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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.

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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

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



I want to like Litheroy and his concept is solid, but HYPER SERAPH just gives me so many headaches, I just regulate him to being a former child of Raphael and a crazy wandering prophet type, still only a Wordbound. Less Superiors would be better, God in Heaven believe me when I say that. The French version has shitloads.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



There's a lot of overlap, and some books even go over this, especially the GMG. Part of it is strategy; sometimes, a Word is so powerful and broad, that it ends up being intelligent to allow some very powerful Wordbound to ascend to the Superior status and run it from there. There's often talk in books of duties being passed on from certain Words, or accepting duties from dead Words. Also, a Word will often change in perspective and role, allowing some parts of it to break off to follow other methods. Jean, Litheroy, Yves, and Raphael all seem to essentially be 'smarts n' books n' stuff', but can have very different focuses. It doesn't mean there ISN'T unnecessary overlap, however, and that's often an in-setting worry and complaint.

Lucifer does it sometimes to maintain cutting-edge competition, force the hands of some Princes, or to double-down on what he feels should be a focus for his plans that century. In addition, as the GMG says, there are more DEAD Princes than there are currently living ones.

All the same I still feel that Litheroy is just Omega Seraph and not terribly necessary, but hey, he was Whistling's baby along with Alaemon, and he gave it his best.

Cythereal posted:

Again putting in my two cents worth, my take on things when planning my own campaign is that "Superior" is just a title.

The GMG has a whole meaty sidebar devoted to just that idea!

Nessus posted:

I think you mean "M'Lilim."

you're gonna keep this between you and me but you got no goddamn idea how sick I am of bloody Lilim

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Mors Rattus posted:

I am pretty sure that 'oh dear god I hate Lilim' is a common feeling among In Nomine fans.

Because seriously, guys, Lilim.

The game really, really wants you to buy into how special and amazing they are.

Look.

...

I understand WHY Lilim are like that. They were pretty all over garbage during Derek's run. Then they became someone's baby. It just got a little too much... just a little too focused on. It got better later on. Lilim are an amazing tool in the setting to explain a lot of things about Hell and demonic operations. But the first thing you do is toss Bright Lilim being this super rare special magical gentle precious snowflake, and you say, "There's as many Bright Lilim as there are any other redeemed Band" and you move on. You know a good trick to make it work smoother? Every time you want a Lilim, you put an Impudite there instead. You keep Lilim to roles as vicious contractors and brokers, most often sitting behind an infernal bank window or passing out cards for people who need a great sharpshooter. You keep them as the subtle glue binding half of Hell together with the endless Geases, instead of this untouchable mystic bunch of green-skinned succubi.

Actually, half the fun in a demon game is running smear campaigns against Lilim to take the piss out of them a little. But don't overdo it. The final idea is to give every Band a focus and a role in every Word, instead of forcibly assigning some precious status to them just because they're green, women, and shat out by a mythological figure.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Nessus posted:

Yeah their core concept is cool but it's definitely leveraging what amazingly special snowflakes they are. I think it'd be less galling if there had been a couple of other similar quirky choirs (maybe there were?)

There's a ton of fan material for Minor Choirs and Bands - it's easy to assume that most every Archangel and Prince has made a celestial based off of their Word, like Blandine with Menunim. The thing is with Lilith, Lilim are strong, and a unique product, or at the least a violently patented and protected one, because the second someone else figures out how to make Lilim or one of them makes Prince without her Mother's consent, Lilith is FUCKIN' DEAD.

Lilim aren't even quirky, they're just, you know, Pretty Green Women From Hell Who Force You To Do Stuff, and they existed in an RPG culture rife with nerds who were more interested in jerking off and being the coolest best forever than actually playing a drat game. So they got out of hand real fast.

Again, every time you feel the urge to toss a Lilim in there, ask if the much more common Band, Impudites, who are CENTERED around charming people, wouldn't be a better choice. Lilim are excellent as the semi-uncommon and brutal contractors who exist to see your soul bent over a hot cauldron if you back out of a deal, and demons, without a gun to their head, will always back out of a deal if they think they can get away with it.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Fun in-joke from people who played way too much In Nomine: after a while, you start to Matrix code other media, and start to tag people as certain roles. "Oh that dude is totally a Cherub." "She must serve Fire." "Guy is a Balseraph of Greed if I've ever seen one."

