In Nomine is a role-playing game designed by Derek Pearcy and published in 1997 by Steve Jackson Games, based on the French gameIn Nomine Satanis / Magna Veritas. Players typically assume the role of angels and demons in a setting that draws heavily on the traditional Christian mythos (however the French version was quickly expanded to include religions as diverse as Voodoo and the Norse Pantheon). In Nomine won the Origins Award for Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1997.The American version of In Nomine is somewhat more serious than the French version but still a largely satirical look at the war between Heaven and Hell. While Demons tend to be genuinely evil at the upper ranks, individual rank and file are considerably more sympathetic. Likewise, Angels tend to be good but can become bitterly misguided in their causes.In Nomine has always had modest success at best; recent supplements for the game are few and far between, and have been released solely through Steve Jackson Games's electronic store e23. Some fans have attributed the game's lack of broad appeal to its quirky D666 system and the over-the-top nature of the setting.Not to be confused with the Europa Universalis IIIExpansion Pack. Or the German electronic music group.
Alternate Character Interpretation: The game is loaded with them, and two or three are suggested for every Archangel/Demon Prince supplement. Dominic may be an ineffectual nanny, an uncompromising tyrant, an outright Balseraph in disguise, or the smartest, most clear-eyed person in Heaven. Yves may be a secret mastermind, a doddering old man, or God in a George Burns costume. Lucifer, Valefor, Alaemon, and/or Kobal may be working for God. Valefor might actually be Lucifer. Or Valefor (a Demon Prince) and Janus (an Archangel) might be the same person. And in the French game, you can remove the latter "might". He is also Hermes. invoked
The GM's Guide has options for giving the entire game an Alternate Character Interpretation. 'Backwards' has the angels all being Knight Templar fanatics and the demons being heroic rebels. 'Dark Low Contrast' is basically doing it Garth Ennis style, where both sides just plain suck. 'Bright Low Contrast' is when you play the game strictly for the sitcom value and neither side's really evil at all. invoked
Ammunition Backpack: Belial, the Demon Prince of Fire, often appears wearing a flame thrower with a fuel tank backpack.
Anthropomorphic Personification: Angels and Demons with "Words" see everything through their Word's perspective, becoming living incarnations of their Word.
Arch-Enemy: Several pairs of angel and demon are bitter enemies, some because they share the same concept or are otherwise metaphysically opposed (Michael, Archangel of War, and Baal, Demon Prince of the War; Gabriel and Belial, Archangel and Demon Prince of Fire), others because of specific incidents (Christopher, Archangel of Children, has never forgiven Kobal for the Children's Crusade).
Army of the Dead: The Saints of War. Over a thousand blessed souls incarnated on Earth to watch and wait for the moment that Michael needs them to scramble.
Ascended Demon: Possible, but difficult- not the least because any demon attempting to redeem himself is likely to run afoul of Asmodeus and be destroyed as a traitor to Hell, and that he needs an Archangel to help tune their Symphony-though admittedly most of them will jump at the chance because a redeemed demon is less resource-intensive then a new angel.
Battle Trophy: In the supplement Superiors 1: War and Honor. Angels who follow the Archangel Michael have been known to take the weapons, insignia or even body parts of defeated demons as trophies. A few of them have necklaces of demon ears. One group of Malakim devote themselves to finding and skinning Balseraphs.
Angels of War serving Michael are the only angels allowed to take trophies from demons they slay. It is a form of pride, but one officially allowed to Michael and his angels after the inquisition of heresy lead by Dominic, in which Michael was pardoned. (Not because he was innocent, but because his pride had inspired his triumph over Hell in many conflicts.)
Be Careful What You Wish For: If a demon happens to meet Lucifer (which they don't expect more than an average person would expect to meet the President), he may offer to grant them a boon: any sort of special favor they want. That demon had better hope Lucifer is in a good frame of mind and that they don't ask for too much, or too little.
Also how Djinni avoid gaining Dissonance for attacking their "master".
Believing Their Own Lies: How a Balseraph's Consummate Liar ability works-they trick themselves into believing what they're saying. Also why they gain Dissonance when their lies are revealed-the dawning realization that the world they think they see is a self-induced Lotus-Eater Machine causes them to lose control over the Symphony and may eventually send them into a complete Villainous BSOD when they realize they don't know what's real anymore.
