprising and occasionally distracting, something the Knights can use to their advantage. The order has grouped its strategies into four rough classifications, based largely on the appearance of the foes it faces. In the Knights’ experience to date, the form of a demon largely dictates its abilities. The four classifications are demon animals, demon-tainted men, warlocks and true demons. Once the order’s observations or reports from other inquisitors reveal the nature of the foe, a Knight puts one of the following strategies to work.

Demon Animals Few knights relish the opportunity to face off against the Devil’s animalistic minions. These creatures are fearsome warriors who often travel in groups. Few cells of Knights will engage a group of animalistic demons unless the cell outnumbers the demons by a considerable margin, or if the lives of good Christian folks are directly at risk. That said, while these monsters are fast and fearsomely strong, they are less prone to the strange supernatural tricks of their more human-seeming cousins. That simplicity of combat is something the knights understand and appreciate. Surprise, numbers and skill are the three pillars of the order’s strategy against these foes: surprise to weaken the foe, the numbers to defeat them and the skill to win the battle quickly.


Demon-tainted Men Those servants of the enemy who take on human form present a greater challenge to the order. These devil spawn display a far greater range of abilities and often have hum a n servants

to defend them. Many have insinuated themselves into positions of power and respect within society, making direct action against them problematic. A group of Knights assaulting a well-known man in public is likely to attract unwelcome attention towards the cell. That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen, it’s just that the cell knows it will probably have to move on after the devil is dispatched. Observation, planning and ambush are the three pillars of the order’s strategy here. Observation allows planning that allows ambush. There, by the will of God, the foe will fall beneath the blades of the righteous.

Warlocks The order has developed a simple strategy for defeating warlocks and witches: never let them know you are coming. The Devil gives his servants great powers, but God prevents them from conjuring evil swiftly. Take a wizard by surprise and he will fall to a well-placed blade. Warn him, and he steals another soul for his master. The idea of assassination does not sit well with most Knights. To kill a man and deny him the chance to defend himself seems to deny the chivalric ideal, as well as robbing him of the chance to confess his sins. Those men who have sold their souls for the Devil’s power, however, are not worthy of the same regard as other men, or so goes the official line. Once a Knight has seen a warlock at work, he soon accepts the wisdom of this view. Many Knights still balk at the idea of slaughtering witches like this. For all her sin, a witch is still a woman. Many young Knights who still struggle with lust and other temptations find it easy to persuade themselves that the women would be better captured alive for questioning and possibly even repentance, especially if the witch in question is fair of face. Older hands dissuade their brethren from thinking this way with tales of succubae who tempt pious men with their devil-spawned beauty and then destroy them body and soul. Some are just frightening the new recruits into obedience, while others are sharing genuine horrors from their younger days. Observation, stealth and speed are the three pillars of the Knights’ strategy against the wielders of magic. Through observation, the warlock reveals his ways; through stealth, the Knight can reach his foe undetected; through speed, the evil one is dispatched before he can call upon the Devil’s aid.

True Demons The greatest challenge for the Knights of Acre as they see it is the true demon, an escapee from Hell here to do the Devil’s bidding. Such creatures can be recognized by their appearance, which is ugly and abhorrent to the eyes of Christian men, and by their manner, which is in opposition to all the virtues of the pious soul.

Such creatures are not just corrupted humans but the very children of the Pit itself. They have powers beyond those possessed by their fellow horrors — the powers of Hell. These charismatic creatures often attract groups of followers who are eager to give them worship. The Knights, as a rule, would rather turn over the followers of a demon to the Holy Office or the local church to deal with, but the realities of the struggle do not always make this possible. If the Knights cannot gather sufficient evidence to persuade other authorities to act, they are faced with the difficult task of dispatching members of the local populace without attracting undue attention to their activities. This is no easy task. The three pillars of the order’s strategy against demons are ruthlessness, caution and faith. Ruthlessness allows the Knight to dispose of those who would support the demon, as their souls are already forfeit. Caution allows them to strike when the moment is right, watching and waiting for the right opportunity. Faith, both that of the Knights and that invested in the relics they carry, allows them the advantage of God’s own power in battle with these creatures.

Ghosts, Fair Folk and Other Spirits Ghosts and other spirits are a problem for the Knights. The order’s favored approach to the enemy’s minions simply doesn’t work, as most spirits are as intangible to the blade as they are to the touch. Some of the order’s relics seem adept at driving away ghosts, but few seem to be able to do them direct harm. More often than not, the Knights involved call upon one of the other orders to help deal with restless spirits. No pillars of strategy exist as yet for ghosts. For now, the order is content to let others address the situation.

Brothers (and Sisters) in Arms It has not been easy for the Knights of Acre to adapt to life as part of a larger Inquisition. The order

RANK AND FILE The Knights of Acre are not all fighting men, despite the name. The order is home to priests, healers, scribes and messengers as well as the Knights themselves. Any semi-monastic order needs men of God to minister to the souls of the Knights and hear confession. The Knights also take the running of their hospices very seriously indeed, and skilled healers are a useful part of that work. Scribes and messengers help fulfill the mundane administrative requirements of the order. Still, the Poor Knights are a military order, and all who are part of it are required to be skilled with a sword or other weapon. More than one of Satan’s children has underestimated a seemingly meek priest and found his soul dispatched back to Hell as a result.



was used to acting as an independent body, answerable only to Rome, but now finds itself working side by side with fellow Christians with a very different outlook on life. Initially, the Knights tended to see the other orders as little more than a source of information and aid when fighting the good fight. In the last few years, however, individual Knights have begun to realize the virtues of working with other orders, especially given the reduced number of casualties in the order’s ranks since such cooperation began. Truly, this must be God’s plan.

assigned to their general area, so the two can work together. The survival rate for Knights with such arrangements is significantly higher than without. Of course, healing is not the Sisters’ primary calling, much as the Poor Knights might wish it were. Most Knights are not altogether comfortable with the visions that God grants to the Sisters. For a start, the visions are usually more cryptic than straightforward warriors would like. Still, reverence of blessed women is ingrained in the Knights’ faith and theology. The Sisters are beneficiaries of that.

The Red Order

The House of Murnau

The Knights of Acre are, on the whole, a pragmatic group of men. Fighting the enemy face-to-face does not leave much room for theoretical discussions and philosophy. Despite this enforced pragmatism, they can see the need for greater research into the ways of the enemy. Every weakness that the Red Order identifies and communicates to the Knights is ruthlessly tested on the field of battle. If that were all there is to the Red Order, the Knights would be happy indeed. The Red Order’s skill with the Holy Art is what worries many Knights. It is, as has often been remarked by people of all orders, remarkably like the arts of the enemy. Each individual Knight’s opinion of the Red Order is likely to be based on his degree of experience with the members thereof. If he has never worked with a Red Brother or Sister, he is likely to be suspicious of the order as a whole, considering them a step away from Satan’s own forces. A Knight who has fought alongside a Red Brother, however, is likely to respect the formidable power his fellow inquisitor can wield. Any veteran Knight knows the feeling of seizing one of the enemy’s own weapons and using it against him in battle, after all. The Red Sisters are the exception to this rule. Something deeply ingrained in the mindset of the order screams “witch” when a Knight encounters a woman wielding such power. The determinedly allmale Poor Knights tends to find the very concept of the mixed-sex yet monastic Red Order suspect. The sight of women calling upon such powerful forces does nothing to allay those suspicions. Some Knights have been known to refuse assignments to mixed-order cells if a Red Sister is a member. One thing endears the Red Order to the Knights: the pain of the stigmata Red Brothers endure. It creates a bond of sympathy between them and the Knight, who well know the pain of wounds themselves.

Overall, the Knights of Acre maintain good relations with the Murnau family. Nobility knows nobility, and the majority of the Knights are from noble families. The Knights are much more comfortable taking orders from a fellow nobleman (or woman) than they are from the commoners who make up much of the Oculi Dei, for example. Indeed, “light and sword” cells made up of a member of the House, his retinue and a handful of knights are extremely effective at exposing and destroying the enemy. The two orders do have some areas of conflict, however. For one, the Murnau have much freer lifestyles than the semi-monastic lives of the Knights allow. Some Knights resent this, while others look down on the House for such licentious behavior. Either attitude is likely to cause needless friction.

The Sisters of St. John

Like so many of the other military orders, the Knights live lives somewhat apart from the mass of humanity. Sequestered in their commanderies, training for the battles to come and planning strategies against the Devil’s minions, they have precious little time for socializing. The fact that the order has a second mission that prevents the Knights from growing

The Sisters of St. John, on the other hand, are much more to the liking of the Knights, who have specific ideas about Christian behavior in women. An order of warriors cannot help but like and respect an order whose members practice the healing arts. Indeed, cells of Knights often request that a cell of Sisters be


The Oculi Dei At first glance, these two orders seem like they should work well together. The Eyes find the enemy and the Knights destroy it: a powerful combination. In practice, this is rarely the case. For one, the Knights are usually of noble birth and resent taking directions from commoners. They carry with them an unconscious assumption that the Eyes will do as they direct and release whatever information the Knights demand. The Eyes, though, value discretion above social order. They will easily withdraw their help if they suspect that their fellows are becoming too demanding. After several bad experiences, The Inquisition has found it more politic to channel relations between the two orders through members of the Eyes of noble birth, or from the increasing numbers who are related to the Knights by blood or marriage.

The Flock


too estranged from those they protect is a testament to the wisdom of the order’s founders. The hospices attached to many of the order’s chapter-houses are a major point of contact between the laity and the Knights. These hospices specialize in caring for the orphans of Christendom, whose numbers seem to be never-ending. Certainly the work the order does in taking these urchins off the street endears them to the local populace, who are absolved of the guilt of not caring for the children as well as being freed from petty thefts at the same time. Few realize just how many of those children were made orphans by the Knights in the pursuance of their calling. Some unpleasant tales surround the order. Many of these are unfair, spread by other military orders that are disgruntled by the loss of members to the Knights of Acre, but many are quite justified. Of all the orders, the Knights are the least forgiving to those who have been turned by the enemy. Given the dangers of their calling, it is not surprising that the Poor Knights take a very straightforward approach to those who serve — or worse — worship the enemy. If the tool of Satan can be turned over to the Holy Office or other members of the Church, fine, that’s just what the Knights do. If this is impossible, the inquisitors dispatch the unfortunate souls to God with all due haste. Clearly, this approach has not won the order friends in several parts of Christendom.

The Hospice of St. James the Elder The city of Compostela in the Kingdom of Leon rose to prominence over a millennia ago. It has grown ever since, fed by the trade that runs along two Roman roads that cross in the city. It also sits at the confluence of two rivers — the Sar and Sarela — which further adds to the flow of people through the city. Not far off one of those Roman roads sits a welcome sign to any traveler who has suffered the travails of pilgrimage: the Hospice of St. James the Elder. The hospice is a boon to travelers and the principal Iberian chapter-house of the Knights of Acre. The city is also host to the relics of the apostle St. James and his disciples, Athanasius and Theodorus, which are housed in Church of St. James, just a few minutes’ walk from the hospice.

The Hospice The hospice consists of two sizeable buildings on either side of a walled courtyard. The larger of the two buildings, on the right through the main gate, houses the traveler’s hospice and orphanage that form the main charitable business of the organization. It is busy both day and night, with travelers coming in tired and injured or leaving in much better heart thanks to the ministrations of the staff. In the morning, the steady drone of a classroom drifts across the courtyard, while

in the afternoon the orphans play and exercise outside, trying (not always with success) to keep out from underfoot of the travelers and the Knights. The building to the left houses the Knights’ commandary, with stables and shared quarters for the Knights in residence along with extra accommodation for visitors passing through the town on business. On occasion, a mendicant friar or group of pilgrims — or any other using a favored cover story for traveling inquisitors — are granted quarters in the chapterhouse. The extensive cellars of the building spread some distance beneath both the courtyard and the adjoining buildings, all of which are owned by the order and leased to local merchants. These spaces house cells for the imprisonment and torture of the Devil’s servants, some storage space for the more specialized tools of the trade and an area for practicing fighting techniques developed to deal with the enemy. These exercises are the sort that the Knight would not want seen in public, for fear of a knowledgeable passer-by drawing some accurate conclusions. A steady stream of pilgrims to the shrine of Athanasius, a disciple of St. James, has given the hospice an Ambient Faith rating of 2.

The Knights The chapter-house is run by the seneschal Laurgain, a grizzled veteran of both the crusades and the Inquisition. An encounter with a skin-changer two years ago left him with a distinct limp, a useless arm and a wolf pelt to keep him warm at night. To his disgust, the order deemed him no longer fit for active service and assigned him to run this chapter-house, training a new generation of Knights from the orphans. The priest, Berin of Lombardy, aids him in his work. Berin is in his early 40s and is as happy wielding a weapon as he is preaching God’s word. His calling to the priesthood came later in life, after a successful career as a solider. Somewhat naturally, the orphans pick up his enthusiasm for swordplay a little easier than his enthusiasm for the Bible. Commander of the Knights Hunerct leads the sorties against the servants of Satan. This young knight hails from Saxony, and sometimes finds his northern European formality at odds with the more relaxed Iberian culture. He keeps the knights well-drilled and exercised, though, and has only lost a single inquisitor in the last two years.

The Enemy The order originally founded the hospice as much as a training house for its recruits as a traveler’s hospice. Within a year, however, the small cell of Knights originally based there realized that it would have to become a full chapter-house. The trade and travelers



that pass through the city attract servants of the Evil One like flies to manure. Twice now, the Knights have been called upon to slay a demon stalking the beds of the orphans at night, seeking sustenance from their souls or their blood. Laurgain was able to call in some favors, and the relics of Athanasius are now housed in the hospice and not the church. That put an end to the nocturnal visitations. Subsequent investigations have proved that many travelers seem to go missing immediately before or after arriving at the city. Hunerct has led a series of systematic searches of the land around the city. While the area is now remarkably lacking in bandits, he found few traces of the Devil’s work. Reluctantly, he has taken Laurgain’s advice and started scouring the city for traces of demons. Investigation is far from the young knight’s greatest skill, unfortunately. He is considering swallowing his pride by asking Laurgain for further help, or by calling in a cell of inquisitors from another order. Unbeknownst to Hunerct, Laurgain is receiving messages from the local cell of the Oculi Dei. The region’s Eyes are under the control of Rodrigue de Navarre, and have thus been extremely reluctant to come forward until now. The Eyes cell has gathered extensive evidence of a whole cabal of demons working to seize control of the trade route thought the city. In addition, it has also uncovered hints of a plan to surreptitiously take control of the hospice. The local cell leader, Aiala Lorda, could hold her tongue no longer and approached Laurgain. The elder Knight knows that the cell has to move against the demons soon, but he can’t resist the opportunity to teach Hunerct a lesson first.

The Red Order of St Theodosius

The tower that stands before me fills me with both fear and hope. Let Albert d’Aquitaine play his games of politics and piety. I know what we really face. I am afraid, just as Albert should be. Yet God calls me to defeat His enemies and I must obey. I have no choice. They say I have failed, but they are wrong. I have survived the wrath of a demon and come away learning more of him than he learnt of me. When Byleth and I meet once more, God willing, my knowledge will be greater still. I have walked the dank tunnels that snake through these lands; I have both talked with these things, fearing every second for my mortal life and immortal soul, and killed them when I had no other choice. In the dull-colored lands that surround our abbey here in Damburrow, hidden amongst the hills and heather, there lies more knowledge of the Enemy and his ways than any of us ever suspected. Each huddle of hovels that cling together in the lee of the hills that make up this God-forsaken land


hides further clues to the nature and powers of the demons who stalk these lands and the monsters that serve them. I have spent months talking to the people of this cold, wet simulacrum of a country, all in God’s name. I have succeeded. I have found out where they dwell. I know of this tower and I know the name of the creature that slumbers within: Chelniel. Let us see what knowledge he has left for me. — From the journal of Red Brother Giordano Nicola d’Arzenta


The novices had lit candles some hours ago, yet the brothers and a solitary sister continued in their deliberations. Piles of parchment littered the table in front of them, discarded and forgotten about. Just two papers remained, and the brothers pored over them intently as the sounds of the Compline service faded away. “I like not Geronim’s answers on the life of our Lord. His thoughts on the Christ’s incarnate nature stray a little to close to heresy for me,” said one brother, finally. “Any yet, which of us has not thought such things at some time?” said another. The first brother tutted. “It’s is a child’s theology, one he should have long since abandoned. He was given every chance to redeem this thinking but he did not do so. One who is so deaf to the urging of the Lord has no place among us.” A murmur of assent rippled around the table. “So, it is decided. Elizabeth of York shall join our order. Let us now thank God for his guidance,” said the sister, satisfaction evident in her voice. The greatest frustration a scholar can face is a lack of things to learn. Books are rare and well protected, and only a few individuals can have access to them at any time. For those individuals who seek knowledge of the supernatural, one name seems to recur again and again in their quest for knowledge: St. Theodosius. Thus, those whose thirst for knowledge is insatiable often beat a path to the door of a Theodosian house to petition for membership. The first test is simple. A Theodosian quizzes the postulant on matters of theology and faith in Latin, Greek and the native tongue of the region. If the would-be member fails on any point of the discussion or displays a less-than-fluent grasp of the languages in use, he is rejected and sent away. If he succeeds, he is asked to dwell within the order’s house for one calendar month. That month is the hardest month of his life. The Red Order demands of all its members both intellectual sophistication and theological understanding, combined with mental flexibility and deep piety. The order’s self-assigned task of studying and understanding the enemy, as well as developing knowledge of all things supernatural — not the least of which is the Inquisition’s own theurgy — requires nothing less. The order is well aware of the whispers of heresy and


diabolism that follow wherever its members go, and is even more concerned about them than the populace in general. The very nature of the materials the Red Brothers and Sisters study means that they are designed to corrupt. The knowledge the order gains carries the taint of Hell. Satan has already touched many of the people they question, and he is not known as “the Tempter” for nothing. The order’s work is inherently risky, and the Red Order’s solution is to try to weed out the weaker souls before they join the Inquisition. In that month, therefore, the postulant is engaged in discussion by a number of senior Theodosians with the aim of testing both his mental flexibility and his theological limits. The examiners act as tempters themselves, seeking to draw the postulant into a statement of outright heresy by tricking them into arguing against the teachings of Christianity. The books of the order, usually the least important and revealing yet still tempting to the frustrated scholar, are useful weapons in the examiner’s armory. The examiner allows the postulant to read certain passages and then quizzes him on his reaction and his thoughts on how research might continue. Even if one of the postulants proves himself unworthy of the order early in his stay, he is allowed to stay for the whole month. These scholars are liable to fall to the temptations of the enemy at some point, so it is better that the order gathers information on them now in case it is needed in the future. At the end of the month, the postulant is dismissed with no indication of whether he has passed or failed.


Once a season, the heads of all the Red Order houses in a region meet to discuss their postulants. Of all those who have approached the order in that time, just three from each region are offered the chance to join the Theodosians. Only once in the order’s history has someone turned them down (see sidebar). Once the postulant is accepted, he joins the order by swearing a vow of secrecy. After two months’ training in the Theodosian Rule, the postulant swears his final oaths, becoming a fully-fledged Red Brother. From that point onwards, he has access to a whole new world of research — and an equal weight of responsibility — as he discovers his new duties within the Holy Inquisition.

The Price Traditionally, like many monastic orders, the Theodosians have required that their postulants come to the order free of debt and with a generous contribution to the order’s wealth from their own purses or that of their families. While this is still a requirement for many of the new members of the order, the Red Order’s membership in the Inquisition has brought with it a greater flow of funds from Rome itself. Thus, students of great aptitude but light purse are now accepted into the order, whereas previously they were not. On occasions, extremely talented postulants with debts behind them have found those debts purchased and discharged by noblemen. It is only once the new Red Brother or Sister learns of the full scope of the Inquisition that he or she realizes that their mysterious benefactor was a scion of the House of Murnau.

The Apprentice


he one postulant who turned the order down, known as Fridebraht von Graft, gave only one explanation: “God has granted me greater wisdom than you offer.” Two days after the rejection, in May of 1225, the Eye assigned to watch him lost track of him entirely. She frantically asked questions of known friends and acquaintances and discovered that few of them even remembered him. In the end, she abandoned the attempt and reported what had occurred to her superior. It was two years before the errant postulant reappeared. He rescued Sister Vittoria Santini di Parma from an assault by practitioners of the Malefic Arts, through a display of what appeared to be a variant on the Holy Arts. He has reappeared several times since, sometimes in company, sometimes alone, each time aiding a Theodosian (and once a Knight of Acre) in a moment of dire need. What exactly he knows about the Inquisition and why he seems so keen on rescuing its agents remains a mystery.

A second, lesser known, route into the order also exists. Young boys and girls of prodigious academic talent are occasionally asked to join the order as apprentices. They serve initially as kitchen boys and servants to the monks, taking three or four hours of lessons each day. As they approach adulthood, they are freed from household duties and given over to full time education and prayer to bring them up to the academic standards expected of all postulants. Some of these new novices hail from the hospices of Knights of Acre. Visiting Theodosians on Inquisition business often take the time to quiz the orphans and their teachers in the hope of finding another prodigy for the order. Some younger children of the extended Murnau family are serving as novices, too. In the last few years, in three separate Theodosian houses around Europe, children have turned up unannounced on the doorsteps of the chapter-houses, each knowing a few of the inquisition’s recognition codes. All have proven to be capable scholars. The leaders of the order suspect that they are the children of members of the Oculi Dei, but the leaders of that secretive body have never confirmed this.



Theodosians researching the nature and organization of the stic foe are amazed by the degree to of mona e e c n a n r h e t v o d g n which the minions of Satan seem a e h e t sius for or His knowledg o d o e h compelled to put down on T . f e of St search The Rul devoted to the parchment and paper records of ities their affairs and even their socommun the Enemy. f e rotect p if L cial structures. The Red Order o t f defeat o s o l Basics y as Christian sou, the Satan. If d n has learned more of the nature a e s o t y The Purpall else, it is our dwuorks of His enedm ve God. of the enemy through papers o l t o n o e s e r w e e h , iv t y d Before f m e and other documents than o e th t en he defea le from e works of the t p o is e p ip through actual encounters h is s H h ow t hate t us. our fell is t f s n o a a r e e with the demons themselves. s g o we do no s p im t od doe ain pur ote such erstanding v e d I. The m such tools as G l l The biggest obstacle to a nd e sh using to the u the hous e ic in v r the order’s work is the relucg e Enemy, s in shield. er and hose liv er h it e n II. All t ligations of pray r wisdom is our tance of Cardinal Marzone d r a ob of y, fo God’s. Ho and other senior members free from rks of the Enem rself, for all is things is a tool o knowl of the Inquisition to share r such nto you of the w othing u for the desire fo . Share not that for to n p e e K , the knowledge gleaned by l r , u e h III. o t h s l t o a r e Christian f your b ge nor w cells in other parts of Euknowled y to corrupt the m to the soul o r rope with the r u o y the Enemh might bring ha a devil. f ke o a s o ic r e t e h h n s t w u Theodosians. Partially r like edge high fo ed in his akes you head up to be us to the glory this reluctance stems r ’s u d o r y o do so m L d l e t th s, but ot ho u d n b n e , o s D r y from the order’s own less l . u h o IV y rt It is not ut it vain or ea . e g d than sterling reputation e l y a p w to kno Enemy m e His ot seek e n h T o for orthodoxy, and par. D d . o e r G o vic h are of such deeds, rest one. t l r a a tially from an E d o is G h t o of emy. n to und hings of te understandable cons a h c , V. All t . It is our burde om from his En e an alik wisd cern for the safety of them and wom left for us n a corrupt take back God’s m , f s o a o h r e e inquisitors in the field n H d o plan an e under knowledge which each act and iv l l l a should the enemy t h at wit VI. Le eeking th to do his work s , s e compromise a y e in God’s ll must strive Theodosian house. A . to find y Despite this setback, thought. of the Daes appointed in St s e ic the order does the f f O d the the tim best it can to exIf . e Prayer ansiduous in prayer at s ou of the h e change knowledge y h t n a t p a I. Be as ule. m ance e co d h t n e R t in t a ’s r id e about the enemy. u t a s yo en Augustin d not be f Our Lord prev he pursuance of e e n r e y Doctors from all II. Pra name o l or in t rs in the hour in your cel o the Theodosian b a l r u yo the k r a m houses in a kingdom , Oratory . or similar sized region meet once per h researc season to exchange knowledge and ideas. On rare occasions, they exchange documents, artifacts and even prisoners to help one another’s research. Despite the common goals of the houses, however, these exchanges of Of all the orders that make up the Holy Inquisi- information and resources are rarely as free as they could tion, the Red Order is probably the closest to be. The most senior researchers of the order are rarely the understanding the true nature of the creatures of the ones most active in the business of inquisition; they don’t enemy. The order builds its knowledge from three appreciate the need to share information in the same way sources: direct experiences with the spawn of Satan, as their more active brethren. The Red Sisters in particufolklore gathered from all over Christendom and docu- lar are reluctant to give up any resources they’ve acquired. ments found in libraries or captured from the enemy in Their losses when the order moved to single-sex houses still rankles the sisters and sours their dealings with their the course of the mission. Theodosian brothers.

osiu St. Theod

s’ Rule

Know the Enemy



The Hierarchy of Demons Just as the Church teaches that there is a hierarchy of angels, the Red Order has discovered a hierarchy of demons. The order’s senior members are engaged with drawing up the hierarchy, but it is far from complete. They have reports of creatures that don’t match any of their categories exactly, and they suspect that six groupings are too few. Their understanding of this is very much a work in progress; each month that passes brings new insights.

The Diabolic At the top of the order’s list of Satanic threats are the true demons. The order has only encountered a handful of them in person, but is tracing their activity through human history and folklore. The picture that is developing is worrying. If the demons’ own claims are to believed, they are the pagan gods that the one true God warns His followers about and can direct the course of whole nations. Still, scripture teaches that the followers of Jesus can drive out demons in His name. The order’s few encounters with these terrifying creatures seem to bear this out. Brother Giordano Nicola d’Arzenta is acknowledged as one of the order’s experts on the truly diabolic, through his dealings with a creature called Byleth. He defeated this creature through destroying its mortal form, but neither he nor his superiors in the Inquisition believe that it is truly gone. His reassignment to Damburrow in Scotland was partially to protect him from the demon’s inevitable vengeance. This plan may have backfired, however, as Brother Giordano claims to have found another such creature not far from the Abbey. His claims have yet to be verified.

The Malefic The most powerful of Satan’s mortal servants are those men and women who are strong enough to wield diabolic power without it corrupting their mortal shells. These warlocks and witches are a common source of both conflict and information for the Red Order. Like the Theodosians, most practitioners of Malefic Arts have an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Where the inquisitors seek it for God’s glory, however, the warlocks seek it for their own. The two groups often come into conflict over volumes of lost lore and other ancient wisdom. The current orthodoxy within the order teaches that all magic is God-given in its form. It is merely the ability to use magic that can be Satan-granted. God has granted the Theodosians the ability to use magic, but Satan has granted their foes the same power. It is the source of the ability that is the issue, not the ability itself. The order’s experts on the Malefic still debate the true natures of witches and warlock. Are they just

people who have access to diabolic power, or are they in fact possessed by demons? The majority opinion is that they are ordinary people with access to demonic power, just as many of the Theodosians have access to holy power by means of the Holy Art. A vocal minority, however, believes that the warlocks are indeed under possession of a kind, where the demon merely guides the victim, rather than taking over his body.

The Vampiric The next step down the Hierarchy of Satan are the vampires, creatures who have let their own mortal identities be subsumed by the demonic servitor who possesses their body. The order recognizes such creatures by their pale skins, their fear of daylight and their need to feast on blood to sustain their unholy lives. The order has also discerned three weaknesses. The vampires cannot bear light in any of its three forms: the light of the sun, the light of faith, and the light of fire. All three can be used to test for possession and to destroy the vampire’s mortal host. A vampire, unlike a practitioner of the Malefic Art, cannot be redeemed before it is dispatched. It has no mortal soul left, just the possessing demon soul. Theodosian inquisitors feel no need to attempt to redeem such creatures and freely torture them for information alone.

The Animalistic The last of the incarnate demons are the skinchangers and night beasts of the world. The Theodosians believe them to be animals or weak-willed humans possessed by the spirits of demons, who then give them over entirely to their animalistic nature. Such creatures are wild and primitive, of little value as specimens for study or sources in information. As such, where possible, the Red Order inquisitors pass news of such creatures on to other orders, principally the Knights of Acre, whose skills are more suited to dealing with such creatures. On occasion, this information is accompanied by a request that the bodies of the devil spawn find their way to a Theodosian house, but this is far from commonplace. The order also places the few grotesque monsters that it has encountered into this category, reasoning that their possession has merely twisted their frames into something unrecognizable from nature.

The Spiritual The Bible speaks explicitly of spirits of both good and evil in the world. Its teachings guide the order’s understanding of such beings. Ghosts, for example, are merely demons posing as the departed, for does not the Bible warn against having truck with such creatures? Other creatures, such as those called the Fair Folk, should be judged whenever they are encountered. The order’s experience so far is that, just as in the Bible, the



influence of the spirits of evil is more visible in the world than those of good. Angels appear to individuals or small groups. Whole villages know of the presence of evil spirits near their town. That said, the order’s real knowledge of these creature is lacking indeed. Most of its understanding is still derived from scripture and folklore, but few Theodosians are actively pursuing such knowledge. Just as with the animalistic possessed, investigation of other demons seems to be more fruitful.

The Corrupted Lowest of all in the hierarchy of evil are those foolish humans who have chosen to serve the minions of Satan. A minion of a minion is a pitiful degree of power for which to lose one’s soul, or so think many Red Brothers. The order uses such people as sources of information, pure and simple. The Holy Art can be remarkably useful in terrorizing a cultist or devilworshiper into shifting his allegiance. When the cultist’s master is dispatched or fled — or his usefulness comes to an end in some other manner — the order usually informs the Holy Office or another order, such as the Sisters of St. John, of the craven fool’s dealings, the better for their soul to be saved by good Christian folk. Perhaps the information the dupe gave to the inquisition will aid their cause on Judgment Day, or perhaps not. It matters little to the Red Order. No scholar has much time for fools.



he Red Order’s single biggest aid in gain ing the trust of the Supreme Council was the stigmata many Theodosians endure. The senior members of the order involved in the negotiations discreetly displayed their own stigmata and dismissed any questions, saying “we happily endure the pain as part of our service,” or words to that effect. This did, and still does, much to boost the image of the order’s piety in the minds of the other orders and the inquisition’s leadership. The plagues of boils and other less savory (and less Biblical) curses, however, are secrets the order cannot long hide. Many Theodosians fear that widespread knowledge of these “other stigmata” will undermine the trust they’ve built. As more mixed cells of inquisitors form, it becomes harder for the Red Order to hide the less holy forms of stigmata. Internally, the order is investigating the possibility that these more unusual forms of stigmata denote a growing deviation from the orthodox in the bearer. If that proves to be the case, then the order has both the means to reassure others and an easy way of policing its own membership.



Other Seekers of Wisdom While all the orders are still somewhat suspicious of the Red Order, the Theodosians do not feel the same way about their fellow inquisitors. As befits the mind of the Inquisition, the brothers and sisters of the Red Order are well aware of the roles their fellows play.

The Knights of Acre The relationship between the two orders is simple. The Theodosians are the theorists, and the Knights are the ones who test the theories in the field. The Knights certainly hold some grudges for the less than accurate information they’ve been given in the past. The Red Order is genuinely grateful for the work the Poor Knights do, however, and the sword of the Inquisition needs all the information it can get to aid it in battle. The two orders have a difficult relationship, but a profitable one.

The Sisters of St. John In many ways, the Sisters of St. John are exactly what the Red Brothers would like the Red Sisters to be: caring, emotional and given to visions, rather than as forthright and intellectual as the male Theodosians. Perhaps it’s for this reason that the Red Brothers have a better relationship with the Sisters of St. John than the Red Sisters. Small cells of Red Brothers are attached, but geographically removed, from most of the Sisterhood’s chapter-houses, the better to record and interpret the order’s visions. The Inquisition has attempted to make this relationship closer by creating mixed cells and houses of Red Sisters and the Sisters of St. John, but this has not gone as well as Marzone would have liked. The two seem to encounter unexpected friction over their very different views of the role of women in society.

The House of Murnau

two orders exchange more information between just themselves than is communicated across the Inquisition as a whole. The working methods of the two orders are so complimentary that conflict between individual inquisitors is all but unheard of, despite the fact that many Theodosians suspect that the Eyes hold back as much as they reveal. A few Red Sisters have commented that the power of this working relationship is evidence that God truly decided the composition of the Inquisition, and that Marzone merely discovered God’s will.

The Flock The Theodosians spend too much time with books and papers and not enough among the common folk. Too many Red Brothers and Sisters fall into the trap of only thinking about the flock when they are attacked or corrupted by the enemy. Yet, God has not called the order into the Inquisition for the sake of pure knowledge alone. Under the direction of Cardinal Marzone, the order now forces its members who have strayed to close to heresy to spend some time as a wandering preachers among the laity. This has had the required effect to some degree. More Theodosians now actually give thought to the flock in their mission. It has had an unexpected side effect, however, as the Theodosians have discovered that the life of a wandering friar is a marvelous way of collecting folklore. The isolationist snobbery of the order is slowly being replaced by a new respect for the common folk as repositories of information and knowledge of the forces of evil, stored in myths, folklore and even in day-to-day gossip. The arrival of a Theodosian friar at a Red Order house causes much excitement among the Red Brothers or Sisters, as they scramble to be the first to hear the tales and information collected on his travels.

The Abbey of St. Denis, Paris

The relationship between the Red Order and the German noble house is unsettled and occasionally fragile, not least because the Theodosians don’t really understand exactly the House’s role in the Inquisition. It can’t be finance, because compared to the Church, the Murnau are paupers. Indeed, their sole talent seems to be sniffing out the enemy — surely those talents would be of more use within the other orders? The Murnau’s determination to act rather than just discover annoys the more patient Theodosians no end. A handful of Red Brothers are working to replicate the Murnau’s abilities with the Holy Art, so that the Inquisition can become less dependent on these strange, cursed Bavarians.

Half a day’s walk or a few hours’ ride north of Paris, lies the Abbey of St. Denis. This impressive building has been a holy site since St. Denis, the first bishop of Paris, was martyred and buried here in AD 270. Such is its reputation across Christendom that three popes have stayed in it halls. For the last century, the abbey has been the possession of the Theodosians, who run a great academy for monks of the order from its cloisters, as well as possibly the most aggressive cell of inquisitors outside the Knights of Acre. The abbey has strong links with the university in Paris, and members of the Red Order can often be found studying among other scholars in the library in the city.

The Oculi Dei

The Chapter-House

Every researcher needs someone to go out and collect information for him. The Oculi Dei perform this role admirably for the whole of the Red Order. The

The abbey is almost squat in appearance, with arching gates and two levels of windows above. A square tower with a pointed roof rises to the east of the



main building, and a series of lower stone buildings attached to the rear of the Abbey proper house the majority of the monks. A large altar and the shrine to St. Denis dominate the main abbey. On most days, a steady stream of pilgrims make their way up to the shrine. The cries of supplication and prayers for healing occasionally disturb the steady chants of the Red Brothers marking the offices of the day. Still, their worship grants the abbey an Ambient Faith of 4. The main business of the abbey is conducted in the lower buildings at the rear of the abbey. In the outer rooms Red Brothers are educated in theology, philosophy, linguistics and some degree of science. In the inner rooms, the inquisitors of the order pursue their investigations into matters diabolic and arcane. In particular, a set of hidden doors allows access to a suite of three rooms that houses the order’s collection of books on the diabolical and malefic. The majority of the books have only been partially translated, if at all; at least two Theodosians can be found in these rooms at all times, working on the translations. A staircase from these rooms leads down to another set of rooms buried deep in the abbey’s foundations. The order uses these abandoned crypts and other relics of buildings long gone for its experiments in the fields of alchemy and magical ritual. The abbey has an affiliated house in Paris itself, which serves as a center of operations for the cell when on duty in the city. A small contingent of Poor Knights is stationed in the Paris house at all times, and acts as support to the Red Brothers in the city.

The Brothers The Abbot, Gervèse le Fèvre, devotes more of his time to the business of inquisition than running the abbey and teaching novices. Gervèse is a man of deep faith and a burning hatred for evil that puts even the most enthusiastic Knight of Acre to shame. His passion shows in the burning eyes in his rounded face. Still, sometimes people underestimate him because of his stout body and limp, the result of an encounter with the enemy. When the abbot is in Paris, the Most Reverend Doctor Caschin d’Anjou oversees the administration of the abbey and the teaching of the novices. Caschin is an unassuming man with a broad frame, a roughly made face and a real talent for the Holy Art. He also spends as much time as possible in the inner rooms, working with Master Mathieu of Gascony in directing the researches. Mathieu is a slight excitable man, with a ferocious intellect and a nervy manner. Commander Renouart de Marseilles leads the small detachment of Poor Knights in Paris.

The Sisters of St. John

I am sorry, sister, when that man brushed past me…. He is angry, sister. I am frightened. My family is frightened. Please do not leave my side. Thank you. Let us walk a while, as far from this place as we can manage. I will tell you what I have seen. No, I am still wearing my gloves, but God wished me to see anyway. The voices of my family grow ever stronger. We must act soon if they are to be quieted again. I saw the man we passed running through the streets of the village at night. The people are asleep, trusting on God and their fires to keep the night away. He laughs, knowing that they are deluded. His spirit is consumed by anger, sister, and little of the man is left within him. He is hungry and must feed tonight. His hands and teeth are stained with blood and every death makes him angrier still. Yet I saw another soul within him, one at peace with the world and caring for it as a farmer nurtures his crops. He hates that part of himself and seeks to drown it in the blood of innocents. My father cries for me to stop him, sister, but I do know how. I do not know where this village is and I do not know if we saw the past or the future. We must do something…. Yes, sister, you are right. God will guide us. We must discuss this with our sisters and then call upon our fellows. His will be done. — Agnes of Kent


The Enemy The abbey’s cell has had a successful few months, putting several blood-drinking monsters that formerly


haunted the sewers of the city to the question and the fire. At least three more exist within the upper echelons of the city’s social life, and the abbot is preparing to move against them. A project that should aid the inquisitors, however, is instead proving to be something of an obstacle. A new cathedral is under construction in the heart of Paris, known as Notre Dame. The abbot is obsessed with the idea of making it a major chapter-house for the Red Brothers in the city, yet every approach he has made to the Church authorities in the city has been soundly rebuffed. What’s more, some of the Red Brothers studying in the university have noted a small group of men and women using the library at odd hours and visiting Notre Dame as well. One of the inquisitors has made the acquaintance of the group and has learned that they have alchemical leanings. He has carefully confessed his own interest in the field in the hope of learning more about them. For now, the abbot is content to hunt his vampires. If he survives the experience, however, a clash over the cathedral between the Red Order and the warlocks who fool themselves that they are still Christians is inevitable. If he is very unlucky, he’ll face the Hermetic mages attempting to shape the construction of the cathedral, too.

The young girl thrashed about on the bed, scattering straw all over the dirt floor of the farmer’s humble abode.


Her mother prayed desperately for relief and God’s aid, while the father stood, his face dark, in the corner. He tried not to listen to the cries of “devil girl” and “Satan’s lover” coming from the crowd outside. Until yesterday, he thought them his friends. He was startled to realize that all had fallen silent outside. He turned to the door to see a woman in a nun’s habit standing there. “Sister,” he started, but she ignored him, going to crouch by the mother. “How long has she been like this?” “Two nights now, Sister,” said the mother, hope in her eyes. “Are you going to cast out the evil spirit?” “There is no spirit to cast out, my child,” said the nun. “Your daughter is possessed by the Spirit of God, not a servant of the Evil One. We can care for her, with your leave.” “Take her,” snapped the father. “And don’t bring her back.” God chooses the strangest people to be his prophets. While the Sisters of St. John appear to have the same screening process for postulants as other religious orders, the first encounter with the order for many members is the concerned face of a Sister praying above her as she emerges from a vision. The order’s twin reputations for both exorcism and dealing with those who receive the gifts of prophecy and tongues from the Holy Spirit allow it to track down many young women suitable for membership long before they seek out the order. Desperate families — or furious townsfolk afraid of the Devil’s touch — easily hand over girls suffering their first visions to the order in the hope of some cure. For those possessed by evil spirits, the order’s exorcists provide that cure and sometimes a new home, after their former communities reject them. For those whose visions are divinely inspired, only the Sister’s prayer cycles and life of strict asceticism provide relief. Otherwise, any woman who can provide both a sufficient dowry, evidence of a good background and a willingness to take Holy Orders is welcomed. Their dowries and gifts help to support those girls brought to the order with nothing.

Other Orders A significant number of the Sisters also join from other orders. Despite St Paul’s many teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, some nunneries find women who possess those gifts in abundance to be troublesome and disruptive. Visions interrupt the orderly ritual of prayer and the calm of the house. When one of the nuns offers to take the troubled sister to another order that specializes in such blessings, most abbesses are happy to accept the offer. Such novices adapt quickly to the Sisters of St. John’s special prayer cycle designed to both enhance and control the visions the prophets receive. They often aid their less experi-



few members of the order choose to live lives of quiet meditation and prayer away from the flock. These anchorites (female hermits) normally hail from the ranks of the Sisters who lack gifts of prophecy and exorcism. Their devotional existences are interrupted only by occasional visits from local people seeking healing, advice or prayer. This occasional contact with the world makes the anchorites ideal eyes and ears for the order in parts of Europe where it has no significant chapter-houses. This, in turn, satisfies the anchorites that they still have a place in the Inquisition, even if their calling and gifts do not put them in the mainstream of the order. enced sisters in coming to terms with their new-found abilities and soothe their fears with the calm focus of a woman who gave her life to Christ years ago.

Testing and Training Even those postulants who join the order with no knowledge of its real purpose sometimes find their minds opened to the words of the Lord. The Sisters believe that God leads suitable women to their houses. With around one in five of novices displaying the gift of prophecy and nearly twice that number a gift for exorcism, they appear to be correct. The order’s teachers direct their novices to spend time praying over holy relics, touching them gently as part of the prayer to see if such talents will manifest. On occasion, they manifest as a result of being in proximity to another nun with the gift of prophecy. In some rare cases, they only manifest after years of service with the order. Such Sisters are treasured, bringing the wisdom of age to their visions; they often rise rapidly in the ranks of the Inquisition. Those Sisters who show the gift of prophecy are sent to houses that specialize in the development of that talent. There, the most experienced Sisters teach them the rigorous patterns of self-denial and selfcontrol that allow them some measure of control over their gifts. Fasting, night-long vigils and hours of continuous prayer are all techniques used to focus the visions. Each girl learns a particular trigger that will become her own way of controlling the visions. These are granted by God, during long nights and days of prayer, and not taught by other Sisters. God grants the visions; only He can teach their control. Those novices who possess an aptitude for exorcism are trained within their home house. Both groups are told of the Holy Inquisition and their role within it as their powers come under their control. Initially, they



serve the Inquisition as assistants to experienced exorcists. After two or three years, they are granted leave to perform the rites on their own or as part of a cell. Those girls who remain, those to whom God has granted no special gift, have a choice: they may stay within the order as healers, administrators and the public face of the order, or they may transfer to another order of nuns, to act as the eyes of the Sisters in the world, watching for other girls touched by God. Of late, a few have been recruited into the Oculi Dei instead, serving as liaisons between the Sisters of St. John and the Eyes. This has been a boon to both parties, as it allows the whole of the Oculi Dei to keep watch for potential novices for the Sisters, as well as providing the Eyes with pious and well-training healing women to help reduce their often-dramatic death rates. The order trains all Sisters, whatever their gifts, extensively in music, plainsong and chant. While most monastic communities use some forms of chant and song in their worship, the Sisters of St. John are renowned for the beauty and devotion of their music, a purity of sound that could only come from truly chaste and pious souls. It is in these classes that a few of the Sisters display the order’s final gift from God, the Psalms that turn their words of praise into tools of power against the enemy.

cess to thoughts and actions of the enemy that none of the other orders possess. It is much harder to simply dismiss someone as a tool of the Devil when you can understand how they found themselves in their position, or see the possible outcome of the creature’s repentance. While this caring and forgiving philosophy is quite in keeping with Christ’s teachings, it does not always sit well with the other orders. The Sister’s visions leave little room for the sweeping assumptions about the supernatural that the other orders often make. The visions tend towards the specific, dealing with a particular demon, situation or group of people. Only St. Teresa had visions that affected nations and the whole of the Inquisition. These individual visions focus the minds of the Sisters on the suffering, or evil, of the individual. The Sisters are trained to discuss their visions with others of their order before other inquisitors. These discussions lead to an interpretation based on the order’s experiences to date. The version of the vision other inquisitors hear eventually is one simplified in a calculated manner to make them react in the way the Sisters deem best, rather than restarting the debate over the interpretation of the original vision. This way of treating the other orders has lead to a little mistrust of the Sisters’ abilities, but Mother Maria-Immaculada thinks this is a price worth paying. Individual nuns, The Sisters of St. John have a unique perspective especially those in mixed cells, disagree and are far more honest about the true nature of their on the enemy. God’s blessing on them visions with their fellows. grants them acVery few members of the order are concerned with preserving the life of of Teresa adetta s n someone who has willingly given that io e is b V l l it all wil ht The Fina d by Sister Bern in life to the supernatural in some way; they d n a ly, lig t e h h ig t r b Recorde t s n le are concerned, however, with rescuing r , shall bu e and hide t im r t h e g e li w h o t c e h l the soul that dwell within the body. In r il o T “ Enemy w shall perish not, f l e u h f h T it . a d particular, the Psalms some Sisters sing f e t e illumina ce. Yet, he . The hearts of th not die. a f e allow them to talk with the enemy in u r t show his t is not yet nigh ker, yet c li f l something resembling safety. They il y w m e n n it e of Judgm from the light and flickering light, the E rarely use these opportunities to learn more about Satan’s spawn in general, shall turn arkness cast by the ent comes. d yet the , just about the particular soul and how t h ig Yet in the again until Judgm L e th e b n o ll e p a iv u h r s it left the path of righteousness. They e h shall t he Name ls of the Lord mov rthy. t , y a D are wary of deception, understandt “On tha e the ange those who are wo l be e s I . ably, and constantly fear that the im d be hey wil d seek n T a . t Light will p h e creature they are dealing with is not ig e L d e f the of th a fallen human at all, but a demon the face o ake up the sword alk t w l il merely masquerading in human or w d a e They will nd its Mind. nd the d . Hell shall a a ld t near-human form. A mere suspir r o a e w H e d its ill shake th is judgment at han is children, w cion of deception can be enough m r o t s h H “A e f m o o r lc e u o w h to condemn a creature to the fire. t ill no is the again. Lo, es, and the Enemy w The Sisters can be utterly s. t Lord Jesu , e open its ga im... implacable in their role as a conm w o h s u , h o in y a y g e t a h a t h e science to those falling to in w r h no t must s ue.” derstand h n g u li e t h o t n , temptation. They are steadfast t o n “I d mome rike tr

Tortured Souls

sword st nd. In this “It is the e once more and the beat the heart



and unwavering in their beliefs, and can even convince mages that perhaps they have followed the wrong course in pursuing power. They can be equally relentless and self-sacrificing in attempting to turn Satan’s minions from the path of damnation. Sister Laetitia of the Convent of St. Cecilia in England is reputed to have discoursed with a vampire throughout three successive nights, praying over the creature’s bed during the day. At the end of the third night, the vampire resolved to watch the sun rise. Sister Laetitia gave him the last rites as the sun scorched away his flesh. She held his hand, even as he caught fire, and called upon God to save his repentant soul in Jesus’s name. She bears the scars of his passing proudly, as testament to her dedication in saving souls for God. The Sisters are not foolish idealists, though. Should a mage, Devil worshiper or other servant of the enemy prove resistant to the world of God and be unwilling to repent, they have no hesitation in turning the sinner over to the martially inclined members of the Inquisition for a more final solution to the debate. After all, it is better to dispatch the unrepentant soul to Hell than allow it to corrupt other souls around it.

the theology to which the order clings. The Sisters view the restless dead as pitiable souls who have been granted one last chance to redeem themselves through the direct intervention of God. Surely, argues the order, the Devil would gain no boon by denying souls entrance to his kingdom. The Sisters understand that most spirits have some task of penance yet to perform before they can pass on to their final reward, and are often guided towards aiding them by their visions. This is not an element of their calling that they share widely with other members of the Inquisition. Only the Red Order participates willingly in these missions, as much for the opportunity to learn about the spirit as to help redeem its soul. No Sister is allowed to deal with a spirit on her own. At least two other members of the order must be kept informed of the inquisitor’s dealing with the spirit at all times, so that they can help the Sister spot deception or wrong-doing on the part of the spirit that could reveal it as a demon posing as one of the restless dead.


If there exists an exception to the order’s policy of treating each encounter with the supernatural on an individual basis, it is possessing spirits. Those demons that force their way into the bodies of innocent Christian folk and slowly corrupt body and soul with their mere proximity are anathema to the Sisters. The order believes that it is charged with protecting the souls of

Ghosts are a special case to the Sisters of St. John. Some of the order’s most talented prophets, like Agnes of Kent, receive their visions directly from the spirits of the dead. While the Bible forbids attempts to contact the departed, it does not speak on the matter of dealing with the dead who contact the living. That, at least, is




the Inquisition and the people of Christendom; possessing spirits are its chief foe in that task. Thankfully, the very same mechanism the order uses to find its novices also allow it to find people possessed by demons. The order has a widely and publicly known reputation for dealing with the possessed. It has enough agents through the nunneries of Europe, its members who have chosen the life of an anchorite or those who have transferred to a different order that a sister can be summoned to a possession within a matter of days. The Sister of St. John who first hears of the possession will ensure that the possessed person is restrained in some way to prevent them escaping before help can arrive. In some cases, that entails the victim’s family maintaining a vigil over their suffering relative or, in extreme cases, calling upon the local authorities to imprison the possessed person. The order makes no distinction between the different forms of demons, ghosts and other spirits that can possess the living. The sheer act of possession is enough to earn the enmity of a Sister, whatever the reason. She uses all the skills at her disposal to drive the spirit from the victim’s body, including the use of holy relics where appropriate. If none succeed, the Sister orders the victim put to the sword in the hope that the soul will find escape in death that it could not achieve in life. If the spirit is driven from the body yet lingers in the vicinity, the Sister summons the aid of other inquisitors to help destroy the thing before it can inflict itself upon another Christian soul.

Brave Souls The idea of the Sisters of St. John as the heart of the Inquisition is well founded. The nuns really do see themselves in that role, watching out for the souls of their fellow inquisitors as they pursue God’s work. While relationships between the order and its fellows in the Inquisition are generally good, this desire to minister to the other inquisitors does cause frustration when the other orders don’t see things the same way as the Sisters.

Knights of Acre The Sisters of St. John have a surprising amount of respect for the Knights of Acre. While the Knights’ tendency to strike first and pray for the souls of the departed later is a matter of some regret, the Sisters understand that sometimes it is better to destroy an evil before it has time to fester and spread. Indeed, when visions of the consequence of letting a demon continue to survive plague a Sister’s dreams, she can be the most enthusiastic proponent of action against it. The Sisters also understand better than the Knights themselves the danger that the sword of the Inquisition faces. Facing the enemy repeatedly in battle hardens the soul at an alarming pace; the Sisters feel a particular calling to care for the battle-weary soldiers.


Red Order The Red Order makes the Sisters of St. John uneasy. The order’s self-selecting bias towards the academic over the pious as candidates for membership seems to have bled the more caring Christian virtues out of the order. The order does respect the Theodosians’ ability to gather information about the enemy, but remains concerned about the way it puts it to use. Mother Maria-Immaculada initiated the move to put the Red Sisters and Sisters of St. John in joint cells and chapter-houses in the hope of keeping a closer eye on the Red Order and injecting some mercy and love into the Red Order’s thinking. Frankly, the experiment has not been a success. If anything, the women of the Red Order are more ruthless than their male brethren.

House of Murnau The Sisters hold the Murnau family in high regard. While the monastic orders give the Inquisition a depth of piety and learning that are necessary to the cause, the Murnau live among the lay people of the world and are thus well-placed to both to detect and act on the works of the Devil amongst the common folk. Many Sisters hold the House up as a model of what the whole Inquisition should be like: a mix of noble and commoner, priest and lay person, men and women, all working together for the glory of God and the safety of Christian souls. The family’s goal of throwing off the curse of its past with a commitment to God’s service endears it to the Sisters as well.

