Culture : Culture of the Empire of the Seven Swords : Inquisition Back to Culture of the Empire of the Seven Swords


It is strict Holy Office practice to keep detailed records of proceedings from the first summons to the final sentencing. This is intended to discourage the inclination to ask leading questions which would suggest to the accused how they should reply. Every court of inquisition must use a notary to take down in writing every question and every answer, including the exclamations of pain emitted during torture.

Each inquisition trial official must take a solemn vow of secrecy, hold interrogations in strict privacy, and carefully guard the records of trial proceedings.

There are several reasons for this:

  • First, witnesses must be protected from possible retaliation by the family and friends of the accused.
  • Second, once a defendant named his accomplices, the Holy Office might have to move swiftly to bring them into custody. If word leaked out to them before they could be apprehended, the system would not be very effective.
  • Third, the reputation of the accused must be protected. It is often reiterated that inquisitors should act cautiously when making an arrest.

    High Inquisitor Aldus Ferrentius wrote in IY 85:

      "Because the mere fact of incarceration for the crime of heresy brings notable infamy to the person, great prudence must be exercised in the jailing of suspects. Thus it will be necessary to study carefully the nature of the evidence, the quality of the witnesses, and the condition of the accused. Let not our reverence be hasty in proceeding to make an arrest because the mere capture, or even the rumor of it, causes serious harm."

    If, after the presentation of evidence through the prosecution witnesses, and the completion of the interrogation of the accused, the suspect had not cleared himself nor confessed to the charges, he is allowed to prepare his defense. The suspect recieves a notarized summary of the entire trial conducted up to that point, with the charges against him in the vernacular, so that he might more easily understand them. The accused is allowed a previously determined period of time to study the evidence against him, and to prepare a series of questions intended to counter the testimony of his accusers. He can also call friendly witnesses to testify in his behalf.

    If the accused fails to take advantage of his right to legal defense, the testimony was considered accepted by him. Such an action is considered akin to throwing onesself onto the mercy of the court. But by no means is the possibility for a defense to be denied when the suspect requests it, even if a confession has been obtained. Despite such provisions, it is difficult for anyone unpracticed in the law of the church to create and present an effective defense. The inquisition recognizes this. Because of this, when the accused declares that he lacks experience in such matters and required the services of a lawyer, his wishes shall be granted. The suspect is allowed to suggest the names of three churchmen, one of whom shall be assigned by the court to serve him. Legal aid should not be reserved for the wealthy. If the accused does not have sufficient funds to pay legal fees, the court of inquisition shall pay the churchman acting as the lawyer for the accused.

    The lawyer-client relationship is a curious one when compared to other cultures of Caedes. If a lawyer becomes convinced that his client is indeed guilty and that the client will not be persuaded to abandon his error, the attorney oftentimes will discontinue the defense. Lawyers who continue to defend the "obviously guilty" often are subsequently held as suspects themselves. If the lawyer is not convinced of his client's guilt, then he may aid in the suspect's defense by presenting extenuating circumstances (i.e., mind control, mistaken identity etc.). He could also seek postponements, delays in court proceedings, while attempting to shift the focus of the court to other witnesses who may have perjured themselves with inconsistent testimonies. Lawyers often prepare apologies for their clients and argue against interrogations involving torture. Attorneys losing cases plea for mild sentences for their clients.

    A defendant may know the evidence against him, but not necessarily the names of his accusers. At the beginning of his defense proceedings, the accused is required to name any people who he suspected to be testifying against him out of malice. If he names an accuser in such a way, the inquisitor is obliged to investigate the motives and credibilities of those witnesses. After examination of such testimonies, if it is found that the depositions are false, these witnesses could be held for perjury. All of this is not taken lightly by the inquisitors.

    Interrogation with torture is usually prescribed in two general situations. First, where the evidence clearly indicates guilt which the suspect denies or is incapable of disproving, and second, when it is deemed that a confession has not been full and sincere, or when it is felt that all of the accomplices have not been named. Those who are spared from torture are pregnant women, or women who had given birth within a forty day period, the elderly, children under fourteen and the physically impaired. Torture is rigidly controlled and restrictions are enforced by the Church of Bor. The judge can not proceed to interrogation under torture unless the evidence is compelling enough to warrant it. If torture is to be used, the court must follow the instructions for torture asissued by the Supreme Tribunal of the Church of Bor. Any deviation from the accepted procedure is not be tolerated.

