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Witch Hunters is the common name for the Order of the Templars of Sigmar.
Later, in 1682 IC, the Order was renamed as The Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar, when the Grand Theogonist Siebold II publicly tasked the order with defending the Empire from Chaos, daemons, heresy and magic. This was the first time citizens of the Empire were made aware of the Order's existence.[1a]
The Great Temple
The headquarters of the Witch Hunter Order is the Great Temple of Sigmar in Altdorf (not to be confused with the Cathedral of Sigmar nearby). The Great Temple was built in 1220 IC and contains space to house many Witch Hunters, with areas to train the body soul and mind as well as go about the administrative and political running of the order.[1x]
The Witch Hunters thrive on old tomes of law and lore. Many are listed below:
- The Witch Hunters Handbook: a small black book that provides a concise portable summary and report on the order. Written and researched by Kasper Von Liebenstein', the author went missing immediately after its admission. Karin Schiller (assistant to Lord Protector Thaddeus Gamow) was commissioned to revise the book for a second edition.
- 'Rules and Statutes by Heironymous Black: details its namesake as well as the history of the Order. It includes the Six Holy Principles of the order.
- 'Adelman and Swydiger's Brazier and Furnace Maintenance
- Elixirs, Potions and Poultices
- The Doom of King Morgrim Blackbeard: a single book in the library of the Great Temple. It is a Dwarf tome older than Sigmar and is considered a good insight into that race.
- 'Bernhardt's Treatise on the Temptations of Power by Johann Bernhardt: Since the author executed the Elector Count of Wissenland (Konrad von Bluthiem), a member of the Order must now obtain permission from the Emperor to read said book.
- Valten's Expositions of the Damned
- The Life of Sigmar
- The Liber Chaotica by Richter Kleiss: described as a well-intentioned book, special dispensation must be obtained from within the Order to read it.
- The Liber Malefic: It is an act of stupidity to read the unabridged version of this book.[1b]
- Peace for the Damned by Burkhard: exhaustively details the subjugation of the undead.[1c]
In Liebstein's Handbook, the hierarchy of the Order is detailed, or at least so much as a Witch Hunter would be permitted to know of his own secretive Order[1d]:
- Lord Protector and/or Grand Master(s)
- Supreme Council - 12 Knights of the Inner Circle
- Witch Hunter Captains
- Witch Hunters
- Chief Librarian and literary staff
- Sister-aids, laborers and artisans
- Cellarers and animal trainers
- Retinue - made up of an individual's followers including flagellants, zealots and the like.
Slightly in the past of the Old World, The Witch Hunters descended on the ruined city of Mordheim like the torch-wielding fanatics that they are. The Grand Theogonist commanded the Witch Hunters to go and recover the wyrdstone for Sigmar’s temple, and to kill anyone that stood in their way, including the Sisters of Sigmar - a warrior convent who could predict the future (like witches). The Captains of each Witch Hunter warband possessed an edict from the Grand Theogonist giving them divine right to proclaim heresy and snuff out the lives of anyone who might stand in their way. A Captain would often be accompanied by other Witch Hunters, a Sigmarite Warrior Priest and trained warhounds as well as an unruly mob of fanatics which may include crazed and deadly flagellants.
Notable Witch Hunters
- Wolfgart Krieger: personal friend of Sigmar was asked to found the order after the terror of Nagash. Wolfgart was charged by Sigmar to defend the realm against all forms of magic in -30. Wolfgart, knowing that this was a task for more than just himself, founded the Order of the Silver Hammer, known commonly today as the Witch Hunters.[1x]
- Johann Helstrum was named High Priest of Sigmar and head of the Order in 73 IC.[1x]
- Witch Hunter General Johann Van Hal is a dark and grim man, whose only enthusiasm in life is for burning those who practice magic. He is possibly the most famous of the Witch Hunters of the current age, and slew the Vampire Lord Gunther von Bloodfel and purged the haunted castle of the Reikwald. He shares the name of the ancient Necromancer Vanhal and his family seek to atone for there ancestors misdeeds in service to the Order of Sigmar as Witch Hunters. He wields the Stake of Sigmar and is accompanied by the Sigmarite Priest Wilhelm Hasburg who carries the ancient tome 'The Hammer of Witches' and a staff topped with the jawbone of an ox which Sigmar used to slay an army of Skaven.
- Gunther Van Hel: a possible forebear to Johann, Gunther led an army of the empire against Walach Harkon and the vampiric Blood Dragon keep.
- Matthias Thulmann has fought against enemies across the empire, a violent individual he has to balance his conscience with his unforgiving duty. The man is husband to a murdered wife and father to a murdered child. He is accompanied by his less-than-hygienic companion Streng and has also been accompanied by a member of the Black Guard of Morr. Of note, they pair hunted Herr Doktor Weisch, a mad scientist who claims naive individuals seeking medical aid as subjects for his warp-stone driven experiments and leaving a trail of allies, enemies and destruction in his wake. Whilst tracking the individual they have confronted zombie hordes, Necrarch Vampires, a Necromancer, a Greater Daemon of Nurgle, hordes of Skaven, including powerful the grey seers and a Vermin Lord.
- Hoschenfels was said to have burned a thousand proven witches and to have banished a hundred daemons. He wrote a book which can be a boost to a Witch Hunter's faith
- Richt Karver developed a way of torturing devotees of Slaanesh. He would give them a potion which numbs all pain, and then the absence of feeling whilst he tortured his victims would cause the masochists to confess secrets.
In The Wasteland, all Witch Hunters are required to be licensed and there are clear guidelines for the conduct of witch trials. Consequently many Witch Hunters operating in the city seek their prey covertly. [10a]
Notes & sources
- 1: The Witch Hunter's Handbook
- 2: Mordheim rulebook, Needs Citation
- 3: White Dwarf 258, Needs Citation
- 4: Warhammer Armies Vampire Counts (7th Edition), pg. 46
- 5: Witch Hunter (Novel) by C.L. Werner
- 6: Witch Finder (Novel) by C.L. Werner
- 7: Witch Killer (Novel) by C.L. Werner
- 8: Warhammer Quest, Needs Citation
- 9: The Witch Hunter's Tale (Short Story) - Tales from the Ten Tailed Cat (Anthology), Volume 2
- 10: Marienburg: Sold Down the River
- 10a: Crime and Law, pg. 39