Oculi Dei The Sisters are deeply afraid for the Oculi Dei. While intellectually they understand the need for the Eyes’ secrecy and isolation, most individual nuns fear that the Eyes are putting themselves needlessly at risk of corruption and discovery by acting without the support of fellow Christians. Because of this fear, the order has petitioned Marzone to allow some nuns who wish to leave the order to join the Oculi Dei. The Eyes, reluctantly, have agreed. So far, the experiment has proven surprisingly effective. Fewer Oculi are simply disappearing in areas where former Sisters are working. While this lends credence to the claim that the Eyes are too open to corruption by the enemy, the reports that come back from the former Sisters do not tally with this. They talk of horribly wounded Eyes delivered by knights who leave immediately afterwards, and who survive only through the healing ministrations of the nuns. (See p. 45 for more details on these knights, who are members of the Sword of St. James.)

The Flock The laity, God’s people, are the reason for the Sisters of St. John’s existence. God grants the order visions for one reason alone: to help guide the Inquisition against


those who would harm His people. The Sisters see themselves as the voice of the common people in the Inquisition, the little voice of conscience nagging at the other inquisitors to remember what this struggle is all about. Each nun in the order is required to spend at least two months each year working among the common people. The only exception to this rules are those Sisters whose sensitivity to visions is so great that leaving their convent is distressing in the extreme. In those cases, those nuns who work with the prophetess must spend time among the laity in their Sister’s stead. Often, the time spent among the common people involves tending to those people who have suffered under demonic influence. The unwitting pawns of the demons, those who were formerly possessed and those who have been injured in the course of a struggle with devil spawn all fall under the order’s care in the aftermath of their ordeal. The Sisters tend to both the victim’s body and mind, in the hope of allowing them a full recovery. Those whom the Sisters view as suffering irreparable spiritual damage are often given places as novices or servants in remote monasteries or nunneries, so they are protected from the temptations of the world. Those who recover well are allowed to return to their old lives or are recruited for the Inquisition, if their desire for revenge against their former tormentors is properly tempered with Christian values. Some people, though, are too damaged by their experiences to ever return to God’s path. These poor lost souls are turned over to the Holy Office or other local authorities for trial and execution for heresy. The Sister involved in caring for the fallen soul usually takes a little solace in the knowledge that the public example of the unfortunate’s death helps warn other Christians away from Satan’s service.

Convent of St. Cecilia, Amberley The village of Amberley in England’s Sussex in not a place of note. It holds a single manor house, a cluster of smaller houses, a church and a small convent dedicated to St. Cecilia. The farmers from the outlying fields come on Sunday to pray in the church, and on Thursdays to sell their goods and buy supplies at the market in the village. A number of pilgrims passing from Portsmouth to Canterbury occasionally rest in the village, but it is not a major stop on the route. In fact, if it weren’t for the presence of the Sisters of St. John and one of the greatest concentrations of prophets in Christendom, this would be an utterly unremarkable village.

The Convent The convent itself is a very simple building. It is less than 50 years old; while the order has plans to extend it at some point, these have come to nothing as

yet. The convent consists of a number of small, low buildings within a large wall that affords the Sisters the privacy they need. The largest building is the chapel, in which the nuns mark the offices of the day. Adjacent is the refectory and a small library with a selection of the writings of the saints, as well as a complete record of all visions received by the members of the order within the walls. Opposite that lies the dormitory. An extensive garden provides the nuns with much of their simple diet and an attached herb garden provides herbs for healing and for controlling the Sisters’ visions. A small hospital can be reached directly through a narrow door in the outer wall. It is the only point of contact between the Sisters and the outside world. On occasion, it holds local folk who are seriously ill. Much of the time, however, it is home to inquisitors on retreat.

The Sisters Laetitia, the Mother Superior, has a formidable reputation for turning the hearts of the corrupted from the path of evil. She is growing old and tired, however, and accepted the task of establishing the order’s training house in England as a way of continuing her service. Laetitia accepts novices from all over England and Northern Europe, and many of her pupils start receiving visions or develop a talent for exorcism. The Mother Superior takes a personal interest in tracking down and rescuing girls who are suffering from their first visions from God. She takes great pride in the growing number of Sisters in the convent. In particular, Sister Agnes of Kent is proving to be a fine inquisitor. The young nun is driven by visions of her family to seek out servants of the Adversary. Agnes is only in the convent for roughly half the year. The rest of the time she spends with a mixed cell of Red Sisters and Sisters of St. John investigating some of the more inexplicable sightings of demons in England. Sister Fryswyde is the order’s most skilled exorcist in the country at the moment. She and her novices spend much of their time on “pilgrimage” to places where other inquisitors are struggling to deal with possessions and hauntings. Winifred, a woman who helps out with the kitchen garden on occasions is, in fact, an Eye of God. She acts as the liaison between the two orders, seeing if the Sisters’ visions can be matched with an observations the Oculi Dei have made elsewhere in the country.

The Enemy The immediate area around the convent is free of the influence of the Devil, as best the Sisters can discern. This convent is not designed as a chapterhouse to cleanse the local area, however, but as a base of operations for the Sisters across the south of England. Sister Agnes and Sister Fryswyde both lead cells that are more often away from the convent than in it.



The Sisters who remain in the convent have been seeing the same vision, or variations on it, for the last three months. The visions are all of blood, animals and the deaths of innocents. Many of the Sisters are now afraid to leave the walls of the convent. Laetitia fears that she recognizes the signs: shape-changing witches and their demonic animal consorts are abroad in the lands around the convent. Winifred, who has recently returned from an extended absence, is inclined to agree. Eyes in villages all over Sussex are reporting increasing number of attacks on farmers, with whole communities being slaughtered in the night. It looks as if the days of the convent’s isolation are over, yet the Mother Superior is reluctant to summon a cell of Knights of Acre for help, as that will raise too many questions among the villagers. Instead, she has sent a message to Agnes, requesting that she return to the convent with all haste and bring her friends from the Red Order with her. Perhaps the Red Sisters will provide a solution.

The House of Murnau

How can we not act? Have you ever walked home to find that the filth in the street is even more odious then normal? The stench sickens you deep to your stomach and makes it hard for you to reach your own threshold. You gag and retch the closer you come to your own front door and, in the end, you have to turn from your home, the reek too powerful for you to bear. You stagger away, yet around the next corner lies a leper, his skin a mass of boils and sore. He, too, smells like a peasant’s garderobe. Whenever you think you have fled the stench, you catch it again. That is what life is like for my family. Demons seek power, and those of us who move in the circles of power cannot avoid them. If we do not encounter them, they seek us out. That is the burden God has placed upon us. We have no choice in the matter. You chose to serve Him. I was born to do it and I thank God for that blessing. Make no mistake, I may make a play of being a wanton noble, but my faith in our cause is as strong as yours. I want to walk the streets of my home without the stench of the midden assaulting me unexpectedly. — Otto von Murnau


The view was beautiful. The harsh Bavarian winter had given way to a mild spring and the garden was coming back to life. The two cousins walked side by side through the rows of trees, reflecting both on the grace of God’s creation and on the duty that brought them together. “You know why I am here, cousin,” said one, reaching up to take some of the blossoms in his hand. “I do,” replied the other, tersely. “I know you wanted no part of this. Otto’s instructions were clear, however, and you know he has Frederick’s full backing. It is our duty…no, our obligation to serve the Church. You are lucky that you have been spared this long.”


“For God’s sake, I have a family!” “Yes, you do, and you would do well to hold your blasphemous tongue around them. You may not carry the name Murnau, but we are your family as surely as those squalling brats of yours. Do they carry the curse, I wonder? Have you told your wife about it? No matter. You carry the curse and your duty is clear. Two men will arrive here tomorrow seeking work, which you will give them. All three of you will meet with me tomorrow night in my house in town and we shall proceed from there.” The idea of being recruited into the House of Murnau seems an odd one. After all, how does one get recruited into a family? Surely its members are born into it, not recruited? Well, yes and no. By far the largest proportion of inquisitors within the House is made up of blood family members, though not all of them knew that they were part of the family until their “gifts” manifested themselves. Also, the House, as part of its duties to the Inquisition, takes in men and women touched by God who wouldn’t fit into the monastic orders and who don’t relish the life of secrecy and paranoia that comes with membership in the Eyes of God. Indeed, the Oculi Dei’s rather stringent requirement for membership often make the House the only order suitable for many new inquisitors to join.

Inquisitors of the Blood When the head of the family, Frederick von Murnau, formally agreed that the whole House should join the Inquisition, it did not lead to the immediate assimilation of everyone who bears von Murnau blood. The process of bringing individual members of the family into the Inquisition has been a slow and steady one. The immediate family of Frederick and Leopold were the first recruits, including Otto, who is the formal liaison between the family and the Inquisition’s rulers. One by one they invited in the extended family, after careful observation for signs of possible influence by the enemy or an unhealthy attraction to the paths of sin. With some reluctance, the family had to undertake a small but rather brutal, housecleaning to bring the whole House under the Inquisition’s banner safely. By this time, the vast majority of the whole extended von Murnau family across Europe (and even further afield, given the family’s extensive trading interests) is aware of the family’s duties. The children of the family remain ignorant of the greater calling of the House until their early teens, unless circumstances force them into a greater awareness of the family’s struggle earlier. The closest family member who is an active inquisitor then takes the child aside and explains in some detail the family’s duty to the Church and to God. Some family members choose to serve in other orders. Others follow the ordinary route of their lives: entering monastic orders, joining a military order or continuing in the family’s mundane business. Each, though, still uses her unique gifts in the service of the Inquisition.


My dearest Otto, It has been too long since we have met, my son. I demand that you come and stay with me at your earliest possible convenience. We clearly have much to discuss. I am sure that I speak for the whole family when I congratulate you on your recent initiative. Brother Leopold speaks most highly of your oratory and passion. It does me good to know that one of my blood can talk round even the holy men of Rome. It is a singular honor for our entire house to fall under the auspices of the Church itself. It is also an honor most unlooked for, I can assure you. We have never had any objection to members of the family, such as dear, unworldly Leopold, taking vows, yet such an audacious enterprise never occurred to me nor any of my siblings. It is a shame that the head of the family was not present at such a momentous occasion. Still, what is done cannot be undone. I would not like to be the one to oppose the wishes of the Vicar of Christ — I value my slim chance of entering Heaven too highly for that. However, I must call to your attention the matter of certain elements of our family that might not find the Church as comfortable a home. I feel that such family members should be found a comfortable, permanent home, and I am sure you share my sentiments. It is a son’s duty to obey his father, is it not? It will not be a pleasant task, but I am now convinced that you are the very man for the job. Your father, Frederick von Murnau Marriage Since the family’s induction into the Inquisition, the prospect of marriage for its members grows ever more difficult. Before the senior members of the family agree to the contracting of any marriage between a von Murnau and anyone not already within the body of the House, the family’s inquisitors carry out an extensive investigation of the family of the prospective family member. The Oculi Dei occasionally contributes to such investigations with anonymous documents outlining the shadier corners of the subject’s family tree. Only once the family is cleared of any immediate involvement with the Satanic do the family elders allow the marriage. Franziska von Murnau takes a particular interest in this area of the family business; she has several scribes in her employ for the express purpose of tracking not just her own family, but the family lines of all those who marry into the House of Murnau. Spouses remain ignorant of the House’s role in the Church until such time as they have proven themselves loyal and expressed suspicions about the manifestations of the family curse. Some, of course, come into the family

with those suspicions already well ingrained. The von Murnau family’s reputation in Bavaria is more than a little strange. Learning of the curse is one thing, however, and learning of the Inquisition is quite another. Only those spouses who have proved themselves loyal over a number of years are enlightened as to the full role of the family within the Church.

Forgotten Family The Murnau do not sire bastards if they have any sense. Sadly, not every young Murnau boy has sense — more than a few scions of the house have sown their oats rather widely. Not every indiscretion by a family member is recorded, and once in a while the Inquisition turns up an individual who possesses the same uncanny talents as members of the House. The Inquisition always reports such individuals to the House’s leaders, even if they are inducted into other orders. Franziska’s scribes and researchers then work hard to identify exactly which branch of the family tree dropped this particular acorn. After all, where one acorn dropped, there may be others. The House has too many enemies of its own blood already and can ill-afford to discover any more. Any hint of an



undiscovered member of the family causes its members to scramble to track down and recruit him before the family’s curse draws him into Satan’s clutches.

Staff and Servants Many of the House’s employees remain blissfully unaware of the family’s work. A close inner circle of servants and employees are not just aware of it, however, but are inquisitors as well. After some debate, the House agreed to open its doors to people touched by God’s blessing and provide them with a home within the Inquisition. Both lay people and priests who disliked the notion of joining a monastic order to serve the Inquisition now serve it as part of the House of Murnau. Otto’s immediate circle of companions is entirely composed of inquisitors, for example, and they make up the heart of his own cell. Most of the senior family members now have several inquisitors in their entourage, including Frederick. While he isn’t actively involved in the business of inquisition himself, such an important noble needs protection, especially from the forces of Satan that have divined the family’s links to the Church. Besides, Marzone, Leopold and Otto know that demons move at the very highest levels of society. The chance to learn more about them through the activities of such an important Bavarian noble is just too promising to ignore. Many family members were initially reluctant to open the House’s door like this, but experience has quickly proved just how good an idea it is. Commoners and priests can often go places that noblemen cannot, mixing with people even disguised nobles would find it hard to converse with undetected. The success of such cells in rooting out and destroying the servants of the enemy, particularly within towns and cities, has done much to improve the House’s standing in the eyes of the other orders. Several of the House’s trading establishments and city residences are now covers for cells of inquisitors, often run by seneschals or merchants who are both inquisitors and employees of the House of Murnau.

Our Duty The House of Murnau’s unique gift for detecting the enemy give it a rather focused view of the enemy. Much like the Sisters of St. John and their visions, the von Murnau curse focuses the order on the individual creature of evil, rather than a classification of creatures. The House therefore tends to focus on defeating individuals and their supporters rather than on trying to classify their unholy natures. If any classification of the Devil’s servants exists in the house, it is a broad an unconscious one, derived from the von Murnau’s attitude to the creature rather than its own nature. These broad groups are outlined below.


Politicians The House encounters Satan’s spawn worming their way into the mortal power structures of the world more than it come across any other form of demon. These devils are the evil the family is destined to destroy, or so believe many of the House. The von Murnau specialize in dealing with these creatures simply because, to a large extent, the family understands them. The basic tactics of acquiring power and undermining enemies have been the von Murnau’s stock in trade for generations and are much the same as those tactics used by the demons. The order can compete with the devils at their own level, and with the additional advantage of the God’s blessing. Inquisitors within the family have noted a number of characteristics in common among these demons. For one, they are happy to appear in mortal society, unlike many other types of demon. Some even seem to relish being in the public eye. For a little while the family thought such creatures could easily be identified by an abhorrence of appearing during daylight hours. Recent discoveries suggest that this is not the case. While some demons certainly do shun the daylight, others are as capable of walking abroad at midday as any man. Another common trait is the use of human or partially corrupted lackeys, minions and cultists, just as the House uses its servants, employees and even people just trying to curry favor with the nobles. In many cases, a cell’s first hint of the existence of one of the Devil’s children will be the fetid stench of evil on one of her servants. A messenger or tradesman who reeks of corruption is usually a sign that a greater evil lurks somewhere near by. After such a discovery, the family swings the full weight of its abilities into play. Its senior members do their best to arrange meeting with people who could possibly be influencing the pawn, while members lower down the social pecking order attempt to trace other servants of evil in league with the initial suspect. Once the demon’s power structure is identified, the family can use its wealth and influence to discredit, injure or undermine the people supporting it before seeking to confront the demon itself. Sometimes, the nest of monsters turns out to be small and the cell can handle the situation on its own. On several occasions, however, a von Murnau cell has discovered a wide-ranging conspiracy throughout a town or city. Curiously enough, a family party often follows such discoveries. The extended family arrives, complete with knightly guardians from the Knights of Acre. Sometimes pilgrims from monastic orders travel with the family caravan, too.

Predators The demons that hunt the living in a direct, physical way are of less interest to the House than those who seek temporal power or corruptive influence. After all, the Knights of Acre seem better suited to dealing with such monsters. The same cannot be said of the younger mem-




he von Murnau family are the point men of the Inquisition in more ways than one. In individual cells, they are often the first into a dangerous situation, deploying their gifts to detect the enemy. In addition, a von Murnau family house is one of the easiest and least overt ways of establishing a cell of inquisitors in the town. Once that house is established and the von Murnau family member has made something of a splash in the town’s social scene and mercantile community, the House can facilitate the arrival of other orders in the town. The family’s wealth lets it, say, endow a house of the Sisters of St. John, which allows a handful of nuns to start their work in the area. bers of the order. Like most young men of noble birth, young von Murnau men (and even some of the women) are eager to prove their worth and establish a reputation for themselves. Undermining and destroying a demon’s power structure takes time. Killing a predatory demon can be done quickly, if not easily. Soon after hearing of the family’s role in the Inquisition, many young von Murnau spend a little time actively hunting the enemy, traveling with retinues through the family’s lands, looking for tales and rumors of diabolic activity and seeking to deal with it. The older members of the family actively encourage this sort of behavior. It both encourages peasants on von Murnau land to believe that the family actually cares about them and rapidly teaches the youngsters that demon hunting is not something to be taken lightly. To be on the safe side, the family endeavors to place an experienced inquisitor, usually one not from the family, into the youngster’s retinue — the better to drag him out of trouble.

Corruptors If the family treats the political demons much like its political opponents, it treats the demons that seek to corrupt others like its long-held family enemies. The family’s propensity to lose members to the enemy’s wiles makes the Devil’s tempters and corrupters of particular concern to the family’s leadership. All family members are under standing orders to report such creatures immediately to Frederick or Franziska and are forbidden from acting against them until such time as they receive direct instructions from the head of the family. Otto and Leopold are excluded from this process, to minimize the chances of the Inquisition as a whole becoming aware of how many von Murnau have sold their souls. Obviously, this can create problems in mixed cells; inquisitors from other orders are sometimes puzzled by an normally enthusiastic von Murnau’s sudden reluctance to pursue a particular servant of the enemy.

Where possible, the senior members of the family endeavor to send older and more experienced members of the family to aid the inquisitor in her duty and to help her resist the enemy’s wiles. This is not always possible, as the enemy’s forces are legion and the von Murnau but a single family. If help is unavailable within the family, Leopold may push for a cell of Sisters of St. John to support the von Murnau cell and help defend their souls. In extreme circumstances, the order may make a formal request to the Oculi Dei, or even Marzone himself, for monitoring of the cell. Some family members are uncomfortable with this idea, as they are concerned it will undermine the inquisition’s confidence in the House. Frederick and his sister are canny politicians, though, and they have (quite rightly) deduced that Marzone is actually happier when his inquisitors confess their failings and weakness and ask for aid — better that than lose more members to Satan. After all, did not Lord Jesus teach the value of humility in all things? Once the word from the head of the family comes, a von Murnau inquisitor should do her level best to utterly destroy a corrupting demon and all those who serve it. Once the demon is slain, the family member should destroy its corpse and all of its possessions that the inquisitor can lay his hands upon, including any property. This is an unusual practice for the order: it typically does its best to acquire the wealth and possessions of its fallen foes for the use of the family and the Inquisition as a whole. The House has in its employ many fine forgers and lawyers who can quickly and effectively resolve matters of transfer of title, especially with the lubrication of a little of the family’s wealth. This approach has lead to some clashes with both the Theodosians, who would rather learn from the demon than see it and all its belongings destroyed, and the Sisters of St. John, who are often left to clear up and care for the survivors after a von Murnau purge.

Family Values The House of Murnau is the least structured of the Inquisition’s orders. The monastic orders have strict hierarchies derived from their founding Rules. The Eyes maintain discipline and use organized lines of communication to protect the members. The House is an extended family, though, with all the conflicts that implies. Any attempt to get Cousin Gottleib to report to his Aunt Christiana is doomed to failure. Thus the individuals in question define relationships between the von Murnau and the other orders. There are some general attitudes that stem from the family’s noble status, though.

Knights of Acre “Military orders are a good home for restless younger sons who lack the discipline to make anything else of their life. They’re useful when blood must be shed, but you wouldn’t want them around the house.” That’s the atti-



tude many nobles hold toward the various military orders; it applies just as well to the House of Murnau’s view of the Knights of Acre. The House’s skill lies in uncovering and undermining the enemy, whereas (as the Murnau see it) the Knights are the brute force of the Inquisition: useful when you need to fight, but redundant until then. While individuals in the House often have strong friendships with individual knights, spending what little leisure time they have time hunting and training with them, they tend to regard their friends as the exception to the rule.

Red Order The Murnau are rather more trusting of the Theodosians than the other orders. After all, the order can smell corruption: that stench does not (normally) hang around the Red Brothers and Sisters. Like most noblemen, the von Murnau appreciate having men and women of learning to hand, to provide the knowledge the nobleman himself doesn’t have the time or inclination to acquire. There’s an element of truth to the Red Order’s perception that the von Murnau see it as just a group of scribes, whose services can be called upon whenever the noble feel the need. The von Murnau give the monastic order more respect than it realizes, though. They truly do value the research the order undertakes.

Sisters of St. John Individual members of the House of Murnau often have the greatest respect for the Sisters of St. John. They are well aware of how much freedom they have given up to become part of the Inquisition and are in awe of the sheer level of devotion and self-control the Sisters need to control their visions. The two orders do have some disagreements, usually over the House’s propensity to tread all over victims of the Devil in its enthusiasm for rooting out his servants. The Sisters feel, quite rightly, that they are often left to clear up the mess. A number of generous endowments of houses from the von Murnau family, however, have done much to quiet the complaints.

Oculi Dei The Oculi Dei and the von Murnau interact frequently. Often the Eyes have spotted something suspicious, but the demon is too wily to give aware its nature to the observer. A member of the House of Murnau can quickly put the matter to rest. The House sees the Eyes as an extended group of its servants, one who do the hard work of winnowing down the likely suspects. Once that tedious labor is done, the von Murnau steps in and sorts the sheep from the goats by means of their gift. In short, the noble family see the lay order made up largely of common people as inferiors — but useful inferiors, nonetheless.

The Flock Truth be told, the House of Murnau joined the Inquisition more for its own protection than that of the flock. Like most nobles, family members tend to have a


healthy disregard for the well-being of the peasantry and a positive enthusiasm for the downfall of other nobles. Caring for the poor and unworthy is simply not the family’s job. Noblesse oblige is not a concept with which the family wastes much time, considering there are demons to be exposed. The family’s lack of formal religious education and life-devoting service to Christ does makes it the order most willing to kill those who serve or worship demons. The family members hold the death of individuals to be of little account in the greater scheme of things. The family doesn’t go out of its way to kill suspects, and hands them over to other orders for questioning or rehabilitation if the opportunity presents itself. If killing the sinner is the simplest option, though, a family member will often do just that. That said, the time spent in the Inquisition’s service, the need to work with men and women of God and times spent in prayer and retreat are all instilling Christian values into the family with remarkable speed. If Fredrick was aware of his family’s growing reputation for both protecting the poor and providing them with alms, he’d be furious. Such a change in the family’s image might give away too much. He isn’t yet aware of it, however, and so the steady reform of the family continues. Another factor in this is the steady growth of nonfamily inquisitors in the House. They are likely to moderate the actions of a true-blooded von Murnau in the field, out of empathy with the possible victim if nothing else. Those von Murnau who work extensively with other inquisitors do seem to gain more respect for the common people. Working with people of common birth in life- and soulthreatening struggles against the enemy has a way of making them see their social inferiors with new eyes and, often, new respect, too. If this trend continues, perhaps joining the Inquisition really will be a route to redemption for the family.

The Munich Residence of Heidolfus von Murnau Munich has been in existence for a mere 72 years, yet is already a thriving town. This is due in part to the patronage of the local noble family, the House of Murnau. Heidolfus von Murnau, a second cousin of the head of the house, Frederick von Murnau, has lived in Munich for the last decade. He commissioned a large new town house some four years ago, and work on the project has only just finished. He could not be happier. Not only is the house the most luxurious in the town, it’s also a perfect base for his cell of inquisitors.

The House The house itself is an impressive two story affair, twice as wide as any of the other buildings on the square and at least as deep. It has fairly large grounds, including stables, servant’s quarters and a small garden, which are protected


by a wall. The ground floor of the house is the public space, including a reception room each for Heidolfus and Aveline, a large kitchen , a dining room and a study. Upstairs are a number of bedrooms for both the owners and guests. Heidolfus has absolutely no intention of inviting anyone but other inquisitors to stay, and makes the entirety of his old home available to prospective guests instead. Thus the second floor houses a small chapel for the cell’s prayers and worship, and a second, larger study where the inquisitors’ activities are planned and information about demons and their servants is collected and studied.

The Inquisitors Heidolfus von Murnau is both head of the household and the leader of the cell of inquisitors. The portly man in his late 40s was one of the first members of the House to join the Inquisition, and is deeply committed to the role. He is also one of the main champions of accepting non-related inquisitors into the House. His (much) younger half-sister, Aveline von Murnau, also carries the family curse. She is an inveterate socialite and is at the heart of the young town’s social scene, a role that allows her to inspect all newcomers to the town for the stench of the Adversary. Father Munifrid used to preach in a village on the edge of the main Murnau estate. An encounter with a shape-changing beast changed all that when God opened his eyes and granted him power. The House of Murnau offered the priest a job within the house and the Inquisition, and he gladly accepted. Hugo, a farmer, nearly died in the same incident that opened Munifrid’s eyes. God chose to bless him as well, and he helped keep the beast at bay until members of the von Murnau family arrived to deal with it. Hugo is now rather uneasily posing as a household servant, but is in reality the brawn of the Munich cell.

The Enemy The area around Munich has suffered from an evil reputation for generations. When Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, founded the new town near Munichen, he hoped to shake off the superstitions that clung to the place. He failed. The legends of the hoi-hoi man persisted. These stories tell of a tall, heavy-set man dressed all in black who walks the forests and hills around the new town, carrying a large rock with him. To encounter this figure and hear his cry of “hoi-hoi” is death for most; only a handful of people have met him and survived to tell the tale. They rarely survive more than a week after doing so. The curse of the von Murnau family allowed Hiedolfus and Aveline’s father, Bodoloff, to identify a cult of men and women in the area who worship the hoi-hoi man. Bodoloff disappeared not long after Aveline was born. His second wife died a few years later, leaving Heidolfus to raise his sister. He has vowed to find out what happened to his father and avenge his death. What Heidolfus does not realize is that his father yet lives, as the latest host body for the demon Hoilial. The creature was



summoned from the Pit centuries ago, and has rooted itself partially in a rock and partially in a human host. It is at its most powerful when the two are together, hence the legends that surround the hoi-hoi man. It also has two families of worshippers who have sustained and obeyed it for generations. Through Bodoloff, Hoilial is aware of the Murnau curse and considers the family as good prospects for future worshippers and servants, especially once he appears to them as their beloved father. Other matters have occupied the demon’s attention for over a decade, but with a rival now thoroughly crushed, it can turn its attention back to Munich and the Murnau family.

The Oculi Dei

So you think it is easy for the Eyes of God, my noble friend? You think it is easy to watch a damned thing drain the life from a man you have known for 20 years and doing nothing to stop it? You think that slowly learning what creatures of the Adversary lurk in the shadows of the town you call home is a pleasant experience? Do you think I relish knowing that the respected merchant my family visits is tainted by the very touch of El Diablo himself? None of these things are easy, señor. None of them. We watch, so you may act. We suffer in God’s name so you can gain glory. We all serve God and I give thanks every morning that He granted me the chance to do so. Do not make the mistake of believing that just watching is easier, though. I would much rather act, but that is not my choice to make. Here are the documents you requested. I think you will find all you need is there. Now, if you will excuse me, señor, I have other business to attend to. My name? Ah, no. It is not my place to act and it is not your place to know my name. I bid you good night, señor. — Osoro of Madrid


Eleanor woke with a splitting headache and no idea where she was. She cautiously opened her eyes, only to find herself in absolute darkness. She listened for a while, heard nothing and so pulled herself to her feet. Stretching out her arms to feel around her, she found nothing. She began to step forward, but was interrupted by a familiar voice. “I wouldn’t move too far that way, if I were you. This isn’t a safe place to be even when you can see.” It was the voice of the man from the tavern a week or so ago: the one who had believed her when she told him about that creature she’d seen. A shiver crawled down her spine. What did he want with her? “I’m here to make you an offer. It’s an offer you’ll accept, if you have any sense.” “Who are you?” “Any number of people, my dear, depending on my need, mood or God’s will. Now, be quiet and listen. Your willingness to talk may have already endangered you, and your willingness


to listen may just save you.” Nobody applies to join the Eyes of God. Nobody knows they exist or, even if they have caught a whisper of the order, where to apply if they did. The Oculi Dei choose their members as guided by God. The good folk of the order fall into one of three categories: those recruited for their skills, those recruited for their experiences and those recruited by happenstance.

The Skilled When an inquisitor is setting up a new cell of the Oculi Dei, her first task is to find recruits. She needs people who possess a number of essential skills. The first and most important requirement for an Eye is the ability to keep a secret. Gossips need not apply. The order’s role is collecting information, not disseminating it. Almost as important is the candidate’s faith. Life as an Eye is trying in the extreme, and only a robust faith in God will see her through the terrible guilt and frustration that comes with the job. The third requirement is the intellectual ability to analyze what the Eye sees. This isn’t the same thing as education: academic learning is a luxury available to only a few. Eyes need a degree of raw, natural intelligence that allows them to draw accurate conclusions from limited information. They need sharp wits more than they need book learning. The last is the ability to see what is truly happening, rather than looking at events in a vacant way as so much of mankind does. When the cell leader finds such a person, she spends weeks or months observing him before dispatching her report to her superior via an itinerant Eye. When the candidate is approved, she arranges a clandestine meeting with the chosen soul, and asks him if he would like to serve the Church. If he agrees (and he may take some persuading given how little explanation he receives) the inquisitor sets him a task of minor importance and monitors how well he performs it. Only after months of tests and minor tasks does she invite him to the first cell meeting, with strict instructions to come masked and not reveal his identity to anyone.

The Witnesses Ordinary folk who have already survived an encounter with demons are another source of new Eyes. The Oculi Dei are often the first people to know of the encounter after the witness herself: they were probably watching when it happened. The order endeavors to have a member engage this hapless soul in conversation about the encounter. If she displays a gift for analysis and an interest in dealing with the demon spawn, she is offered a place in the order once a superior grants permission. If the Eye finds incontrovertible evidence that the witness received God’s blessing, the approval of a superior is unnecessary. If she is not deemed suitable, she is passed to another order, usually the House of Murnau, as a possible recruit. If she shows none of these qualities, the Eye leaves




s far as the majority of the Inquisition is concerned, the Eyes of God are purely common men, sworn to watch, but not interfere in, the works of the diabolic. They are wrong. The Eyes were originally the information-gathering branch of an order of knights called the Sword of St. James. The Eyes outgrew their parent, which has long since become a military adjunct of the Oculi Dei — and a largely irrelevant one since the order joined the Inquisition. The Sword has actually split in two since Aignen le Libraire brought the Oculi Dei into the Inquisition. One group remains loyal to its founder, Rodrigue de Navarre, and continues to act as a poor man’s Knights of Acre. The loyalist Swords lack the blessing and the skill of the Knights, however, and their numbers are slowly decreasing, taking Rodrigue’s already shaky sanity with them. The loyalist Swords and the Spanish Eyes are the only parts of the organization he founded that he still controls. Losing one of them would be enough to push him over the edge, if he hasn’t fallen already. Instead of risking the Swords in battle with the enemy, Rodrigue is now directing them to weed out Eyes loyal to “that traitor Aignen.” The Swords, fanatical in their loyalty to Rodrigue, believe that they are weeding out traitors and heretics from the ranks of the orders, for the greater glory of God. He has her be, yet watches her closely. All too often, a woman who talks too much of the Devil’s work finds his servants at her door….

The Unlucky The last group of recruits are those who are unlucky enough to blunder into knowledge of the Eyes of God’s existence. These can be friends or family of an exiting Eye who discover his secret, or ordinary men and women who blunder into an investigation by mistake. Such unfortunates are given two choices: join the Eyes or die. Most choose the former. These recruits immediately “leave on pilgrimage,” bidding friends and family goodbye for a while. They are escorted by Swords of St. James to one of the order’s temporary training camps, deep in the forest, and trained (and tested for loyalty) before being returned to their home city as a new member of the local cell. Those who fail the tests at these camps never return from their pilgrimage. The camps are struck as soon as the training is done and relocated before the next group of Eyes arrives.

The Mobile Eyes The mobile members of the Oculi Dei are among the most trusted members of the organization. Very few of them are recruited straight into the position, and only then if God has directly given a sign of His approval by blessing the new inquisitor with His gifts. Instead, mobile Eyes are recruited from among the members in the static

instilled enough paranoia in them that they refuse to believe anyone who tells them otherwise. The second group of Swords, disgusted at the behavior of Rodrigue, has pledged its loyalty to both the Inquisition and Aignen, who has not revealed its existence to the Inquisition nor to the body of the Oculi Dei. The Swords’ new purpose is to watch the Eyes and protect those of them who open themselves to attack by the enemy. Aignen lacks Rodrigue’s blatant disregard for Eyes who “fail” by being discovered. All men and women who join the Eyes are risking their lives for God, and thus deserve what little protection the order can offer. These rebel Swords know nothing of the shadow Inquisition bar the fact that houses of the Sisters of St. John are safe havens for the healing of wounded Swords. Instead, each Sword is assigned a beat of several cells of stationary Oculi to monitor and protect, without the knowledge of the Eyes themselves. Aignen has more than once received reports of Swords and Eyes who have ended up monitoring each other. In such cases he reassigns the Swords and congratulates the Eyes. Many of the Eyes that have just “disappeared” in the recent past have, in fact, joined the new Swords after years of service as Eyes. While the disappearances continue to fuel rumors, Aignen protects the secret right up until his death at the hands of the Holy Office (see p. 97 of Dark Ages: Inquisitor). He does not wish news of the Swords’ internal strife to reach the ears of Cardinal Marzone. cells. Twice a year, each cell sends a member to a meeting of five cells from all over the country. From each of those meetings, a single Eye goes on to the main meeting for the region, bearing the name of a candidate. At no point do any of the attendees reveal their identity or home. All the Eyes under discussion are referred to only by their code names. At the final meeting, a handful of the proposed mobile Eyes are selected for the job, based on a combination of the cell members’ reports and recommendations from existing mobile Eyes in attendance. An existing mobile Eye approaches the chosen inquisitor in secret. The Eye offers the job to him. If he accepts, all branches of the Inquisition help him to sever his ties to his old life. He then makes his way to a training camp, which moves at irregular intervals of anything from a few days to a few weeks. There, he spends months learning survival and concealment skills, the details of the broader picture of the shadow Inquisition, the existence of the Sword of St. James and a broader set of code words. The recruit works with his tutors to create a range of new identities and then sets out to take up his new duties.

Those We Watch The Devil may be in the details, but the Oculi Dei is more interested in details on the Devil. The files of the order probably contain more information on the habits, activities and needs of the supernatural creatures of the



Dark Medieval than any other body of writing in existence. It is only the scattered nature of the documents and the observational nature of the information that prevents the Inquisition coming to an almost complete understanding of the enemy. The majority of the Eyes, because they are constrained to a particular area, do not have the depth of perspective to categorize the demons they observe. They might see enough to link the activities of the creatures with a local piece of folklore, but their superiors discourage them from drawing conclusions like that. Instead, they are told to record nothing but the facts of what they see and observe. These facts are grouped into four broad categories.

Their Habits One of the simplest pieces of information an Eye can gather on a suspected servant of Satan is its daily routine. The order as a whole is aware that an individual who is only seen at night bears further investigation, for example. Luckily, towns are small enough that a cell can assemble a pretty clear picture of the activities of a monster simply through compiling sightings — and absences — recorded by individual Eyes. The order is



ignen’s secret weapon in his clandestine struggle with Rodrigue de Navarre is the group of English and French spies calling themselves Thomas’ Men. This group is directly descended from the spy network that the English martyr, St. Thomas Beckett, established during his exile in France. After its founder’s martyrdom, the group continued to monitor the Church and nobles of the British Isles and Normandy for signs of heresy and sinfulness. Within a few decades, the group learned of the demons that worm their way into every power structure in Christendom. While Thomas’ Men lack the reach and commitment to “watching, not acting” of the Oculi Dei, the group has been in existence longer and has much to teach the Eyes about security and survival over time. The merger of the two organizations was a natural development once they became aware of each other, giving the Inquisition a greater foothold in the British Isles and boosting the ability of the Men to deal with the devils it has uncovered. A series of meetings between Aignen and Simpkin Cotter, an inquisitor and leader of the Men, followed. Now certain members of the Men have been reassigned to Spain to watch Rodrigue, his supporters and his Swords. So far, Aignen has kept knowledge of the Men from Rodrigue, and he fervently hopes to keep it that way. For more information on Thomas’ Men and Simpkin Cotter, see Dark Ages: British Isles.


reluctant to commit any of its members to tailing a specific Satan-worshipper unless it has no choice. The risks of being caught are just too great. Some habits are a very clear marker of demonic nature: feeding on blood, for instance. Avoidance of regular worship in church is considered equally damning. Some habits are less clear-cut but still potentially revealing. A woman who regularly travels in company to a place with a reputation for witchcraft or other supernatural activity attracts much greater suspicion than a woman who goes walking without escort, for example. Observation of habits have allowed to the Eyes to identify vampires as a distinct group of demon. The combination of blood drinking and not emerging during the day are the twin tests needed to identify such a creature; repeated observation of both will always trigger a report to other inquisitors for example. The Eyes have not been able to determine similar patterns of behavior for werewolves as yet. Despite repeated attempts to identify such creatures by observing people around the time of the full moon, no cell has yet been able to do so with any accuracy.

Their Fellowship Detailed records of exactly who the demons associate with are invaluable to the order. Just like the House of Murnau, the Oculi Dei has realized that most demons employ servants or lackeys of some sort in the furtherance of their diabolic business. Unlike the Bavarian nobles, though, the Eyes have realized that following these lackeys can lead them not just to the demon at the heart of the web, but also to other demons in the area. Extended period of observation of the deeds of people that serve demons have allowed the Eyes to conclude that the demons in certain areas are actually warring with one another. This has been one of the few flashes of hope in an otherwise depressing litany of sins, horrors and blasphemies recorded by the order. If demons actually work against each other, then the task in front of the inquisition might be less terrible than it appears at first. More astute Eyes have noted that a lack of friends can also be an interesting marker of someone whom the Devil has touched. Lone beggars who show an unhealthy interest in others, yet who disappear for periods of time, are a particular cause of concern. So too are brothers and sisters within monastic communities who secret themselves apart from their fellows. Sometimes this proves to be a perfectly natural example of hermitage, other times a sign of a more sinister calling.

Their Sins One of the most crucial parts of the records are the lists of sins committed by each creature. This ledger is crucial in determining when other inquisitors should be informed of the devil’s existence and the complete record released. Murder of innocents counts for surprisingly little. The order expects that Satan’s servants will kill; that is the nature of evil. Murder is a lesser sin than corrupting others into Satan’s service, though, because that affects the soul and not just the flesh. Evidence of the


s My Dear Ai gnen , m an d lear ni ng . I wa r do is w of an m a u a glam ou I th ought yo the Devil hi mself cast yo u are . s ap rh Pe . d le is m ng e than cleari ould see yo u as m or over yo u, so that I sh an d a trai t or , for yo u have ol Clearly yo u are a fo k t o the ro tti ng corpse of the or w t revealed our grea seen them as I have , brot her? Have t Chur ch . Have yo u no ic w orms that ea t the pu tres cent ol ab di e yo u no t seen th u have . We have seen yo ow kn I ? st ri Ch issan ce fles h of the body of thei r nature an d pu ted ba de ve ha e W r. he them t oget ro ug ht in t o the ni gh t. everyt hi ng w e have w -rid den er ov nd ha u yo , t ye An d dem on the hands of that very this past decade in t o ubt that yo u w ill clai m that God Chur ch . I have no do that th os e w ords w ere naug ht bu t inspired yo u . I clai m dem ons, fill in g up yo ur ears w ith of the w hispered voices u no do ubt believe that this petty Yo s. lie ar ts , yet thei r pois on ou s od men of faithful he t o be go of up e ad m is on selves In quisiti thar s also believe them di d no t the trai t or Ca ill faithful men ? . Yo u, li ke they, are w are or t ai tr a e ar , ey th Yo u, li ke e God an d ry of th os e w ho serv e Sw ord an d fu s ou te gh ri e th o t fall ve th ords of dem ons. I ha no t beguiled by the w have yo u, bu t a tribe of German t I have the Eyes . Wha r of devil-w or shiper s, clot hed in the de or an bast ards an d blood of thei r vic tims? ti , Filii et Spir tu s Sanc In nomine Patris , et The Eye of God corruption of just one Christian soul can be a trigger for the involvement of other inquisitors. The Eyes also record all visible breaches of the Ten Commandments and Christ’s teachings. Indeed, anyone fragrantly breaching a commandment is liable to end up in an Eye’s report, for it is one of the major ways of recognizing one of the Devil’s chosen. The order regards blasphemy, even inadvertently or in jest, as another sign of the Adversary at work. This does mean that the Oculi Dei spends much of its energy on investigation perfectly mundane adulterers, loudmouths, thieves and heretics, but such information is never wasted. Secular and Church authorities never complain when a detailed dossier of evidence on such a person appears mysteriously.

Their Mysteries The last major set of information that the Eyes gather is regarding any overt displays of supernatural power. On occasion, this is the only evidence that the order can get of a subject’s satanic nature. Wizards, for example, often

appear as normal people until they display their hell-spawned powers. Admittedly, some of them live distinctly non-Christian lives, but it is their display of power that marks them out as being of major interest to the order and a subject for regular observation. Displays of a wide range of powers are useful both as a guide for when to summon other inquisitors and a warning for those inquisitors when they arrive. Of course, what counts as a “mystery” is very much down to the individual inquisitor and cell. A man suddenly sprouting fur and claws is obvious to all. A man who shows particular luck when gambling is more open to debate (although the very act of gambling make him suspicious to the more fanatical Eyes).


The vast majority of the Oculi Dei has no opinion at all on the other orders within the Inquisition, simply because they have no idea they exist. While most Eyes know they are working within a larger organization, they have no idea at all of its scope or nature. Only the mobile Eyes and senior members of the Oculi Dei, along with a tiny handful of static inquisitors who have joined mixed-order cells, have regular contact with other orders. The mobile Eyes have a particularly good perspective on their fellow inquisitors, as they often know two or three different cells. Do the Eyes also keep files on their fellow inquisitors? Of course — corruption from within is the biggest danger of all.

Knights of Acre The Knights and the Eyes exist at different ends of the inquisitorial scale. The Knights are impetuous and direct, preferring to deal with the enemy as soon as possible. The Eyes are patient and are only prepared to confront demons when they are convinced that the time is right. The Eyes find watching a months-long investigation into a web of demons collapse incredibly frustrating, all because the Knights have spotted a single demon and hunted him down. Some cells bear considerable ill-will to the Knights as a result. The Eyes are somewhat jealous of the Knights, too. After years of watching devils do the most debased and disgusting things, many Eyes long to slaughter them just as the Knights do. The pleasure of knowing that he reported the devil to the Knights is not enough for many an inquisitor. Despite his vow, often he wishes it were he wielding the blade.



The Red Order The Red Order is something of a blind spot for the Oculi Dei. Its twin methods of field research and laboratory study strike most Eyes as foolishly dangerous and incomprehensibly pointless, respectively. Those further up the ranks of the order realize just how close the relationship actually is, because they are the ones responsible for passing information from the Eyes to the Order and communicating the Theodosians’ findings back down to the static cells, to aid them in their observations. The two orders actually complement each other well, they just don’t have enough contact to appreciate that.

The Sisters of St. John The more intellectual members of the Oculi Dei are suspicious of the Sisters of St. John’s tendency to listen to their own visions over the cold, hard reality of facts. Those Eyes with the common sense to go with their brains realize quite how often the two throw light on each other. Both orders are also united in the care for the common man, although individual Sisters have harangued some Eyes for not acting to save people when the opportunity to arose. The Eyes accept that people won’t always understand the reason they have this code, and members rarely carry a grudge against the sisters for such outbursts.

The House of Murnau The relationship between the House of Murnau and the Oculi Dei is the relationship between noble and commoner played out in microcosm. The von Murnau look down on the Eyes and treat them as servants without even realizing they are doing it. The Eyes, meanwhile, delight in getting the von Murnau family to do their bidding without even realizing it. More information on demons tailored to make a particular impression is given to the House than any other order. Respect for the House, however, is growing in the upper echelons of the Oculi Dei. The von Murnau have been very open in asking for observation of some of the more troubled members of the family. Through such work, the Eyes have learned more about the von Murnau curse than most members of the family know and have come to respect the dedication of the House members to the cause.

The Flock For an order that lives among the flock, the Oculi Dei has an uneasy relationship with their fellow Christians. Many Eyes find it harder and harder to make friends or maintain existing friendships as they perform their duties. After all, it is the fate of most Eyes to watch people die at the hands of demons without interfering. Given how small most communities are in the Dark Medieval, the chances are that the victim is someone the inquisitor knows. If an Eye is to preserve her sanity, she needs to subscribe to a philosophy of the greater good and care for the flock in general while not letting the fate of an individual affect her too deeply. Over time, most Eyes end up deepening their relationship with a very close circle of



family and friends, while doing their best to steer this handful of people away from the dangers that lurk in the night. Each inquisitor has to personalize the struggle and tell herself that she is doing it for this particular group of people and their well-being. Frankly, each Eye has too much to cope with as it is to take the health and safety of the whole flock on her shoulders. In particular, most Eyes become very cold when dealing with those who have gone over to Satan’s cause. When the order finally summons the inquisitors to deal with a threat, many an Eye has taken the opportunity to inflict a little cathartic violence on one of the demon’s servants. Not a particularly Christian reaction, to be sure, but an understandable one all the same. On the other hand, the order as a whole is very concerned with the safety of the flock. The puppet masters, who sit at the center of the webs of information that flow in from inquisitors all over Europe, often decide which leads the inquisitions should pursue solely on the basis of the likely harm any particular demon seems capable of. It’s a strange irony of the Eyes’ calling that those closest to the flock are the least able to care for them, while those most removed are able to act for the sake of the common man. No wonder so many of the Oculi Dei go mad.

Julien joined the troupe two years ago. He brought with him a copy of the Play of St. Nicholas and the money to buy the troupe out of debt. Everard acquiesces to his actor’s strange demands because he knows that the troupe’s survival depends on the strange Burgundian. Julien is, of course, a mobile member of the Oculi Dei. He was promoted to mobile status as a matter of urgency, when his identity and calling were discovered by a demon. Julien fled Dijon in fear of his life, accepting his new role after a Sword of St. James tracked him down. Varocher de Saumur joined the troop just a few months ago in much the same way. A monster discovered his identity and killed at least one other cellmate. Varocher begged Julien to let him join the troupe for a short while, and the older inquisitor reluctantly agreed. The Eye has proved a talented actor, though, especially good at comic roles such as the thief, Pinchdice, in the Play of St. Nicholas. Gerner, a Sword of St. James, is discreetly following the troupe on its peregrinations around the cities of France, partially to monitor the two Oculi for signs of treachery and partially to protect them if their hunters ever track them down.

Everard’s Players

For much of the last two years, Julien has been the model mobile Eye. He has liaised with local cells, acted as a go-between with cells of inquisitors of several orders and faced the enemy in mortal struggle more than once. Everard and the other actors are certainly aware that Julien has other interests, but only Everard himself has ever tried to find out more. Julien was vigorous in discouraging that idea and the troupe leader backed down. The sudden arrival of Varocher has rekindled the embers of Everard’s interest once more, but this time he is being more circumspect in his inquiries. Sadly, the life of the troupe as an extension of the Oculi Dei is drawing to a close, whether or not Everard discerns anything resembling the truth. Neither Varocher nor Gerner realize it, but their discoveries by the demons were linked. Both had the misfortune to make an enemy of a small group of Nosferatu. The right information has changed hands, and the two inquisitors are marked and watched by the hideous monsters. The demon spawn are hoping to discover exactly who and what is paying them so much attention through the pair. Gerner suspects that something like this has happened. It’s only a matter of time before he discovers the watching vampires, or vice versa. Just to add insult to injury, Julien’s stirring performances as the pagan king, which often elicit howls of laughter from the audience, have not done much to endear him to the local practitioners of pagan magic. The next time the troupe makes its way to eastern area of Brittany, the local witches have every intention of making an example of the unfortunate actor. Of course, they know nothing of his life as an inquisitor, nor the blessings God has bestowed on Julien, Varocher and Gerner. More than likely, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise.

The good, God-fearing people of northern France are used to seeing plays, but only in their churches. Priests act out the parts of figures from the Bible in short tropes that form part of the services on feast days. The plays are conducted in Latin, so many of the congregation can only guess at the story by the actions of the actors. A man called Jean Bodel dared to challenge that way of doing things. He wrote two plays at the turn of the century that are now performed by small troops of actors on stages outside churches. What’s more, his plays have religious themes and some even actively mock pagans. The Play of St. Nicholas tells of a saint who is entrusted with the gold of a rich man, often portrayed as being a pagan king. Thieves abscond with it, but the saint tracks them down and recovers the money. Another of Bodel’s plays, Le Courtois d’Arras is a variation of the Biblical tale of the Prodigal Son, relocated to the town of Arras. These troupes win adulation from the crowds and tolerance from the Church, while acting as the perfect cover for a pair of Oculi Dei traveling around the cities of northern France.

The Troupe The small troupe of actors is lead by Everard d’Arras. He once aspired to a life in a monastic order, but lacked the resources or the learning to be accepted. He accepted that God had chosen another path for him and waited for Him to reveal his true calling. That moment came when he saw the Le Courtois d’Arras performed for the first time. He gathered a small group of would-be actors, many recruited from the more shiftless types in the local inn, a cart and the wood for a stage, and set off touring the local cities with a version of the play.

The Enemy



Chapter Two: Playing the Inquisition United we stand, divided we fall. — Aesop’s Fables The Medieval Church is the most powerful organization in the world, and is positively labyrinthine in its complexity. Navigating its politics is nightmarish for ordinary priests and bishops, and the members of the Inquisition don’t have a much easier time of it. Likewise, for modern players and Storytellers, keeping the nomenclature alone straight can be daunting. This chapter presents some information on the Church, its structure, its terminology, and how the orders of the Inquisition fit in.

Life in the Church The religious life is not a calling suited to everyone. Those men and women who pursue the service of God are a breed apart from their fellows, generally more highly educated and privileged than the average medieval man. With that higher degree of privilege, however, comes a correspondingly higher degree of responsibility, both to the Church and to the laity.

Origins of Monasticism The monastic movement began early in the history of Christianity as a whole, its first stirrings arising about the middle of the second century in the East and

concentrated primarily in the Holy Land and Egypt. Several factors contributed to the phenomenon. From the earliest of recorded histories, men and women have retreated into the deserts of Syria and Egypt, seeking to purify themselves and find ecstatic union with God. Associated with this was the custom of going into the desert to seek enlightenment, particularly when worn down with earthly burdens or when a heavy decision weighed on one’s shoulders. Retreating into the wilderness to wander, question, and seek one’s life’s mission was regarded as one of the holiest of holy acts, undertaken at one time or another by Moses, Elijah, and, most importantly, Christ Himself. It was an act of primal faith that awed those who heard of it. Many traveled into the desert to bring these “holy hermits” sustenance and to learn their wisdom. The early Christians, having been raised amid cultures that valued and honored the self-punishing ethic of the desert fathers, incorporated solitary contemplation of God and orthodox self-denial into their ethics as a highly desirable way of life. Many early Christians also retreated into the desert to escape the persecution that fell on them under the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Many of these political refugees were hunted down and martyred. This only increased the general Christian tendency to regard the desert as a special place to both achieve communion with God and to honor their martyred forebears. During the reign of the Emperor Constantine and his successors, Christianity rose from a marginalized and persecuted cult to become the sole and official religion of the Roman Empire, generating an influx of new converts and creating a new set of problems. Some Christians felt that the support of the Empire and the new ease of being Christian within it diluted the zeal of the early Church and, in some ways, sullied its purity. Disputes arose among Christian authorities as competing doctrines were formulated and different sects attempted to assert their interpretations of the faith as pre-eminent. Many devout believers, disgusted by the intrusion of politics into the practice of their faith, abandoned the world altogether and withdrew into the deserts in order to return to the pure foundations of their religion. Gradually, the numbers of Christians seeking to “renounce the world” swelled to such an extent that it became necessary to find some way to manage the “communities” of holy men and women that were forming around favored hermitage places. This led to the development of two different forms of monastic experience: the eremitic monastery and the cenobitic monastery.

