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In Nomine is a role-playing game designed by Derek Pearcy and published in 1997 by Steve Jackson Games, based on the French game In 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 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.
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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; as the 2000s went on, supplements for the game became few and far between, and eventually shifted to being released solely in electronic form through Steve Jackson Games's online store, "Warehouse 23", before stopping altogether. 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.

Steve Jackson has said he'd like to bring In Nomine back, but it's not currently on SJG's schedule; the big issue in the way is that SJG need to know if there's enough of an audience, and with the absence of an ongoing line, the fandom's mostly drifted away, which creates a self-perpetuating loop: SJG don't know if there's an audience, so don't put out anything, meaning there's nothing to draw in fans, meaning... (which is not to say there aren't potential ways to break the loop, however).

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Not to be confused with the Europa Universalis III Expansion Pack. Or the German electronic music group.


In Nomine provides examples of:

  • Acid Attack: The Numinous Corpus Song of Acid causes the singer to grow acid glands in her mouth, giving her the ability to spit corrosive liquid.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: Supplement Superiors 4: Rogues to Riches. The White Rabbit nightclub in Detroit is the Earthly headquarters of Fleurity, the Demon Prince of Drugs.
  • Akashic Records: Appears in Superiors 3: Hope and Prophecy as a Destiny attunement. Angels with this ability can spend a lot of Essence in order to get an answer to any question that can be answered in three words or less. Proper names count as one word regardless of length.
  • Alternative 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. Kronos may very well be another manifestation of God. 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. This reaches its pinnacle with Alaemon, the Prince of Secrets, who doesn't have a definitive past — his Superiors expansion gives three possible origin stories, all of which fit the available evidence.
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    • The GM's Guide has options for giving the entire game an Alternative 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.
  • Angelic Abomination:
    • The Seraphim (serpents with six eyes and six feathered wings), Ofanim (constantly spinning wheels of flame), and Kyriotates (a whirling cloud of limbs and body parts) all fit the bill.
    • As already stated, Malakim do not fall. On his website, In Nomine author David Edelstein offers a disturbing variant: they can take so much Discord that they become "Dark Malakim", warped things that distort the Symphony around themselves and steal the Essence of others. (This is not canon in the official line.)
  • Anatomy of the Soul: Souls, whether those of humans, animals, angels, demons, or spirits of the Marches, consist of Forces bound together, which come in three kinds; most beings may have up to six of each kind, usually much less, but the great Archangels and Princes have many more. Corporeal Forces give their owners the ability to interact with the physical world, increasing strength and agility as they go up; Ethereal Forces embody intellect and the mind, giving their owners intellect and precision of action, and their loss often results in loss of memory and Death of Personality; Celestial Forces are the essence of spirituality and morality, strengthening willpower and perception as more are gained, and are needed for spirits to manifest celestially or for mortals to work sorcery. The most common way for celestials to "reproduce" is for Superiors to bind stray Forces into a new angel or demon, and grafting a new Force onto an underling's soul is a common high-end reward.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Cruthriel, a sample Kiryotate in the Liber Servitorum, prefers to inhabit large swarms of city-dwelling vermin such as rats, roaches, flies and pigeons, and has a particular passion for snooping. Since nobody pays much attention to these creatures even when they're not hiding beneath the floorboards or inside a wall, Cruthriel is able to spread his host bodies across entire cities to turn itself into a one-angel surveillance network, finding lost objects, spying on demonic plots and keeping a few eyes on unscrupulous mortals.
  • Animorphism: The Celestial Song of Beasts allows the performer to transform into any animal that she has seen at least once.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Angels and Demons with "Words" see everything through their Word's perspective, becoming living incarnations of their Word.
  • Archangel Gabriel: Gabriel, the Ofanite Archangel of Fire, is a Mad Oracle who lives in a Heavenly volcano. He may have been driven to madness by the persecution of the Archangel Dominic, who believes that Gabriel rewrote the Quran when he was sent to dictate it to Mohammed, or by the strain of sharing a Word with a Demon Prince. These days, Gabriel more frequently appears as a woman. She used to be Heaven's messenger, but has refused this duty since the scandal that surrounded the birth of Islam.
  • Archangel Michael: Michael is the Seraph Archangel of War, the eldest of the angels made by God, and the one who personally threw Lucifer out of Heaven; in personality, he's a stubborn old soldier who isn't much impressed with the younger greenhorns. He's no longer in charge of the Armies of Heaven, however, after Dominic put him on trial for vainglory and for letting his followers promote heathen traditions such as trophy-hunting and warrior cults; God intervened directly to acquit Michael. Michael works with Laurence, Archangel of the Sword and the current commander, but Michael is patron of warriors, not soldiers.
  • Archangel Raphael: The Archangel Raphael is prominently missing from the ranks of Heaven. Canonically, Raphael, the Elohite Archangel of Knowledge, died in 1008 CE in the battle against Legion, the Demon Prince of Corruption. However, a sidebar in one of the supplements hints that there may be more to the story, that Raphael did not die outright but instead suffered the loss of all her Celestial forces to became a Remnant — effectively a Corporeal "ghost" of a former angel — and that the amnesiac Remnant became the Renaissance artist Raphael.
  • Archangel Uriel: Uriel was the Archangel of Purity until he got a little too zealous in trying to stamp out Ethereal creatures. He was "called upstairs" for an audience with God and hasn't been heard from since.
  • 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; Blandine, Archangel of Dreams, and Beleth, Demon Prince of Nightmares; 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).
  • The Armies of Heaven: All of the angels of Heaven oppose the demons of Hell in their own way, but the hosts of angels led by the Archangels Laurence, Michael and David are the closest to being a heavenly army. Of the various types of angels, Malakim (regardless of which Archangel they serve) are most often involved in anti-demonic combat.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Uriel and other souls that go to the "Upper Heavens" — they enter the realm where God is manifest, and never return to the rest of creation.
  • 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, although admittedly most of them will jump at the chance because a redeemed demon is less resource-intensive than a new angel and removes an agent from the enemy's side in the bargain.
  • Asmodeus: Asmodeus, the Demon Prince of the Game, is the overseer of Hell's secret police, and charges his followers with hunting down and destroying any demons whose actions would interfere with Hell's plans or who could defect to the side of the angels. Physically, he resembles a tall man with red skin, pointed ears, and horns.
  • Badass Pacifist: This is Novalis and her angels' preferred methodology when they cross paths with demons and evil humans; they want to redeem them, not kill them. Some can be Martial Pacifists, but, even then and even towards demons, their first weapon is words and kindness. Most other angels don't really get this, even her fellows in the peace faction. (While David does appreciate Novalis' strength and courage, he still thinks that the time for her methods has passed.)
  • Battle Trophy: 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, and one group of Malakim devote themselves to finding and skinning Balseraphs — which is a practice that other archangels, especially Dominic, are not fond of. Angels of War serving Michael are also 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 led 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.)
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: Israfel, the Angel of Music, has the most beautiful singing voice of any being alive, and her performances regularly move other angels to tears.
    Utterly dedicated to her calling, Israfel has probably the most extraordinary vocal talent of any celestial. She was described by Poe as "the angel Israfel, whose heart-strings are a lute, and who has the sweetest voice of all of God's creatures." (Contrary to Poe's laudatory verse, she is not mentioned in the Quran.) She can make angels cry with joy at the beauty of her songs.
  • 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. One demon pestered Lucifer for a Word of his own until the Devil had had enough. Imbap, the Demon of Stale Bong Water, is now an object lesson in why you shouldn't ask Lucifer for anything if you have the option. Lucifer also offers this to angels sometimes; any angel who accepts deserves what he gets.
  • Becoming the Mask: One possible explanation for how Alaemon became the Prince of Secrets. According to Superiors 4: Rogues to Riches, he may have been a Balseraph sent to capture the real Alaemon but who killed him by accident, and took on the identity rather than admit his screwup. Being a Balseraph, he pulled off the deception so well that he even convinced himself.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: How a Balseraph's Consummate Liar ability works — they trick themselves into believing what they're saying. This is 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.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Catacombs, the domain of David, the Archangel of Stone, are a version of this running beneath Heaven itself. They begin as worked chambers and tunnels, before giving way to natural caves as one heads deeper, and lack the otherwise all-pervasive light that fills Heaven; they remain Heavenly, however, and the darkness promotes calm and contemplation. The deepest reaches are home to beings that rarely if ever come up to Heaven's surface; these include angels, shaped with long limbs, large eyes and pale colors to fit their home, alongside strange insects, blind fish, and bizarre grotesqueries — most of these creatures are the souls of subterranean animals, while a few are prototype animals from the early days of creation or lesser spirits who tend to the caves; some are also angels punished for some transgression, or unique creatures made by David for a specific purpose.
  • Body Surf: Kyriotates and Shedim are Body Surfers by necessity; they must possess the bodies of other beings while on Earth (unlike most angels and demons, who are given special bodies to use in the physical world) and they can only possess their hosts for a limited amount of time; the Kyrios have a hard limit of anywhere from a day to a week or so as to how long they can borrow a given body continuously, and Shedim are required to force their hosts to perform evil acts each day, and the host becomes more likely to resist the longer they have been possessed, so the demons don't usually stick around for more than a few days at a time because the host gets too hard to control.
  • Bound and Gagged: In the opening vignette for the main book, the Cherub Tariel, assigned to protect the mortal woman Patricia, has to drive out to meet a contact but doesn't dare let harm come to his charge — so he binds and gags her in the passenger seat next to him so he can keep her safe (making sure she's carefully seat-belted, of course).
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Subverted in the opening vignette in Fall of the Malakim. During a particularly tense confrontation between an angel and a demon that he's partly responsible for, the Malakite Maximillian undergoes a nervous breakdown and develops a "large, wet bulge" in the seat of his pants, to the demons' disgust and the other angel's embarrassment. Once the others manage to get his pants off to deal with the issue, it's revealed that he didn't actually soil himself — rather, the dissonance he had been enduring from standing by and watching demons act freely without being able to interfere had transformed into physical Discord in the form a long, slimy tail. To an angel, this physical mark of moral deviance would however be much more shameful than just a sudden bowel movement.
  • Burn Scars, Burning Powers: Belial is the Demon Prince of Fire and has great control over fire. His skin is covered in burn scars.
  • Casting a Shadow:
    • The Songs of Darkness create literal and metaphorical shadows. The Corporeal Song of Darkness shrouds an area around the performer in darkness; at their discretion, this may be merely shadowy, night-dark, or absolutely lightless. The Ethereal Song of Darkness instills targets with a deep fear of darkness and the unknown. The Celestial Song of Darkness blinds targets.
    • The Songs of Shadows manipulate existing areas of shadows instead of creating them. The Corporeal Song of Shadows calls shadows to the singer, hiding her as long as she moves in darkened areas. The Ethereal Song of Shadows animates and shapes shadows to the singer's will.
  • Cavalry 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.
  • 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.
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels: The Archangels are the leaders of Heaven's forces, each charged with overseeing a part of the celestial Symphony. While their goals are usually good ones, and they're a fair sight better than what their counterparts downstairs would like to see achieved, they also tend to follow priorities, concerns and guidelines often rather distant from human morality, and can come across as anything from manic and unreliable to inflexibly dogmatic.
  • Cessation of Existence: Souls are fairly sturdy things, but some situations can result in the Forces that make them up being scattered and disbanded. If this happens, the individual is gone, utterly and forever.
