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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



If Hoodoo Blues did Florida, it would need its own drat supplement to cover the entire state and then some. On the other hand, Super Florida Man RPG would be a great tabletop RPG to play or run.

"I shoot at the ice cream van with my assault rifle!"
"That's not in your gear but I'll allow it."

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Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Night10194 posted:

The base concept of Lillith is cool. Someone who was wronged, felt used and betrayed, sought freedom and then grasped it in a FYGM way that makes them a champion of doing to others what was done to them seems like a nice cosmic cycle of abuse hook. Just the execution is not quite so interesting.

Yeah, I think the most important thing I learned from all this is that Lilith and the Lilim are all insufferable, and Jordi isn't all bad because he hates Lilith.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Ratoslov posted:

Yeah, I think the most important thing I learned from all this is that Lilith and the Lilim are all insufferable, and Jordi isn't all bad because he hates Lilith.
HAVE WE MENTIONED THAT LILITH AND LILIM ARE TOTALLY HOT RECENTLY BECAUSE THEY ARE (TOTALLY HOT)

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010



Ratoslov posted:

Yeah, I think the most important thing I learned from all this is that Lilith and the Lilim are all insufferable, and Jordi isn't all bad because he hates Lilith.

Yes, but Jordi hates everything. Or is, at best, indifferent to it.

Do Superiors: Eli next. I'm going to just keep voting for Superiors endlessly.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


gradenko_2000 posted:

Spheres of Power

By random roll, our next Sphere is:


Nature

[...]

I found this particular spell school really frustrating to write through and about. So much of it is super-specific and limited for the sake of theme, and while I understand the need for it, the rules are so staid and perfunctory that by the end I could barely muster enthusiasm for the ability to summon a big gently caress-off whirlpool.

Especially when it would require you to have a fight in water anyway. The talents do seem to be able to allow you a measure of flexibility as far as generating plants and water spontaneously, but then it costs you talents and spell points just to be able to do your thing if the terrain isn't cooperative.

Maybe the next spell school will be easier to write about.


I'm also disappointed in this sphere. The effects are both specific and underwhelming, so even when you DO get to use your cool powers, It's not...actually that neat.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Hostile V posted:

If Hoodoo Blues did Florida, it would need its own drat supplement to cover the entire state and then some. On the other hand, Super Florida Man RPG would be a great tabletop RPG to play or run.

"I shoot at the ice cream van with my assault rifle!"
"That's not in your gear but I'll allow it."

Eh... There's genuine history to Florida that could be really interesting in Hoodoo Blues. There's north Florida and the Panhandle which are more traditionally Southern, there's the historic cigar industry boom in the Tampa area, the endless and deadly swamp-jungle of South Florida and the very angry and hostile Seminole fighting the US Army in what borders on Vietnam With Flintlocks, the coastal fishing villages, and the glittering port city of Key West - one of the richest cities in the world in the Antebellum period.


Also, continue with Superiors, please.

NutritiousSnack
Jul 12, 2011


Night10194 posted:

Why do they need a Confederacy at all, anyway? Like, what role does 'Oh and there's a breakway slaver state to the south' really fill in the Western milieu?

Same as Nazis or the like if done well, if not done well...apolgism.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth


The confederacy can be used very well in western stuff. You can contrast their talk of 'freedom' and independence and all with, ya know the whole slavery thing. You can use its very different environment and landscape for some good storytelling, especially if it's fish out of water style 'a bunch of Yankees come down to find treasure' or something. You can tell a pretty drat good war story focusing on the common soldier who really has little say in the problems around him and explore his feelings on poo poo like 'did we seriously just break away from our country?'

Of course, ya know, all that needs slavery and 'southern culture' to be maintained for the story and not whitewashed away...

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Yikes, haven't walked down these roads in a long while. I got PMd about my old stuff, I was the one who ran an In Nomine campaign using Furfur a while ago. One of the few successful full IN games I ever even heard of, which doesn't surprise me. I was steeped nose-deep in In Nomine with its creators and writers for a long long time. Nice to see it still getting some tiny bit of attention.

I guess if you wanted to know In Nomine anything, ever, in excruciating detail, about any aspect, feel free to ask because I devoted more time to writing for that game than I did loving up GURPS to run to my Frakensteinian standards. But if you want to know the answer to your first question, yeah, In Nomine is a weird weird WEIRD product, and a terrible game, mechanically speaking.

I love it.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Black August posted:

Yikes, haven't walked down these roads in a long while. I got PMd about my old stuff, I was the one who ran an In Nomine campaign using Furfur a while ago. One of the few successful full IN games I ever even heard of, which doesn't surprise me. I was steeped nose-deep in In Nomine with its creators and writers for a long long time. Nice to see it still getting some tiny bit of attention.

I guess if you wanted to know In Nomine anything, ever, in excruciating detail, about any aspect, feel free to ask because I devoted more time to writing for that game than I did loving up GURPS to run to my Frakensteinian standards. But if you want to know the answer to your first question, yeah, In Nomine is a weird weird WEIRD product, and a terrible game, mechanically speaking.

I love it.
Is there like, any justification at all for Valefor's dissonance condition of "stay in one spot for a period of time that just happens to be identical to the Archangel of Wind's dissonance condition", especially given that "casing the joint" and other setup things are a very Theft thing to do, other than "Yeah he's literally Wind in disguise"?

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Zereth posted:

Is there like, any justification at all for Valefor's dissonance condition of "stay in one spot for a period of time that just happens to be identical to the Archangel of Wind's dissonance condition", especially given that "casing the joint" and other setup things are a very Theft thing to do, other than "Yeah he's literally Wind in disguise"?

Ok. I need to frame this, all of this, for every conversation here on out before I answer your question.

The framing is this: The writing, setting, and especially the mechanics of In Nomine are a :siren: CLUSTERFUCK :siren:

Detail: In Nomine is a product of many, many people, all of who have had very strong ideas of what angels and demons are, and very strong ideas for the tone of their settings, and tremendously powerful ideas of what their take on a Superior is, which frequently clashes and rollercoasters around the place like a hundred giant snakes tied to a renegade jet turbine and aimed at the local preschool. Especially the first guy who was writing for it, Derek Pearcy. That guy was a goddamn hand to the forehead.

Hey before I talk more there, here's another qualifier to back up why that happened;

BEFORE BETH MCCOY, IN NOMINE DID NOT HAVE A LINE EDITOR.

We're ignoring everything else related to that, but it helps frame the bizarre, inconsistent, and unsettling tone most of the game has in relation to itself. It was, as said, originally a product of the French parody RPG, a game where angels and demons may as well be wearing different hats, a lot of which carried over, didn't carry over, got splatted on the wall, scraped off, and thrown to burn in a pile. So yes, every time something seems weird or stupid, it's probably because some nutcase with no editor was slapping out whatever seemed good at the time.

To answer your question: In Nomine has tremendously poorly thought out and bad mechanics and you should burn 90% of them into a fine, silvery ash. In the parody original, Janus and Valefor were literally the same person. There were a lot of Princes and Archangels that got fused or remixed or repurposed for the SJG version. It was a plot that never really went anywhere, but it was intended as an adventure seed - what is the TRUTH behind Janus and Valefor?? Why are they so similar? What's the secret to their bright/dark reflection?

The truth is that it's up to you, the GM, and their dissonance mechanics suck red asswater because nobody was thinking half of this poo poo out as it hit paper. Sensible GMs of the system toss the Wind's condition or introduce caveats to make it sane. In Nomine walks a weird line where it's very fun to design attunements/dissonance for it, but they can unbalance the game or just have absolutely no use at all without you even realizing it.

Black August fucked around with this message at 00:40 on Feb 5, 2016

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Black August posted:

Sensible GMs of the system toss the Wind's condition or introduce caveats to make it sane.

Yeah, Wind's dissonance condition is so harsh that either you build your campaign around it or you can't have Wind angels in your campaign. The only dissonance condition that's nearly that bad is Secrets', and that one merely makes all sorts of simple day-to-day communication difficult, like ordering a hamburger.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Oh man, the balance issues. Remember: the value of Seraph of Animals ('You can talk to dolphins and get a dolphin body') and Seraph of War ('people get a big penalty to avoiding your damage') is exactly the same.

Impermanent
Apr 1, 2010








Now that I'm thinking about it, Strike! Would make a good system for in nominee

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Ratoslov posted:

Yeah, Wind's dissonance condition is so harsh that either you build your campaign around it or you can't have Wind angels in your campaign. The only dissonance condition that's nearly that bad is Secrets', and that one merely makes all sorts of simple day-to-day communication difficult, like ordering a hamburger.

Which was intentional, for Secrets. The guy who wrote Secrets was crazy and good, and did a pretty great job with a minor Prince and comparatively dull Archangel counterpart. But it did end up a little too byzantine for its own flavor. I'll tell you this, Alaemon is pretty cool as the Archangel of Mystery. Secrets was meant to be designed as more of a NPC-demons type, or the focus of being a double agent in a party for a player good at that type of play, or just an all-Secrets fest that looks like a dead straight and dry run of Paranoia.

This comes back to my other point to explain a lot of the tonal dissonance ( :haw: ) of the game. As I said, every Superior was somebody's baby, or multiple people's babies, who had extremely strong disagreements about their babies identity. It was like... more like a huge shared fanfiction setting than it was a designed game like, say, White Wolf products at the time were. It was a secret club the RPG world didn't know (or care) about, and we all played off one another because In Nomine is some hidden special recipe for a setting that produces absolute rainbows of variations, ideas, and takes on a theme relating to religion and modern paranormal wars.

(Furfur was my baby. But I got off scott free because nobody cared and the line was dying by then anyways.)

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Black August posted:

Ok. I need to frame this, all of this, for every conversation here on out before I answer your question.

The framing is this: The writing, setting, and especially the mechanics of In Nomine are a :siren: CLUSTERFUCK :siren:

Detail: In Nomine is a product of many, many people, all of who have had very strong ideas of what angels and demons are, and very strong ideas for the tone of their settings, and tremendously powerful ideas of what their take on a Superior is, which frequently clashes and rollercoasters around the place like a hundred giant snakes tied to a renegade jet turbine and aimed at the local preschool. Especially the first guy who was writing for it, Derek Pearcy. That guy was a goddamn hand to the forehead.

I've noticed in this writeup that the line is very inconsistent on if it's okay for Superiors from other sides to like get together for drinks or not. In that several things say it's bad, but then on the other hand like every single Superior is noted as actually talking, in person, with Superiors on the other side on a semi-regular basis.

quote:

Hey before I talk more there, here's another qualifier to back up why that happened;

BEFORE BETH MCCOY, IN NOMINE DID NOT HAVE A LINE EDITOR.