Eremitic Monasticism and Cenobitic Monasticism Eremitic (“desert”) monasticism first arose in Egypt in the mid-second century. Its origins are usually asso-


ciated with St. Anthony of Egypt, a Christian resident of Alexandria who went into the desert at the age of fifteen and lived a life of extreme personal asceticism and austerity. The point of eremitic monasticism, as exemplified by the life of St. Anthony, was to dwell alone in nearly complete hermitage, in silence and poverty, purifying one’s soul by privation and the contemplation of God, entirely abandoning the iniquities of the world and accepting only what sustenance and shelter were necessary to maintain life. Extensive organization among the eremite monks was almost counterproductive, but eventually the sheer number of Christians seeking to emulate the holy example of the desert fathers swelled to such an extent that some structure was required. Eremitic monks did not have a specific Rule of Life to which they adhered, but rather a collection of general customs that prevailed among the various scattered monasteries in Egypt and around the Mediterranean basin. The strictest eremites lived in separate huts set out of earshot of one another, only coming together for worship on Saturdays or Sundays and otherwise dwelling, thinking, and writing completely alone. Others, less strict, would still live completely alone but come together more frequently (sometimes daily) to worship, sing hymns and recite psalms in addition to their private devotions. In either case, the eremites were entirely dependent on the charity of others for their material survival, following an ascetic mode of existence that held prayer as their only proper occupation and embraced extreme personal poverty. Eremitic monasticism eventually declined in prominence in favor of more communal forms of monastic enclosure, though it never entirely died out. The cenobitic (“life in common”) form of monasticism also arose in Egypt. Its foundation is credited to St. Pachomius, whose first monastery was situated at Tabennisi near Denderah, also in Egypt. The Rule of Life he wrote allowed monks to live in isolated huts, but gather together for common meals and worship services. Silence, poverty, and prayer were still heavily emphasized. Most significantly, however, it allowed the monks to work to produce their own food and clothing. Thus, the cenobitic monks became self-sufficient, the size of the community limited only by its production capacity rather than the unpredictable nature of Christian charity. St. Pachomius’s formulation was carried even further by St. Basil, who constructed a Rule that abandoned the idea of personal isolation and extreme asceticism in favor of genuine religious communities based on moderation and Christian fellowship. This mode of monastic life spread rapidly around the Eastern Roman Empire, with communities springing up in Sinai, Palestine and Syria, as well as the isle of Lèrins off the coast of France.


The monastery at Lèrins produced hundreds of welltrained and devout monks who fused together eastern and western monastic traditions. In Greece, the Holy Mount Athos, which hosted both eremites and cenobites, became the single most influential example of the eastern monastic ideal. Both eremitic and cenobitic forms of monasticism spread in the west, where the monastic life developed yet another facet — the mission to convert the heathen peoples of northern and western Europe to Christianity. In 1230, the cenobitic monastic form (usually based on the Benedictine Rule or one of its several variants) is the most commonly practiced mode of communal religious life in the west.

Living the Monastic Life The monastic day is ordered around seven offices: Nocturns, Matins/Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. These hours are sounded on



n eastern monk, Honoratus, founded the monastery on the Isle of Lèrins. It was one of the finest early examples of the monastic ideal as well as being an influential school of Christian doctrine. It trained many highly educated missionary monks, including St. Patrick, whose zeal led him to bring the word of God (along with the monastic system of communal religious devotion) to Ireland. Christian missionaries trained in the monasteries of Ireland established communities on the Isle of Iona and at Lindisfarne, from which they converted most of southern Scotland and northern England to Christianity and spread the monastic ideal from one end of the isles to the other. The monastic life did not, however, enjoy a deep penetration into continental western Europe until the coming of St. Benedict of Nursia (480 – 543), founder of the monastery of Monte Cassino and the author of the Rule of Life that bears his name. Benedict organized his monastery in an almost military fashion, emphasizing in his Rule the importance of a structured internal chain of responsibility to regulate communal life, obedience and discipline, congregate meals and worship services, standardization of dress, and a moderate life divided equally between work, prayer, and sleep. This marriage of religious devotion and the military ideals of discipline, regulation, and moderation appealed to the people of the west in a way that the more strictly ascetic practices of the east did not. Monasteries organized under the Benedictine Rule slowly began to spread and, eventually, became the norm for most western monasteries. It also earned western monks the title militi Christi, the Soldiers of Christ.

the monastery bells at roughly calculated intervals. Timekeeping, even in the monastery, is something less than an exact science. Nocturns (sometimes known as Vigil or the Night Office) is the first of the devotional offices, said at 2:00 AM in the summer and 3:00 AM in the winter; thus, the monastic “day” actually begins in the middle of the night. The spoken office consists of a hymn, psalms, and various scriptural readings suitable to the darkest hours of the night. Monastics may also spend this time in lectio divina, silent prayer and meditation on the nature of salvation, vigilance against worldly temptation, and solemn remembrance of the dead. Matins/ Lauds (sometimes called the Morning Office) occurs at daybreak: 3:30 AM in summer and 6:00 AM in winter. It is an office of joy and thanksgiving for the return of the light; the hymns, psalms, and canticles chosen for this office are usually ones of praise for the glory of God and Christ. Prime is a minor office between Matins/Lauds and Terce, a time of communal prayer for a monastic community before the beginning of the individual workday occupations of the resident monks or nuns. Terce is also a minor office, usually celebrated at 8:00 AM, both summer and winter, dedicated to prayers directed toward the Holy Spirit, as well as prayers for light and strength during the workday. Sext is another minor office, taking place at midday — usually 11:30 AM in summer and 12:00 AM in winter — consisting of a sung Mass, followed by a short period of prayer and rest. None occurs at mid-afternoon, usually 2:30 PM in the summer and 1:30 PM in the winter, marked by a brief service in prayer and song, usually related to perseverance in the face of adversity or flagging strength. Vespers (also known as the Evening Office) is observed toward the end of the day — 6:00 PM in the summer and 4:15 PM in the winter. Its celebrations usually include a hymn, two psalms, a canticle, a Scriptural reading, a proper responsory, a litany of intercessory prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, and a concluding blessing. Humility is often the theme of Vespers services, as well as wisdom and repose in the Lord. Compline is the last office performed before monastics retire for the night, usually said at 8:00 PM in the summer and 6:15 PM in the winter, consisting of a short lesson, confession, three psalms and responsory, a hymn, and a canticle. The most important labor in a monastic community is, of course, the adoration and contemplation of God, including the rites of worship and religious rituals common to all Christians. In some communities, these devotions actually consume the bulk of each day’s activities; all communities, however, spend a considerable amount of time engaged in worship. These rites included the celebration of the Divine Office, the



celebration of communal Mass, the offering of private prayers and devotions not required by the community Rule, and the celebration of processions and other, elaborate ceremonies on Sundays and the feast days of saints. All such ceremonies are performed in either spoken or chanted Latin, and most include song of some kind. Mass is said twice daily, at Morrow Mass (usually celebrated at the hour of Terce) and High Mass (usually celebrated at the hour of Sext); some communities add a third Mass dedicated to the Virgin at an appropriate hour. In a nunnery, Mass is performed by a resident (male) chaplain; in all-male communities, the celebrant is generally appointed each week from the ordained population of the community. The celebration of private Masses and the observance of private religious devotions are common, as are the addition of different liturgical offices (such as communal prayers offered for All Saints, the Dead, or Our Lady) depending on the needs of the community. Another important monastic labor is, of course, education. In most cases, education is pursued in order to promote the spiritual edification of the student, rather than for the sake of learning itself. Monastic curricula tend to be narrower in focus than the course offerings of secular scholastic institutions, teaching only grammar and rhetoric from the trivium and only music from the quadrivium (see p. 149 of Dark Ages: Vampire). A monastic education, while lacking the breadth and scope of a secular university-style education, is nonetheless superior to most other forms of learning available at this time, particularly for female monastics and those children not intended for holy orders who attend monastery schools. Additionally, monastic education often takes the form of historical work, specifically the maintenance of historical records and document archives as well as the preservation and duplication of precious, expensive books. Missionary work also falls into the field of education. Physical labor is the third important facet of monastic daily work. The early monasteries were almost invariably located in areas considered unfit for habitation by any but monks. It was by the hands of many early monastics that the wastelands of the world were civilized, forests thinned, marshes drained, rivers dammed, roads constructed and the arable farmland that resulted from their labors cultivated to produce grain and fruit. Agriculture remains a major monastic enterprise. Many of the technical advances that have fueled the prosperity of the times resulted from experiments conducted with monastery fields and equipment. Craft making, animal husbandry, the actual cultivation of crops and the maintenance of the monastery’s properties all fall into the realm of agriculture. Additionally, monastic communities have generally been builders from the outset; an eremite might find a



cave to be sufficient dwelling, but the cenobitic monastic communities require dormitories, refectories, infirmaries, chapels, and other large-scale accommodations. Architecture is a common monastic occupation. Monasteries that boast renowned architectural expertise include an office known as the Master of Works. This officer oversees all the monastery’s construction projects. Compassionate care of the sick, elderly, and poor falls into the realm of physical labor as well, as it is often travel intensive and interacts with the secular world in the form of almsgiving and hospital care. Periods are also set aside during the monastic day for food and rest. Generally, the community dines twice a day, with dinner around midday and supper around mid-afternoon. Meals are silent and served in the rectory where all members of the community are expected to eat, excepting only the infirm, who are permitted to dine in the infirmary. A reader, selected from among the community, stands in the refectory pulpit reciting Biblical passages for the edification of the community at its rest. Ideally, monastics are supposed to abstain from consuming the flesh of birds, pigs, cows, and other beasts of the land. Fish, eggs, and dairy products are considered acceptable forms of nourishment, and regular meals generally consist of bread, cheese, vegetables, cereal, beans and egg dishes, with ale or wine to drink. More elaborate meals may be served on feast days, involving fresh-caught fish (rather than the usual smoked or salted fish served at ordinary meals or as pittances), a better quality of bread, pastries, and wine or mead in place of ale. Monastics are expected to wash their faces and hands in cold water daily, and their feet at least once per week. Community members are permitted to bathe in warm water three to five times a year. Such ablutions are conducted in such a way as to minimize the temptations of the flesh, since one always bathes with an attendant. Sleep schedules tend to vary, but most communities retire early in the evening and rise after midnight to say the first portions of the Holy Office. Community members are expected to sleep in the monastery dormitory if at all possible. Most monastics sleep clothed in at least a tunic. Beds consist of straw mattresses on the floor and use wool coverings for warmth. Fires are not permitted in the dormitory, but in the event of extremely cold weather, braziers are allowed. The sick sleep in the infirmary, isolated from the rest of the community until they well enough to rejoin it. The superior sleeps in his or her own quarters if separate quarters are provided; otherwise, the superior also sleeps in the dormitory. Community members are generally not permitted to own private property, and mostly draw their clothing from a common store. The most common monastic uniform is a long tunic or cassock, sometimes with a surplice or scapular on top. Nuns wear veils that fall to

the shoulders and conceal the entire head except for the face. When outside, most monks and nuns add a cloak to their clothing. In cold weather, some clothing may be fur-lined for warmth, typically using lambswool; most monastic clothing is made of wool for warmth and durability to begin with. Sandals are permitted as footwear, as are “night shoes,” fur-lined boots worn during the night offices to keep the feet warm and to silence footsteps. Depending on the order, the most common colors of monastic dress are brown, black, and unbleached white.

Monastic Offices Depending on the size of the community in question, a monastery could possess any number of internal officials responsible for maintaining both the discipline and the life of the community. Below is a sampling of the most common offices. The head of any given monastic community, the superior, is generally known as an abbot or abbess. The process by which an individual assumes the abbacy varies widely between individual monastic communities and religious orders. In some cases, the prospective abbot/abbess is elected from a pool of candidates, and their election confirmed by the monastery’s patron, the order’s mother-house or representatives of the papacy. In others, particularly in the case of wealthy or strategically influential monasteries, the process of selection can become a positively Byzantine political nightmare as opposing sacred and secular interests all attempt to install their own appointees. In either case, the head of the household is the ultimate spiritual and disciplinary authority within the community. He may consult the community and take their advice on issues of policy, but the ultimate decisions are his, and any orders he issues are to be obeyed. In larger communities, an assistant, known as a prior or prioress, often aids the abbot or abbess on a day-to-day basis. (In smaller communities, called priories, the prior or prioress is the superior, in place of the abbot or abbess.) This individual often shoulders the majority of daily tasks with regards to the maintenance of discipline and the prompt execution of the superior’s orders. A prior is always an ordained priest who may celebrate High Mass. The prioress does not enjoy this privilege, but otherwise performs precisely the same tasks. The cellarer or cellaress is the individual in charge of feeding the community, its guests, and the poor or infirm sheltering at the monastery. The office’s duties encompass the maintenance of supplies of staple foodstuffs in sufficient quantities, the housing and feeding of all servants and lay brothers and, in some cases, the auditing of the accounts for the monastery’s holdings. This office is supported by the efforts of the kitchener, often charged with the task of obtaining fresh foodstuffs from local manors and markets and supplies from the cellarer, as well as the actual preparation of meals.



The refectorer supervises the refectory (the hall in which monastics meet to take common meals) and its furnishings. The pittancer oversees the dispensation of pittances (extra dishes of meat or eggs) as the community requires. The gardener tends to the community’s enclosed garden. In larger communities, a staff of servants assists all of these officers; in smaller communities, these duties all belong to the cellarer. The sacrist (also sacristan or sacristaness, if female) is responsible for the maintenance of the altar service, the procurement and care of sacred vestments and ceremonial items and the baking of bread for use in services. The sacrist also sees to the community’s timekeeping equipment, the bells that ring the hours, the upkeep of the church interior and the care of the graveyard. Sometimes, the office of the sacrist and the office of the warden of the shrines (who maintains any shrines to the monastery’s patron saints and any relics contained in those shrines) are rolled into one. Sometimes those offices are separate, but closely related in duties. The chamberlain is responsible for many of the same tasks in a monastery as he or she would be in a secular household: the procurement or replacement of tools, clothing, bedding, firewood, and other sundry necessities of life. In most cases, the chamberlain also oversees the cutting of hair and the shaving of tonsures, as well as regular bathing for the house’s inhabitants, clerical as well as lay. The almoner oversees the community’s charitable donations to the poor, most often in the form of food and clothing but occasionally shelter, as well. This work often involves leaving the cloister to distribute alms to the unfortunate in nearby secular communities, usually on a regular monthly basis. The precentor (precentrix, if female) is often the most soundly lettered person in the monastery, given the task of overseeing the study and copying of books as the head of the monastery scriptorium. Sometimes, the precentor is also the head of the choir. In larger houses, the librarian (who oversees the maintenance of the monastery library and supplies the copyists with the ink, parchment and other materials they require to complete their tasks) supports the precentor. The infirmarian is responsible for the administration of the monastery’s infirmary, tending to the needs of the sick and old in both the monastic and any resident secular populations. This individual usually has some skill in the healing arts, as well as knowledge of medicinal herbs and therapeutic techniques. In smaller houses, the infirmary is usually of modest size, often little more than a dormitory; in larger houses, the infirmary may actually constitute an entire complex by itself, complete with dormitories, refectory, chapel, kitchen and any other necessary buildings.

Monastic Rights and Responsibilities Monasteries and their rulers are among the most powerful and influential land magnates in Christendom,


enjoying a host of rights and privileges guarded as jealously as those of a secular lord. A large monastery and its abbot or abbess occupy the same position, managerially speaking, as any other land-holding baron. They exploit their holdings in precisely the same way. Even the most powerful monastery, however, does not simply grow up around a religious community; a patron, generally a powerful secular or ecclesiastical noble, must found the community itself. Even the most modest community must meet this restriction, or else the community’s claim to the lands on which they dwell is suspect. Communities without patrons (or lands) rarely survive for long. The monastic community must be granted the land on which the monastery itself is constructed and from which it may draw resources for its own sustenance. Such acts of patronage are attractive to potential donors for numerous reasons: genuine piety; atonement for past sins or spiritual insurance against future transgressions; as a mark of the sponsor’s wealth or status. Many monastic foundations have more than one sponsor and benefactor. Cases exist of monasteries formed by corporate bodies of individuals and families who donate land and supplies to the community. Some foundations are genuinely spontaneous acts of piety and generosity. Others are meticulously planned-out affairs involving the partitioning of a larger monastic community into two or more smaller communities, each with a resident cell of trained monks or nuns from the same order. In return for the largesse of the original donations, the community is often expected to provide services to the founder, usually of a religious nature. Prayers for the soul of the benefactor and his family and burial in the monastery graveyard are not uncommon provisions in foundation agreements. Additionally, the benefactor may reserve the right to choose or appoint members of the community, either immediately or in the future, and may have confirmation (or veto) power over the election of the monastery’s superior. As the monastery’s patron, the founder is the individual to whom the monastery looks for the majority of its support: material and financial as well as physical and legal. The donations of the patron, as well as sundry lesser benefactors, often supply a monastery with some fraction of the food, clothing, candles, and other necessities of communal monastic life, but these benefices are generally not sufficient to entirely support the community. Most monastic communities collect income from the same sources available to secular lords. Donated croplands are farmed and the produce stored to serve the needs of the community, with the excess sold for cash revenue. Flocks of sheep are often kept to supply the monastery with a ready source of raw wool, for community use or for sale. Woodlands are cleared for timber; mines are dug to extract metal and mineral


deposits; fishponds, in addition to providing a staple of the monastic diet, can be leased for harvest; arable land can be farmed out to others for a fixed annual fee. Many monasteries hold rights over one or more parish churches and can receive handsome profits from these dependencies. Monasteries housing popular pilgrim shrines containing the relics of saints are permitted to charge fees for access to these shrines. The oldest and largest monastic foundations often hold their lands by knight service and so are barons in the eyes of secular law, capable of fielding substantial numbers of knights and men-at-arms in times of war and holding places on royal councils among the wealthy and powerful of the secular world. Monastic communities, however, while enjoying many of the same rights and advantages of widespread land ownership as secular lords, have one distinct advantage that their counterparts lack. Monastic communities are not subject to secular law, but canon law, and canon law unabashedly favors the position of the religious community over the complaints of any secular litigant. Canon law at this time is in a state of considerable flux, hardening, stratifying, and reorganizing to meet the needs of an extremely active political phase in both the papacy and the general life of the Church. The creation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition has moved the enforcement of canon law into entirely new realms of widespread, uniformly applied religious justice, administered by a highly educated class of jurist-inquisitor monks, the Dominican Order. Prior to the Albigensian Crusade and the consequences arising there from, canon law was often poorly understood and even more poorly enforced. Specially trained advocates, Church lawyers educated in the arcane minutiae of canon law, had the deepest understanding of the considerable body of religious legal theory and precedent. Their knowledge was often far more detailed than that of the bishops, archbishops, and abbots primarily responsible for enforcing that law. This tendency toward lax enforcement — particularly with regards to accusations of heresy — led to vigorous reform as well as political clashes, as canon law became more rigidly defined and secular law began taking on characteristics of canon law. Energetically enforced canon law is a major source of irritation to secular authorities, as even the most minor clerk can claim benefit of clergy and the right to be tried in Church courts, no matter what their crime might be.

Corruption within the Church It’s an honored saw in every era that with great power comes great responsibility. In the case of the Church, the power is greater than even the power of life and death – it is, in the eyes of its own members, the secular authorities, and the common run of humanity, the power to condemn a soul to eternal damnation. Such power demands a higher form of accountability

and a more rigorous standard of behavior in its custodians. The communities to which they belong, both lay and religious, justifiably revile those monks, nuns, and other clerics who fail to meet those demands and who fall from Grace publicly. Innumerable ways exist by which an individual monastic might fall from Grace. The most common is a deliberate or accidental breach of vows, or a transgression against the order’s Rule of Life. Such things can be as egregious as engaging in rampant carnality with another in violation of a vow of celibacy, or as mild as breaking the Lenten fast due to illness and being required to eat proscribed foods at that time. Depending on how public and how extreme the transgression, it could be addressed in several ways. In general, most monastic and secular religious foundations prefer to keep their disciplinary actions in-house, even in the case of such serious secular crimes as rape and murder. There they administer justice according to canon law and prescribed religious punishments. An adulterous nun who bore her lover a child out of wedlock might be punished by subjection to eremitic cloister for the rest of her life, or she might be expelled from her order entirely, depending on the situation involved. A monk guilty of persistent insubordinate behavior might be sentenced harsh penances: a barefoot pilgrimage in mid-winter, for instance. Unless the breach of propriety was very public in nature, however, such things rarely excite much notice among the laity. On the other hand, the cultivation of wealth and political influence for their own sakes (and the misuse and misappropriation of Church funds for personal comfort and aggrandizement) tend to be often noted and bitterly reproached, from both the pulpit and among the laity. Such things occur with depressing frequency among the wealthier and more powerful monastic foundations, which occasionally tend to forget that the pursuit of ephemeral wealth and power in the temporal sphere is of secondary concern to their real mission. When a monastery is sitting on top of a gold mine in land rights and tax revenues, however, the longing for a pure and true spiritual life can rapidly fade in the face of avarice, with silver that purchases rich food and comfortable clothing and a warm bed at night. The widespread nepotism prevalent at certain layers of the Church hierarchy is in many ways to blame for this tendency. In some areas, the most senior prelates are more political appointees than priests, the relations of Cardinals who promised and provided a remunerative post within the Church. Such breaches in the contract of faith drive wedges between the Church and the laity, hampering the life of many Christian communities. Tolerance for popular heresies or a failure to speak out effectively against them also works against the bond between a cleric and the laity, as does the some-



times-pronounced ignorance among God’s own shepherds. Despite the generally higher level of education that prevails among churchmen, some monks, nuns, and parish priests are woefully unschooled in the specifics of their own faith. Such individuals make poor combatants against the rise of sophisticated heresies, and can even spread their own imperfect knowledge of Scripture among the flock, giving birth to yet more doctrinal errors. Minor flaws in teaching can produce unintentionally terrible weaknesses in the armor of faith, an issue of great importance to the people of the time even without diabolic influences that stalk the innocent. The only way to combat this failing, of course, is to seek and obtain a higher standard of education among the clergy — an uphill battle in an era when books are costly to purchase and costly to duplicate.

The Inquisition in the Church Among the orders of the Inquisition, the von Murnau are born and the Oculi Dei chosen. The clerical orders are all monastic or semi-monastic military in origin, and entry into those orders is accomplished according to their individual requirements. Male members of the shadow Inquisition, however, have another option available to them: secular ordination. Secular ordination is the process of taking Holy Orders of a non-monastic variety. The canons regular (the monastic clergy) profess vows that indicate their desire to abandon the world and give themselves wholly to Christ through a life of poverty, pious good works, prayer and celibacy. The secular clergy profess vows that permit them to remain in contact with the world, carrying out the will and adoration of God through the central act of worship, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, while maintaining a life of Christian piety and chastity. According to tradition, there exist four Minor Orders (the Order of Porter, the Order of Reader, the Order of Exorcist, and the Order of Acolyte) and three Major Orders (the Order of Subdeacon, the Order of Deacon, and the Order of Priest), each of which perform specific duties and hold specific obligations in Christian worship, as well as enjoying specific privileges. The Order of Porter (also known as Ostiariate, the first of the Minor Orders) bears the responsibility of guarding the doors and gates of the Church, the care of the sacred vessels used during worship and the bearing and opening of the sacred texts used by the speaker. The Order of Reader (also called the Lectorate, the second of the Minor Orders) bears the responsibility for the first portion of the Holy Mass, the Mass of the catechumens (catechism) — the instructional part of the service. They also form the body of the schola


cantorum and lead much of the liturgical singing that takes place during Mass. The Order of Exorcist (the Exorcistate, third of the Minor Orders) bears the responsibility for bringing spiritual healing to the flock, the casting out of demons and devils and the rites of physical and spiritual purification. The Order of Acolyte (the Acolytate) is the fourth and highest of the Minor Orders, whose duty and privilege is to assist the members of the Major Orders during High Mass, caring for the light, wine, and water during the holy Mass. Minor Orders are not, technically speaking, a sacrament bound by holy vows. Minorites may return to secular pursuits if they choose to do so. The Major Orders comprise the secular religious celebrants of the Divine Office. The Order of the Subdeacon (the Subdiaconate) is the first of these; while also not a sacramental office, they are nonetheless ranked highly due to the privileges and duties attached to the office. The Subdeacon assumes the obligation of observing perfect chastity in the unmarried state and takes the responsibility of reciting the Divine Office, both for life. The Order of the Deacon (the Diaconate) is the lowest order of the divinely established hierarchy and is a true sacramental order. The deacon is a true participant in the priesthood inasmuch as he assists a priest or a bishop, usually both. The deacon’s duties include assisting the priest in the performance of High Mass, the distribution of Holy Communion, the reading of the Gospel and preaching to and instructing the laity. The Order of Priest, the third and highest of the Major Orders, is also a sacramental office. A priest is very much a priest forever, “of the order of Melchisedech.” He is expected to live a life of noble character, adhering to faultless piety and chastity in the unmarried state. His duties are the most important of the secular clergy: the power to offer up the Holy Sacrifice in the form of High Mass, the right to forgive sin and the right to bless. Theoretically, any unmarried Christian man may become a priest, including male members of the monastic clergy.

The Poor Knights of the Passion of the Cross of Acre The Poor Knights have possibly the easiest road of all the Inquisitorial orders to walk by virtue of their very nature. While they may be a relatively young and minor military order, the details of their commission permits them a more legitimate excuse to leave cloister than is possessed by either of the other clerical orders of the Inquisition. They recruit not only from the cream of those who apply directly for membership in their own order, but also from all but a few of the other military orders, creating a pool of seasoned military men whose experience often tells the tale in confrontations with the Enemy. The sons of the von Murnau


and the Oculi Dei also enrich their ranks and broaden the pool of resources available to them. All in all, it is a good time to be a Poor Knight. The Poor Knights arrange their days according to the same structure as most of the other monastic military orders. Like the Theodosians and the Sisters of St. John, the Poor Knights rise for the first time at Nocturns. It is celebrated in the commandery chapel by the brothers in cloister and in the tent belonging to the ordained priest among the Poor Knights in the field. In both cases, the brothers say prayers and are then dismissed to check on their horses and equipment, speak to their squires if necessary, and either retire again for a few more hours of rest or engage in silent reading or private devotions. At Prime, the Poor Knights rise again to begin their day, usually with a full Mass in chapel attended by the entire community; in the field, Prime usually only marks the beginning of the workday. Following Mass, orders for the day are handed out to those brothers in cloister. These orders run the gamut of daily occupations for the monastery and include general maintenance tasks (cleaning the chapel and refectory; tending to the shrines of the monastery’s saints; tending to arms, armor and mounts; a term of attendance in the infirmary or hospice) as well as short-range patrol duty. Those cells of Poor Knights in the field are usually already on long-range patrol duty or else carrying out specific duties for the shadow Inquisition; these duties take up the bulk of all daily activity, though the early morning hours are usually spent caring for arms, equipment, and animals. At Sext, the Poor Knights pause in their activities to attend High Mass (if Mass was not said earlier already), and then to take the first of two communal meals. The midday meal is silent except for the readings of the clerk, who selects and delivers Biblical passages and psalms for the edification of the brothers at their meal. Full knights eat first, then sergeant-brothers, then squires; unlike the purely monastic foundations, the military orders generally take meat with their meals to maintain their strength, though red meat is avoided on fast days. Knights in the field usually hear High Mass at Sext and take their meal communally without regard for rank, though they also observe their vow of silence unless urgent matters need to be discussed. Work continues for the rest of the day until None, when knights in cloister attend services in chapel. This is followed by meetings as necessary among inquisitorial cells or with the senior members of the order to discuss matters pertaining to inquisitorial duties. Poor Knights in the field generally say brief prayers at Nones and begin searching for a place to settle for the night if they do not have a chapter-house or other shelter to which they may return. Among the Poor Knights, Vespers service is a vigil for the dead, followed by the second of the day’s meals

and another opportunity for private devotions. This is the same in both the cloister and the field. The last drink of the evening, the final check on horses and equipment and any consultation with squires that might be necessary follows Compline service, and then, at last, bed.



he Poor Knights possess the most rigidly defined chain of command in the shadow Inquisition, which is only fitting given its unique position within that organization. At the top of this hierarchy stands the aged Grand Master Gauthier de Dampiere, whose health is declining rapidly despite the best efforts of his staff to keep him alive. It is very likely that the Poor Knights will need to elect a new head of their order before the year is out. Consequently, the Commanders of the Tongues have begun jockeying for position, each one finding the excuse to either personally travel to Cyprus and visit the dying Gauthier, to send a personal envoy, or at the very least to write. There are eight Commanders of the Tongues, one for each region in which the Poor Knights have a presence. Beneath them are arranged the Knight Commanders of individual monasteries. If Gauthier chooses to give his personal approbation to one of the Commanders of the Tongues, it may ease the election of his eventual successor — or it may demolish the upper reaches of the Poor Knight command structure. Only time will tell on this issue. Standing as an equal to the Commanders of the Tongues is the Commander of the True Cross, the Knight Castellan of the Fortress of the Cross, Gauthier de Dampiere’s sharp-tongued left hand, Sir Jehan de la Croix. Sir Jehan, despite the favor he finds in Gauthier’s eyes, has been all but discounted as a candidate for Grand Master. This is due primarily to his youth and the fact that, at Gauthier’s strange insistence, he has never personally commanded troops in the field, though his inquisitorial cell is a precision instrument of destruction. The head of a Poor Knight monastery is its Knight Commander or Knight Seneschal, whose duties and privileges are identical to those of an abbot while in cloister and a general while in the field. Beneath him are the Knight Castellan (a rank roughly equal to that of the prior in a regular monastery and co-commander of the Knight Brothers), the Turcoplier (the Commander of the Sergeants of Battle), the Under-Marshal (the Commander of the footmen), the Knight Brothers, the Sergeant Brothers of Battle, and the Standard Bearer.



The Poor Knights are forbidden from owning private property by their vows of poverty. Everything they possess and travel with is issued to them by their chapter-house, including horses, arms, armor, bedding, and clothing. Poor Knights in cloister sleep in a single dormitory divided into simple cells, containing only space enough for their sleeping pallet and a chest for storing clothing and mail. The dormitory generally contains no fireplace, but braziers and charcoal are provided in the case of exceptionally cold weather. A single light is left burning all night for purposes of safety. They are expected to wash their hands and faces daily, their feet at least weekly, and bathe completely at least twice a year. Anything more than that is generally considered a sign of unseemly vanity. They tend to favor short-cropped hair to help keep the lice and fleas away. The Poor Knights do not grant any greater weight to the accomplishments of those brothers who manifest the blessings of God when it comes to the determination of rank or responsibility. Most Knight Commanders value general competence more keenly than the most spectacular display of divine providence; competence, after all, is flexible and useful in more places than the battlefield. To young knight brothers flush with the gifts of God and their first real victories against the Enemy, this can seem like a tremendously backward way of doing things. The first manifestation of God’s blessings can, for a Poor Knight, be a heady thing comprised of equal parts adrenaline rush and the exaltation of a truly divine ecstasy. It is usually powerful enough to addle the brains of even combat-hardened veterans, much less excitable young men on their first missions outside the cloister. It often has the annoying habit of simultaneously damaging a Knight’s humility and rendering him drunk on his own righteousness. The Poor Knights have consequently developed numerous strategies for counteracting this effect. No matter how skilled an individual Knight might be or how highly sought-after his prowess, no Poor Knight is permitted to spend all of his time in the field. At least one third of each year must be spent in cloister, attending to those duties that do not involve smiting the minions of the Enemy with the strength of the Lord and performing tasks intended to keep the knights in contact with their own humanity. The most obnoxious offenders are often given the most spiritually humbling tasks, more often than not duties in the commandery hospice, tending to the needs of the pilgrims whose protection is one of their primary duties. A stint washing and bandaging the blistered feet of the faithful, cleaning their clothing, preparing their meals, tending their wounds and (in some cases) delivering their children, is often sufficient to restore even the most severely Conviction-drunk Poor Knight to something resembling common sense.




agiography is the study of the lives of the saints, usually for the specific purpose of edifying the soul. Contemplation of the blameless lives of the sainted and blessed dead and prayer to those beings for divine intercession is considered a sacred act among Christians. In the popular imagination, Heaven is populated with ethereal beings that can grasp the hem of God and beg aid for a soul in need, if properly approached. The Poor Knights use the study of hagiography for this purpose as well. Their commanderies are usually founded in the names of suitably martial saints or those saints whose relics reside in the commandery chapel and shrines. Most hagiographic writing tends to play somewhat fast and loose with the actual historical events of a saint’s life. Such authors often prefer to frame the stories in terms of Biblical lessons or morality sketches designed to teach a specific religious principle, whether or not the saint in question ever said the words or performed the actions ascribed to them. The Poor Knights tend to be somewhat more rigorous in their research ethic. While it is often difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff at a thousand years remove, the Poor Knights do their best to determine the actual truth of a saint’s life or actions, the better to catalogue their relics accurately and to determine what specific effects, if any, a relic might possess. A saint renowned for his Christ-like compassion would generally not, after all, produce a relic whose nature would lend itself to a martial purpose; similarly, the relics of martial saints might not be much use when trying to invoke prayers of healing. Each thing under Heaven to its own purpose and place, after all. Those Knights who possess the inclination and the skill are set to rearing the order’s oblates and orphans, training and instructing the squires in their duties and overseeing the activities of the younger Knights. Those brothers of more scholarly inclination are given the task of cataloguing the origins and functions of any holy relics possessed by individual chapter-houses. This task often involves the researching of and writing about the lives of the saints to whom the relics originally belonged. Thus, the Poor Knights often double as the shadow Inquisition’s resident hagiographers and specialist historians in the lives of the sainted and the blessed.

Player’s Toolbox Questions to Ask and Answer: Where does the character come from? To which tongue of the Poor Knights does he belong (see p. 130


of Dark Ages: Inquisitor)? Did he grow up in the order? If so, was his father a Knight or a member of one of the other Inquisitorial orders, or was he an oblate? Did he join the order completely willingly or was it something his family expected of him? Is the character genuinely pious? Is the character of completely martial temperament? Studious temperament? What are his primary duties in the commandery when he is not in the field? Which duties does he like best and why? Which duties does he dislike most and why? Does he find the vows he took when joining the order onerous or does he find it easy to live within the framework of the order? Character Concepts: • The character is the youngest son of a noble family. While Holy Orders were something he expected out of life, he in no way expected to end up in the only military order professionally devoted to hunting down and slaying monsters. Expecting to find himself in a foundation like the Templars or the Hospitalers, the character has instead found himself thrust into the dark underbelly of the world and engaged in a struggle whose existence, and importance, he never even suspected as the callow and privileged son of nobility. Even worse, he has discovered that the influence his father wields in secular society places his own family in danger from the enemy.

• The character is an oblate raised within the order from earliest childhood, most likely an orphan of the Enemy’s malice. As such, he carries a wicked grudge along with a considerable ration of skill and drive. While he cannot wait to get into the field and face the creatures that so deformed his life; his superiors are rather justifiably worried that vengeance is not the worthiest reason to take up arms against the Enemy. They are equally concerned for the state of his soul. • The character is an older and more experienced knight from another military order who came to the Poor Knights after witnessing a supernatural manifestation of great horror. Perhaps he found a vampire or other such demon lairing within his own chapterhouse, or perhaps he witnessed one of his own sworn brothers being torn to shreds by a wolf-creature. Whatever the impetus, he has come to the Poor Knights seeking knowledge of the Enemy and bringing his experience on the field of battle as well as the politics of the commandery.

The Order of St. Theodosius The Red Order is arguably the most unusual monastic order currently in existence. Above all other things, the Theodosians break one of the most fundamental rules of monastic endeavor; for them, in many ways, the pursuit of knowledge and education exists as



an end unto itself, not only a way to more fully understand the scriptures and the mind of God revealed therein. Curiosity is the engine that drives most of the Red Brethren, the relentless desire study, learn, and know. The most intensely intellectual of the orders, their standards of entry are high, their Rule of Life unique, and their mission of vital importance to the defense of Christendom. The Red Order, however, is not completely different from every other monastic order. Theodosian monasteries celebrate the same rites of the Divine Office as every other religious foundation; they rise, pray, work and sleep on almost entirely the same schedule. Their day begins in the middle of the night with the Nocturns vigil for the dead and ends with confession at Compline, as the sun slips below the horizon. It’s the parts in-between where the greatest variations in life occur. Theodosians are primarily scholars and researchers. Where the monks and nuns of any other order would spend the majority of their day’s labors at the humble tasks of sustaining and maintaining their property and dependents, the Red Brethren delegate those tasks to lay brothers and sisters associated with their monasteries, or to servants hired to perform specific tasks. It’s the rare Theodosian who voluntarily spends her days up to the elbows in soapy water helping with the laundry or cleaning the chapel. Instead, when the members of the Red Order rise at Nocturns, they begin a vigorous course of daily prayer, study and experimentation. As with every other monastic foundation, the eight cycles of the Divine Office are performed communally. The majority of the



ainted Theodosius was a man ahead of his time, a former heretic intellectual and philosopher gifted with great wisdom and foresight. When he formulated his Rule, he acknowledged in it the need for those who would follow his calling to interact far more than was common among the early adherents to the monastic movement. As such, the Theodosian Rule itself contains few restrictions with regards to association between Red Brothers and Red Sisters (though that degree of license has since been edited to bring the Theodosians more closely in line with standard monastic practice) and no vow of silence (which has not been required of the Theodosians, despite repeated efforts to foist this stricture on them). The Red Brethren therefore communicate among themselves more freely than in most monastic foundations, where conversation is considered an unnecessary distraction from both prayer and work.


community is expected to attend these services, but a substantial portion of every Theodosian community has permission to practice these prayers privately if attending the service will seriously impair the performance of their duties. Lectio divina worship among individuals and groups engaged in similar tasks is extremely common among the Red Brethren, who sometimes have difficulty tearing themselves away from whatever fascinating thing they’re working on even to answer the call of God. Even so, they are rarely permitted to avoid communal worship entirely. The prior or prioress of the monastery is usually given the additional task of tracking the attendance of the community’s members and making certain that absenteeism does not become a habit. Even those Red Brethren permitted to worship privately are expected to attend communal services at least thrice daily, usually the specific services of Nocturns, Compline, and either Morrow Mass or High Mass. The Theodosian cycle of research begins on the second hour after Nocturns and persists until the hour of Sext. During these hours, the Red Brethren are permitted to read and consult with one another as their research requires, to consult with any fellow inquisitors of other orders present in the monastery or any local secular communities, and to speak with any residents of the infirmary or lay brethren who might be sources of information. From Sext to Compline, they are permitted to continue their researches if necessary. While the sun is high, however, they are expected to do a certain amount of genuinely practical work, such as copying in the scriptorium, taking depositions from fellow inquisitors, writing of their own experiences for the order’s records, engaging in experimentation with the applications of the Holy Art and, in some cases, helping maintain the order’s property. Those Red Brethren who do not practice the Holy Art, for whatever reason, often shoulder the majority of the order’s maintenance tasks, either overseeing the lay brethren charged with the actual physical labor or, in the case of a smaller monastic house, performing it themselves. A certain subtle snobbery exists within the Red Order between those that practice the Holy Art and those who do not. This tendency is by no means encouraged, and is in fact vigorously punished with penances designed to restore the offender’s humility before God when it becomes too evident or obnoxious. Human nature is human nature, however, even among the Theodosians. No one is quite certain why some Red Brethren find it easier than others to learn the Holy Art, the special cycles of prayers and invocations that call the Will of God manifest into the world, or why some cannot learn it at all, but theories abound. Most of those theories involve some form of deep-seated moral or intellectual defect in the brother or sister who cannot make use of this skill. Other theories posit that a would-be theurgist cannot be in a


state of sin with unconfessed transgressions, no matter how minor, weighing on the soul. Those Red Brethren who cannot or choose not to practice the Holy Art naturally tend to find these theories rather insulting. They do not have any better explanations, unfortunately, except among those individuals who have deliberately chosen not to learn the Holy Art. Such individuals tend to coolly point out that there are some forces with which one should simply not meddle, even in the name of God. In most cases, the theurgists of the Red Order are made, not born. Unlike the Sisters of St. John, the Red Brethren rarely manifest any “wild” expression of power, even God’s favor, before they enter the monastery and begin their training. The option to pursue tuition in the use of the Holy Art is just that — an option, one of many, and no official stigma attaches to those Red Brethren who choose not to pursue that course of study. Once a Theodosian passes her novitiate and takes final vows, she is permitted to study the Holy Art, to support the monastery in a more normalized role, or to join the majority of the order in its researches on the Enemy and the development of practical methods of dealing with those foes in the absence of the Holy Art. The Red Brethren who opt to study the Holy Art are almost regarded as a separate population, as their duties require a more intensive program of private lessons and practice time in order to master them. They do not live apart from the rest of the monastery population, but a subtle separation in attitudes nonetheless persists despite the efforts of most Theodosian abbots and priors to discourage it. They are, after all, a community, and for the most part the Red Brethren remember this fact well, despite the propensity for personality conflicts. The theurgists do not come by their power cheaply. Among the practitioners of the Holy Art, the appearance of some form of stigmata is the most common sign of their mastery and, theoretically, their close communion with God and Christ. Bearing the stigmata is often a sign of supreme human holiness, a piety and humility that raises the bearer into a higher spiritual plane. They are literally regarded as the co-sufferers of Christ himself, chosen to experience His pain and His sorrow for precisely the same end, the expiation of the sins of the world. The mere appearance of the wounds, therefore, without the corresponding ecstatic experience of the suffering that came with them — the ecstasy suffered by true saints and the blessed — is considered an empty symbol, absent of its true meaning. Many among the Red Brethren bear some mark of the stigmata — the punctured hands and feet, the scars of the whip or the crown of thorns, very occasionally the wound to the side — but rarely do they genuinely experience the ecstasy of the Passion itself. Some extremely few Red Brethren manifest the physical and spiritual anguish of the stigmata without showing a visible symptom — another sign of supreme holiness and humility before God. To many lay observers of the



phenomenon, very little practical difference separates a stigmatic who suffers the wounds and a stigmatic who suffers the wounds and the Passion; the person is considered holy regardless. Among other theologians, however, the disjoined manifestation is troubling. The possibility that some might be falsifying the Stigmata is a loathsome thought and a dangerous accusation to make — there has, after all, only been one true and confirmed stigmatic in the history of the Church thus far, and that is St. Francis of Assisi. No one quite knows what forms all its manifestations might take, and few are willing to completely define the phenomenon into a rigid set appearances that must be met for it to be true as of yet. Among the Red Brethren, those who bear the Stigmata are, provisionally at least, regarded as what they appear to be, the chosen co-sufferers of Christ’s Passion. Those practitioners of the Holy Art whose wounds are of less exalted nature often take prayers with their more fortunate brethren and seek after them for spiritual guidance.

Player’s Toolbox Questions to Ask and Answer: Where did your character come from? Was he or she of noble birth? Gentle? Humble? Why did your character choose the Red Order over any of the other contemplative orders available? Did your character join the Church willingly, or was your character oblated against her will? Does your character practice the Holy Art and, if so, why did she pursue that course of study? If your character practices the Holy Art, how does the curse manifest itself and how does the character explain that manifestation to herself and others? If your character chooses not to pursue education in the Holy Art, why did she make that decision? If your character pursues the study of the Enemy, what area of study does she specialize in, or is she a generalist? Does your character engage in practical applications of theory when it comes to fighting the Enemy? If your character is male, has he chosen to become an ordained priest in addition to being a monk? How did your character meet the rest of her cell and how does she get along with them? Character Concepts: • The character is a completely ordinary monk or nun, but of a strange background that gives your fellow inquisitors pause. Perhaps you come from a long line of heretics with whom you broke faith, or perhaps you’re a Curse-free cousin of the von Murnau, whose strange reputation clings to you nonetheless. You resent the questioning and suspicion, for you came to the service of God with a fully willing heart, but at the same time you cannot blame your compatriots for not trusting you completely. You are driven to prove yourself and rise above the iniquities of your origin. • The character is a true stigmatic, whether or not he or she practices the Holy Art. The character’s palms


and feet are pierced as though by nails, the character’s back bears the marks of the lash and the brow the crown of thorns, and on several terrible occasions the character’s side has been pierced as though by a lance. More importantly, the character experiences the ecstasy of the Passion, the transcendent agony of Christ by which he paid for the sins of the world, a trancelike state which can last for days and which can usually only be broken by the administration of the sacrament of Communion. The character may be exceedingly pious and humble, a true living saint, or may be as confused and frightened as some true stigmatics are at the first manifestation of such grace. In any case, the character is unlikely to live a quiet life as a servant of the shadow Inquisition. • The character, like the true stigmatic, has a rather hard road to walk. A practitioner of the Holy Art, he or she, rather than manifesting the marks of the stigmata, displays curse-signs of obviously unholy provenance. Perhaps her body is covered in pustules or boils that burst and leak rancid fluid that stains everything it touches, or perhaps he has an unhealing wound that exudes the stench of rotting flesh, feces, or some other revolting substance. The manifestation of the curse does not permit itself to be concealed for long, but the character does not wish to withdraw from the service of the Inquisition. He is genuinely pious and believes that this is the cross he must bear in order to serve the needs of others.

The Sisters of St. John In the minds of many of their fellows, the Sisters of St. John are the only proper nuns involved in the holy enterprise of the Inquisition. The Red Sisters are often regarded as far too forward and lacking the proper humility of true brides of Christ, as well as being somewhat on the witchy side. The Sisters of St. John generally tend to demur on this line of reasoning, regarding their Theodosian sisters less as obnoxious than as adhering faithfully to the Rule of their order, which enjoins them to do certain things in pursuit of spiritual perfection and service to God. That those things often involve leaving cloister to research, teach, travel and learn is simply an advantage enjoyed by the Red Order. The Sisters of St. John do not begrudge them that freedom — nor do they necessarily desire it for themselves. The Sisters of St. John are the most highly structured of the clerical orders of the Inquisition — and this rigid structure is vitally necessary to the support of its members. In an order where one in five young women is possessed of a visionary talent that can strike at random and leave its victim incapacitated with terror and pain, unable to help herself or others, a strongly established routine of daily life often helps retain at least the veneer of normality.


MUSICAL TERMINOLOGY The Sisters of St. John involve music in many of their rites and services, even during those private devotions wherein song is not explicitly required. They have discovered, through trial and error, that the act of singing, chanting, or otherwise giving voice to joy in the Lord sometimes soothes a Sister in the grip of her vision. If performed by a visionary Sister, it can sometimes trigger a gentler and more focused sort of vision. • Antiphon: From the Greek, meaning “sounding across.” A religious chant, sung as a response between a single voice and a group of voices or two different groups of singers, so that the lines of the song move back and forth between them. • Canticle: A hymn with Biblical words used in Christian worship. • Chant: From plainchant or plainsong; a simple type of harmonized melody, consisting of a single line of unaccompanied vocal melody in free rhythm with no regular bar lengths. • Choir: A group of singers in a church or other place of worship. • Church Cantata: A choral work written for performance during a church service. • Hymn: Traditionally a song addressed to God or a saint. • Polyphony: Works in which many lines of music are played or sung together, creating complex harmonies. • Psalm: One of the 150 songs attributed to David in the Biblical Book of Psalms; commonly performed as a part of many services in which singing is an appropriate expression of worship. • Psalter: An edition of The Book of Psalms translated into the vernacular, often including musical notation and rhymed text. As with the Poor Knights and the Theodosians, the Holy Sisters begin their day at Nocturns. It is the simplest service of the Divine Office in terms of musical performance, involving only the spoken or sung recitation of appropriate psalms. The Holy Sisters consider Nocturns an office for the dead, offering prayers to the proper intercessory saints for the souls of their fellow inquisitors fallen in battle against the Enemy. Following Nocturns, most of the Sisters spend the hours until Matins engaged in personal devotions, reading silently in private or gathering in small worship groups for silent or spoken reading. This time is used to set their minds in order for the remainder of the day. Matins is the first service that involves the full choir of

the Holy Sisters and is invariably chanted or sung with great energy. When the household is dismissed from Prime, another period of time is allotted for private devotions, reading, washing, or other preparations for the work day. Morrow Mass is celebrated daily at Terce, with the full complement of liturgical song rigidly observed. Many visionary sisters experience flashes of the Holy Sight during Prime services or Morrow Mass; no one is quite certain why this is, but it occurs with a certain predictable regularity nonetheless. After Morrow Mass, the chapter meets and daily work tasks are assigned to those Sisters fit for labor. This is usually the majority of the monastery’s resident population, despite the physical and mental rigors of bearing the Holy Sight. Those Sisters too ill to labor vigorously are usually confined to the infirmary or the dormitory, where they are permitted to recover and work on those tasks that will not further risk their health. Infirm visionaries make most of the small handicrafts sold by the Holy Sisters. They also do much of the sewing of new clothing and the repair of old clothing. Maintenance tasks are carried out by any Sister capable of performing them, visionary or otherwise, and usually involve cleaning, tending the monastery garden, tending the shrines of the saints or the chapel, and caring for the unfortunates resident in the monastery hospital. While conversation between Sisters is frowned upon, individual Sisters are permitted to sing as they go about their tasks. This sometimes develops into spontaneous expressions of antiphonic and polyphonic music. High Mass, another sung Mass, takes place at Sext with very little variation in text or song. The pieces are chosen at the beginning of the week and remain the same each day of that week. Sext is usually closely followed by None, which is another brief service with very little variation. The Sisters take their first meal shortly thereafter. The meal is silent except for the Sister or chaplain reading Biblical selections, and no song is permitted during it. Afternoon work is often related to a Sister’s duties as a member of the shadow Inquisition. It consumes the hours until supper, the second silent meal of the day, and Vespers. In the monasteries of the Holy Sisters, Vespers is a service that involves almost as much liturgical song as Morrow Mass, and is generally an uplifting way to end the day. The Sisters change into their night-shoes just before Compline, which marks the formal end of their day and is often the service where the order inserts a third Mass, in honor of the Virgin. After this, the Sisters retire. The Sisters of St. John cling to their routine with a ferocity that shocks even their fellow monastics at times, even in the rare occasions that they’re deployed in the field. This is particularly true of visionary Sisters, for whom the normalized rhythms of monastic life are



a bastion against the chaos that sometimes rages behind their gentle eyes. The onset of the Holy Sight casts a woman adrift from everything she used to know, everything she once believed safe. It is not uncommon for young visionaries to retreat into themselves, lapsing into catatonia rather than meeting the challenge of their gift head-on. Such young women often end up the inmates of hospitals operated by the Sisters of St. John among other charitable organizations, and must be lured back into contact with the world whether they want to come or not. The Sisters have become expert in diagnosing the onset of the Holy Sight and gathering such endangered girls to them for their own safety and training. Once within the cloister, such young women find themselves wrapped in the arms of a comforting routine and a community that finally, at last, understands them for what they are — gifted by God, neither freakish monstrosities nor possessed, nor mad. The visionary Sisters, however, are generally not the only or even the largest component of their communities. Only one in five girls who take Holy Orders with the Sisters of St. John actually possess any visionary talents. The majority are young women of strong conscience who come to the order out of the desire to serve God and their fellow Christians. Many of these young women embrace the structure of the Sisters’ lifestyle wholeheartedly for the comfort and security it provides, the feeling of belonging to something greater and more lasting than themselves. Most take service with the shadow Inquisition


gladly, grateful to have the chance to help more actively than they would as a layperson. They support the efforts of their visionary sisters, serving as escorts, clerks, physicians and counselors. Their contributions are many both inside their order and in the world beyond the walls of their monastery.

