Tales of Stroldaax: The Deck of Dragons
“SOCIETY CANNOT SURVIVE MERCY”
Primary tasks: Investigate corruption, hunt down disloyal persons, root out enemies of the state and most importantly, uphold order.
Secondary task: Serve as an elite fighting unit.
“Civilization is under siege. Beyond lawful bastions, envious legions dream of doom—the eyes of monsters fall upon our walls and envision feasts of ruin. Within our holdouts the agents of chaos already lurk, jeopardizing innocents by inaction and design. Peace and order are islands upon seas of violence, and to survive, order must be every bit as merciless as our foes.
“If we mortals cannot come together under the banners of hope and progress, we must find other motivations. Need, menace, fear: every soul understands these masters… and they obey. The people need monsters to unite them, taskmasters to force them to flourish, tyrants who make them stand as one. They need paragons, champions who embody the potential of order, but who gird themselves in dread.”
- Jared Stromgarde, Supreme Inquisitor of Vesmora
Inquisitors aren’t just order’s enforcers; they’re its executioners. Girded in dark armor emblazoned with emblems of menace, Inquisitors uphold a simple mandate: to impose law. Yet theirs is a greater and more demanding path than that of sheriffs and soldiers. Through discipline and trial, Inquisitors remove themselves from soft emotion and weak comfort, remaking themselves as dauntless paragons of order.
Without mercy, they shear through compromise and bureaucracy, crushing lawlessness no matter what form it takes. Bandits, heretical cults, savage raiders, corruption and thieves’ guilds—all the enemies of law fall before these crusaders. Rarely must such criminals wait long for their sentences, as the only punishments appropriate for those who jeopardize order are swift and harsh.
Inquisitors arm themselves for the battlefield, yet rarely do immense numbers of these soldiers unite. They are the predators of those who prey upon the feeble, and the nightmares that assure the weak never stray.
In Vesmora, Inquisitors seek to enforce the same discipline they impose upon themselves. No one is beyond suspicion, no one is beyond judgment, and in the final accounting, some innocents might be sacrificed. But when chaos is real and threatens the future of every mortal soul, mercy will end up destroying society. So the Inquisitors do what must be done.
At its philosophical level, the Inquisitor tenets concerns itself with three virtues: order, discipline and mercilessness. Each of these virtues is embodied by dual maxims.
Order teaches that Inquisitors should strive to create a world that has no need for them and that every soul should punish those who hold back progress. It is embodied by the maxims “embrace obsolescence” and “every soul a tyrant.” The former encourages Inquisitors to build a world of perfect, self-sustaining order, while the latter encourages every mortal—Inquisitor or otherwise—to be a force for order.
Discipline teaches that no achievement occurs without loss and that emotions are a distraction and a vulnerability—this includes fear, which the Inquisitors turn into a weapon against the weak. The maxim “emotion is weakness” encourages Inquisitors to purge their minds of all tempestuous feelings and desires, be they fear and sorrow or love and pride. “Execution by flame” teaches that Inquisitors must be ready to destroy all to accomplish their aims, and that only by casting off something may one become greater.
Mercilessness claims that all are guilty of something and that compassion is damaging to civilization. The lesson that “society cannot survive mercy” is one of the vital philosophical tenets of the Inquisitors, teaching that exceptions pave the path to anarchy and that a bleeding heart sickens all society. Tied in with this idea, the maxim “none are innocent” reminds Inquisitors that everyone has transgressed and harbors unjust thoughts, and so none are truly deserving of mercy or exceptional treatment under the law. Together, these three virtues and the six lessons they encompass are symbolized in the Inquisitors’ symbol, the Ennead Star.
The Inquisitors follow a strict hierarchy, drawing from established military hierarchies.
Supreme Inquisitor: Leader of the Inquisitors
High Inquisitor: Second in command, this person handles the day to day business of running the Inquisitors.
Paralictor: A high-ranking Inquisitor officer, similar to a major.
Maralictor: A mid-level Inquisitor officer, similar to a lieutenant.
Inquisitor: Rank-and-file knights
Signifier: A Inquisitor divine or arcane spellcaster
Armiger: A Inquisitor in training, a Inquisitor squire
Supreme Inquisitor: Sir Jared Stromgarde
High Inquisitor: Reynard Almar
Paralictor: Eldric, Keldorn, Liara
Maralictor: Dorin, Evelyn, Jaros, Arin, Lily
Inquisitor: 3 rank-and-file Inquisitors
Armiger: 17 squires