Stab sinners for the glory of Mean Jesus in this twisted alt story RPG

“Jesus did not die on the cross, but came down and avenged himself on all unbelievers”, begins I the inquisitor‘s description on Steam. “1500 years later, an army of inquisitors brutally reinforces the faith.” All right, I’m in.

I, The Inquisitor is based on a dark fantasy, alternate history series of novels by Jacek Piekara started in 2008. It seems that there are no English translations of their works yet, but I trust developer The Dust SA’s claim that they are best sellers in Poland – they really know their dark fantasy there.

What really excites me about I, The Inquisitor is its apparent emphasis on exploration and investigation over combat. And, again, that you’re playing a character that was inspired by Mean Jesus, bypassing the crucifixion to become a legendary ass kicker. The aptly named Gothic protagonist, Mordimer Madderin, is quite skilled with a sword, but the developer’s description focuses more on “enlightened investigation”.

“Track and interrogate suspects,” he says. “Discover the hidden truths of the city and its inhabitants. Gather the evidence and make your final judgments.” She looks cool!

In the humble opinion of this RPG fan, multi-part investigative missions like those in Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and Neverwinter Nights 2 are some of the best in RPGs, and the phenomenal Disco Elysium centered an entire game on a murder investigation. If I, The Inquisitor is anything like these examples, it might end up being exactly my thing.

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(Image credit: The Dust SA)
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view looking up to the immaculately white artificial gothic cathedral

(Image credit: The Dust SA)
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crowd gathered in front of a mummers tent in the town square

(Image credit: The Dust SA)
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PoV from the Inquisitor's notebook detailing various characters around the city.

(Image credit: The Dust SA)
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Inquisitor faces opponent on cobblestone streets, sword raised

(Image credit: The Dust SA)
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view of the city square in the early morning

(Image credit: The Dust SA)

I have to wonder how Piekara’s brutal fictional setting manages to compare to the horrors of our own history. After all, we had a Jesus who supposedly died on the cross professing a message of mercy and love and yet we had a good 2,000 years and counting of schisms, pogroms, crusades (8 normals, one childish), inquisitions, reforms, counter-reforms, Black Death, antipopes, sieges, looting, desecrations, hereditary slavery, colonial empires, and at least one bonfire of vanities.

The Inquisitor’s verse will have to be very dark be worse than all that, even with a particularly grumpy alternate Christ, though a crude translation on the back of Piekara’s book Ja, Inkwizytor Mlot na czarownice suggests that Evil Jesus “drowned Jerusalem in blood” and it seems that demons are a very real force in this scenario, so things can always get worse!

And hey, maybe another Polish dark fantasy series adapted from novels will take the games by storm. (Look forward to a Netflix series I, The Inquisitor in winter 2034.)

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