Celestial Bureaucracy: For both Heaven and Hell. It's been said of the setting that both Heaven and Hell are Feudal Bureaucracies, but the Devil is (quite literally) in the details.
Cessation of Existence: the fate of Undead when they are killed, and celestials who loses all their Celestial Forces in celestial combat and doesn't have a vessel and/or any remaining Corporeal Forces (those that do end up as an Empty Shell called a Remnant) also happens to some ordinary humans for reasons left ambiguous by the rulebooks.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Malphas, the Demon Prince of Factions, whose job is to reduce society to a horde of paranoid lunatics who are unable to trust anyone at all (after all, they can't betray you if you betray them first). Even his own followers are prone to this, and the core book states that Malphas is actually able to backstab himself. The only reason he hasn't tried to overthrow Lucifer is that he's too busy making his fellow Demon Princes fight among themselves (and that he's smart enough to know that he would be destroyed if he did try).
This is also said to be why Lucifer keeps him around; with Malphas in play, the rest of Hell will never get organized enough to overthrow the Prince of Darkness.
Council of Angels: Pretty much per the trope, but with behind-the-scenes political squabbles. For example, Michael (the Archangel of War) is extremely frustrated with Novalis (the Archangel of Flowers) for her pacifistic attitude towards the War, while supporting more militaristic Archangels such as Laurence (the Archangel of the Sword), but loathes Dominic (the Archangel of Judgment) as he is still bitter about being accused of sinful pride by him. Even so, they still acknowledge that they are in fact on the same side and work together if necessary, albeit begrudgingly. There's a similar organization of Demon Princes that vaguely acts like this as well, except that Lucifer's word is absolute and they are far more likely to sabotage each other's plans than to actually cooperate.
Crisis of Faith: Ironically, it's the Archangel of Faith himself who goes through this, in The Final Trumpet.
Crossover Cosmology: All mythologies exist somewhere in the Reaches, except for those religions that are actually divinely inspired; Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism (among others) are divine, while the Greek, Norse, Chinese and Shinto pantheons are ethereal. Hinduism and Santeria/Vodun are the exceptions; they are functionally both divine and ethereal religions, the Hindu Triad are ethereal deities on par with archangels, and the whole setup is implied to be a way of telling angels that they don't know everything.
Deal with the Devil: Done interestingly. While selling your soul to a demon really jacks up the chances of you going to hell — and into the estate of that specific demon — there's nothing in there that says you cannot go to Heaven; If you somehow manage to redeem yourself, you've rendered the pact null and void — you're not the property of Hell at all, let alone one specific demon. The demons are not amused by this.
This is the way both Lilith and her children operate — which is ironic, since Lilith's Word is Freedom.
Defector from Decadence: The demons usually see themselves as this compared to the angels. It's possible but rare for a demon to redeem themselves this way.
Divine Ranks: Regular angels then Archangels in Heaven, demons, Demon Princes and Lucifer for Hell.
Word-Bound angels/demons rank higher than regular ones, but lower than Archangels/Demon Princes. Most all Archangels/Demon Princes also have their own ranks within their organization. The typical setup is Servitor/Vassal/Friend/Master for angels and Servitor/Knight/Captain/Baron for demons, with individual organizations defining their own higher ranks after that.
Angelic choirs are also ranked, from highest to lowest: Seraphim, Cherubim, Ofanim, Elohim, Malakim, Kyriotates and Mercurians. Demons have the same ranks for their fallen counterparts, except that Malakim (who DO NOT FALL!) are replaced with Lilim (who are always created Fallen). Seraphim/Balseraphim are the only choir/band who insist on 'pulling rank', usually.
Also subverted, though presumably only intentionally with demons, as being Word-bound isn't always a good thing, as the Demon of Stale Bong Water could testify.
Dream Land: The Marches, created by the dreams of every living thing on Earth.
Ensign Newbie: Laurence, Archangel of the Sword, is the youngest of the Archangels (this is relative; he was about 750 years old when he was elevated), and is the Commander of the Host. He's in way over his head, and Michael is getting tired of playing Sergeant Rock for him.