We're ignoring everything else related to that, but it helps frame the bizarre, inconsistent, and unsettling tone most of the game has in relation to itself. It was, as said, originally a product of the French parody RPG, a game where angels and demons may as well be wearing different hats, a lot of which carried over, didn't carry over, got splatted on the wall, scraped off, and thrown to burn in a pile. So yes, every time something seems weird or stupid, it's probably because some nutcase with no editor was slapping out whatever seemed good at the time.

To answer your question: In Nomine has tremendously poorly thought out and bad mechanics and you should burn 90% of them into a fine, silvery ash. In the parody original, Janus and Valefor were literally the same person. There were a lot of Princes and Archangels that got fused or remixed or repurposed for the SJG version. It was a plot that never really went anywhere, but it was intended as an adventure seed - what is the TRUTH behind Janus and Valefor?? Why are they so similar? What's the secret to their bright/dark reflection?

The truth is that it's up to you, the GM, and their dissonance mechanics suck red asswater because nobody was thinking half of this poo poo out as it hit paper. Sensible GMs of the system toss the Wind's condition or introduce caveats to make it sane. In Nomine walks a weird line where it's very fun to design attunements/dissonance for it, but they can unbalance the game or just have absolutely no use at all without you even realizing it.
Ah-hah. Yeah, Wind's dissonance condition is pretty loving dire, and when you apply it to thieves, people who need to stay in one place to be any better than purse snatchers or the bank robber equivalent it really shows how nobody was actually thinking about things.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Zereth posted:

I've noticed in this writeup that the line is very inconsistent on if it's okay for Superiors from other sides to like get together for drinks or not. In that several things say it's bad, but then on the other hand like every single Superior is noted as actually talking, in person, with Superiors on the other side on a semi-regular basis.

Inconsistency is the hallmark of the series. You may as well be reading snippets cobbled together from alternate realities into one book. The general, setting-standard is that some Superiors talk to one another, others absolutely do not, Asmodeus and Dominic talk to one another only about the most high profile poo poo, Novalis and Andre collude to stop the other guys from nuking the world 800 times to satisfy their Word boner and ancient grudges, which Michael and Baal sometimes talk about, and everyone else is somewhere up in the air, all of it modified by personal preference and flavor. In Nomine is weird, again, because in this setting, you know exactly who the nigh-untouchable Top Dogs are. You know all the Caines running about because they're your damned Boss, and they want that paper on the desk by 5, or literally so help me God.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I gotta say, I like Furfur because he is the most ridiculous and stupid little poo poo with the most ridiculous and stupid Princedom.

Also he's named loving Furfur.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Superiors: Eli



Eli, remember, is the Archangel of Creation and has gone AWOL for no clear reason since the 60s.

We are told that angels of Creation can only receive Choir Attunements that match their Choir from other Words - a Seraph of Creation can't get the Malakite of Lightning attinuement, though they can get the Malakite of Creation or Seraph of Lightning attunements.
Bright Lilim of Creation may use their resonance to sense the drive to create and, at hihger CDs, know what would enable a creative person to produce a masterwork. No real guidelines provided that make any sense.
Grace of God lets you give Essence to a human who is engaged in some work of art. You must be ablet to see them and they must be preparing or performing the art and about to roll for success. At that point, you may spend Essence to boost their roll as if it were your own. You may spend up to (CElestial Forces) Essence, and if two angels use this at once, only the greater donation does anything. The human has no sense of any assistance but may feel inspired by a higher power. This attunement does cause Disturbance equal to the Essence spent.
Midwife is granted only to the most trusted servitors. It allows you to take one of your Forces and combined them with the donated Forces of two or more celestials to create a reliever. Each parent can contribute only one Force, and the total number of parents, including you, can't exceed your Celestial Forces. All Forces used are lost permanently by all participants. The reliever develops and will fledge as normal, and is the child of all angels that donated Forces, including you. Eli often used to give extra Forces to angels with this attunement, but no longer is around enough to do so.
Uncommon Sense allows you to spend 5 Essence to find a creative approach to a current problem. The GM procides a helpful suggestion, ranging from the sensible to the wildly insightful. If there are no clues or new ways to look at a situation, the attunement fails and the Essence is lost.
Eli offers no Distinctions whatsoever.
Eli can teach the Songs of Correspondence, Creation, Ecstasy, Life, Pestilence, Fruition and Sensation. He discovered those last two.



Common Creation Malakim Oaths:
1. I shall nurture the creative spirit wherever I may find it.
2. I shall protect all orphans.
3. I shall preserve rare species of animals and plants.
4. I shall encourage others to bring new life into the world.
5. I shall help others see the diversity of creation.

Expanded Rites:
1. Deliver a baby. Two Essence for twins, triplets or so on.
2. Complete a work of art.
3. Encourage or otherwise persuade someone to create something.
4. Expose at least ten people to a form of art or craft they've never experienced before.
5. Arrange for a family to spend an hour together happily.

Eli is the patron of all that brings forth new life or new things - art, babies, buildings, whatever. He is one of the most human Archangels, perhaps due to his Mercurian nature or perhaps because of how thoroughly humanity has been interwoven into the idea of Creation. His wandering of Earth bothers many in Heaven, and few know why he has left his Cathedral to walk the land. None can say if he has some secret plan or if he has come close to a Fall. His angels claim he remains true and holy, that he has Redeemed many demons and promotes his Word, but Dominic prepares for a trial.

Creation refers to the act of creation, the concept of bringing forth new from old, something from nothing. It opposes entropy, and Eli hates those who corrupt, but deeply loathes those that destroy. Destruction is nature, but it is a change, not a permanent obliteration. It is supposed to be a sacrifice to allow the new to rise. He delights in what is created, but he can leave it behind and move onto the new instantly, leaving others to maintain what is or use it to make something else. While all that lives contributes to the Word of Creation, humanity is its most prolific proponent. Humans create not only children, but art, machines, other things and ideas. They make the new every day. A child's sketch is as much a contribution as a masterpiece. Many wonder if the power humanity brings to his Word is what sent Eli mad.

Eli was among the eldest angels, born after David, who laid the foundation, but before Uriel, who purified what Eli made. With the other early angels, he helped to shape the stars and planets and give rise to life. When the first storyteller told the first story, Eli was there. When the first painter made the first markings on a cave wall, Eli was there. As humans evolved and became able to create more interesting things, Eli grew only more interested. He left sex to Jordi and Novalis and love to Andrealphus, submerging himself in the joy of invention. His angels were just as enthusiastic, and he and they had neither time nor interest to listen to Lucifer. Though they acted as the conduit for the creation of Adam, Lilith and Eve, they had no real interest in those humans. When Lilith left, Eli shrugged and went back to his work, asking his angels to report if she did anything interesting. As an experiment, the Edem Experiment didn't matter to Eli. He believed it had little to do with Creation and considered it a test of human spirituality at Lucifer's whim.

Due to his fascination with the act of creation and his utter lack of concern for its purpose, he nearly found himself a Rebel by inertia. Creation was everything to him and he never considered what it might be used for. Had it not been for Dominic, Eli might have Fallen. He watched the turmoil in confusion, listening to Lucifer's lectures of freedom and dominion. Lucifer had never paid much attention to Eli, seeing him as little better than the humans, but Eli found his words compelling, found the notion of being deprived of Earth's beauty horrifying. But it was then that Eli saw Dominic move among the angels, reminding them that God had given each of them free will and that they must use their judgment in exercising it. For each action has a consequence, and any choice must choose both action and consequence. Eli thought of his work and realized for the first time that he was responsible for what it might do. The choice was his - accept responsibility and use his Creation to build and inspire, or cast it away and just make things endlessly.

With a sudden cry of fury and grief, Eli turned away from Lucifer and began to create tools to defeat him. After the Rebellion was defeated, Eli found himself adopting many angelic orphans, former servants of the Fallen. Many had once served the Word of Love, Light, Laughter and even Fear. The wide scope of Creation attracted many angels who wanted to make a new start and find something better from the wreckage of their past. spurred by this and his realizations, Eli tightened his definition of Creation. It became a positive force linked to responsibility for one's work and the choice of what to make or do. It all seemed to be going well until the sins of the Grigori were revealed.

Eli's Rites celebrate the creation of life, and consensual sex honors his Word. He didn't object to the Grigori having sex with humans from affection and joy. But when he discovered not only that monsters had been born - possibly an accident that could be forgiven - but that the Grigori were conealing or killing these children and still loving humans...well, that was deliberate sin, and Eli was horrified to his core that Creation could be twisted into mere rut. Even though some were innocent of the crime, almost all know what their siblings were doing and had kept silent. Eli went to Dominic. He found that Dominic and Litheroy had suspicions, but now they had proof. With this proof, Dominic had David arrest the entire Choir of Grigori for trial and destroyed any of the monstrous children they could find. Eli watched in cold fury as the Grigori were exiled en masse to Earth - those who had sinned, those who had kept silent and those who had been innocent but would not desert their Choirmates. It was then that Dominic began to fear what Eli's Word might do to some of his angels.



The Purity Crusade outraged Eli. He had no special love of ethereals, but he could see what the war was doing to the Marches and to Dreams, and to the dreams of all humans. He knew humans needed rest to strengthem themselves to create, and it was obvious to him that Uriel's blind passion was hurting the Word of Creation. It was a relief when God removed Uriel. Eli liked Laurence and admired his purity of heart, though he did not share it, and he respected Laurence's wish for constructive vigor and creative deeds of bravery.



Gabriel's trial was a surprise for Eli, who was far too busy with the new poetry and philosophies of Islam to care about politics. When he was summoned to involve himself, he arrived just in time to witness Gabriel leaving Heaven. He admired the creativity of the solution and believed that Gabriel had been divinely inspired, but he was saddened it had come htat far. As the centuries passed, Eli was only ever more impressed by humanity's ability to create and to create new media to be creative in. Even though Jean had forewarned him of the printing press, the pipe organ and movies, each new work was a joy. He and his angels tended to stay out of politics, allying with the Peace Faction of Heaven more from inertia and disinterest in fighting than any deep belief.

Nobody can really say the exact moment Eli left, though 1957 is the last year he was ever seen in Heaven. When Dominic began to investigate in the 60s, he found that more and more of Eli's angels had been sent to work with other Words or senior Wordbound, but it had been doing quietly and gradually, such that not even the angels of Creation know what was happening. Eli himself answered invocation only unreliably, and while seen sometimes on Earth, he was never in Heaven and would not meet with other Archangels. His angels went from shock to faith to nubmed resignation.