It works bizarrely well to describe new media to friends also with the same habit, especially fantastical media. I managed to describe Steven Universe as 'A Child of the Grigori and his three rough-times adoptive angel moms struggle to deal with him growing up"

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Oh, you reminded me. Another fun fact, the Infernal Player's Guide was one of the first big projects for Beth as Line Editor, and she scourged the hell out of some parts, especially the part with Redemption (yes I know the writer's guide says redemption is lowercase-r, but gently caress the stupid guide, if Falling is always captial-F, then Redemption gets the big R too), which was originally (I read it and can verify) some of the worst writing ever. It described Redemption as this touchy-feeling gentle water wash thing, it was lifeless and silly as all get out.

It got hard revised to its current form, where Redemption is an absolute surrender of the self. It's allowing the Symphony, the Universe itself, to come inside your soul and help remake you. It's giving up the false Symphony every demon builds inside of themselves, and abandoning selfishness as the only truth. It's also not guaranteed to work, no matter how repentant the demon is, or how skilled the Archangel works; many demons have died trying to Redeem, and Asmodeus leverages that for all its worth in his propaganda. It'll burn off Forces, it'll hurt, and it's not something to be done lightly or as a "ah gently caress it I'll just swap sides" deal.

Another gross quirk that didn't get totally wiped away is how Heaven treats the Redeemed. In the original writing, Heaven was almost murderous towards new angels, treating them like pariahs, harassing then, abusing them, threatening them, and treating them like total dirt even after they were finally 'accepted'. It was appalling poo poo. Some of those writers had some goddamn issues.

What makes it extra funny is that later writers who read that spun it off into The Camp, a scary neat game seed idea for demons, which is in the Book of Tethers I believe.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

Or you could go Screwtape Letters with it and Lilim fill in as the bureaucracy and legal department of Hell. That could be Lilith's secret to staying alive in Hell: the Lilim are the glue of Hell's organization simply because they're about the only ones who can ensure the management and supply of Hell's legions actually gets done. They're not the glamorous succubi you normally hear about, but your average Lilim is the Hellish version of an office drone or truck driver.

That is EXACTLY how I've run them. But the thing is, since they're made by Lilith and come at a high cost in that regard, they usually end up in slightly better positions than you'd expect. Which of course means Lilith tries to make them smart as she can, and uses the Guildhall to cover her rear end. Which also means Lilim are in a weird clique of their own, all of them motivated to keep on each other's asses to get the drat job done. Which means other demons actually resent and dislike them, and many spend a great deal of time trying to defame and get them killed off, since they very frequently hold the keys to forcing matters through a Geas, and as outside contractors to bind deals and get lovely jobs done. So this ties right into Hell's murderous atmosphere and politics, leaving Lilim less 'special green girlfriend' and more 'loathed and feared minority with unique power and cut-throat family circle to keep themselves from dying in droves'. Which Lilith has to fight on her end by pressuring Princes to take care of the property she sold them (because that's what they are in Hell like everyone else, property, not people), or else she'll cut off the supply and see how they deal with no Geases to glue the day-to-day together. But hey, you gently caress up too many times, Lilith will just look the other way while you get torn up into pieces, or she'll just hire one of your Band-sisters to murder you so your loose Forces don't end up in a Prince's hands while they try to figure out how best to recycle you into a knockoff Lilim of their own. All while you're drowning in this awful network of gently caress You's from Geases flying everywhere and the Game has practically incited its own private war to see every last one of you in chains or just wiped clean from Hell entirely.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Ratoslov posted:

Also, every Lilim truck driver or office drone gets really salty when you mention the sexy green-skinned girl image that's plastered over every billboard in Shal-Mari.

I wish there had been more players like you around when the scene was still hoppin' :sigh:

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Woah thread blew up.

Rand Brittain posted:

Yeah, the game isn't always consistent about that, though.

Yeah. It's on purpose, but it's not implemented well at all thanks to the schizophrenic writing.

The basic idea is that you follow a scale of humanity from top to bottom, Seraph to Grigori. Seraphim are just plain alien to deal with. Mercurians, who are one step above Grigori, are the easiest. Then you take Word into account and how that affects humanity, and how humanity affects the Word. Again, someone just post the Game Master's Guide after Superiors, because it explains so much of this nonsense.

In game, though, you're not meant to be dealing with your Superior. You'll usually be dealing with ranking Wordbound - unless you're specialists, well, why would the mailroom kids talk to the CEO? But yeah, Superiors are tricky and sticky to handle well in a setting.