Evil Counterpart: The different types of demon are all Fallen versions of the different types of angel (except the Lilim). In addition, some of the Demon Princes are opposite numbers to the Archangels: for instance Dominic, Archangel of Judgement and Asmodeus, Demon Prince of The Game; Blandine, Archangel of Dreams and her former lover Beleth, Demon Princess of Nightmares; and the extra-ineffable Yves, Archangel of Destiny and Kronos, Demon Prince of Fate.
Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Kobal is the Prince of Dark Humor. Lucifer often laughs at Kobal, and Haagenti is in charge of gross-out humor and sight gags. (The other Demon Princes mostly fall under No Sense of Humor, especially Baal.)
Evil Is Easy: It's considerably harder for a demon to become an angel than vice versa.
Faux Affably Evil: Many of the Demon Princes (most notably Lucifer himself) fall into this category; they wear business suits and chat pleasantly with their demons while they order their Forces stripped. Some prefer simple brutishness and terror instead and don't even pretend to be nice, while Lilith appears to be an Affably EvilNoble Demon. (The truth about her is ineffable.)
Fluffy Cloud Heaven: reinforced and subverted. Heaven has a lot of stuff — although they did build a Fluffy Cloud section for the benefit of people who enjoy that sort of thing.
Flying Weapon: Heavenly Judgement, one of Dominic's Servitor Attunements in Superiors I: War & Honor. It creates a luminous sword that attacks serious criminals.
Good Feels Good: The most common way for a demon to be redeemed is when they start feeling this way.
Good Guy Bar: "Chez Régis", where angels and demons can drink without fighting each other.
Granola Girl: Novalis, the pacifist Archangel of Flowers, can come across like this.
Great Big Library of Everything: Yves' Library in Heaven contains anything ever written or recorded, including some works that were only created in dreams.
Hammer Space: In Superiors I: War & Honor, the Archangel Laurence's Servitors have an Attunement called "Scabbard" that can hold an unlimited number of personal weapons.
Hand Signals: In Superiors I: War and Honor, Dominic's angels can communicate with each other using finger/hand codes.
Have You Seen My God?: God Himself hasn't directly communicated with anyone — at least, that anyone knows about (barring two messages breaking up the trials of different Archangels) — since the Rebellion.
However, it's 99% certain that Gabriel's occasional moments of prophecy are communications directly from God, and it's also hinted that Archangel Yves is the spokesangel for God, replacing the Metatron, who Lucifer killed as his first act of rebellion. Yves, however, annoyingly refuses to confirm or deny. That's ineffability for you.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: It happens, but it doesn't work out well. If an Ascended Demon falls again (referred to as a "yo-yo"), they had better hope that they have something extremely valuable to trade in exchange for the lowest, dirtiest position in Asmodeus' hierarchy, and they'd better get the deal in writing. Otherwise, they'll be terminated with extreme prejudice to discourage any other would-be defectors.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Reinforced with Heaven's commander, Laurence, Archangel of The Sword, who not only is a true blademaster but can imbue any sword he uses with permanent supernatural power. Averted in Michael, Archangel of War, who openly prefers a simple mundane battle-axe to a sword and can trash anyone in creation with it including, according to legend, Laurence himself.
If they feel confident, a Servitor of Dominic can try to insta-trial an opponent for execution. If they succeed, they get to rent his (rather nice) sword for summary punishment.
Holier Than Thou: The Demons are genuinely evil in In Nomine, at least the leaders (except for Lilith, who's really more of a mercenary). The Angels aren't evil, but do strongly disagree with each other about what's best for humanity.
Horn Attack: The Numinous Corpus song Horns grows horns on top of the user's head. The horns can be used as a weapon.
Impossible Thief: Valefor, especially in the French version. The Demon Prince once stole the entire Russian Revolution. And his career began with a book lifted from Destiny's Library, which no one else has ever done before or since. Add in the fact that the book hadn't even been written yet.... And then he stole a Word, essentially a cosmic concept, from the demon who was mystically bound to said concept. Yes, he stole an abstract concept.