    • This is typically what happens to celestial or ethereal beings who are destroyed in celestial combat, as this results in damage being deal directly to their spiritual selves. Demon Princes are also fond of forcefully destroying the souls of disappointing or disobedient underlings as a form of punishment and as an example for others.
    • This is the fate that awaits all Undead, as the process of becoming a mummy or a vampire causes the subject's body to become the only thing holding their Forces together. An undead can keep going potentially forever, but if its body is ever destroyed its soul will scatter to the four winds and it will cease to be.
    • Occasionally, the souls of humans who don't lean strongly towards Heaven, Hell, or a given Ethereal domain just... scatter and dissolve on death. Celestials blame this on any number of things, including existential despair, profound suicidal urges, atheism or excessive reincarnations, but nobody actually knows for sure.
  • Characterization Marches On: Mammon the Demon Prince of Greed and Zadkiel the Archangel of Protection first appeared in Heaven and Hell and are treated quite differently from their later, expanded write ups in Superiors 4: Rogues to Riches and Superiors: Zadkiel respectively. Originally Mammon was presented as a cunning and serious power with no particular hostility to Haagenti whereas the later writeup has him as a self absorbed buffoon whose power base in Hell is being badly eroded by the Prince of Gluttony (who might well be eyeing him as his next snack.) Zadkiel meanwhile originally had no connection to Islam at all, and only a slight one to women while her later splatbook made both being a Muslim and female core parts of her identity to the point of strongly preferring her servitors assume female form on Earth.
  • Christmas Creep: In the scenario "A Very Nybbas Christmas", this is a plot by the Demon Prince of Media, to completely separate what people think of as "Christmas" from anything to do with goodwill to all men or the Son of God.
  • The Chessmaster: While Laurence acknowledges humans as free-willed allies (especially since his experience with Martin Luther), he tends to view the angels and demons of the War as pieces on a board. It's mentioned in War & Honor that Hell has been able to disrupt his plans by "cheating" in a way that he didn't account for, but also that Laurence never forgets a trick ... and over the centuries, there are only so many tricks to play.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Laurence considers this true by definition. He considers all of Christendom to be part of the Catholic Church, although he believes that the Roman Catholic Church is the truest and best form of Christianity.
  • 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.
  • City of the Damned: A number of infernal realms have distinctly urban environments:
    • Hades, Asmodeus' Principality, is a massive urban sprawl of howling subways, flaring sodium lights and choking smog, ringing the rest of Hell.
    • Shal-Mari, a realm shared by princes interested in the various pleasures of the flesh, takes the form of an infernal version of the Vegas strip. The red-light districts of Lust jokey for space with rows of eateries and street vendors serving Gluttony, interspersed with the theatres and cineplexes of Dark Humor and the glassy skyscrapers of Greed, all lit by lurid neon and cut through by streets teeming with demons and damned souls.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Owing to her growing mental instability in the past millennium, the Archangel Gabriel is prone to bouts of irrational behavior and uncontrollable fury. As such, two Cherubim, Aluriel and Mordekial, are attuned to her at all times, following her from a safe distance and making sure that her worse episodes don't endanger others.
  • Collector of Forms: Users of the Celestial Song of Beasts can transform into animals, but need to personally observe an animal of a desired species at least once before taking its shape.
  • Comeback Tomorrow: It's not unheard of for celestials to be bound to extremely specific and unfortunate Words. One such example is Thratch, the Demon of Snappy Comebacks You Only Think of After It's Too Late.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Due to the Geas system, Lilim tend to face this on a routine basis, with favors called in that require them to betray existing loyalties. Their sisters understand that this happens, their other employers are far less understanding. With that said, deliberately setting a Lilim up so that she'll suffer dissonance from rival Geasa pulling her both ways is considered abuse, and Lilith won't be happy with the one involved.
  • Cooperation Gambit: Lilith and Marc are both sharp negotiators who can be trusted to keep a deal, and Superiors: Lilith makes it explicit that the Princess of Freedom and the Archangel of Trade have dealt with each other from time to time.
  • 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.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Use of many supernatural powers will trigger Disturbance, a psychic noise that reveals to any Symphonically aware being in the area that an angel, demon, or other unusual being is in the area. Using Essence to manipulate a skill roll can make this obvious even to ordinary mortals since it creates supernatural side effects, like swathing a bike in green flame as it jumps a canyon.
  • Crapsack World: While the degree of crapsackiness depends on the GM, it's made clear in several places that Lucifer is currently having a hell of a time with the world. Morality is dying with a whimper, not a bang, as Princes like Lust, Gluttony and the Media lead humanity toward its fate.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: The Liber Servitorum'' includes an old woman who seems to be a crazy cat lady. She is, in fact, a servant of an angel who inhabits her cats.
  • 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.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Koriel, the Angel of Equal Justice, has dedicated herself to defending those who, by virtue of poor means, unpopularity, or bad luck, would not be given fair hearings in courts of law. Notable here is the weight that Words carry in the setting and for the angels that bear them — when she took on the Word of Equal Justice, defending the unwanted and unpopular from unfair treatment ceased to simply be what she did and became her core purpose for being. She is often the last hope of outcast angels seeking to return to Heaven, and her superior Dominic, the Archangel of Judgement, has taken to calling her the Devil's Advocate — which he means very literally. She serves as a major NPC ally in The Final Trumpet, where she's the only major figure in Heaven willing to defend the outcast archangel Khalid or the disgraced Malakite Maximillian – and, if the PCs were exiled at the end of the previous adventure, she's also their best chance of getting back into Heaven.
  • 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. (Except for the Secret Police. A demon who lets a soul slip is a prime target for Asmodeus' minions.) 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.
  • Devil, but No God: As far as anyone knows, God is not currently active in the War (though divine intervention does appear to happen, it's never clearly God Himself taking action) and His last known communiques were to interrupt Dominic's attempts to try Archangels for violations of divine law. Lucifer, on the other hand, is quite active, and often speaks directly to random angels or demons as he chooses (one somewhat-comical example of an Infernal Intervention had him walk by to open a stuck door for the demon PCs).
  • Dishing Out Dirt:
    • The Corporeal Song of Stone creates localized earthquakes, while the Ethereal Song of Stone allows the singer to shape stone at will.
    • The servants of David, the Archangel of Stone, gain various abilities pertaining to controlling, manipulating, or gaining knowledge of or through all mineral substances, such as stone, metal, gems, and sand. This covers modified forms of these things, such as glass and asphalt, but doesn't extend to soil, especially when it's host to living material such as grass or fungus. David's Cherubim, for instance, can pull mineral objects into their hands from a distance, while his Kyriotates can shape vessels out of stone instead of having to possess a human or animal.
  • Divine Conflict: Lucifer's rebellion against God is a key event, and the continuing cold war between Heaven and Hell is the meat of the game.
  • Divine Ranks: Regular angels and then Archangels in Heaven, and demons, Demon Princes and Lucifer for Hell. Beyond that, Word-Bound angels and demons rank higher than regular ones, but lower than their Superiors, the Archangels and Demon Princes. The Superiors 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. The types of demons are their counterparts, except that Malakim (who DO NOT FALL!) are replaced with Lilim (who are always created in Hell). Seraphim are genuinely respected as being the type of angel closest to God, while Balseraphs' "high rank" exists only in their own minds.
    • 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 can testify.
  • Draw Sword, Draw Blood: Supplement Superiors I: War and Honor. One of the oaths that can be sworn by a Malakite angel of Laurence is "I will not draw my sword unless I intend to kill someone".
  • Dream Land: The Ethereal Plane, more commonly known as the Marches, is an intermediate world between Earth and the Celestial domains of Heaven and Hell. It is a reflection of the minds of every living thing on Earth, shaped actively by dreams and passively by culture; its neutral state is of barren sands and crags, interrupted by various shaped domains. The most common of these are dreamscapes, the private worlds called into being when people sleep; most vanish when their creators wake, but some merged dreamscapes can persist for a very long time. More permanent domains exist, formed from strong cultural impressions of mythical places and the actions of powerful beings. The Marches serves as an eternal battlefield between the angels of Blandine, Archangel of Dreams, and the demons of Beleth, Princess of Nightmares; their true natives, known as the Ethereals, are instead the products of animal and human minds, and range from simple-minded escapees from dreams to embodiments of archetypes and concepts to powerful spirits and pagan gods.
  • Dreams vs. Nightmares: Beleth is the Demon Princess of Nightmares. She and her demon underlings try to get humans to choose the path of evil by sending them terrifying dreams. Blandine is the Archangel of Dreams. She and her angelic servitors send pleasant dreams to inspire hope and ease stress, thus encouraging people to act in a positive manner.
  • Eating Optional: Angels and demons don't need to eat, although they often do so to maintain the Masquerade while on Earth, or, especially in the case of demons, because they like it.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Hell once tried to make a Shedim that could occupy multiple bodies at once. The result was Legion, the Prince of Corruption, a Hive Mind so powerful and terrifying that it threatened to absorb the entire world. It was only stopped by an alliance between Heaven and Hell and the sacrifice of the Archangel Raphael.
    • Kyriotates and Shedim resemble whirling clouds of pulsing, disjointed and often half-formed body parts when in their celestial forms. Humans tend to suffer nervous breakdowns when they see them like this.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Elementals are Ethereal spirits who strongly embody one or two basic concepts, and, instead of taking on a more complex role and identity, fashion their appearances and personalities in ways that directly represent the concepts that compose them. They're a fairly loose category and can be based on any of the elements that dominate human thought and culture, so it's just as possible to find an elemental of Duels, Vehicles or Knowledge as it is to find one of Water, Light or Mountains.
  • Empty Shell: Angels and demons who lose all of their Celestial Forces become Remnants, wandering the Earth in whatever body they last used before they were killed, without the perception to remember what they were or the will to do much of anything. Angels and demons alike tend to consider them both sad and creepy.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Normally, an Archangel and his Evil Counterpart are Arch-Enemies, but this is not the case for Dominic and Asmodeus. Dominic and Asmodeus have a secret alliance across battle lines for the purpose of hunting Outcasts and Renegades. Dominic's angels and Asmodeus' demons are often assigned to cooperate for this reason.
    • Paranoid celestials also note this possibility between Yves (Destiny) and Kronos (Fate), whose words are virtually indistinguishable and, while in opposition, are pointedly not mutually exclusive. Depending on the GM, they may be the same entity, as some Superiors suspect, or even aspects of God.
    • Novalis and Andrealphus are, by necessity, allies against the war factions in Heaven and Hell. Both of them absolutely agree on the preservation of humanity and prevention of unnecessary deaths, both prefer evangelization to direct combat, and the services that they trade across the line are perilously close to treasonous.
    • This can also happen when the Apocalypse is on the horizon. The last time it happened on a large scale was when Legion, Prince of Corruption, threatened to absorb the entire world.
  • Energy Donation: Celestial can freely give Essence to each other, and often use it as a form of currency.
  • Ensign Newbie:
    • Laurence, Archangel of the Sword, is the youngest of the major Archangels (this is relative; he was about 750 years old when he was elevated, which was more than a millennium ago), 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.
    • The Demon Prince of Hardcore, Furfur, may rise to power during the players' campaign. While Lucifer does canonically crown him, he relied heavily on the support of Lilith and Nybbas to come to power, and alienated Belial in the process. He has no true allies, merely people who he owes and dire enemies. He may be too stupid to realize this.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Nobody likes the Shedim. Even other demons generally look down on them as being crude, vile and repulsive.