Also yeah blah blah blah Bright Lilim are just Lilim, surely Malakim can Fall then, but that got buried under 190,000 pounds of people just playing Malakim like asshead D&D Paladins. Which is hilarious because the mechanics for Malakim barely make them useful for actually fighting demons. Ofanim are mechanically VASTLY better at slaughtering a shitload of demons. Just as hilariously as Lilim being awful working girls, Malakim are awful warriors way way better suited to helping keep contracts, settling disagreements, and doing rescue operations.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Rand Brittain posted:

That's why they have four books and five straight-to-digital products entirely about their personalities and opinions!

I laugh, bleakly, because I know exactly how it is.

Like I said. Someone's baby. Cross people starving for their own little White Wolfish fanfiction playground with fringe-element nerds and an absolutely bizarre geoscape of fandom to writer relations and you end up with "Here's a game about angels and demons and the humans they fight ovDID I MENTION THAT ANDRE HAS LIKE 17 SEXUAL CONQUESTS AMONG THE ARCHANGELS??!?

Just pretend it was all written by some pissed off team of Media demons.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Mors Rattus posted:

Malakim did not exist before the Fall. Uriel, David and the rest of the First Malakim looked at what Lucifer was doing and essentially went mad with rage, hulking out and warping into the Malakim and going ham on the Rebels until the battle ended, at which point they swear their Oaths to restrain their fury to a cold boil instead of constant murder.

Yup. In more simple terms, Uriel, the Seraph Archangel of Purity, saw Lucifer's bullshit and went Super Saiyan.

As for the adjudication thing, no, Malakim were meant to be the Big Bad Demon Slayers the whole time. But the mechanics do nothing to really support that. Malakim can't Fall, supposedly, and they suffer no Trauma, but nobody ever cares about or gives a poo poo for Trauma rules, and it's functionally useless as a demon hunter power in the base setting. A lot of Choir attunements ended up giving them an edge, and Laurence is balls-to-the-wall murder mode, but base Malakim just... should stand aside and let Ofanim trash the living dogshit out of things with their insane resonance and gigantic corporeal combat bonuses.

Of note, the original French version had no Choirs or Bands. Angels and Demons were Angels and Demons.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Y'know there's a reason that mass furious violent deicide is a thing in pretty much every setting I run.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

Each to their own. I hold the complete opposite view, that submission to the cosmic order is a good thing.

I kinda hold Lilith as one of the biggest assholes of In Nomine and one of the two main people keeping the War going.

I was talking more about the Wall of the Faithless thing. As for In Nomine, I run it way more forgiving. God wants people to have free will, which includes angels even if they keep insisting they're some kind of mindless extension of divine will, backs off to let the song play out its own way, keeps a hand down and out for any demon willing to reach up. loving with humans always ends badly for everyone because the Symphony is violent and hateful of little winged fucks trying to poo poo up the Human Section of the whole song.

I just treat Lilith as someone who was victim of circumstance and decided to get REALLY loving mad, and now regrets the poo poo out of it all these years later, but what the hell can she do? Die horribly, that's about it. Plus, Balseraph is a hell of a drug.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



PantsOptional posted:

I'm curious as to what about the Ofanite resonance makes them so much better in combat. Aside from being able to dodge just about anything, they should be pretty good at thrown weapons but surely there are better weapons to use. I'm not doubting that they probably are too good at fighting - there's got to be a reason why the APG tries to redefine the relevant skills for the resonance, aside from the fact that by default Ofanim couldn't use their super motion powers to drive better.

In Nomine combat is barebones. Ofanim have a gross advantage because of their speed and being able to boost so many physical skills, and Go Fast. Now, this doesn't give them the absolute advantage, since you really need proper Word attunements to roid out, but on base paper, Ofanim are superior demon slayers to Malakim.

Malakim don't get a bonus to damage or hit demons, no damage reduction against them, no way to banish them naturally, no special defense against their resonances, no way to shut down resonances, and they can't actually detect demons at all save on a CD 6 against a Balseraph which is situational in the extreme. But the text treats them as these endless living nightmares that all demons are TERRIFIED of meeting, even though they can't track you like a Cherub, chase you like an Ofanite, read you like an Elohite, or just drown you to death in a building-sized swarm of giant angry wasps like Kyriotates. They can just... tell if you didn't pay your bills last month, and if you shoot them in the head they wake up in Heaven in seconds instead of days/months/years/millenia.

