- "Damnation is eternal. All souls cry out for salvation. There is no salvation without suffering."
- — Attributed to Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai
An Interrogator-Chaplain is a member of a special cadre of Chaplains that are exclusive to the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter and their Unforgiven Successors. These fearsome specialists are tasked with the interrogation of any Fallen Angel who has been captured by the Dark Angels or the Unforgiven to admit their sins and repent of their betrayal of the Emperor of Mankind and their Primarch Lion El'Jonson. Interrogator-Chaplains are as skilled in the arts of interrogation, torture and psychological manipulation as most experienced members of the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus. The successful Interrogator-Chaplain is allowed to add a single black pearl to his Rosarius for each of the Fallen he convinces to repent. Those that refuse to do so inevitably die in agony during the interrogation, as the Chaplain is forced to use ever more drastic measures to make clear the error of their ways. Interrogator-Chaplains are members of the Chapter's Inner Circle, as their duties require that they have knowledge of many more of the Chapter's secrets than is normal for Dark Angels of their rank.
After the Fall of Caliban, the senior members of the Dark Angels Legion assembled in secret conclave. They decreed that knowledge of the fall of their lost brothers to Chaos must remain undisclosed for all time, and that no outsider must ever learn of the schism that had split the I Legion or that some Space Marines of the Dark Angels had turned to the Ruinous Powers. Should this dreadful truth ever become known they feared the Dark Angels would be reviled as Traitors, and all hope of expunging the stain to their honour would be lost forever. An Inner Circle of the Legion’s most senior officers was formed to forever guard this dangerous knowledge, and each member swore oaths of unspeakable binding. The Grand Masters of the Inner Circle swore that so long as even one of the Traitor Fallen remained alive and unrepentant, the Dark Angels would be Unforgiven, cursed by their own brothers to atone for all eternity for the sins of the past. Until every last Fallen Angel was captured and made to repent, there could be no peace for the true sons of the Lion. This would be the mission of the Inner Circle, and, through its machinations, that of all the Successor Chapters of the I Legion.
When the Dark Angels do undertake joint operations alongside other Chapters, it is quite common for them to do so with others amongst the so-called “Unforgiven”—the Successors of the original Dark Angels Legion. The Successors of the Legion maintain especially close relations, their officers all being members of the Inner Circle. This mysterious body provides a ready-made command network that the Unforgiven Chapters can utilise to great effect when coordinating their activities. There is no presumption that the leaders of the Dark Angels have any inherent superiority over those of the other Unforgiven Chapters. Rather, the leaders work together closely, and if needed elect one of their number as nominal commander for the duration of the campaign. In one matter, however, the officers of the Dark Angels have superiority over those of the other Unforgiven Chapters—the Hunt for the Fallen. When hunting those turncoat Dark Angels who escaped the Fall of Caliban, the Unforgiven operate under the auspices of the highest ranked member of the Inner Circle, and the very highest of these is the Supreme Grand Master Azrael himself—the Chapter Master of the Dark Angels.
Through the machinations of the Unforgiven’s Inner Circle, its members are eternally vigilant, never resting in the hunt for the Fallen. Even though knowledge of the Fallen is withheld from the majority of the brethren, the results of post-battle debriefings and psi-induced stress-purges are fed back to the Inner Circle and any sign of the presence of a Fallen Angel analysed. In addition, the Dark Angels' Chaplains are permanently attached to a company, and this allows them to hear the confessions of their brothers and to keep a close watch for signs of the Fallen. When such traces are discovered, the Inner Circle moves without hesitation, redeploying Unforgiven forces wherever they happen to be and re-tasking them with their new target. In most cases, it is the Ravenwing that locates such activity and the Deathwing that delivers the killing blow, but on occasion, entire Dark Angels strike forces have been recalled from campaigns and committed to engage an enemy that only the highest-ranked of its officers have any true knowledge about.
The Space Marine Legions were created long before the development of the Imperial Creed and the dominion of the Adeptus Ministorum in the 32nd Millennium. As a result, every Space Marine Chapter had its own cult practices and its own attendant priests. These spiritual leaders of the Space Marines are known as Chaplains, and for over ten thousand standard years, they have led the holy rites of their Chapters.