Whatever Eli is doing, his Word has not faltered - if anything, it has only grown stronger, though in part corrupted by Nybbas, Kronos and other Princes. The angels of Creation remain faithful that Eli is strong and pure, working to encourage humans. When surprised or questioned, Eli has occasionally seemed confused or uncertain, or even needed to be reminded who the angels he dealt with were, or that he was Eli. He walks the Earth in many faces, pursuing mysterious goals, but always calm and happy.



Some say that Eli was far more deeply involved in the Grigori affair than is generally believed. They claim he instigated the crossbreeding with mortals in an attempt to create a new, stable angel-human hybrid. When it seemed likely that Dominic and David would find out, they say he publicly accused the Grigori to cover his own misdeeds, Those who believe this suspect htat Eli continued the project in secret, and that his recent disappearance means he's reached a critical phase.

Some say that Eli's lack of interest in religion is all a con. He's behind most of the great religions of hte world, and he plays the other Archangels against each other to maximize his own power while staying neutral. They believe he deliberatel designed Islam to counter Christianity, and that he encourages every holy war while pretending to protect art. Of course, those who believe this tend to believe a lot of things about Eli.

Next time: Who is Eli

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Mors Rattus posted:

I gotta say, I like Furfur because he is the most ridiculous and stupid little poo poo with the most ridiculous and stupid Princedom.

Also he's named loving Furfur.

I'll have you know (and Furfur will have you know as well in his hypocritical stupid rear end way) that Furfur is one of Solomon's canonical 72 Devils! Very famous, high prestige, clearly destined for great things.

I have an expanded near-full write-up of Furfur sitting around I did. Never gonna get it published, but eh. Rather see the other major Sups get material first - and before you ask, yes, the Eli book was kind of fucky and controversial in some ways. Not as much as poor drat Zadkiel was, but still a bit of a hard way.

Eli... is nothing like you'd think he is, after you play with him enough with the people who wrote the books. Eli is kind of batshit conceptually.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Oh, he's in the Lesser Key, yeah.

He's still named Furfur, though.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Black August posted:

Eli... is nothing like you'd think he is, after you play with him enough with the people who wrote the books. Eli is kind of batshit conceptually.

I dunno, he seems like the 90s counter-culture archangel striking back against The Man with drugs, sex, and rock'n'roll as heavenly good things.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

I dunno, he seems like the 90s counter-culture archangel striking back against The Man with drugs, sex, and rock'n'roll as heavenly good things.

Yeah that's exactly what I mean. That's his Derek Pearcy circa-1995 image. dude gets a bit of a deeper brush here. Not one I all agree with, but that's par the course.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I'm interested in hearing about Zadkiel drama.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Black August posted:

Yeah that's exactly what I mean. That's his Derek Pearcy circa-1995 image. dude gets a bit of a deeper brush here. Not one I all agree with, but that's par the course.

My overall spin on this setting, which I do intend to try starting a game for on a different site once my real life affairs settle down some, is that both heaven and hell are more or less ready to throw in the towel to an angelic victory, but the War is being prolonged by hardliners on both sides: most notably Lucifer.

The central twist, as I'm conceiving things, is that Lucifer was the second soul created by God, and like Yves he saw the entirety of the Symphony from beginning to all possible ends. Ultimately, the Symphony could go in two different ways: Yves is more or less the consciousness of one possible course of reality, and Kronos the other. What Lucifer saw, however, is that both creation's Destiny and creation's Fate ultimately involve the end of the celestials. That is what Lucifer rebelled against, and in my take on things why his moment of Falling was his murder of Azrael, Archangel of the Dead. Lucifer prizes his own existence above all else, and it was the knowledge of her eventual destruction that brought Lilith into his fold.

Lucifer's goal, then, is to play both sides against each other for all eternity: prevent creation from reaching its Destiny or Fate.

Unfortunately for him, things are approaching the point of no return despite him slowing things down immensely. The rise of Leviathan, my homebrew Archangel of the Sea, in the 15th century was a bad sign for Lucifer's plans and Leviathan herself is a young but powerful archangel. Nybbas was Lucifer's response, a counterweight to keep the War going. Unfortunately it worked a bit too well and indirectly lead to the ascendance of Haagenti, who unbeknowest to all but Lucifer, Yves, and Kronos is a dire harbinger of the end times. Then Khalid returned to heaven, another ominous portent.

Lucifer and Lilith want to live forever, but creation - earthly, ethereal, and celestial alike - is quickly spinning out of their ability to control.


The PCs would be put into the middle of a complex and sensitive situation on their first outing together, unbeknowest to them another situation watched very closely indeed by Yves and Kronos.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Superiors: Eli - Lords of Creation

Some believe that Eli left Heaven to join the love of his life: Andrealphus. Their hostility, this rumor says, is pure pretense and their ranking servants cooperate in secret. Whether the two end up in Heaven or Hell is up for debate, but they don't plan to be apart. Of course, discovery would destroy them both, and the people that believe this say that Dominic and Asmodeus have teamed up to find the truth.

Others say that the Archangel that meets with Creationers isn't Eli. He is a fragment of Eli's Forces, sapient and believing himself complete. That is because Eli was rendered into his component Forces in 1908 when he was at Tunguska and saved the Earth by interposing himself before the meteorite that struck, which would otherwise have altered Earth's orbit and eventually cause an Ice Age. (Angels of Lightning tend to find the entire theory painful to listen to.) Anyway, the Forces were seized by Vapula and used to bbost Nybbas, drastically increasing his power. To heal Eli would mean dissecting Nybbas and returning the Forces.



Eli in person is a mix of selfish artist, generous teacher, cheerful observer and absent-minded professor. He is friendly and kind, but he is easily distracted by the joy of working, and while his perception is keen, he can be blind to what happens before him. Some wonder what might be so important that it can distract him from Heaven for decades. Like any Wordbound, his Word warps his personality. Eli sees everything as an unfinished art piece or an artist waiting to create. As far as he's concerned, everyone can create something, and should, even if it's not high art or beautiful. Eli is rarely idle, even when talking to others - he sketches, he writes, he knits, he plays instruments or draws. He inspires enthusiasm in those around him almost without thinking about it. He's delighted by it, in fact. He is genuinely nice, joyful and cheerful, and in the past he even was able to make Dominic smile.



Above all else, Eli is an Archangel, and however selfish his urge to create is, he will put it aside for the greater good. He burns to make new things and to inspire others to make new things, but he does it with responsibility and expects the same from others. He will not ignore cruelty just because it has no link to his Word. However, he does actively support his Word. He encourages, inspires and indulges in the act of creation. Creative humans should be supported, he believes, and even the uninspired and poorly trained should be motivated to find some art or craft to enjoy, that they might appreciate the works of others. Biologically, he believes in protecting pregnant mothers and encouraging stable families as well as reminding couples that happy babies are wonderful. And finally, there's whatever task now consumes Eli. For the moment, he finds that this equals the importance of his Word and his Archangelic nature, driving him to neglect his servants in order to bring it to conclusion.



Eli does not enjoy the War, but he doesn't want to give up on it, either. If all demons were to surrender, he would be happy to design the temporary housing for them to wait for Redemption in, but while they choose to meddle, he will stop them. However, he finds it very easy to see the latent creative abilities in demons and Hellsworn, and he'd rather convert and Redeem than kill. Thus, he's more likely to support the Peace faction than the War faction in Heaven, but he is prone to agree with the War group that Hell must be resisted forcefully to keep humans safe. He favors immediate strikes against destructive demons and more tolerant treatment of those that he considers to have potential.

Eli did not create himself, God did. God is the ultimate Creator, and Eli is just playing in His very large sandbox. However, as Eli sees it, God has withdrawn from active intervention and left it to the Archangels to do what they think they must. This fits Eli's view on responsibility. It also means that if he decides on an action, he'll do it without hesitation. God left him the power and responsibility, and it's up to him to use it.

Lucifer was Eli's big brother. He was brilliant, a genius, a shining Seraph of immense beauty. His Fall warped the grand and glorious creation that had been Lucifer. It doesn't matter that he did it to himself - it was a perversion of Creation. Eli might have forgiven him, and every other Fallen...but they didn't make their own choice. They gave Lucifer the responsibility and he accepated what he manipulated them into giving. That Lucifer would corrupt not only himself but so many others - that Eli cannot forgive.

Once, Eli was a stabilizing factor in Heaven's politics, much as Marc is. He tried to find creative solutions to arguments, and his absence has widened the gap between War and Peace factions. His closeness to humans and their interests made him a popular ally for any project dealing with humanity directly, and some Archangels probably feel guilty for suspecting him, however justified they are. This makes them react all the more harshly when he's the topic of discussion. It's not nice or comfortable to suspect one of your oldest friends has Fallen. The Princes are likewise suspicious - they assume Eli is up to something sneaky, and to them, that means it must be some devious and self-aggrandizing act. Most of them hope he's on the verge of a Fall and will soon join them...as an inferior, of course. But there's no real evidence to support that besides his self-exile, though that is a potent fact on its own. Eli has made comments about their vivid imaginations, and it's tended to annoy the Princes that hear about it.

Superior Opinions posted:

Blandine: I have learned a lot from Eli, and he is a good friend. He sees something wonderful in every part of Creation; and he understands that it's necessary to rest and take stock, and take pleasure in the glorious things that God has made.
Hey, she's great. No, really. She stays out of the bickering. She dedicates herself to helping humanity bridge the gap between what they want to be and who they are. And who they want to be with. That's an important dream, the best. Her Word embodies a point that a lot of angels miss - it's okay to be motivated by what feels good. It's a damned shame about Beleth.
David: One by one, my old companions go away. On the surface, Eli's abandoment of Heaven demonstrates every quality I condemn. Unlike Dominic, however, I trust that there is more to the story.
He's as much a builder as a fighter. People forget that - he forgets that himself, sometimes.
Dominic: He walked away from Heaven, drowned himself in humanity even as the Watchers did. There will be a judging. If I am wrong, the Lord will correct me and pardon Eli.
So many eyes, how can he be so blind? Such shining wings, why doesn't he fly? Such a beautiful voice, why doesn't he sing? Poor Dominic.
Gabriel: His flames have broke free, and now he runs across the world like wildfire, destroying the old and bringing new growth. I understand that. But there is something dangerous, a lack of balance in him and his angels - they love so much and know so little...they are so beautiful.
She's intense, you have to hand it to her - she puts up with a lot of crap. And she really needs to lighten up - she's way too quick to torch those who could be put right with a little effort. But I'll tell you something - I would be nowhere without her. How many sotries were born around a campfire?
Janus: One hundred per cent in favor. My kind of Archangel. Whoo!
Change - possibility - horizon. That's Janus, and that's why we need him. He opens the windows on new worlds for us all.
Jean: Inspiration and creativity naturally go together. His current activites are disturbing, but there is no reason to penalize his Servitors for it, and every reason to maintain good relations. One cannot easily exert sympathetic influence if one has tried harsh influence first.
He just needs to lighten up. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - humans don't need that tight a level of control. Wonder how he'd react if I told him what I was really up to? Probably enough lightning bolts to power every generator in China.
Jordi: The birds decorate their nests, the beavers decorate their dams, and the hairless apes decorate everything. I suppose it's perfectly natural. It may be the only natural thing they do nowadays.
It's a problem, you know? Balancing everything, giving all creation its own area to grow in. We need someone like him watching over everything that's not human. And hey, just look at this butterfly - have you ever seen anything to equal its wings?
Laurence: What in Hell does he think he's doing? Does he think being one of the first Archangels excuses him from participating in the War, that his job is over and now he can take a vacation while the rest of us try to save Creation? I fear Dominic may be right about him.
Nice kid...a little intense, but that comes with the job. I know he's upset that I'm not up there in Heaven, but I think he's doing fine without me. I have faith in him - it's too bad he can't reciprocate.
Marc: I'm sure Eli knows where to find the proper market share, and if he feels that he needs to be down on the shop floor getting all-level input, who am I to object? Just so long as he remembers to get some top-level meetings done as well. We need him. Without him, we're all lessened.
People are always trying to put prices on creative works. Marc does it right - with respect for both sides, in ways that leave everyone the winner. He brings two people together and they create something new.
Michael: Maybe Eli is doing what he needs to be doing - and I won't help Dominic persecute him - but the middle of the War is no drat time to go AWOL! His Servitors are good fighters. I have nothing to say against them. I just want a little talk with him.
Well, hey, you have to admire his enthusiasm, you know? Thing is, he doesn't stop to think about what's happened after the fight's over. Everyone else has to pick up the pieces. He's got style, though. An individualist. Gotta love that.
Novalis: Eli's the taproot of Creation; it goes down and cracks the rocks, and trees rise from it that brush the clouds of Heaven. He's a sweetheart. He's doing what he thinks is right. He genuinely loves so much. God have mercy on those who rouse his anger.
A total honey, as full of life and diversity as a thousand of her flowers. She gives and gives and never runs dry. Everlasting wings to shelter, everlasting love to share.
Yves: I understand his wanderlust; creation is fleeting and elusive if one grows too detached from it. We tend to spend so much time contempalting the intangibles that we lose touch with what's real. I trust that Eli won't lose himself in the process.
Yves? Yves? Oh, God. I love him, he's wonderful. Always was. Half of the Seraphim Council are as stuffy and narrow as they are just to compensate for the humility he makes them feel. It's not something he does on purpose, but it's a problem for them to get over some day.
Andrealphus: He's undisciplined and self-indulgent - and those are his good points. But he wants to drag my Servitors nad all of us into feeling. That I can't allow. Fortunately, his angels require very little training to make them see the light. As for Eli himself...I have all the time in the world.
Andre? He doesn't understand. He just does not understand. My angels and I have to fight him when we could have worked together to make things better. He twists what I sharte, and then he claims it's the truth. Man, some days I just pity him...and some days I want to kill him, too.
Asmodeus: He is...excessively creative in his interpretation of the Rules. This recent strategy of his bears watching, given that unpredictability, though it is convenient to collect his discarded cards while he claims to leave the table. If he bluffs too long, all his infinite creations shall become mine - whether he Falls or not.
I don't think Asmodeus understands quite how creative he gets sometimes. All those shadow-plays, lies, traps, counters, moves - man. It's not that I like him, but hey, he has his cool moments.
Baal: At last - a genuine defector in the highest ranks. This is going to be one of the biggest propaganda coups in history. Tell me, should I have my photo taken welcoming him to Gehenna as my newest subordinate, or would I look better with his crumpled, bleeding Impudite body at my feet as I beat him into shape?
He's very good at what he does. It's a great pity that he does it. Note for reference: does not take criticism well.
Beleth: Ahhh, if only he were serving me - creating endless nightmares, using that imagination of his to help me torture those petty little humans, for ever and ever and ever. The perfect bedtime story. Imagine Blandine's face...
It's a drat shame about Blandine, and it's a drat shame about Beleth too. She has inspiration that could touch millions. Lucifer owes bigtime for what he did to her.
Belial: You expect me to bother about this petty joke of an Archangel? Of course I'd like to exhibit his flash-fried body where Gabriel could see it, but other than that...
A certain crude talent for reds and yellows, but lacking any real inspiration outside his particular field. His fire destroys what it touches, and I can't work with that.
Haagenti: He makes stuff; I eat it. It's the perfect relationship. Besides, the way he's acting, he has to be heading our way - can't wait to have him down here!
This is wasted potential, man. He could have been so much - look at how far he's come - and it goes nowhere. Imagine that sort of energy harnessed where it could do some good. As it is, he doesn't create. He's just walking entropy, and I won't stand for that.
Kobal: It's only a matter of time before the "Archangel" of Creation joins us. He's already cheerily disillusioned with Heaven...given a chance, I'm sure I could finish the job.
The guy needs to cut people some slack, man. He never knows when to stop with the cutting comments. I remember when he was one of the good guys, and he was pretty cool then. What the heck happened?
Kronos: For every fate there may be a destiny, but for every destiny there is a fate. Eli has chosen to wind his own fate with that of thousands of others, the fruit of a long-past sin. When he falls, so shall they; when they join us, so shall he.
Will someone just kill this guy already? And I don't say that casually. He wants the worst, the ultimate worst, for you, for me, for everyone. He's everything Yves isn't, and everything Yves would never be.
Lilith: If I were the sort of person who knew what he was up to, I wouldn't be able to hand over information about it without a very considerable bribe. But I'll say this for him; he may not be Marc, but he knows how to cut a deal, and he has the monopoly on some very useful things.
A real lady, but don't promise her the moon unless you want to deliver! Loads of fun at parties. [pause] Ah, don't mention you heard that from me.
Malphas: Excuse me, I'm far too busy taking advantage of his little walkabout. Oh, this is just too rich. And remember, artistic criticism is one of the classic ways of splitting a group. Fandom flame wars on the internet make me feel soooo good.
Discussion is good. Knifing the other guy in the back to prove your art is True Art is bad. How many times do I have to repeat myself?
Nybbas: He provides me with some of my best people! All I have to do is find out who Eli's scouting, and offer them a better deal. The Essence just comes rolling in! He's a fun guy, too, better than the stuffed shirts still up in Dullsville. If I could get him into my organization, there'd be no stopping us.
He recycles and mass-produces entertainment, encourages hacks, sends his parasites to drain and discard the truly talented. The Media is a blight to creativity, abusing people's desire to see imagination in action. And it's such a waste of what he could be!
Saminga: Soon he will turn away from this folly of bringing more living things into the world. He should come and serve me, designing beauty in destruction and experiencing true perfection in death! The rotting glories of my kingdom wait to welcome him.
Death cannot kill the heart or claim the soul, nor can it destroy the beauties of Heaven. Of course, it can do a pretty good number on the body, so let's all be careful out there.
Valefor: Can you believe it? He just gave away his stuff - all of it! I couldn't have robbed him blinder. His little choo-choo has gone 'round the bend, but he does throw cool parties - and either he doesn't care I'm there or he's too stoned to notice.
Man, this cat is seriously screwed-up! There are some wicked vibes coming from him. Too wrapped-up in possessions, not enough love. He needs to take a hit and relax.
Vapula: Feckless and inconsequential, but he has some native talent. I might dein to allow him to serve, in some minor capacity.
So much talent, so much potential, so much hatred. He could create so many beautiful things, but he twists them in order to bind himself more tightly into the dark.
Humanity: They create things that I can't. I love them.
Soldier of God: We're made to do what we do. They choose it. Support them, help them, do the Macarena with them, everything. Try to keep them out of trouble with Judgment, though - yes, and that means no babies.
Soldiers of Hell: The poor things have been misled into signing up for eternal damnation. Employ the carrots of eternal salvation and a cooler boss. Failing that, employ the big stick until they ask for the carrot.
Sorcerers: I have this really cool collection of seventeenth-century woodcuts...okay, seriously, the word "stupid" was probably coined to describe people like this. "Stupid morons" is even better. If you come across any, get the nearby innocents out of the inevitable crash-and-burn zone.







Variations! Eli the Surfer Dude is the dropout stoner angel, complete with slang, weed and poo poo stuffed under the bed. He's cheerful, relaxed and laid-back, and his escapes from Judgment are basically a farce. He probably has a good reason for being absent from Heaven and he's not going to Fall. Conspiracy Theory Eli is on the run for very good reasons and knows what will happen if he's caught. He's a paranoid fugitive, either pursuing a plan most of Heaven won't approve of or having discovered corruption at the heart of Heaven and fleeing destruction. He and his angels are being pursued by Judgment and perhaps others, and most of Heaven does not trust them. Of course, this requires a similarly shadowy and dangerous Dominic, and a polarized and dangerous Heaven. Insane Artist Eli is consumed by his Word. Everything is a canvas to be worked on, everyone a fellow artist to train or collaborate with. Eli can barely handle coherent conversation, and while he's not unpleasant, he is more interested in painting a massacre than stopping it. He may well be having kids with humans via the Songs of Fruition. Eli on the Brink is on the edge of a Fall, so seduced by humanity that he lives among them, indulging in every vice, and if it weren't for his creative instinct, he could easily be mistaken for an Impudite. He's charming and friendly, but he doesn't plan to stop, and if pushed too far, he might destroy angels in his way. He is possible working with Hell or the Grigori to avoid Judgment, and his angels are in danger as well. He might be able to be saved, but it won't be easy.



The Halls of Creation, Eli's Cathedral, once hummed with activity. They are still busy at times, but now it seemms desperate, as the angels wonder if their master will ever return. Nothing can mar the beauty of the art in the Halls, nor the joy of the souls that come to celebrate what is created, but the angels can hear the doubt behind the scenes. Much of the time, the place is quiet and still. The angels have moved their Hearts or hidden them, no longer comfortable with leaving them in the great halls that once shown with a thousand points of holy light. The busiest parts are the Tether-loci, still frequently in use. The Halls themselves are a grand museum of achievements and a labyrinth leading to new wonders and classes. Those who wish to leave can always find the exit, but those that wish to explore will find maps unimportant - the true exploration is of the mind and soul. The place itself will help travelers get where they need to be, with the chance to make new things on the way.

Next time: Abandoned Heaven

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Black August posted:

(Furfur was my baby. But I got off scott free because nobody cared and the line was dying by then anyways.)

