|No Miracles, just Men.|
Migsula, over at the excellent blog Iron Sleet, just wrote a fascinating post musing on the thought process behind building an effective Inquisitor retinue. In it, he puts words to some concepts that I have tackled and explored while creating models for Inq28, but never consciously put down in writing. He argues that the key to creating an evocative and effective retinue depends largely on the hierarchy in the group and the contrast in this stratification between the Inquisitor and their lowly henchmen. The Inquisitor is the radiant sun around which the other members orbit. These Humble Human Henchman (thanks for coining the term Migs!) that surround the Inquisitor serve to anchor the group in reality; they are humans that we can relate to, and not Saints, Space Marines, or Alpha class psykers. To emphasize the importance of this contrast, Migsula asked “how interesting would a group of equally and similarly powerful individuals be?” And while I think he anticipated the answer to be a resounding “Not very,” my first thought was the opposite.
Creating stark contrast between characters within a retinue to emphasize the various individuals’ roles and hierarchy is certainly a common thread with Inquisitors, particularly those that Games Workshop creates. I think this strategy, however, tends to describe only a certain class of inquisitors, powerful Grand Masters, with swarms of underlings, or self important “desk” inquisitors that rarely do any field work. These are the Torquemada Coteaz’s and Fyodor Karamazovs’, known across the galaxy for being ruthless and uncompromising to the point of caricature. While these inquisitors can be really evocative and neat, this style can often lead to bland characters, with none of the moral greyness that make them interesting.
|In the past, GW has made a number of inquisitors into trite caricatures of people.|
|What excites me about inquisitors are things like this. A steadfast individual facing a cosmic horror capable of ending civilizations not with a meltagun or thunderhammer, but with a 12 gauge shotgun.|
This dichotomy that I am speaking of was something that we tried to explore with our Invitational entry. This is still very much a work in progress, however, as we are continuing to work on models for each inquisitor. Lucanus Molnár, in his blazen red power armor, is more the first type of Inquisitor, bombastic with his beliefs; he surrounds himself with a hoard of mechanicum underlings and only a few that he might call equals. The second, Anton Soljic, is more the Eisenhorn equivalent, a more conservative, practical man. He is not larger-than-life, and he works with a small cadre of highly trained specialists that he trusts with his life.
|Lucanus Molnár: Ordo Machinum|
|Anton Soljic: Ordo Xenos|
|Since the end of the Invitational, we have working on additional models for both inquisitors. Expect to see a new member of Soljic's retinue in a week or two!|
I think both of these archetypes, one defined by contrast and superhuman status, and the other defined by a more relatable humanity and mortality, allow for the 40k universe to be so rich and enjoyable. However, I am most interested in exploring the second, and care less about plasma pistols and power armor, and more about autopistols and flak jackets. The Inquisition as a faceless organization walking amongst us unnoticed, using their unlimited authority in subtle ways, is far more thought provoking than them flaunting their rosette and calling for Exterminatus.