  • 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; Gabriel and Bell, the Archangel and Demon prince of Fire; 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 — just so we're clear, his favorite joke was the Children's Crusade, and thinks that Christopher, Archangel of Children can't take a joke. 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.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: While angels sometimes look bizarre or alien in their true forms rather than beautiful, Falling almost invariably results in an uglier or darker form for the new demon.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: There are a number of reasons why both demonic PCs and Princes of Hell might seek to prevent Armageddon in The Final Trumpet, most of which boil down to the fact that demons quite like Earth, which they view as something of a vacation spot, and don't want to see it destroyed, and a lot of infernal Words and favored vices would cease to exist with the destruction of the material world (the other reasons focus on the fact that most demons also aren't completely certain that they'd win).
  • The Fair Folk: The fae of the Marches are often capricious and dangerous beings, but this trope is truly embodied in the unfortunates chosen for the tribute that Arcadia must pay to Beleth, the Demon Princess of Nightmares, in exchange for protection. The tributes who aren't simply consumed for their Forces are given a sliver of Beleth's own power, which corrupts them body, mind and soul; the resulting fae become cruel, hard and bitter beings, whose only joy comes from the suffering of others. They lurk in the dark corners of the Country of the Teind, a dreamscape in the shadow of Beleth's tower, and periodically sally out to hunt the dreams of mortals. Besides their use in tormenting dreamers and disposing of disappointing minions, Beleth keeps them in large part because of the impact they have on mortal culture — their influence on their victims is a large part of the reason why the modern concept of fae as evil, monstrous beings, as opposed to just wild and capricious, has developed; since the Marches resonate strongly to human beliefs, this serves to weaken the true fae of Arcadia by drawing essence and belief away from it and into Beleth's own domain.
  • Fallen Angel:
    • Possible, unless you're a Malakite. Not difficult at all. Not that you want a Malakite to fall.
    • There are also Outcasts, who are still angels and not demons, but are currently barred from Heaven. This either happens as a last-chance lesson from their boss (or, very rarely, Dominic), the angel's Heart being corroded by dissonance, or rarely, an angel flipping off the Heavenly hierarchy. Except for a very few established situations, anyone in the latter two categories is also going to be targeted by angels of Judgment.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Angels and demons naturally despise one another, and will typically attempt to kill each other on sight unless they have a specific reason not to.
    • Celestials rarely have a high opinion of mortals. Angels are intellectually aware that humanity is God's favored project, but have a difficult time bringing themselves to see mortals as anything more than short-sighted, immoral, spiritually weak idiots who can't look after themselves or the Earth to save their lives. Demons bitterly resent humanity's special place, and openly despise it for the same weaknesses that angels mutter about. Ethereals likewise tend to see mortals as source of Essence first, potential peers second.
    • Celestials also have a very rocky relationship with ethereals. Angels typically view them as interlopers who have no rightful place in God's plan, and are quite happy to fence them off in the Far Marches to slowly die from Essence-starvation. Demons view ethereals as lesser beings, but are quite happy to use them as tools to achieve Hell's ends. Ethereals, naturally, bitterly resent both factions. Such attitudes aren't strictly universal — some ethereals would be willing to ally with Heaven if given the chance, and some angels are willing to give ethereal spirits the benefit of the doubt if they meet their ethical standards — but are the main ones coloring Celestial politics.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: Most angels haven't met God, and they can follow any mortal religion or not as they choose (though Dominic forbids angels worshipping ethereal religions). Some angels believe in the truth of a particular religion (though they're not supposed to pick fights over it), others accept religions as valid while not necessarily considering any true. Meanwhile, Eli doesn't care about religious truth at all; he just loves to see what humans do with religion, and particularly enjoys the beauty of religious art and ritual.
  • 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 Evil Noble Demon. (The truth about her is ineffable.)
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Sheol, the realm of Belial the Prince of Fire, is the fiery, smoking vision of Hell that mortals often fear. A massive volcano sits in its center, constantly streaming with lava and wracked by eruptions that send fiery debris falling on the landscapes; rivers of fire and molten rock crawl away from it and across the landscape, while clouds of smoke and ash choke the skies. Scattered across Sheol are more familiar landscapes — cities, forests, valleys and the like — but all burning, constantly rebuilt just to be set on fire. Belial's destructive, pyromaniac demons love it there; the souls of the damned are left to cling to shelves of barren rock, choking on smoke and ash, wincing from the flying cinders, dodging volcanic debris, and trying not to be captured by gangs of demons eager to extract essence from them by methods involving the creative use of live coals, heated pokers and napalm.
  • 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.
  • Friend to All Children: Christopher, Archangel of Children, has it in his job description — he's there to protect and nurture all children on Earth. Eli, Archangel of Creation, is also extremely fond of children.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Haagenti began life as a lowly, abused familiar. He promised to himself that he would one day devour those who had wronged him, and over time managed to increase his power until he became the Prince of Gluttony.
    • Nybbas was still a low-ranking, fairly unimportant demon when Lucifer crowned him Prince of the Media in reward for his invention of the television. Other Princes are well aware of his parallels with Haagenti, which they find especially worrying in light of his barely-concealed disdain for them.
  • Giant Spider: Arachnidae, a dreamscape created by the dreams of spiders, is inhabited mainly by the forms of the sleeping arachnids that sustain it — with the caveat that common spiders appear as large as a human, while more substantial species are quite a lot bigger.
  • Gender Flip: A few characters derived from scripture or the public domain have their genders flipped to provide more gender diversity in what would otherwise be a heavily male-dominated lineup, which is explained in-universe through gender being a very optional and malleable concept for Celestials. For instance, while Gabriel is male when his gender is mentioned in the scriptures and Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Israfel" describes the titular angel as male, both are women in the game.
  • Genius Loci:
    • Occasionally, instead of being embodiments of mythical features or of cultural tropes, ethereals are born from mortal attachment to and personification of a place. Most are formed at least partly from elements of Cities or Nations; ones embodying smaller places, such as buildings, may have Home or Family instead. Genii locorum tend to be more attached to the Corporeal realm than most of other spirits, and are often very concerned with maintaining the health of their cities' cultures and physical structures. Some, such as Uncle Sam and Britannia, have developed considerable power.
    • Yves' Library often seems to demonstrate some form of awareness in the way it shifts around visitors. It's often interpreted as the sum total of the Symphony's knowledge, which if true would make it an extension of God as much as Yves himself is. As such, GMs are advised to play it as an unusual NPC rather than simply a surreal location.
  • God of Fire: While the angels — but not the demons — would object to this description, this role is functionally split between two Superiors, the Archangel Gabriel and the Prince Belial. Both embody the Word of Fire, giving them a level of power over and connection to the flame far greater than that of any Ethereal deity. Gabriel once embodied fire's light and illumination, but now focuses more on the flames of Heaven that punish the cruel; Belial strictly focuses on fire as an agent of destruction and consumption. Both give their Servitors a wide palette of abilities focused on manipulating flame.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly:
    • Ethereal spirits, including the pagan gods, are essentially dreams and cultural archetypes that became real and living things through the belief and prayers of humanity. As such, they're very dependent on continued human worship, or at least continued presence in human culture, to generate Essence for themselves. The decline of classical polytheism has been a serious problem for them, although Uriel's attempted genocide of beings of myth didn't help any. Many of the deities who survived faded away in time from lack of worship, and the few who maintained some cult followings on Earth now cling to existence in scattered holdouts in the Dream World, tattered remnants of once-glorious palaces that are now crumbling for lack of Essence to maintain them.
    • Human thought, culture and belief is also crucial in creating Tethers, areas where the Corporeal plane is connected to the Ethereal and Celestial ones. Celestials and ethereals cannot create Tethers spontaneously, and need to wait for them to form by themselves; most often, this creation is a result of a given thing or place gaining symbolic or historical importance in human culture. Most prominently, a Tether will grow or fade in accordance to the prominence of its myth in culture — if humans cease to remember what made it special, the Tether will wither and die entirely — and as such their keepers take care to promote their Tethers' stories among local communities. Tethers can also be formed by dramatic natural phenomena, but these natural Tethers can also be strengthened and expanded by gaining cultural significance.
  • 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.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The angels are ultimately soldiers of God, seeking the defeat of Hell and the salvation of humanity, but they can very easily be harsh, judgmental, and caught up in very specialized and extreme mindsets. This goes double for the Archangels, ancient beings with a lot of very important things on their plates, who can come across as extremely demanding, stern, unforgiving, and intimidating. Angels love their Superiors, but they also really don't want to get on their bad sides.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Angels usually have feathered wings, while winged demons have membranous, batlike ones. This is especially notable in the case of the Seraphim and Balseraphs — the only major difference between their respective true forms are their wings. Malakim, the most inflexible and merciless of the angelic Choirs, have black wings to reflect their nature.
  • Golem: Constructs, also known as homunculi, scarecrows and golems, are artificial beings made by sorcerers, created by crafting bodies out of some type of substance (potentially including flesh), imbuing them with Forces, and attaching a scrap of parchment to their bodies with the name of a living person inscribed on it; this person will be the construct's master, and the construct will be compelled to obey them. Constructs with only Corporeal Forces are the most common type, and are mindless automata; constructs with Ethereal Forces are intelligent but not self-aware, and are much rarer; constructs with Celestial Forces are nearly unheard of and self-willed, although still obedient to their masters. Most constructs are made from stone or clay; others, including most of the kind with Celestial Forces, are made from human or animal body parts. Making a construct from vegetable matter is much more difficult, but it has reportedly happened. If their attached parchment is destroyed, most constructs become inactive; ones with Celestial Forces instead become free-willed, but also very unstable.
  • Granola Girl: Novalis, the pacifist Archangel of Flowers, can come across like this. She isn't quite as dumb as she seems, although how much of a plan she actually has is up for debate.
  • Great Big Library of Everything:
    • Yves' Library in Heaven contains anything ever written or recorded by mortals, ethereals and celestials, including some works that were only created in dreams.
    • Kronos' Archive in Hell is a dark mockery of Yves' Library in the form of a comprehensive and thorough store of every tome on demonology ever penned, alongside the records and bookkeeping of Hell itself and histories of the War and treatises on the universe written from the demons' point of view.
    • Asmodeus' archive in Hell is similar, but about legal contracts and laws, is very byzantine, and it's difficult to find anything there without approval. Trying to find something without approval is likely to get a demon sentenced to indexing until the sought item is found.
  • Greed: Mammon, Prince of Greed, is actually a fairly minor Prince in the modern age. Modern consumerism is a function of Gluttony, and it's eroded his niche.
  • The Greys: The Grey aliens are Ethereal spirits, servants of the Demon Princess of Nightmares who specialize in invading human dreams to create vivid nightmares of abduction, vivisection, and torturously invasive surgery. They feed off of the Essence generated by their victims' terror, and additionally cultivate a small myth around themselves by tricking their victims into thinking that their dreams were real and by occasionally making an appearance in the physical world. They have a bitter enmity with the Benevolent Space Brothers, another group of Ethereals who sustain themselves by impersonating the myth of benevolent, advanced new-age aliens and who feel that the Greys are poachers and copycats, and with the Elohim, dispassionate and logical angels whose true forms resemble hairless, pale-skinned, big-eyed humans.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Reaper is a demon in service to Saminga, the Prince of Death, who created the folkloric motif of the Grim Reaper during the Middle Ages and still affects the hooded cloak and scythe — and insists that his followers do the same when on Earth.