Ofanim are beasts, Kyriotates shatter the game over their knee, and Mercurians have nothing to do with this but I hate them anyways because their resonance is the sloppiest most headachey poo poo you have ever seen as a GM.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Ratoslov posted:

This is why I can't hate Jordi entirely. Sure, he's a waste of page count everywhere else, but nothing says awesome like killing demons with BEEEEEEESSSSSS!

Jordi is fun as HELL when you play him inverted. Which is to say, he doesn't like mankind, but tries to work hard with them to manage things and turn things around. Humans are animals! And drat it all, God is the leader of his hive, and he isn't a goddamn rebel. This is because he's determined that the reason for so much slaughter and spoilage of nature is THESE GODDAMN ANGELS AND DEMONS WILL NOT STOP loving WITH HUMAN HEADS, ALL THE drat TIME, GET OFF MY LAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWN

*millions of angry bee noises as angels and demons die in droves*

The idea is don't go wandering the wilds alone. You gonna die, demon. Angel? You dyin' too. Jordi don't give a poo poo, get the gently caress out. OUT. Go cry about it in the Council Meetings you meddlesome poo poo.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



I was so mystified in later years when I finally decided to look at D&D and found it was nothing like the arcade games in terms of bombast and lunacy. Devil May Cry is exactly the right word and what I thought would go down.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Mors Rattus posted:

Kyriotates of Animals have an amazingly terrifying attunement.

Every other Animals attunement is basically just 'uuuuh you get to be a dog.'

Borgstrom's favorite trick was to play a goofy Kyriotate of Animals whose favored manifestation was a swarm of giant funnel web spiders.

Talking with Borgstrom is also a hell of a drug.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



So is there a D&D setting where Wizards and Clerics and Gods are all just slaughtered the second an inkling of their existence arises, so the rest of the world can go about their fantasy nonsense in relative peace? Because reading all that is hilarious and tells me that every problem in those worlds comes from bad gods and worse wizards.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



goddamn, and here I thought In Nomine had too freaking many celestial powers mucking about

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



The Lone Badger posted:

So a starting kyriotate of animals can handle up to 16 swarms of wasps. How much wasp is that in kg?

In Nomine doesn't detail down to that level, suffice to say it's enough to gently caress up any situation the GM can conceive of.

I swear to God a remake of this game would have to drive Kyriotates extinct to make them reasonable. Demons are so much easier to run, hilariously. Their resonances make nice simple sense! Actually, I should post Furfur's original attunements here sometime. That was about the time Derek was checking out of sanity and writing stuff for the line.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Count Chocula posted:

Really? He sounds like the most annoying Superior, even more than Kobal. Like a set-up for constant Data/Sheldon from Big Bang Theory scenes of him taking things literally or explaining everything at length. He's a Wikisperg. He's the ultimate pedant. He sealions (harasses with questions) all over the place.

I find Yves, Gabriel and Eli the only tolerable Archangels. Where is it stated that Eli is 'insane'? At worst he seems too much like a hippie.

I want to know more about Novalis. And Game, since he seems so powerful in Hell.

Asmodeus has an expanded writeup too. He's pretty cool when players and GMs aren't wanking over him. As for likeable Superiors, it depends on how you as a GM portray them. Canonically, the writing is too over the place for most writeups and usually comes across as everyone being a giant sperglord rear end in a top hat who's impossible to deal with. The intent, however, is that they're pretty ok to work for, just don't poo poo on their Word and screw around. They're ancient element beings with some human traits, not humans with some ancient elemental traits.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Litheroy is a pretty cool dude. Believe me when I say that a naive super-truth spitting happy snake is vastly preferable to how most Seraphim are, which is usually arrogant, socially impossible, violently adverse to lies, disdainful of humans, disdainful of every Choir below them, and about as easy to talk to as an actual basket full of enraged vipers.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Rand Brittain posted:

If In Nomine ever gets a second edition, I hope it makes being Word-bound a lot less like being mentally ill. The Superiors tend to come across as obsessed with their tiny piece of the pie to the point that giving them leadership positions is fabulously unwise.

That's another point touched on in some books. Wordbound are MEANT to come across as frighteningly focused, because they are less a person anymore, and more their Word - they are a living concept, and that's kind of unpleasant. But it gives tremendous power to Heaven and Hell both, so they're not going to stop anytime soon. They're also affected by mankind; there's one example where, if the concept of Flowers was somehow changed enough that everyone associated them primarily with poison, or death, then Novalis would either have to give up those aspects of her Word and become severely less powerful, or she'd have to embrace those ideas at risk to herself.