Internal Affairs: The angels of Dominic, the Archangel of Judgment, serve this role for the forces of Heaven. Like most fictional IA officers, this means they're also seen as overstarched pokerspines most of the time.
Ironic Hell: Hell is built on the sins you formed in life. Some Demon Princes divide up souls based on it, others couldn't care less.
Unless you signed over your soul to a specific Demon Prince (Asmodeus or Mammon, mostly). Then you go straight to his/her domain. (Unless you go to Heaven...)
Laughably Evil: Kobal, the Demon Prince of Dark Humor. There is also his "blood brother" Haagenti, the Demon Prince of Gluttony, who also holds purview over torture and sight gags (which many consider to be a form of torture).
Living a Double Life: Strongly hinted to be the case with Janus, Archangel of the Wind and Valefor, Demon Prince of Theft. First there's Janus' name. Next, their servitors' powersets and various other details are identical — to the point of cut-and-pasted descriptions. And when you think about it, an Archangel who encourages petty theft as a way to keep the Forces of Heaven on their toes? More than a little odd. The question is, which side is he really on, and how does he get away with it?
In the original French games, Janus started as an ordinary angel working undercover in Hell as Valefor. He got promoted to Archangel (and recalled back to Heaven) when he made a big score against Kronos, but then he discovered that he missed the adrenaline rush of undercover work. So without telling anyone he resumed his identity as Valefor and worked his way up to Demon Prince in Hell just for the thrill and danger of it. Now since the American adaptation and the French originals are divergent in many ways, often radically so, there's no guarantee that this history applies at all to the SJGames version; if anything, the American version seems to lean in the opposite direction, with Valefor as a Demon Prince masquerading as an Archangel.
There's a theory that he/they are actually Odin, pulling a fast one on both sides, and in the process living a triple life.
In a more mundane fashion, any celestial with a Role is living a double life — he or she has an identity that can seem human even to the Symphony itself.
Mad Scientist: Vapula, the Demon Prince of Technology. Lacking Archangel Jean's Heavenly access to the secrets of the physical universe, he works to catch up by experimenting on every soul in sight — literally.
Make Them Rot: The Calabim are surrounded by invisible fields of entropy that can break down the integrity of any ordered structures within their reach.
Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: This is the general mindset of most Cherubim, epitomized by Zadkiel, Cherub Archangel of Protection.
Mayincatec: Quetzalcoatl, Mictalantechtli, Huitzilopochtli and several other Aztec gods are included.
Neutrality Backlash: The system works to ensure that celestials do not have the option to not choose sides. Angels who don't cooperate with the hierarchy are Outcast and (almost) certain to either repent or Fall, while Renegade demons are actively hunted by both sides, and Dominic cooperates with Asmodeus to ensure their destruction.
New Media are Evil: Nybbas was a low-ranking demon who invented television with the aid of several human accomplices. Lucifer, recognising the next big thing, immediately promoted him to Demon Prince of the Media. TV has ever since been a major tool for spreading demonic influence.
Inverted with the Internet. Orc, the Angel of Networks, is a powerful force for Heaven.
No Name Given: The Archangel of Death has only been briefly mentioned twice, but never by name.
Noble Demon: Baal and Lilith both fit, in their own ways.
One-Gender Race: Lilim are not quite this, but it still fits them to some extent. A majority of Lilim identify as female, they are collectively called the "Daughters of Lilith" and according to Beth McCoy (see Word of God below) they are created generically female. However a substantial minority identify as male ("Sons of Lilith") and a few like to appear as either sex depending on their whim.
Also, roughly 80 percent of Zadkiel's angels of Protection choose to manifest as female. Which is interesting since her Splat Book says she is a Muslim, a faith which specifically says that angels do not appears as female. The said book notes that this is a bone of contention between her and Khalid, who hews more strictly to the dogma of Islam then Zadkiel does, Zadkiel believes that bit of the Koran to have been a misinterpretation on Mohammad's part.
Cherubim: Protective Mama Bears/bodyguards that attune themselves to things and protect them with their lives. Their celestial forms tend to be winged animals of any variety.
Ofanim: Heaven's speed freaks. They can detect the quickest way to get to a given point, and generally try to get there as fast as possible. The only thing that goes against their nature is to stop. Their celestial forms are wheels of flame that appear to spin constantly.