  • Griping About Gremlins: Gremlins are minor infernal spirits, generally resembling ugly winged creatures, sent to Earth to break and vandalize the works of humans, such as by putting sugar in gas tanks or spraying graffiti everywhere.
  • Guns Are Worthless: The game deliberately downplays the effectiveness of guns as compared to blades, hand-to-hand, and supernatural powers, because it's more thematically appropriate to a game involving angels and demons.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: A celestial or ethereal spirit can potentially use the Songs of Fruition to have children with a mortal. This extremely rare and harshly persecuted by both Heaven and Hell, but these half-spirit humans nonetheless exist, and typically have a greater potential for gaining additional Forces and awareness of the Symphony than normal humans.
  • Hammerspace: 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. There's also an Epileptic Tree that Eli is God. Regardless, the game material suggests that God not show up in your campaign.
  • Heaven: Heaven, the divine half of the Celestial realm, is the home of the angels and of blessed souls. It consists of multiple layers, although the game only ever visits the lowest, which serves as the main planning base of the War and a rest stop for souls before they move further up; angels and souls who climb Jacob's Ladder to the Upper Heavens have never come back down to tell what they found there. The accessible layer consists of several regions resonant to some Word or another of the Symphony, mostly serving as the bases for the Archangels. Despite these areas seeming infinite from the inside, Heaven always has room to fit a new realm or fresh souls, and its layout is determined more by thematic resonance than physical geography.
  • Heaven's Devils: The Habbalah claim to be this; they live in Hell and are demons, but they believe that they're angels working where God needs them most, and that God has given them free license to punish sinners (and every human's a sinner, of course). Canonically, they're even more deluded than most demons.
  • 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.
    • Lilim attempting redemption are likely to go through a period of this, as they almost certainly require Divine aid to become a Bright Lilim, but still owe demons and/or Lilith before they earn their freedom. It's possible for them to have their Archangel clear their debts, but Mom won't be amused.
  • Hell: Hell, the infernal half of the Celestial realm, is the dark shadow cast by Heaven since the Fall and the home of the demon and of damned souls. It consists of a tangled system of caverns and realms that serve as the Princes' realms, connected by a labyrinth of tunnels, paths and gates. It is, like Heaven, spatially infinite, and always have some extra room to accommodate the inflow of the damned or a new Principality. The demons whisper rumors about the terrible things that one can find in the hinterlands outside of claimed Principalities or in the dark depths of the Lower Hells beneath it all, but only Lucifer truly knows the full nature and extent of the realm.
  • Hellevator: An unusual variant occurs that is entirely in Hell. The parts of Hell described in the manuals are, strictly speaking, only its upper layers; beneath them there are the unfathomable depths of the Lower Hells, known only dimly. Portals to the Lower Hells dot the caverns of the Upper part, and include numerous unmarked elevators that go down past the lowest floors of the Princes' palaces. Smart demons steer well clear of them, while Princes use them on occasion when they need to have a talk with the boss.
  • Hell Seeker: Many who make a Deal with the Devil do so with the promise that they'll get preferential treatment when they finally bite it and go to Hell. Sometimes, their masters even keep their bargain.
  • Here There Were Dragons: Uriel's Purity Crusade resulted in the near-total extermination of Earth's mythical creatures. Some managed to survive by fleeing into the Deep Marches, but others were utterly wiped out. Dragons are a particularly notable examples; Uriel and his servants were very thorough in eradicating all the ones they found on Earth and then destroying all the ones in the Marches, and something seems to be preventing any new dragons from arising — any spirit that embodies or comes to resemble a draconic Image will quickly fade away.
  • 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 with Michael, Archangel of War, who openly prefers a simple mundane battle-axe to a sword and can thrash 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In The Final Trumpet, the players get Thor to battle against the awakened Jormungandr. As prophesied, the thunder god successfully kills the monster and prevents it from destroying the world, but perishes in the fight.
  • Hero of Another Story: Some of the Archangels' missions are rather peripheral to the War, and their angels don't interact as much with other angels.
    • Jordi's responsibility is guarding Animals, and his interpretation of his Word means that he doesn't have anything to do with the War for human souls. Some angels think he's derelict in his duty, while others believe that defending the animal kingdom from the damage that humans and demons cause is an important job in itself.
    • Blandine is the Archangel of Dreams. Nobody questions her dedication or the importance of her duty, but her angels are usually off in the Marches, defending the Earth from Beleth's nightmare demons and intruding Ethereals, sending sweet dreams to people, and helping those who die in their sleep pass on to Final Judgment. If your particular campaign isn't focused on Blandine's angels, then they'll mostly be guarding Heaven's flank offscreen.
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: Angels of Faith consider it borderline blasphemous to use the names of demons, and will use tremendous circumlocutions and elaborate euphemisms to avoid naming Lucifer, the Princes, infernal Words or other demons by name. Baal, for instance, is referred to with terms such as "the master of carnage and battle", "he who dwells in Gehenna", or "the Evil One's general". Khalid has no fear of naming demons while in Heaven, but will also use euphemisms while on Earth to avoid polluting the Symphony with the names of the Fallen.
  • Horn Attack: The Numinous Corpus song Horns grows horns on top of the user's head, which can be used as a weapon.
  • Hypocrite:
    • For all that it was founded by the ultimate act of rebellion and claims to embody freedom from cosmic tyranny, Hell has zero tolerance for demons who don't display utter subservience to the aims of Lucifer and the Princes. Demons who don't obediently toe the party line or who show even a hint of wanting to strike out on their own are quickly disposed of by Asmodeus and his agents.
    • Lilith is the Princess of Freedom and claims that she struck out on her own in rejection of a plan that would have controlled her life and destiny against her wishes. She grants very little of this freedom to her Lilim daughters, who at birth are all pressed into either becoming a Prince's servant or debtors to their mother. In particular, Lilith is famous for always holding onto to at least one debt owed to her by each Lilim, never calling it in in order to ensure that they will forever remain under her influence.
  • An Ice Person: The Songs of Ice create literal and metaphorical ice. The Corporeal Song of Ice causes an object's temperature to plunge below zero. The Ethereal Song of Ice numbs minds. The Celestial Song of Ice conjures solid ice out of thin air to cover solid surfaces.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Mirchenko's, a gourmet restaurant described in You Are Here, hides a dark secret — every now and again, the restaurant becomes reserved for a private dining club, who gather behind locked doors to enjoy exquisitely-prepared meals of human flesh, obtained by the owner through a second identity as a homeless shelter volunteer. It's an entirely human-made and -run affair, although it won't be long before it attracts the interest of demons of Gluttony. The proprietor is a cheerful psychopath who seems himself as having risen above petty human morality; the chef just likes cooking and doesn't care what he puts in his pans.
  • Immune to Fire:
    • Ofanim devoted to Gabriel, the Archangel of Fire, are immune to damage caused by heat, radiation, or electricity. Any excess such energy affecting their physical vessels is redistributed across the world, usually in areas such as the Sun where a little more heat has little impact.
    • Servants of Belial elevated to the rank of Baron cannot be harmed by any kind of heat, and can temporarily pass this immunity to other beings by touch.
  • Instant Expert: Israfel, the Angel of Music, has such a thorough understanding of music that she can pick up any instrument that she has no experience with yet and play it proficiently within half an hour, and expertly within a day.
  • Intangible Theft: In the backstory, the Demon Prince of Theft, Valefor, was promoted to Demon Prince after he stole the Word of Rapine from its previous owner. Words, in this context, being abstract concepts that grant semi-phenomenal, nearly-cosmic power to those bound to them. His career began with a book lifted from Destiny's Library, when the book hadn't even been written yet... He's also stolen the entire Russian Revolution.
  • Internal Affairs:
    • The angels of Dominic, the Archangel of Judgment, serve this role for the forces of Heaven, policing them for discordant or likely-to-fall angels. Like most fictional IA officers, this means they're also seen as overstarched pokerspines most of the time.
    • The Shield are a subgroup of Fire angels whose job it is to deal with Judgment and keep Judgment out of Fire's business. Fire angels often violate general Heavenly policy in the conduct of their mission (to punish cruelty), and often consider Judgment's verdicts to be cruel, which creates serious Jurisdiction Friction. The Shield are the ones levelheaded enough to moderate between the Words.
  • Ironic Hell: This tends to happen more by chance than by design. The demons don't care about punishing sinners per se, but view the souls of the damned as something between slaves and livestock and any soul deemed useful enough not be sent to the essence farms is usually put to doing whatever menial tasks the demons don't want to do themselves. As souls usually end up in Principalities matching the vices that ruled their lives, this very often results in formerly powerful mortals being subjected to the same evils that they inflicted on others. Thus, warlords and General Rippers are often pressed into serving as cannon fodder and artillery practice on the battlefields of Gehenna, profiteers and corporate moguls become exploited workers and office drones in the skyscrapers of the Prince of Greed, amoral scientists and inventors become guinea pigs in the labs of Tartarus, and so on.
  • It's All About Me: The divide between the two sides of the War is fundamentally one of selflessness versus selfishness. As such, this is a very common mindset among the forces of Hell.
    • Demons are selfishness incarnate, and defined primarily by the refusal to submit or accede to anything but themselves. All demons believe, in their heart of hearts, that their personal aims and desires are the most important things in the world.
    • Sorcery is based on this form of thought, so much so that it is fundamentally impossible to use it if you don't think this way. Sorcery is essentially an act of will where the sorcerer imposes his desires on the Symphony; as such, its practitioners need to honestly, genuinely believe that they're entitled to impose their will onto the rest of the world and force the universe to reshape itself to meet their ends.
  • Jesus Taboo: Uniquely, nobody in Heaven, Hell or on Earth knows precisely what happened regarding Jesus Christ (though the development of the religion post-Jesus was strongly driven by Dominic and Laurence), and the whole thing is left in permanent Canonical Doubt and Uncertainty. This is in contrast to other Divine religions that were clearly angel-driven, such as Islam (created by Gabriel talking to Mohammed) and Zoroastrianism (inspired by Eli speaking to Zoroaster).
  • "Just So" Story: In the early days of creation, when the angels were laboring to create animal life, a terrible creature was made by mistake, something that resembled but wasn't an insect. The Archangel David imprisoned it by sealing it within an immense amber gemstone — in fact, within the first, prototypical amber, which he still keeps in his domain in Heaven. His angels claim that, in so doing, David fundamentally altered the nature of the amber mineral, and that this is why ambers trap and hold small animals into the present day.
  • Karmic Reform Hell: Downplayed. In theory, Heaven and Hell are both forever; blessed souls cannot be damned, nor can damned souls be saved. Beyond that, the people who end up in Hell to begin with are generally far too selfish to ever consider genuinely atoning for the bad things they did. However, there is a rumor among demons — one only ever whispered when none of their superiors are around — that if a damned soul can muster up the humility necessary to objectively look back on their life, sincerely comprehend and repent for every sin and harmful thing they ever did, and beg forgiveness with no expectation that it should be granted, they will simply disappear from Hell and be taken directly into the Upper Heavens.