But this is why Litheroy is a Minor Archangel. He's limited, situational, but still powerful in his area.

EDIT: Yeah, Litheroy is nowhere NEAR a Fall unless you change the game to portray that. None of the Archangels are save Khalid in his adventure seeds, and people fear Eli may be. Eli is kind of insane, in the sense that you do not up and abandon your entire organization to go on walkabout unless you're hosed in the head, or you know something. Or both. There's also Gabriel, but her Fall would easily be the result of Word-friction over actually acting against her nature.

But this is why Dominic exists. They're in a War that's testing their natures every single goddamn day in the worse ways possible, while they have to blend into and remain secret among mankind. These are glass bubbles in a powerful storm.

Black August fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Feb 7, 2016

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

I see Litheroy as being close to Falling because of how destructive to society his Word has made him: he has no concept of privacy, refuses to believe that anything is better left buried, and no social filter on what is and is not appropriate. He reads to me as profoundly autistic, and one act of misplaced faith away from being Outcast. Even if he comes back, I think it would be Alfred Nobel style: seeing the papers erroneously report his death by celebrating that the Merchant of Death is dead, which lead him to create the Nobel Prizes and seek a better way of being to the world.

You gotta understand, acting inhuman doesn't mean you're going to Fall. Litheroy, as a matter of fact, is being very healthy for an angel. He is incredibly devoted to Truth, embraces his nature and Word, and managed to confuse the poo poo out of a Demon Prince such that Dominic gave it a wave -- that's a TREMENDOUS amount of trust. Dissonance is going against your nature, and Litheroy is not acting against it in the least. Being Outcast happens for defying Heaven and doing dissonant poo poo. Litheroy is a sterling example of acting with your nature, even if that nature, to you, seems profoundly uncomfortable and insane. And it is, to many other people in Heaven, but that's the point. Heaven is full of elemental forces grating against one another, but they're all in it together to defeat Hell and let mankind move on their own.

That's not to say he isn't going to cause problems with his behavior, and maybe make some dire mistakes, but he's not at all acting dissonant or worthy of Outcasting or Falling. Litheroy is a Seraph's Seraph, but he's also pretty friendly and interested in mankind.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

My response would be that Litheroy is being woefully limited by being so dedicated to his Word, and I think my spin on things would say that he is still merely an angel - and will never be an archangel as long as he remains so narrowly defined by his Word. For good or ill, the other archangels have developed beyond the simple, literal meanings of their Words, but Litheroy has been devoured by his.

Well this is why in my settings he's still just a Wordbound and fills a more fun role by being a wandering prophet type. No harm in docking him down, and you can easily spin a game by saying that his ascension to Superior status was a mistake by the Council, in hindsight, but they were trying to play blind chessboxing and made the best decision they could - they were also all reeling from Raphael dying to end Legion, and desperate to plug up holes she left behind before Hell moved to crush them on that front. He's limited, but he also exists to counter Secrets - a lot of the strategy of Heaven and Hell is trying to keep each other in check by raising Superiors to oppose some on the other side. This doesn't work out every time.

But hey, if you want him Fallen, he makes a pretty good Demon Prince of Accusation.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Josef bugman posted:

Have you ever tried playing in Glorantha? Because there the gods are jerks because of a whole load of reasons. That and you might be the actual jerks.

Nah. D&D ain't never been my bag. It'll forever be That Weird Other Game which I just safari past to gawk at.



Hey you know what I forgot last night that I missed your post a few pages back and to respond. If you get PMs feel free to toss me one with your writeup. It's been YEARS for me so I'm not exactly in competitive shape for helping with stuff, but I'd gladly give it a read and ideas.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Having read back some stuff, had no idea so much was already covered, it's funny to see people's reactions to Kobal and Yves. Him being cryptic has always been a stickler for other people too thinking back, but it's always been explained as him doing his best to not interfere with the Symphony, because he knows so much that saying the wrong thing at the wrong time could drive a shitload of people into their Fate. Yves tries to have a delicate touch, same as his angels, because they're playing with the Symphonic equivalent of nitroglycerin, and it WILL explode if you shake it up too much. So he's not so much cryptic as he is trying to guard his words against creating Bad End timelines. But it comes across as annoying if you don't work it right. Yves works well if he's infrequent, and less cryptic sage, and more kindly old man who tries to encourage you with some advice, because he sees the BEST that you could be, and he desperately wants you to find that in yourself. I often used him without the players even knowing who he was, or at least not saying it outright. He's another better-for-NPCs Archangel.