Player’s Toolbox Questions to Ask and Answer: How did the character come to the attention of the Sisters of St. John? Is she a visionary? If so, how did her powers first manifest? How did her family react? Did they give her up willingly to the care of the Holy Sisters? Is she still in contact with her family or were they glad to see her go? If the character is not a visionary, why did she choose the Sisters of St. John? Does she serve as a protector and guardian to a visionary Sister, or does she serve the shadow Inquisition in some other capacity? Character Concepts: • The character is a non-visionary Sister who was foisted off on the order for the time-honored reason: too many daughters, not enough dowry to go around. She is angry and bitter; more to the point, she’s toothgrindingly jealous of the visionary Sisters who receive so much attention and praise. While not treacherous or untrustworthy, she is desperate in her desire to be more than just a “normal girl” — she would do just about anything to catch even a single glimpse of the Holy Sight, and doesn’t understand why so many people pity (or envy) her ignorance.


• The character is a visionary Sister who is afflicted quite regularly with visions so vague that they only make sense in hindsight. This is damnably annoying when all the other visionary Sisters are busy complaining about how vivid, terrifying, and specific their visions are. Perhaps the character simply hasn’t figured out the precise means she needs to use to make her vision focus, or perhaps she’s doomed to be the Nostradamus of the Sisters of St. John and had best take up writing rhyming quatrains right now. Her cell is trying quite hard to be supportive and provide the tools that she needs to clarify her visions; only time will tell if their efforts are successful. • The character is a visionary Sister who actively fears her Holy Sight. At some time in the past, she was gifted with a truly horrendous vision — a vision so pure in its evil that it nearly broke her, both physically and mentally. She has suppressed all conscious recollection of the vision’s specifics but every now and then, something will set her off — a snippet of song, a moment of deja vu, an off-hand remark, and the vision will momentarily recur in the form of a minor flashback. She is extremely afraid that the vision had something to do with her cell, her order, her family or someone that she loves. She fears the doom or death of the things she cares about, and is torn between the anguish of having to watch it happen again and the pain of not knowing if she might do something to prevent it, if she had the courage to invite that vision to return.

The House of Murnau Being born into the ancient and noble House of Murnau is much like being born into any other family of similar social status and political rank. From birth, young von Murnau are expected to uphold the honor, dignity, and reputation of the House. They are to study earnestly at the knees of their tutors in all subjects academic and martial, to accept and execute such duties as they are granted responsibly and with all gravity, and to obey the wishes of their parents and act in accordance with the decrees of the head of the household in all things. In theory, at least, this is how von Murnau family life is supposed to function. In practice, life in the von Murnau clan matches the platonic ideal of the medieval family about as often as every other noble house in existence, which is to say, rarely. Young von Murnau cover the entire range from obsequiously respectful to outright rebellious, with every shade of personality in between. Generational conflicts spring up with predictable regularity. The results are equally predictable, leaving acrimony, whether lasting or fleeting, short-term chaos and longterm bitterness. Individual branches of the family tree cleave closer to the main body of the kin group than others; some von Murnau cousins have never even met each other, while



good starting point for Murnau character creation is figuring out where that character would fit into the family tree. The Murnau, like every other medieval noble family, has numerous branches, cadet lines, and well-charted relationships with other families of similar status. While the Murnau tend to keep a closer eye on their male line relations (for purposes of inheritance as well as the indisputable fact that the Curse tends to dog the male descendants of the family and their children much more vigorously), they also keep relatively close track of distaff family lines, as well. The distaff lines tend to produce Cursebearers with chartable regularity, usually in the form of “skipped” generations. Grandchildren and greatgreat-grandchildren of Murnau women who married out of the family may suddenly manifest the taint of their foremothers’ blood. The von Murnau also have a tendency to marry their cousins, a habit shared by nearly every other noble and royal house in Christendom. In the case of the von Murnau, this practice permits the family to exercise a certain degree of control over the spread of the Curse and the reaction of the spouse to its existence. Even so, the Murnau try not to marry too often within the seven proscribed degrees of consanguinity, lest the tendency become so marked that other families or unfriendly eyes within the Church notice it — or they breed themselves into extinction. As of 1230, the main Bavarian “tree” of the family is quite large. Leopold the Bear, the father of the current Count of Murnau, was the eldest of six children (four sons, two daughters), all but two of whom married and produced prodigious litters of little von Murnau. Leopold himself produced four sons (Leopold II, first of the von Murnau Inquisitors; Frederick, the current Count of Murnau; and the ill-fated twins Weyland and Wilhelm) and two daughters (Franziska, Frederick’s frequently married and unfortunately childless twin sister, and Agathe, happily married and the mother of many children). Count Frederick himself has been amazingly prolific, producing a staggering thirteen legitimate children with three wives and no doubt a bastard or six as a result of extramarital liaisons. As a result, possession of the von Murnau county seat, Murnauer Berg, is firmly in the hands of the Bavarian line of the family for at least the foreseeable future. Cadet branches of the family exist in the Duchy of Austria, the Duchy of Burgundy, the County of Saxony and the Kingdom of Hungary, with far-flung Murnau relations pursuing their lives and duties as far west as England and as far south as Sicily.





espite the mutterings of their inquisito rial colleagues, the members of the House of Murnau are a good, Christian family. Newborn von Murnau are baptized and Christened as all infants are, usually on the day of their birth, and provided with godparents whose duty it is to see to the child’s religious education (two godfathers and one godmother for a boy, two godmothers and one godfather for a girl. They are unrelated by blood or marriage, often family friends or local lay clergy). Within the House, however, the child is often assigned another “godparent,” the mentor who will school the child on the nature of the Curse, how to hide it and how to use it. This pseudo-godparent is usually an aunt, older female cousin or elder sister if the child is female, or an uncle, older male cousin or elder brother if the child is male. others are raised beneath the same roof, so close as to be siblings. Individual families are poorer or wealthier than others because of past partitions of the house’s patrimony, the clever use (or egregious misuse) of resources, or the shifting fortune of marriage alliances. Most young von Murnau are reared in an environment of relatively certain privilege. The County of Murnau is rich in land from the family’s own possessions as well as fortuitous marriage-alliances. Possessions scattered across the length of Germany keep a steady flow of revenue from taxes, manorial courts, rents and profits from mercantile interests flowing into Murnau coffers. Being the offspring of a powerful family, no matter how widely scattered, most von Murnau children rarely lack when it comes to the satisfaction of their material needs. They often enjoy a higher standard of living than the lesser noble and knightly households. Murnau children are more likely to be reared by their mothers than by a nurse for purposes of keeping the oddities of Murnau family life from becoming the grist of rumors. They typically enjoy closer maternal bonds as a result. The early childhood years are spent in much the same fashion as every other household — the earliest years in play and learning to imitate the actions of one’s elders, gradually blending into the training received by young nobles all over Christendom. Young von Murnau men are generally taught the noble arts of rulership and warfare, and such scholarship in letters and numbers as will stand them in good stead once they assume a position of leadership. Young von Murnau women are taught the desirable feminine arts of household management as well as those social refinements that add to their appeal and marriagability. Tutors for the family’s children are often hired from their own relatives in Holy Orders. Comparatively few


von Murnau daughters are sent to nunneries for rearing and education, and even fewer von Murnau children are married young. The later teens tend to predominate as opposed to the early teens, due to the general manifestation timing of the Curse. When von Murnau children are fostered out to other households, they are fostered exclusively to their own relatives. The onset of the von Murnau Curse is, of course, one of the more traumatic events in a family member’s life. It is often one of the least predictable in terms of severity. All von Murnau descended from the direct male line of Christof von Murnau, legitimate or otherwise, bear the Curse without fail. All of Christof’s daughters likewise bore it, but their children, in some cases, escaped the taint when they married outside the family. In general, the weight of the von Murnau Curse tends to settle more heavily on the shoulders of sons, grandsons, and nephews, and transmits much more surely through their offspring. When and why the Curse first manifests as it does is a matter of some heated internal debate within the family itself, and one that is in no serious danger of being resolved any time soon. The Curse normally manifests first in early adolescence for both boys and girls, though the precise severity and nature of that initial manifestation fluctuates considerably. The most common manifestation almost resembles a kind of allergic reaction. The young von Murnau literally manifests a physical symptomatic response to the presence of supernatural forces, wheezing, developing hives or rashes, swollen eyes, and the like. As the Curse-bearer grows older, this effect tends to diminish somewhat in severity, becoming either more manageable by sheer familiarity or, in some cases, the Curse actually declines in sensitivity. Frederick II, the heir of Murnau, manifested a particularly violent initial reaction only to have the Curse subside into virtual nonexistence once he reached adulthood. He remains one of the least sensitive and least severely afflicted of his father’s many children. What precisely triggers that first manifestation can be as much a mystery as the Curse itself. Sometimes a definite incident can be pointed to (such as the especially unpleasant circumstances that surrounded the awakening of Raganhard von Auschenbach: the discovery of his brother’s corruption at the hands of a night-walking monstrosity). Sometimes the Curse simply happens, like a sudden growth spurt or developing breasts. In very rare cases, the von Murnau Curse manifests prior to adolescence. Early onset is usually severe to the point of physical or mental debilitation. Brother Leopold von Murnau manifested the Curse early, and the viciousness of the Curse’s effects on his developing body rendered him sickly for much of his childhood. In the current generation, Gerhard von Murnau began showing signs of the Curse as early as the age of five and remains highly sensitive. He escaped being crippled by its effects prima-


rily due to the efforts of his brother Otto. Only rarely does the Curse show itself in adulthood. When it does, the expression tends to be rather weak. As von Murnau children grow older, the manifestations of the Curse generally refine themselves. The early allergic manifestation of irritated, newly awakened heightened awareness gives way to more sophisticated forms of sensory input and physical reaction. Evil develops a scent, a sound, a taste, a feel of its own; the body and mind of the Curse-bearer develops a unique and individual response to that perception. Moreover, as the Curse itself strengthens, it tends to express itself in increasingly unpleasant ways. As the von Murnau are exquisitely aware of the supernatural, supernatural forces also tend to become aware of them; the Curse almost acts as a homing beacon for unclean forces and draws down misfortune and maleficia of all kinds, from petty personal difficulties to the much more dangerous fascination of night-fiends and other monsters. Of course, a handful of fortunate von Murnau children in every generation manage to avoid becoming the victims of their lineage’s unique heritage. These lucky children enjoy the advantages and disadvantages of being normal inside the bounds of a decidedly abnormal family. In general, they are brought up in precisely the same way as their Curse-bearing siblings and cousins; occasionally, they are even favored for their normality. It requires proportionally less effort to raise and marry off an entirely Curse-free child, after all. Such children tend to redound just as favorably to the House, marrying into families where strange, Curse-induced behavior would become an unfortunate issue. Not surprisingly, resentment tends to run high in the case of Cursed and un-Cursed siblings and cousins; both sides tend to perceive the other as “more special” in some way. This can lead to considerable acrimony in childhood, spawning hurt feelings and bitterness that can last into adulthood.

Character Concepts: • The character is one of those fortunate von Murnau cousins who has managed to evade the Murnau family Curse. Unfortunately that doesn’t help much, as the character’s twin is a Curse-bearer and, in fact, got approximately twice the normal “dose.” The sibling is extremely bitter about this, needless to say. He may very well have run off to seek some ungodly means of rectifying the situation. This doesn’t endear the character to anyone. • The character is a von Murnau member of one of the other Inquisitor orders (a Poor Knight, a Theodosian monk, or an Eye of God), or otherwise a member of a monastic or secular religious fellowship. The character has only recently been recruited, at the recommendation of the local Eyes of God, to act as a spy and an informant in his or her monastery or cathedral chapter. There are those who suspect that corruption has crept into the house of God, and the character is expected to help sniff it out. The problem? The character knows that no such corruption exists, but suspects that the originator of that accusation might very well have fallen to the blandishments of the Enemy. • The character is a rebel, with or without the von Murnau family curse. He or she was offered a place in the shadow Inquisition and turned it down for some reason. Perhaps he’s a Curse-bearer who doesn’t want to end up like Great-Uncle Ludveig, who went to his grave at the age of twenty-four, frothing mad from the abuse of his “gift” and wasted to a skeleton. Perhaps she’s a daughter whose highest ambition is to settle down with a fine husband on her dower lands and raise a passel of (hopefully) Curse-free children. The family, however, is not likely to let her evade her duty. This has made her bitter, angry, and inclined to butt heads with anyone who questions her “devotion” to a cause she didn’t really choose.

Player’s Toolbox

The Oculi Dei

Questions to Ask and Answer: When did the character manifest the Curse? How severe was the initial manifestation, and was there a specific trigger event involved? What was the character’s first experience with the servants of the Adversary, and how did that experience affect him? Who might he have known that “went bad”? How did the character come to join the Inquisition and in what capacity, lay or clerical? If lay, is he a representative of his family, or has he joined the Oculi Dei? If lay, what does he do for a living, and from where does his income derive? If clerical, which order and why? Does the character belong to one of the orders of the shadow Inquisition or one of the regular monastic or secular orders of the Church? What branch of the family does he come from? Legitimate or illegitimate? How does he relate to his family in general, and specifically the other von Murnau members of the shadow Inquisition?

The Eyes of God are the most diverse order of the shadow Inquisition. They are everywhere. They can be anyone. They watch and they listen; they compile the information that the more forceful orders use to take action; they hide beneath the very noses of fiends and devils, and call the vengeance of God down on such things. The vast bulk of the order’s membership actually constitutes those of humble or gentle birth, despite the noble origins of its founder, Rodrigue de Navarre. Likewise, city-dwelling Eyes of God tend to predominate over country-dwellers, though a substantial number of itinerant Eyes tend to dwell in the countryside when they come to rest. City-dwelling Oculi Dei tend to gravitate towards certain ways of life. They are often involved in professions where they interact closely with others every day. The merchant middle class, as an example, is ridden



with individual Eyes. Whole cells hold membership in influential guilds from Flanders to Florence. Many Eyes of God serve in the local cathedral chapter in some capacity: as priests in Holy Orders, as clerks in minor orders, or as lay brethren. No small number of Eyes serve in the city commanderies and preceptory houses of the military orders, or monastic houses close to city walls. They may be highly educated or entirely illiterate, but in any case they are all in a position where they may closely observe the daylight doings of their fellow men. They take note of any suspicious patterns of activity, soak up the local news and sort through the information they take in to extract the useful details from the chaff of gossip. Few among the shadow Inquisition are as skillful as the Eyes are when it comes to perceiving what others wish to hide. Country-dwelling Oculi Dei often make their homes in the larger towns and farmsteads, recruiting their most trusted family members and neighbors to produce a more tightly knit cell than those that occur in larger civic areas. Such individuals are liable to be recruited from the local manorial authorities — the reeve, the representatives of an absentee landlord, the parish priest. Those individuals usually enjoy at least a modicum of education and a great deal of access to the manorial records and the community to which they’re attached. One of the most terrible burdens of the Oculi Dei is the isolation and secrecy in which they pursue God’s work. Enjoined by their order under pain of expulsion to maintain rigid silence and absolute secrecy unless their duties require them to come forth, the agents of the Oculi Dei are expected to practice almost superhuman selfsufficiency. The blessings that fall on them from above are the subtlest of all the gifts granted to the Inquisition, as quiet and unobtrusive as the Oculi Dei themselves. In fact, many Eyes of God experience these blessings not as an ecstatic union with the divine reported by so many of their fellows, but as a silent reminder that someone does see their work and does watch over them, in darkest night and brightest day. It may not seem like much to the Poor Knight who can draw upon endless reserves of strength on the battlefield, or the Holy Sister who can see the hand of the Enemy at work in the world, but it means a great deal to the Eyes of God, both practically and psychologically. Practically speaking, the Oculi Dei cannot afford to draw attention to themselves. Many of their number exist within extremely dangerous situations, perilously close to the Enemy, where the slightest twinge of divine influence can trigger a murderous response. The hand of God that protects the Oculi Dei from danger and exposure must therefore be clever, quick and light, never obvious. Often, the Oculi Dei feel themselves walking in the presence of angels even as they brush elbows with the kin of Lucifer, protected and guided by unseen forces. This can mean the difference between sanity and madness, especially when the self-imposed burden of silence that the Oculi Dei carry begins to


weight too heavily on them. Psychologically speaking, the realization that there is indeed a divine guardian watching over them, that angels do not fear to tread in their shadows, can serve as a panacea to the selfloathing and paranoia that tends to infest their minds. Clinging to this realization and the knowledge that they are, in truth, doing the right thing is often all that saves the Eyes of God from madness.

Player’s Toolbox Questions to Ask and Answer: Where does the character come from? Is she of noble birth? Gentle? Common? Did she grow up in the country or is she a city mouse to the core of her being? Why did she choose to join the Oculi Dei and what events surrounded her recruitment? What events first brought her into contact with the Enemy? Are other members of her family also Eyes of God? Is she part of a stationary cell or is she an itinerant Eye? What is her purpose within her cell? Has she met any other inquisitors and, if so, what does she think of them? Character Concepts: • The character is a newly recruited Eye of God, young, frightened, and barely literate. Something that he witnessed or is otherwise privy to led the Eyes of God to his doorstep. Unfortunately, he cannot remember the details of what he saw except in his nightmares. He has been taken into the order so that he may be watched and protected at all times, in the hopes that he may remember what he saw. • The character(s) are a husband and wife team of Oculi Dei, recruited separately by the same individual. Their entry tests involved being able to keep their membership in the order secret for one year. After this was established, the order granted permission for the pair to work as a team as part of an experiment in reorganizing how stationary cells function. Thus far, the experiment seems to be working quite well, but time will tell what effect it will have on their relationship and their faith. • The character is one of those few Oculi Dei recruited from among the former servants of the Enemy. Perhaps he’s a recovering ghoul or the embittered kin of wolf-demons, but in any case, he’s been closer to the supernatural than most Eyes of God actually want to come. This character possesses a wealth of practical knowledge of the Enemy. Unfortunately, he also possesses correspondingly great weaknesses (such as a recidivistic vitae addiction, or pushy werewolf relatives that won’t leave him alone) that certainly prove challenging and might eventually prove fatal.

Serving The Inquisition

It is no easy thing, Sister, to be called to serve God in the world, particularly in this calling that we now share — to be the bulwark and sword against the armies of the Devil.


And so I pray you allow me to present to you something of what it is like to serve our Lord and His Church in this holy venture, even as weak and frail vessels that we are. For against our great enemy, only the most stalwart, determined and prepared inquisitor will prevail.... — From a letter from Sister Vittoria Santi di Parma, to Sister Mathilde von Murnau of the Order of St. Theodosius

Mixed Inquisitor Cells The various orders of the shadow Inquisition have all followed their own calling against the enemies of God and mankind for decades, and in the case of the House of Murnau and the Red Order, far longer. Each order has its own practices, methodologies, and leadership on their holy mission, which were developed with the needs and priorities of that particular order in mind. A few years ago, Cardinal Marzone and the Supreme Council of Faith realized that in order to be truly effective against their adversaries, the orders had to cooperate more closely, mixing their members into common inquisitor cells and following a common Rule. This Rule would be similar to that followed by the holy orders, but designed for the Inquisition’s special needs and mission. Where the rules and practices of the different orders came into conflict, this common rule would take precedence and so solve such disputes. It would also provide a structure for the workings of the cells, and lay out in plain terms how all those who served God under the Council of Faith would deal with each other. Using the rules of the Red Order and the Poor Knights as a rough template, Marzone and several trusted associates, including a canon lawyer, drafted a rule for the shadow Inquisition. This Rule is now commonly called the Marzonian Rule. It is one of the first things any new inquisitor learns in their early training. In theory, at least, all disputes over practices, procedures, should be settled under the Rule’s precepts. In practice, of course, things are not always quite so easy.

Mixing Men and Women The Inquisition has both men and women in its service, many of whom are in holy orders and under a vow of chastity. The Marzonian Rule borrows from the Order of St. Theodosius Rule, which was written in the time when the order had double monasteries containing both monks and nuns, with separate cloisters but some facilities — such as the church, refectory and the scriptorium — in common. The Rule stresses avoiding the appearance or opportunity for sin, and keeps brothers and sisters separated except in controlled, supervised interactions. One of the primary rules that covers the interaction of men and women in the Inquisition — the Rule of Three — requires that a sister and brother may never be alone together. There must always be a third present, either a brother or sister, to avoid the appearance of sin.

No inquisitor cell can ever have just one female member in holy orders. For the protection of her soul and to guard against temptation, there must always be at least two sisters together. Should it happen that one of the two sisters of a cell is killed, the remaining woman must retreat to the safety of a cloister until she is called to another cell or another sister comes to join her. The Rule also requires that men and women sleep separately, preferably not even under the same roof. When possible, common single-sex dormitories are preferred. Borrowing from the Rule of the Poor Knights, a light must be kept burning at all times in the common dormitory, and each brother or sister must sleep alone and clothed in their own bed. The Rule applies primarily to clerical members of the Inquisition: the Red Order, the Poor Knights of Acre and the Sisters of St. John. So far, attempts to bring the Murnau and Oculi Dei totally under the Marzonian Rule have not met with total success. Even the secular inquisitors, however, take some care to observe the Rule of Three — at least with regards to their clerical counterparts.



he medieval Church has strict standards of morality, but also realistic expectations of people, both clerical and secular, to actually meet those standards. Both the Church and the general populace accept that the best way to avoid succumbing to sin (particularly the sin of the flesh) is to simply limit the possibility of temptation. For men and women under vows of perpetual chastity, this means their lives (which now belong to God and not to themselves) are strictly regulated. Their interactions with members of the opposite sex, even among their own family, are restricted by the rules of their order. These rules may seem confining by modern standards and impractical in terms of actual game play, especially in terms of male and female relationships within a cell. Storytellers and players are reminded, however, that the Marzonian Rule represents an ideal that the leadership of the inquisition realizes is not always possible in the field. The Council of Faith is thusly allowed to make dispensations based on extraordinary circumstances. The inquisition takes sin among its own members very seriously, especially sexual sins, but at the Storyteller’s discretion may bend the strict interpretation of its preventive rules as need demands — at least until a sin has actually been committed. Use the Rule and the difficulties the characters have in meeting its standard as an opportunity for creative role-playing and enhancing the chronicle’s storyline, not to prohibit out of hand a reasonable if less than entirely orthodox cell.



Mixing Clerical and Secular The Marzonian Rule also provides guidance for cells comprised of both clerical and lay members, whose holy vows or other commitments conflict when it comes to the simplest of matters. The Rule’s underlying principle is that each inquisitor has his own personal vows to God, and God expects him to keep that vow — but his vows are his alone. They cannot be imposed on another, even another of his own order, much less a fellow inquisitor who isn’t under vows at all. This may mean that a Red Sister who is busy with her research may not attend the daily round of services as regularly as a Sister of St. John, who relies on them to give life the structure she needs to cope with her dreams. A Poor Knight of Acre and his Murnau counterpart may eat meat at dinner, but the Red Brother does not. The Oculus Dei may wear a mask to a chapter meeting, and then go home to a husband and children whose identity even her fellow inquisitors do not know. While respecting its members’ different vows to God, the Marzonian Rule also encourages inquisitors to share as much of their common faith and duty as possible so they might strengthen each other in the Lord. The Rule asks that members of a cell attend at least one service a day together, to break bread and share a common meal (even in companionable silence), and meet at least three times a week as a chapter to discuss plans, discoveries, needs, concerns and even personal gripes. Members of a cell are also encouraged to share quarters in a (gender-separated) chapter house, even if an inquisitor’s order has an abbey or commandery nearby. Even lay inquisitors associated with the House of Murnau and the Oculi Dei are strongly urged to spend time at the chapter house with their cell whenever possible, if they do not actually dwell there. Some lay inquisitors do, in fact, share quarters with their monastic associates, adopting the austere life for a time or at least keeping their worldly dress and manners from imposing on their religious brethren. The Marzonian Rule is noticeably slanted in favor of those already in holy orders. The general assumption on the part of its authors (who were, of course, all in holy orders themselves) was that it was better to require nonclerical inquisitors to live like men and women in holy orders than to ask those under vows to put aside the blessings and structure of monastic life. Lay inquisitors must often bear with both the structure and the restrictions as best they can. If this means rising in the middle of the night to join their brothers in prayer, observing the strict fast of Lent, leaving wives and children back at home for weeks or months at a time or dressing more somberly than the current fashion, the lay inquisitor can console himself with the knowledge that such devout discipline is good for his soul — and best of all, temporary in its inconvenience.

On the Importance of Obedience The Inquisition brings together individuals with a single common goal: hunting down and destroying the




he Oculi Dei have always considered them selves an exception to the rule — even the Marzonian Rule — from the beginning. They rarely stay at inquisitor chapter houses, nor do they often share common meals or attend services with the others of their cell. They sometimes hide their identity even from their fellow inquisitors. Many have other responsibilities, such as a trade, a position in society or a guild, or even a family to support, in addition to their duties to the Inquisition. Secrecy is the only protection they have. While the head of the Oculi Dei, Aignen le Libraire, acknowledges the need of many of the Eyes to maintain their anonymity, he also recognizes that many of his Eyes risk losing their sanity, much less their very souls, to loneliness and despair when they shun the comfort and companionship of others who share their same burden. He cannot require an Eye of God to reveal more of herself to the other members of her cell than she feels safe in doing. He has, however, written letters encouraging those Eyes directly assigned to assist a non-Oculi inquisitor cell to be as open as they can. They are encouraged to act as the bridge between their more secretive fellows and the rest of their cell for the good of all. One Eye in any given city or local region usually meets with other inquisitors, even if he wears a mask or prefers to communicate through drop-points or in code. That particular Eye serves as the contact point for all the Oculi Dei in his area. He is responsible for ensuring the flow of information goes both ways, as well as ensuring the anonymity of his fellows. Aignen and Lizia Montesi di Roma, who heads the Oculi Dei in central Italy, both also strive to impress on the leadership of the other inquisitor orders why the Oculi cling to their anonymity. They continue to support the Eyes and attempt to explain to the other orders why, for the good of the cause they all support, they must continue to be allowed to do so regardless of the Marzonian Rule. minions of the Adversary. Those individuals come from different backgrounds and monastic orders, however, and have widely varying approaches to that goal. Individuals may have specific goals as well, based on their own experiences: an inquisitor whose cell was wiped out by a pack of wolf-men may consider the slightest sign of similar creatures in the area a far greater threat than the Cainite priest who secretly advises the local bishop, or the old witch-woman who lives in a ruined tower and brews potions for lovesick peasant lads.


A Red Brother or Sister may have specialized in studying a particular kind of witchery. He or she may be willing to take great chances to learn more of the sorcerers who wield it, in order to better thwart their demonic gifts. A Poor Knight may have a particular hatred for the warrior who slew his mentor, to the point of vendetta. A Murnau may try to steer away from a particular line of investigation if he thinks a renegade of his own family may be involved, so that the family can take care of it privately. A Sister of St. John may be so driven to pursue the meaning of a particular vision that she ignores the evidence gathered by her fellow inquisitors. Past experiences, personal fears and dislikes or conflicting interpretations of orders from the Council of Faith can all lead inquisitors to disagree over the priorities and procedures of their calling. The Marzonian Rule acknowledges that such differences exist, but reiterates that by joining this great endeavor, all inquisitors have pledged their obedience



he Marzonian Rule binds all inquisitors to obedience, if not chastity or poverty. Even when an inquisitor’s orders are against his better judgment or the deepest feelings of his heart, he is required by his vows to obey. Chapter meetings allow all members of a cell, even Eyes of God who choose to attend (or send written communications), to speak their minds and offer advice and suggestions on what the cell is doing or what kinds of investigations they should pursue. Once a Council of Faith or cell rector has issued an order, however, the inquisitor is expected to submit obediently and do as he’s told. This proves his devotion to God as well as to the Inquisition’s cause. A player should expect times when his character may have to do something in a story she does not want to do, because she is bound by her vow of obedience. The Storyteller or player whose character is the source of these orders, however, should also be careful to not abuse that power over other players’ characters by always putting them in positions where disobedience seems to be their only moral choice. That kind of plot twist becomes less powerful the more often it is used, as the players begin to take disobedience less seriously or become frustrated by constantly being forced to make undesirable choices to avoid the consequences of disobedience. Deliberately disobeying an order from her superiors counts as a level 6 sin on the Hierarchy of Sin Against God (see p. 159 of Dark Ages: Inquisitor). It requires a check to avoid losing Piety, if the character has a Piety rating of 6 or more (the difficulty of this roll increases by one if the character is in holy orders).

as well as their lives. All things must be done in good order, whether it is arranging for proper housing for the sisters, holding a chapter meeting or determining the right course of investigation for a cell to pursue. Inquisitors who are not cooperative in their cell’s common good work can be disciplined as the cell’s rector sees fit, referred back to the Council of Faith for re-assignment or even remanded back to their orders. This often means the troublesome inquisitors are restricted to cells of their own order only, under close supervision from their superiors, or confined to cloister for the rest of their lives. Disobedience that results in more serious consequences may bring that inquisitor before the Council of Faith or the leadership of their own order on even more serious charges. The Inquisition’s fight is too important to be lenient on its own recalcitrant or even disobedient members.

Inquisitor Rank and Leadership The Marzonian Rule also delineates how the hierarchy of the Inquisition is laid out, with the Council of Faith overseeing the activities of local cells and reporting in turn to the Supreme Council of Faith and the Grand Inquisitor, Cardinal Marzone. This hierarchy excludes the rulership of local Church authorities such as abbots, bishops and archbishops, which is not likely to win inquisitors either approval or support should it become widely known. Cardinal Marzone believed it necessary to free his inquisitors from required obedience to local bishops lest the bishop himself turn out to be an obstacle — or worse, a target — of their investigation. Still the Rule asks that all proper respect and obedience be given to local Church authorities whenever possible, so long as no evidence exists that they are themselves involved in the matters the inquisitors are there to investigate. In practice this has sometimes gotten a bit sticky, as many Church prelates are suspicious of inquisitor activities in their domains and jealous of their authority. Inquisitor cells have sometimes had to be creative or circumspect in explaining their presence in a given diocese. Many cells carry a vaguely-worded letter of authority from Cardinal Marzone or the Pope’s chancery, which is usually enough to gain the eager (or fearful) acquiescence of the local bishop or abbot when a voice of authority is required. Each of the five orders comprising the Inquisition has its own titles and hierarchy of rank. Members of a given order tend to revert to using those titles and rank among themselves, with the highest-ranking member automatically assuming a leadership role over the others. When an inquisitor cell is comprised totally of members of a single order, this remains the accepted practice. In mixed cells, however, the Marzonian Rule takes precedence. Titles from an inquisitor’s own order are retained as a sign of respect, such as Doctor, Father,



Commander, or even (for the lay members who can claim them), Master, Sir, Lord or Lady. The more familiar titles of Brother and Sister are also used when the individual can claim no other. The highest-ranking (or sounding) title, however, does not necessarily denote leadership in a mixed cell.

Cell Leadership: The Rector When a Council of Faith first forms a cell, the Council designates the cell leader, normally called a rector (although that individual is more often addressed by whatever personal title he or she happens to bear). The rector is chosen based on his experience and capabilities, not his actual rank or order. The tendency when a particular order dominates a Council of Faith, however, is to choose members of that same order as rectors of new cells. This appointment is not permanent. After a full year in the field, the cell members have the right, if they wish, to hold an election and select a different rector from their number. (In the few occasions where this has occurred, the ousted rector was re-assigned to another cell, so as not to incur a leadership struggle within the cell.) Other officers for the cell, such as treasurer, subrector, archivist, cellarer, and other positions the cell feels are necessary, are usually voted on by the membership. The rector retains the right to veto any proposed officer. Should the existing rector be slain, incapacitated or recalled for any reason, leadership passes temporarily to the sub-rector. The cell may also elect a new rector at that time. Their election is subject to ratification by the Council of Faith, but a Council rarely overturns such an election unless they have strong reasons to doubt the newly elected rector’s capabilities. A cell’s rector is given the equivalent authority over the cell members of the prior of a small monastery. He (rectors are almost always male, save in an allfemale cell) rules over the cell’s chapter-house, leads chapter meetings, determines the cell’s priorities (after discussion in chapter with the rest of the cell), assigns duties and administers discipline as necessary. He is also responsible to the Council of Faith for his cell’s activities and its mortality rates — he must give an account of both the cell’s triumphs and its failures, and the death of any inquisitor under his leadership must be explained as well. New members for a cell are assigned by the Council of Faith, although a cell may request certain individuals as replacements through its rector, should the need arise. The Council is under no obligation to fulfill a cell’s request, and often assigns new members as they see fit to keep the cell properly balanced. In particular, the Council will not allow a mixed cell to become single-order — requests to replace lost members in such a way as to create a single-order cell are usually ignored.




s a Background, Rank represents the status and reputation a character has that extends beyond his own order and throughout the shadow Inquisition itself. It represents a combination of factors, primarily stemming from the knowledge, wisdom and abilities demonstrated by his accomplishments. It represents what the Oculi Dei have in their archives about him, and what the Council of Faith or other Inquisition authorities (such as Cardinal Marzone or even the Sicae Dei) know about him — even what other inquisitors might have heard of him by word of mouth. It also represents his leadership potential, such as being appointed rector to a new cell or asked to serve on a Council of Faith. A character with one or two dots in this Background is a likely candidate for appointment as rector to a newly formed cell. A character with three dots has served several years in the Inquisition and has possibly already served as a member of a Council of Faith. His inclusion in an inquisitor cell means his expertise is likely necessary in order to be successful in the cell’s assignment. He is almost certainly going to be appointed as the rector by the Council that assigns him to a cell. At four dots, a character has led several successful inquisitorial investigations as a cell rector and may even secretly be a member of the Sicae Dei (a responsibility which is known only to the Sicae Dei council in Rome). At five dots, the character has acted as Procurator Fiscalis for a Council of Faith and is personally acquainted with Cardinal Marzone and several members of the Supreme Council in Rome. If he is not a member of the Sicae Dei, he probably holds a position of rank within the Church hierarchy, such as abbot of a Red Order monastery or Knight Commander of a Poor Knights’ monastery. Because it does represent status based on deeds and accomplishments, we recommend Storytellers limit the number of dots a starting Inquisitor character has in this Background to one or two at most. Players taking this Background are asked to come up with some of their character’s past activities (such as commanding a group of Crusaders in the Holy Land, holding a position of leadership in a monastic community or successfully fighting minions of the Adversary in such a way as to bring the character to the notice of the Church) in order to determine upon what the character’s status is based. Status is far more significant to the player and the story overall if it is earned in play, not purchased with bonus points.


Once elected and approved, a cell rector can only be removed from his position by the Council of Faith, and only for a very good cause. A high mortality rate in his cell or excessive valid complaints to the Council from members of his cell can result in a review of the rector’s competency. If the Council determines that the rector has acted recklessly or abused his authority, he is removed from that cell. Depending on the circumstances, he may then be appointed rector of a newly formed cell elsewhere, re-assigned to another cell as an ordinary inquisitor, or sent back to his cloister for a time of reflection and repentance before being permitted to rejoin the Inquisition.

Chapter-Houses The Inquisition has a wide variety of chapterhouses. The largest of these include well-known and well-established monasteries such as the Red Order’s Abbey of St. Denis outside of Paris; the Poor Knights’ Hospice of St. James the Elder, a fortified commandery in Compostela; the great castle of Murnauer Berg in Bavaria; or the Sisters of St. John’s Convent of the Holy Mother in Aix-la-Chapelle. These great houses often host the local Council of Faith or serve as training grounds for new inquisitors. They can also be places of rest and recovery for those whose experiences in the field have left them battered and soul-worn. Because these places are well-known, to the servants of the Enemy as well as the Inquisition, they are fortified and well-defended. Decades of use have often bestowed an ambient aura of Faith to these places (although for the castle of Murnauer Berg, this is limited to its chapel and crypts) so that they repel demons by their very nature and provide rest and peace for the servants of God who shelter there.

Hiding in Plain Sight The working inquisitor chapter-house, however, is likely to be far smaller and less obtrusive, so as not to alert the servants of the Enemy to their purpose or location. One practice is to quarter a cell within the priory or abbey of another order or among the canon monks of a city church. This provides the inquisitors already in holy orders at least a place to sleep and attend services, but it has its limitations. An inquisitor cell may contain lay members such as Murnau or Oculi Dei — or even worse, women, making this arrangement impractical at best. Placing the female religious members of an inquisitor cell in a local convent of another women’s order has become a very common practice among the Inquisition. It provides the nuns in the cell with the required sanctified isolation, although it does make their participation in the day-to-day activities of the cell a bit more difficult. Not a few Red Sisters — and even an occasional Sister of St. John — have found that sort of arrangement more constraining than helpful.



nquisitor players can (and are encouraged to) pool their characters’ various Background dots in order to build such commodities such as their cell’s Chapter-House, as well as their Allies, Contacts, Flock and Influence. A great abbey such as St. Denis represents many more dots than most player cells can come up with, but a cell that combines seven points in the Chapter-House background could provide the inquisitor cell with a reasonably secure base of operations. For example, they could arrange to work from a church and its adjoining priory in a town (3 points to size) where they can sleep and work with reasonable security (2 points for locks) and allow them to sanctify their holding (2 dots to Holy Ground). An inquisitor cell that includes both clerical and lay members may want to split their resources, so that the real center of the cell is the local church, where the three clerical members of the cell have become part of that church’s staff (2 points to size, 1 point to Holy Ground), but also includes the nearby townhouse of the Murnau knight and his lady, which is well-secured (2 points to size, 2 points to security), and can be used as a refuge as necessary. For further details on pooling Backgrounds as a shared resource in Inquisitor, see Right of Princes. Other unobtrusive chapter-houses include manor houses bequeathed to one of the Inquisition’s orders, a town house belonging to one of the Oculi Dei or Murnau members, or a priory (a small monastery, usually dependent on another larger abbey for support) that the Inquisition rents from another order, such as the Cistercians or Benedictines. Such a chapter-house does not belong to the cell, and the cell is therefore responsible for paying the rent on time, overseeing any lands or servants associated with the property (if a manor or house in the city) and keeping the property in good condition. The inquisitors may attend services at a nearby church, or sanctify a chapel within their own house; they must also arrange for sufficiently isolated quarters for any nuns in their cell, which may mean another house entirely.

Inquisitor Safe Houses One last kind of chapter-house exists, though it is less of a chapter-house than a secret place of refuge for an inquisitor needing shelter or concealment from the Enemy’s servants hunting him. These vary widely, from particular village churches or monastic chapels to crypts under a city church; to the house of a particular merchant or craftsmen; the manor house of a country knight who is a distant cousin of the Murnau; or even



the expanded cellar under a godly peasant’s hovel. The Oculi Dei have more of these hidden bolt-holes than any other order, but often share the knowledge of one or two of them with a local inquisitor cell. Inquisitors are encouraged to find their own as well by making contacts with local members of the flock and arranging the use, access or rental of appropriate places. Not all such refuges are Holy Ground, but every inquisitor cell is encouraged to identify other nearby churches, chapels or shrines that meet that degree of sanctity for their own protection.

Setting Down Roots A newly established inquisitor cell may be sent to a town where no Inquisition presence has yet been established, which may mean the cell is responsible for setting up not only their entire investigative operation but also the chapter-house to use as their base. The Council of Faith, however, does not send them out empty-handed; a newly minted cell of inquisitors is given sufficient resources to establish themselves and their mission without having to beg door to door or shelter in hastily constructed hovels. This may mean a letter of introduction to the local abbot that allows the inquisitors to stay at a Benedictine monastery, or a letter of credit that allows the cell to rent a simple three-story townhouse. It could even be a preestablished lease agreement with a local landlord or lay supporter of the Inquisition’s work, such as an Oculi Dei merchant who happens to own an entire block of such houses (although his identity as their landlord as well as their local informant may not be revealed). The property could even belong to a local monastery or church (which will be just as insistent about the inquisitors’ rent being paid on time as with any other tenant). If the cell contains one or more ordained priests, sometimes the Inquisition leadership can arrange for a cell to be put in charge of a small church in a town or village, which gives the priest put in charge a responsibility to his flock that extends beyond his duties to the Inquisition. The exact nature of the property may depend on the scope of the anticipated investigation or the research done by the inquisitors themselves on a prior visit to the town or region to determine a suitable location and type for their chapter-house. Inquisitor chapter-houses are often disguised for the inquisitors’ own safety — the servants of the Adversary can be dangerous foes, and even men of God must sleep sometimes. The most common disguise is as a religious building used for some other purpose, such as a priory attached to a small town or village church, a chapel or shrine belonging to a local lord, a hospital adjacent to a monastery or commandery or even an anchorite’s cell. This sometimes involves cooperation from people outside the cell itself, such as the other brothers, sisters or other staff actually doing the bulk of the work of maintaining the building and its true purpose while the inquisitors pursue the enemies of



God. Isolated manor houses are also common locations for a cell, preferably those within some kind of enclosing walls and containing a proper chapel. The cell must then hire a bailiff or set one of its members to overseeing the serfs and other peasant workers who work the fields and live in the adjacent villages. The disguise often extends beyond the building itself. Inquisitors must sometimes put on modest civilian clothing or the habits of another order in order to conceal their presence from their enemies, though they wear their proper habits when in the privacy of the chapter-house. They also still follow the canonical hours of work, rest and prayer whenever possible. Sometimes the cell finds God-fearing and reliable craftsmen (who may or may not be members of the Inquisition themselves) and set them to work in the ground floor shops of two or three adjacent houses, while the floors above shelter the inquisitor cell.

The Flock Inquisitor cells quartered in non-religious quarters, such as a town house or country manor, have less direct access to their flock than a cell based in a church where people come to mass every week. Still, having a flock reminds the members of an inquisitor cell why they took up this fight to begin with, and praying with a flock can help an inquisitor regain the Conviction to continue on with his struggle. The inquisitors’ flock may be a few individuals whom the inquisitors have aided against the Adversary, the patients and staff at a hospital that adjoins the chapter-house, a handful of neighborhood families who have come to depend on the inquisitors for spiritual guidance, confession or a weekly mass, or even the congregation who regularly attends mass at the inquisitors’ church. The inquisitors may inherit their flock by taking over a local church or slowly develop one through providing aid to those victimized by the Devil’s minions or through their interactions with their neighbors, whether local townsfolk, nobility or peasantry.



lock is another Background that can be pooled, and makes a good counterpart to Chapter-House. Players should consider ChapterHouse and Flock together to come up with a plausible resource combination for their inquisitors’ cell. The Storyteller should also see to it that the flock is made up of individual characters, with names, descriptions and personalities (for at least a few of them) so that their relationships with the inquisitor characters can be meaningful. This can provide both roleplaying opportunities and plot hooks into stories. The fight against the Devil becomes far more significant and personal when the characters are fighting to help someone they already know.

The Neighborhood A chapter-house is more than simply the place the inquisitors meet, plan their strategies and sleep. It may also be their only refuge against the forces of the Devil. In major cities like Paris, Florence, Lübeck or London, the Council of Faith may oversee several cells in the same city. The inquisitor cells may have access to more than one chapter-house plus a number of other refuges for their use, such as churches or the houses of Inquisition agents. The Church is pervasive and strong, and there may be as many as two dozen inquisitors spread across the city in several different cells to call upon when need arises. Communication with the Procurator Fiscalis and the Council is fairly easy and a cell can receive a swift response to questions, requests for judgment or pleas for help. Such conditions, however, only exist in a few places. More often, the Inquisition consists of one or two cells investigating the servants of the Adversary in a single town, a cluster of villages or perhaps even a single county. The Council of Faith is a day’s ride away at the very least. Under those conditions, the chapterhouse is more likely to be disguised from its true purpose. The inquisitors must be circumspect in their activities to avoid alerting their enemies to their presence and their investigation. The chapter house is then more of a refuge as well as a base of operations, and its defenses become more formidable out of necessity. Still, the inquisitors are within relatively friendly territory. Help is but a day or two away at most, should the cell run into more than they can easily handle. Of course, not all of Europe is so densely populated or well situated. Active opposition to the Catholic Church — and thus to the Inquisition as well — still lingers on the eastern marches of the Holy Roman Empire; in Prussia, Poland, Bohemia and Hungary; or in the parts of Iberia and the Holy Land still dominated by Islam. The chapter-house may be the sole refuge the inquisitors have against their enemies in places where the cell might expect local resistance by pagans or Muslims, or for inquisitor cells in the borderlands where the Church’s power is lessened by distance. Under these circumstances, defense is far more important than disguise. The chapter-house is almost always built on Holy Ground, often in an already established church or monastery. The inquisitor cells are proportionally larger than those in more secure locations as well and contain more armed men, usually Poor Knights, fighting von Murnau or Oculi Dei, or hired church troops. This does not mean the Inquisition’s investigations depend on a show of force; often the presence of armed men has the opposite effect when an inquisitor is attempting to persuade a reluctant Szeckler merchant or frightened Vlach peasant to trust her enough to reveal what they know of local witcheries. Still, when the nearest Council of Faith is weeks instead



of hours away, the fortified monastery that functions as the cell’s chapter-house and its knightly defenders may be all the stands between them and the vampire-ensorcelled angry mob or the depredations of savage werewolves. Most inquisitors are glad to take cover behind its stout, blessed walls.

Women in the Inquisition If at least a few of the senior male inquisitors had their way, there would be no women in the Inquisition at all. All know that women are weak and susceptible to sin. Fighting the minions of the Devil, like saying the Mass, should be a job for men alone. Women’s prayers are welcome, but their presence among God’s holy army can only lead to temptation and sin. Fortunately, Sister Teresa, founder of the Sisters of St. John, and Sister Vittoria Santi di Parma of the Red Order — not to mention the formidable Baroness Franziska von Murnau — soon persuaded the Cardinal otherwise. Still, the women are a minority among the inquisitors, and their presence often complicates the workings of a cell, requiring separate quarters and a certain degree of care to avoid not only the appearance of sin, but its actuality.

Nuns Out of Cloister The Sisters of St. John and the Red Sisters of St. Theodosius are bound to the sanctity (and security) of their convent. They must request permission of their abbess (if not the local bishop) to be absent from it, from the time of their profession of vows until their deaths. Many such sisters rarely leave their cloistered walls, preferring to spend their days in prayer or holy research for the glory of God and the benefit of their brothers and sisters in the Inquisition. Just as often, however, God calls a holy sister through a vision, a strong urge rising in her heart during prayer, or even the invitation of a visiting inquisitor who has sought a night’s rest within the convent’s guest house. Through His will, she is called to leave the cloister behind for a time and enter the world in His service against the demons and devils of the night. Cardinal Marzone persuaded the Pope to grant a special dispensation to those holy sisters who serve God’s cause as members of the Inquisition, releasing them from the confinement of their cloister under the following particular circumstances: the sister must be an active member of a inquisitor cell; she must not be the only woman who is a member of that cell; she is to submit herself to the authority of the cell’s rector and the local Council of Faith, as a daughter to her father; and she must be mindful always to live and act as a faithful and chaste daughter of Christ, rigorously avoid all appearance of sin, attend divine office and make confession at proper intervals. So long as those conditions are met, a Sister of St. John, St. Theodosius or any


other church order can leave her cloister and act as a full member of the Inquisition. The Marzonian Rule requires a sister-inquisitor to always have at least one other woman in her cell, either in holy orders or not, and to live chastely apart from the men. Sometimes this means the sisters actually dwell in a local convent, but have the dispensation to leave its walls as necessary (in pairs, preferably, and properly escorted). This can get a bit awkward, however, without explaining to the abbess about their mission or just why the dispensation exists in the first place. Sister inquisitors try not to push the bounds of reason too much by constantly coming in and out of the convent as though it were a common inn. Sometimes it’s better to simply keep a separate house (not an inn, which are known to be places of poor repute and unsuitable for a holy sister’s residence) for the sisters, so as not to have to explain too much of the inquisition’s business even to fellow clergy. Sometimes the sisters dwell in the home of a lady of the Murnau, or an obliging female member of the Oculi Dei who can provide suitably chaste and private accommodations for them. Nuns



omen who wish to live a religious life, but who cannot afford the dowry demanded by many abbeys or do not wish to make life-long vows, have the option of joining the beguines. A popular women’s religious movement that started in Flanders in the late 12th century, the beguines live communally in chastity and obedience as long as they remain in the sisterhood. Sharing a house or small priory attached to a hospital, they divide their time between prayer and work. The beguines have no common rule. Each community is independent, and the women support themselves by spinning and weaving, scribing, gardening, and tending the sick in hospitals. Unlike a more conventional order, a beguine can leave the community to marry if she wishes. Although some more established orders look somewhat askance at these women who follow a religious life outside the formal Church structure, the practice has become quite popular. Many beguine communities have been established throughout Flanders, France and Germany. Female inquisitors, both those already in holy orders and some who are not, sometimes make arrangements to live and work within a beguine community while also pursuing their calling with their cells. While the permission of the mistress of the community must be gained, the beguines ask fewer hard questions and are generally more lenient hostesses for their unconventional guests than a Benedictine abbess.


out of cloister must be careful for their reputations, and inquisitors must take that into consideration when arranging housing for the cell.

Not Under Vows The women of the Oculi Dei and the House of Murnau need no papal dispensations to be part of the Inquisition, but this doesn’t mean they have total freedom to do so. In most of Europe, an unmarried daughter’s future is determined by her family, who may or may not take her wishes into consideration. A wife is legally under the authority of her husband, who can even beat her if he wants. A widow of the mercantile or noble classes has most personal and economic freedom, but only if she remains unmarried. The House of Murnau has a long-standing tradition of fighting the Devil, and thus women of that house are granted somewhat more freedom than most when it comes to involving themselves in the Inquisition. The House prefers the women be unmarried or widowed without children; it is one thing for a woman to spend time away from home or risk her life when she is single, but quite another to do so when she has the responsibilities of a husband or children. A married woman can be involved if her husband permits. Only a few rare husband-and-wife pairs exist, and the family is still debating whether even that is a good idea. While the senior members of the family (including Otto von Murnau, who acts as the chief administrator when it comes to keeping track of all the von Murnau cousins and hangers-on in the Inquisition) must still approve her petition, von Murnau women are known to be extremely persuasive — even downright stubborn — when it comes to coercing husbands, fathers, or even over-protective brothers to give them what they want. The Oculi Dei have no rules regarding women. Of all the orders that make up the Inquisition, they offer the most equality — and risk — to a woman seeking to serve God among them. Though the Sword of St. James (under Rodrigue de Navarre) was all male, the Eyes of God soon realized that there were times and places where a woman could not only be present, but hear and see things that a man could not. Despite reservations about the propriety of using female agents, Aignen le Libraire recruited a number of carefully-chosen women whose birth and social position (through family connections or in their own right) gave the Oculi Dei invaluable intelligence about the doings of kings, counts, barons, guild masters and aldermen, and even abbots and bishops. From those few women, the Oculi Dei have expanded their network until the women have become quite a sizeable faction of the order. Only a few women in the Oculi Dei are of noble birth. The great majority of them are women of the middle and lower classes, from the washerwoman who works in the castle of a powerful baron to the shepherdess and weavers

of the countryside, to the innkeeper’s wife — or the guild master’s daughter-in-law. Some are in holy orders and some are the wives of merchants or craftsmen, whose husbands may or may not know of their duty to the Inquisition and to God. Most of these women remain nameless and faceless to their sisters in the Order of St. John or St. Theodosius; their only protection for themselves and their families is their anonymity. Only the nameless and faceless can watch in the market square or listen when the master of the house speaks to his guests, overlooking the very existence of the woman sweeping the hall or serving his dinner.