  • Knight Templar: Uriel, Archangel of Purity, went off the deep end as Commander of the Host, launching a massive crusade against nearly the entire Ethereal. God personally intervened to recall him to the Higher Heavens, and he hasn't been seen since.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The kraken is given as a sample creature of myth in the Ethereal Player's Guide. It is an ancient primal force and one of the oldest ethereal entities, which lived in the depths of the oceans long before humanity existed. It took an entire host of angels armed with powerful relics to slay it during Uriel's Purity Crusade, and it has since spent its time in the Far Marches, avoiding both angels and demons while building up the essence needed to rebuild its immense corporeal vessel. Should it achieve its goal, it will likely vanish back into the abyss and pass from the knowledge of the surface-dwellers outside of haunting the dreams of sailors.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Hatiphas, the Balseraph Demon of Sorcery and the primary demonic patron of mortal dabblers in things beyond their ken, greatly enjoys affecting this trope. When manifesting on Earth she does so as an archetypal evil sorceress, tall and seductive, clad in black leather and silver jewelry and full of husky laughter.
  • Land of Faerie:
    • Faerie, also called Arcadia, Avalon, Hy Brasill, Lyonesse, and the Fair Lands of the West, is an Ethereal domain that serves as a refuge for the various Anglo-Celtic fey, nature spirits and gods that were driven into the Far Marches during the Purity Crusade.
    • The Country of the Teind is a dark reflection of Faerie, populated by fey who have been given as tribute to Beleth and corrupted by the influence of Hell. Fires give no warmth there, light is cold and cast by neither sun nor stars, and the shadow of Beleth's Tower looms forever in the sky; the landscape itself is bleak and forbidding, scarred with harsh mountains, tangled forests, cold lakes and dark cities home to the twisted fey that serve Beleth and her demons.
  • Language of Truth: Celestial, the language of the angels, cannot be used to lie. After the Fall, the demons created a bastardized version of it so that they could lie to one another.
  • 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).
  • Light 'em Up: The Songs of Light allow their users to directly control light, with different uses at different levels. The Corporeal Song of Light simply creates a glowing light around the singer. The Ethereal Song of Light allows its user to shape and control photons in order to craft near-perfect illusions. The Celestial Song of Light allows its singer to strike anything in their visual range with a tightly-focused beam of burning light.
  • 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.Note  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.
      • However, in the Revelations Cycle, this is likely debunked at the blowing of the Fifth Trumpet both Janus and Valefor are on-camera simultaneously — one attending a meeting of the Seraphim Council in Heaven, the other in conclave with all the Demon Princes in Hell. (It's "likely" because it's possible for an Archangel or Demon Prince to have more than one manifestation active simultaneously — although it would be extremely difficult to conceal this from all of their fellow Archangels/Princes at the same time, let alone from Lucifer.)
    • 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.
  • Living Shadow: The Ethereal Song of Shadows animates shadows and places them under the control of the singer. In the corporeal plane, they're insubstantial and banished by bright light. In the ethereal plane, they're much more substantial and capable of attacking other beings.
  • Logic Bomb: It's dissonant for Servitors of Laurence to disobey his orders. Sometimes he issues contradictory orders, or orders that (because of incomplete information) make the mission impossible to complete. Fortunately, he's usually a Reasonable Authority Figure, and he'll fix dissonance if it's his fault.
  • 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.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: There are two distinct magic systems, which in-universe are decidedly different things; their main shared traits are that they manipulate the Symphony, the supernatural "tapestry" on which creation is founded, and are powered using Essence. Notably, neither is considered "magic" in-universe — Celestials, ethereal spirits and knowledgeable mortals all consider what humanity defines as magic to be simply a muddled attempt to describe the powers of supernatural beings, and includes both fragmented knowledge of the two in-game systems plus a great deal of nonsense and superstition.
    • Songs are the type used by Celestials. They're essentially on-demand miracles, usually but not necessarily invoked through literal singing, and allow the performer to temporarily call upon a theme in the Symphony to override the laws of physics to create a desired effect. Each Song has a very specific effect; there's some ability to tweak them, but the basic core of what a single Song does is immutable. All possible Songs already technically exist somewhere in the Symphony, and as such new Songs are discovered rather than created — Celestials desiring new Songs are by necessity limited to the ones that they can find, and, although in practice the number of Songs in existence is near-infinite, finding a specific one can be extremely difficult. All Celestials and Ethereals can perform Songs, but only mortals with unusual spiritual strength can do so.
    • Sorcery can only be used by mortals — Celestial and Ethereals can learn or devise sorcerous rituals, but cannot perform them themselves. Sorcery is done through complex, customized rituals, used to delineate the general thing you're trying to do, at the heart of which is a raw exercise of will; essentially, in performing the ritual, the sorcerer tries to force the Symphony or some element within it into shaping itself according to his desires. The key elements needed for sorcery to work are immense strength of will and a genuine belief that you have the right to impose your wants onto the universe. Most actual sorcery is little more than parlor tricks in the eyes of more powerful beings, but certain experienced sorcerers are rumored to be able to do things that should theoretically be impossible.
  • Magic Is Evil: Downplayed. Sorcery was created as a tool of Hell, and its core it is based on selfishness — for his magic to work, a sorcerer must truly, genuinely believe that he is entitled to enforce his will upon the world and make it serve his own ends. Most sorcerers pursue their path for petty reasons, almost invariably find their abilities and aims outstripping their sense and knowledge, and almost all are damned; some think that they can use their powers for good, but most are deluding themselves or end up corrupted by the forces that they bargain with. As such, the default gameplay assumption is that sorcerers are dupes or agents of Hell. However, a minority of sorcerers manage to contain their ambitions and genuinely use their powers ethically enough to avoid Hell's snare; a few even manage to achieve considerable fame and power and strike great blows against the demons — Solomon and Merlin are two of the most historically notable such cases.
  • Magic Music: Reality is an expression of the Symphony; thus, the game's "magic" consists of manipulating the Symphony in a couple of different ways. The most direct, used by angels and demons (and some special humans) are Songs, which are basically specific melodies which (when coupled with Essence expenditure) produce all sorts of special effects from healing to blowing stuff up. The less experienced have to actually vocalize the Song (and perform specific movements/gestures), while the more skilled can just invoke them mentally. The use of Songs creates "disturbances" in the Symphony which can be tracked down to their source (both the place and the person) by anyone with supernatural abilities who is close enough and perceptive enough to "hear" them.
  • 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: This together with Papa Wolf is the general mindset of most Cherubim, epitomized by Zadkiel, Cherub Archangel of Protection.
  • Martial Pacifist: David, the Archangel of Stone, refuses to strike the first blow as a matter of principle, and his angels follow his example. When he strikes the second blow, there's no third; he is one of the mightiest warriors of the Host, and nearly as formidable as Michael.
  • Medusa: Gorgons are children of humans and ethereal spirits — which can include anything from animate dreams to efreet and valkyries to the surviving pagan gods — who changed to be born as warped, terrifying monsters. In essence, they're the ethereal equivalent of the celestial-born Nephallim. Like the Nephallim, most live in isolation, hunted by angels, demons, and humans, but they're not more inherently evil than any other mortal.
  • Memory Jar: Memory Pearl artifacts, which are pearl-like objects that can be used to remove/store memories, often used (especially by demons) to remove inconvenient knowledge from a temporary employee/associate often as part of the terms of employment.
  • Mental Fusion: The Ethereal Song of Unity allows skill sharing among a group, while the Celestial Song of Unity creates a full-fledged mental fusion, where each body can act separately and the mass mind can use all their skills and abilities (although it can only take one supernatural action at a time) and can see, hear and so on from the point of view of all bodies simultaneously. The problem with the Song is that, if the participants don't get along, the massed entity created from them may dither and delay due to the conflict. Also, the participants' memories of the actions taken by the mass mind will be sketchy.
  • Metaphorically True: Khalid, Archangel of Faith, is Muslim. He expects all of his angels to be Muslim as well, but he has a personal definition of what "Muslim" means. Angels must believe that there is one God, and that Muhammad is a prophet — but both statements are demonstrably true to angels, and adhering to any tenets but the shahada isn't required (though it certainly doesn't hurt). Many of his angels are Christian or Jewish, or take a more ecumenical view of individual religions.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: One of the most straightforward ways for ethereal spirits to grow in power is to kill and consume other spirits whose Image resembles their own. The closer the resemblance, the greater the benefit — a spirit in the form of Jack the Ripper would have to go through thousands of humanoid killers to get the same power boost as he'd get from consuming another Whitechapel Murderer. As a result, ethereal society is often ruled by paranoia and a ruthless food chain, although most established Domain enforce strict rules about dueling and feuds in order to avoid degenerating into cannibalistic free-for-alls.
  • Mugging the Monster: An angel or demon's abilities remain the same regardless of what their earthly Vessel happens to look like — which means that that nine-year-old girl on the playground you just tried to abduct could actually be a 700-year-old Malakite warrior angel who considers you convenient practice. This becomes even more so with Kyriotates and Shedim, who possess ordinary mortals, using their celestial abilities through a host, which can result in situations where that ninety-year-old grandpa who really was so sweet and helpless five minutes ago is now anything but when a Shedite of Death is in the driver's seat...
  • Multipurpose Tongue: The Numinous Corpus Song of Tongue causes the singer's tongue to become long, coiled and barbed, allowing its owner to use it as a lash-like weapon.
  • 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.
    • The Ethereals are not happy with Heaven, even after Uriel's crusade against them was canceled.
    • Free Lilim are an exception, but only to a point. While Lilim can choose to have no master, this means that they've got a lot of overhanging debt for their creation, and even if they manage to pay that off without going into more debt, they're still considered to be on Hell's side unless they go Bright (and sell themselves to an Archangel).
  • 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 Biological Sex: Angels and demons are technically neuter, although many that spend time on Earth end up acquiring a gender bias depending on which sex of vessel they most often have. Elohim don't acquire such biases (they are by nature supposed to avoid bias), and Kyriotates and Shedim switch bodies so often that they usually don't imprint on any one gender.
  • No Name Given: The Archangel of Death has only been briefly mentioned twice, but never by name.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Most Archangels, and even more Demon Princes, see Andrealphus, Prince of Lust, as a weakling. He likes it that way; under the radar, he's been responsible for far more than his share of corrupted mortals and Fallen angels, and the sexual revolution and his alliance with the Media have been reaping a substantial harvest.
  • Number of the Beast: The most common dice roll in the game is three six-sided dice, written as d666.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Most Demon Princes think that Haagenti is only slightly smarter than Saminga, obsessed with constantly eating more and more and more. A couple of Princes — and Michael, Archangel of War — think that he's a lot smarter than he's letting on, and they're waiting a bit nervously for the other shoe to drop.
    • Most Demon Princes (and Archangels) think that Alaemon, the current Prince of Secrets, is a paranoid weakling completely incapable of filling the place of his deceased predecessor Gebbeleth, who was a much-respected Prince in his day. Kobal is the only one who has noticed the irony that the (dead) Prince of Secrets was a well-known and visible presence in Hell while his "weak" successor is overlooked and ignored.
  • Obsessed with Food: Haagenti, the Demon Prince of Gluttony. He loves to eat, all the time.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • After a fanmade adventure allowed for someone to arrange for Geasa traded away by a Lilim to break (causing her massive Dissonance), the designers clarified that the only being with the power to trade Geasa directly was Lilith herself.
    • In-universe, Malakim are forbidden to retreat without orders. All Malakim have standing orders to retreat from any Demon Prince unless they think their deaths will accomplish something — though, being Malakim, they often decide that they can.
