Icon: Inquisitor / Crusader
The Crusader is the armored fist of the Gods. So long as followers of the Gods of Peace stay the hell out of his way, the Crusader turns his wrath against the demons that would destroy the world that his gods say to destroy, but if you get in his way then you too fall under his axe. Follow the Inquisitor if you must win at any cost.
“I fear nothing, least of all doing what must be done.”
Bastion, Iberia. Or out Crusading.
One way or another, it’s a bad sign that the Crusader is accommodated within the Empire and sometimes even welcomed. It means either that the common people have lost their good sense or that times are so dire that the people will accept the help of a destroyer bound to Unforgiving Gods. If the enemy of your enemy is your friend, then the Crusader is everybody’s friend because demons are everybody’s enemy. The Inquisitor, however, is the sort of friend who will burn your house to the ground if he finds it tactically necessary.
The Crusader leads an elite corps of ruthless warriors, spellcasters, and assassins. From him, they learn to sniff out the perversion of evil and demonic taint even in its nascent form. Critics of the Inquisitor say that the side effect of this training is to burn all pity and love from the hearts of the crusaders, and indeed a pitiless heart is not a side effect but the very point of the training. Many crusader initiates prove unworthy of the challenge. Those who die in training are perhaps luckier than those who live on, forever haunted by what they learned but failed to master; seeing evil all around them.
Adventurers & the Icon
For an adventurer to have undertaken missions sponsored by the Inquisitor is a cause for bragging rights. Such missions are never mere cakewalks or uneventful garrison duty. The Crusader has stepped on certain toes, and his personal style is unacceptable to certain hosts, so he occasionally hires adventurers from outside his organization to undertake missions in “hostile” territory, such as the Priestess’s Cathedral.
The Crusader acknowledges the Emperor as the ruler of the land, though some suspect that he would just as soon acknowledge the Lich King as such. The bitter rivalry between the Crusader and the Great Wyrm lacks any formal declaration, but it is as thick as ochre jelly.
If the Diabolist fears the Crusader, and she probably should, then he’s the only thing in all the worlds that she fears. The Priestess works to protect people from the excesses of the Inquisitor, to the point of hindering his efforts.
The history books include accounts of imperial champions, but never a hero as dark and forbidding as the Inquisitor. He might be a new icon, or a recurrent hero icon that has somehow woke up on the dark side of the banner. Once in the past he was Orion the Hunter.
The True Danger
Everything will be all right provided the demons keep the Crusader busy and he has no time to pay attention to second priorities, such as stomping on the face of imperfect or tainted goodness and light.