Sex and the Single Inquisitor All medieval society knows that women are weaker and more susceptible to temptation, especially to sins of the flesh. In secular society, a man’s infidelity is a sin often overlooked, especially with women of lower classes. A woman, however, can be utterly destroyed socially if she is caught (and worse if she is married and caught), yet the prevalence of courtly love literature in France and Germany makes it sound dangerously attractive. The Church in the Dark Medieval is very pragmatic when it comes to sex and sin. It even issues books to parish priests that give standard penances for a wide range of specific sexual sins, and teaches them how to gently “encourage” their parishioners to confess intimacies that do not meet the standards of St. Augustine and other church fathers. Church leaders know that if men and women are permitted to spend time with each other, they will eventually succumb to temptation. “...To be always with a woman and not to have sexual relations with her,” writes Bernard of Clairveaux, “is more difficult than to raise the dead.” Men and women who have sworn their chastity to God are usually protected from their own weaknesses by high cloister walls, a strict regimen of work, prayer and study, and sleeping in a common dormitory. A monk who has joined the Inquisition must interact with women, even secular women, in the performance of his duty to God. He must be even more vigilant to guard against temptations of the flesh than his brothers safe behind convent walls. The pressure on a holy sister is even greater. Should she falter, the scandal reflects on her order as well as breaking a vow to God. Whether it is fair or not, the stigma of breaking that vow has more devastating consequences for a nun than it does for her male counterparts. A male inquisitor in holy orders who breaks his vow of celibacy may find himself assigned severe penances and transferred to a cell hundreds of miles away from the site of his original sin under the strict observance of his superior. A Red Sister or Sister of St. John could theoretically find herself returned to the cloister indefinitely for the same sin.



In practice, however, the Inquisition walks a fine line between being firm in demanding blameless, chaste and godly behavior at all times from its celibate members. It realizes that men and women are not without flaw, and are all in their nature susceptible to sin. While the Marzonian Rule remains strict in its admonitions to prevent the occurrence of sin, dealing with those who have faltered is left up to the rector of a cell or the local Council of Faith. Whether the sinning inquisitor (or inquisitors) are discovered trying to hide their fault, or whether they confess it in a penitential manner also carries a good bit of weight in their judgment. Those who confess willingly may be split up and sent to different cells thereafter so as to avoid further temptation, but they remain part of the Inquisition. Those who seek to hide their sin, however, are dealt with more severely. If they would hide one sin, they might well hide even greater ones, which could endanger far more than their own souls. This puts an inquisitor who finds himself harboring strong feelings (and carnal desires) for another in a difficult and unenviable position, when one or both of them are in holy orders. Can the Sister of St. John keep her feelings for a certain Red Brother a secret, save perhaps in the confessional — and dare she even confess? Can the Poor Knight continue to work alongside a noble lady of House Murnau but never feel anything but the chaste affection of a brother for his sister? Can the Eye of God blacksmith, who is not bound to chastity, continue to restrain himself in the close company of the Red Sister he has loved since childhood? If they succumb to their passions, do they attempt to keep it a secret and risk discovery — or can they face the shame of confession, penance and permanent



he segregation by gender practiced by the Church for its monastic brothers and sisters also attempted to prohibit homosexual liaisons (as there was clearly more opportunity), as well as heterosexual ones in more subtle ways (by requiring monks and nuns to sleep clothed, and in separate beds). Sexual sin was sexual sin, no matter what genders were involved. It is important to note, however, that in the Middle Ages, homosexuality was something you did, not something you were. It almost always applied only to men. Attitudes varied from culture to culture, of course; there were places where such behavior from the clergy was considered no more unusual than seeing a priest living openly with a mistress. In the confessional, however, the “sin of Sodom” was treated as an even more sinful and shameful act than adultery. Two inquisitors confessing or caught in such an act would likely receive even harsher penances, depending on the judgment of their rector and Council of Faith, than their heterosexually sinning colleagues.



separation? Is this love they feel from God, the author of all love — or a carnal temptation from the Devil to weaken them in their fight against Hell’s minions? The answers to such questions can only come from the inquisitor’s own heart. Thus far, no inquisitor under vows has asked to be released from them. Such a request would have to go to the Pope, and would only be granted under extraordinary circumstances. Cardinal Marzone and the Supreme Council of Faith do not intend such a request will ever be heard. Sins can be forgiven, but monastic vows are for life. Even breaking those vows does not absolve one from its perpetual requirements before God.

Family Values Of course, not all inquisitors are bound to chastity, which creates an entirely different set of problems. Many members of the Oculi Dei and the House of Murnau are perfectly free to marry, have families, and indulge in a wide range of activities otherwise considered sinful for their clerical comrades. Still, many non-monastic inquisitors are willing to accept living under semi-monastic rule (at least temporarily) in order to be part of the Inquisition, as such a lifestyle has always been considered a kind of Christian ideal and blessed by God. This allows them to acquire the benefits of a holy life without having to commit to it for the rest of their lives. Inquisitors not under vows are expected to behave in a righteous and Christian manner. Marriage, even to another inquisitor who is free to do so, is far better than succumbing to sin. The average chapter-house does not have married quarters, however, nor does the Marzonian Rule address many questions faced by nonmonastic Inquisitors. Should a married inquisitor live separately from his wife while serving together with a given cell? Should he live apart from the cell and so miss the communal Christian life in order to live with his wife? What if his services are needed by a cell a hundred miles away — does he leave his wife at home for months at a time (circumstances not unusual with merchants and knights in service to a distant lord), or bring her with him to a new city and risk her life as well as his own, should the Enemy learn of her? With these unanswered concerns, it is no wonder that some inquisitors, particularly among the Oculi Dei, consider the imposition of the Marzonian Rule on non-monastic inquisitors to be discriminatory and unfair. Many Eyes of God do not even reveal their identities to other inquisitors, much less details about their personal lives and families. The inquisitor from House Murnau may already be married, or be expected to marry and raise a brood to perpetuate his family line. He may have feudal duties as well, to serve his secular overlord for so many days a year — an overlord that knows nothing of the Inquisition or its purposes. These individuals may have commitments outside the Inqui-

sition that conflict or interfere with their duties. This begs the question: where does their true loyalty lie, with their families or with God?

Of Sin and Duty Where an inquisitor’s first duty lies can be a matter of some debate on other issues as well. How far, for example, should an inquisitor go in order to collect information necessary for her mission or persuade a reluctant informant to speak? Does the Inquisition’s noble and Godly ends justify the means used to achieve those ends? This is of particular interest to the Oculi Dei, whose members are more likely to be on the front lines, running the risk of discovery or interacting directly with the Adversary’s own minions in order to fulfill their duty to their order. The holy sisters may be able guard their chastity from the vile nature of men, but sometimes to learn what’s on the Devil’s mind, it is necessary to step into his parlor. For some women of the Oculi Dei, their service to the Inquisition and to God helps atone for the lives of sin they lead, in brothel, bathhouse, or as the mistress of a man they cannot marry either because he already has a wife, or because he is himself in the Church. Officially, the Inquisition agrees with the Church, which holds out examples of the many noble virgins who sacrificed their lives or endured great torments to preserve their chastity. Unofficially, the Oculi Dei remember Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, whose family was spared destruction because she hid the Israelite spies; and also Judith, who seduced the Assyrian general Holofernes in order to slay him and so saved her city. If God can forgive such women for doing what women must sometimes do, they reason, then confession and forgiveness is possible for them as well, if they give must their bodies as well as their minds and hearts to His service. It is a slippery road to walk and a lonely one, for despite the open invitation by inquisitor priests to hear confession from any Oculi Dei who requests it, many in that order find it hard to trust even a fellow inquisitor. Inquisitors face other trials of conscience and faith as well. They often find themselves required to lie about their mission, their plans, even their very identities to both officials of the Church and the secular authorities lest some agent of the Adversary overhear and guess the truth. Sometimes they must trespass, steal or peruse private documents, or use falsehoods to lure potential informants into confession of their faults. Even harder to bear are the times they must stand by and do nothing, while the Enemy’s minions freely tempt, deceive or hunt innocent (or even not so innocent) people; in order to trap the greater demons, the lesser ones must sometimes be lured into a sense of safety. Is it a sin, a tearful Red Brother asks his confessor, to stand by and allow a demon to kill a young boy



it has lured to an alleyway so they may follow its trail to its masters? For the Oculi Dei, this is more common than most of them will ever confess; for the others it is nearly unbearable, and only for the most callous does that dreadful choice ever get easier.

Torture and Punishment The Inquisition is a secret organization, and as such must be extremely cautious in how it investigates and carries out its judgments against the enemies of God. Inquisitors cannot simply arrest and torture anyone they suspect of diabolical connections — especially if some of those individuals are people of rank. Even the mysterious disappearance of a saddle maker’s apprentice or a rural peasant may rouse suspicion. Should a nobleman or prominent merchant vanish, it can instigate a frantic search on the part of local authorities or family. Therefore, evidence of an individual’s collusion with the Devil must be obtained through less radical means. Seizing suspects for interrogation and sentencing usually occurs only when sufficient evidence of their guilt is already established. Out of pure practicality, the higher the social ranking of the accused, the stronger the case must be in order to take action against him and the higher up the Inquisition’s hierarchy the case goes for final judgment — when prominent men are involved with Hell, the Church must muster greater resources to bring them to repentance and justice. As part of this procedure, inquisitors collect evidence for serious secular crimes as well, such as murder, theft, rape, or treason, under which even a nobleman may be brought to justice and punished under secular rather than canon law. While a local prince or count might scoff when a nobleman is suspected of maleficium, offenses such as murder, treason and tax fraud often serve just as well where the secular courts are concerned. When it comes to carrying a sentence against a demon in human form, however — such as a Cainite or shape-changer — the inquisitors need not defer to any secular court or prince. The Inquisition accepts that demons have already rejected God’s will and cannot be saved, even by the most well-meaning priest (this makes people like Sister Laetitia (see p. 35) both awesome and somewhat suspect in their devotion to redemption). There is nothing for the inquisitor to do, therefore, but remove the creature from the worldly plane with all due dispatch so it may corrupt no more innocent but careless souls. Torture is used merely to gain information from the creature, not redemption. If its destruction serves to instruct those foolish enough to have believed its false promises, then so much the better. To this end, some inquisitors like to capture a Cainite, then demonstrate its true nature by having those it has deceived witness its destruction in the rays of the rising sun. Inquisitors must also be careful in how they present themselves when the time comes to take action against




orture is used to persuade the convicted miscreant to confess his sins for the good of his soul, not to establish his guilt — although the willingness of the accused to confess and beg forgiveness for his crimes may have a mitigating effect on the severity of his punishment. Torture is never used lightly, but it is often required to ensure that all sins are confessed and that the accused holds nothing back that would otherwise imperil his soul. The Marzonian Rule requires that at least four persons be present when a subject is undergoing the question: the interrogator himself, a scribe to take down what is said as clearly as possible, a layperson whose job it is to administer the correction as ordered by the interrogator, and another, often a priest, who bears witness to the proceedings and ensures that they are in keeping with canon law. If the person being questioned is female, a female witness must be present, either instead of or in addition to the priest. the Devil’s mortal minions. Sometimes, such in the heresy-riddled Languedoc, the full authority of the Church can be brought to bear (often in the guise of the Holy Inquisition against heresy). This is also true in parts of Italy and France, where a Cardinal’s writ carries sufficient weight on its own merit that local authorities do not ask too many questions. In lands such as distant England or the Empire, however, or where the Adversary’s corruption has rooted itself deeply in the local Church, inquisitors sometimes disguise their inquiries as coming from other sources, such as a distant baron or bishop. In the Baltic and Eastern Europe, the Inquisition has very little authority at all. For the time being, the Supreme Council of Faith is less concerned about regions where the church itself is weak, and prefers to concentrate on cleaning out nests of Satan’s vipers within its own heartland in the West.

The Sicae Dei, “Daggers of God” Only two years ago, the Inquisition suffered a serious blow when the Oculi Dei presented irrefutable evidence to Cardinal Marzone that one of his more successful inquisitors was secretly a member of an order of heretical sorcerers who called themselves the Messianic Voices (more information on these blasphemers can be found in Dark Ages: Mage). The resulting investigation uncovered nearly two dozen more such heretics, including Father Andrea Pitti, who had been one of Marzone’s hand-picked advisors almost from the beginning. Unfortunately, many of the heretics were warned and escaped. The rest, including Father Andrea himself, were captured, tried, and ultimately (for despite their arrogant protestation of righteousness, they would renounce neither their heretical beliefs nor their sorcery), burned at the stake.


The scope and personal nature of this betrayal — and the fact that these deceitful creatures had been able to infiltrate the very organization intended to hunt them down — shook the Cardinal to his very soul. Clearly, extraordinary vigilance would be required to keep the Inquisition free of such taints, lest the good work they were doing be corrupted from the start. With a heavy heart but firmly convinced of its dire necessity, the Cardinal instituted a secret organization devoted to investigation and judgement, intended to search for corruption among the very ranks of the Inquisition itself. That organization, which reported directly to him, became the Sicae Dei, the “Daggers of God.”

Organization and Practices Two senior members of each of the five orders, who were examined closely and judged free of all taints, make up a special Council of Faith that oversees the internal investigations of the Sicae Dei. Members include Aignen le Libraire, Gauthier de Dampiere, Franziska and Leopold von Murnau, and Abbot Gervèse le Fèvre. Any inquisitor who is being considered as a potential member of the Sicae Dei must be approved unanimously by the Sicae Council and Cardinal Marzone, and must pass a rigorous and extensive background investigation. A member of the Sicae Dei must not only be of unquestioned orthodoxy and strong faith, but must also possess a certain degree of fanaticism and strength of purpose —he cannot allow compassion to deter him from coming to a proper judgment, nor carrying it out. Only those steadfast in their own service to God and the Inquisition can properly judge their brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. If decay or disease in that body is found, they must have the courage to rip it out by the roots. The Sicae Dei are not numerous. They work in cells of three, with representatives of at least two orders in each cell. One member is always a priest, so he can hear the confessions of any accused who desire to make them. The cells are itinerant, going wherever they are needed and working from the reports of Oculi Dei, local Councils of Faith and even individual inquisitors in the field. Often during an investigation, only one of the Sicae Dei even makes his presence known to the local Council of Faith or inquisitor cells, and never his true purpose. The investigation is as thorough as the Sicae Dei can make it, for their verdict — either of guilt or innocence — must be unanimous. If they cannot reach a unanimous decision, the investigation continues until they can. Once a verdict is reached, the Sicae Dei have the authority to arrest, question, and sentence — if necessary — any and all inquisitors they have judged to be guilty of corruption. They can also call upon other inquisitors in the region to assist them in apprehending their guilty brethren. Ideally, those judged guilty are given opportunity for confession and absolution before they are sentenced. In practice, resistance to arrest or lack of



very inquisitor in the field is encouraged to report to the local Council of Faith on the suspicious behavior of any of his colleagues or superiors. If any complaints seem worthy of further investigation, they are passed up the line to Cardinal Marzone’s office in Rome. While this results more in piles of petty grudges and complaints than true evidence, particularly at the local level, the watchfulness — and outright paranoia — it generates has also resulted in several occasions of compromised inquisitors being discovered before any real damage was done. This same paranoia, of course, also makes it harder for inquisitors to trust one another, especially among the Oculi Dei. The knowledge that at anytime, her fellows may also be watching her for signs of corruption, and that tempering her judgment of possible devil-tainted sinners with mercy may cause her own loyalty to be questioned, is enough to put any inquisitor on edge, even with her cellmates. Unfortunately, paranoia may ultimately be the price the Inquisition must pay to be true to its God-given purpose — a price that Marzone, at least, seems willing to pay. cooperation after capture sometimes means the opportunity for cleansing the soul is lost. The sentence for an inquisitor judged guilty of corruption is not always death, if the Sicae Dei feel there is true remorse and a strong possibility of reform. Even if his life is spared, however, lifelong penance in the cloister is the least severe penalty he can expect. For those whose sin is far greater, death is the usual sentence. For those who at least take the opportunity to confess and be absolved, it is as merciful a judgment as the Sicae Dei can grant. The Sicae Dei cell makes a full report to Cardinal Marzone and the Sicae Dei Council of Faith, but typically after sentence has already been passed. Thus far, no Sicae Dei judgment has been overturned — although if one were, the decision might come too late for those who were unjustly accused. Still, the Sicae Dei are comforted by the knowledge that God’s judgment will, if necessary, correct any fault in their own.

Sample of Play This example of play is presented to illustrate how the members of the Inquisition might function together, using their disparate talents in service to God Almighty. It even hints at the political necessities of preparing a case before simply going after the Devil, sword at the ready. [This is the second session for this group of players, who have gathered again to fight evil in Dark Ages: Inquisitor. Lee is the Storyteller. Shelley plays Judith,



a Sister of St. John. David plays Alberto, a monk of the Red Order. Alex plays Thomas, a member of the Oculi Dei. The three are a newly formed cell that has been sent to a village several days travel from their Council of Faith, in order to investigate the recent disappearance of several children. [In their last session, the characters set up a makeshift chapter-house and began questioning people in the area. They have gathered some evidence for the Council of Faith about a woman near the village they suspect of unholy dealings, and are trying to decide how best to proceed.] Thomas leans back in his chair and stares at his companions. “Each of the children’s parents are reported to have had dealings with this woman in one way or another. I think our case is sound.” “You think she’s really a witch?” asks Judith. “Well,” says Thomas, “she is known to dabble in ‘herbal remedies’ and the villagers tell tales of lovesick folk visiting her in the dead of night. I’m not sure this proves she had anything to do with the missing children, but I think we have a case.” “I’m not sure this is enough for me to draft a letter to the Procurator Fiscalis.” Says Brother Alberto, “What else do we have besides hearsay?” “I told you, Brother, that each of the children is linked to her indirectly. I think that alone warrants further investigation,” says Thomas. “It just seems to be… overreacting to arrest an old woman merely because of a few rumors. Surely we’ll find out more when we confront her,” says Alberto. “In my experience, though, the kinds of things she’s accused of doing hardly constitute maleficium.” “The soul is delicate,” Sister Judith places a hand gently on Alberto’s shoulder, “and though she may believe what she is doing is good, if she has turned her back on the Lord, she may encourage the same behavior in others.” “This is true… I suppose after even mere dabbling she ought to be called to answer for her sins before anything more insidious happens.” Alberto reluctantly gives in. “Besides, even if she isn’t responsible for the disappearances, she may have some information that will help us find the children. I’ll begin writing up our case, and in the morning we can go and begin the proceedings. If we don’t find anything other than simple superstitious trinkets, though, I’m afraid this will be a short trial.” “Be sure to include all of the statements I gathered,” says Thomas. “Judith also prepared a document outlining what we know about the last whereabouts of each child. The ‘rumors’ smack more of fear than gossip to me. Coupled with the information we have about her penchant for ‘superstitious trinkets,’ as you call them, I think we’d be wrong not to bring her in.”


[Lee has David roll Intelligence + Theology to see how effective his argument for arresting this woman is. Considering the evidence they’ve collected, Lee tells David his difficulty is only going to be five. His three successes are enough for Lee to tell David that he feels his character’s writing is compelling. David says he’d like to indicate that though they have some pretty solid statements pointing to pagan practices, he’s not sure he wants to push for the harshest punishment just yet. [The players plan for a while how they intend to go about finding this woman and taking her in for judgment. They make a list of equipment they will take with them in the morning, and the Storyteller looks over it with a nod of approval. [Lee tells them that their sleep is uneventful, and that a messenger will leave at dawn with the letter bearing their case.] The shadowy woods seem even colder than a typical November afternoon would dictate, and the three inquisitors cautiously navigate the paths leading deeper through the trees, staying alert for any disturbances. A farmer they questioned a few weeks prior told them the old woman’s name is Brunissende. She has apparently only lived in the heart of the woods near a small stream for only about a year. It is a local mystery how she came to have a cottage here, and Brother Alberto begins to wonder if she even really exists. “Wait!” Sister Judith hisses through clenched teeth. She falls to her knees and covers her face, breathing deeply and trembling. The others rush to her aid, but keep glancing around themselves for trouble. Sister Judith is known to see warnings from the Lord well before danger actually strikes. “Trouble… watching… waiting… we have to get away from here!” Judith drops her hands to the earth and grasps at the dried leaves blanketing it. She looks up at the others, wild eyed. “There isn’t much time—” [As a Sister of St. John, Shelley’s character is prone to divine visions. Her trigger is generally the presence of imminent danger. She is able to try and induce them, but as it is the Storyteller’s prerogative to also throw in visions as plot devices, Lee decides to give the players a warning about an upcoming attack (otherwise this group of non-combative characters might have a very short mission indeed).] A low growling sound creeps through the air, cutting off Judith’s words. After a quick glance at one another, the inquisitors scramble to find places to hide. Thomas climbs a tree nearby and scans the area; he can see Alberto behind a gnarled oak and


Judith crouched behind a rock outcropping, but no sign of where the growling came from. After a few strained heartbeats, a huge black dog stalks through the clearing, sniffing the ground and air. Thomas relaxes and focuses on the animal; aware right away that it is not a natural creature. He slowly unsheathes the dagger at his side. [Alex states that Thomas uses the Gift of Second Sight Benediction to determine if this is a supernatural threat. Alex rolls Perception + Wisdom (five dice). His difficulty is 6, and he rolls two successes. Lee informs Alex that the dog is clearly not a typical animal. Though it looks big and strong, it is also badly lacerated all over. and seems driven to ferocity beyond even the normal level for a rabid beast.] From a closer vantage point, it doesn’t take Judith the senses of the Eyes of God to tell that this beast is of the Devil. It is covered in matted patches of dirty hair. Its eyes are bloodshot and thick saliva drips from its maw. Each breath heats the air around it like the very fires of Hell. It sniffs the air around the rock where Judith hides, a low rumbling coming from its chest. Seeing a chance to distract the creature, Alberto kneels down quietly, picks up a rock, and throws it as far as he can deeper into the woods. [David, hoping that this monster isn’t any smarter than a normal dog, wants his character to distract the creature long enough for the inquisitors to get a running start. Since the hound is over by Judith sniffing around, Lee rules that David doesn’t need to roll for how quietly he picks up the stone. He does, however, require a Dexterity + Athletics roll to see how far into the woods Alberto can throw it. Alberto’s pool is only three dice, so he decides to spend a Willpower point to ensure at least one success. Lee sets the difficulty at 7 due to the extenuating circumstances; with his Willpower point, David manages two successes. Lee rules this is enough for the stone to make a noise far enough away to attract the attention of their pursuer.] The sound of the rock skittering through the leaves in the distance alarms the hellhound. It leaps ferociously to the chase, running after the sound and buying the inquisitors precious time. Thomas drops from his perch, joining Alberto and Judith as they run as fast as they can to get out of the woods. They shoot glances over their shoulders to make sure they are not being chased, seeing no sign of the demonic animal. Once they’ve cleared the trees, the three pause to gasp for air.

[The Storyteller rules that their characters are able to get away from danger without faltering (though he makes a few rolls behind his screen to keep everybody on their toes).] “Cowards!” Alberto moans. “We’re cowards… God forgive us—” “No!” Judith glares at him. “That creature has a master, believe me. We would gain nothing from bleeding under its fangs.” “Keep moving,” says Thomas, “We must draft another letter to the Procurator. We’ve seen enough, and I hardly think we’ll be bringing anyone or anything back for judgment. He has to know, and we may need help.” “It takes three days for a message to reach Faber,” says Alberto, “do we really have that long to wait for reinforcements? We have a duty to stop this evil now!” “Agreed,” Thomas quietly responds, “but if something should… happen to us, the Council has to know what we’ve seen.” [Lee lets the players discuss their plans for a while. They decide that their characters should return to their chapter-house and write a second letter to Procurator Fiscalis Faber, telling of their encounter with the hellhound and indicating that they will proceed to try to rid the place of demonic influence. They agree that they don’t want to appear weak in the eyes of the Council, but knowing when to request reinforcements is wise. Their characters spend the night praying and resting in preparation for a second search for the witch’s hovel.] The next dawn, the woods are strangely calm. Thomas walks this time with his dagger drawn, the others keeping watch for anything strange. They manage to get to the bank of the stream before mid-day without any trouble, but the quiet is unsettling. After another hour or two of searching along the stream, the group finally spots a small wooden cottage about five hundred yards in from the water. “It doesn’t look like anybody’s lived there for months.” whispers Thomas. The tiny house is warped from weather damage, overgrown with vegetation, and devoid of all signs of occupancy. The windows are boarded and shuttered, and no smoke comes from the stone chimney that runs up the far side. “No sign of our four-legged friend, either,” says Brother Alberto. “Perhaps he was some kind of glamour.”



“If he was a trick, he was a good one,” Judith retorts. “He was close enough to me that I could smell him, so let’s not let our guard down.” “No danger of that happening,” Thomas says. He clenches his jaw with resolve, then slowly heads for the cottage. The others follow, and together they circle to the back of the building. A cool wind stirs through the woods and under it they hear a faint moaning. The door at the back of the cottage is loose on its hinges, and the rotted wood gives way with a gentle tug. The inquisitors’ senses are assaulted as the smell of dead, rotting things wafts from the dark interior. They gather their wits, and step through the threshold and into a small kitchen. A rustling sound is immediately noticeable, and they can all see that the decayed food lying on a nearby table is swarming with maggots. Thomas presses forward through a doorway covered with what is left of a curtain, gesturing for the others to follow. In the main room of the house, the scene is horrific. A chair and table are overturned in the center of the room. Moldy straw and rushes cover the floor. Tattered bedding lies against the far wall, upon which they see a corpse that can only have been Brunissende. Judith grabs her rosary and mutters a silent prayer. The woman’s body is naked and flayed from neck to pubis. The rotted gray skin of her abdomen is pulled back in a parody of wings and her body cavity is filled with a nest of rats eagerly feasting on what is left of her entrails. Judith’s lips tremble as she tries to pull herself together, and she is once again blessed with a vision from the Lord. [Shelley lets Lee know that she’d like to see if her character can glean any information from her order benefit about what danger might be lurking, so she spends a point of Willpower and rolls Perception + Empathy (for Judith this is six dice). Lee decides the difficulty is 6; the roll produces one success. Judith is given some insight, but it is definitely colored with a dash of horror. After stepping aside from the rest of the players for a moment to discuss what she sees, Lee and Shelley get back into the action.] Alberto braces her shoulders with his strong hands and looks into her eyes. “What is it, Sister? What do you see? Be with us, for the love of God!” “Th-there is s-something here…” she stammers, gulping air between her sobs. “I see her…


her flesh. It’s t-tearing… oh, God save us… beneath us… it’s beneath us….” Alberto releases her to regain her composure and the two men brush away the straw and debris strewn about the floor. Beneath it, clearly outlined in the floor, is a trap door. Silently, they collect themselves. Judith and Thomas ready themselves as Alberto slowly pulls open the door. They are met with a rush of cold air, the smell of earth, and the sound of chains rattling in the darkness beneath. They’ve been trained to face this kind of fear. Each of them knows that if they wait too long, the terror will grip their hearts and challenge their faith. Alberto pulls a torch from his knapsack and lights it with a flint and steel, and with one solid glance around the group, he descends. A rickety wooden ladder leads into the cellar. After the Red Monk descends, Thomas climbs down, followed by Judith. In the cold belly of the cottage, the inquisitors are faced with still more horrors. The flayed bodies of children are chained to all four walls. A circle of white powder takes up the center of the room, in the center of which lies the body of the dog that hunted them yesterday. The coppery smell of dried blood assaults the air but there is no movement, no sound. [Judith’s Orison is True Innocent, so Shelly asks if she may spend a point of Conviction to make it harder for her character to be harmed for the duration of the scene. Lee nods, and notes he will need to succeed on a Willpower roll against a difficulty of Judith’s Piety rating if the creature that awaits decides to attack her.] Judith again prays, but this time she bows her head and seems sure of the safety of the Lord, the sickening nature of what surrounds them paling in comparison to the love of the Father. They scan the room and see nothing still living. Before they can move, however, the trap door above them slams shut. A small voice whispers in the darkness. “My pet brought you to me, but he outlived his usefulness. His body was weak.” Thomas points to a corner of the room. “There!” he croaks, voice dry with fright. One of the children, a boy not more than six years old, stands and tilts his head to one side. His body is scarred and pale, with only tattered breeches to clothe his body.


“You expected to confront the woman?” He whispers. “She was a fool, but smart enough to invite me here. This child has been an adequate vessel.” The boy’s eyes open and reveal blood red points of light. When he speaks again it is the sound of many voices as one, filled with sorrow and torment. “But I long for the strength of another!” [Based on the scene at hand, Lee requires the three players to make a roll to avoid the effects of Terror. None of the characters has a point in Zeal, so they must all spend a point of Conviction and roll Courage. They each manage to roll at least one success at difficulty 6 (Alex’s difficulty is 5, as his Orison is the Hierophant, which reduces the difficulty of Courage rolls by one) and so are able to press on without any negative modifiers. [David asks if his dots in the Exposure Background allow Alberto to know anything about what is going on, and Lee asks for a Wits + Exposure roll. The roll is successful, and David is told that his character knows that when a fiend is looking around with glowing eyes, it’s probably a good idea to avert one’s gaze. After a nervous chuckle from the rest of the group, Alex states that he’d like to spend a Conviction point to use his Hierophant Orison’s ability to inspire courage to back up Alberto, seeing as Judith already has some protection. As he will now be down to two points of Conviction, Alex says he is going to risk an extra point of Conviction to add another die to his pool, so that he can get a point back if he succeeds. With the additional die his pool is five and he rolls a 1, 4, 5, 5, and 3. Ouch, a botch! After a little cursing from the players, Lee informs Alex that his character’s faith has just been shaken to the core and he has lost all of his Conviction.] “Don’t look at his eyes!” Alberto shouts. Thomas has closed his eyes in silent prayer, but when they reopen they are vacant and terrified. “N-no! Oh, my God, no!” Seeming to sense a weak link, the boy stretches out a hand toward Thomas. He is knocked to the floor by an unseen force, his dagger falling from his grip and into the darkness. Judith takes a deep breath and faces the demon, tears rolling down her cheeks. She smiles faintly as the possessed child shrieks, realizing he is bound to the spot. [Shelley has decided that Judith is ready to do what she can to stop this before things get worse. Her character uses Tears of the Martyr to hold the demon in place. Her Wits + Boni Spiritus is only four dice, but she adds her dot in Faith for a total of five. Lee knows that the body of the boy doesn’t provide much in the

way of Stamina, so her difficulty is only 5. The roll provides three successes, so the characters now have some time to act (three turns, to be precise, provided Judith doesn’t look away). [David asks if he may take this opportunity to restrain the enemy. Lee sees no reason to require an initiative roll since the adversary is held in place, and he only has David make his Dexterity + Brawl roll against a difficulty of 5. Tackling the body of the wounded child and wrestling it to the ground is relatively easy; David rolls enough successes that Alberto has the foe firmly in his grasp. When David asks if he may also splash holy water on the fiend, Lee sees no reason why not (since he already knows it will have no effect on this creature).] Brother Alberto drops the torch and rushes the boy, tackling him to the ground and wrestling him into submission. The demon roars with horror as Alberto raises a vial of holy water and splashes it into his face. “In the name of the Lord, be gone from this place, foul demon!” Shouts Alberto. “Thomas! Rope! Get me the rope!” [Alex wants to know what he can do at this point, and Lee explains that though his faith may have wavered, he is not completely useless in this situation. He may still act, but he has no access to Blessings or Conviction to defend himself. This being the case, Alex decides to have Thomas do his best to help, while staying out of the fray.] Thomas scrambles across the floor, and tosses Alberto a length of rope, managing in the confusion to retrieve the fallen torch. He stops for a moment and tries to muster the energy to help, but icy doubt grips his stomach and his eyes well with tears. Pushing back into a corner, he avoids getting any closer. Alberto continues to hold the boy. Though the demon seems strong of will the body is still that of a badly malnourished child. He manages to tie the creature’s hands and feet as he begins reciting the litany of the Holy Rite of Exorcism. The boy is tightly bound by the time Alberto rises and Judith’s hold loosens. Though exhausted, she begins to pray with Alberto. “You may banish me from this place,” the demon growls, “but you’ll not save the child. I’ll drag his soul screaming with me through the gates of Hell!” [Fortunately, Alberto’s Willpower score is higher than the demon’s, so the difficulty on the exorcism ritus doesn’t go up. The difficulty of this roll starts at 10, and



his dice pool (Wits + Boni Spiritus) is a mere five dice. Judith, as another character with Superior Virtues, lowers his difficulty to 9. Lee knows that David needs seven successes for the demon to be cast out, and on the first roll David manages to gain two of them. Alberto’s Piety score is 7, thus he may continue the ritus for that many hours, with David making new rolls each hour until his character is exhausted, he botches, or the evil being is cast out of this place.] The two continue their prayers, unwavering in the face of the obscenities spewing forth from this poor child’s mouth. Meanwhile Thomas can hear its voice in his head. Like flies buzzing, it burns at his mind and taunts him with whispers of how his order will ultimately destroy him. He is told of the times to come, when he will be a slave to Satan because he is too weak to serve the Lord. It is too much for him to endure in his weakened state; he drops the torch and lunges for his dagger. Alberto cannot afford distraction, but Judith glances over her shoulder and sees Thomas. She manages to grab the torch before the light is extinguished, but is unable to stop Thomas from cutting himself down the inside of his left arm. The blood flows quickly and freely, and Thomas simply sits and watches his arm turn crimson. [While defenseless, Thomas is a sitting duck for the mental urgings of the demon (it’s tied down, but not at all powerless. It uses the Corruption Charm (p. 293 of Dark Ages: Vampire) on the Oculus). After a few easy rolls against his character, Lee advises Alex that he has hurt himself for one lethal level of damage. Judith is distracted momentarily from the rite, but since Alberto is the leading inquisitor for this process, Lee allows Shelly to have her character help Thomas and still assist for the remainder of the rite.] The demon laughs. Alberto’s prayers rise to a feverish shouting. Judith looks around herself frantically, and plants the torch firmly into the moist earth beneath her feet, leaving it burning as she rushes to Thomas’ aid. The Oculus is too weak to resist even Judith. She knocks the dagger from his hand and wraps his arm with cloth from her robes. He is babbling like a madman as he presses his tear soaked face into her shoulder. Like a mother she rocks him until he is calm, and then returns to assist Brother Alberto with the difficult task at hand. [Shelley makes a roll to bind Thomas’ wound. Her character fortunately has two dots in Medicine and is able to successfully keep him from taking any more



damage. Lee has Shelley make a Manipulation + Empathy roll to see if Judith can calm Thomas down and help him throw off the effects of the demon’s Charm (Lee grants her a low difficulty for good role-playing). After Alex spends a point of Willpower, his character is free from the subtle manipulations of the spawn of Satan. Shelley advises Lee that Judith will rejoin Alberto but keep an occasional eye on Thomas to make sure he is all right. [After two more in-game hours, another two rolls and the judicious spending of Willpower, David manages to gain enough successes to drive the demon from the child. He also opts to spend a permanent point of Willpower to keep the creature from ever returning to this place.] What seems an eternity passes, and finally the boy’s body arcs back, as a pale green snakelike energy erupts from his chest, coiling into the air and then plummeting into the ground. Alberto’s voice booms, “Stay, spawn of Satan, from this place forevermore!” Judith rushes to the child’s side and wipes the blood and dirt from his face. “He sleeps.” She says, smiling finally. “The demon lied. He can be saved, but we must take him from this place. He must not see what surrounds him.” “But Judith,” Alberto says, “we must cleanse this place of evil. The taint will linger, surely….” They look to Thomas. He is weary but aware, his bandaged arm sore but no longer bleeding. “Can you take him, Thomas? The Lord will be with you. Heed his call.” Alberto asks, gently.

[Lee tells Alex that after the victory over the demon and the encouragement of his companions, he regains one point of lost Conviction, giving him enough drive to move on. He has been an aid and witness to the power of the Lord, so it is fitting that his faith will gradually restore itself. The memory of this encounter, however, will linger in Thomas’ mind for the rest of his life.] “I— I think so… I can carry him over my shoulder. Will you be long behind?” “No. We will rejoin you before nightfall. We have to depend on you, Thomas. Please, in the name of God, save this child!” Alberto lifts the unconscious boy and carries him to Thomas. After careful consideration, Thomas agrees to make the journey without the others. With their help, he gets the boy out of the cellar and into the sunlight. As he slowly wanders off into the woods with his precious package, the remaining two inquisitors begin the task of cleaning, burying, and consecrating, all the while struggling to remember the details they must report to the Council of Faith in the days to come. [Shelley’s character knows the ritus Hallow Ground, and she advises Lee that after they clean the place physically, Judith will take an hour and purify the cottage, hoping to prevent any further encroachment of the forces of Satan. Lee tells them that when they return to their chapter house, they find that Thomas has succeeded in returning the child to safety. The three characters must now rest and regain their strength. The pagan goings-on they heard about before no longer seem to be a minor threat, and there is much more of the Lord’s work to be done in this place….]



Chapter Three: The Ways of the Faithful But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth. — Exodus 9:16 This chapter begins with an examination of what it actually means to experience the degree of Conviction that inquisitors possess. The average inhabitant of the Dark Middle Ages has a certain degree of faith, but nothing like the absolute certainty that inquisitors have. Herein we make some suggestions about what an inquisitor’s subjective experience might be like, as well as how such a character might be seen by others. The remainder of the chapter provides you with new Blessings, Curses and Merits and Flaws to further define the capabilities of your Inquisitor characters.

The Lamp of Faith Madmen’s eyes hold an unsettling fury and intensity. Curiously, so do the eyes of many inquisitors. This is not coincidence. The absolute belief, the driving faith of an inquisitor is a palpable thing. Conviction is far more than a feeling that God exists, it’s an absolute knowledge

of His existence and a driving urge to do His bidding to the best of one’s ability. The inquisitor’s relentless sense of humility and subordination to the Lord is as terrifying as is his loathing for anyone or anything serving the Adversary. In such a worldview, there is no room for doubt. Inquisitors may doubt themselves, they may doubt others and they may even doubt the Church, but they never, ever, doubt God. The above beliefs and traits, when combined, are what make up the game mechanic called Conviction. While any pious man might feel a moment of connection to the Divine, a moment of absolute certainty about God and the world, a moment of righteous rage that gives his crucifix the ability to ward off a vampire briefly, this is the level of intensity that inquisitors live with night and day, year after year. It can take its toll. Callousness is the most obvious cost of such a burning faith, but Callousness is only a problem for some inquisitors some of the time. The day-to-day interpersonal elements of Conviction can be much more difficult to deal with; for an inquisitor, they’re an issue constantly.

The Flock Members of the flock are uncertain how to perceive inquisitors. An inquisitor’s passionate faith often polarizes the laity. The more pious folk see inquisitors as exemplars, role models leading lives worthy of imitation by all good Christians. Those whose faith is less perfect, however, may find an inquisitor’s intensity offputting, unnerving or even terrifying. Such intensity can only come from absolute knowledge or delusion verging on madness, and it can be hard to tell which is which. Those faithful in the former category are likely to idolize inquisitors as living saints. They may become strangely driven to serve the inquisitor to the best of their ability, to be in his presence as much as possible, or to pray with him on a regular basis. An inquisitor developing this kind of cult of personality is likely to have his humility challenged, and is better off doing everything in his power to prevent such a following from developing in the first place. Young inquisitors may be inclined to revel in such attention from the faithful at first, but such arrangements can go wrong in such a terrible variety of ways that the inquisitor never makes the same mistake twice. Wise inquisitors, therefore, take steps to prevent such things as soon as they sense any such tendency.


Those members of the flock who fear the inquisitor, however, are potentially more trouble. These individuals may feel that the inquisitor’s extreme faith somehow minimizes or degrades theirs. They may grow bitter and resentful. While they’re still faithful to the tenets of Christianity, they may find themselves doing things to undermine the inquisitor in question, trying to prove him a hypocrite. So long as the inquisitor is acting above board, he’s not likely to have a problem with these petty faith-enviers. God save the inquisitor caught in any kind of compromising position (like some of those that might be brought on by Callousness), however, if such a member of the flock catches him.

Pagans Pagans, on the other hand, are not divided at all in their perceptions of inquisitors. To pagan eyes, inquisitors are not so different from attack dogs. It’s bad enough that monotheists are insistent that there is and can be only one god and that it’s their own, and that those not worshipping him must convert or die. Almost worse than that, however, is their insufferable self-righteousness, adding insult to injury as far as the scattered pagans of Europe are concerned. Run-of-the-mill Christian soldiers are hard enough to deal with, but haughty, overzealous Christians with a hint of madness in their eyes and no room to doubt their own strange views of the world are nothing short of a plague in human form. Pagans perceive the unquestioning certainty of Conviction as ignorance, arrogance and naïveté. Those qualities alone would be enough to cause the pagans to despise the inquisitors, but when the inquisitors are so quick to use violence to enforce their view of the world, that seals the pagans’ loathing. Consequently, a direct correlation exists between how much Conviction an inquisitor has and how much a pagan will hate her. An inquisitor with a high Conviction rating, even one whose Piety is also high, still incurs murderous rage among pagans. God help an inquisitor who opens his mouth in any village where pagans outnumber Christians (and while such places are rare throughout most of Europe, they still exist — in the Norse lands and in the Balkans, primarily).

The Enemy The allies of the Adversary feel the God-given confidence of the inquisitor as a challenge to their dark master’s power over the world. On the whole, such foul creatures are used to feeling superior to the mortals in their herd. It amuses them momentarily to


see a mortal show such arrogance. That amusement often changes, once the inquisitor has channeled the power of her faith into the monster’s undoing. Vampires in particular fancy themselves the masters of humanity. Many are used to being treated with deference by the mortal slaves in their retinue. When they meet an inquisitor who has the effrontery not to show them deference and — more shockingly — the arrogance to show them the manifest revulsion of the Almighty, it infuriates these children of the Devil, at least the first time they see it. Any vampire who survives an initial encounter with an inquisitor (or, worse, a company of them) is likely to show a great deal more respect to those with true Conviction. Other creatures vary in their approach to inquisitors with the true fire of the Lord in their eyes. Feeling certain of their prowess in battle, the more bestial of Satan’s minions are likely to attack the inquisitor the moment he challenges them. Sorcerers vary widely in their approach to the members of the Inquisition. Some are simply pagans and respond in true form. Others claim to be Christian, and may even challenge the inquisitor to a test of whose connection to the Divine is more legitimate. Most inquisitors would agree that magi gain their power from some source entirely unrelated to God, and many witches often relish opportunities for battle with an inquisitor who is arrogant in his faith.

Brothers in Arms Inquisitors with high Conviction inspire and empower one another, sometimes with nothing more than a zealous glance. The enthusiastic camaraderie that results in such situations can be intimidating to witnesses. A strange synergy results when two devout inquisitors meet. Such kindred souls often experience a palpable strengthening of faith and dedication to the cause, as the two strengthen and reaffirm one another’s commitment to the Lord. Members of the flock who see such things may easily be intimidated by the sheer unmitigated zeal evinced by inquisitors meeting in such a way. Even other inquisitors with less Conviction may find themselves ill at ease, though they may just as easily be in awe. On rare occasions, two inquisitors do not see eye to eye. They may share their dedication and their faith but nothing else. In such cases, the inquisitors may grow arrogant, even prideful, in their particular approach to their faith. Minor variations in Biblical interpretation can grow into full-fledged conflicts of

dogma. In such situations, the inquisitors are often fast enemies, at least for so long as they have no other enemy to engage. That said, the moment a better target — a vampire, a true heretic or the like — comes along, the two immediately put aside their conflicts and strive to outdo the other in performing the Lord’s will. Such petty feuds can sometimes lead to heightened zeal in the prosecution of the Inquisition, though other times it leads more directly to foolhardiness as the two inquisitors in question begin to take unnecessary risks in an attempt to eclipse the other. When such situations do arise, the Devil sits back and laughs. Different from but relevant to the discussion of how others perceive an inquisitor’s Conviction is how they perceive that inquisitor when he’s momentarily under the influence of power, not piety. If some find an inquisitor’s Conviction disturbing, far worse is their perception of an inquisitor who has become Callous. These souls are so utterly in the grip of their drive to root out sin that they forget that the Lord also counsels humility and compassion. Callous inquisitors are loose cannons in the Lord’s army. Conviction can be seen as madness channeled to a respectable goal. When an inquisitor has become Callous, however, that goal suddenly becomes decidedly less respectable. Within the Inquisition, allowing oneself to fall prey to unchristian impulses is considered a minor disgrace. Most inquisitors have had the experience of falling into Callousness at one point or another during their careers. Experienced inquisitors consider it a natural stumbling block along the path of righteousness — so long as it happens only once. Inquisitors who let themselves fall into Callousness with any frequency are first counseled, then reprimanded if the problem is not addressed. Callous inquisitors reflect poorly on the Inquisition specifically and the Church in general. Members of the Flock and other targets of Callous inquisitors’ ire have little good to say about the experience of dealing with these allegedly pious individuals. “Thugs,” “hypocrites,” and “self-righteous adders” are all terms that have been used to describe inquisitors with a Callousness problem. There have been recorded examples of inquisitors behaving worse than the agents of Hell from which they’re supposed to protect the Flock. While the Church is generally able to quash tales of such behavior, it can’t hide the deeds of every Callous inquisitor. In modern terms, one Callous inquisitor can be a public relations nightmare for the Church. For that



reason (and on general principle too, of course) Callousness is not dealt with lightly. That said, one Callous inquisitor is unlikely to damage Church relations in any larger sense while working in a small village, although he can alienate important people in the community and undermine his own ability to function effectively in that town. What effect an inquisitor’s Callousness has depends on his Impulse. A Bravo will have a more clearly negative impact than, say, a Dreamer or a Defender.

Blessings The use of Blessings by inquisitors remains the topic of much debate in the Church, both inside and outside the five orders. The propriety of such tactics is contested. The Inquisition’s advocates claim that Blessings of all types are theurgy, the divine magic of Heaven, and clearly proof that the Lord Himself supports the Inquisition. The Inquisition’s detractors, on the other hand, point to a myriad of problems common among the Inquisition, notably Curses and inquisitors’ sometimes Callous behavior, as indicators that the men and women of the Inquisition might not be as divinely favored as it claims. Others claim that inquisitors, while on the right side of the war, are still nothing more than sorcerers. That said, the Inquisition doesn’t have as many detractors as it might because it remains a largely secret organization. Were it to become common knowledge, the tone of the debate might change drastically. Blessings are a fact of life, however, and older inquisitors have noted that not all Blessings are created equal. It should be noted before continuing the discussion that the terms used to describe Blessings (Endowments, Orisons, Legacies and the like) are all game terms and not the terms used by the characters. To an inquisitor character, they are all one thing: miracles revealing the design and favor of an omnipotent God. (The Holy Art is an exception; the Inquisition recognizes the use of the Holy Art and its various paths and ritae as measurable and practical applications of God’s power manifest on Earth. This doesn’t mean, however, that the Holy Art is universally accepted among inquisitors.) Orisons, for example, are considered relatively benign even by the standards of the Inquisition’s detractors — if they’re noted at all. Orisons frequently go unnoticed, even by those using them. On those rare occasions when they are noted (usually by scholars of the Inquisition), they are considered a sign from God that certain of His children are favored for their goodness. While these Blessings are subtle, they reward the


devout with strength that lets them take the fight to the enemies of God. Some scholars of Church lore consider Orisons to be the right of every pious man and woman — a right that most, in their fallen state, have forsaken. The Holy Art holds a curious middle ground where Blessings are concerned. More powerful than Orisons and more predictable than other Endowments, the techniques of the Holy Art are generally considered true theurgy — the magic of miracles granted by the Creator. The reputation of the Holy Art benefits, oddly, from its static nature; its formulaic qualities make it somehow less threatening. The prevailing attitude in the Church is that such knowledge could lure a weak-minded inquisitor bit by bit into the Dark Arts, but that the Holy Art in and of itself is a Godly practice, best suited to men of unusual virtue. The greatest stain on the reputation of the Holy Art comes in the guise of its most prevalent practitioners: the Red Order. Accusations of heresy, witchcraft and sorcery have dogged that order almost since its founding, and the order’s secrecy has done nothing to comfort its detractors in the Church. Much more controversial are the varied effects of Endowments. More than any other Blessing, Endowments resemble the kind of sorcery that virtuous men are counseled to eschew. The sheer power and the range of effects exhibited by Endowments makes them suspect. Some of these Blessings, Legacies in particular, almost seem to mock God more than they exalt Him. Attitudes vary throughout Europe; in the more conservative areas, however, inquisitors using Endowments are protected from accusations of sorcery only the fact that the Pope himself supports the work of the Inquisition. Benedictions promote dishonesty and sneaky behavior; Investitures promote hubris and the sin of Wrath; and Legacies — considered the worst of all — lead directly to trafficking with unclean and unholy forces. Of all the Endowments, only the Psalms of the Sisters of St. John are generally considered innocuous. The more dramatic uses are still suspected of giving the Sisters a taste of power that could lead to unsavory experimentation, though, particularly since the Church views women as being weaker and less virtuous than men. Luckily for the Inquisition, Pope Gregory IX takes a much more pragmatic view of the use of Endowments. Gregory has seen the remarkable good wrought by inquisitors using Blessings of all types, and he feels that the Inquisition is unquestionably doing the work of God. That said, the Pope has also


heard of individual inquisitors using Endowments in ways that he finds questionable, even reprehensible. These stories temper his support of the Inquisition with doubt, but these doubts — at this point, anyway — are easily eclipsed by the Inquisition’s many clear and indisputable victories over the Adversary. Another group has also become aware of the Blessings granted to inquisitors and holds its own view on the nature of Blessings. Christian magi, commonly referring to themselves as the Messianic Voices, are inclined to believe that inquisitors who make use of the more showy Endowments are a form of sorcerer or “hedge magician,” with the ability to use faith to trigger acts of theurgy (or even one of their own kind, which can lead to all sorts of tragic mishaps). The attitudes held by members of the Voices toward the Blessings of the inquisitors may range from a proud sense of shared purpose and community, to competitiveness, to vague condescension for their overzealous “little siblings” in the Inquisition. For the most part, the unbounded angelic magic of the Messianic Voices exceeds the power of all but the greatest Endowments. Still, some of these Christian magi see their magic and the Blessings of the Inquisition as two similar gifts along a continuum of God-given talents, provided for the furtherance of His divine work.

Curses An inquisitor’s life is not all about the Blessings he receives. The greater power available to the truly devout seems to be balanced (or enhanced, depending on one’s perspective) by the burden of Curses. Many, perhaps most, inquisitors don’t see many Curses as curses at all. On the contrary, suffering the stigmata is not a punishment, but a sign that the sufferer is Christ-like and blessed with the simulacrum of the Savior’s wounds. Likewise, speaking in tongues is viewed as proof that the “accursed” is actually filled with the Holy Spirit, leaving the term “Curse” seeming inaccurate. The Church holds stigmata in particular to be an extraordinarily holy occurrence. No inquisitor can ignore that fact, regardless of the realities of living with the wounds bequeathed by the Stigmata Curse. In the Dark Medieval, suffering for God is considered a holy act and one that often presages martyrdom. Members of the Red Order, the primary “beneficiaries” of the Stigmata family of Curses, accept their lot with varying degrees of grace and even gratitude. While many feel blessed to be granted the stigmata, however, many others are left wonder-

ing just why the Lord needs to cast another burden on those who are at the forefront of the battle with the forces of the Enemy, leading to a persistent suspicion that Curses are not delivered by God at all, but by His Adversary. More complicated still are the less obviously sacred Curses befalling other orders. The Anathemae suffered by the Eyes of God seem to serve little purpose other than to drive the inquisitor from the fold, while the Maledictio that befall inquisitors of the House of Murnau seem unquestionably diabolical. Even some Curses in the Stigmata family have less in common with the suffering of the Savior and more to do with simple suffering (e.g., Boiled in Shame) — but again, suffering is considered to have a holy component. Some inquisitors don’t believe that Curses come from God at all, but are, rather, “disincentives” visited upon them by the Devil himself. In particular, the elder inquisitors of House Murnau are inclined to agree, particularly those suffering from Maledictio like the Personal Adversary, which seem entirely ungodly. Regardless of the subjective experience of suffering a Curse, there are unmistakable consequences. Laymen view a character whose wrists begin bleeding while using the Holy Art is with a mixture of fear and awe. Very few Christians are unaware of the significance of the stigmata. The Red Order is lucky in this regard, as few other Curses result in anything but scaring the flock.