  • Odd Job Gods: Celestials can be assigned a Word, becoming the embodiment of a concept and in charge of encouraging its development on Earth. Demonic Words actually tend to be more logical than angelic Words, since anything that negatively influences mortals (Anorexia, Fast Food, Fine Print) is a source of demonic power. (On the other hand, Lucifer enjoys giving bizarre Words as punishments — just ask Imbap, the Demon of Stale Bong Water.) Angels are much more likely to have strange Words when they reflect personal obsessions. Some of the weirder examples on both sides:
    • Druiel, the Angel of Teenage Death.
    • Fulrick, the Demon of Pencil Shavings.
    • Jorek, the Demon of Goth Wannabes.
    • Kizke, the Demon of Internet Comics.
    • Maigonigal, the Demon of Bad Art.
    • Thratch, the Demon of Snappy Comebacks You Only Think of After It's Too Late.
    • Tomas, the Angel of Catchy Tunes.
    • Randolph, the Angel of Dictionaries.
    • Stander, the Demon of Embalming.
  • 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.
    • Roughly eighty percent of Zadkiel's angels of Protection choose to manifest as female. This is interesting since her splatbook says that she is a Muslim, a faith which specifically says that angels do not appear 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.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous:
    • Celestials predate the existence of biological life by a fair margin and do not typically reproduce the way animals or humans do. Consequently, with some exceptions, angels and demons treat gender more as a personal affectation than anything else, useful for dealing with mortals or if you like the aesthetic but of little intrinsic personal importance. It's common for celestials to casually change gender presentation over time — Gabriel, for instance, used to mostly prefer male vessels but now mainly appears as a woman — and most never bother to pick a specific gender at all.
    • This is averted by ethereal spirits, who typically strongly lean towards mortal genders. The reason is that, unlike the primordial and often inhuman celestials, ethereals are the living manifestations of human thoughts and beliefs. As a result, even generic ethereals are strongly influenced by human thought patterns, while specific ones — such as the pagan gods — by definition manifest with the traits, including sex and gender, given to them in the stories that they originate from.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels are heavenly beings charged with guarding and guiding humanity and the physical word, and are divided into a number of Choirs each attuned to a specific part of the heavenly Symphony.
    • Seraphim: Living Lie Detectors who Cannot Tell a Lie (or at least, can't lie without dire consequences). Their celestial forms are serpents with six eyes and feathered wings.
    • 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.)
    • 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 as per 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.
    • Menunim, the Messengers of Hope, are described in The Marches and are a minor choir charged with instilling hope in humanity, and prefer to do so by giving subtle mental pushes to mortals in order to encourage them towards greater goodness and away from despair. Their celestial forms resemble clouds of vapor, in which they can manifest a face at need. They all serve Blandine, the Archangel of Dreams.
  • Our Demons Are Different: They originated as the rebel angels who rose against Heaven, and some angels still Fall, but most modern demons are created from lesser infernal spirits shaped by the Infernal Princes. They're divided into a number of Bands, each defined in opposition to an angelic Choir, and tend to be maladjusted, misanthropic and often downright sociopathic beings.
    • 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.
    • Pachadim, described in The Marches: moles in human society who spend decades carefully ruining lives, slowly working on manipulating and expanding on the fears and insecurities of humans and sending the resulting wrecks out into the world to do the same to others; fallen Menunim. In celestial form, they resemble obese, diseased, pustule-ridden humans.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Ghosts are the spirits of humans who would be drawn to Heaven or Hell (souls who deserve neither simply reincarnate), but who instead attempted to remain in the material world to deal with some Unfinished Business. In order to do so, spirits must latch onto a corporeal anchor and sacrifice one of their Forces and try to hang on the material plane; if they fail, they may try again at the cost of another Force. They can move on to the afterlife whenever they please, usually after dealing with whatever caused them to want to linger, but can also be forced to do so by destroying their anchors. Since they usually lose several Forces in becoming ghosts, most are weak, incomplete beings, with the precise losses that they suffered determining their specific kind:
      • Will'o'wisps are the weakest and most common kind, having lost everything save their will to remain on Earth. They have no memories, intelligence or ability to interact with the world, and most simply wander it aimlessly, having long forgotten why they wanted to stay.
      • Poltergeists retain at least one Corporeal force, leaving them able to interact with the material world, but lost all their Ethereal forces, costing them their intelligence and memories. They can throw objects around, create phantom noises, and manifest as simple glowing shapes, but are no smarter than animals and have no recollection of their lives or of their reasons for staying.
      • Apparitions have at least one Ethereal force, allowing them to retain at least some measure their minds and memories, but lost all their Corporeal forces, leaving them unable to interact with the world. Depending on how many Forces they've actually got left, they may be stuck replaying a loop of memories over and over or may actually recall their Unfinished Business and attempt to get it taken care of; their main obstacle is that they can't interact with objects or speak aloud.
      • True ghosts retain most of their Forces, and as such have the greatest lucidity, awareness of their situation, and ability to interact with the world. They're almost indistinguishable from living people when they manifest, but become slightly translucent in direct sunlight. They're the rarest kind of ghost, both because it's difficult to become one and because they're the likeliest kind to either deal with their business and move on or to be recognized and exorcized.
    • Dream-shades are similar to ghosts, but technically a distinct type of being. Ghosts are mortal souls who cling to the corporeal plane; dream-shades cling to the ethereal plane instead. Some are the souls of mortals who died in their sleep and knowingly or instinctively clung to the dream world; others are anchored there by powerful spirits. They always retain all of their memories and sense of self, but cannot manifest in the material world.
  • Our Genies Are Different: The Djinn are a type of demon, the fallen counterparts to the Cherubim. They are sullen, moody and cynical, and prone to developing possessive, stalkerish obsessions with mortals. Their humanoid vessels tend to be short and stocky; their celestial forms are monstrous, surreal beasts.
  • Our Gods Are Different:
    • The Gods of most non-Abrahamic religions (which the angels were mostly responsible for) are generated by the dreams of humanity. 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.
    • The Abrahamic God is an entirely different type of being. He generated the cosmos and humanity rather than the other way around, and does not seem to depend on anything for sustenance. The pagan gods insist that He is just a jumped-up member of their ranks, the tribal deity of the Hebrews who achieved enough power to Retcon reality; the angels consider this to be insulting heresy.
  • Our Imps Are Different: Imps are minor infernal spirits charged with hindering and inconveniencing humans without actually causing physical or spiritual harm, such as by hiding car keys, draining batteries, or tampering with birth control.
  • Our Mummies Are Different:
    • Mummies are the most perfected kind of undead that Hell can create. They're essentially immortal humans with more supernatural clout, and are functionally straight-up upgrades on the human condition with one major downside — like all undead, their souls cannot survive their bodies' destruction.
    • Actual, Egyptian mummies were created specifically to avoid being turned into undead — the necromancy developed by Hell relies on using lingering motor memory in the physical brain to animate the body, and Egyptian funerary specialists took up the practice of extracting the brain from bodies specifically to avoid having their honored dead turned into puppets of the demons.
  • Our Nephilim Are Different: When a celestial, whether angel or demon, uses the Songs of Fruition to have children with a mortal, the issue is usually just a human with some extra supernatural power. Sometimes, however, the child is born or becomes a monster, warped in body and mind; these are referred to as Nephallim, and are shunned and hunted by both humanity and celestials. Most were born to the ancient Grigori, giant angels meant to guide humanity directly, and were hunted down when the Grigori were cast out, but some still emerge in the modern day. Despite their reputation, however, Nephallim are free-willed mortals, and are as capable of achieving salvation as regular humans. Ethereal spirits of the Marches are capable of breeding with humans under the same conditions as celestials, and also have a chance of producing warped offspring of their own; these Ethereal counterparts to Nephallim are known as Gorgons, but are otherwise largely the same sort of beings.
  • Our Sphinxes Are Different: Sophronia the sphinx is an ethereal spirit in the form of a winged Greek sphinx; she claims to be the same one confronted by Oedipus. In the modern day she never leaves the Marches and acts as an information broker, selling interesting facts, secrets and insights in exchange for fresh information, riddles she hasn't yet heard, and essence. This puts her in a delicate position because numerous Ethereal spirits bear grudges against her for spilling their secrets, but her services are useful enough that the angels of Dreams and the demons of Nightmares have an informal agreement to protect her.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires are undead created when a ritual meant to make a mummy goes awry. They're harmed by direct sunlight, and need nightly intake of some substance or stimulus — archetypally blood, but it can be essentially anything — to regenerate Essence.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Zombis are undead created when a ritual meant to make a mummy goes very badly, leaving the would-be undead as nothing more than a mindless corpse. Servants of Saminga, the Prince of Death, can also create them directly from corpses. Zombis have an innate Need, usually revolving around consuming specific body parts, that they need to meet nightly, and steadily degenerate if they don't.
  • Orcus on His Throne:
    • Most of the Superiors do little or nothing to directly intervene in the existence of their subordinates. In most cases, the exceptions are terrifying.
    • Lucifer also can be an exception — sometimes he'll just walk by to open a stuck door for some demons. Of course, Lucifer being involved in a scene at all ought to be terrifying.
  • 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.
  • The Pearly Gates: The Pearly Gates serve as the main entrance through which blessed souls enter Heaven. Their precise appearance tends to vary between viewings, although they're always elaborate and made out of precious materials — one time they may appear as diaphanous mother-of-pearl, the next they may be cast from solid gold or a single carved sapphire. The blessed are met at the gates by the Seraph Radueriel, who records their names and deeds and makes sure that none of them are plants snuck in by demons.
  • Peeve Goblins: Imps are minor infernal spirits charged with hindering and inconveniencing humans without actually causing physical or spiritual harm, such as by hiding car keys, draining batteries, or tampering with birth control.
  • Photographic Memory: Koriel, the Angel of Equal Justice, can flawlessly recall any detail of any case that she has ever defended.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • While Gabriel's boons have more to do with smiting the wicked than manipulating flames, a few of them grant this sort of powers — her Ofanim are Immune to Fire, her Malakim can cover their hands with celestial flames, and any of her servants can gain the ability to raise local ambient temperatures, strengthen, reduce or constrain fires, or create a sphere of flame around themselves.
    • Belial, Gabriel's infernal opposite, is far more focused on Fire's literal meaning than Gabriel is, and his servants grant a number of abilities focusing on creating and controlling flames.
    • The Songs of Fire create literal and metaphorical flames. The Corporeal Song of Fire allows any performer to create fire in a desired area. The Ethereal Song of Fire creates a blaze of inspiration in mortal minds. The Celestial Song of Fire makes existing flames supernaturally entrancing.
  • 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. Note that this is only true for direct combat with PCs, and the Archangels and Demon Princes are far from immune to each other, or God and Satan. Several have fallen or been outright destroyed in the backstory.
  • Police State: Hell is overseen by the pervasive and merciless inquisition of Asmodeus and his servants, who ruthlessly purge the infernal ranks of any demon judged incompetent, treasonous, or insufficiently committed to Lucifer and his goals.
  • Poltergeist: Poltergeists are a lowly kind of ghost, having sacrificed all of their Ethereal forces in the struggle to remain in the physical world, and thus having lost all of their intelligence and memories. They can be friendly, playful or malicious, but are no smarter than animals; some manifest as glowing balls of light or incorporeal noises, but most only show themselves through the objects that they throw around.
