Nobody expects the Inquisition!
Everyone who knows anything about the 40k lore knows about the three Ordos of the Inquisition; Malleus, Xenos, and Hereticus. These are the core, the heart and soul of the Inquisition, each one a great power within the Imperium all by themselves. But they aren’t the only divisions within the Inquisition, there are other Ordos with their own dedicated goals.
Let’s start with a quick summery of the big three though, it may be familiar ground for most of us, but it’s a good place to begin:
Ordo Hereticus: The “Witch Hunters” who police the Imperium itself for traitors and heretics, including (and arguably most importantly) but not limited to; rogue psykers. This body is the youngest of the Inquisition’s three primary branches, Formed after the end of Goge Vandire’s Reign of Blood, also known as the Age of Apostasy. Formed alongside the Adeptas Sororitas who, by ancient pact, serve as their Chamber militant when called upon.
Ordo Xenos: The “Alien Hunters” combat alien threats to the Imperium, be they from outside or more subtle influences within the body of the Imperium itself. In addition, it is their role to supervise and restrict contact between the Imperium and the various alien races, preventing the exchange of xenos technology and treating with aliens when required. Their Chamber Militant are the Deathwatch Astartes.
Ordos Malleus: The “Daemon Hunters” are tasked with doing battle with the Great Enemy, the forces Chaos, particularly in their purest and most potent form; the Daemonic. More so than even the other branches of the Inquisition, theirs is a secret war, for mere knowledge of the full might of the Ruinous powers unleashed could reduce normal men to despair, or worse still, corrupt them. Their Chamber Militant are the Grey Knights.
In addition to these three great organizations, the Inquisition is further composed of several Ordos Minoris with their own specific tasks.
Ordos Sepulturum: A young Ordos formed in the years leading up to the 13th Black Crusade to investigate the sinister Chaos born plagues, most notably the virulent Zombie Plague (once an extreme rarity) as they began to spread with alarming rapidity through the Segmentum Obscurus, particularly in and around the sectors surrounding the Cadian Gate. Though a very recently formed organization, this Ordos has quickly shown itself to have the capacity to act as decisively and ruthlessly as any of the more established branches of the Inquisition, moving swiftly to cleanse infected world and prevent the spread of plague, and showing a willingness to level Exterminatus against those worlds too far gone to save.
Ordos Sicarius: Like the Ordos Hereticus, this organization was born out of the chaotic events of the Age of Apostasy. After a vicious and secret internecine conflict within the Assassin Temples, the Temples were devastated, and Inquisitorial investigation into the contradictory actions of the Officio during the second great Imperial Civil War led to the decision that the Temples required dedicated monitoring. Given the terrifying capacity of the various Officio Operatives it was deemed necessary that an Inquisitorial organization should oversee the running of the temples and ensure their actions are in keeping with Imperial policy. It is they who dispatch Officio Operatives, either in response to a specific request by the High Lords or another Inquisitor, or for objectives they themselves deem important. Given the obscure nature of this Ordos duties they are little known outside the halls of power, and even then are a subtle power.
Ordo Chronos: A mysterious and incredibly obscure Ordos formed to investigate the potential ramifications potential time travel through the Warp, particularly the potential for deliberate manipulation of these phenomenon. Details on what the Ordo found in their investigations are virtually nonexistent as the entire Organization disappeared from the face of the galaxy, taking their secrets with them. It is not known how or why this occurred, or if it was voluntary on behalf of the Ordos or not, though whispers of the involvement of dark technologies, long forbidden, have surfaced over the centuries since this mysterious incident.
In additions to these, there are doubtless many more of the so-called Ordos Minoris within the Inquisition, and though technically all these organizations are held to be equal it is unquestionably the three Ordos Majoris that hold the greatest influence and control the most resources. Indeed, many of the Ordos Minoris are highly localized and contained, the galaxy is a strange and dangerous place, and some are dedicated to specific problems that are unique to their region and not present at all throughout the rest of the Imperium. Regardless of such questions of scope or influence within the Inquisition itself, all of these Ordos are potent organizations, able to call upon the unique skills of their members and upon the other institutions of the Imperium for aid during times of crisis.
The Thorian Scourcebook
Dark Heresy: Ascension
What other roles do you imagine might require a dedicated Ordos? Has anyone heard of other Ordos Minoris?
If you have a favorite corner of the 40k lore that would like to see featured, or just a lore question you think would interest the community, let me know, you can even PM me on the forum if you like. New ideas are always welcome.