The Dark Angels' Chaplains are the keepers of the Reclusiam, the central shrine within The Rock. They emerge to preside over ancient ceremonies -- inducting Neophytes into the Chapter with Rites of Initiation, steeling the hearts and minds of recruits and Veterans alike with the Vows of Intolerance, and leading all through prayers of dedication to battle, Primarch and Emperor. A Chaplain instills strict discipline in his brothers, armouring them within through tenet and catechism. The monastic Dark Angels are inundated with rituals, and it is the Chaplain's role to screen his brethren, watching for even the smallest failing in humility or mental fortitude.
Chaplains are daunting figures, for their jet black livery is adorned with icons of battle and mysterious tokens of ritual. Their Skull Helms at once evoke the stern image of the immortal Emperor and the grim promise of death. In the midst of battle, a Chaplain is truly in his element, preaching the righteous work of warfare, chanting Liturgies of Battle and punctuating his sermons with deadly strikes from his blazing Crozius Arcanum -- the skull-headed cudgel that is both a Chaplain's badge of office and chosen weapon.
If a Dark Angels Chaplain can prove himself through years of heroic service, he might be found worthy of acceptance into the Chapter's Inner Circle. After an arcane and convoluted ceremony in the Hall of Secrets, deep in the bowels of The Rock, the Chaplain is given the Test of Faith. Failures are led further into the dungeons and never seen again, but should he pass, he takes the solemn vow of the Deathwing and will henceforth be given the title of Interrogator-Chaplain. In addition to their previous role, it is the sacred duty of Interrogator-Chaplains to make any of the Fallen who are captured repent. This requires a will of unbreakable adamant, as the horrific acts of forcing repentance are not an easy burden to bear. Interrogator-Chaplains must weather heretical ranting and lies, discern insincere bleating and remain steadfast in their commitment to compel contrition from the lips of Traitors. The Fallen Angels who repent are rewarded with a quick death, whilst those who do not are shown ever more drastic measures that eventually lead to the same destination, but take considerably longer in the journey.
Within the ranks of the Dark Angels is a specially-created cadre of Astartes Chaplains known as Interrogator-Chaplains. The process by which individual Chaplains are selected to serve the Chapter in this way is both arcane and convoluted. The individual is scrutinised from afar by the Masters of the Chapter throughout his career as Chaplain, for his duties often take him perilously close to the forbidden knowledge of the Chapter concerning the events surrounding the Fall of Caliban. Sometimes a Chaplain will divine the truth for himself and will be brought before the Inner Circle to be judged. If found worthy, he will be allowed to learn the full truth of the Chapter's past. If judged unworthy, or simply unready, he may be mind-scrubbed, or even granted the Emperor's Peace.
Another duty of an Interrogator-Chaplain was the removal of gene-seed from the corpses of Chaos Space Marines. When the Dark Angels went into battle against any Traitor Astartes, the brothers of the Reclusiam would utilise a reductor to remove their gene-seed. Normally a tool of the Apothecary, all Interrogator-Chaplains were required to carry one on the orders of the High Interrogator. The fickle nature of alliances among the hordes of Chaos meant that any of the Fallen could have thrown in their lot with any of the countless warbands and armies that blighted the Imperium. Removing their gene-seed of any enemy Space Marine and taking it for testing on the Rock was the only way to be certain that another name could not be struck from the Roster of Caliban.
Grim individuals, Interrogator-Chaplains are charged not only with ensuring the faith and loyalty of their fellow Battle-Brothers, but also forcing repentance from the Fallen that are captured. Interrogator-Chaplains must be strong of mind to withstand the heretical rantings and damnable lies that the Fallen will offer them and steadfast in their commitment to compel contrition from the lips of ancient Traitors. For every Fallen that is brought to repentance, an Interrogator-Chaplain may add a single black pearl to his Rosarius. The legendary Master Molochia, who served for more than 300 standard years, managed to gain ten black pearls, making him one of the Chapter's most successful Interrogator-Chaplains in its history. To this day no other Interrogator-Chaplains have been able to equal this achievement.
An Interrogator-Chaplain can add a single black pearl to his Rosarius for each of the Fallen that he convinces to repent. Master Molochia, inarguably the greatest of his grim profession, died after over 300 standard years of service with only ten black pearls. To this day, no other has been able to emulate his achievement. The black pearls themselves can be found on the planet of Malmar, a watery Death World on the edge of the Eye of Terror. Upon promotion to his role, each Interrogator-Chaplain must travel to Malmar to retrieve one of these treasures to be stored within The Rock's Reclusiam, in the hope that one day it will be returned. It is said that on that dread planet, one must face his own temptations -- a test of will that makes facing the threat of the fierce predators who inhabit that world easy by comparison.