Wait, the line was dying by the time Night Music rolled around? Wasn't that the first supplement?

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Black August posted:

I'll have you know (and Furfur will have you know as well in his hypocritical stupid rear end way) that Furfur is one of Solomon's canonical 72 Devils! Very famous, high prestige, clearly destined for great things.

I have an expanded near-full write-up of Furfur sitting around I did. Never gonna get it published, but eh. Rather see the other major Sups get material first - and before you ask, yes, the Eli book was kind of fucky and controversial in some ways. Not as much as poor drat Zadkiel was, but still a bit of a hard way.

Eli... is nothing like you'd think he is, after you play with him enough with the people who wrote the books. Eli is kind of batshit conceptually.

Be honest: Eli is literally Destruction from Sandman, right? The personality, the arc, even his Word being a reverse of Destruction. That plus the kind of hippie philosophers that I Don't Even Own A Television calls a Weed Dad.

quote:

Variations! Eli the Surfer Dude is the dropout stoner angel, complete with slang, weed and poo poo stuffed under the bed. He's cheerful, relaxed and laid-back, and his escapes from Judgment are basically a farce. He probably has a good reason for being absent from Heaven and he's not going to Fall. Conspiracy Theory Eli is on the run for very good reasons and knows what will happen if he's caught. He's a paranoid fugitive, either pursuing a plan most of Heaven won't approve of or having discovered corruption at the heart of Heaven and fleeing destruction. He and his angels are being pursued by Judgment and perhaps others, and most of Heaven does not trust them. Of course, this requires a similarly shadowy and dangerous Dominic, and a polarized and dangerous Heaven. Insane Artist Eli is consumed by his Word. Everything is a canvas to be worked on, everyone a fellow artist to train or collaborate with. Eli can barely handle coherent conversation, and while he's not unpleasant, he is more interested in painting a massacre than stopping it. He may well be having kids with humans via the Songs of Fruition. Eli on the Brink is on the edge of a Fall, so seduced by humanity that he lives among them, indulging in every vice, and if it weren't for his creative instinct, he could easily be mistaken for an Impudite. He's charming and friendly, but he doesn't plan to stop, and if pushed too far, he might destroy angels in his way. He is possible working with Hell or the Grigori to avoid Judgment, and his angels are in danger as well. He might be able to be saved, but it won't be easy.

Every single one of these roles screams 'Oscar for Matthew McConeghy'

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 05:43 on Feb 5, 2016

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Rand Brittain posted:

I'm interested in hearing about Zadkiel drama.

I ain't got too much liberty I should abuse, but... her final product, which started as a sort of bland one-page deal anyways, ended up way different than I expected. And there was author drama. Lots of big personalities all angry about headcanons, lots of uh, material that was forcibly edited out in swathes to tone down what was there originally. Look, I'm just gonna say as fun as IN is, a bunch of nerd hobby white people in New England and various similar locales shouldn't even be trying to write Muslim-sensitive poo poo into a religion-heavy game without a deadly clear grasp of the politics and concepts, especially when you got poo poo like the Final Trumpet already going all "YUP, KHALID FALLS, HERE HE IS AS THE HABBALITE PRINCE OF FANATICISM AND LITERAL ACTUAL JIHAD, COMPLETE WITH PICTURE OF PLANE EXPLODING"

This game was tripping over White Wolf levels of not having a delicate touch with messy issues. Beth has done some good work. A lot of the books used to just be filled with total garbage that cheapened the whole concept to the point of poor satire. I ran Zadkiel as a silent protector angel, in the sense that she was Protection as Heaven's Assassin and sent her knights and sharpshooters out to nip problems before they became something the Sword had to deal with, or just keep key people alive.

Cythereal posted:

The PCs would be put into the middle of a complex and sensitive situation on their first outing together, unbeknowest to them another situation watched very closely indeed by Yves and Kronos.

Sounds good. That's why In Nomine is really fun; it gives you an excellent toolbox of characters and concepts and allows you to twirl a lot of knobs to match your taste. I managed to run my game as Street Mythic, where I had a lot of simple street level stuff, mixed with Earth-shaking events that nobody was actually aware of, since it followed a hidden war inside of a hidden war. In Nomine is utterly fantastic if you want to explore the really mythic and mystic aspects of religious concepts, despite its boxed standard of kind of explainable and logical stuff. Setting supports AUs like it was a dirty habit and it was passing out needles. The Game Master's Guide is an excellent read, as is the Infernal Player's Guide.

PantsOptional posted:

Wait, the line was dying by the time Night Music rolled around? Wasn't that the first supplement?

No. Night Music was when the line began to first thrive, since Beth stepped in to become Line Editor around... book 3 of the Rev Cycle? Salvaged it from some serious nonsense. The original Furfur, in the 1997 book Night Music, is one of the worst written pieces of material in the entire line, including his mechanics, which are Broken. That entire book was rife with Derek's bizarre love of "Angels are horrible, demons are worse, humans are hosed, Heaven and Hell want nothing good for anyone, much less you".

I liked Furfur as a concept and did a full-length expanded write-up of him, and then ran a game with him as the main Prince. Nobody noticed because I was literally the only one who cared enough, everyone else was after bigger fish like Asmodeus, the Grigori, Jean, and so on.


Count Chocula posted:

Be honest: Eli is literally Destruction from Sandman, right? The personality, the arc, even his Word being a reverse of Destruction. That plus the kind of hippie philosophers that I Don't Even Own A Television calls a Weed Dad.

Well, not exactly. He's Creation. He is the Universe. He is Creation AND Destruction. He encompasses a terrifying number of concepts. He also has a deep, cold, and not holy dislike of the Grigori and anyone who pulls similar poo poo. A lot of people liked to play him hippy dippy, or some myssteeeeeeerious Dr. Who acting jackass. Some people? Ran him as personable and very much not to be hosed with, because everyone underestimates him. Dominic has every reason to be concerned, but he might not be able to DO anything about it.

Black August fucked around with this message at 07:00 on Feb 5, 2016

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Black August posted:

Sounds good. That's why In Nomine is really fun; it gives you an excellent toolbox of characters and concepts and allows you to twirl a lot of knobs to match your taste. I managed to run my game as Street Mythic, where I had a lot of simple street level stuff, mixed with Earth-shaking events that nobody was actually aware of, since it followed a hidden war inside of a hidden war. In Nomine is utterly fantastic if you want to explore the really mythic and mystic aspects of religious concepts, despite its boxed standard of kind of explainable and logical stuff. Setting supports AUs like it was a dirty habit and it was passing out needles. The Game Master's Guide is an excellent read, as is the Infernal Player's Guide.

Yeah, my premise boils down to Lucifer and Lilith being terrified of death and willing to do anything in order to avoid it. They're supported by a few Princes and Archangels who share their fear or who don't want to acknowledge that ultimately humans are more important to the Symphony - more important to God - than the celestials are. They've prolonged the Earth experiment by thousands of years, yet the signs of the coming apocalypse are still happening: the rise of Leviathan and Haagenti, the return of Khalid, Kobal's plans.

For those in the know, at this point the only question is how it ends: in Destiny or Fate.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




STORIES, PART 3

Let's talk three alternate modes for NBA.

Martini, Straight Up
Maybe you don't like vampires or the supernatural! Maybe you want less Buffy and more James Bond. This mode has you covered!

Investigative Ability Changes
Instead of ridiculous vampire-slaying super-agents, the party is now spies, specializing in information gathering. Instead of rogue agents, you work for a government intelligence agency.

The abilities Art History, Astronomy, Chemistry, Diagnosis and Foresnic Pathology are no longer available - to do those things, you'll need to use Network to recruit an expert, or Interpersonal abilities to schmooze one. Occult Studies and Vampirology are gone. Several other abilities get absorbed into other abilities. Archaeology now falls under History, Human Terrain, or Urban Survival. Architecture now falls under Urban Survival. Flirting falls under Flattery, Photography falls under Electronic Surveillance and Data Recovery.

Since the ability pool just shrunk, Build points are reduced accordingly - 16 for 5+ players, 25 for 2 players.

Bureaucracy
This ability existed as an investigative ability in vanilla NBA, but now it's a General ability. In addition to its other uses, you use Bureaucracy to try and get your agency to do things for you - authorize rescue of a captured asset, lower Heat, retask satellites, release classified files. You have powerful allies, but making them do you favors isn't easy.

Something you have clearance for is Difficulty 3. If you have to pull strings to get it done, Difficulty 5. Something you have no business asking for, Difficulty 7. +1 difficulty for working across agencies, +2 for requesting things from other governments. At that point, you're probably better off using Network to build contacts within those agencies.

In Burn games, success by a margin of 0-1 means that to get your favor, you have to do a favor, and it won't be something you like. In Dust games, all Bureaucracy difficulties are 1 higher. In Mirror games, the agency tracks Trust with each agent, and can spend that Trust to harm the agents if it double-crosses them.

Bureaucracy of 8+ grants the cherry Friends Upstairs. This gives anyone trying to use Bureaucracy to hurt you +1 to their roll Difficulties - it's the bureaucratic equivalent of Hard to Hit.

The Dunwich Sanction
Vampires are no longer the bad guys - now you're up against the fraying edges of reality itself. That's right, it's Cthulhu time!

This mode is a crossover between Night's Black Agents and another GUMSHOE game, Trail of Cthulhu. It can be set up a few ways - maybe you're part of a large, ignorant government agency, maybe you're part of a small conspiracy that knows The Truth. Maybe it's more like vanilla NBA, where you're burned operatives who uncover horrible knowledge.

ToC's sanity rules are added to the game, along with new abilities - Cthulhu Mythos, Frince Science, Geology, Physica, Theology. If the agents are members of a government agency that combats the eldritch gods, combine with the above Bureaucracy rules for Martini, Straight Up. The rules of the game are still generally NBA, not ToC, and vampires might even still exist - but if they do, they're servitors of Mordiggian, Nyarlathotep, Hastur, or one of their friends.

Special Assets
Inspired by the Necroscope book series, which pits psychics against Soviet-bloc vampires. This game mode gives the agents a new weapon in the war against vampires - psychic powers. Agents could be a member of an official government black program, or it could be a rogue, independent operation.

The new paranormal powers are General abilities, and are built as normal, with the exception that the first point in each one costs 5 build points. Paranormal abilities are used as normal, but every time you use them, you must spend at least 2 points on the usage. If you don't have enough points left, you can spend from Stability, but those points don't add to the roll. Paranormal abilities can't be used in combat. After using a paranormal ability, make a Difficulty 5 Health test. If you fail, you lose 2 Health and become Hurt for the rest of the scene.

