Liriel Grail-Chaser

By William J. Keith


(Editor's Note: The character portrait herein has statistics drawn from GURPS: In Nomine.)

If you study enough of the reports of appearances of the Holy Grail, a pattern starts to emerge -- the use of its Songs is said to be, rather than an imposition of a foreign theme on to the Symphony, an enhancement and reinforcement of the themes already there. Now, angelic Songmasters usually stay in Heaven, or travel to quiet places in the Marches or Earth for their research. But, if one undertook this research, maybe he'd get interested in this proposition:

Could a study of the Grail lead to a new style of Song? One that is definitely Heavenly, that flows with the natural Symphony, accepting it and working with it rather than hammering it to the shape of one's desires?

This line of thought is particularly suitable for the angels of Destiny, since it is in their nature to be cautious and try to guide the Symphony gently. Therefore I have made my Songmaster an angel of Destiny. While Yves' Malakite Attunement is the most applicable to this particular set of adventures, the places he'll need to go to do this job on his own initiative are not conducive to a Malakite being able to stay focused on the research, so I've instead made him a Seraph. (He has some interesting views on the name of the Grail....)

Adventure seed one: Grail-Chaser. Liriel, the Songmaster listed herein, is not particularly suited for survival in the conflict-ridden areas where the Grail commonly appears, before the special advantages are added. The PCs are enlisted as escort and extra eyes as Liriel searches for the Grail. Primarily Liriel will arrive at planned battles, where he has been given information that open conflict will arise. He and his helpers will stay out of sight, searching the area, and not interfere in a battle between celestials -- Liriel is neither a fighter nor particularly tactically-minded, and would only be likely to get someone killed. (It's also a condition some Archangels have set down for allowing Liriel to tag along on planned assaults.)

In a battle between humans, or if a demon is attacking humans, Liriel may unbend enough to intervene if someone's Destiny appears in jeopardy -- likewise, other angels can support their own Words, if they can do so without revealing the party's presence or causing any Disturbance. If the party is exposed and attacked, they are to hold their ground and guard Liriel until Liriel calls a retreat. If the Grail does appear, everyone is expected to stay and watch attentively until it is gone.

The Grail is unlikely to appear at most battles, but once or twice, maybe when Yves has suggested a particular locale (which may not even be a battle!) the Grail can arrive. Other hints may come from strange prophets and old prophecies, from unusual creatures of the Marches or the ravings of demons touched by strange power -- the Grail quest is an old and noble search, reaching the heights of otherworldly existence. When the Grail does not arrive, however, the angels can be given opportunities to support their own Word -- many a Grail quester has never found the object of his search, but has grown nevertheless from the journey.

Adventure seed two: Demonic Interference. The Grail is by its nature a source of loathing and fear to most demons, and if a Demon Prince hears about Liriel and his party he may want them stopped, or interfered with in any way possible. The simplest way to do this once Liriel is found, other than killing him and his party, is simply to create Disturbance at the moment the Grail is applying its powers, limiting the information he can get from the experience. Otherwise, it's a matter of playing waiting games and constantly trying to stay one step ahead of Liriel's information -- where will he head next? What are the angels up to when the Grail doesn't arrive, and can we undo it?

It's possible that Liriel is chasing a will'o'wisp, and a mere angel can never achieve the subtle flow of harmony that the Grail produces naturally. On the other hand, he just might be able to do it. If he did, the Host and the Horde would both be interested in such information -- the Host for its use, the Horde to destroy it. Since the Grail mostly uses its Songs on Earth, and mostly uses the Corporeal Songs, Earth is the natural place for Liriel to test his newfound knowledge. Unfortunately, this makes him vulnerable to demonic attack. Fortunately (for Liriel), with this new power on his side, he has some tricks up his sleeve that the Horde may not be expecting...

Adventure seed three: A Long-Term Assignment for the PCs. Liriel joins the PC group as "support staff": he can use a wide variety of Songs, and even use his Songmaster Attunement to teach them. However, the group's assignments are selected with an eye toward allowing Liriel to test out his new abilities, so who is supporting who may be a bit of a question.