Kobal on the other hand is a mess, especially mechanically with his terrible dissonance. Difficult and boring. And he does come across too often as a bad Joker knockoff. A lot of fan material expanded on him in much better ways, with the intent of most book writers being that he was once the role Fate filled. He used to oppose Yves, which is an insane diametric - the Minor-Major Worded Impudite opposing the most powerful Archangel in all of existence, by cheapening everything in life into a bitter hostile joke. Kobal is meant to come across as jaded, going through the motions, not actually giving a poo poo anymore, and getting increasingly likely to do something horrible to Hell and Heaven both just to get a rise out of them. He's really smart, really bored, and also really pathetic. His Servitors are best played as very smart people who simply frame all of their works through comedy meant to demean and hurt people. They want to take the bluster and piss out of the ultra-serious assholes on both sides, who have worked up all this War into something so deadly serious that it's strangled the life out of everything.

But because they're demons, they want to make sure it ends with everyone being miserable with them. Kobal is enraged that Kronos took over his special job, and he's way way way better at it than Kobal could ever be. There's also the option a lot of writers took to, where Kobal is sort of Hell's Everyman, mocking the Princes but also assuaging their egos in diplomatic ways by mocking other Princes with them, making sure they all hate each other more than they hate him in the end, so he has a lot of social acumen. He's also a subtle counter to Asmodeus, keeping him check from becoming too powerful and Hell-controlling.

Base Kobal is just kind of a wretched 90s style giggling psychopath though, yeah. Dull.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Josef bugman posted:

Litheroys best feature is that he really gets on Kobols tits and annoys him. There is nothing more fun than that.

Taking the piss out of Kobal and making sure he knows he's old hat like a washed up tryhard comedian is the best thing. Bully not so tough since etc etc. Granted, he is a legit good tool against Asmodeus. But also likely to do awful things just to spite people who bruise his increasingly fragile ego. That's what makes Demon Princes and Hell sort of scary, they're all a lot of hyper-abused self-loathing sociopaths with a hair trigger and the Forces to back it up until they get dogpiled.

I really tried to downplay that for my Hell game though, and put a much bigger focus on the mystic aspect of Hell and Heaven, which ended up being pretty popular with some writers who turned to focus on the same things. As written, In Nomine is honestly very dry and devoid of much theological mystery or wonder. Borgstrom tried to have it happen more with her David writeup, but even then compared to the rest of the material, it came across more as David being a weird floozy with cultish aspects instead of angels actually delving into holy mysteries and the unknowable unknown. It adds a lot of flavor to Hell when you try to contrast Princes who are very earthly and material, like the Shal-Mari bloc, against Princes who are more mystical and conceptual, or could be. Some amazing poo poo has been done with Saminga in that regard, which he direly needs considering his core book and semi-expanded writeup.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

Or run with the idea that Lucifer deliberately keeps Death in the hands of a shallow idiot, and ask why that would be.

There's been a lot of ideas about Saminga. His Word has killed his brain, he's merely pretending to be stupid, he's smart but so monomaniacal that he can't make use of it beyond genius works in the field of undead, Lucifer wants a simpleton in the role so he doesn't literally murder the world, the Archangel of Death is wrecking him with Word-friction, he's actually an Undead Celestial somehow which has messed him up, and one of my favorite recent ideas from a writer doing his own side project, Saminga is a simpleton, but because he's at peace with himself and his Word - his entire philosophy is 'This Too Shall Pass', and he enrages the other Princes and disturbs them because Saminga is utterly content with the idea that they're all going to die eventually, and there's nothing they can do about it save hasten the end. The War is pointless save that it helps to end existence, so him and his Servitors just quietly go about their work and aid each other in ways that seems almost heretical to other demons.

One of my own ideas for a game seed is that Saminga, of course, in all his idiot genius, manages to figure out a way to create undead who have Words, and has been doing so for a while, but nobody noticed until the players kick the plot off.

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Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Mors Rattus posted:

The Archangel of Death, btw, is heavily implied to be a Grigori, which is why they aren't around.

Yeah. It's something that was so little detailed and kept veiled for so long that even Beth couldn't talk about it, because there was a planned big Grigori book. Which never happened of course. Maybe one day. Probably not.

Death and Song being the two. Death presumably being Azreal, and Song is Miriam. The whole thing with the Grigori was a righteous goddamn mess, both in-setting and out of setting.

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