Necrophony
The ability to speak with the dead. Conversation lasts until the end of the scene or until the medium uses any other ability.

Base difficulty for any Necrophony check is 8, or higher if the entity isn't willing to communicate. However, lots of things can tilt the tables in your favor; -1 at night, -2 in a formal seance, -3 if you have their physical remains, -4 if any spirit will do instead of a specific individual.

If instead of just talking to the spirit, the medium is possessed by the spirit, other agents can use Interpersonal skills on it. Depending on the nature of the communication, a further Necrophony test must be made to break the contact. Vampires may be able to sense usage of this power, or resist if the deceased was one of their minions.

Remote Viewing
Militarized clairvoyance, the ability to see unknown things at a distance. You can use RV to see inside a locked building or sealed vault, but you need the coordinates.

The more specific the coordinates, the better the image. An RV session takes up to six hours. Difficutly is based not on distance, but on how much information you're trying to get. There are six stages of remote viewing:
  • Stage 1: Perception of general nature of site. Difficulty 4.
  • Stage 2: Basic sense perception - taste, temperature, sound, color. Difficulty 6.
  • Stage 3: Dimensional perception - height, length, angle, curvature. Difficulty 8.
  • Stage 4: Complex and abstract information - Checmical composition, dollar value, mechanical intentions. Difficulty 10.
  • Stage 5: Interrogation - Director answers any one questiona bout the target for 1 point of RV. Difficulty 12.
  • Stage 6: Full 3D imaging - agent could draw or render the site in detail. Two questions for 1 RV point. Difficulty 15.

Other Powers
The above two are all that the NBA book lists, but there's a lot of other GUMSHOE products with powers that can be lifted. Sci-fi game Ashen Stars offers Dreamsight and Pathway Amplification. Psychological horror game Fear Itself offers Aura Sight and Premonitions. Gritty supers game Mutant City Blues offers Memory Alteration and Psionic Blast. Trail of Cthulhi offers Hypnosis and Idosyncratic Magic. The list goes on, but they should all be tweaked to use this paranormal power system.

Next: Sample adventure!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Superiors: Eli - Create Your Fate

The Stained Glass Chains are a popular attraction in the Halls - a set of rooms whose walls, ceilings and floors are made entirely out of stained glass. The pictures formed are parents and children among the angels of Creation, and the glass constantly changes to show the families in their current state. If a family member dies or Falls, their panes of glass become translucent white.

The Master Plan Chamber contains a complete model of the universe. By manipulating the controls, visitors may examine any part of it down to the subatomic level. Angels of Yves and Jean sometimes visit to study, as do angels of Judgment. Sadly, the controls require a very delicate touch, and one wrong twitch will send you halfway across the planet.

The Passion Play is a small theater that shows a constantly repeating performance from the moment of Creation to the first moments before the Fall. The actors are angels of Creation or blessed souls, and each time the play is done, it is done differently. The director is Genetrice, a Kyriotate who has found that lately, fewer and fewer angels have the time to participate, which makes her sad.

'Under Eli's Bed' is a catchphrase for 'missing' among Creationers. Some say that if you check Eli's chamber in the Halls, under his bed, you can find anything that has ever been lost. Of course, no one really believes it, but they all have very good excuse for why they're trying to root around in his room and under his bed.



The angels of Creation are highly varied, united by the determination to create new things but often divided on how to do it. Eli's generally inspired a rather casual attitude towards authority in his angels, and while they can respect others' visions, they are often slow to cooperate. In Eli's absence, the Creationers hold together for now, but the concerns of many Archangels are justifiable. Eli was always a hands-on boss, dealing with problems directly rather than via some hierarchy, and without him, his senior angels are trying to do the job. It's working for now, but it is impossible for the loyalty and banding together against perceived Judgment persecution to last forever, especially with many Creationers working in the service of other Archangels and demons taking advantage of Eli's absence to attack Creation projects.



Seraphim of Creation, like all Seraphim, love truth and hate lies. When applied to art, that mindset can produce some strange attitudes. Some are neo-realists, refusing to produce any art that is not a strictly accurate representation, and they often prefer photography of all kinds. They make good spies and detectives, and often try to make their vessels as visually close to their true forms as possible, if only in an abstract sense or via tattoos of snakes, scales, wings or angels. Others seek truth in ideal forms via symbolic art, using sculptures to express truths more sincerely than images. They tend to be mystical and sincere types seeking divine truth in inpsiration. Both kinds hate lies in their presence, but are more than able to view fiction and theater as storytelling rather than lies. They are more relaxed than other Seraphim around actors and fiction writers, in order to explore the truths of character, society and life. Some have mastered storytelling themselves, and are able to perform it in public, provided they can make it clear that they're telling a story and that story is not in any way a real event that is true. These Seraphim are some of Heaven's best linguists and philosophers on the nature of truth and how to express its forms in angelic.

Cherubim of Creation are set to protect artists, but given their ability to trace who made a piece and when, it's unsurprising that many are interested in archaeology, art history and detective work. They are art critics, able convey their opinions well while guarding their subjects selflessly. Many try to work as art models. They are split on whether it's important to protect both an artist and their work, or just the artist, since the important thing is the creation of the art, not htat it would last. (All agree that mothers and children must be protected at all times.) The art-protectors Fall slightly more often, but the second group is more capable of causing casual grief to humans without realizing it, since they tend not to care about any completed piece. They can also end up obsessing over specific artists, though not always to the point of Falling. Others tend to try to distract them when this starts happening. They can be overenthusiastic, but they genuinely love the craft - there's nothing wrong with enjoying good work.

Ofanim of Creation don't really care much about appearance, given their ability to alter their bodies and the things around them, and sometimes they forget others can't do the same. They're not very good at maintaining longterm Roles as a result. They tend to prefer impressionism, and aren't good at longterm projects in general. Some also like cooking and even the longer work of brewing beer, making cheese or baking. They make excellent forgers, as well, though this can bother their fellow Creationers. Ofanim tend to dislike art criticism that does not directly judge the piece or link it to the original creator, and they especially tend to dislike age-analysis techniques like carbon dating.

Elohim of Creation work over long periods, and are very patient. They can appreciate faster forms of art than they do, but deep down, they believe true creation takes time. They tend to be very familiar with chemistry and what chemicals make certain substances different from others. It's all part of the complex structure of creation. They are crafters, not artists, working to create specific objects, effects and results. No matter what they are working on, they use precision and patience. They don't expect easy or fast answers, even when they exist, and they tend to get on well with Stone. They tend to spend a lot of time mediating arguments between other angels, trying to keep Creation's tension at a reasonable level.

Malakim of Creation can pick up anything to use as a weapon. Literally anything. Other Malakim find this deeply enviable. They tend to focus on art like graffiti, though they love to try just about anything new. They are relatively laid-back, finding it relatively simpl to understand when and when not to fight. They tend to the muscular in their vessels, and their casual nature can either worry Judges or reassure them of the good judgment the Malakim can show, depending on the Judge. Some of them like to practice martial arts and teach humans self defense, but most prefer to keep their fights out of the public eye. They can get rather defensive and violent at times, which doesn't really help their reputation.

KYriotates of Creation consider all bodies variations on a form, given their ability to alter flesh with ease when inside it. They tend to be very insensitive about race because the entire concept of racism doesn't actually make sense to them - they don't understand how it could exist, and they aren't exactly good at recognizing it, which can be an issue in certain corporeal work. They are slightly less clueless about sexism - they can tell the difference between male and female more easily, after all. Some of them see themselves as sketch artists, using the minimum work to disguise their host, while others prefer to get the likeness as perfect as possible. They make excellent spies, since they can so thoroughly alter their hosts while inside them, though they're often less good at voices and speech patterns without practice. They also tend to prefer short-term disguise work, since the Song of Form doesn't last all that long. They avoid using innocents as hosts when going into danger, preferring either to possess a consenting Soldier or someone like a Hellsworn that won't be a great loss if things go bad. Still, they also invest in escape abilities, as they dislike leaving even these hosts in danger. They like to inspire others by their words and deeds, and will sometimes possess an artist to help them work, often leaving the artist believing they did work in some kind of fugue state.

Mercurians of Creation are as patient as the Elohim, though they tend to focus on the perfection of craft rather than the mutability of objects. They like humans fine, but are annoyed and offended by laziness. They are prepared to make allowances for those too busy to develop themselves, but not for those who have thrown their chances away. They are often widely skilled, though they must balance training themselves and crafting talismans. Often they find the use of talismans to be 'cheating,' since they know how hard it was to develop the skills. Still, they recognize that their allies often need the talismans, so they try to put those feelings aside, as long as their skills are respected. They tend to come in two types - those who master a few skills and those who have a wide portfolio but not much depth. The skills in question vary widely by taste, of course.

Redemption, to Creationers, is about taking corrupt material and making something new and beautiful with it. They support Redemption over death and are prepared to spend years on a single candidate that seems promising. Some of them see Redemption as a single moment of artitic inspiration, to be accomplished when the demon is ready, while others compare it to a long, careful work of art, with the demon's angelic friends best suited to judging readiness. Both factions prefer to bring demons to the truth by showing them the glory and beauty of making things, helping others and so on, reminding them that they need not give up corporeal pleasure as an angel. Of course, getting ahold of Eli to Redeem demons these days isn't easy. He tends to answer invocations for that purpose, but the future is never definite. Some resort to calling in friends who can summon other Archangels, even if it means the Redeemed serves another Word. Eli has Redeemed demons on the spot at times, leaving the new angels to learn from other Creationers, and Dominic tends to be keen on interviewing them quickly. Like most angels, Creationers believe they know best how to treat new Redeemed, but that and the current feeling of persecution often leads to the unfortunate belief that no other angels do. This can result in grudges or manic depressive new angels being kept from those who might help. When Eli was still in his Cathedral, he took care to assign the Reedemed to areas that best suited their talents and helped them learn to love art and creation. Now, the Creationers do their best to care for and educate the new angels, but their lack of central communication and direction can produce bias and lack of support networks.



Creationers hate to be idle. They tend to pick their own work these days, which can work out well...or put them at deep risk of temptation and a Fall. With the drain of angels to other Words, it's also important to make sure Tether defense and ongoing projects must be continually staffed, even if it means people badly suited for the job. The Halls of Creation are perpetually short-staffed, and most of the Creationers in Heaven are members of the Committee, report to them, or are too young to go to Earth yet. The rest are guardians of Tether endpoints or caring for the blessed souls. Most of Creation prefers to be on Earth, to follow their Archangel's example, even if it's a bad idea. Creationers in the Marches vary. Many see it as the ideal place to grant inspriation, but they rarely stay long - they want people to work in their waking hours, not live in dreams. They tend to have little contact with ethereals, for fear of Dominic, and also because they feel it's best to handle ethereals as they are run into. Plus, they're busy. Busy on Earth itself, inspiring and encouraging creation and those who create. They work hard to make things themselves, spread inspiration, fight demons and so on. Many work in social services or welfare networks to help people or encourage arts funding, or even conceal non-payment of taxes at times to help an artist out.