Learning New Blessings, Acquiring New Curses The process of learning new Blessings involves a great deal of prayer and meditation. The inquisitor, full of Conviction, must seek guidance from above and accept the wisdom when it comes in its own time. Rushing wisdom is impossible, and even attempting to do so is unwise. An inquisitor who seeks to channel the power of his Conviction without divine guidance risks Curses (or worse). An inquisitor whose struggles with the Adversary have left him full of Conviction is generally well advised to put aside the fight, let go of the violence and conflict for a time and go on retreat to let his gains in understanding and piety grow to equal his gains in Conviction and experience. This often involves going to cloister for a time (see Chapter Two for more information on what a cloistered inquisitor can expect); making a pilgrimage apart from an inquisitorial cell; or even



simply spending time alone, far from the business of inquisition, and letting the wisdom of God sink in to the inquisitor’s heart. Typically, an inquisitor developing a new Endowment requires anywhere from a week to a month on retreat (depending on the power of the Endowment in question; the player and the Storyteller should decide how long the character remains away). If the inquisitor is going on retreat in order to bank more Conviction than the one point per day normally allowed (see p. 161 of Dark Ages: Inquisitor), she may bank a maximum number of Conviction points equal to her highest Superior Virtue + its controlling Virtue (Conscience + Faith, for instance). The player must still roll for prayer as usual, but the character may then bank the Conviction points thus earned up to that maximum. The inquisitor who does not take the time necessary to reverently approach the mysteries involved in learning Blessings, who rashly assumes that he can grow in power through Conviction alone, finds that such arrogance and pride lead to the Lord’s displeasure as manifested through Curses. More experienced inquisitors can see the measure of an inquisitor’s patience and wisdom by how many Curses he bears. An inquisitor with a single Curse can easily be forgiven. An inquisitor with several, however, can safely be assumed hotheaded and lacking in good judgment. An inquisitor usually knows he has pushed his luck and gained a Curse immediately after committing the act of pride that earned it for him. The Curse itself may not manifest immediately. The inquisitor who earns the Curse, however, feels a deep sense of foreboding and impending disaster that is followed by the onset of the Curse’s symptoms, usually in the space of a day or so. A Knight of Acre who pushes his advancement too fast, hastily expending 25 points of Conviction for an Advocate-level Endowment he needs on the battlefield, won’t necessarily feel the actual effects of the Call of Duty Curse fall on him immediately. Initially, he senses that he did something terribly wrong. A leaden weight blooms in the pit of his stomach as he grows more certain that his haste has brought a Curse down upon him. He has time to agonize over what it is that he brought upon himself before the full effects of the Curse begin to show, usually before the next dawn.

Holy Art Learning the Holy Art requires both dedication and time. Unlike other Endowments, which harness the power of an inquisitor’s Conviction and Superior


Virtues, the Holy Art requires primarily time and dedication to learn. Some attempt to master the Holy Art by sheer intellect; their lot is naught but failure. Insight and faith are both necessary for those seeking to learn such sacred secrets, as is the proper reverent or pious temperament to begin with. The more outspoken among the Inquisition say that learning the Holy Art is simply a matter of having intense faith and letting the power of the Lord work through you while you are His chosen instrument. Others are not so doctrinaire, and claim that any good Christian choosing to put in the time required can learn it. Its detractors imply that the Holy Art has nothing holy about it and is, at root, nothing more than another form of heresy or witchcraft. For the inquisitor striving to learn the Holy Art, members of the Red Order prescribe prayer and dedication to the mysteries of the Holy Trinity. Many consider the first step of the first path to be the hardest. Once a student of the Art knows what channeling holy power feels like, learning additional techniques is somewhat easier. Given that the Red Order is the best situated to enlighten their fellow inquisitors in the spiritual techniques of the Holy Art, one would expect the Order to graciously volunteer their knowledge to their fellows. Such is not the case, however. The Red Order’s reputation as students of sorcery has made it both secretive and, oddly, a little arrogant. Many Red Brothers and Sisters truly do believe at some level that the Holy Art could lead a weak soul to experimentation with supernatural power. Only through their uncommon self-mastery have they managed to avoid such a fate — or so they tell themselves. Other orders may or may not, as they see it, have the necessary piety and true strength of character to safely learn the Holy Art. A Red Sister might be willing (or even eager under some circumstances) to teach the Holy Art to a Sister of St. John, but that same Red Sister might refuse utterly to teach that same Art to a nobleman of House Murnau, fearful of that order’s reputation for trucking with the Enemy. The Monastery of Laurendine, the Red Order’s chapter-house in Toulouse, is the only place where the Holy Art is formally taught to inquisitors outside of the Red Order, under the close supervision of Frère Francois Lerouge. Access to the school is frequently used as a reward to favored inquisitors, but the Red Order inquisitors of Laurendine are an insular bunch. Inquisitors of other Orders have often


found the experience of learning the Holy Art at Laurendine to be subtly unpleasant due to the cool reception and constant moral testing of the Red Sisters and Brothers. The experience is worse if the visitor is from the House of Murnau. On rare occasions — and generally at the behest of very high-ranking inquisitors — whole chapters are sent to Laurendine for education in the Holy Art. While this is a more agreeable experience for the visitors, it tends to antagonize the hosts.

are largely left up to the Storyteller, but many inquisitors have been known to experience unusual boons or blessings while on holy ground, or shortly after spending a particularly long time there (see Storyteller Issues).


No one is more sensitized to the places and items imbued with faith than an inquisitor. For them, such things and places are the direct handiwork of the Creator Himself, and as such deserve the greatest of reverence. As a player, it’s important to give full credit to the feelings that proximity to such things and places elicits in an inquisitor. Holy ground is not just a safe zone, it is the land that the Lord God Himself has seen fit to claim for the faithful. Relics and holy items are likewise far more than they seem and, therefore, worthy of deeply respectful handling. Some of the holiest relics and blessed items are at the center of complex church rites and ceremonies; even the simplest blessed sword deserves some measure of respect for the sanctity invested in its blade.

An inquisitor wielding a relic or holy item is filled with a sense of validation. God does not oversee a world ruled by accident and happenstance. From an inquisitor’s perspective, if he’s wielding a blessed item, it is a direct nod from the Lord Himself that the inquisitor is on the right path to carry out His will. Underscoring that sense of purpose is the power granted by the relic or artifact. The realities of carrying a spiritually significant item are reinforced by the practical advantages such items provide. The feeling of rightness that runs through an inquisitor as he holds the nail from the True Cross or the shield of a saint cannot be overstated. The subjective experience of knowing God chose you to wield one of His sacred items is deeply empowering. Any character with such an item, even a lesser one, should carry it with a deep sense of gratitude. If the inquisitor is carrying a particularly powerful relic or holy artifact, he should be doubly thankful; to the Church for trusting him to carry it, as well as to God for delivering it into his hands to begin with.

Holy Ground

Storyteller Issues

Holy Ground and Sacred Relics

The Lord has claimed some places on the Earth for His own. These may be sites of great cathedrals, or simply a wide spot on a road where a saint was martyred. Such places of holy power resonate to the senses of inquisitors. The feeling of well-being and comfort that an inquisitor experiences in such a place is rare anywhere else. Such tracts of holy land are oases to the parched soul of an inquisitor. Not all holy ground feels the same to all inquisitors. Most inquisitors feel holy ground as calm and safe territory, but some such tracts — near the site of a great battle against a pagan army or near the castle of a vampiric lord — may inspire the inquisitor with feelings of fiery righteousness or dedication to his holy cause. Sleeping on holy ground is a powerful experience for inquisitors. Only there do they feel completely at ease and able to let down their guard. Even those inquisitors who are troubled by nightmares can sleep peacefully in such places. Any additional game effects of holy ground beyond those enumerated in Dark Ages: Inquisitor

Beyond the basics listed in Dark Ages: Inquisitor, the Storyteller has a great deal of discretion with regard to how much power he ascribes to the subjective experience associated with holy ground and relics. Items and places of lesser power might not have any game effects whatsoever, and may simply leave the inquisitor feeling mildly inspired or energized. The Storyteller should emphasize, through sensory descriptions, just what the character is experiencing as she stands on holy ground or holds a relic in her hand. Mention the way the holy ground makes his steps seem more certain and his feet lighter. Relate how the warmth of the saint’s sword in his hand makes the inquisitor feel wiser, nobler and more confident. These are not worldly phenomena they are experiencing but, rather, aspects of the sacred. Above all, don’t allow the player to take these holy things for granted. In addition to the effects mentioned in Dark Ages: Inquisitor, a Storyteller may also want to include one or more of the following effects for



inquisitors who reside on holy ground or even for those who simply sleep one night in such a place, provided the area is particularly sacred. • Inquisitors may regain two Willpower points any morning they wake up on holy ground. • For the purpose of determining Callousness only, the inquisitor’s Piety score considered two higher than it actually is. • Certain Flaws (e.g., Nightmares, Blasphemous Tongue) may be muted while on holy ground, although it’s possible that others, like Worship Obsession or Ecstatic, may be intensified. Characters in possession of relics certainly are blessed to have such items in their possession. Relics, after all, allow the inquisitor to pursue God’s work with power otherwise out of reach to the common man. Possession of a relic, however, also has a number of disadvantages that a Storyteller is urged to bear in mind. First, carrying such an item is a weighty sacred duty. While the inquisitor is benefiting from possession of the relic, he’s also tasked to safeguard it from harm, desecration or loss. That can be a draining task, particularly if others seek to own (or, worse, destroy) the holy relic. Furthermore, the Church does not necessarily accept that an individual can own a relic. Church policy states that relics, particularly the powerful ones, should be kept in reliquaries in fortified castles where they’re safe from harm. Carrying around a saint’s tooth in a leather pouch around one’s neck because it provides the wearer with a number of benefits is not an appropriate use of an item of such profound spiritual significance. The Church itself may feel it has the right to take a relic from an individual it perceives as being insufficiently pious (or, worse, insufficiently competent to safeguard it). Conflict between inquisitors is a likely outcome when the Church sends one group to apprehend another and reclaim a relic they’re carrying.

Orisons God imparts the most basic of gifts upon those He feels are worthy, and the process through which this decision is made remains a mystery. These Blessings, though minor, often make the difference between life and death during the trials faced by inquisitors. As mentioned previously, Orisons are extremely subtle gifts. Very few inquisitors even notice them, and the Conviction spent to use a more powerful effect of an Orison feels much more like Divine inspiration than deliberate effort on the inquisitor’s part.


Orisons of Conscience The most gentle act of compassion is a powerful thing indeed, and those who perceive the world with eyes unclouded by fear and anger are able to understand more deeply the intricacies of God’s plan.

Gift of Kindness A character with this gift has an air of generosity and blessed peace. Others feel naturally at ease when interacting with him and are comforted by his presence. Even those who are angry or frustrated are easily calmed, and the character has a knack for saying the right thing to achieve this effect. Inquisitors with this ability have actually been known to speak eloquently in a different tongue, when needed to garner trust. The word of God, of course, knows no language barriers. System: The presence of this tranquil individual makes it easy for others to respond well in most situations, reducing the difficulty of all non-threatening Charisma rolls by one. Also, the player may spend a point of Conviction and roll Intelligence + Conscience (difficulty 6) to gain insight as to the proper way to behave in an unfamiliar setting or culture. Depending on how successful the roll is, the Storyteller might give advice on how the character might carry himself when seeking audience with a noble, or even provide the right phrase (even in a foreign language) to win the hearts of wary strangers.

Touch of Compassion During a time when some of the most advanced medicine involves leeches, knowing exactly what affliction ails a person can be very important. Those with this blessing can tell how wounded or sick a person is with a simple touch, and are frequently blessed with the knowledge of how best to help. Not surprisingly, this Orison is common among the Sisters of St. John. System: After laying hands upon a person who is wounded, diseased, poisoned or otherwise damaged in some way (the player must succeed at a roll of Perception + Medicine, difficulty 6), this character knows exactly what is wrong and how wounded the patient is. The Storyteller should provide information about how many wound levels have been taken, and whether they are bashing or lethal. One advantage of this ability is that it is nearly instantaneous, taking but physical contact and one turn of concentration to activate. Furthermore, the player may spend a point of Conviction to find out the best possible cure for the malady. Insight is


provided as to what will heal the wounded within the limits of medical knowledge during this era. The proper herbs or environment become known, for example, in lieu of any harmful solutions (no “bleeding out the sickness,” even though this was thought to work). This does not impart knowledge of the easiest cure, nor does it grant any information about where and how to find what may be needed, merely what will be the most effective cure. Note that in some cases, the inquisitor simply knows that the target is going to die (since no cure or treatment exists for the malady or wound) and had best start performing last rites.

Aesthetic Eye The work of the Devil is often cleverly disguised as that of man, as seen in many fiends who walk the earth in human guise. These beings leave their unholy taint on things they’ve had a part in making or changing. Characters blessed with this ability are able to distinguish between things created by the hand of man and those stained by demonic forces. System: The player must spend a point of Conviction and roll Perception + Alertness (difficulty 7). If successful, the character can tell if an object was wrought by an unnatural being. This ability extends only to items that are created or changed in a non-supernatural way, not to outright illusions or products of Disciplines. It must be an item created by

the creature or somehow purposefully modified from its original state. For example, a letter written by a vampire or a sculpture chiseled by someone demonpossessed will appear to this character as something worked by a force other than human. Note, however, that this does not give any information about exactly what kind of creature had an affect on the object, merely that it was touched by something inimical to God’s Creation.

Orisons of Self-Control Though these Orisons are known to represent “common sense,” they are also manifestations of selfawareness and inner calm. Individuals blessed in this way appear as bastions of solidarity.

Loaves and Fishes The Gospel states that Jesus “took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and broke, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.” With that, many people were fed miraculously with a very small amount of food. An inquisitor with this ability is able to emulate the Savior by praying over a meal and then dividing it among many, who are then as well nourished as if all had eaten the full course. System: For every point of Conviction the player spends, the character may feed five times as many



people with an amount of food that would normally be enough for one meal. This means that one travel ration might nourish an entire cell on a journey into harsh climates. The player may spend up to three Conviction each day on this Orison, blessing three meals to feed five persons each, or one meal that may feed up to fifteen, or any combination in between.

Dream of Jacob Jacob lay his head upon a pillow of stone and dreamt of the Kingdom of the Lord, awakening with newfound fervor. Some inquisitors are able to enter a deep state of meditationthatiseasilymistakenfordeath,feelingstrengthened and renewed upon awakening. System: After rolling Stamina + Self-Control (difficulty 6), the player may spend one point of Conviction for each success. The character falls into a death-like trance for a number of days equal to the Conviction points spent. During this time, the character need not eat and barely needs to breathe. Others perceive him as dead unless they succeed at a roll of Perception + Medicine (difficulty 6 + the number of successes gained for the trance; maximum difficulty 10). In addition, for each day the character is in this trance, one point of Willpower is regained in addition to the discretionary points that may be regained due to normal rest. The drawback to this Orison is that the character may not awaken before the time is up, regardless of outside interference. At the Storyteller’s discretion, the character may be stirred through prayer and expenditure of Conviction by his flock or cell. Also, if the roll to use this power is botched, the character loses one point of Conviction and suffers one health level of lethal damage due to the strain to his system.

Carried by Faith The inquisitor’s faith makes him fleet of foot and nearly tireless. A character with this Blessing seems able to go on when others would be exhausted, and leaves no tracks behind. System: This player reduces the difficulty of all Stamina rolls by one involving travel by foot. Also, if he spends a point of Conviction and succeeds a Dexterity + Self-Control roll (difficulty 6), the character may travel for the duration of a scene without leaving any footprints, regardless of the terrain. Bear in mind that the character does not actually become any lighter or quieter, but merely leaves no evidence of having passed through an area on foot (what he might brush against with the rest of his body is still fair game, of course).


Orisons of Courage No danger is too great for those graced by the power of God, and these Orisons represent the mindful trust that there is a plan behind each pure action.

Fear of God The commanding presence of the Father is a terrifying sight to behold, and some of His followers seem to bear this mantle to a lesser degree. Minions of Satan who encounter such inquisitors are sometimes stunned momentarily. System: All Intimidation rolls made by this player are at –1 difficulty. Supernatural creatures and impious mortals can be forced to cower in fear as well, if the player spends a point of Conviction and succeeds a Charisma + Courage roll (difficulty is the opponent’s Willpower). The target can do nothing but cower in fear for a number of turns equal to the number of successes gained, though he defends himself if attacked. Supernatural beings may roll Willpower (difficulty of the inquisitor’s Piety) to ignore this effect; mortals must spend a Willpower point to do so.

Blessed Vigor The seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against most inquisitors would cause most people to flee in terror when wounded. Some characters, however, are blessed in such a way that they can ignore pain during battle and continue to fight in the name of the Lord. They know their duty to destroy the evil infesting the Earth outweighs their own suffering, and press on to battle with Heaven-sent bravery. System: For the duration of the scene, each point of Conviction this player spends negates one level of wound penalties (when Wounded, for example, the character can spend three Conviction and suffer no penalties, as if Bruised). This does not heal the character, but allows her to fight as though she is less wounded. Due to the extra strain on the character’s body, the player must succeed on a Courage roll (difficulty 5 + wound levels) at the end of the scene or suffer an additional level of bashing damage. This Orison may not be used if the character is Incapacitated.

Grace of Moses Sometimes inquisitors are called upon to enter climates and terrains that are harsh, barren and deadly. They may have to walk across stretches of desert or spend long periods of time at sea without


proper nourishment. When times are toughest, a greater degree of tenacity shines through when others might fail to persevere. System: This character may enter dangerous environments secure in the knowledge that God will provide. All Survival rolls have their difficulties reduced by one. Also, by spending a point of Conviction, the player may make a Perception + Courage roll (difficulty 6). If successful, it grants some insight into how to survive a hopeless situation in a hostile environment. The Storyteller might provide information about where to find fresh water, shelter, the aid of a helpful stranger, or which two pieces of wood will rub together easiest to make fire.

Endowments More visible and obvious than Orisons but much less predictable than the Holy Art, the Blessings known collectively as Endowments are perhaps the greatest spiritual weapon in the Inquisition’s arsenal. Unfortunately, teaching Endowments is impossible; they come through the grace of God and are fueled by the fires of Conviction. No inquisitor can predict what capabilities another might possess. True, the Oculi Dei show a strong predilection towards Benedictions, and von Murnau inquisitors almost always display their family’s curse (in the form of the Forbidden Wisdom Legacy), but sometimes a Knight of Acre might burst forth in hymn (using a Psalm) or a Red Brother move with incredible speed and agility (displaying the Flight of Angels Investiture). Being a member of the Inquisition isn’t even a requirement to display Endowments; outsiders with the right strength of faith sometimes exhibit them as well (and are often promptly recruited).

Benedictions Unlike the other orders of the Inquisition, the Eyes of God work alone and must do so if they are to be effective. The Benedictions granted them reflect both their need to gather (and deliver) information on the Enemy and their need to work alone effectively.

Endurance Everlasting (Acolyte) The solitary monitoring activities of the Oculi Dei often put them in situations where fatigue or need for rest must be ignored, if not transcended. This Benediction grants the inquisitor the ability to withstand the millstones of time, hunger and even the slowly grinding mental attacks of the Adversary’s pawns, so that the Eyes of God may perform their

God-given duties to the Inquisition. With the divine assistance of this Benediction, the inquisitor may even engage in long periods of intense exertion without growing tired, enabling him to perform truly miraculous feats in the pursuit of his calling. System: Many of the enemies of God are active primarily at night, and the duties of the Oculi Dei often require them to remain awake and alert, watching the pawns of the Adversary for days on end through all manner of harsh conditions. The Wisdom-based application of this Benediction allows the inquisitor to remain awake, healthy and comfortable without needing sleep or even food. The character suffers from neither discomfort nor penalties from the lack of sleep or food. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Stamina + Wisdom (difficulty 6). Each success allows the character to go two full days without needing sleep or food. Furthermore, for the duration of this Endowment the character gains a number of points equal to his successes with which to augment his Mental Attributes. Acolytes can raise Attributes up to 6, Advocates up to 7 and Judges up to 8 using this Endowment. Applications of this Benediction do not “stack” with each other; the character must wait until the duration expires on the first use before using this Endowment again. It is not always the body that grows tired, however, but the mind, particularly in the face of the attacks on the spirit performed by vampires and witches. The Faith-based application of this Benediction provides an inquisitor with the strength of will to fend off such attacks. The inquisitor prays for the strength to withstand mental and emotional trials; the player spends one Conviction point and rolls Stamina + Faith (difficulty 6). For each success, two points are added to the character’s Willpower for the rest of the scene; those Willpower points may only be spent for the purpose of fending off mental attacks (i.e., Dominate or other mind-affecting magic). Should a creature begin stripping the inquisitor of his will, the inquisitor may call upon this Benediction again to help him thwart Satan’s will (this is particularly effective against the Dominate power Vessel). For all other purposes, the character’s Willpower is unchanged. In truly dire straits, an inquisitor must not succumb to exhaustion, regardless of how much he is exerting himself. The Zeal-based application of this Benediction provides the Oculus with the ability to sprint, swim or work for hours on end without tiring or needing to rest. The player rolls Stamina + Zeal



(difficulty 5). For every success, the character can exert herself to maximum ability and without rest for eight hours. Three successes, for example, would allow the character to sprint for 24 hours without rest. At the Storyteller’s discretion, this Benediction may also grant other associated blessings that aid the character during long periods of exertion, like preventing blisters, heat stroke or dehydration. Once the duration has expired, however, the character collapses in a heap, unable to do anything more strenuous than hobble around for one day per success rolled. This application of Everlasting Endurance may not be used for combat; the character cannot become a “fighting machine” for hours on end. It applies only to menial work or travel.

Divine Light (Acolyte) Inquisitors are frequently at a severe disadvantage when dealing with the servants of the Adversary. Thanks to their connection to the supernatural, the enemy almost always knows more about the inquisitor than the inquisitor knows about the enemy. The Eyes of God in particular need to know when they’re in danger, since they so frequently work alone. This Benediction is a collection of intelligence-gathering effects that help the Oculus know what he’s confronting. System: The Wisdom-based application of this Benediction lets the inquisitor know when he’s being watched or followed and may even give him greater insights than that into his enemies’ attempts to locate him. The Oculus closes his eyes for a moment to pray; the player rolls Perception + Wisdom (difficulty 6). What information the inquisitor gathers depends on how many successes the player achieves. Successes Result 1 The inquisitor knows if he’s being watched or followed at that moment by someone in his immediate area. The sensation lasts only for one turn. 2 He knows when an enemy within a mile radius is looking for him. 3 The character knows if he’s being followed. This perception lasts for one scene. 4 As above, and knows the follower’s general intent and whereabouts. 5 He knows if he’s being watched or viewed by magical means. An inquisitor using the Faith-based application of this Benediction is able to tell when magic


or supernatural energies of any sort are being channeled or used in his presence, including very subtle forms of magic like the Presence Discipline. To the sight of the Oculus, those using such energies stand out from the crowd unmistakably, often appearing wreathed in unnatural flames, speaking in streams of black fog or in other, similar ways. As with the other applications of this Benediction, the inquisitor closes his eyes briefly and says a prayer. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Perception + Faith (difficulty 6). Every success allows the Oculus to know if magic (or vampiric Disciplines or the like) is being used (and who is doing so), in a radius of five feet per success rolled. Using the Zeal-based version of Divine Light gives the Oculus an uncanny awareness of when he’s in danger. The feelings range in strength from vague hints of doom to specific knowledge of plans being made against him. The inquisitor prays for his knowledge; the player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Perception + Zeal (difficulty 6). The number of successes reveals how specific the information is. Successes Degree of Warning 1 The inquisitor has a nervous sense of foreboding when danger is imminent. 2 The inquisitor gains some small insights into the nature of the danger he’s in, i.e., “I think there’s an ambush ahead.” 3 The inquisitor knows when immediate danger is imminent and what form the danger will take: “Three wolfmen are waiting for us in the trees about fifty yards up the road.” 4 The inquisitor is aware of the danger, knows the form it will take, who plotted it and why: A gang of thugs awaits us in our room at the inn. They are well armed and they were sent by…the bishop!” 5 The inquisitor knows everything he would know from 4 successes and has insights into how best to avoid the danger or turn it to his advantage. This danger sense lasts for the duration of the scene.

Libera Me (Advocate) To perform their sacred function for the Inquisition, it is of the utmost importance that the Eyes of God be free to roam where they will. This Benediction is unusual in that it does not aid the Oculus’ efforts at stealth, but helps him maintain his freedom. Depending on which Superior Virtue the Oculus


uses, this Benediction channels the power of the Father to free the inquisitor from a variety of snares, both physical and otherwise, as surely as prayer frees the soul of its burden. This Benediction requires only that the inquisitor speak the words “libera me” (“Deliver me”). System: The Wisdom-based effect of this Benediction rids the inquisitor’s mind of all forms of supernatural control. This includes all of the techniques under the vampiric Dementation, Dominate and Presence Disciplines, as well as all forms of mind-control used by mages and other hell-servitors. The Eye asks for deliverance and his player rolls Wits + Wisdom (difficulty 6). Two successes are needed for emotionally based control (e.g., Presence) and the magic of mages and the fae, while one success breaks all other forms of mental control, including all conditioning that would affect the inquisitor at a later date. This Benediction can even purge the inquisitor of a possessing demon, but this requires three successes and the expenditure of a point of Conviction. An Oculus using the Faith-based version of Libera Me is set free from any form of physical restraints or binding. Shackles and ropes fall away, pillories and locked doors swing wide and anything else inhibiting the inquisitor’s freedom releases him. This Benediction affects snares and traps that the inquisitor may find himself in as well. Roll the character’s Dexterity + Faith (difficulty 6). One success frees the inquisitor from most forms of binding, but more complicated bindings may require more successes at the Storyteller’s discretion. If the inquisitor is being held by multiple restraints, the player must score one success for each (i.e., an Oculus bound by manacles on his wrists, shackles on his feet and rope tying him to a chair needs three successes to be free). The Zeal-based effect of Libera Me slams to the ground anyone physically restraining the inquisitor. While this primarily applies to those in physical contact with the inquisitor, it also affects anyone restraining the Oculus through any sorcerous or magical means. The inquisitor’s player rolls Charisma + Zeal (difficulty 7). Even one success slams the inquisitor’s assailant(s) heavily to the floor (though it does not cause damage). Furthermore, all targets so affected are stunned for one turn for every success beyond the first (in the form of a –1 penalty to both initiative and dice pools for every success rolled on the character’s behalf).



Vow of Silence (Judge) The Oculi, forced to work on their own more than other inquisitors, rely on stealth and secrecy to do the Lord’s work. Vow of Silence is so named because it prevents the lone Oculus from providing any information to the Enemy, willingly or otherwise. The power of this Benediction goes far beyond mere silence, and lets the inquisitor cover his presence (and even his trail) in a myriad of ways. System: Utilizing Wisdom for this Benediction prevents the allies of the Adversary from using any supernatural means to detect the inquisitor. Normal senses work within normal ranges, but any manner of sensing that goes beyond those senses cannot pick up even the vaguest hint of the inquisitor. The Oculus prays for concealment from his enemies, and the player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Wits + Wisdom (difficulty 5). Every success deletes three successes from a supernatural creature’s attempts to use magical sensory capabilities to detect the Oculus. This Benediction doesn’t shield the inquisitor from perception by normal people or animals in any way, but it does work against the Heightened Senses of both vampires and werewolves, any form of telepathy and all locating spells used by witches and wizards. Slightly more complex is the Faith-based version of this Benediction. Even though the inquisitor himself may not give himself away, other things about him might: his aura, objects he has touched or even his soul itself (if captured by necromancers, for example). By tapping into his Faith, the Oculus can prevent the Adversary’s minions from using any of these things against him. By so doing, the inquisitor prevents supernatural creatures from doing any of the following: reading his aura, using magic to pull secrets from his corpse or interrogating his ghost, see visions from objects he has touched, read his mind or look into (or enter) his dreams. Werewolves cannot even catch the inquisitor’s scent, although normal dogs or wolves can. The Oculus says his prayer, as usual, and the player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Wits + Faith (difficulty 7). The number of successes rolled determines how long the inquisitor’s trail is covered. Successes Duration 1 One Scene 2 One Day 3 One Week 4 One Month 5 One Year


The Zeal-based effect of this Benediction prevents the inquisitor from giving himself away, even if the enemy makes use of torture or mind-control magic (including Auspex, Dominate, Presence and any other vampiric Disciplines that control, coax or otherwise extract information). When protected by this use of Vow of Silence, the inquisitor completely loses from mind any and all information his enemy seeks. The information is gone not only from the inquisitor’s conscious mind, but it is also gone from his unconscious mind; it cannot even appear in dreams or be whispered unconsciously during sleep. Conveniently, when (or if) the inquisitor is once again free and under no coercion, the information returns to his mind. Some inquisitors who have made use of this Benediction are under the belief that an angel comes and takes their knowledge from them for the duration, returning it to them only when it can’t fall into the wrong hands. The player need only spend a point of Conviction to trigger this Benediction.

Investitures The Knights of Acre are among the most dedicated and zealous soldiers in the Inquisition. The powerful Investitures they use in battle help them to withstand even the Enemy’s worst onslaught, retaining their reputations as powerful defenders of the faith.

Lamb of God (Acolyte) The pious inquisitors of the Knights of Acre are the warriors of God in the most concrete sense. It is to them that many of the heaviest burdens of violence fall. This Investiture provides the Knight with an array of techniques with which to meet the allies of the Adversary. The Knight using this Investiture, however, must do one of the most difficult things possible when calling on this Endowment: He must be meek, mild and unafraid as he lets an opponent land a blow on him. Any Knight of Acre who gives in to retaliatory urges or falls prey to wrath immediately loses any and all benefits from this Investiture. This is particularly difficult to cope with, considering two of the applications of this Investiture involve the Knight freely letting his adversary cause him harm. Wounds taken in this manner are considered to be marks of faith and can only be healed with time. Furthermore, this Investiture only works in the heat of real battle; wounds taken solely to get the benefits of this Investiture will not elicit the desired effect.


System: The Zeal-based use of this Investiture, often referred to as Talionis (based on the Lex Talionis, the Old Testament law of an eye for an eye), delivers to the Knight’s enemy the same damage, slightly exacerbated, that they do to him with fists or melee weapons. The Knight of Acre stoically receives the blow delivered by his enemy. He may not attack that turn, nor may he attempt to dodge (although he may soak). Roll the character’s Stamina + Zeal (difficulty 5). If the player obtains one or two success, all damage dealt to the character (before soak) is visited upon the attacker as bashing damage. If the player rolls three or four successes, the damage is visited upon his attacker as lethal damage. If the Knight’s player rolls five (or more) successes, the attacker suffers aggravated damage. Inspirational tales circulate of Knights of Acre using this Investiture to great effect on the beastmen populating the forests of Europe. The Faith-dependent version of this Investiture is the least complicated. The knight simply accepts any blow delivered unto him and relies on his humility and devotion to God to shield him from damage. The player rolls Stamina + Faith (difficulty 6) and subtracts successes from his opponent’s attack roll on a one for one basis. If the player also spends a Conviction point, this roll can be made reflexive (that is, the Knight may still take another action that turn). This application of Lamb of God can only be activated on attacks that the Knight can see coming; he gains no protection from surprise attacks. The Inquisition depends a great deal on the stamina and stoicism of the Knights of Acre, and nowhere is this made so clear as in the Wisdombased version of this Investiture. This application is a testing of the Knight more than anything else, because it requires him to show great endurance in the name of service to another member of the Inquisition. The Knight piously accepts the damage dealt to him by his attacker. However much damage the Knight suffers (after soak, if applicable), that same amount of damage is healed from a fellow inquisitor determined by the player. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Strength + Wisdom (difficulty 6). If he gains one success, the damage healed is bashing. With two successes he heals his chosen target of an equal amount of lethal damage, and with three or more, he heals the amount of damage he takes in any type of damage, including aggravated. Obviously, there is a certain amount of strategy to be used here lest the

Knight suffer in vain; for example, this is a good Investiture to use when dealing with an enemy who does minimal to moderate damage with a single blow, but not a good choice when dealing with werewolves. It is said that this Investiture reminds the Knight of the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross and the sacrifice He made to cleanse the sins of the world.

Shield of God (Acolyte) More than most other inquisitors, the Knights of Acre place themselves in direct physical danger in their pursuit of the Lord’s will. God, in His omniscience, sees their efforts and grants them the strength and resilience necessary to overcome the challenges placed in their way by the Adversary. Many of the Knights — those who have seen the most conflict, generally — have learned prayers that beseech the Almighty in such a way that He intervenes on their behalf to protect them from assorted forms of bodily harm. Those good Knights with particularly welldeveloped Superior Virtues can survive rigors that would kill other less pious men several times over. Pragmatically, these prayers require but a quick twoor three-word plea in Latin to invoke the Lord’s infinite mercy, most commonly “Save your servant,” or “Forgive me.” System: Each Superior Virtue confers upon the Knight knowledge of prayers to protect him from an additional form of physical danger. Knights with ratings in all of the Superior Virtues with this Investiture become legendary for their seeming indestructibility. Perhaps the most miraculous of all, the Zealbased version of this Investiture allows the Knight to survive the searing heat of flames, letting him walk through intense and even magical flames without suffering even the slightest burn or feeling any discomfort whatsoever. The flames do not affect his clothing or other possessions on his person. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Stamina + Zeal (difficulty 7). Success allows the character to remain in flames for three turns without suffering any inconvenience or discomfort. As with the Faithbased application of this Endowment, the character may recite this prayer multiple times, spending one point of Conviction each time, if circumstances require him to remain in the flames for longer than one prayer can protect him. Knights using the Faith-based version of this Investiture are blessed with the ability to survive under water far longer than would normally be



possible. This prayer does not grant the character the ability to breathe water, it simply allows her to hold her breath for far longer than would be possible without divine intervention (so if the character loses consciousness, she’s out of luck). The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls the character’s Stamina + Faith (difficulty 6). Each success allows the character to remain under water for an additional 10 minutes without suffering any adverse effects (see p. 256 of Dark Ages: Vampire for rules on drowning). A Knight may use this Investiture repeatedly should his circumstances require it, so long as his player spends another point of Conviction each time the Investiture runs out. The Wisdom-based application of this Endowment protects the character from the damage incurred from a long fall, regardless of the surface the character lands on. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls the character’s Stamina + Wisdom (difficulty 6). Each success effectively lessens the falling distance by 20 feet (i.e., the character may fall sixty feet, but if he gets three successes on his roll, the damage from the fall is cancelled entirely, leaving the character perhaps a little shocked and disheveled but no worse for the drop).

Enduring Rock of Faith (Advocate) Not all challenges faced by inquisitors can be dealt with quickly. The Lord’s work eventually places all members of the Inquisition in a position of extended adversity. This Investiture grants the Knight of Acre the ability to endure a variety of drawn out, difficult situations without being whittled away by physical or mental erosion and falling before the Enemy. System: The Zeal-based application of this Investiture allows a Knight to survive even the most grievous wounds inflicted on him in battle by rendering the blows of his opponents incapable of inflicting significant harm — or, at times, any harm at all. The player spends one point of Conviction and rolls Stamina + Zeal (difficulty 6). Each success represents one degree of wound reduction (i.e., from aggravated to lethal, from lethal to bashing, or from bashing to no wounds at all). The player makes the roll at the beginning of combat; for the duration of the scene, he can choose to lessen an attack by one grade for each success (i.e., three successes would allow the character to ameliorate an attack causing aggravated wounds by three levels — that is, from aggravated to no damage at all — or three attacks by one damage category apiece (i.e., turning three lethal attacks into three bashing, or ignoring damage


entirely on three bashing attacks). This application of the Investiture can only be performed once per scene, and the Knight must recite the invoking prayer before he has swung his first blow in battle. More physical is the Faith-based version of this Investiture, which grants the Knight an astonishing capacity for surviving even the best efforts of his enemies to inflict damage on him. When the character invokes this Investiture, his player rolls Stamina + Faith (difficulty 6). Each success provides the character with one re-roll that he can use for soak rolls. The player can take the higher of the original roll or the re-roll. Example: Titus Thorpe, a Knight of Acre with Stamina 4 and Faith 3, calls upon this Investiture while in combat with a feral vampire. His player spends a point of Conviction, rolls seven dice and gets four successes. Four times over the remainder of the scene, Titus’ player can re-roll any unsatisfactory soak roll, making Titus an unusually resilient opponent. Many of the servants of the Devil work their wiles on the minds of men, beating down and discouraging those who would stand in their way. Vampires, in particular, have means of dominating the minds of men (including inquisitors). The Wisdom-based version of this Investiture grants the Knight unfailing certainty in his calling and his mission. In game terms, this means that the Knight’s Willpower is difficult to undermine. The player spends one point of Conviction to trigger this Investiture; for the rest of the scene, the difficulty of resisting thralldom is reduced to 4 (see p. 162 of Dark Ages: Inquisitor).

Milius Dei (Judge) Those with true conviction and devotion to God have shown astonishing skills in the course of battle. This Investiture gives the Knight remarkable (many claim miraculous) abilities in battle. These abilities provide him with a degree of might and prowess that even the chosen of Satan would be hard pressed to match; indeed, such champions of Christendom have been known to take on many supernatural foes at once — and triumph. System: The Zeal-based manifestation of this Investiture improves the Knight’s reflexes to an astonishing degree, giving him a chance to move out of the way of any number of attacks against him. He can sidestep attacks from an array of enemies — even while taking the battle to the enemy. The player spends a point of Conviction. For the rest of the turn, the character receives a chance to dodge (with his full dice pool) against every attack directed at him,


even if he’s attacking an enemy in the same round. This use of this Investiture in no way provides the inquisitor with more than one attack, it simply gives him unlimited dodging ability. This Investiture does not work if the character does not know an attack is coming (i.e., if he is ambushed). The Faith-based technique, when used strategically, can easily astonish the Knight’s opponent and turn the tide of a combat. By speaking a prayer, the Knight causes a number of attacks to give him the health levels that they ordinarily would have taken away. The player spends one Conviction point and the character recites his prayer. From then to the end of the scene, the character can reverse the damage of a number of attacks equal to his Faith rating. A Knight can thereby turn his enemy’s well-aimed deathblow into a blessing of revivification. This Investiture can only be used once per scene. The Wisdom-based application of this Investiture renders the Knight impervious to all forms of supernatural weaponry, whether it be the claws of a wolf-man, the hell-forged torture tools of a vampire lord or the enchanted blade of a Saracen wizard. Any such weapons used against the inquisitor may make contact with his body, but then have no effect on him at all, as though the weapon were made of thin wood and the Knight’s body were made of stone. For the sake of formality, the attacker may want to roll to hit, but the outcome is the same: no supernatural weapon affects the Knight in any way. That said, direct magical attacks on the Knight still work normally, as do normal weapons. Only supernatural weapons using Brawl, Melee or Archery rolls are affected by this Investiture. No roll is necessary, and the effect lasts until the end of the scene.

Legacies House Murnau is known for its powers of detection and its unholy insights into the supernatural condition. While these inquisitors give up much in the pursuit of their duties, their service to the Inquisition is undeniable. The following Legacies are the birthright of the inquisitors of House Murnau.

Divine Insight (Acolyte) The von Murnau learn many secrets through their curse. This Legacy provides the inquisitor with uncanny knowledge about her supernatural quarry, her quarry’s sources of strength and power and even that quarry’s motivations and goals.

System: The Faith-based allows the inquisitor to discern in which direction a given supernatural target lies. The von Murnau prays, and the player spends a Conviction point and rolls Perception + Faith (difficulty 6); the number of successes reveals how specific the information is. At times the insight is a vague hunch, while other times the inquisitor knows almost the exact locale of his target. The inquisitor must have seen the target at least once before; simply knowing a name is not enough (since minions of Satan usually adopt false names or steal the identities of good Christians, anyway). Successes Result 1 Knows only the vague compass point: Somewhere to the north 2 More specific: North and east of here. 3 East by north east. 4 The exact direction as well as a vague notion of the distance 5 The exact direction, a clear notion of the distance and vague insights into the local landmarks in the area. The Wisdom-based application is in some ways the most frightening power that the Murnau can bring to bear. The inquisitor can glance at a demon’s heart (“soul” is probably an inaccurate term) and know its desires. The player rolls Perception + Wisdom (difficulty of the target’s Willpower). The inquisitor is granted information according to how many successes the player rolls: Successes Result 1 The inquisitor has a general idea of what drives the creature: Hunger, lust, rage, etc. 2 The above, and the inquisitor knows whether the creature has a very focused goal or a merely general drives, though not what those goals or drives might be. For instance, a near-mindless Feral vampire wants nothing more than to feed, and so appears to have a very general objective, whereas a Cainite who wants to become prince of a city wants something very specific. 3 As above, but the inquisitor has a general sense of what the creature’s goals are and what targets they might involve. In the above examples, the inquisitor might sense the Feral vampire is driven by hunger and wishes to slake that hunger on anyone nearby. 4 As above, and the inquisitor learns the best way to question or deal with the creature. The player may add the von Murnau’s Wisdom rating to any



Social rolls (including interrogation) made against the creature. 5+ As above, and the inquisitor learns a very specific fact about the creature. The player may ask one question of the Storyteller. If the creature knows the answer, the von Murnau learns it as well. This application of Divine Insight may only be used once per day on any given creature. This Legacy’s Zeal-based approach detects the nearest source of power, strength or succor of a given supernatural. Under some circumstances, this might give the Murnau some notions of how to render her quarry defenseless, other times it might simply lead her to a favored whore. All that this technique truly does is lead the inquisitor toward some magically oriented source of power or comfort. The player rolls Intelligence + Zeal (difficulty 6). The Storyteller is free to interpret exactly what this technique reveals. In the case of a vampire, it could reveal the direction of a favorite mortal victim, a casket full of his native soil or his favorite weapon. In the case of a werewolf, it might reveal the creature’s place of heathen worship, favorite weapon or lover. Used on a mage, this technique might point the inquisitor in the direction of a cray, a magical weapon or a spell book.

Surveying the Devil’s Flock (Acolyte) Wise inquisitors know that often their worst enemies are not so much the agents of Hell on Earth, but those lackeys Hell’s agents command. A vampire may himself be weak, for example, even helpless during the daylight hours. With the reconnaissance and support of those he has enthralled, his power can be much more dangerous than an inquisitor might immediately perceive. This Legacy provides the inquisitor with insights into the mortal thralls who serve (or have served) an unholy master, willingly or otherwise. System: The Faith-based application of this Legacy interferes with a target’s ability to receive communication from a particular pawn of the Adversary. The target is rendered wholly insensible to that particular supernatural entity: She cannot hear him, hear his thoughts, see him or discern him in any way. Furthermore, things he has written become entirely unintelligible. Should the supernatural entity become violent with the target, the target believes himself to be having fits and damaging himself. Von Murnau use this technique when they need to prevent a supernatural creature from making use of his


thralls. The von Murnau must perform a laying on of hands on the target to be affected. The player spends a Conviction point and rolls Manipulation + Faith (difficulty 6). Each success renders the target insensible to any communication from supernatural sources for one full day. The Wisdom-based application of this Legacy lets the von Murnau know if a mortal is doing or has ever done the bidding of a supernatural master. This Legacy reveals such individuals by showing them strangely discolored in some way; their skin may appear jet black or their faces may appear a shocking shade of red. The discoloration is often less intense the greater the time past that the thralldom took place. The player rolls Perception + Wisdom (difficulty 6). Each success gives a clearer picture of what that thralldom was like. Each additional success reveals another clue about the target’s enthrallment. Successes Result 1 Detects whether the target has ever served any sort of supernatural master. 2 Discerns how recently the target has served such a master. 3 Reveals the gravity of the target’s trespasses (i.e., did the thrall simply act as a concubine for her master or did she murder her fellow human beings?). 4 Reveals the nature of the creature that held the target enthralled. 5 Discerns how long the thralldom lasted and what the target’s current feelings are toward her master (or former master). This Legacy’s Zeal-based technique is usable only on those currently serving a supernatural master. The target gains sudden (but, alas, temporary) insights into the nature of her master. She sees his full diabolical evil, the harm he has inflicted on the human race and how he has undermined her Godgiven free will. The target will initially be agitated, then furious. All supernatural control is temporarily negated. Once the period of negation is over, the mortal remembers only that she betrayed her master and feels intense remorse for it. The Murnau must perform a laying on of hands on the target and pray for her insight. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Charisma + Zeal (difficulty 6) to awaken his target to her thralldom. Success frees the target from her master’s control — and fills her with a profound anger toward him — for one full day.


Pulling the Serpent’s Fangs (Advocate) The supernatural abilities of the Enemy’s minions are what make them so difficult to fight. The inquisitors of House Murnau have a way around that problem: This Legacy functions in an array of ways to undermine a supernatural enemy’s power in the world. System: The Faith-based version of this Legacy strikes dumb any opponent using the spoken word to affect his enemies, including wizards speaking incantations or vampires using Dominate or Thaumaturgic rituals. Any incantations are ruined entirely, and any effect the enemy may have been having (e.g., the effects of the Dominate Discipline) comes to a complete and abrupt stop. The Murnau prays for deliverance from the subtle tongued serpents that roam the world. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Manipulation + Faith (difficulty 6). Any and all supernatural targets in the inquisitor’s line of sight are immediately struck dumb, unable to speak or vocalize in any way. The targets are rendered unable to speak for three turns per success. The Wisdom-based version of this Legacy makes a creature of darkness loath to take any action against the inquisitor. In some circumstances, the creature may perceive the inquisitor as too holy or sacred to harm, while in other situations the creature may feel a strange, inexplicable sense of camaraderie with the von Murnau that keeps it from acting aggressively. Roll Charisma + Wisdom (difficulty 6). Each success indicates how many Willpower points the creature must expend before it is capable of taking any action against the von Murnau. The creature must expend this Willpower every time it wishes to take hostile action towards the character, for the duration of the scene. If the creature persists in attacking (for however brief a time) and expends all its Willpower, it immediately seeks to reconcile with the von Murnau in any way it can. This effect also lasts only to the end of the scene, at which point the creature’s mind is its own again. The most dangerous of this Legacy’s effects is the Zeal-based technique. When the von Murnau triggers this effect, the civil, reasoning side of the target falls into slumber, leaving only the ravaging bestial side to show what a monster the creature really is. Vampires and werewolves immediately enter frenzy. Witches, wizards and other magi, being human, simply fall asleep. The fae respond unpredictably: some fae burst into flames or dissolve into water; some fall asleep as if they were human; some fly into murderous rage and some are simply unaffected. The

player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Manipulation + Zeal (difficulty 6). Each success forces the target to lose its human side for three turns per success.

Fear No Evil (Judge) A Murnau with this degree of understanding of the ways of the Unholy has remarkably little to fear from any agent of the Adversary, either alone or in groups. The inquisitor’s power has grown such that not only can he use divine power to sense the Devil’s minions, he can control them, even to the point of turning them on each other. System: The Faith-based version of this Legacy creates a circle of protection around the inquisitor that keeps all supernatural creatures at bay. Supernatural creatures, including ghouls, instinctively stay away from the inquisitor. Those so willful as to try breaking through the circle suffer three levels of aggravated damage per turn (although those creatures with the means to soak aggravated damage can do so). The inquisitor says a prayer of protection; the player spends two points of Conviction and rolls Charisma + Faith (difficulty 7). The circle extends from the inquisitor in a radius of five feet per success (so even a single success results in a protective circle ten feet in diameter). Any supernatural creature caught in the circle when the von Murnau invokes this Legacy may remain absolutely still to avoid the damaging effects, otherwise it takes damage as though it had broken the circle. When the Murnau uses the Wisdom-based application of this Legacy, it grants him a powerful sway over supernatural creatures that closely resembles the Presence Discipline. Not only do they not perceive him as an enemy, they perceive him as someone of great stature whom they want to please and befriend. The allure presented by the inquisitor is one based on charm and sheer magnetism. While it is easily maintained so long as the von Murnau parlays with the enemy, it evaporates should he do anything blatantly unfriendly. Spend one point of Conviction and roll Charisma + Wisdom (difficulty 6). The Storyteller then makes a resisted Willpower roll for the target creature (difficulty 8). If the target loses, he immediately falls under the sway of the inquisitor, treating him as though he were a beloved friend. This Legacy affects supernatural creatures (including ghouls); it does not affect more than one creature at a time, nor does it affect targets beyond the inquisitor’s line of sight. This effect lasts the duration of the scene, after which the target clearly



remembers what happened and becomes enraged for being manipulated in such a fashion. Sometimes neither good will nor simple protection grants the inquisitor the safety (or peace of mind) he requires. The Zeal-based application of this Legacy causes all supernatural creatures within a fifty-foot radius to turn on one another with extreme violence. They do this heedless of any physical or social consequences; only leaving the area allows a creature regain its self-control once more. A pack of werewolves may be made to tear each other to bits with this Legacy, while a von Murnau who uses this Legacy while the Cainites of a city are holding court could, conceivably, wipe out most of the vampires in the area. The player spends three Conviction points and rolls Manipulation + Zeal (difficulty 6). The Storyteller must make resisted Willpower rolls (difficulty 8) for all supernatural creatures in the area of effect. Any creature with fewer successes than the inquisitor (ties go to the inquisitor), instantly sees all other supernatural creatures in the area as deeply, viscerally offensive and deserving of death, attacking the nearest other supernatural creature with whatever it believes to be its most lethal attack. Inquisitors do not count as supernatural creatures (but may cer-


tainly be injured or killed as frenzied vampires and werewolves lash out at everything around them).

Psalms Many inquisitors consider the Sisters of St. John to be the gentlest of the inquisitorial orders, and in many ways, that is so. The Psalms of the Sisters are used largely for coaxing knowledge from the Enemy and for healing the Flock. More experienced Sisters, however, can call on the power of the Lord in ways that would be called miraculous — if they weren’t so terrifying.

Jubilation (Acolyte) This one supports and inspires the inquisitor’s flock and allies more than it elicits information from the agents of the adversary. Jubilation is quite aptly named in that it requires the Sister to sing a joyful, inspiring song to rally those around her. The more voices that join her in her Jubilation song, the more powerful the miracles the sister can perform with this Psalm. System: The Faith aspect of Jubilation allows the Sister to heal (or at least stabilize) those in the Jubilation who are wounded. This effect of Jubilation affects only allies, friends and members of the Sister’s flock who join in the song. An unconscious ally can benefit


from this Psalm if a healthy person sings specifically for him. Each person joining in the joyful song is healed of one health level of damage. The number of singing voices determines the effects of this Endowment. Nine or fewer voices allow the Sister to heal one level of bashing damage for those taking part in her song. If the sister can put together a group of up to 29 voices, then this Psalm heals one level of lethal damage, and if the sister is able to put together a full chorus of 30 or more voices, this Psalm heals one health level of any kind of damage from all those singing. The character leads the song; the player simply spends one point of Conviction. The Wisdom application of this Psalm provides those taking part in the Jubilation with a restful night’s sleep and a new sense of purpose beginning the next morning. As with the Faith-based application, the more voices that join in the Jubilation song, the more effective it is. The Sister leads the joyful song to the Lord; the player spends one point of Conviction. If nine or fewer voices join in the Jubilation, then those taking part regain one additional Willpower point (in addition to the standard one) when they wake the next morning. If 10 to 29 voices take part in the jubilation, then those involved recover two additional Willpower points the next morning, and if 30 or more voices join in the inquisitor’s song of Jubilation, all those involved will regain three additional Willpower points upon waking up the next morning. The Zeal-based application of Jubilation causes consternation to all agents of the Devil within hearing distance. The noise of the Jubilation song causes them intense pain and deafens them for a period of time. Supernatural targets of this Psalm also suffer from the equivalent of a wound penalty to their dice pools for so long as they are in range of the song. Nine or fewer voices cause a –1 penalty to creatures of darkness and deafens them for eight hours, 10-29 voices cause a –2 penalty and leave the creatures deaf for one full day, and the sound of 30 or more voices in the Jubilation song cause those creatures such pain that they suffer a –3 penalty to their dice pools and are deafened for two full days. The Sister need only lead the Jubilation; the player spends a point of Conviction.