Elohim: Angels whose celestial forms resemble The Greys. They can detect other people's emotions and motivations. They are not allowed to act on their own emotions, however, so most of them adapt a Spock-like personality.
Malakim: Proud Warrior Race Guys who can't Fall (though one popular theory suggests that they're already Fallen and just don't know it) and can also see how honorable or dishonorable someone has been; they act as Heaven's primary soldiers and demon fighters thanks to their ability to resist Trauma caused by a vessel's death. Their celestial forms look similar to the stereotypical image, but have black wings with "shadowy" bodies.
Bright Lilim: Rare, but with a well-known existence. See Lilim, but with their nature changed to reflect the positive aspects of freedom and contracts, with their appearance mutating to have glowing skin and translucent wings. Lilith is said to be respectful of the difficult choice her daughters on Heaven's side have made to abandon Hell.
Kyriotates: Benevolent Body Snatchers, complete with Hive Mind as the result of being able to possess multiple people (or other animals) at once. They can't leave their hosts in a worse state than in which they found them. They look vaguely like a swarm of levitating body parts.
Mercurians: Friends of Man, and along with Malakim the only angels to actually resemble the stereotypical Winged Humanoid image. They can naturally detect the relationships of a person towards nearly everyone else that person knows and are natural diplomats. They are not allowed to ever hurt a human being. (Demons, on the other hand, are fair game.)
On the Demonic side:
Balseraphs: Master liars (their lies are so effective, they think their lies ARE the truth); fallen Seraphim. Their celestial forms are similar to Seraphim, but possess bat wings rather than feathered wings and tend to be blood-red.
Djinn: Stalkers, but never with a crush, at least none that they would ever admit. They do everything in their power to deny that they care about anything apart from themselves; fallen Cherubim. Their celestial forms appear like their counterparts, but look like a blend of various beasts rather than a recognizable animal.
Calabim: These Blood Knight demons use both their entropic powers and old-fashioned physical violence in their role as the blunt instruments of Hell; fallen Ofanim. Their celestial forms look like stereotypical demons (red skin, bat wings, and the like) and sometimes look visibly deformed as a result of the Discord they naturally possess.
Habbalah: Emotional manipulators and tormentors. Insane even by demon standards (they think they're angels doing God's work where it's needed the most — in Hell: for them, "doing God's work" means "punishing" anyone they deem to be weak); fallen Elohim. Their celestial forms are covered with scars, piercings, tattoos, and other painful-looking mutilations.
Lilim: Demons who can give you anything you need... but you'll have to pay for it eventually. All Lilim are created in Hell by Lilith, but some occasionally join Heaven as Bright Lilim, and others manage to clear their debts and go Free. Their celestial forms appear as green-skinned humanoids with small horns and bat wings.
Shedim: Really really creepy Puppet Masters who corrupt their victims, degrading their moral standards over time and convincing them that their demonically implanted suggestions were the victim's own ideas; fallen Kyriotates and masters of Demonic Possession. Their celestial forms are similar to Kyriotates' forms, but are more monstrous and unnatural-looking.
Impudites: Charmers who can steal your heart — and bits of your soul, too; fallen Mercurians. They are not allowed to kill a human, though. (It's such a waste of good food.) Their celestial forms resemble the stereotypical demon, with bat wings, horns, and so forth.
GURPS In Nomine gives rules for an eighth major type of angel, the outcast Grigori, who are called "Watchers" and are supernaturally perceptive... and able to interbreed with humans (which is what ended up getting the entire choir exiled from Heaven; see the Book of Enoch). Most of them have gone into hiding since then, and many angels are uncertain if they still exist. Fallen Grigori are known as Skulkers, and are adept at hiding themselves. So adept, in fact, that Hell hasn't been able to find any of them despite their best efforts to do so.
And there are other, minor, Choirs and Bands not listed due to the difficulty involved in playing them (either they work for only one Archangel/Demon Prince or are simply unsuited for working on Earth).
The Paladin: Malakim in general, who live by honor, fight evil relentlessly and cannot Fall (although remember that Good Is Not Nice). Also, Laurence and his angels of The Sword in particular, who tend to see themselves as knights in a fallen world.