  • Power Perversion Potential: The Numinous Corpus songs are typically used to modify one's body for various practical and combat-related purposes. The Liber Canticorum adds that Andrealphus "is known to share several "ornamental" Numinous Corpus that are best left to the imagination..."
  • Power Trio: Angels of Judgment normally work in triads, both to ensure that they can detain an angel if necessary, to ensure a balance of talent, and to ensure that any judgments don't face deadlocked votes.
  • Public Domain Character: While many characters are original creations for the setting, many others are derived from the public domain. Some come from scripture, several demons originate from medieval occultism, and a few come from more recent sources — the angel Israfel comes from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, for instance.
  • Purgatory and Limbo: Limbo is... something... that Celestials go to if they lose their last physical vessel but cannot return to their Heart in Heaven or Hell. There's some debate regarding whether it's actually a place or a state of being. Either way, a Celestial in Limbo cannot see, touch, or otherwise interact with anything, whether in Limbo or in the rest of the universe; they can only think, and reflect, and very slowly regenerate essence until they have enough to get out. However, such a celestial also cannot be tracked or interacted with in any way as long as they stay there, making it a useful last-resort hiding spot.
  • Prevent the War: In the adventure The Final Trumpet, two Demon Princes are trying to start a war between Heaven and Hell before its appointed time. The PCs' job is to stop them from succeeding. If they fail, Armageddon will occur.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: You Are Here mentions that when Jeanne Delarue was made director of the Board of Trustees of Progressive Banking, she was being set up to fail. The trustees intended to declare bankruptcy, blame her for it, split up the remaining money and leave her to face the music.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Uriel was the Archangel of Purity. His commitment to his ideal of a pure, unblemished world was such that he led a crusade of genocide against the world's pagan gods and myths, driving many of them into the arms of Hell. His Choir, the Malakim, often behave similarly — they are the most absolutely pure of the angels of Heaven, but this same purity of purpose often makes them dogmatic, intolerant, and very dangerous for everyone who doesn't meet their lofty standards of morality.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: This is a major contrast in Heaven and Hell's approaches to arranging their forces. Archangels prefer to invest a fair amount of resources and training into new angels and thus create them fairly rarely, opting for a smaller number of high-quality servants. By contrast, Demon Princes prefer to create vast numbers of weak, nameless imps and spirits, some of which manage to survive and grow in power enough to become full demons. The result is that the forces of Hell greatly outnumber those of Heaven, but the average angel is usually stronger than the average demon.
  • Railroading: If The Final Trumpet is played as written, it is impossible to prevent the murder of the holiest man on Earth, which triggers the Second Trumpet. In fact, the characters have no chance of stopping the progression of Trumpets at all until possibly the Fourth Trumpet and more likely the Fifth or Sixth.
  • Rain of Something Unusual: The Corporeal Song of Plagues can produce rains of eerie or unsettling substances, such as snow in summer, frogs, or blood.
  • Rapid Aging: The Corporeal Song of Entropy causes a target to instantly age two to twelve years (or more, if the celestial casting it spends extra Essence). If cast upon the same being repeatedly, it can age them to death in a short space of time.
  • The Rapture: The Rapture occurs between the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets during the leadup to Armageddon. Appropriately virtuous humans are marked with a special sigil that marks them for collection by Rikbiel, the Angel of Ascension, an Ofanite in the form of a living chariot of fire who will take them directly to Heaven.
  • Really Was Born Yesterday: This is a common occurrence, as an angel or demon who was first sent to Earth this morning will nonetheless usually be wearing a body that looks like an adult human. Although they aren't usually sent to Earth immediately after their creation, still there's a major learning curve for those new to Earth no matter how old they actually are, and it has much the same effect.
  • Reincarnation:
    • Human souls generally go to Heaven if the achieve their Destiny or to Hell if they meet their Fate. Most humans don't do either in their lives, or in some rare cases manage to do both, and are reincarnated without any memories of their old lives to try again. Some souls can go through this cycle dozens of times before settling on one side or the other.
    • Blessed souls in Heaven can choose to reincarnate on Earth to help out in the War. Unlike "undecided" souls, they retain all of their memories and personality.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • The Remnant: The Tsyadim are the remaining Angels of Purity who refused to take new masters after Uriel ascended to the Higher Heavens. They can't Fall due to the Word of Purity, and they're busy continuing their master's crusade against the Ethereal.
  • 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.
  • Retired Badass: The Old Guy, a Malakite in Austin, is old enough to remember the dinosaurs. He's away from the front lines and drastically weakened from what he used to be, due to the poisoning of a tree his life is bound to, but he hasn't lost any of his cunning or his skill, as he'd be glad to remind any demon stupid enough to come onto his radar.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • The nature of the Upper Heavens and of the beings who live there. All that anybody knows is that there is some number of levels above the one that angels inhabit, that greater beings than the Archangels exist there, that all blessed souls feel a pull to go there, and that nobody who ascends to these levels ever returns.
    • A lot of information concerning Armageddon and its aftermath is deliberately obtuse. In particular, nobody knows what the fate of damned souls will be — they may remain in Hell for eternity, be sent into oblivion, or given a second chance at salvation — and, until the last trumpet sounds, nobody will.
    • The Dozen, a rumored cabal of undying mortal sorcerers who wield impossible powers. What's established is that sorcerers think that they exist, and that demons made up almost everything about them but have their own rumors about the Dozen actually being real. Everything else — their powers, their identities, their goals, whether they even exist at all — is left thoroughly obscure.
    • Why dragons cannot exist anymore. For some reason, after Uriel and his servants eradicated the ancient dragons, something changed so as to prevent any new dragons from arising among the Ethereal spirits — whenever one comes to resemble or embody the Image of a dragon, it quickly fades into nothingness. Nobody has any idea why this is, and while a number of theories are floating around in-universe — dragons were divine or infernal beings punished for rebellion against God, one or more dragon deities or greater spirits are hiding in the Marches and remotely annihilate all competitors, Heaven decided that dragons were too dangerous and somehow altered the Symphony to make them impossible — the answer to this riddle is left to the GM's discretion.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: The Revelations Cycle starts with Furfur, a minor demon, trying to get himself promoted to Demon Prince of Rock and Roll by performing a song intended to summon Lucifer — the song needs to be sung ten million times to work, so Furfur records himself singing it, tricks a rock band into performing it, and dubs his own voice over the radio broadcast. Lucifer grants his wish, but on a whim makes Furfur the Demon Prince of Hardcore instead.
  • Scary Black Man: The human shape of David, Archangel of Stone, is normally a big, bald black guy. He's one of Heaven's strongest warrior angels and extremely lethal to any demon who attacks him.
  • Science Is Bad: To a degree. Technology is an Infernal word, and actual science is generally spurred by Hell and designed to corrupt souls — Jean, Archangel of Lightning, prefers to develop human technology through divine revelation. However, scientific breakthroughs developed independently by humans are neutral, and Jean has to accept them.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • Several centuries before the birth of Christ, the Archangel David and the then-young angel Khalid battled Magog, the Demon Prince of Cruelty, in the latter's fortress beneath the Sahara, and sealed him within. Lucifer was either unable or unwilling to break Magog out, and the demon remains there still, sealed in a prison lost beneath the sands.
    • The Archangel David keeps an immense amber gemstone — the very first amber, in fact, based on which the rest of the mineral was designed — in his realm in Heaven. The amber appears to hold an insect within it, but the creature is in fact a terrible mistake from the early days of creation that David imprisoned in the gem.
    • There is a rumor among angels that Uriel's recall to the Upper Heavens is a lie, and that what actually happened was that the Seraphim Council judged him dangerously insane and chained him beneath Gabriel's Volcano, trapping him with Gabriel's power and an endless dream woven by Blandine. Supposedly, the Archangel of Purity is trapped there still, dreaming of escape and vengeance. Supposedly...
  • 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."
  • Secret War: The basic principle of the setting — Heaven and Hell are fighting a low-level conflict behind the scenes of modern society, and both sides have orders to keep things quiet until Armageddon is ready to be fought. Heaven is not starting that battle until God says so, and as for Hell, the Heaven and Hell supplement notes that "Lucifer has learned all he wants to know about attacking God before being completely sure of success."
  • Sensing You Are Outmatched: In the original Fall, after Michael cast down Lucifer, the rest of Lucifer's army simply showed itself out.
  • Sex Is Evil: Not precisely, but it's a Hellish tool more often than a Heavenly one. Andrealphus, the Prince of Lust, has seen to that, and he's been taking advantage of the dark side of the sexual revolution and turned it toward the objectification of women and sex. On the other hand, he's also very good at exploiting this trope, since if people think that sex is something dirty, then giving in to their urges can lead to moral corruption.
  • Sex Is Good: To Servitors of Eli, sex is a sharing of joy and the highest of sacraments, as well as a symbol of creation.
  • Shades of Conflict: Canonically, Black-and-Gray Morality; Hell is thoroughly corrupt and wicked (but with sympathetic individuals in the rank and file), while Heaven's leadership is full of Knights Templar who are mostly trying to be good guys. However, notable in that the GM's section provides options for High Contrast, which is Black-and-White Morality, Dark Low Contrast, which is Evil Versus Evil, and Bright Low Contrast, which is Grey-and-Gray Morality Played for Laughs. (It also provides mention of playing it backwards, which is Black-and-Gray Morality with demons as the "gray.")
  • Shout-Out: To a Steve Martin Stand-Up Comedy joke, Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, and Sluggy Freelance.
  • Shrouded in Myth: There's a persistent rumor in-universe about the Dozen, a cabal of twelve immortal sorcerers, sometimes with a thirteenth as a leader, who can command powers that should normally be impossible. The details vary wildly in telling — they might be led by Merlin or Solomon or Cain or the Wandering Jew, they might be able to command angels or summon Demon Princes or raise the dead — and ultimately nobody knows anything for sure. Demons make a point of playing up the joke in order to mislead ambitious sorcerers... but when they talk among themselves, they aren't too sure that the Dozen really are fictitious, and maybe some of those stories are real after all...
  • Sign Of The End Times: Seven specific events must happen, in sequence, before Armageddon will begin. The prophecy is fairly well-known to most celestials, although the details are prone to much argument. When each condition is met, the Archangel Gabriel will instantly know it and will be compelled to sound a long, mournful note on her trumpet, which will echo through the Symphony and tell all celestials that the Day of Doom is one step closer. Over the course of The Final Trumpet, these signs start happening one after the other:
    • First, a Great City Is Emptied of the Children of Heaven. This occurs in the prequel adventure, Fall of the Malakim, where the Demon Princes Kobal and Malphas kill off every angel and former angel in Los Angeles.
    • Second, the Holiest Man on Earth Dies by Hands Not Mortal. A particularly pious accountant in Tehran, the holiest mortal alive at present, is killed by a demon of Malphas.
    • Third, the Mortal Tyrant Harvests a Million Souls. An African warlord, sponsored by Baal for this purpose, creates a humanitarian crisis that kills well over the required number of mortals.
    • Fourth, an Ancient Evil Breaks Its Bonds. At first, this seems to be fulfilled by the awakening of the world serpent Jormungandr; the players can prevent this by getting Thor to kill the monster, but this is only a ruse to cover Malphas' release of Magog, Prince of Cruelty, from his prison beneath the Sahara.