Remembrance Song (Acolyte) Many of the duties of a Sister of St. John often involve the memory: memories that need to be jogged during interrogation, memories that need to be given up to bring peace or messages that must be

remembered to be passed along. The three functions of this Psalm combine those memory-related tasks. System: No matter how painful some memories are, almost everyone has joyful remembrances that they can use to bolster their spirits in hard times. The Faith-based aspect of the Remembrance song allows the Sister to help others summon up those memories, giving them the strength of will and spirit to forage on. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Charisma + Faith (difficulty 6). The character sings a hymn in a firm, clear voice (under stressful or terrifying conditions, the Storyteller might well require a Wits + Performance or even a Courage roll from the player in order for the Sister to keep her voice steady). For every success, one target enjoys the following benefits: –1 difficulty on all Courage rolls, +1 to the difficulty of any attack that targets the recipient’s emotions in a negative way (such as Presence 2), and +1 Conviction (this extra point will not make the character Callous, and fades at the end of the scene). This facet of Remembrance Song does not function on Callous inquisitors. The benefits last for one scene. Frequently, the most difficult part of questioning the faithful is calling up details from past experiences. The untrained mind is weak and forgetful, and often loses facts that the inquisitor might find useful. The Wisdom facet of this Psalm allows the Sister to sing a soothing song of prayer in the presence of her target to help him remember vivid details from the past. This Psalm helps the target see the scene or the image he has been asked about in perfect detail. Only real memories can be brought back. False memories, like those implanted with the Dominate power Reveler’s Memory, are easily seen through and the real memory is brought to the fore. The Sister must sing to her target for three turns before the effects of this Psalm take effect. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Charisma + Wisdom (difficulty 7). The more successes she achieves, the further back her target can remember. Successes Age of memories 1 One Week 2 One Month 3 One Year 4 10 Years 5 20 Years Like the other uses of this Psalm, the Zeal effect affects memory. In this case, however, it also has another communication-oriented effect. The Sister



may speak a phrase of up to 100 words to the subject of this Psalm and he will remember it verbatim. Furthermore, the subject is only able to repeat the message to its intended receiver, and once he has spoken the message, it vanishes from his mind. The Sister must first speak a prayer of safe travel for the subject of the Psalm, then she takes the subject’s hands, looks him in the eyes and speaks her message to him. The messenger will capture every element of the Sister’s words exactly, including pauses, accent, inflection and tone, so the Sister must have the message ready and pay attention to the details of her speech. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Intelligence + Zeal (difficulty 6). Each success increases the length of the message by 20 words. As the character doesn’t necessarily know how many words she has to work with, the Storyteller should make this roll for the player, who is then free to hope for the best.

Song of the Seraphim (Advocate) The highest of the nine orders of angels are the seraphim, whose proximity to God makes them so holy and immaculate that they cannot abide that which is false or impure. This Psalm helps the sister see through falsehood and arrive at the truth of a matter, no matter how hard the Deceiver tries to hide his works. System: The Devil is a creature of lies and deceit, but this song prevents falsehood from being uttered in the inquisitor’s presence while it is being chanted. When the Sister sings the Faith effect of the Song of the Seraphim, those in the immediate vicinity are unable to lie (including lying by omission). The only way those affected can avoid telling the truth is to stop speaking altogether. The Sister need only quietly chant this Psalm anywhere within ten feet of the individual being questioned. The player spends a point of Conviction and rolls Wits + Faith (difficulty 6). Each success allows the Sister to continue this song for three turns. The Wisdom function of the Song of the Seraphim washes away all illusion from the area in which the Sister is singing. All illusions, glamour and trickery are rendered transparent. This includes visions that affect only the mind of the beholder, vampiric Disciplines like Chimerstry and Obfuscate, and illusion magic. Once cleansed away, the illusion is gone permanently unless its creator generates it again. The Sister simply sings the Psalm and illusions fall away around her. She can move and sing at the same time, thereby leaving a large swath of clarity behind her if she’s so inclined. The player


spends a point of Conviction and rolls Perception + Wisdom (difficulty 6). Each success increases the radius of effect of the Sister’s Song by ten feet. The Zeal facet of this Psalm drains away the will to fight from one target. The target must be a supernatural creature or a fellow inquisitor overcome by Callousness. The sister sings a hymn of peace; the player spends two points of Conviction and rolls Charisma + Zeal (difficulty 6). Each success subtracts one from the target’s temporary Willpower. As the target loses Willpower, he becomes less certain of his purpose and goals and more malleable. If this Psalm should bring the target’s Willpower to 0, he immediately loses all interest in any sort of conflict and will likely flee (if pressed) or wander away (if left to his own devices). If the target is being interrogated when his Willpower reaches 0, he loses any desire to lie or dissemble and he begins cooperating with the Sister to the full extent of his ability.

Vox Dei (Judge) A Sister of St. John who has reached this level on the path of Psalms can use her voice to sing or speak with a power that awes the flock and inspires faith and fear in all who hear it. The very resting places of evil are shaken by the voice of a Sister so heavily invested with the power of the Lord. System: When the Sister uses the Faith version of Vox Dei, it has a deep impact on the hearts of all those who hear it. In particular, it causes those who have had any knowing (or even suspected) interaction with agents of the Devil to rush to the nearest devout person (anyone with a Superior Virtue of 1 or more) and confess all their dealings with those creatures of darkness. Such confessions include telling everything they know and all they’ve seen that pertains to those creatures. This Psalm affects even ghouls and those who have undergone the blood oath to a vampiric master. The Sister of St. John need only sing a song of penitence; the player spends two points of Conviction and rolls Charisma + Faith (difficulty 6). Add the successes to the Sister’s Willpower rating, and all those within hearing distance with Willpower ratings less than that sum rush to the nearest inquisitor and begin their confessions. The Wisdom effect of Vox Dei allows the Sister to sing out the thoughts of a supernatural creature so long as she is making contact with it. If specific questions need to be asked, others can ask the creature and the Sister will be able to find and sing the honest answer. Nothing the Sister sings when using this Psalm can be false. In most cases, obviously, the creature being thus


interrogated needs to be restrained. The Sister must be in direct skin contact with the creature she is interrogating; she must first sing a song of praise to God, then she simply needs to sing, and the creature’s thoughts come out of her mouth. The creature need not speak any language known to the inquisitor, as she can simply read its thoughts and sing in any language known to her. The player spends two points of Conviction and rolls Perception + Wisdom (difficulty 6). One full concept can be expressed per turn, and the song continues for two turns per success. If the creature has no knowledge of human language (certain fae or werewolves), the difficulty goes up to 8. The Zeal facet of this Psalm is sometimes given a name all its own by those who have seen it in action: Dies Irae, the wrath of God. It is aptly named because it shows that enemies of the Lord truly have no place to hide when righteous folk do His work. The Sister sings an angry song of judgment, and every place within hearing distance that harbors the minions of Lucifer meets with spectacular destruction: caverns collapse, wooden buildings are blasted by Heavenly fire and become blazing infernos; even stone buildings come crashing down like the walls of Jericho, generally after being battered by enormous winds and a constant barrage of lightning. Furthermore, the places that are cleansed by the power of this Psalm are rendered Holy Ground for a short time

after the Sister’s song is finished, to prevent the return of the spirits of evil that had lingered there. Spend two points of Conviction and roll Charisma + Zeal (difficulty 7). The number of successes indicate how quickly the destruction hits; a single success brings about a very slow destruction that is likely to take most of a scene (and probably allow the inhabitant to escape) while five successes indicate that the affected places were almost instantaneously blasted from the world by divine fire. If the player rolls two or more successes, the area also becomes Holy Ground (as per Dark Ages: Inquisitor, p. 197) with an Ambient Faith rating equal to the number of the Sister’s successes for one week. Channeling such power, however, also takes a formidable toll: the Sister takes one unsoakable health level of bashing damage for each success rolled — a reminder that, at the very least, speaking for God is a weighty matter.

Holy Art The paths of the Holy Art presented in Chapter Five of Dark Ages: Inquisitor are the ones most commonly studied, and represent aspects of the Holy Trinity. Two of those are available as a primary path to specific orders, though members the Red Order, with their focus on knowledge and ritual, have their choice of any path to be their



focus. What follows is a new path that may be chosen as primary by an inquisitor of any order. It calls upon that direct influence of the divine present in every inquisitor. In addition, several new ritae are listed, which indicate a bigger picture of the body of divine knowledge kept by the Church for use in their battle against the forces of Satan. While useful to the investigator in the field, those in largely supportive positions also use these tools. Some of the rituals are helpful in producing weapons for anyone to wield against the unholy.

•• Protection of the Holy Cross

The Lord shines His light upon the world in a number of ways, but the most profound is perhaps through the works of the faithful. Those who follow the path of the Body of Light learn how the beacon of faith can be directed through objects of purity, and ultimately from the very core of their being. This is not illumination of a physical nature, but rather an intense form of that spark of life that each living creature is blessed with. Though usually not visible to the human eye, its searing purity reveals, repels, and can even destroy the unholy with the brilliant fury of Heaven. This is a useful path for many inquisitors, as many of its aspects involve the empowerment of holy items frequently kept on hand. These objects are generally useless in the battle against evil in the hands of the average person. When wielded by one who follows the path of Corpus Lux, however, they become an important part of a warrior’s arsenal. It is strength of character that an individual calls upon when using this aspect of the Holy Art, thus unless otherwise noted, the standard roll for this path is Charisma + Corpus Lux; the difficulty varies according to which power is used.

Characters using this power may present a cross to repel demonic forces. Usually this is a crucifix, as there is rarely a shortage of them in a cell of the shadow Inquisition, but resourceful combatants have been known to use a makeshift cross in times of need (some question the sanctity of such actions, but practitioners of this path argue that the light of God shines through the faithful regardless of the quality of the symbol they wield). The cross must be clearly visible to the creature being held at bay, and the inquisitor must keep his concentration on to the task at hand. This requires unshakable faith and a steady hand, as the strength of the Devil’s will has surprised many a loyal servant of the Lord and ended their cause prematurely. System: The player makes a standard path roll (difficulty is the target’s Willpower). The number of successes plus the character’s Faith score is the number of steps back the target is repelled. This effect lasts as long as the inquisitor can hold his ground. If the roll fails, the player may still spend a Conviction point to keep the creature at bay; it may not advance, but doesn’t have to step back either. The target may also spend a point of Willpower to ignore the effects of this power for one turn. If the roll is botched, or if the player chooses not to spend Conviction on a failed roll, the attempt to repel the forces of evil is sadly ineffectual for the duration of the scene.

• Rebuking the Sight of the Tainted

••• Empower the Instrument of Faith

Corpus Lux

By looking at a creature’s reflection in a mirrored surface and silently praying, the character may gaze upon the light of God, which passes over the demonic without a trace. To the inquisitor, the other being does not cast a reflection at all. This can be unsettling, but does show the inquisitor when he is dealing with something that only looks human. The surface may be anything reflective, including perfectly still bodies of water, but this ability becomes useless in complete darkness. System: The player rolls Perception + Corpus Lux (difficulty 6). Success means that the character


cannot see the target creature in any reflective surface if it is not wholly human. Failure indicates that there is a reflection, just like any other natural being, and this ability may not be used again on that individual for one day. If the roll is botched, the target is allowed to make a Perception + Alertness roll (difficult of the inquisitor’s Charisma + Subterfuge) to notice that it is being observed in this strange manner.

Objects used in holy practice are repugnant to the get of Satan. It is well known that holy water, wafers of communion, the holy rosary and the like are sometimes effective in warding off the forces of evil, but in the hands of the average member of the flock they are often looked upon by demons as minor and insulting annoyances. When wielded by the capable inquisitor, however, they become weapons in the battle for righteousness. System: When this character has at his disposal any item that has been blessed or created meticulously for holy sacrament (such as a Bible, for during this time they were, of course, written by hand) he may use it to


harm supernatural creatures. The player rolls a standard path roll (difficulty 6); the number of successes indicates the number of turns that the item is empowered. During this time, the character can make a normal ranged or melee attack with the item and if it hits, it inflicts one level of aggravated damage. This damage is all that is inflicted, as holy relics are rarely useful weapons in their own right, though there may be exceptions at the discretion of the Storyteller. The items may be used more than once during the time they are empowered. If the player so chooses, he may spend one Conviction to inflict an additional level of damage, but he must state this before the attack roll is made. Note: your Storyteller may rule that certain items are harmful to the unliving (see p. 290 in Dark Ages: Vampire), in which case the damage from this power is in addition to any the object already inflicts. If the roll to empower the item fails, then it causes no damage beyond that which it might already inflict; a botch means the character loses one point of Conviction.

•••• Blessed Litany With this relentless recitation of scripture, the character causes supernatural creatures to flee in terror or face the power of God through the words of the faithful. The individual with this ability must be able to speak clearly, though not necessarily loudly. Demonic forces in close proximity are compelled to flee by any means necessary, otherwise the holy light that suffuses the inquisitor’s words burns them like fire. System: The character must be free to use his voice, but regardless of whether or not it can be heard (targets may not simply cover their ears, try though they might) the effects of this power extend in a radius equal to five feet times the character’s Piety rating. Once the recitation begins, the player spends a point of Conviction and makes a standard path roll (difficulty 7). The number of successes plus the character’s Faith score is the length of time in turns that the repelled creature must flee in terror using any means at its disposal. Failing the roll means the power has no effect, and a botch costs the character an additional point of Conviction. Enemies affected by this power may spend a point of Willpower to remain in the area. If the creature cannot get away (if backed into a corner, for example), the power inflicts lethal damage dice equal to the number of successes on the original path roll for each turn in the area. This damage may be soaked

if the target is normally capable of doing so. This ability may be used but once per scene.

••••• Radiant Presence of the Lord The light of God spills forth from the center of this character’s being, burning away evil and banishing the shadows of the Devil’s trickery. The inquisitor using this power need only lift his gaze to Heaven and ask for the grace of the Father to fill his soul. This application of Corpus Lux actually surrounds the character with a nimbus of golden light, illuminating the area briefly and showering all onlookers with its serene glow. System: The player spends two points of Conviction and makes a standard path roll (difficulty 8). The character radiates pure golden light for a number of turns equal to the number of successes gained; this has a number of effects. First, any power being used in the area that creates darkness or illusions (such as Obtenebration 1 or the Chimerstry Discipline) is canceled for the duration of this power, if the user’s Willpower score is lower than the inquisitor’s Piety rating. Second, any creature hiding its true form through possession or shape-shifting must succeed at a Willpower roll (difficulty is the inquisitor’s Piety) or reveal itself. Lastly, this ability is particularly devastating to vampires. They react as though exposed to sunlight with an intensity equal to the character’s Piety for the duration (for example, a character with a Piety score of eight forces vampires to make a soak roll with a difficulty of eight or take aggravated damage accordingly; see pp. 257– 258 of Dark Ages: Vampire for details on the effects of sunlight). This power extends outward in a 25foot radius, plus five more feet for each dot the character has in Charisma. Should the player botch this roll, the character’s faith is shaken and the player must roll to see if a new Curse is acquired.

Ritae The body of knowledge recorded by the shadow Inquisition is constantly growing. Presented here is a further sample of the ritae that make up its repertoire.

Prayer for Clarity (Level One) Though the shadow Inquisition operates in secret, its members strive to keep accurate records of their encounters in order to build a body of knowledge about how best to combat the forces of evil. Unfortunately, many of the trials these intrepid



warriors of God face cause their memories to be fragmented, lost or even altered by the very creatures they seek to recall. Those who are know this ritus are capable of remembering the events of the last twentyfour hours far more sharply upon its completion. System: After a 20 minute session of meditation and prayer during which the character must have no distractions, the player makes a standard roll. Any successes gained are added to those needed to remember events that have occurred in the last day (see the section on memory, pp. 162 – 163 in Dark Ages: Inquisitor). If the character is merely writing down his thoughts and not attempting to overcome the effects of terror or supernatural influence, the Storyteller may provide the player some aid in remembering more detail depending on how many successes the player rolls.

Blessing of Eternal Rest (Level One) Inquisitors are aware of the use of wicked magics to affect the dead, and the usual prayers spoken and rites performed during a funeral are not always enough to prevent this from happening. When a recently deceased corpse is purified with this ritual, however, desecrating it with necromantic arts becomes much more difficult. System: This ritual may only be performed over a body within three days after death. It involves praying for fifteen minutes and sprinkling holy water over the deceased. The player then makes a standard roll (difficulty 6) and spends a point of Conviction. From that point forward, any attempts to use powers that affect the corpse (such as the Mortis Discipline or any power that seeks to communicate with the soul of the deceased) have their difficulty increased by the number of successes rolled to perform this ritual (to a maximum of 10).

Sanctification of the Homestead (Level Two) Similar to the Hallow Ground ritus that purifies an area temporarily, Sanctification of the Homestead can protect a private dwelling from any supernatural breach for a time. This ritual is not as well known, and its roots lie more with honoring the hospitality and sanctity of the home than with the actual blessing of an area for holy practice. Still, its utility in the field is unquestionable and has guaranteed the restful sleep of many inquisitors. System: This ritual must be performed in a private dwelling and protects against uninvited visits by demonic creatures. The character must sprinkle holy water in all quarters of the building, burn an


ounce of frankincense and recite scripture for an hour, after which time the player makes a standard roll (difficulty 7). For each success, the structure is protected from entry by any demon-possessed or inhuman creature for one day. The only loophole is that the creature may enter if invited by anyone inside the dwelling. Note that this protection is purely physical: a creature that can see into a window or across a threshold could use mental powers to force an occupant to give the needed invitation. Furthermore, although the place may not be entered, it may be damaged from the outside, forcing those inside to flee. If the ritus roll is botched, the ritual may not be performed again on the same dwelling for three days.

Finding the Way Through the Word (Level Two) The faithful believe that holy scripture is a guide to life, and the answers to all questions are hidden within its words. As the unequivocal word of God, the secrets of the Bible are revealed most readily to pious warriors of His cause. By performing special prayers in the right kind of environment, light can be shed on the darkness of uncertainty. System: This ritual must be performed on Holy Ground. The character performing the ritual lights a specially blessed candle and says a prayer before poring over the Bible with an open heart and mind for an hour or more (the inquisitor must not be distracted, meaning the area must stay quiet for the duration of the ritus). The player makes a standard roll (difficulty 8), adding one die to his pool for each hour of studying beyond the first. Each success allows the character ask one question abut the best direction to take in a given situation. Answers are usually vague impressions of right and wrong, basically a yesor-no answer as to whether or not a given path is part of God’s will. The Storyteller has a lot of leeway here as far as what kind of insight might be bestowed, and a botch on the roll may mean the character thinks he has the right idea when in fact he is letting his own zealous pride direct him instead of the word of God. At any rate, this kind of study for right-mindedness may only be performed once per story.

Veiled Presence of the Holy (Level Three) Inquisitors are frequently called upon to infiltrate environments where the presence of the Lord is not exactly… welcome. Needless to say, those who serve God in such a direct manner usually stand out when viewed with the subtle perceptive powers of Satan’s get. It is rumored that members of the Red


Order created this ritual so they could walk unnoticed where supernatural eyes might pry. Not surprisingly, some members of the Church hierarchy consider the use of any rite that hides the presence of God to be somewhat sinful, though no official stance has been taken. System: The character performs an hour-long ritual during which his entire body is anointed with special oils while he silently prays. The player makes a standard roll (difficulty 7). For every success obtained, the difficulty of any supernatural attempt to perceive the character as anything but a normal human increases by one. Though they are mere humans, inquisitors generally display a special aura when viewed by a power like Soul Sight (Auspex 2). When this ritual is active, however, the character registers as any other person; even strong emotions are muted. Once successfully performed, this ritual stays in effect for one hour per success gained, plus an additional hour per point of Conviction the player chooses to spend.

Tears of the Weeping Heart of Abel (Level Three) The Church uses standard rites to bless water for use in holy sacrament, but thanks to the shadow Inquisition, a secret, more potent ritual often finds its way into the blessing. Agents of the Inquisition deep within the ranks of the Church hierarchy ensure that each time water is blessed, it passes through their hands briefly so that it may be infused with the righteous fury of God and used to cleanse the Earth of evil. Surely not every drop of holy water has been treated this way, but inquisitors in the field find it useful to be able to create a potent weapon that may be used by anyone in the battle against Satan’s minions. System: In order to perform this ritual, the character must start with water that has already been blessed in the conventional manner. If the character intends to perform this himself, he must do so on Holy Ground. The player makes an Intelligence + Theology roll (difficulty 6). If this thirty-minute prayer and benediction is successful, then the Holy Art ritus may proceed. The player spends one point of Conviction for each vial’s worth of holy water to be blessed in this manner (so, for example, a bowl of water that would fill four vials would require the expenditure of four Conviction), after which time the character takes another thirty minutes to recite special prayers and breathe the power of God into the vessel. Upon a successful standard roll (difficulty 7), the water is blessed in such a way as to cause one

level of aggravated damage to a supernatural being. Each vial is good for one such attack.

Donning the Vestments of Sacred Resilience (Level Four) Through the use of this powerful ritual, a garment is blessed with protection against the forces of evil. Many demonic beings are able to shrug off damage, and inquisitors wearing cloth imbued in this manner are able to take the same kind of comfort in the safety provided by the Lord. System: This ritual must be performed on Holy Ground over a finely woven priest’s vestment. After the character soaks the garment completely in holy water and prays for two hours, the player makes a standard roll (difficulty 7). For each success, a character wearing this specially prepared cloth is able to automatically soak two levels of damage (any type) dealt by any supernatural creature. The protection lasts one hour for every success. For example, if the player rolls three successes, he is protected for three hours and may soak up to six levels of damage before the ritual wears off.

Investment of the Lasting Sacrifice (Level Five) Similar to the Tears of the Weeping Heart of Abel, this ritual is used to create a permanent ward against the powers of Satan in the form of a specially blessed crucifix. Some believe that supernatural creatures are simply repelled by the sight of this holy symbol, but the learned know that it is generally the faith of the wielder rather than the power of the object that actually forces back evil. Those who are able to perform this ritual, however, can infuse a crucifix with divine protection so that it might be of aid to anyone who holds it close. System: In order to perform this ritual, the character must have a crucifix of high quality workmanship. The entire rite must be performed on Holy Ground, and involves fasting for three days and praying constantly for the strength to fill the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice with purity and strength. On each day, the character may sleep only four hours and the player spends two points of Conviction (which may come from banked points). During these three days, the character may also pray to regain Conviction per the standard rules. If the ritual is interrupted, all Conviction spent is lost and the character must start over if the process is to be completed. At the end of the third day, the player makes a standard roll (difficulty 8), needing but one success to create this minor holy relic. If the roll fails,



the character may spend one more day to try again (costing the player another two points of Conviction and another roll). A botch, however, indicates that the ritual was somehow flawed and may not be attempted again on the same crucifix (which was clearly not worthy of God’s grace). The result of this rite is a crucifix that, when held out visibly in front of a character, holds demonic creatures at bay. Fiends repelled in such a manner may not come within five feet of the possessor of the relic without spending a Willpower point, and further, may not directly attack this individual. They can, however, spend an additional Willpower point when close enough to attempt to knock the object out of the character’s hand. This requires a standard attack roll (minus one die due to the distraction) opposed by the crucifix holder’s Strength + Faith. This object does not inflict any damage, it merely protects against the unholy. Such a crucifix counts as a one-dot Holy Relic, should a player wish her character to purchase one with Background points.

Curses Many Curses are held to be blessings in disguise — initially, at least. The Red Order in particular has the dubious pleasure of celebrating their ambivalently experienced connection to the divine. Other orders may not even realize that certain burdens they bear are directly connected to their Blessings or their service to the Inquisition at all. Some Curses are so subtle (or shameful) that inquisitors suffering from them never speak of them at all, making the burden heavier yet.

Anathemae The least obvious but among the heaviest suffered, the Curses of alienation native to the Oculi Dei seem light initially, but wear down the afflicted inquisitor’s soul more effectively than nearly any other type of Curse.

Contagion (Acolyte) The Eyes of God spend a great deal of solitary time keeping watch on the forces of Hell. This Curse enforces that solitude. Upon gaining this affliction, the inquisitor comes to feel that the members of the Flock are all deeply and thoroughly tainted with the corruption of the Adversary. She would prefer to speak to no one but other inquisitors or at least clergy, and the very thought of physically touching a member of the flock fills her with a horror so visceral that she can barely stand the thought.


System: The player of the afflicted character must succeed on a Willpower roll (difficulty 5) in order to stay in the presence of anyone not a member of the clergy (or the Inquisition). Failure indicates that the character removes herself from the group as quickly as is politely possible, while a botch indicates that she bolts for the nearest exit.

Spy’s Bane (Acolyte) Though the Eyes of God are aware that some of their number suffers from this affliction, they have carefully kept it a secret from the other orders. This Curse only manifests in the Oculi Dei when they are fulfilling their calling as the Inquisition’s spies. When the inquisitor is keeping a target under watch, this Curse fills him with the urge to leave some small memento, or in some other way leave a “calling card” to let the object of his observation know that he is being watched. This gesture might be a small, subtle thing — turning a mirror glass-side up as its owner sleeps, moving a dagger a few feet while its owner isn’t looking or lighting a fire in a chamber’s fireplace while the occupant is away relieving herself, for example. Alternatively, the inquisitor might be drawn to make a larger statement — a signature symbol scratched into a wall, a small wooden cross left on a table or even a carefully worded letter informing the observed that he’s being watched. These gestures are not destructive, as the drive to leave them is one of pride, not malice. While this Curse has led to Eyes of God being caught, it has also established those uncaught few as legends (and sources of great concern among those they’re watching). System: Once per game session, when the accursed inquisitor is keeping watch on a target, the Storyteller can quietly inform the player that her character has been overcome by a powerful sense of pride and ask her to make a Willpower roll (difficulty 8). If the roll succeeds, the inquisitor successfully fights off the urge to leave a calling card of some sort. If the player fails, the character makes some small gesture that could let the observed know that he’s being watched. If the player botches, the character makes a grand gesture of some sort. The player should determine what his character’s small and large gestures are when this Curse is taken and stay consistent any time this Curse manifests. It is that kind of consistency that creates legends (and eventually comes back to bite the character, of course).

Life of Shadows (Advocate) This Curse dooms its victim to ignominy. An inquisitor who gains this Curse is suddenly very


forgettable. Those who don’t interact with him on a regular basis can never remember his name (his chapter is immune to this unless he is away for a long time). When in crowds, the character is automatically assumed to be an individual of little or no consequence. Others forget his name and even his face. Tavern keepers forget to bring his ale, key figures in his own order forget to inform him of important developments, and even family members forget about his existence if more than a few months go by without contact. While the character’s name doesn’t disappear from records or the like, no one is likely to remember to whom the name refers. System: Charisma and Manipulation are effectively reduced to a rating of one, while Appearance drops to two when he is dealing with individuals he does not know or who have forgotten him. Those who know the character well will take the longest to forget him (so his chapter, unless newly formed, won’t forget him until a number of weeks have passed). A week of intense interaction is enough to keep the character in mind for a while, but the character slips from memory as quickly as he enters it. A week after parting ways, a new ally totally forgets the character. This Curse makes the Allies, Contacts, Flock, Influence, Rank and Retainers Backgrounds very difficult to maintain.

Sentence of Solitude (Judge) This is among the weightiest of all Curses suffered by members of the Inquisition. It so utterly cuts off inquisitors from both their flock and their peers that it alone has driven accursed Eyes of God to despair and suicide. The inquisitor suffering from this Curse cannot bear the company of others. His knowledge (or supposed knowledge) of their fallen state causes the inquisitor such deep emotional and physical pain that the very presence of another makes any kind of rational action next to impossible. Most inquisitors experience this pain as an intense headache, though there are some who are overcome by sharp chest pains and shortness of breath or by waves of debilitating nausea instead. System: This affliction causes the character to suffer dice pool penalties (as though she were physically wounded) so long as she is in the presence of others. Just being in the same room as others (or within 40 feet) grants a dice pool penalty of –1. Being within 10 feet of another person increases that penalty to –2. If another person is one foot away (or nearer), the character loses three dice from all dice pools. Two odd exceptions exist to this Curse: First, the presence of the agents of the Enemy, whom the

inquisitor knows to be corrupt, doesn’t cause any discomfort at all; an inquisitor afflicted with this Curse could be in a room full of vampires and feel no pain or anxiety whatsoever. Second, if the inquisitor remains hidden and keeps others ignorant of his presence, he can be in their presence without suffering any ill effects — creating an odd if comforting temptation for those whose skills revolve around remaining unseen.

Maledictio The House of Murnau is felt to be among the most cursed orders in the Inquisition,. Among the reasons for those feelings are the Curses that the order suffers from that make their interactions with the supernatural perhaps a bit more ambivalent than the Inquisition would like.

Immaculate (Acolyte) Despite its name, which suggests a certain innocence or purity, this affliction is one of the more debilitating suffered by the inquisitors of House Murnau. Inquisitors suffering from this curse are physically ill in the presence of the enemies of the Lord. Most vomit when they realize, through whatever means, that they are in the presence of an actual supernatural entity, although some other inquisitors manifest this curse in other ways, including debilitating ague, stomach cramps, sneezing fits and diarrhea. Many, if not most, of the inquisitors from the noble house suffer from the ability to sense the presence of the supernatural through a foul odor or other disagreeable sensation. This curse affects them all the worse for their sensitivity. System: This Curse is not a means of detection in any way, but simply a consequence of the inquisitor’s knowledge. Any time the inquisitor becomes aware of the presence of the supernatural, his player rolls Stamina + Self-Control (difficulty 7). If succeeds, the von Murnau chokes back the bile (or whatever) and carries on with his work. If he fails, he immediately vomits (or becomes otherwise ill from the presence of evil) and suffers a +1 modifier to the difficulty of all rolls until he leaves the presence of the supernatural. If the player botches, the manifestation of the illness is pronounced and dramatic and results in a +2 difficulty modifier.

Lux Dei (Acolyte) Most Maledictio result in the Curse’s subject gaining a vague figurative aura or presence about them. In the case of this Curse, the aura is quite literal. The inquisitor truly does give off a faint



white, gold or light blue glow. This glow comes from the character’s skin and from the eyes, where it is brightest, although the character himself cannot see it. The Murnau may want to hide or wrap himself in heavy robes or otherwise prevent his divine talent from being made obvious, but very little can be done to completely hide the glow. Those who know the Murnau may only be moderately shocked and horrified. Most will be incredibly suspicious at the very least, and, more likely, terrified. The social ramifications of this Curse are extreme. System: The character glows very faintly (characters without augmented sense require a successful Perception + Alertness roll to notice it; the difficulty is 9 in daylight, 8 at twilight, 7 by torch or firelight and 6 in darkness). The glow is not enough to read by, although it might prevent other characters from stumbling around in complete darkness (the von Murnau cannot see his own glow). Alternatively, the glow could come and go depending on the character’s actions at the moment, causing him to shine with righteousness when he has done something worthy and dimming out altogether when the character has suffered a spiritual setback. When present, all Stealth rolls are made at +2 difficulty and the agents of Satan are at –2 on their difficulty to pick the inquisitor out of a crowd, even if he’s heavily robed. At the Storyteller’s discretion, this Curse may only function in any scene wherein the character has used a Legacy.

Devil’s Rapture (Advocate) Inquisitors suffering from this affliction are drawn to agents of the supernatural, not so much to cleanse the world of their evil, but to talk with them. An inquisitor in the thrall of this Curse insists on taking a peaceful approach to dealing with any creature that is not actively trying to hurt the inquisitor or his associates, sometimes even to the point of selling out his side in hopes of achieving some greater insight into the strategies of the Enemy at a later date. System: Any time the inquisitor encounters a supernatural creature, whether it be vampire, demon, werewolf or something else, so long as the creature is not actively hostile to the inquisitor, the inquisitor is struck with a kind of fascination with the creature that can only be broken if the creature takes action against the inquisitor. Upon meeting such a creature, the von Murnau’s player makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 8). Success indicates that the inquisitor is able to throw off his fascination with the creature, while failure indicates that he is intent on engaging the creature in conversation, ostensibly to find out more about the Enemy, but often just to take perverse delight in the creature’s presence. A botch indicates that the inquisitor is utterly


taken with the creature and may make outlandish suggestions to the creature (e.g., “I think we could work well together,” or “I’ll be happy to assist you so long as you refrain from drinking blood while in my presence.”).

Friend of Fiends (Judge) When the inquisitor acquires this Curse, it is as though he has suddenly become a known entity, or even a vaguely friendly entity among the forces of the Adversary. At first meeting, demons or vampires may smile at him as if they know him; in combat, they may focus their attention on the inquisitor’s chapter or allies, and avoid doing any real damage to the inquisitor with this Curse. These behaviors are hard to miss. In time, it’s highly likely that the others in the inquisitor’s chapter will become curious, if not disturbed, at the strange deference the Enemy shows the inquisitor. The inquisitor himself may be plagued with doubt at the behavior of his enemies. System: Any supernatural enemy of the inquisitor’s feels a strange attraction, an inexplicable sense of kinship, to the one burdened by this Curse. The monster will not use lethal force against the inquisitor unless absolutely forced to do so (or in frenzy). This doesn’t necessarily always work in the inquisitor’s favor. Some fiends may be more inclined to try to make the inquisitor one of their own; others may kill the inquisitor’s entire chapter and family in order to free the inquisitor from his unnecessary mortal bonds. These behaviors have a curious way of drawing attention to themselves. The difficulty to spot them with a Perception + Alertness roll is only 5. Supernatural creatures themselves have no idea why they’re acting as they are; they know only that they sense something familiar about the inquisitor and find him a kindred soul whom they would rather not harm. This does not mean that the creature will trust the inquisitor with its life (or unlife) or that it will undertake suicidal actions on his behalf; the creature simply sees the inquisitor as a potential friend or ally. Servants of the Devil do not always treat their friends and allies well.

Stigmata (Red Order) None of the Curses falling on members of the Inquisition is pleasant, but the Red Order, more than any other, is both envied and pitied for the obvious physical and spiritual nature of their Curses.

Curse of Salt (Acolyte) Everything the inquisitor touches takes on an overpowering taste of salt. Any food he touches, whether with his hands or just his teeth and tongue is, consequently, nearly inedible. Even water tastes like brine (though it’s perfectly drinkable and causes


the inquisitor no ill effects). In a very short time the afflicted inquisitor is forced to choke down anything he eats. Soon the inquisitor becomes weak with hunger. The Red Brother is usually able to eat enough to keep his strength up, but in many cases, it’s a near thing. System: A character suffering from this Curse cannot stand food. The player makes a Willpower roll against a difficulty of 8 any time the character eats. When the character has gone two days without eating, she suffers from a hunger-induced weakness, causing a +1 difficulty modifier to all Strengthrelated rolls. Once the character has gone for four or more days without eating, hunger takes over and forces her to eat, but so long as this Curse is in effect, the character derives no satisfaction whatsoever from eating, however good the food. (See also the rules for hunger in Dark Ages: Inquisitor, page 164)

Burden of the Cross (Acolyte) Unlike most Curses suffered by the Red Order, this one has no physical manifestation on the inquisitor’s flesh (although some inquisitors do wind up with mysterious calluses on their shoulders or across their back). That’s little consolation to those inquisitors who suffer from this affliction. Upon gaining this Curse, the Red Brother feels as though he’s dragging a heavy weight — widely assumed to be the weight of the

Savior’s cross — wherever he goes. He’s not actually dragging anything, of course, but the burden weighs upon him all the same. This Curse affects the character only when he’s on foot and moving; if he’s swimming, on horseback or sleeping, the burden is lifted — until the character once more sets foot on solid ground. System: The character feels the burden of the cross any time he is running or walking. It restricts him to three-quarters of his maximum walking speed and lowers his effective Stamina by two for purposes of endurance only (he retains his full soak pool). Furthermore, to reflect the slow reaction speed caused by his burden, the inquisitor suffers an initiative penalty of 2.

Stench of Lazarus (Advocate) The Gospel of Luke says that Lazarus rotted in his tomb for four long, warm days — filling the cave with the stench of decay — before the Savior raised him from the dead. This Curse afflicts the accursed character with that exact stench of death, causing others to hold their noses (or avoid him altogether) and attracting those wild animals that have an appetite for carrion. System: This Curse has a range of consequences for the character afflicted with it. The most obvious effect is that the character’s Charisma drops to one, as others can’t stand to be in her presence. Further-



more, the stench attracts animals that feed on carrion: flies, crows, wild dogs, pigs and the like (what animals the character attracts, obviously, depends on the region and time of year). A long, thorough bath followed by a generous anointing with strong perfume may hide the stench for a few hours, but it inevitably returns. Those agents of the Adversary with heightened senses (werewolves and vampires in particular) will be able to catch the character’s scent at a distance of one mile (and receive a –3 difficulty to track him) while those with normal human olfactory senses can only smell the character from 30 feet away. While those spending long periods of time with the inquisitor get used to the smell, it is not uncommon for inquisitors of House Murnau to initially respond unfavorably to Red Brothers with this Curse.

Leper’s Visage (Judge) The Savior is known for His miracles, among them the healing of lepers. This Curse is the reverse, or seemingly so, of His Grace. Just as Lot suffered pox, the inquisitor suffering from this Curse gains the appearance of suffering from advanced leprosy. While the character does not actually suffer from leprosy (and thus cannot spread it), the Curse resembles that disease in every other way. Others give him a wide berth and are likely to avoid him altogether. System: The character afflicted with this Curse appears just as if he were suffering from advanced leprosy (though the damage is just cosmetic). This causes his Appearance to drop to zero. The character may be healed of this Curse if he’s willing to deal with those who perform witchcraft (or vampires with the Vicissitude Discipline) but none of the healing abilities available to inquisitors will affect this Curse in any way. If the character is healed, the healing lasts only until the next time the character becomes Callous. At the Storyteller’s discretion, the “leprosy” may come back immediately, but at a rate similar to that of the actual disease, slowly creeping onto the character’s soft skin: stomach, face, genitals, ears and so forth.

Interdictions The Blessings of the Knights of Acre are some of the most obvious and practical known to the Inquisition. The Curses of obligation that affect the Knights are obvious and burdensome in equal measure.

True Poverty (Acolyte) Vows of poverty are not to be taken lightly. The character afflicted by this Curse, however, is unable to refrain from giving away all that he owns (with the exception of the most basic clothing on his back). He


will give away a coat in the winter, food when he’s already nearly starving, weapons before he’s about to enter battle and the like. The compulsion to do so seems noble and good to the knight suffering from this Curse, and holding on to even the most necessary items (money, weapons) seems to the knight like the most vile greed. While knights traveling with other inquisitors or close friends may have ways around the consequences of this Curse, a Knight of Acre struck with this Curse while alone is hard pressed to keep himself from giving away so much that he endangers himself. System: Any time the character possesses more than shirt, breeches and shoes (enough to be decently attired), his player must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) once per scene to see if he can keep from giving whatever “excess wealth” he owns to the first person who looks like he might need it. If no other person needs the knight’s goods more, he might leave them in a church or actively go on a quest to find someone seemingly more deserving than he. If the character fails his Willpower roll but really does not want to give away a particular possession (e.g., a powerful holy relic) he may spend a Willpower point to prevent himself from doing so.

Cain’s Blight (Acolyte) As the Inquisition’s weapon-hand, the Knights of Acre see more than their share of violence and bloodshed. Those knights who are struck with this Curse, unfortunately, are never able to rid themselves of the sense that they are covered in the blood of those they have slain. Even those who have only killed the most loathsome enemies of God still find themselves pondering whether the fiend they killed might have been turned to the path of the Lord in some way had they been spared. Those knights who really have killed unnecessarily are hit hardest by this Curse and have a difficult time recovering. When the character feels soaked in blood in this way, the only thing she’ll be able to think about is washing the blood off. A character who has killed only servants of the Fallen One is likely to feel only the need to wash his hands, while an inquisitor who has killed more than necessary may not only feel sticky and covered in blood, but he may feel that the blood of his victims continues to run down his body. System: Once per scene (generally after combat, but as determined by the Storyteller), the player of a character suffering from this Curse must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7). Failure indicates that the character feels tainted by the blood of those he has killed and must stop what she is doing and wash the blood away, or suffer a +1 difficulty penalty on all rolls until he has done so.


Forsaken (Advocate) The Knights of Acre are famed for their vast accumulation of relics and holy artifacts. Some of the Knights, particularly those who have been serving the Inquisition the longest, may even be accustomed to bearing such items into battle as a sign of the Lord’s favor. Knights who develop this Curse, however, need the sign of God’s favor. If they do not have a relic or at least a holy artifact, the Knight is hesitant, possibly even scared, to go into battle. The Knight feels certain that the Lord has withheld his favor, an almost certain indication that he will be slain in his next confrontation. Knights so afflicted are likely to evince some most un-knightly behaviors if confronted with violence: some may run away, some may begin crying, and those who find the strength to join the fray are likely to find themselves trembling like children. System: A knight who falls prey to this Curse must have some sacred item in his possession before he feels comfortable entering battle. If he does not have such an item, his Courage is treated as though it were 0 until he gets such an item. A Knight of Acre with a Courage rating of 0 is a sad sight indeed: he avoids battle by any means necessary, regardless of the toll it takes on others’ respect for him. Should circumstances force him to fight, all dice pools pertaining to combat lose two dice due to the knight’s violent fearful trembling.

Angel of Wrath (Judge) The tasks of Heaven can weight upon a Knight’s soul so heavily that he loses all ability to discern true blasphemy from innocent turns of phrase or other conversational faux pas. The Knight’s sense of propriety develops (or his sense of humor degrades) to such an extent that he cannot let pass even the merest slight to his God, his faith, his church or his calling without entering into physical combat. The Knight becomes so sensitive that even common utterances that might be seen as disrespectful are interpreted as high offense and responded to with swift and violent rebuke. The identity of the offending speaker determines the Knight’s exact response: while he might pull his sword on another knight and challenge him to combat for his temerity and disrespect, he can simply make due with slapping an old woman or a child who offends his sensibilities (all the while making it clear that he will not stand to hear such blasphemy in his presence). System: Any time another individual says or does anything that could even vaguely be considered to be taking the Lord’s name in vain, or bears even the faintest odor of blasphemy, the player must roll

the character’s Willpower (difficulty 8) to keep from falling prey to the righteous anger that wells up uncontrollably inside him.

Visitations It is not always a blessing to see visions, as the Sisters of St. John have learned. The Curses affecting the Sisters are not terribly dissimilar from the holy sight they benefit from, and many Sisters have given up trying to distinguish between the two.

Stray Vision (Acolyte) The visions received by the sisters of St. John are often — if not necessarily always — helpful or at least enlightening to the inquisitor receiving them. At times, however, the visions received are entirely unrelated to anything playing any part in the sister’s life. While they may be accurate, they are completely random and are unlikely to contribute anything to the sister’s effectiveness in the Inquisition. As usual with the visions of the Sisters of St. John, the visions received are of the darker variety: premonitions of murders about to happen on another continents, shadowy silhouettes of heinous acts that the inquisitor has absolutely no ability to prevent or affect, and other sights likely to impact the sister’s peace of mind. System: Once a day at the Storyteller’s discretion, the inquisitor’s player makes a Willpower roll, difficulty 8. Failure indicates that the sister falls into a prophetic trance for (12 – Willpower) turns, wherein she sees the darkest events going on outside of her sphere of influence. It might be something taking place a hundred miles away or on the other side of the world, but the visions are always grim and take their toll on the viewer.

Possessed Tongue (Acolyte) The tongue of the Sister of St. John with this Curse is sometimes not her own. For a few brief breaths, no more than a handful of sentences, some other voice — possibly angelic, possibly demonic, possibly that of a ghost or other invading spirit — controls her tongue and speaks through her. There’s no doubting when this happens as the sister’s voice becomes wholly not her own. She may speak in languages unknown to the sister herself (although in such cases she won’t understand her own utterances if they are related back to her later). Frequently, the content of the words spoken by the sister’s possessed tongue takes on a vaguely prophetic tone (“The shadows are moving to the south, and not even the cross is immune”) though that need not be the case; it’s equally possible that the utterances are deliberately obscure or simply blasphemous. Regardless of



the content, the Sister does not remember anything she says while her tongue is possessed, although if her words are related back to her, she may well find that she has insights into the invading presence’s meaning that others do not have. System: Once per day, generally in calm moments when the chapter isn’t pressed, the sister’s player makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 8). If she fails, she loses control of her tongue and the invading force, whatever the Storyteller determines it to be, is free to speak up to five full sentences.

Slave to Visions (Advocate) The Sisters of St. John are known for their visions, but more often than not, they simply have to suffer through them silently. For those Sisters afflicted with this Curse, simply seeing the visions isn’t enough. They feel the need to make the visions clear to those around them through drawing, painting, sculpture or the like. When the Curse hits, the Sister is overcome by an overpowering need to make her visions manifest to others. Until she has done so, she is completely distracted and cannot function well. In fact, the more time that passes, the less the Sister is capable of doing anything else but striving to portray her visions to others. System: The Sister must recreate the image in some physical medium: chalk on a wall, ink on vellum, paint on leather or even sculpted in mud or other substance. While a full recreation of her vision is likely to take hours to get right, a sister in a hurry can generally make a passable work in (10 – Crafts/Performance) turns. The need to externalize her visions grows gradually stronger. The first three turns after the urge hits, the sister suffers a +1 penalty to the difficulty of all rolls not pertaining to her showing others her vision. The following three turns her difficulty penalty is at +2. After that, the sister is so powerfully compelled to let her vision out that she is nearly incapable of doing anything else, and her difficulty penalty goes up to +3.

A Plague of Angels (Judge) Sounds and sometimes visions of strange birds and angels constantly haunt the Sister who has acquired this Curse. The angels she sees are not the typical white-winged Messengers approved of by the Church, but strange angels with an odd look to them: some may be bald, others have no eyes, others may bear some resemblance to animals (which is very Biblical, at least for the greater angels like the seraphim). Neither the birds nor the angels speak to the Sister, but they land in trees and watch her, they rustle their wings when she’s trying to listen to other matters, and they may shriek from time to time or swoop into her path when she’s trying to focus, run or perform some difficult task.


Different Sisters have developed different theories about what these angels are. Some claim they’re the angels of limbo; others claim they’re fallen angels. Still others claim that they’re simply demons or even witches bedeviling inquisitors. Whatever the origin, the plague of angels makes it incredibly difficult for the sister to focus. From the perspective of those around her, the sister is simply distracted or acting bizarrely. Only those who know the unfortunate tendency of the Sisters of St. John to have visions are likely to give the poor sister the benefit of the doubt and not automatically assume she’s mad. System: The choirs of angels, the shrieking of birds and the rustling of wings attend the sister at all times, reminding her simultaneously of Heaven and Hell. All Perception rolls are made at +2 difficulty, and the character suffers an initiative penalty of –3. Furthermore, at the Storyteller’s discretion, some larger, more disconcerting manifestation may sometimes occur; these are more likely to occur in moments of stress or conflict.

Merits and Flaws The following Merits and Flaws are additions to the lists in Dark Ages: Inquisitor (pp. 166-169) and Dark Ages: Vampire (pp. 302-310). Merits and Flaws are entirely optional and simply give you ways of adding depth to your characters. A Storyteller who feels that Merits and Flaws impair game play is free to disallow them any or all of them in her game.

Physical Tough as Nails (3-pt. Merit) You come from hardy, thick-skinned stock, or perhaps God has favored you. You shrug off damage easier than most. All soak rolls are made at –1 to the difficulty.

Low Pain Threshold (2-pt. Flaw) While you may have been generously blessed in many ways, that is not the case when it comes to dealing with physical discomfort. Your pain threshold is extremely low. What others consider a minor pain debilitates you. Although you soak damage normally, you suffer an additional –1 die pool penalty whenever you’re injured (and a –1 penalty even at the Bruised level).

Mental Talented Liar (2-pt. Merit) Others may give themselves away when they lie. A stammer, a glance at the ground, a quaver in the voice — they all suggest deceit to the would-be dupe. Not you. You can tell even brazen lies and make them sound


entirely truthful. Even old priests have a hard time discerning when you’re lying. If you’re crafty, you may even be able to figure out ways around the Endowments of your fellow inquisitors (not that you’d ever need to). All rolls to discern whether or not you’re lying are at +2 difficulty. In the case of a really obvious lie, the difficulty is increased by only 1.

David’s Aim (3-pt. Merit) Your aim is blessed, like David’s when he let loose his sling stone against Goliath. Your perception of distance and understanding of other relevant factors give you a clear advantage on all ranged attacks. Double all benefits from aiming (see p. 246 of Dark Ages: Vampire).

Gullible (2-pt. Flaw) You’re not necessarily stupid, but you are definitely far too trusting for the world you live in. You expect others to live according to Scripture just as you do, and that often makes you a dupe. Even obvious lies sound plausible to you. Increase by two the difficulty of all rolls to detect lies or chicanery of any sort.

Insomniac (2-pt. Flaw) Getting to sleep is hard when you know the sorts of creatures that are roaming the night, doing the Devil’s work. Staying asleep is harder. You toss and turn and can’t sleep at night. Roll Willpower (difficulty 7) every night before your character goes to sleep. If the roll fails, you do not sleep; all Perception difficulties increase by 2 the next day. Blessings that keep the character from sleeping only make this Flaw worse.

Supernaturally Ignorant (3-pt. Flaw) Your brief taste of inquisitorial life has made you pretty savvy when it comes to the supernatural — or so you think. Most of what you think you know is egregiously wrong. When you find out, for example, that silver weapons don’t in fact kill vampires, or that saints’ medals don’t protect you from the spells of witches (assuming you survive the experience), you’re likely to assume that it was something unique to that particular vampire (or witch), not that your “knowledge” was wrong. The player must somehow rid himself of this Flaw (perhaps by buying Knowledges such as Occult or Hearth Wisdom, or studying under an inquisitor with a high Exposure Background rating) before he can gain any Endowments above the Acolyte level.

Social Orthodox (1-pt. Merit) While others adopt Catholicism with one or two tiny private changes that make them feel better



about the religion (and might make them heretics in the process), you accept Catholicism entirely on its own grounds. You are a complete and utter true believer, happily ignoring any evidence that might give you second thoughts about the Church’s theology or its earthly hierarchy. The Powers That Be like you because you accept as God’s own truth whatever they tell you. It’s easy to get along when you accept everything you’re told. All Social rolls pertaining to representatives of the Church are made at –2 difficulty, so long as you do as you’re told and wholly embrace the Catholic Church’s stance on everything.

Arrogant (1-pt. Flaw) Whether or not you actually think you’re better than others, those around you consistently feel that you have a “holier than thou” attitude. You may phrase things sarcastically too often, or you may really believe that you are holier than most of those you interact with. In any case, you suffer a +1 difficulty modifier on all Social rolls made to sway others of equal or lower social stature. This Flaw only affects the character’s friends and allies, and has no impact on his dealings with the Enemy.

Criminal Past (1-pt. Flaw) While you are currently an honest and highly devout individual, that has not always been the case. At some point in the past, you were a known and violent criminal and may have been a hunted man for your criminal activities. All Social rolls with those who know your criminal history are made at +2 difficulty. Certain self-righteous clergy, in particular, will especially eager to bring you to justice should they learn of your past. Those who know you are unlikely to ever give you the benefit of the doubt unless you have truly proven yourself reformed.

Malicious Zealot (2-pt. Flaw) God-fearing Christians have nothing to fear from you, but you take great delight in causing pain and suffering to those who do not follow God. Heretics, witches and those following any faith but strict Catholicism are open targets for you. Anytime you have an opportunity to make a heathen suffer in any way, you’re inclined to take it. Make a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) when the character is in a position to cause pain or suffering to a non-believer; if even one success is rolled, the character masters her sadistic streak. Otherwise, she takes the opportunity to torment the victim as sadistically as possible. If the character is Callous, the difficulty of the roll goes up to 8.

Convert (3-pt. Flaw) Although you are Catholic (and quite devout at that), you were originally brought up in another faith.


Your past as a Jew (or even a Saracen) is unmistakable and comes back to haunt you from time to time. You suffer a +1 difficulty modifier to Social rolls when dealing with other inquisitors who do not know you. When dealing with inquisitors in the grips of Callousness, you suffer a +2 difficulty modifier. Their prejudice is likely to be expressed in surprisingly direct and petty ways.

Supernatural Bitter Blood (1-pt. Merit) The Lord has made your blood bitter to the foul tongues of the undead. One taste of your blood and a vampire will never feed from you again. There’s nothing preventing a vampire from bleeding you just for the fun of it, of course, but you’re the last vessel from which a nightwalker would willingly choose to drink. A vampire taking even one blood point from you must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 9) to continue doing so, even if starving. A vampire in hunger frenzy, however, will drain you drain without batting an eyebrow.

Callous-Sensitive (1-pt. Merit) You know well that inquisitors aren’t always the paragons of piety that others expect them to be. Furthermore, when other inquisitors have become Callous, you can sense it. Roll Perception + Empathy (difficulty 6) any time the character is in the presence of a Callous cohort. Even one success reveals who it is who has fallen to Callousness. At the Storyteller’s discretion, more successes may reveal other information, including the duration of this period of Callousness, just how Callous he is (i.e., how much higher his Conviction is than his Piety), his Impulse and similar details.

