Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

by Peter Frederick

Everyone goes wrong sometime and if your players get too use to just living with a few points of dissonance because they can get rid of it later then you might like to pull this one on them.

A Major Servitor of Dominic comes to the characters' town and advises them that he has been sent to hold a hearing into reports of dissonant activities in the area. I would use Torquemada as previously posted by Marco Lambert and available on Elizabeth McCoy's website at mainly because my players didn't like him. If you think that the characters might try to physically resist give him a retinue of Malakim. In fact you can make the Inquisition team as big as you like, but the bigger the team the shorter the situation will probably last.

This will work best if you can build it up. The Inquisitor is just as able to use gentle methods as harsh ones, but will become and more harsh as his enquiry continues. The Inquisitor will want to talk to everyone, and he means everyone, no matter how much difficulty this causes the characters. He will want to know the exact details of how any dissonance was gained and will be happy to accuse others of misdeeds to get them into the proceedings. We are talking a Major Angel of Judgement who thinks that nothing is more important than getting to the Truth, one he recognises as such, and meting out punishment to the guilty.

As it goes on move all the character's sources of support away from them. Firstly none of their Superiors will answer them, or will make very curt "Nothing I can do" responses. Seneschals will make it clear that extended visits are not appreciated, any other associates the characters have will make themselves scarce too. Perhaps one good thing is that demons will also stay clear of the characters; they don't want the Inquisitor's attention either.

Make sure that the characters know this is a favoured servitor of Dominic. Be cruel and nasty, be uncaring and arbitrary. Play it up for all that you can, put the fear of a final dissolution into the characters. Bribery, lying, torture, false witnesses and false accusations are all viable tactics for the Inquisitor. This is a no holds barred, full contact and no protective equipment tussel, with the Inquisitor as both opposing team and referee.

The Climax should have all the characters called before the Inquisitor to see a squad of Malakim fully armed and prepared, perhaps with "instruments of correction" or shackles, chains and hot rivets. Have the Inquisitor read the "charges" against each character and ask if they have any final comments before sentence is passed.

When things look bleakest Dominic appears and commands all his servitors to halt. He will gently reprimand the Inquistor's assistants telling them that they do not do their duty simply by following orders. He will make a short apology to the characters and thank them for their cooperation. Finally he will turn to the Inquisitor and reveal that the whole thing was a test to see if the Inquisitor had regained his impartiallity and that he had most obviously failed, as the accused had done nothing which required the attention of the Angels of Judgement. Should any of the characters wish to question Dominic further he will simply remind them that "God's Justice is perfect, but his Servitors are not always so." I can hear his departing line being something like "Go and Sin no more."

Of course the whole thing was a set up from the start. Which is why the other Archangels let it go. The Inquisitor, while a good and loyal Servitor of Judgement, and one who did difficult and important work in ages past, had overtime gained much Discord. This resulted in him becoming more interested in punishing those bought before him rather than determining what a reasonable punishment was, or if any punishment was actually required. Dominic had kept him in Heaven and allowed him duties that would give him an opportunity to reduce his Discord. While Dominic was quite capable of seeing how much Discord the Inquisitor had to get rid of he couldn't see if the Inquisitor could resist the pressures of his Discord and fulfill his duties properly. Only a live fire, in the field test could do that, and the characters were just the lucky dupes whose number came up (or maybe there was some other reason for their selection).

Why didn't (and doesn't) Dominic just remove the Inquisitor's Discord? Well he could, but he wanted to give the Inquisitor the chance to do something about it himself and he wanted to see if the style of Judgement that the Inquisitor represents is still valid. As a result of the Inquisitor's failure he is likely to be dissolved and with his passing perhaps the Word of Judgement will be a little less oppressive than it might have been felt to have been in the past.

**Flaming Feather**

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