Adventure seed four: Naturally, the demonic side of this is an attempt to kill Liriel. Killing the Vessel (regularly) will do, as it will hamper him somewhat, but getting Liriel to suffer loss of Forces from Celestial combat, or even soul-death, will take a long time and rate a major reward. Again, this kind of plotting may be more suitable for a long-term assignment than a single adventure.

Adventure seed five: Once Liriel has established an understanding of his abilities, a curious thing starts happening -- he seems to have become a magnet for demons and humans in need of assistance to achieve their Destinies, whether this be Redemption for a demon or a gentle push in the right direction for a human. They may not seek him out noticeably, but they always seem to bump into him. If this keeps happening for long enough, and Liriel continues to associate with this company, someone is going to notice. And Dominic was always a little suspicious of the Grail.... Liriel and any associated PCs may have to face intense questioning by Judgment, and produce proof that their activities are serving Heaven, or else Dominic may judge that the knowledge Liriel has gained is dangerously attractive to the wrong sorts, something Angels Were Not Meant to Know, and seek to have it stricken from him, following up with a declaration that no other angel is to try this either!]

Seraph of Destiny

ST 10
DX 12
IQ 19
HT 11

Template notes: 4 Corporeal, 4 Ethereal, 2 Celestial. Liriel has no Servitor Attunements -- he is a focused Song teacher and researcher, with deep knowledge of the Symphony's workings with respect to Songs and similar powers. He is a virtuoso with the Songs of Healing.

Advantages: Songmaster, Malakite of Destiny, Vessel(a few papers giving an identity of Zeke Jameson, professional singer; no Role), Symphonic Flow(*,******), Symphonic Repair(*,******), Symphonic Connectedness(*,******)

Disadvantages: Weirdness Magnet(*,***), Clueless

Quirks: very polite to musicians, always requests that he or someone in his group give money to a street performer

Skills: Song of Healing**: Corporeal-19, Ethereal-19, Celestial-21; Songs of Motion**: Corporeal-18, Ethereal-17, Celestial-18; Songs of Light: Corporeal-17**, Ethereal-18, Celestial-18; Songs of Affinity: Corporeal-17, Celestial-18; Song of Shields(Corporeal)-17; Song of Tongues(Corporeal)-17; Singing-12; Teaching-18; Guns(9 mm)-13*;

* Liriel does not have these resources in seeds 1 and 2.

** Subtract one from the skill level of this Song for seeds 1 and 2.

*** I've always kind of wondered why "Weirdness Magnet" was listed as a disadvantage, but then I guess that just gives you some insight into my personality. ;^)

**** I have chosen a 25-point value for the Songmaster Attunement, for the purposes of calculating Liriel's point totals. Anyone care to comment?

***** A word of advice if you intend to convert Liriel back into In Nomine - the Weirdness Magnet disadvantage does not exist in standard In Nomine, and the higher levels of Liriel's Songs actually put him at level 7 on some of them. At the earlier levels, though, his highest Songs convert out to level 6.

****** Symphonic Flow, Symphonic Repair, and Symphonic Connectedness are the three (5-point) advantages which are central to this whole article. Each gives the ability to use a certain type of Song (in this case, Motion, Healing, and Affinity, respectively) like the Grail does -- naturally harmonizing with the Symphony, giving the -4 to Perception to detect the Disturbance that is normally used when the Grail uses one of its Songs. Furthermore, the Songs thus enhanced may have side effects of minor benefit for the recipient -- a healed human might feel refreshed(regain some Fatigue), for example. These Advantages can only come from long study of the Grail itself, or from arduous training with a teacher who has these advantages. (How much study is required is unknown -- technically, someone who has seen the Grail once might be capable of developing such an advantage with enough introspection.) These advantages are further restricted to angels; humans, demons, and Ethereals simply do not have the requisite connection with the Symphony to work this smoothly with its chords.

Liriel is a 95-point character in adventure seeds 1 and 2, and a 115 point character in seeds 3, 4, and 5.


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