Some angels also take on stranger jobs. For example, a group of them attempt to infilitrate the media. This project's been ongoing ever since Eli first saw Triumph of the Will and realized the dangers of the situation. Unfortunately, it's not going well. Nybbas is in charge and will be unless someone finds a gamechanger. Another ongoing job is kept very secret from Judgment, trusted only to the most senior angels. They are trying to compile a list of known Grigori and their cover identities and locations, as well as any identified Children of the Grigori descended from them. These angels are mostly Kyriotates and Cherubim, and the work was begun before the birth of Christ, in deep secrecy. Eli has never said why he wanted the information.

Before, the closest Creation had to organization was teaming up for a project. While they have no hierarchy, they do understand the idea of working under direction to create an art piece, and they can manage it for a while. Over long periods, though, they tend to be bad at maintaining reports and hierarchies. Sure, some of them like structure and longterm work, and others like instructing others. They do what organizing they can, because no one else wants to. The other angels are happy to let them do it but will ignore orders if they feel like it, which doesn't exactly help things right now. The Ofanim messengers and Elohim mediators do their best, but this is not a very solid structure. Those few Creationers in Heaven try to manage coordination and analysis via Tether reports and whatever news they get. This group is usually referred to as the Committee. They can't issue orders, but can pass data to Seneschals to help them out, at least. There is, also, one thing that will reliably unite any Creationers: the need to rescue any friend, angel or human, that is in danger. Unfortunately, lapses in communication and the tendency of many Creationers to bury themselves in private work or sulking can result in more danger than necessary and few people knowing about it. The Committee tries to keep track of everyone, but they can't always manage it. Lately, they've been trying to promote teacher-student bonds to help monitor the situation.

Creationers always try to bring new things into the world - children, dreams, art, craftwork, new ideas. They do this personally and also inspire and teach others. They have no limits, only possibilities and new options. Individuals might have limits, sure, but better to challenge them than accept them. Try something new, even if you're bad at it. These angels are busy, even when relaxing. They know humans need sleep, but they barely ever do it themselves - it doesn't help the Word. Relaxation, sure, that's reasonable. But they prefer to relax enthusiastically and vigorously, which can have Judgment worried about corporeal temptation. The Creationers know Eli is gone and that the Judges are suspicious, that the rest of Heaven is polarized on the subject, that demons are taking advantage. They know it's bad and getting worse. They can become paranoid, eccentric or hostile...but they can also reach out to others, make friends and have faith. It really all depends on the angel involved.



Next time: Bad Art

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

Yeah, my premise boils down to Lucifer and Lilith being terrified of death and willing to do anything in order to avoid it. They're supported by a few Princes and Archangels who share their fear or who don't want to acknowledge that ultimately humans are more important to the Symphony - more important to God - than the celestials are. They've prolonged the Earth experiment by thousands of years, yet the signs of the coming apocalypse are still happening: the rise of Leviathan and Haagenti, the return of Khalid, Kobal's plans.

For those in the know, at this point the only question is how it ends: in Destiny or Fate.

Just make sure if you run it as a game you don't turn it into Superiors: The Drama, while the PCs sit around twiddling their wingtips. One good solution to that, apart from the usual of "They are their Word and operate at a Superior level, they don't have time to pal around or solve any problems, that's why you exist" is to take it a bit further in terms of PC agency and say that Superiors CAN'T intervene in certain events, even really big ones, because they are so tied to the Symphony that anything they do that isn't within the confines of their Word could end up ruining their operations from massive backlash. So they have to petition, beg, threaten, trick, and convince the players to do all manner of big dangerous things to see any benefit.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

I've been thinking about using the Superiors like the Icons in 13th Age: they're the major power-players in the setting, but how they influence the *story* is up to the players. Each player would put a handful of points into Superior Relationships (Ex. One angel determines a positive relationship with Jean, but two point in an antagonistic relationship with Lilith, or vice versa).

The player's choices will then determine which Superiors influence the plot, and you can get some interesting twists depending on their choices (If a number of players choose a negative Relationship with Dominic, he could turn out to be an Infernal infiltrator and the main antagonist). The Relationship points could also be used as a dramatic editing mechanic (Ex. A relationship with Kobal can be used to call in a favor or request aid).

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



That's a smart way to do it. If Superiors are tools to be used with intelligent caution, instead of DMPCs to throw around, it works out a lot better. My policy was always that you only saw your own personal Superior at the start and end of a mission, with all other factors coming in the form of angels, demons, ethereals, and Soldiers, never the Superior themselves or a line of communication to them, unless it's an emergency. This way, you can also project the aspects of a Word and personality of the Superior onto the world through the NPC agents the PCs have to deal with; then you can bank up and save Superior appearances for the endgame to get across the severity of whatever situation accords it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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Superiors: Eli - The Worst Poet In Scotland

Not all Creationers are good at their art. Some of them work at it for millenia and still don't have any real artistic talent for their chosen style. This can shock other angels, and some Judgelsy falsely think it's proof of anti-Word behavior. After all, it is pleasant to perform well and one of Eli's Rites is to affirm your skill, but no one ever said creation had to be done perfectly. Eli loves the making, not the result. He'd prefer a bad artist that loves the art to an excellent one who does it just for the money. Besides, no one's good at a skill from the first moment they start it. It takes a lot of practice, and Creationers that try lots of different arts will need a whole lot of practice to get good at any of them. Besides, you can love an art without having a talent form. Maybe your singing voice sucks - but you can love to sing. You're creating. And that's just fine.

With Eli absent, there's not really much in the way of reward or punishment. The Committee lacks the resoruces to do either well. Other Archangels can, but arely provide much unless the Creationer is directly serving them or was on a mission for their Word. If Eli does show up, however, he'll often hand out Songs, attunements, relics or whatever he feels like as a reward at the time - sometimes things that will be useful in the future but make little sense right now. When punishing, Eli tries to be sympathetic, but the lack of any Word dissonance means that if his angels have Discord or dissonance it's because they hosed up their basic Choir nature. Eli will remove dissonance and Celestial or Ethereal Discord, but often leaves Corporeal Discord in place if it's not to severe. He also sometimes punishes by altering or mutilating your vessel, especially if you seemed to be veering towards Lust. For those straying deeply or who need help, Eli will send them to another Archangel directly with a letter explaining things.



Creation's dealing with outisders varies wildly depending on how the Creationer involved is handling Eli's absence, and how the outsiders are. They tend to distrust Judges and Laurentines, and appreciate angels of Flowers or Fire. Many senior angels are less reliant on stereotypes, though, and have better sense than to antagonize Judgment and the Sword overmuch, for fear of worsening views of Creation. Unfortunately, the young and angry ones seem to like annoying the stiffer angels, and the continual flow of Creationers into the service of other Words has been drawing off those who had sympathy for outsiders. When it comes to ethereals, sorcerers or demons, Creationers are split. One group believe that in Eli's absence, they must be even stricter than before - evil must be redeemed or slain, possibly after getting them to do something helpful. The other group holds that while Eli is gone, they need all the allies they can get, and this means being a bit laxer than Dominic might approve of. Neutral entities can be tolerated or bargained with and less evil demons can be ignored if circumstances require it.

Many Creationers serve other Words these days. A lot when to serve Dreams, as Blandine is one of Eli's oldest allies. It's not easy to adjust to such a distant Archangel, unlike pre-walkabout Eli, and some Creationers feel discriminated against but do not realize Blandine expects her angels to speak up if they're unhappy. Still, those who work well without supervision flourish in Dreams. Stone is home to several craft angels, who teach humans the arts, but they aren't especially well-liked by most of Stone. The more martial angels of Creation get along much better. Few work for Judgment, and they are watched closely and rarely hold high rank, but some serve quite well. The ones who serve Judgment tend to respect the Word deeply or hope to mitigate hostility. A few severely dissonant Creationers are 'volunteered' for the job to avoid harsher measures, and some of those are quite grudging...though others have become poster children for cross-Word cooperation.

Any Creationers who choose to serve Fire are welcomed, and while they rarely end up with much authority, their artistic views are quite respected. They help spread inspiration, as few tend to burn for punishing the cruel, though those that do are set to that task as well, with their full creativity. Either way, Creationers get along well with Fire. The Wind...well, they get fast cars, chaos and freedom, and that works well for Creationers that want to change the world. Janus is also fairly giving. However, there is no permanent home in the Wind - Windies are always moving, and Creationers are expected to as well, or they'll be left behind. Lightning...well, Jean is not happy about the situation, though he remains calm. He is aware that harshness may alienate Eli and Creation, and overly firm supervision tends to work badly for Creationers, so he tries to be understanding. He analyzes Creationers that serve him, monitoring and subtly organizing them for their own good. He knows Lightning can use their help, so he's happy to tempt and trick them if that's what it takes to make them good workers, and they usually get given a handler, though they're rewarded quite nicely.

Jordi likes Eli but finds little use for Creationers in his service. He doesn't have many jobs they're suited to, except for care and training of domesitc animals. Jordi dislikes zoos and pet shops, but he'll allow leeway for dogs and horses, who are trained to interact closely with humans, assuming they get good treatment. Laurence has few Creationers in his service, but he'll welcome them. He treats them as he would any other, save perhaps for making them prove they have discipline and dedication to make up for Eli's lack of both. They usually are drawn to Laurence's chivalry and sincerity, but some do get drafted out of need. They tend to find it hard to leave after that - it's really hard to say no to Laurence when he makes it clear that without you, a mission might fail. They do, however, often become disruptive. Marc is a reasonable boss, and Creationers tend to like him. However, they don't appreciate being constrained by his needs or the lifestyle of taking everyone else's needs into account when trying to make something. Marc vgets his fair share of Creationers, but they have to be able to work with the Traders' lifestyle.