    Convicted offenders, both lay and clerical, might be sentenced to monastic confinement. This confinement is generally of two types: First is the more formal confinement in a cell. The second permitted circulation about the grounds of a monastery or convent with the suspect relegated to solitary penance. House arrest, or the restriction of movement to a geographical area ranged from the size of one's own house to a village or even a city. The elderly, or those with large families were usually sentenced to house arrest. Fulfillment of the terms of house arrest was assured by adequate monetary security (bonds). More severe penalties take the form of galley sentences, and the most severe is capital punishment. A death sentence handed down by the inquisition means either hanging or burning at the stake. However, only a small percentage of cases are concluded with capital punishment. That is saved for those cases involving 1) the obstinate and unrepentant; 2) those offenders who "relapse", and 3) those who have been convicted of attempting to overturn the cardinal doctrines of the Church of Bor. The most frequently prescribed sentences are public humiliation in the form of abjuration and salutary punishment. The final act in the inquisitional process is the auto da fe, a public ceremony where, after sentencing, penitent heretics abjured and are reconciled to the church, and the obstinate and relapsed offenders are sent to their fate.

    Curious side note: When a defendant sustains torture without changing his testimony or confessing, the evidence, in many cases is considered purged and absolution is given. As one might guess, the inquisitors attempt to protect themselves from this eventuality by recommending a careful scrutiny of all the particulars in the case, the nature of the evidence, the quality of witnesses, and the duration of torture and the force with which it had been administered. When and if a confessional was obtained, sentences are ordinarily reviewed in the church heirarchy before they are pronounced.


    The goal of the Inquisition is to identify and neutralize threats to the church of Bor before those threats carry out their dark agendas.

    The duties of the Inquisition is as follows:

  • Make sure that the Court of Inquisition is fair and just
  • Find and bring to trial those who pose a threat to the church
  • Carry out justice and keep those imprisoned in reeducation monasteries from escaping
  • All members of the Inquisition take vows of Justice, Obedience, and Investigation of Ultimate Truth
  • The duties of the Master of the Inquisition is to make sure that everything runs smoothly.


    Inquisitiors are picked from the ranks of monasteries, paladins, and canon clerics. All members of the Inquisition either apply through established channels and are reviewed by the Master of the Inquisition or they are invited into the Inquisition by either the Master of the Inquisition or the Prelate himself. Low-ranking Inquisitors require 15gp/month, while the highest-ranking may require as much as 200gp/month for upkeep. Most Inquisitors without much of an escort require 50gp/month in upkeep. Inquisitors may overrule the commands of any monk or cannon-priest, but may not overstep the commands of Counts, Barons, Dukes, Bishops, or Princes. Mother Superior Gleeza is one of the Inquisitors currently serving with the Inquisition.

    Depuity Inquisitors are specialists recruited for certain tasks by the Inquisition. Bishops and Archbishops can appoint Deputy Inquisitors at their own discretion, but must report such appointments to the office of the Inquisition. Appointees may choose to refuse the responsibilities of being a Deputy. Inquisitors may appoint depuities as well, but unlike those appointed by Bishops Inquisitor-appointed deputies must fufill their duties or face charges of obstruction of justice themselves. Inquisitors gain access to local law enforcement resources by way of deputizing. Depuity Inquisitors are generally not paid, but sometimes a reward is offered for results. Deputy Inquisitors have no power or resources and act in a bounty hunter/investigative role only.

    Guards are typically made up of common warriors employed as guardians of Inquisition interests outside of the Holy City. Sometimes they are more or less simple mercenaries who follow the orders of the church. Other times, Knights of the Order of St. Hugo wishing to travel or make a name for themselves perform a term of service as an Inquisition guard. Guards require 5gp/month. Their power comes straight from the Inquisitor who hired them. The Halfling knight Sir Wallace is an example of a guard.

    Judges are appointed from the ranks of Inquisitors by the master of the Inquisition. Appointments are made on the basis of seniority and results, but the choice is ultimately made up by the master of the Inquisition. These judges preside over the most visible cases, while lesser cases in the far reaches of the Empire may be presided over by the Inquisitors themselves. Judges require 200gp/month in upkeep. Judges may overrule Counts and Bishops but are subject to the decisions made by Archbishops, Barons, Dukes, and Princes.

    The office of the Inquisition in the Capitol city is at your disposal. It lies within the Holy City and as such is defended just as the other holy offices are. The office has a staff of fifteen eruidite monks of St. Baudri (Clr-2), an honor guard of two monks of St. Mirabel (Monk-5), and five messengers at your service (War-2). The office includes a meeting room and offices for the Judges and the Master of the Inquisition as well as living quarters for the Master. There is 450,000 gp in coins and gems in the Inquisition coffers. Much of that is from the recent seizures from those found guilty of heresy. These offices require no upkeep because they are taken care of by the Holy City.

    Ghostwalkers were once mentioned as resources of the Inquisition. However, recent records indicate that the last ghostwalker is out of action. In the past, ghostwalkers were not created by the Inquisition, but are instead presented to the Inquisition by the Prelate. The Inquisition never knows the names of these ghostwalkers, but instead knows them by code names such as "quiet one" or "horned one". Ghostwalkers have not required any upkeep in the past.

    The Reeducation Monasteries are under the control of the Inquisition. The labor of the repentant help defray costs. However, there can be as many as two-hundered prisoners in each one. The eight monasteries have an upkeep of 400gp/month each, for a total of 3200gp/month for all.

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