Physical God: subverted: Archangels and Demon Princes are celestial beings who must create physical vessels to manifest in the mortal realm.
Plot Armor: Archangels and Demon Princes have no stats; they have hundreds of Essence and Forces and are plot devices, not characters who can be fought and defeated.
Refusing Paradise: Saints are human souls who have died, gone to Heaven, and then asked to return to Earth so they can continue the fight against evil.
Also, to a lesser extent all the blessed souls that hang around in Lower Heaven rather than climbing Jacob's Ladder. They often act as advisors to Archangels who want a human viewpoint on stuff, or help teach angels about to be put on Earth duty how to get along on Earth. Though some of them are just waiting around for a friend or family member so they can ascend together.
Restraining Bolt: All Celestials have certain behaviors (Seraphim can't lie because they're so closely attuned to the truth, Impudites can't kill humans because that's a waste of food) that cause them to gain dissonance. For Angels, dissonance potentially leads them to Fall. For both Angels and Demons, it causes physical, mental, or spiritual handicaps called Discord and unwanted attention from the internal security of Heaven or Hell (neither of which is known for going easy on dissonant Celestials).
Notable are Malakim, who choose their own restraining bolts, and Lilim, who impose restraining bolts on others.
Sadly Mythtaken: The Gods of most non-Abrahamic religions (which the angels were mostly responsible for) are generated by the dreams of humanity. They insist that God is just a jumped-up member of their ranks who achieved enough power to Retcon reality. Some have aligned themselves with Heaven or Hell, but the majority of them simply want to be left alone. Unlike God, they need worship to survive and the lack of same has caused many of them to weaken and even disappear.
Secret Police: The forces of Asmodeus, Demon Prince of the Game, perform this role for Hell. Much of its effort goes into tracking down Renegade demons and bringing them home to "face justice."
Shrug of God: "Canon Doubt and Uncertainty" is a phrase that players of the game know very, very well. As per the Line Editor's policy, some big questions will always be left for individual GMs to make up their own answers to.
Special Snowflake Syndrome: There are probably more Bright Lilim in an average group of PC angels than there are in all of (canonical) Heaven. This generally happens because there is no angelic equivalent for the (admittedly unique) powers lilim have, and most groups will probably be playing angels rather than demons. Game writers eventually got the hint and started creating canon Bright Lilim powers for different angelic Words in the expansions.
Stolen Good, Returned Better: This is the modus operandi of Kyriotates, angels who manifest by possessing human bodies. (And animals, and in some cases plants and machines.) They suffer dissonance if they leave the host in a worse condition than when they "borrowed" it, so they'd rather be safe than sorry and put in some extra effort. Their demonic counterparts, the Shedim, couldn't care less about their host and take pleasure in corrupting it.
Even if the Shedim didn't take pleasure in corrupting their hosts, they'd do it anyway, because not doing it makes them suffer dissonance.
Stupid Evil: Saminga. In raw power, the Prince of Death is nearly a match for Lucifer himself, but he's too busy being a stereotypical Necromancer and hamming it up to be an effective archvillain.
Supernatural Phone: Cherubim of Jean have the ability to call the nearest phone to any person or object they are attuned to. If there is no nearby phone, they can spend 1 "Essence" to cause a cell phone to materialize for 10 minutes within seven feet of their attuned.
Super Spit: One of the Numinous Corpus songs is Acid, which allows the user to spit acid up to 6 meters.
Telephone Teleport: An angel with the Ofanite of Jean attunement may travel as lightning along any suitable conductor, including telephone lines. They caused damage at their entry end exit points, though....
Wild Card: Lilith and the Free Lilim claim to be this. In practice, they're firmly on the Hell side of things because Heaven is not interested in letting Wild Cards live freely. (Neither is Hell, for that matter, but they let Lilith and her Daughters pretend otherwise so long as "Freedom" remains a sick joke rather than a fact.)
Word of God: Beth McCoy, aka "The Archangel of Archives/The Demon Princess of Nitpicking", Line Editor for the game, is a constant presence on the In Nomine mailing list.