Grace (2-pt. Merit) Not only do you take great pride in doing God’s work, but you also have the compassion and humanity to avoid the hazards associated with such high levels of Conviction. Your Conviction can be up to two points higher than your Piety before you show the signs of Callousness. An inquisitor with this Merit cannot become Callous if her Piety is 8 or higher.

Order Prodigy (3-pt. Merit) You are perfectly attuned to the wisdom and tenets of your order, so much so that your almost intuitive grasp of your order’s Endowments prevents you from suffering Curses when learning them. Even under difficult or rushed circumstances, you do not acquire Curses from learning your own order’s Endowments. Learning the Endowments of other orders, however, still puts you at risk. Murnau and Red Order characters cannot take this Merit.


Saint’s Conscience (3-pt. Merit)

expend a permanent Willpower point to prevent the loss of the group’s accumulated successes.

Like all Christians struggling with life, you can make mistakes. On occasion, however, in times of great moral ambiguity, you can pray to God for guidance — and receive it. Once per game session when the character is in a morally confusing situation, he can pray and get a clear answer directing him to one course of action that is the most moral (and has the fewest consequences). Characters may use this Merit to keep themselves from acting in ways that would lead to Callousness or other similarly negative outcomes. The Storyteller determines which path the character is better off taking and guides him in that direction.

You are blessed, and it’s unmistakable. You have a halo — not a traditional halo of light so much as a divine aura, actually, but it serves you well. Characters with this Merit radiate a sense of divine serenity. While it’s possible to take aggressive action against such characters, those agents of the Devil who would do so must spend one Willpower point each time (i.e., a vampire who insisted on hitting the Haloed character three turns in a row would need to spend three points of Willpower in order to do so).

Vampiric Recognition (3-pt. Merit)

Devil’s Puppet (3-pt. Flaw)

You are well prepared to carry out your inquisitorial tasks. You can spot a vampire at ten paces. There’s something about them that you’ve learned to recognize — something to which others seem oblivious. Maybe it’s a slight metallic odor, or a learned tendency to look at a person’s neck to see if there’s a pulse. Whatever the case, you can tell a vampire from a mortal with a Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 7). The Blush of Health Merit or other mitigating factors might raise this difficulty, at the Storyteller’s discretion.

Divinely Favored (4-pt. Merit) You are the beneficiary of an extraordinary degree of divine grace. While others seem to suffer Curses as some form of atonement or punishment for their access to divine power, you seem to bear that burden lightly, only rarely gaining the Curses that befall other inquisitors. In addition to whatever other modifiers may come into play, all rolls related to acquiring new Curses (see Dark Ages: Inquisitor, p. 202) are subject to a –2 modifier.

Halo (5-pt. Merit)

Demons and other possessing spirits find your body unusually easy to take over and use as their own. Any sort of possessing entity, whether it be demons, vampires, warlocks or some other creature, has a far easier time taking over your body than another nearby victim. Creatures possessing you do so with a –2 difficulty modifier.

Curse Prone (4-pt. Flaw) Some inquisitors are fated to wield great divine power with relatively little burden in their struggles against the Enemy. Others, like you, may gain the advantage of divine power, but it almost always comes with a heavy price. In addition to whatever other modifiers may come into play, all rolls related to acquiring new Curses (see Dark Ages: Inquisitor, page 202) are subject to a +2 modifier.

Unlucky (4-pt. Flaw)

Your body is so filled with the Holy Spirit that invading spirits cannot worm their way in. You cannot be possessed by demons, ghosts, vampires, witches or any other creature. This Merit only protects from Dominate 5 (Vessel); all other applications of the Dominate Discipline work normally.

Given how dedicated you are to doing the work of God — and the fact that you know He’s watching over you — it’s surprising how rarely things go your way. Every time an opportunity comes along that might let you shine, something comes along to ruin it. Once per game session, the Storyteller should increase the difficult of a critical roll you make by two. If you fail the roll, it’s due to some random element of bad luck (your knee buckling just as you draw your sword, for example).

Gifted Exorcist (5-pt. Merit)

Spiritual Cripple (5-pt. Flaw)

Inviolate (4-pt. Merit)

You have a talent for forcing demons and other possessing spirits out of physical bodies that do not belong to them. You are probably well known and highly sought after for your abilities in this context. The difficulty of all exorcism rolls (see the Holy Rite of Exorcism in Dark Ages: Inquisitor, p. 195) decreases by three. Furthermore, if conducting the exorcism in conjunction with other inquisitors and one of them botches, you may take the burden upon yourself and

Despite your great Conviction and devotion to God and the Church, you are still challenged to gain a higher understanding of a particular Superior Virtue. One of the three Superior Virtues — pick which one at character creation — is completely beyond your understanding. You may be too lazy to develop Zeal, too headstrong to develop Wisdom or too jaded to develop Faith, but regardless of the cause, you cannot acquire that Superior Virtue.



Chapter Four: Soldiers of God, Servants of Hell Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree. — Ethiopian proverb

The Lord moves in mysterious ways. Unfortunately, so do the enemies of the Lord. Those who would stand against the forces of the Enemy must be prepared to face foes wily as well as brutal, subtle as well as bloodthirsty.

Development of the Inquisitorial Cell It is no simple task to take on: the mission of defending the soul of mankind from the depredations of foul and inhuman enemies. Fortunately, those courageous individuals who accept that mission need not fight alone.

Training Cells In most cases, the first cell an inquisitor belongs to consists entirely of other members of her own order. The three clerical orders of the shadow Inquisition — the Poor Knights, the Red Order, and the Sisters of St. John — all prefer to train their newest inquisitorial recruits in the relatively disciplined environment of their own monasteries and abbeys. These originating cells are usually single-gender (Red Brothers and Red Sisters are not permitted to fraternize with each other at this stage and are also divided into single-gender cells). They are relatively small, generally numbering about four members total, with a senior inquisitor overseeing the cell as teacher and advocate. At this point, the cell receives its basic instruction in the methods of recognizing and accurately diagnosing the many different forms of supernatural contagion afflicting the body of Christendom. In many cases, this training period is extremely psychologically jarring to the young inquisitor, who has to come to accept the depth of danger that humanity and the Church faces on more than just an intellectual basis. Often, young inquisitors are exposed to enemy captives in tightly controlled circumstances, permitted to examine the physical signs of supernatural affliction, and, in some instances, to speak to



ot every training cell survives the initial training process and exposure intact, nor every young inquisitor. Individual inquisitors and individual cells, no matter how promising, sometimes fail the initial tests of faith and sense they’re put to before they even reach the field. In such cases, the cell is disbanded and the individuals that comprised it are separately evaluated by their superior and the local Council of Faith. Those young inquisitors that are judged to have passed the initial training are assigned to a new cell to begin their field training. Those inquisitors that are judged to have failed are sent back to enclosure to consider why they failed. Since the Inquisition is a young organization and loath to waste any resource, no matter how potentially flawed, such individuals are often given the opportunity to mend their errors and try again in another cell. If the individual consistently fails, however, they are assigned to a permanent support position within their monastery or abbey, and are never permitted to risk their own lives or those of others in the field.


these horrifying wretches. If the cell passes through this initial training stage with all its members intact, it moves on to the next stage of controlled field training. From there, it goes to its first supervised mission, generally a minor investigation. Newly recruited von Murnau inquisitors receive much the same training in recognition and diagnosis, bolstering their instinctive detection capabilities. They are rarely divided into cells in order to obtain this instruction. Rather, individual von Murnau recruits are taken under the wing of older and more experienced members of the family, often the same “godparent” who teaches them how to control their manifestation of the von Murnau curse to begin with. Teaching a young von Murnau the ropes is often a less arduous task than instructing other new inquisitors, simply because the von Murnau have fewer issues of personal denial to overcome; they are, after all, aware of the existence of the supernatural from the time of their Curse’s manifestation. They usually have less difficulty comprehending precisely how bad the situation really is. Once this training period is complete, von Murnau inquisitors are assigned to their cells by the official liaison, Otto von Murnau, who spends much of his time handling the requests of the clerical orders for his family’s assistance and placing his relatives according to their degree of personal skill and sensitivity. Von Murnau inquisitors are often placed with a just-formed same sex/ same order clerical cell in order to further train with them and to allow bonds of fellowship to develop among those who must trust one another with their lives. Stationary Oculi Dei cells form when the most senior Eye in the area begins recruiting from among the likely prospects, calling the cell together for the first time to learn the recognition codes and communication points that the cell’s members use. The most senior Eye also gives the Eyes under his command what training they receive in the methods of recognizing supernatural creatures, their haunts, and their hunting habits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Oculi Dei tend to have the highest degree of pre-existing recognition and experience with supernatural forces after the von Murnau; their cells tend to require proportionally less training in this regard than the clerical orders, who often possess superior theoretical knowledge to start but less direct experience. Otherwise, stationary Oculi Dei are the most secretive of all the cells, often single order but of both genders from the onset; in many cases, they are actively discouraged from trusting each other or even their fellow inquisitors, taught to regard everyone


they meet with a jaundiced eye. Itinerant Oculi Dei are often assigned to mobile inquisitor cells traveling into areas with which they are personally familiar. They stay with those cells until the mission is complete. Once inquisitors have proven themselves capable within a single order cell, those training cells are often folded together with members of the other orders, lay and clerical, though they remain single gender at the beginning. Once the cell’s ability to function as a unit is established, the single gender cells are often introduced to a brother or sister cell, whose members are thereafter both required and encouraged to work together, occasionally to the extent that the two smaller cells become one large multi-order, dual-gender cell. This is a point where natural friction tends to develop and resolve itself according to the personalities involved. Cells that


reach this stage are usually only disbanded if the conflicts within them are completely irreconcilable; even then, the same-gender cells are usually left intact, merely separated from immediate contact with their sibling cell. Leadership within a cell is often a complicated matter, simply because of the political and interpersonal issues involved. In single order cells, particularly the clerical cells, the issue of leadership is fairly straightforward — the most senior Poor Knight, Red Brother or Sister, or Holy Sister is the official leader and represents the cell to their superior within the abbey and to the local Council of Faith. The leader that results from this expediency may be weak or may yield practical leadership to another in the field, but the proprieties of clerical rank are at least honored if not always observed.


ome inquisitors rise and fall more quickly than others. The reasons for this are as widely varied as the inquisitors themselves. Some inquisitors are immensely politically capable, working the ranks with skill and ambition and climbing the ladder of authority quickly. Such individuals rarely stay at the level of the field for long, remaining with their cell only long enough to claw out a place on a Council of Faith — or as an assistant to a member of the Council of Faith. Piety is rarely much of an issue with such individuals, as it isn’t faith that motivates them or even service per se, but the construction and maintenance of the inquisition itself. Once in a position of power, these individuals rarely, if ever, lose that position since they rarely do anything that could cost them personally. They also tend to stagnate in their personal spiritual development even as their political power increases. Some inquisitors make a great show of despising temporal power within the structure of the inquisition, concentrating solely on their relationship with God and the struggle against the Enemy. Such individuals run an entirely different set of risks. Yes, the strength of their communion with the divine armors them in holy light, but those blessings also tend to alienate them from their fellow inquisitors and from their own humanity, as well. Extraordinarily driven inquisitors rapidly grow callous and unfeeling, intolerant of human foibles and weaknesses, cold in heart if righteous of soul. This failing can cost

lives — the lives of fellow inquisitors judged insufficiently pious, the lives of innocents judged not innocent enough, the lives and souls of those that could be saved, but who aren’t thanks to uncompassionate judgments. Many of these inquisitors are actually officially disciplined; the vast majority of them burn out, breaking their own minds before they lose their faith, forced from active duty by their own orders and the Councils of Faith. At the opposite extreme are those inquisitors whose faith in God increases at the expense of their faith in the good works of the Inquisition itself. Compassion for the sick and suffering is one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity, and often the trait in shortest supply among the agents of the shadow Inquisition. Those inquisitors who find pity and Christian mercy in their hearts for the wretched servants of the Enemy and, in some cases, for the Enemy itself, often find their taste for the hunt itself dying as their faith in a truly merciful God increases. Some of these inquisitors voluntarily withdraw from active duty in the field, preferring to retreat into the enclosure of their communities to contemplate God more fully and sustain the efforts of their fellows from a support position. Others remain in the field, acting as the conscience of the inquisition while in the heat of the struggle, reminding their colleagues that were Lucifer himself to crave forgiveness of his sins, God would grant it. Final judgment lies in the hands of the Most High, not the flawed hands of men.



In a mixed cell, the issue becomes more complex. In such cases, the most senior inquisitor involved in the cell might not be a cleric at all. Friction of varying degrees of severity can easily result, but the successful resolution of such personality conflicts can actually strengthen a cell in the end. Leadership does not always come to rest in the hands of the most pious member of the cell, nor into the most senior of the cell’s clerical members, nor the noble-born von Murnau; instead, it typically comes to the most capable resource manager, or preferably the man (or woman) most endowed with common sense or care for his fellows.

Evolving and Devolving Cells Cells often evolve in capabilities and support by the quality of their own actions. Successful encounters with the Enemy, a high rate of discovery, experience and survival: all attract positive attention from the Councils of Faith and monastic superiors. Successful inquisitorial cells are rarely promoted entirely out of the field, but they often become “teaching cells” when they have returned to their chapter-houses or safe-houses, taking in younger and less experienced inquisitors to train up as the leaders of new cells. Similarly, the Councils of Faith are loath to disband successful cells, even if individual members of those cells might be needed (or requested) elsewhere. In rare cases, a particular member of a successful cell might be temporarily “detached” and sent on a separate mission while the cell is enclosed in a teaching capacity, but that individual is usually reunited with her original cell before it returns to the field. It is the current tendency of the shadow Inquisition to allow successful cells to persist in their field duties as long as possible before pulling them from active duty to teach. Cells can just as easily devolve if the personalities involved are constantly at loggerheads, or if they consistently fail to achieve measurable results in the fight against the Enemy. Such cells are rarely permitted to persist in mediocrity for long, and are often disbanded by the local Council of Faith. The members are either remanded back to their orders for additional training, or reassigned to other cells in the hope that they will learn and correct their behavior in more congenial company. Cells can also devolve when leadership issues cannot be resolved constructively, or if leadership is imposed on a strong pre-existing cell in an arbitrary (or politically motivated) manner. The Inquisition, like every other aspect of the Church, can become a


revolting mess of politics and backbiting when some sitting member of the Council of Faith wants his favorite nephew assigned to a prestigious cell with the intent of placing him in command, or if a newly minted von Murnau can’t stomach taking orders from an Oculi Dei who outstrips him in experience but not social rank. If a leadership issue has arisen due to the imposition of a member unsuited to the cell’s original structure, the cell has some recourse. They may apply to the local Council of Faith for redress of the problem, citing any difficulties that might arise from the new leadership as reason for his or her removal from that position. Interpersonal difficulties are often given somewhat more time to resolve themselves before the local Council of Faith is forced to take action. Those Councils will not, however, hesitate to disband a cell and reassign its members if they consistently fail to place their mission above their petty personal squabbles.

Outside the Orders Not everyone who heeds the call of God to defend His children from the creatures of the Enemy has the advantage of living within the aid and comfort of the inquisitorial orders. The men and women of the Poor Knights, the Order of St. Theodosius, the Holy Sisters of St. John, and the Oculi Dei are beloved of God and protected and nurtured by the holy gifts of the divine. The hunters of the House of Murnau, despite the terrible affliction of their curse, have not permitted their burden to turn them away from the love of God, nor to deny His blessings. They are not alone. Even within the five orders of the inquisition, many do not — and, in all likelihood, will never — experience the direct touch of God. Four of every five Sisters of St. John have never felt the Holy Sight grip them in waves of sudden, terrible knowledge. More than half of the Poor Knights and the Red Brethren have never experienced the rush of divine strength and speed on the field of battle, have never called down God’s holy fire to smite the creatures of the Enemy. Some lines of the von Murnau family have entirely escaped the scourge of the curse, but still feel the need to serve. It takes vast courage to face the creatures of the dark armed only with human strength, human wit, and human skill. The five orders of the inquisition are not alone in their exposure to and experience with the unnatural things stalking the cities and country roads of Christendom by day and night.


Countless individual men and woman of the cloth, men and women of humble means or the highest birth, have witnessed things that have sent them to their confessors in fear and galvanized their need to act in defense of themselves, those they love, and their people as a whole. Such individuals are quietly sought after by the members of the shadow Inquisition and aggressively recruited wherever they are discovered. The shadow Inquisition needs the passion and courage of such individuals: their knowledge, experience, and basic humanity diversify its ranks and remind it of why it exists at all. Obtaining membership in the shadow Inquisition for one not already enclosed within one of the


established orders follows much the same pattern as a recruit of the Oculi Dei. They must attract the attention of a member of the shadow Inquisition or a cell of its operatives in some way, usually by possessing beliefs or fears that set them apart from the ordinary run of superstitious humanity, or display some sort of experience or knowledge as a result of contact with the supernatural. An investigation follows, in which the Inquisition ascertains that this familiarity does not derive from a close association with unclean forces or supernatural associations of an ungodly nature. Only after this fact is ascertained is the future inquisitor approached, either by the cell that discovered them or by a designated agent of the


he shadow Inquisition has a marked pref erence for recruiting agents from among the secular and monastic clergy, though they will not turn away anyone who displays a genuine desire to serve God in the war against the Enemy. This includes some of the former servants of the Enemy, human minions twisted by supernatural forces but returned to sanity and grace by the efforts of the Inquisition itself. The Hospital of St. Dymphna, jointly operated by a cell of Red Sisters and Sisters of St. John, has produced a number of such recruits, recovered victims of the supernatural who have replaced the lust they felt for their captors and masters with an equally heated desire to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Lord. Such individuals are accepted somewhat warily by most cells and watched closely for recidivistic behavior when they come into contact again with the supernatural; if they display it, they are often put down without further mercy. The secular clergy are also heartily sought after, due primarily to the fact that they live “in the world” and are often witness to events that their monastic counterparts are not. Moreover, after the inquisitorial monastic orders, the secular clerical inquisitors are the most consistently literate and well-educated segment of the shadow Inquisition. This body of individuals contains prelates of all levels of sanctity, from bishops to parish priests, ordained canons to lay brothers and sisters, clerks in minor orders studying at the secular universities to beguines seeking charity for the poor.

The shadow Inquisition has also achieved some penetration into each of the largest monastic foundations of the era. It has enjoyed the largest degree of success recruiting among the Benedictine monks and nuns, whose militancy in the service of the shadow Inquisition is almost frightening to behold, but also enjoys the advantages that the Cluniacs, Cistercians, Augustinians, and numerous other monastic foundations bring to the cause. It has fared somewhat less well when it comes to recruiting among the newly formed Mendicant Orders. Only a handful of Franciscans have come to the service of the Inquisition and even fewer Dominicans — a serious blow that they would dearly like to rectify. The Dominicans as an order are immensely attractive to the shadow Inquisition, simply because they are already doing much of the same work. The Dominicans, along with support from the Benedictine Order, are actively engaged in the inquisitorial effort against heretics in the Languedoc, pulling out heresy and destroying it, root and branch. To do so, the Dominicans have made themselves one of the most profoundly well-educated intellectual orders in Christendom. That intellectual power is sorely needed in the shadow Inquisition, where the line between heretical belief and supernatural compulsion is sometimes heavily blurred. If they could, the shadow Inquisition would recruit the Dominican Order wholesale. Caution behooves them to move carefully and slowly, however, approaching only those Dominicans whose experiences have led them to suspect that there may be more than simple error and ingrained heresy at work in the Languedoc.



local Council of Faith. They are questioned closely about the origins of their beliefs, the nature of their fears and convictions, and their measure is taken with regards to their personal piety and the orthodoxy of their faith. Once this is done, the cell reports to the Council of Faith. If that Council is pleased by what the inquisitors have uncovered, the prospective recruit is approached and initiated into the shadow Inquisition. The shadow Inquisition actively searches among both secular and monastic religious orders for prospective recruits. It has found individuals at every level of religious life that have fit the needs of the shadow Inquisition. Likewise, it has sought and found those members of the nobility — high and low — whose personal experiences have jarred them from the comfort of their lives and led them back down, or further along, the road of genuine piety, service and protection of their fellow men. Those of humble birth have also found their way into the embrace of the shadow Inquisition and found there those willing to believe and trust in them, who will not discount their experiences nor deride their station. Once recruited fully, such individuals are trained in a slightly different fashion than other inquisitors, depending on the nature of their position. Clerical recruits, both sacred and secular, often have a slightly easier time of the training process simply because the Inquisition has a much readier and more constant means of access to them. The local Council of Faith often quietly pulls strings in order to have an inquisitor tutor inserted into the staff of the cathedral or monastery to which the recruit belongs. Sometimes this tutor is another cleric — a monk, an ordained priest or a clerk in minor orders; sometimes this tutor presents him or herself as a lay brother or sister, a servant, or other support staff for hire. The education of the clerical recruit is conducted more slowly and in a more personalized manner than is common even for the monastic inquisitorial orders. Noble-born recruits often take their tutor into their household as a confessor or chaplain. If their household does not support such an individual, they find their tutor taking up residence as the keeper of a local parish church or as a new member of staff in the local cathedral chapter. This is also true for the vast bulk of commoner recruits, who often spend a good deal more time in confession than they used to. Alternatively, they may claim to be assisting the parish priest in tending the garden, the village green, or the parish flocks.



Among such individuals, secrecy is heavily stressed for the duration of the training period and for a substantial length of time afterwards. The depth of need in the area determines membership in an inquisitorial cell. Such recruits are usually assigned to pre-existing stationary cells rather than becoming the nucleus of a new cell, unless the situation is both extreme and highly dangerous. In such cases, a cell of experienced inquisitors is summoned to the area and the new recruit becomes one of its members, the local specialist on the scene. In the event of the absence of a local Council of Faith, as is often the case in certain areas in Hungary and the rest of the lands in the east, inquisitorial cells have been known to recruit first and crave permission to do so later. Given the Inquisition’s general failure to penetrate the unholy East with anything resembling consistent success, this tendency is strenuously frowned upon by more conservative Councils of Faith and silently applauded by more zealous ones. This is not, however, a standard or widely accepted behavior of the part of inquisitorial cells. Whether or not success results from the effort, it must usually be answered for before a Council of Faith and the new recruit formally assessed afterwards. If the recruit does not meet the standards of the Council of Faith examining him or her, they are often “retired” from active duty in the shadow Inquisition — usually being pressured into entering holy orders within one of the monastic foundations of the shadow Inquisition and kept under strict supervision. The cell that recruited the unsuitable individual is punished, usually by suspension from their duties, followed by a lengthy stint enclosed at the nearest monastery to consider their misdeeds. Whether or not they will be allowed into the field again depends entirely upon the judgment of the local Council of Faith and the needs of the region.

Special Cases Suppose a player wants to create a character who belongs to two orders at once? Some combinations aren’t possible (for instance, no woman would be permitted to be both a Sister of Saint John and a Red Sister, nor a man belong to both the Knights of Acre and the Order of St. Theodosius) but most are. For instance, the opening fiction to this very book features a character who is a Red Sister, but is born of the House of Murnau and exhibits its curse. Likewise, the ever-adaptable Oculi Dei would very likely be willing to take a member of one of the other orders into their ranks. How should this be handled from a Storytelling and game mechanics perspective?

CHARACTER CREATION PROCESS Character creation for an un-empowered Inquisitor follows the same guidelines as standard, with a few minor modifications. • Step One: Character Concept Choose concept, Nature, and Demeanor. The character may be a member of one of the five orders or may simply be a member of the Inquisition, at the player’s option. Un-empowered characters do not have Impulses. • Step Two: Select Attributes Choose primary, secondary, and tertiary Attributes, one point in each Attribute, and spread 6/4/3 points among them. • Step Three: Select Abilities Choose primary, secondary, and tertiary Abilities and distribute 11/7/4 dots among them. No Ability can have more than three dots at this stage. All Inquisitors must possess at least Theology 1; Linguistics 1 (Latin) is recommended, as most official communications are written in this language and many common Inquisitor recognition codes are spoken in it. • Step Four: Select Advantages Distribute 5 dots among Backgrounds, 7 dots among the Basic Virtues. • Step Five: Finishing Touches Starting Conviction is 1. Maximum Conviction is 3. Un-empowered characters cannot become Callous and therefore do not have Piety ratings. Starting Willpower is equal to starting Courage. Spend 21 bonus points. At the discretion of the Storyteller, the character may purchase one Orison for 5 bonus points.

BONUS POINT COSTS • Attributes: 5 bonus points per dot • Abilities: 2 bonus points per dot • Ability Specialties (maximum three per specialty): 1 bonus point each • Backgrounds: 1 bonus point per dot • Virtues: 2 bonus points per dot • Willpower: 1 bonus point per dot



From a Storytelling perspective, dual-order characters aren’t really any problem at all. Inquisitor characters aren’t defined by their orders in anything like the same way that vampires are defined by their clans. As long as the choice of orders makes sense and doesn’t put the character in the position of having to live under conflicting Rules (which is why characters can’t join more than one of the clerical orders), there’s no reason why such characters aren’t permissible. The only game mechanics to be truly affected by a character who belongs to two orders are those involving Blessings. For instance, consider a character who is both Red Order and Oculi Dei: Should the player choose between a Benediction and the order benefit of blackmail material, or between the Holy Art and the order benefit of free Exposure? The answer is, “Any of the above.” Not every member of the Inquisition has Blessings, and not every inquisitor benefits from their orders in the same ways. The choice between a Blessing and an order benefit is in place for players’ characters because, as the protagonists of your chronicle, they are assumed to be “a cut above” the rank and file of the Inquisition. With that in mind, the rules put forth in Dark Ages: Inquisitor do not have to be hard-and-fast indicators of what the characters are capable of (rules for creating un-empowered inquisitors, you probably noticed, have already been presented here). Indeed, you may feel free to stretch the “rules” even further. Suppose you envision playing a Knight of Acre who, far from being a canny warrior, specializes in aiding weary pilgrims and easing their pain after long journeys. You might well feel that the Gift of Second Sight Benediction (p. 177 of Dark Ages: Inquisitor) is more appropriate than any of the Investitures. Likewise, a player of an Oculus who made a study of maleficium as a Dominican monk might feel that the Faith application of the Divine Light Benediction (see p. 102) is more appropriate than the Wisdom-based aspect of that Endowment. In both of these cases, the Storyteller is encouraged to bend the rules to fit the character concepts, rather than bending concepts to fit the rules.

In the Company of Monsters Not every encounter an inquisitor has with the supernatural is necessarily hostile. On some rare occasions, the Soldiers of Christ and the minions of the Enemy may very well find themselves at least allies of convenience, if not comrades in arms. Greater


darkness threatens the lesser creatures of the night, after all, and an inquisitor can make a fine shield or weapon to use against those forces. Similarly, a lesser monster can often be used to lead a canny inquisitor cell to its master. No formal agreements of any type exist between the Inquisition and any soul-devouring Enemy, singular or collective; more often than not, any arrangements that arise are short-lived, tactical, and destined to end badly for one or more of the involved parties.

Vampires The Inquisition has had more regular aggressive contact with the children of Caine than any other supernatural menace abroad in the night. In general, inquisitors tend to have a sound grasp on the weaknesses of the undead and the most effective weapons for dispatching them. Many of the more senior inquisitors also know how to go about capturing one of the nighthunters for questioning; experience has taught the inquisition that where one blood-drinker appears, there’s almost invariably a nest of the vermin. On those (rare) occasions that the inquisition is not interested in immediately creating a pile of ashes, the philosophical bent of the Cainite heavily colors the interaction. Cainites walking the Road of Heaven, in particular, tend to generate a tremendously conflicted reaction among inquisitors. The pure piety that resides in many of these vampires can sometimes drive even the von Murnau sense for evil haywire — is a creature truly damned if he still fears God, bends knee to Jesus Christ as the source of his soul’s salvation, and requests confession and the Last Rites before he’s destroyed? Even the less humane followers of this road at least exude an aura of profound holiness, of near-divinity in some cases, that can cause them to be mistaken for angels long enough to effect an escape or confuse a group of inexperienced inquisitors into aiding some plot. Similarly, Cainites following the Road of Sin often tend to have a decidedly mind-altering effect on even experienced inquisitors, much less neophytes. The walkers on the Paths of Desire possess an exquisitely refined understanding of want, the deep needs of heart and mind, soul and flesh, that drive both men and monsters. Canny Sinners avoid contact with the Inquisition when they can, but they do not necessarily fear to cross blades with the Soldiers of Christ when other options fail. Everyone has a deep-held, unfulfilled need, after all, and that is a weapon of terrible power.


Those Cainites who cling to their humanity often have the hardest row to hoe when it comes to dealing with the Inquisition. The mere appearance of humanity, the tendency to dwell closely among mortals and ape their behavior as though still human, and even genuinely humane actions are often insufficient to really recommend a vampire to an inquisitor. No matter how humane a vampire might appear, in the final analysis she is still a blood-drinking monster. It often behooves a Prodigal Cainite to simply keep her head down and hope to be overlooked. Similarly, the over-proud Scions often find all their power and wealth availing them little when faced with an inquisitor who knows what they are and how they can die. If there’s anything an inquisitor despises more than a vampire who pretends to be human, it’s a vampire who expects their flock to bend knee and offer homage. Perhaps predictably, the followers of the Road of the Beast and the Inquisition have thus far had very little real contact with one another. What little has occurred is mostly individual Ferals crossing the paths of traveling cells, with both sides jumping back and yelping, “What was that?!” Feral vampires, to most inquisitors, are functionally indistinguishable from werewolves and other shape-changing minions of the Enemy; conversation is not often a strong point between them, though bloodshed often is.

Werewolves The Inquisition possesses little practical knowledge about the complexities of Garou culture. Some Theodosians who have spent time in the field researching the phenomena of nature, as well as supernature, have postulated that werewolves may behave in a manner similar to the ordinary beasts they so closely resemble. Certain Theodosian scholars, operating mostly in the vicinity of the Schwarzwald, have put forth the notion that werewolves run in packs rather than existing as the solitary predators so many inquisitors seem to encounter. They theorize that the wolfmen may mate with a variety of different breeding stock (a horrifying notion in and of itself) in order to produce young separate from any supernatural rites, and are possibly immortal as a result of being part-beast and partman. While this flies in the face of the standard belief that were-beasts have sold their souls for the gift of shape-shifting, it’s also not the strangest theory that the Red Brethren have ever floated. It has therefore received a minor amount of attention

from more intellectually inclined inquisitors. Even the Red Order assumes that most werewolves are possessed at best, active and malicious demoniacs at worst, but the thought that such creatures have a sort of observable social interaction intrigues many naturalist inquisitors. As far as most Garou are concerned, the Red Brethren and their fellow inquisitors know just enough to be dangerous — and what they know implies a great deal of ignorance. Loose lips from someone’s disgruntled kin in the Schwarzwald are currently being blamed for the sudden spike of inquisitorial interest in the affairs of the Ten Tribes. Currently, no consensus exists among the tribes as to what to do about the inquisitors or if, indeed, anything should be done at all; the inquisitors, after all, are as fond of making war on the Leeches and the other minions of the Wyrm as the Garou themselves. For humans, they appear to be rather good at it. The Warders of Men and those members of the Ten Tribes who still incline toward their Christian faith seem to believe that the Inquisition can be a useful tool, if guided against the traditional foes of the Garou. Those tribes who still bear a grudge against the Church for its part in the taming of the world’s wild places and the destruction of its older faiths consider it their duty to put down individual inquisitors and even whole cells when the opportunity to do so presents itself. Rarely, if ever, do naturalist inquisitors hoping to learn more about the were-beasts manage to return from their research jaunts completely unscathed.

Mages The practice of magic is anathema in the eyes of the Inquisition — even its own arcane scholars, the Red Order, do not claim to “practice magic” so much as call down the glory of the Lord in extremely tangible, potentially destructive form. It is the standard belief of inquisitors in general that sorcerers, witches, wizards, and all the diverse breed of enchanters and magicians are either frauds, deranged, or the servants of Hell, having sold their immortal souls for the power to twist the world to suit their whims. The mages are in a dreadful position when it comes to interacting with the agents of the Inquisition. While some mages — particularly the Messianic Voices, whose membership is deeply entrenched within the structure of the Church — find the inquisitors relatively simple to work around due to certain shared beliefs, other Fellowships seem to run



afoul of them at every juncture. In particular, the Valdaermen, the Old Faith, and the Spirit-Talkers have all enjoyed particularly unpleasant encounters with suspiciously well-informed inquisitorial cells in the recent past, a circumstance that leads them to suspect Messianic Voice collusion in the formation and leadership of the Inquisition. These fears may have some level of validity, but if they do, even the Inquisition itself hasn’t fully uncovered that truth. The Order of Hermes has done a fairly decent job of drawing unfriendly attention to itself thanks to the collateral damage of its long-running feud with the vampire wizards of House Tremere and the fallout from its own internal struggles. Amusingly enough, only the Batini have thus far avoided feeling any trace of the Inquisitorial lash; that is principally because the Inquisition has only the most nominal presence in the centers of Batini power. Only the Poor Knights of the Cross of the Passion of Acre possess genuine holdings in the Holy Land, in the form of the Fortress of the Cross on Cyprus, and the gradually failing health of Grandmaster Gauthier de Dampiere is consuming much of that outpost’s attention at present. If the Batini continue as they always have, subtly, there is every chance that they and the Inquisition will continue coexisting peacefully in mutual ignorance until Hell freezes over.

Fae Opinion is divided among most inquisitors with regard to the fae. The average inquisitor isn’t entirely certain that such things exist; even the average von Murnau, whose awareness of such things is generally much more acute, is not entirely certain that the Fair Folk aren’t just genuine creatures of legend. The entire notion of the fae as a threat to humanity is something that is taken less than seriously by all but the most paranoid or credulous inquisitors. After all, many of the ills for which the fae can be blamed can also be the product of pure bad fortune: a child running away from an unwelcoming home, a babe dying in the cradle, a million homely and natural things. On cold winter nights in the chapter-houses, though, gathered safe around the braziers and the hearth-fires, some inquisitors tell dark tales from their homelands about the pwca and the baobhan sith, the rusalka and the veela, the svartalfar and the Little Washer By the Ford. It is almost a relief to them to believe that some things are just stories. This is the way the Fair Folk like it.


The fae have their own concerns, most of which are so arcane and inimical to the Inquisition that the organization wouldn’t even try to understand them. The fae have only recently begun taking an interest in human affairs as whole again after several centuries of reticence (ironically, it was a member of the Red Order that attracted their attention; see Dark Ages: Fae for more information). Now that the fae are looking to humans and wondering why many of the old oaths aren’t being followed, conflict between the Fair Folk and the Inquisition will almost assuredly become more common to the detriment of both.

Antagonists The servants of Hell come in many forms, both fair and foul. Many have sold their souls for power, or at least give every appearance of having done so. Many possess the ability to twist the minds and souls of men to do their bidding. Below is a selection of the more infamous (and unknown) enemies that the Inquisition has faced.

Byleth Before his Fall from Grace, the demon now known as Byleth was a creature of wave and water, the embodiment of the ocean’s caress of the shore, the endless motion of joining and retreat, constantly repeated. He was a being of joy and passion, of exultation and pleasure, and his greatest ecstasy came from flitting unseen around those who did not fear the sea’s pounding waves but went fearlessly among them, swimming and bathing in his waters, dancing and loving at the junction of sea and land where he made his home. Why he chose to Fall is a mystery known only to himself; in the end, he was cast down with the third of the Host that chose to defy their Maker, and, along with them made war against Heaven. Byleth, however, was fortunate. When the War in Heaven ended, he was not cast into the Pit with the rest of his forsaken kind. He escaped the wrath of the Most High and fled into the world, taking sanctuary within the living substance of a tiny seed, wrapping himself in somnolence and hiding himself from the vengeful gaze of the Creator and the loyal Hosts of Heaven. The seed was carried far from the site of the last desperate battle of the War, carried in the fur of one beast, eaten by another, buried in the body of the earth by yet a third. Byleth slept on through the changing ages of the Earth, until the memory of the War faded from mankind and the


knowledge of angels and demons became a rare thing, harbored by priests and scholars and sorcerers. Only then did he wake and stir the sleeping life of the seed in which he rested, and cause that seed to sprout and grow into a great tree, a silver birch of unsurpassed size and beauty, which bore the image of the fallen angel in its bark. It was then that Byleth realized he could not free himself from his self-made prison, but would require the aid of another to set him loose. He found that assistance in the form of a foolish and venal young man who did his bidding and whose flesh he stole. Then Byleth-called-James walked once more among men, like a wolf among sheep. During the long and cruel War, Byleth’s nature had twisted and deformed, transforming him from a creature of joy and pleasure to a thing made entirely of hatred and lust. His first act, upon taking physical shape, was to murder his host’s father and rape his mother to death. Before he could continue that rampage, however, he was forced from the flesh he wore by the powerful faith of that host’s brother. He fled and found a new form, a young man recently killed in a senseless brawl, whose young betrothed mourned him fiercely. Byleth-called-Geoffrey battened upon the life and soul of the woman his host had loved; he would have devoured her utterly, but once again he was driven forth. Red Sister Vittoria Santini di Parma and Red Brother Giordano Nicola d’Arzenta faced him down, broke his power over his victim and forced him to flee, the rotting remains of his host body crumbling to carrion around him. Sorely wounded and enraged beyond reason by the continuous resistance of the human meat that was his prey, Byleth sought and found a third host, then went hunting for his tormentors. Byleth-called-Christof found Brother Giordano, the weaker of the two inquisitors he had faced, accompanying a band of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. He joined that pilgrimage as well, with the intent of tearing off the meddler’s head. This plan also failed. When Byleth revealed himself, Brother Giordano and the rest of the pilgrims drove him away, unable to face the united power of their faith and will. He sought and found another host and is now lying low, licking his wounds and contemplating what this string of failures has taught him. Mostly, he has learned that the direct approach does not always work, particularly when the enemy he faces is prepared for him and sometimes even when the enemy isn’t. He has also learned that mortal faith, turned

against him, is an agonizing and soul-flaying weapon that he has no desire to taste ever again. It’s much sweeter and far more satisfying to turn that weapon against his enemies when he can, and drink deeply of it himself when he can’t. To that order, he is building around himself a small cult of worshippers who are willing to yield anything he desires of them — their bodies to satisfy his incandescent lusts, their faith to satisfy his endless aching hunger for love — in return for relatively modest favors. The most important of these worshippers is a French nobleman, whose deep purse has endowed several Theodosian monasteries in an effort to soothe the conscience-pangs his unclean desires rouse in him. Byleth is using this connection to learn more about the Red Order while he considers his next move. He plans to make a lasting project of the defilement and destruction of Red Brother Giordano Nicola d’Arzenta, who had the bad judgment to defeat him twice. At the moment, however, the inquisitor is out of his immediate reach. This is of little matter, though, as Byleth knows where Brother Giordano is and has a nearly endless supply of monks on which to practice his revenges in the meanwhile. It is only a matter of time and a bit of planning on Byleth’s part before they meet again; when that blessed day arrives, the demon plans to make the most of it.

The Pale Brother A dark legend among the men and women of the shadow Inquisition, the Pale Brother is a being whose name alone causes nightmares among the truly faithful and virtuous. His existence first came to the attention of the Inquisition through the Oculi Dei who, contrary to their normally secretive methods of operation, volunteered the information in their possession as a warning to their fellows. That warning came in the form of a testimony written in ink and blood by the hand of an Eye of God who had fallen into the Pale Brother’s sway, detailing that Eye’s journeys as a member of the Inquisition and his encounter with that devilish creature and its black monastery. The manuscript was delivered by persons unknown to an Oculi Dei information exchange point. It came with a letter, written in a hand different from that of the testament’s author. The letter was purportedly written by a “fellow servant of God,” and indicated that the document was intended to serve as a peace gesture, a warning, and an educational



volume. It also invited those who would know more to seek and find him, for a little knowledge was indeed a dangerous thing. The Oculi Dei changed every information drop site for a hundred miles in the aftermath of this breach of security, and immediately warned all of the Councils of Faith, stationary Oculi Dei cells, and itinerant Oculi Dei agents in that area of the threat. Many are the tantalizing clues inside that manuscript, which included just enough detail for an observant reader to almost puzzle out the location of the monastery and the monster. Many young (and not so young) inquisitors wished to investigate the veracity of the testament and try to discover where the black monastery lay. The Oculi Dei officially believe that such an effort is a fool’s errand, likely a trap cleverly disguised as an exotic way to commit suicide. This fact has not prevented the more foolhardy members of every order from seriously considering taking up the Pale Brother’s challenge, though thus far no official investigation into the matter has been commissioned.

The Circle of Red The enigmatic Circle of Red has only recently come to the attention of the shadow Inquisition, and this in something of a roundabout way. A badly injured man made his way to a commandery of the Poor Knights in Poitiers. Cruelly marked with blade and fire, he barely lived long enough to gasp out a plea for help, not for himself but his kin, who were in terrible danger. A cell of Poor Knights set out to investigate. When they did, they found a burned out village devoid of corpses or survivors of the attack, with no signs of who might be responsible for it. They were, however, alerted to the presence of an unknown danger, and so stepped up the frequency and duration of their patrols in the area as well as calling on the assistance of the Eyes of God who traveled the region. Two months of patient detective work and careful observation later, and the joint cell of Poor Knights and Eyes began developing leads. A pattern developed of raids on isolated farmsteads and smaller villages just outside the easy range of the commandery’s forces. Some of those leads took them in extremely disturbing directions; some of the information they developed seemed to point toward the Red Brethren as the possible instigators of the raids. Those few witnesses who were close enough to witness the aftermath of an attack reported seeing men clad in red vestments, like a monk’s robe, riding away from the scene.


A delicate series of inquiries with the local Council of Faith yielded the information that there were, to that Council’s knowledge, no cell or cells of Red Brethren officially active in the area. At an impasse, the Poor Knights and the Eyes could do little but watch and wait, hoping to be in the right place at the right time to witness and stop a raid. This opportunity came early in the year 1230, when an Eye of God stationed in one of the nearby villages reported a suspicious rise in activity near the outskirts of the manor. A cell of Poor Knights was immediately sent to reinforce the Eye’s position; on the dark of the moon, that foresight was rewarded. The village was raided, but instead of the easy target the assailants were expecting, they found the inquisition waiting for them. A running battle ensued, which saw unclean sorcery used on the side of the attackers and the blessings of God on the side of the defenders. Eventually, the raiders were driven off, leaving their dead behind them. One of those dead was the red-clad corpse of a sorcerer. When questioned on the issue, the nearest Theodosian chapter-house denied any knowledge of either the situation or recognition of the dead sorcerer. The attacks have thus far abated, but since no live prisoners were taken, no one as yet knows why the attacks were occurring in the first place. The Poor Knights and Eyes of God remain at a heightened state of alert in the region, keeping their eyes open and their ears to the ground as they search for more clues as the origins and purpose of this mysterious new enemy.

Wilhelm von Murnau Wilhelm von Murnau was born on the longest, darkest night of the year, as a storm-wind full of phantom voices rattled the shutters of his mother’s birthing-room. All but her most faithful servants cowered in fear. He drew his first breath on one side of midnight, and his younger twin, Weyland, took his on the other. Unlike their older siblings Frederick and Franziska, the boys were strange and fey from earliest childhood: secretive, silent, and more comfortable with each other than with the rest of the family. Their father made no secret of his dismay with them, distrusting the strong bond between them, the way they seemed to share one soul and one mind between two bodies. His prejudice filtered down to the rest of their kin to greater or lesser degree.


Weyland grew to become a quiet, thoughtful young man, introverted and shy but willing to return affection when it was given. His gentleness of spirit and intelligence softened the regard of his siblings, though he never managed to win over their father. Wilhelm was also quiet and thoughtful, but with a sullen and embittered quality to his silences. He resented being regarded as freakish and strange by his bizarre family, and though he loved his twin dearly, he also grew to loathe the bond between them. A gnawing dissatisfaction filled him as he grew older, and he began to fear that he would never be complete in himself, only the shadow of sweet and charming Weyland. As the twins grew older, they gradually became more estranged from one another. Wilhelm withdrew further from the family as Weyland was accepted more closely into it. Eventually, the situation reached its breaking point. Wilhelm manifested the Curse far earlier than most of the family suspected. Only Weyland knew how long his twin had really been listening to the spirit voices the Curse made clear to him. Eventually, he began to do more than merely listen to those voices. He began to ask them questions, take their counsel when they offered it, and seek out their company. In the Bavarian forests beyond Murnauer Berg he sought and found the first of his advisors, a lady of the Courts of Winter who found his mortal passion enchanting and the darkness growing within his soul a worthy thing to cultivate. At the age of fifteen, Wilhelm von Murnau turned his back on humanity to pursue the truth of his family’s legacy, and inaugurated that decision in the blood of his twin brother. Weyland’s death was considered a tragic accident; Wilhelm was sent away from Murnauer Berg to recover from the terrible blow. Within a month, he had murdered the family that hosted him and vanished, leaving behind letters for his parents and each of his siblings, promising that he would look in on them from time to time. Decades passed in silence, but Wilhelm’s family did not forget the promise he had made them, nor did he forget the vengeance he owed his siblings. In the icy halls of the Courts of Winter and the twilight gardens of the Courts of Autumn he sought and found power, took service in exchange for knowledge, swore binding oaths in return for tutelage in a thousand black arts. In the black school Scholomance, he learned the ways that forced demons to bend knee and do his bidding, that bound



spirits great and small to his whims. He mastered the arts of night and winter, blood and death. In these unholy places, time passed with exquisite slowness; his form remained youthful even as his soul steeped black in its own wickedness. When he turned his malignant attention back to the world in which he was born, he was in the prime of his youth, his power, and his cruelty. His first victim was his much-despised eldest brother, Leopold, whom he intends to corrupt and destroy. Pursuing Leopold, however, brought the existence of the shadow Inquisition to his attention. This is a matter of no small concern to the Courts in which he dwells. While Wilhelm’s personal ambitions involve grinding his family into the dust beneath his feet, he is not adverse whatsoever to turning his attention on their conspirators, and is even now considering ways to do so. He has already made contact with the demon Byleth, whose desires coincide quite happily with his own. The two are even now gathering the intelligence and resources to pursue their vendettas most completely.

Fabrizio Ulfila Intelligent and cunning, charming and urbane, and utterly devoid of scruples: to those who know him casually, Fabrizio Ulfila is the exemplar of the hard-driving merchant prince. From his house in Bologna, Signore Ulfila operates a minor mercantile empire with trading interests spread around the Mediterranean and throughout most of the continent, shipping spices and luxury items wherever a demand for them exists. His business acumen supports his own luxurious lifestyle, a house in the city, a villa in the country for the summer months, a beautiful wife and children, and an equally beautiful series of mistresses and lovers along with his financial duties to the Church and his guild. Despite his libertine appetites, Signore Ulfila tithes quite faithfully and accurately, giving a generous discount to purchases made by the Bologna cathedral chapter and the local monastery. Signore Ulfila takes pains to appear as one of those men who is no more pious than he has to be but, in some deep corner of his soul, he regrets that fact. It tends to draw in the idealistic priests and monks he preys upon and makes his pawns. Nearly a thousand years old, Fabrizio Ulfila (not, to be certain, his real name) was born and reared in the early decades of the Christian church, following its recognition by Constantine in AD 313. His ambition and intelligence led him to join the Church, where he


ascended rapidly in power under the Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, one of the most vocal and influential proponents of the Arian Heresy. The Arians were the first large-scale heretical movement to develop within the orthodox body of the Church, a sophisticated theosophic heresy based on the denial of Christ’s intrinsic divinity, his separation and distinction from the unknowable and pure essence of God. Arianism bred countless subtle variations of itself and heavily influenced the politics of the Eastern Empire before finally being stamped out by the combined intellectual efforts of numerous orthodox theosophists. Before that, however, Arians, semi-Arians, Gnostics, and orthodox Christians fought a very real battle for the heart, soul, and creed of Christianity. Ulfila was very much a part of that battle. His intelligence and manipulative skill attracted the attention of his sire, an elder Ventrue who was not content to let him squander so many useful talents on behalf of a heresy doomed to failure. Signore Ulfila acknowledges the correctness of his sire’s decision to spare him the humiliation of being branded a heretic and expelled from the Church he had originally struggled so hard to construct. He does, however, retain a bitter and vengeful interest in undermining that Church whenever the opportunity presents itself. To this end, he has inserted a handful of agents in varying levels of the Church hierarchy and uses them as agents of corruption, poisoning the body of the Church around them. He has also quietly supported the growth of several heretical movements over the years, even going so far as to give aid and comfort to those Cathars who fled the Languedoc for sanctuary in the heresyridden lands of Lombardy and Tuscany. His most recent project is his effort to penetrate and corrupt to his ends the scholar-inquisitors of the Dominican Order, an effort that has thus far enjoyed little practical success. Signore Ulfila is nothing if not patient, however, and he is willing to give the perversion of the Holy Office of the Inquisition all the time such an endeavor deserves.

Bishop Estaci de Albi The Bishop Estaci de Albi is a man of many fine traits: deep faith in God, great learning, sincere compassion for the sick and poor. He is also a terrifying foe of anyone bearing Cathar sympathies (to say nothing of the Cathars themselves), a cleric of rigid orthodoxy and intolerance of the slightest deviation in faith, fierce in his persecution of the unfaithful and his desire to educate


those who have fallen into error. In his early youth, he rebelled against his father, a stubborn and intractable sympathizer to the stubborn and intractable heretics bringing chaos and destruction down on his homeland. He ran away to the nearest Catholic cathedral chapter to seek shelter. He was taken in, properly baptized, and educated to take on the task of repairing the damage done to the body of Christendom by decades of heretical tolerance as well as open warfare. Bishop Estaci was uniquely suited to this task, and brought to it a frighteningly intense convert’s zeal. He remains a fearsome enemy of heresy in all its forms and has likewise turned his attention to policing the orthodoxy of his fellow clerics. In particular, he has turned an unkind eye on the Red Order of St. Theodosius, whose monastery of the Laurendine lies in the shadow of heretical Toulouse. The Theodosians’ orthodoxy, no matter how sincerely expressed, has always been deeply suspect in his eyes, with the liberality of their Rule, their unseemly interest in suspect scholarship, and the immodest demeanor of their companion female order. He began an investigation into the origins and activities of the Theodosians with the intent of requiring even more vigorous reforms than the Red Order was already attempting — and, in the process, discovered even more than he already suspected. His investigators and informants reported regular contact between the Theodosians and the minor military order of the Poor Knights of the Passion of the Cross of Acre, as well as sundry members of the laity scattered across the Languedoc and Lombardy. His interest piqued, he began expanding the scope of his investigations to encompass these laypersons, many of whom proved to be damnably difficult to track or monitor and whose answers to the questions of his agents were, in their opinion, suspicious in their evasiveness.

Several of his agents have also reported an unusual connection between the Theodosians, the Poor Knights, and a Bavarian noble house, the von Murnau. That house appears to have numerous relatives in Holy Orders with both monastic foundations, many more relatives among the secular clergy of the Empire, and an unusual number of lay brethren involved in the activities of the Theodosians and the Poor Knights. Quiet inquiries have yielded him the information that the von Murnau, while wealthy and powerful, are also somewhat strange in their habits when it comes to the rearing and marrying out of their children. Bishop Estaci is beginning to suspect a conspiracy — a conspiracy of considerably less holy intent than the conspiracy that’s actually taking place. He has not, thus far, confided his fears in his superiors; he believes the situation requires more investigation and a more solid conclusion than the dark fears he harbors, and so he continues searching for more evidence of corruption within the Red Order and the Poor Knights. He also keeps a close eye on their suspiciously active lay brethren, many of whom are members of the Oculi Dei or the House of Murnau. As the matter stands, it’s only a matter of time before Bishop Estaci uncovers the existence of the shadow Inquisition. They know this, despite their best efforts to throw his agents off the track. What will happen if he does discover the shadow Inquisition is a matter that no one, thus far, has desired to contemplate, despite the very real danger. No one wants to be the first to suggest that if the extremely righteous Bishop Estaci de Albi cannot be trusted to join the shadow Inquisition or at least to keep his silence about it, he might need to be removed from his position and possibly more extreme measures might be necessary to ensure the Inquisition’s secrecy.



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