    • Fifth, in Unity, War Is Embraced. The Archangels and the Princes gather in their councils and agree, unanimously, that it shall be war. This is assumed to be the final Trumpet blown in the canonical continuity.
    • Sixth, at the Changing of the Year, All the Continents Are at War. Demonic — and some angelic — manipulation sows chaos and paranoia around the world, until war erupts between every nation on Earth that doesn't degenerate into a burning, anarchic mess. Often, demons rampage openly on Earth, killing anything they can find.
    • Seventh and Finally, the Champions Battle Amidst the Flames and One is Vanquished. Michael and Baal face each other in single combat on the plains of Ha-Megiddo, one wins, one loses, and the Last Battle begins.
  • The Sleepless: The vessels used by celestials don't require sleep, although they can go to sleep if they want to travel the Marches. Undead also don't need sleep and, unlike celestials, can't sleep.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Of the fourteen major Demon Princes only two are explicitly female — Lilith and Beleth — with the others all primarily identifying as male. Technically, of course any of the Demon Princes (except for the always female Lilith) can appear as either gender (or none), but their canonical appearances come with defined favoured genders. The Superiors set of supplements provide alternate Gender Flip versions of some of the male Princes.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: This the central contrast between Laurence, Archangel of the Sword and current leader of The Armies of Heaven, and Michael, Archangel of War and former holder of this position:
    • Laurence favors a structured and formalized approach to both war in general and to the War against Hell. He runs his angels like a large, organized army, with a clear and extensive chain of command, expects his followers to obey orders without backtalk, and favors sponsoring large, hierarchical organizations among mortals. He's very good at mobilizing large forces at once and coordinating long-term strategies, and genuinely thinks that things work best when everyone knows who to look to for guidance and respects their superiors. However, he's also notoriously inflexible, has little tolerance for opinions from the ranks, and tends to find it frustrating when his fellow Archangels don't act within his idealized military structure or Hell cheats again.
    • Michael is the patron of personal struggles and of individual glory in war. He emphasizes commanding by earning the respect of your followers and structures both his angelic and mortal followers as a system of loosely connected cells and warrior brotherhoods, with only the most rudimentary chain of command. His scattered cells are very resistant to infiltration and subversion and he's extremely good at motivating individuals to fight, and his followers respect him immensely. However, he's also pig-headed, individualistic and acknowledges no superior save for God Himself, and his emphatic refusal to defer to others can make him a tremendous pain in the ass to work with.
  • 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.
  • Speed Demon: Ofanim are angels of motion. They are stereotypically known for driving like maniacs and being constantly in motion.
  • Stairway to Heaven: Heaven has Jacob's Ladder, which leads from the lowest level of Heaven into the Higher Heavens. Only humans may climb the Ladder; angels are expected to stay on the base level unless specifically summoned to the Higher Heavens by God Himself.
  • 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, which they do, they'd do it anyway, because not doing it makes them suffer dissonance.
  • The Strategist: Both Laurence and Baal are this for their respective sides. Baal doesn't consider Laurence to be playing on the same level as he is, and Laurence is happy to have him think so.
  • 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.
  • Super Breeding Program: A human's potential for Forces seems to have some hereditary component, with the most obvious example being that the Children of the Grigori all have an elevated potential. This has caused some angels and demons to try to meddle with human lineages, but no eugenics program has ever lasted long enough to get results.
  • 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 one "Essence" to cause a cell phone to materialize for ten 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 six meters.
  • Take a Third Option: The setting is crafted so as to make this largely impossible, but some players and characters try anyway. Heaven and Hell are the greatest powers in existence and ruthlessly hunt down renegades, but some angels and demons are capable of deserting and remaining in hiding for quite a long time. Mortal sorcerers also tend to think that they're doing this, viewing the War as something of little interest to them, but most are actually pawns of Hell. Ethereals are the closest thing to a third faction in the War, but are little more than a faded remnant of their past glories in the modern day.
  • Telephone Teleport: An angel with the Ofanite of Jean attunement may travel as lightning along any suitable conductor, including telephone lines. They cause damage at their entry and exit points, though.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The reason Uriel was recalled into the Higher Heavens, never to be seen again, and was replaced as chief big shot in the War? He led a genocidal crusade against the creatures and pantheons of mythology (including many which weren't even aligned with Hell) sometime in the 8th century. The Ethereals have never entirely trusted Heaven since then.
  • This Isn't Heaven: One supplement has a Heaven which redeemed demons eventually figure out is worse than Hell. They are required to memorize dull, "uplifting" sermons; the Malakim (avenging angels) may abuse them at will; the Archangels are insane. Eventually, they escape and go back to Hell, to warn other demons. It's actually a fake, set up by Hell as a propaganda ploy to discourage demons from redeeming.
  • Time Abyss: Celestials can live potentially forever if they avoid being killed, and many of them have been around for a very long time. While rank-and-file angels and demons usually average a few centuries in age, some can clearly recall a time when humans had only recently mastered fire. Almost all Archangels predate the Fall, which occurred over 22,000 years in the past, and some Superiors were among the first beings ever created and were there when God was still building the material universe.
  • Tracking Spell:
    • The Song of Affinity allows the performer to track a target throughout the Symphony, as long as one of their body parts or something they created can be used as a focus.
    • The Celestial Song of Attraction allows the singer to attune themselves to someone through touch, and afterwards be able to always divine the other person's location.
  • Truce Zone: The city of Austin, Texas, and Chez Régis in the original French game In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas, serve as areas where demons and angels can coexist, talk, and live under an unofficial flag of truce. They're not supposed to be doing this, but the benefits of having a spot where their agents can talk and work together are significant enough the the archangels and princes are both willing to let these spots exist.
  • Tulpa: Ethereals are living beings created from mortal dreams, thoughts, and culture, although they range very widely within this definition. Many are simple figures created within dreams, which by some means or another managed to escape their native dreamscape or survive its collapse when the dreamer awoke; they're rarely very bright and often lack much situational awareness or means to provide for themselves, and so most don't last long. Also common are the embodiments of broader archetypes or concepts, created from the stuff of the Ethereal by the resonance of stories and culture; this can range from living character archetypes to embodiments of human perceptions of nature or technology. The most powerful ethereals of all are the personifications of specific myths, beings such as fey, mythical monsters and pagan deities. All of them, least to greatest, require essence to live, and thrive best on human thought and attention; for a living story, being forgotten is quite often deadly.
  • Unreliable Canon: Went so far as to document areas of "Canon Doubt and Uncertainty" which would never be resolved by supplements.
  • Valkyries: Valkyries are a type of ethereal spirits in the service of Odin. They resemble tall, fair, athletic women, usually in the tunics, chain mail and helms of Viking warriors, and attune themselves to mortal worshippers of their god so that they can carry them to Valhalla when they die. They used to favor people who died in some notable manner, but since the decline of the ethereal powers Odin can neither afford to be choosy nor to spend what followers he has left. As such, Valkyries will also manifest to help mortals out of tight spots.
  • Wainscot Society: Angels and demons operate among humanity while remaining responsible to their superiors — so Heaven and Hell are the wainscots here. A Masquerade is enforced, mostly to preserve secrecy on a case-by-case basis, and to allow humans free will.
  • Walking the Earth: Eli, the Archangel of Creation, left Heaven in 1957 to walk the Earth. No one knows why — and no one's quite sure if Eli remembers any more, for that matter...
  • War God: While the angels — but not the demons — would object to this description, this role is functionally split between a number of Superiors: Laurence, Archangel of the Sword; Michael, Archangel of War; and Baal, Prince of the War.
    • Laurence is the general of The Armies of Heaven and is particularly concerned with concepts of strategy, honor, and military discipline — the soldier is Soldier Versus Warrior. He runs his servants like a vast army, and among mortals prefers to sponsor hierarchical organizations with a martial bent — his closeness to the Christian faith means he has a particular fondness for Church Militant organizations, and he served as the patron of many knightly orders in his day.
    • Michael is more of a warrior, concerned with glory in battle and individual struggle. He is a fighter without equal, and prefers to sponsor a large number of warrior brotherhoods and clans over a single regimented organization.
    • Baal is the leader of The Legions of Hell and a mighty warrior in his own right; besides leading the struggle against Heaven, one of his greatest delights is when mortals turn to slaughtering each other of their own free will and for petty reasons. He has a close alliance with Belial, Prince of Fire, with whom he shares a great appreciation for the aesthetic value of burning cities and large explosions, and Vapula, Prince of Technology, whose destructive inventions Baal is always happy to find a use for.
  • Weather Manipulation: The Songs of Storms allow their singers to control the weather. The Corporeal Song of Storms creates or halts precipitation of whatever kind is appropriate for the current place and time. The Ethereal Song of Storms generates or suppresses wind. The Celestial Song of Storms raises or lowers ambient temperature.
  • We Didn't Start the Führer: Played with. Hitler was largely responsible for his own success, but there was a lot of plotting going around on both sides that got completely out of hand.
  • Weakened by the Light: Vampires take damage from being in sunlight, and celestial beings (angels and demons) can take this effect as a type of Discord.
  • Weird Coinage:
    • Physical objects are extremely difficult to move between the Corporeal, Ethereal, and Celestial planes, and neither Heaven, Hell, nor the Ethereal spirits would ever recognize currency backed by any of the three other factions. Consequently, the default currency in the setting is essence, the spiritual energy used by celestials, ethereal spirits and mortals alike to work supernatural acts. Accumulated essence can easily be transferred between willing individuals, and this has become the most common way to give and ask for recomposes for favors and services.
    • Lilim use Geasa are their primary currency among themselves. A geas cannot be directly transferred, but Lilim will achieve a functionally similar effect by geasing themselves to only call in a geas owed to them as and when another person specifies. Geasa come in six distinct ranks, each of increasing severity and used to compel tasks that are increasingly dangerous and/or unpleasant for the geased person, which gives the Lilim a convenient scale for trading them amongst themselves.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Ethereal spirits regain Essence and regenerate lost hits of Body damage at midnight.
  • 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.)
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: Will'o'wisps are the least form of ghosts, having sacrificed every part of their spiritual selves save for sheer Will in their struggle to remain anchored to the physical world. They cannot affect the material realm beyond manifesting as balls of light or pockets of cold, and lack the intelligence to do much even if they could do more. They're sad, lonely, wandering things, lacking the ability to let go of the material realm and having long forgotten why they wanted to stay.
  • Winged Humanoid: A few angels and demons have this sort of appearance.
    • Mercurians are the classic humans-with-avian-wings type of angels. Malakim are similar, but with black wings and shadowy bodies. In the process of becoming angels, Bright Lilim lose their horns and green skin in exchange for a pair of translucent wings.
    • Kalabim and Impudites both resemble archetypal red-skinned demons with bat-like wings.
  • Wretched Hive: According to Fall of the Malakim, Los Angeles is completely dominated by Hell.
  • Your Heart's Desire: When a Lilim (a type of demon) looks into someone's eyes, they can see that person's greatest need. They can then use their demonic abilities and resources to meet that need and gain a geas (control) over that person.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: At one point in The Final Trumpet, the player characters race like mad to help defeat the World Serpent, since the rise of a world-endangering monster is supposed to set off the Fourth Trumpet. Too bad the prophecy really involves the long-missing Demon Prince of Cruelty, who's about to be freed from his centuries-old tomb... a fact the characters don't learn until after the World Serpent is defeated and their ally Thor is dead.

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