Michael loves having Creationers work for him. They're useful, and he'll make any deal he needs. He's gneerous with rewards, too. However, once you sign up, you do what Michael says, period. He doesn't like to mess up your life, but if he thinks you're needed somewhere, you have no say in the matter. Period. Of course, he'll protect you from Dominic, mostly. Novalis is often seen as a soft choice - everyone knows she likes Eli and has a place for Creationers, and she won't make you fight. However, Creationers often find her very hard to serve well. Flowers angels know just when violence is allowed and when isn't, and how much must be given to support peace. Creationers can be very disruptive if they don't learn those lines fast. If they're prepared to learn, they can stay, but if they aren't, Novalis will ask them to leave, and that usually triggers a Judgment investigation. She's happy to have you if you'l learn, however, and she's generous if you can serve her well. Yves has many Creationers come to him, but they often end up disappointed by the passive jobs they get given. They tend not to understand the fragility of destiny so well, and there's a pretty steep learning curve. They're always partnered with one or more Shepherds to learn the job, at least. Plus they can help maintain the Library! Yves is not, however, the most generous of bosses, if you're looking for that.



In the past, Eli would usually accept it when an angel wanted to leave his service. He was sorry, sure, but he'd never stop you. Few ex-Creationers ever forgot their old friends and worked closely with them even after leaving. However, Creation's close ties to other words is now tearing Creation angels apart. No one really wants to leave in Eli's absence, but it's hard to find him and explain your choice. At the same time, former Creationers are stressing the advantages of even brief transfers in his absence, both out of faith in their Superiors and concern for their old friends. It's a painful place to be stuck in. Those angels who want to leave and who can get in contact with Eli are free to do so, but often other Creationers are hostile to them when they do - they're betraying the cause, walking out on Eli and Creation when they are most needed. They are rarely welcome, these days, among their old friends. Those that leave without consulting Eli tend to be disliked even more, and it's harder to get another Archangel to accept it without Eli's permission.







The Censors are a group of mostly Seraphim and Elohim who began work long before Eli left. They aren't internal security, quite, but they attempt to track Creationers heading for a Fall and guide them back to light. They are suddenly far more important and busier than they ever wanted to be. They liaise closely with the Committee, but so far there's been an unspoken agreement that no angel will be part of both groups. The Censors don't especially like being the main liaison to Judgment or being the primary help for dissonant or Discordant Creationers. Most of them want to get back to their own work, with their Censor duties being secondary. That's how it used to be. For now, though, their good sense and devotion to their fellows keeps them far, far too busy, to the point that their inspections are becoming somewhat cursory. Dominic wants to work closely with them, even train them, but none have been willing so far.

The Committee is the more organizationally minded Creationers, based out of Heaven to try and coordinate stuff. Many are lesser members of the Seraphim Council due to being senior Wordbound. The Committee is tolerated as a ncessary evil, but almost all Creationers wish Eli would just come back. As would the Committee, in fact, but in his absence they believe someone has to keep track of things and find the people Creation needs to help. It's quite possible that even if (or when) Eli returns, they'll retain their job. After all, it's a useful and needed one, even if some Creationers don't like it much.



The Destruction Engineers believe that destruction is a vital part of creation, but should be targeted at those things that need to be destroyed. They are mostly Malakim, and they work to fight demonic Tethers and conspiracies, for the sheer joy of breaking these evil things. The more senior members try to ensure they're not being used as diversions or being tricked, working with more combative Words on tactical planning. However, the junior members tend to just enjoy blowing poo poo up.

Team Observation is a new organization, in theory devoted to researching information about new creative outbreaks on Earth. That's the cover story, anyway. The truth is, they're not very subtly trying to find Eli by looking for patterns in the appearance of new artists, rises in birth rates and other such things. Other angels assume they're keeping it quiet out of embarrassment and politely don't ask. The truth is, in fact, that while some fringe members are just looking for Eli, the core team is bitter. They feel lost, betrayed and miserable. They want to demand some answers from Eli...and if they can't get those, they're working on experimental relics to capture an Archangel and have friends in Judgment they can reach at a moment's notice.

Everyone knows Judgment doesn't like Creationers. A lot of Dominicans do, in fact, find them frivolous and obsessed with corporeal things. Angels of Creation tend to try to irritate Triads as well, knowing they aren't really risking a Fall. This makes things worse. Older and wiser Creationers try to understand the Dominican view and work with them to help those in genuine danger. Sensible and merciful Dominicans try to be gentle and understand the stress Creationers are going through. Enough cases of this on both sides exist that most Creationers know of an understanding Judge, and most Judges know of a sensible Creationer, even if they don't know them personally.

So, what is Eli actually doing? Well, that's never going to be canonically revealed...but the game does provide some options. The first one: Eli thinks he can Redeem a Prince. Maybe Kobal, Andrealphus, Nybbas or Lilith, though any Prince could be a feasible option. This implies that either the other Archangels know about the plan and are playing along to make it look plasuible, or Eli hasn't told them and they really think he's nearing a Fall. The Prince in question might be mistrusted by other Princes who suspect the REdemption. Eli succeeding would be a huge change in the power balance and the first ever Redemption of a Prince. It could also be a trap for Eli laid by that Prince. PCs might become involved to liaise with demons of the candidate Prince, to help Eli cover his tracks, or to frame Eli to make him appear more likely to Fall or otherwise appear suspicious. They might help set up meetings, cover Eli's escape with the Redeemed Prince or otherwise provide key help.

Next time: More plans

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Black August posted:

Just make sure if you run it as a game you don't turn it into Superiors: The Drama, while the PCs sit around twiddling their wingtips. One good solution to that, apart from the usual of "They are their Word and operate at a Superior level, they don't have time to pal around or solve any problems, that's why you exist" is to take it a bit further in terms of PC agency and say that Superiors CAN'T intervene in certain events, even really big ones, because they are so tied to the Symphony that anything they do that isn't within the confines of their Word could end up ruining their operations from massive backlash. So they have to petition, beg, threaten, trick, and convince the players to do all manner of big dangerous things to see any benefit.

Yeah, my intended way to play it is with a MAD situation: if any Superior gets directly involved from one side, Superiors from the other side will also get involved, and neither side wants that. Even Michael and Baal understand that the Symphony is a delicate thing, and the very nature of Superiors is anything but delicate - thus why none have done much on Earth since around the 18th century. Even if it weren't for the celestial cold war, Superiors resonate so powerfully with the Symphony that their very presence on Earth typically has enormous consequences, much less them doing anything. When Superiors set foot on Earth, nations fall.

The PCs are heaven's elite proxies, therefore, capable of acting in places and doing things that Superiors can't.

In fact, that's my planned explanation for what Eli is up to: he's experimenting with ways to dramatically reduce his impact on the Symphony to give himself much more freedom to act.

Cythereal fucked around with this message at 23:54 on Feb 5, 2016

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

In fact, that's my planned explanation for what Eli is up to: he's experimenting with ways to dramatically reduce his impact on the Symphony to give himself much more freedom to act.

Oh, that's a good idea. He's Creation and a Mercurian as well, so he'd have the best chance. It also makes the Grigori and Dark Grigori something of an impact when used, since their entire schtick is being so close to humanity in divinity that they can blend right in without the Symphony kicking up too much of a fuss.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Superiors: Eli - Terrible Plans

So, option 2: Eli is trying to bring the Grigori and their Children back to Heaven. He wants to recruit the Children as Soldiers and help them develop, then use them to persuade the Grigori to abandon their pride, apologize and return to Heaven. Most of the Archangels would probably like that, but a lot would object to the means he's using, so he left Heaven to work on it fulltime and plans to apologize after he succeeds. Dominic, David and Laurence would all see this as a horrible security breach, as meddling with the lives of the Children, who deserve to be allowed to live as normal humans if they want, and interfering with a sentence lawfully cast millenia ago. The Princes will want the Grigori and their Children for themselves, and Eli's work might let them finally track down the Grigori. However, success would bring back an entire Choir and maybe even give them a base of effective Soldiers across the planet.

Option 3: Eli's insane. He's decided to bring about mass destruction in order to renew Creation. The old order and the structure of Heaven and Hell have become stagnant and restrictive. They must be cleansed to make room for new possibilities. He has no outright rejected nuclear war, climate change, famine or plague, but his big plan is Lilith. If he can get control of Lilith, he believes he can force her to use her many Geases to start a cataclysmic battle between Heaven and Hell that will ruin much of the Earth. The first question, of course, is why Eli has gone round the bend. Maybe it's Nybbas' influence on creativity, maybe it's a Kronos plot, maybe pollution has hosed up the biosphere and somehow tainted Eli. His behavor does let him get close to Llith, as she might believe he's near Outcasting or a Fall. Even if he can't force her to use her Geases, he thinks he can, and the kidnapping and possible murder of a Princess might itself be sufficient to start open war. If he can do it...well, things could get even worse.



Then there's the Great Mistake. Eli's somehow managed to shatter himself into many hsards while trying to create a potent relic. Some of the shards are self-aware and trying to locate and reabsorb the rest, while others aren't aware of the problem and believe they are the one and only Eli. The other Archangels could and would help if they knew the problem, but the self-aware shards lack Eli's good judgment and common sense and want to solve it themselves. Reports of Eli wandering in an absent-minded haze, obsessing over art or being a party animal are likely due to encounters with unaware shards manifesting some parts of Eli's personality more strongly than others.

Last, there's Eli the Missing. The real Eli has not been seen for fifty years. When he vanished, it was temporary - he was communicating with Vapula in an attempt to get him to Redeem. Vapula, Beleth and Nybbas worked to trap Eli, then brainwashed an ancient, captive Mercurian of Creation into thinking he was Eli via a mix of Vapulan technology and Nightmare power, then released him into the world. The real Eli is imprisoned somewhere in the Marches as part of their evil scheme, and the duplicate truly believes he is Eli, but has large memory gaps and an impulse to avoid Heaven and most angels. The duplicate should not be able to bestow attunements, remove Discord or Redeem demons...but the Princes actually forged a link between Eli and the MErcurian by accident, so the unconscious Eli is acting through his proxy to do this. When the Princes realized, they were furious, but could not interfere in case they made the problem worse. Besides, it helps sell the con. No other Princes know of this - if they did, they would use the knowledge, join the plot or try to steal Eli. Vapula, Nybbas and Beleth plan to put the final state into action soon, which could result in them enslaving Eli, making him Fall or even destroying him utterly.

Then, there's adventure seeds. The only interesting one is one about penguins. A zoo has to import some new penguins because their current set are gay penguins and so not breeding. The local demons of Lust are torn between using this to promote homosexuality as a natural lifestyle or turning it into am edia frenzy about the evils of homosexuality in order to make it about lust rather than love. There will be protests one way or another, and both Eli and Jordi want some angels to go protect the penguins and, if the Lust demons go for the second route, thwart them. This is interesting only because it involves an evil demonic plan to take advantage of gay penguins.

The End

Next up: GM's Guide, Corporeal Player's Guide, Liber Canticorum, Superiors: Litheroy, or Revelations 1: Night Music.

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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


How about 'Eli left because Heaven is full of boring squares'?

And I vote Liber Canticorum.

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