Mandates Issued by a person in a position of Imperial power, a Mandate is a binding charter, compelling those addressed in it, or its bearer, to fulfill certain actions or may be considered damned and their lives forfeit. It also grants what powers and resources the author considers necessary and is able to provide to fulfill that mandate.
The most common forms of Mandate include a Mandate of Negotiation, which is carried by one of the Imperium’s select group of diplomats who are allowed contact with alien or heretical forces, the Trading Charter carried by all Rogue Traders, and the Inquisitorial Mandate issued to an Acolyte by their master. A Mandate can come in various forms with the most common ones being parchment, vellum or similar scrolls,though the flayed skins of Heretics and Rogue Psykers are often chosen for the more aggressive of Mandates. Other forms include dataslates, books listing the various and extensive conditions and powers of the Mandate and, for some bonded servants, tattooed text covering the head and chest. A Mandate lists a bearer, and those it applies to. Normally this simply means it affects the bearers allies or enemies depending on what it does, but in some cases the Mandate may specify those who are bound by it, and those who they are bound to capture, kill, or support. In those cases,the Mandate applies only to those listed. These Mandates are only those that have a direct in-game effect. The Mandate of Negotiation or the Trading Charter, while important, would have little in-game effect. Each Mandate has an Imperial virtue associated with it, such as Contemptor Vengeance. These aren’t rules, but rather a quick way of thinking about what the Mandate represents.
The Imperium Acknowledges “Entity/Group/Instance” (Negotiation)
Trade strengthens the Imperium (Commerce)
Rogue Trader Charter (Exploration)
Inquisitorial Mandate (Surrender or die)
Chartist Captain (Voyage)
Allows traveling for a star vessel for certain preordained trade route.
Planetary governor (Tithes)
Bring the Heretic and All Who Stand By Him To Justice (Justice) – Mandates with this or similar wording instruct their bearer to capture those listed in it, so they may be questioned and led to repentance. The authorized holder can take into custody anyone who opposes them – and to be captured by any Imperial agency is a grim fate.
The Emperor’s Will Is Merciless, Let None Survive (Vengeance) – This Mandate is often issued to Arbitrator Death Squads, Inquisitorial Stormtroopers and Ecclesiarchical Execution units, or, in larger scale, to military expeditions such as Crusades. Rather than specifying certain individuals as targets, it tends to target organizations or regions. It is also, in extreme cases, the document that entitles the agents of an Inquisitor to call an Exterminatus. Those who carry this are made fully aware of the level of sin and debasement in their enemies.
Stand Not For the Works of The Witch (Contempt) –Often issued by Witch hunters to their pursuit teams, this Mandate condemns the work of the rogue Psyker, and provides chants known to disrupt the ability of psykers to concentrate and access the warp. The character may spend actions chanting the text of the Mandate, with the result that any psyker within 15 yards cannot use any Concentration Actions.
Obey Him, For His Word Is Mine (Obedience) – Granting the bearer the full power of their patron, this Mandate is issued only to the most trusted of agents. The bearer holds equal Imperial authority as one, who has issued the mandate.
To Surrender Is To Be Damned (Stubbornness) –Mandates of this type have the most fearsome threats for those who fail. Penal Legion, Labor at penal colony, Servitorisation, Deathmasking, lengthy Excruciation, and other, darker, punishments are all common consequences of failure. The fear induced by this is such that Imperial citizens bound under it will go to nearly any lengths to accomplish their mission.
Many Rogue Trader charters are famed across the stars such as the Lost Charter of the Phrax Family, said to contain a drop of the most holy blood possible, that of the Emperor himself, the Steel Charter of Agamar Strick, and the Occult Charter of the nameless master of the Arrowflight, which broke the Aethyr Barrier in the Yalx System.
In others, they are mysteries, such as when it was discovered that every known copy of Homo Sapiens Ad Astra, an instructive text by the great writer Velronius, had vanished at some point since 403.M38.
Still others are the subject of intentional campaigns of destruction. Several religious orders exist on mandate to destroy certain books considered heretical –though the definition of heretical can sway from the Dismal Texts to books considered to contain insufficient references to the Emperor’s holiness and divinity.