- Power Armour
- Crozius Arcanum - The Crozius Arcanum is the sacred rod of office carried by all Space Marine Chaplains. Within the Crozius Arcanum is a gravitic generator that produces a powerful energy field capable of disrupting matter in the same manner as a Power Weapon. Chaplains are powerful warriors, and the blows struck with a Crozius Arcanum can overwhelm nearly any defence.
- Rosarius - A Rosarius is a gorget or amulet worn by Space Marine Chaplains which traditionally bears the symbol of the Imperial Aquila or Crux Terminatus and is the Chaplain's "soul armour" bestowed upon him by the Ecclesiarchy of Terra in recognition of the Adeptus Ministorum's and the Adeptus Astartes' common devotion to the Emperor of Mankind.
- Skull Helm - One of the most iconic elements of a Chaplain’s wargear is his macabre skull helm, a stern visage that depicts the face of the Emperor mordant, evoking the Emperor's wrath upon his enemies. These helms may take many different forms and have been crafted by numerous Space Marine artificers across the galaxy. Universally, however, they are all fearsome in aspect.
- Sacred Standards - Interrogator-Chaplains are the custodians of the Chapter's holy relics, including such sacred standards as the Standard of Fortitude, the Standard of Devastation, and the Standard of Retribution.
- Bolt Pistol
- Plasma Pistol (Optional)
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Grand Master Sapphon - Sapphon is the Grand Master of Chaplains of the Dark Angels Chapter. Also known as the "Finder of Secrets," Master Sapphon did not receive his esteemed rank of Grand Master due to age or ability as an Interrogator-Chaplain (Master Asmodai is superior in both), but because of his ability as an inspirational leader of men. Even brave and indomitable warriors such as the Dark Angels are inspired by Sapphon's presence when he is amongst them on the battlefield. His presence often leads them to carry out feats of extraordinary valour.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai - Asmodai is the oldest and most successful living Interrogator-Chaplain within the Dark Angels Chapter today. When it comes to the interrogation of the Fallen, none are more adept or sinister than Asmodai. Such is his fearful reputation that the enemy would rather die than fall into his hands. Rumours of the horrific tortures he can inflict abound, and it is said that he can keep his victims alive for weeks on end as he subjects them to increasingly agonising torment. Making use of the fabled and horrific Blades of Reason, he "encourages" the Fallen to repent of their sins.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Belphegor - Belphegor participated in the Siege of Vraks (Vraks Devastation Force) where he notably saved the life of Supreme Grand Master Azrael by besting the Traitor Alpha Legion Captain known as Arkos the Faithless in single combat, sending the Chaos Space Marine reeling with a single blow from his Crozius Arcanum just as Arkos was about to put an end to Azrael's life.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Molochia - Molochia was the greatest of the Dark Angels' Interrogator-Chaplains. Molochia died after over 300 standard years' service to the Chapter, with 10 Black Pearls on his Rosarius, meaning he had successfully gotten 10 of the Fallen to repent. To this day, no other Interrogator-Chaplain has equaled this achievement.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Boreas - Chaplain of the Dark Angels' 3rd Company during the Battle of Piscina IV. Boreas is known to have successfully extracted a confession from the infamous Fallen Angel Merir Astelan.
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pg. 30
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 37, 80
- Codex: Dark Angels (3rd Edition), pp. 7, 20
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), pp. 15, 26, 35, 41, 72, 82
- Index Astartes II, "For the Emperor - Space Marne Chaplains", pg. 59
- Warlords of the Dark Millennium: Asmodai, pp. 3-4, 6-10, 12-17, 23-27
- White Dwarf 227 (US), "Chapter Approved - Space Marines: Dark Angels, Asmodai, Interrogator-Chaplain", pp. 73-80
- White Dwarf 208 (US), "Faith and Vengeance: Space Marine Chaplain Background and Tactics - Interrogator-Chaplains: Dark Angels", pp. 78-86
- Angels of Darkness (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Pandorax (Novel) by C.Z. Dunn, pg. 115