Revisionist History: Habbalah

By Jason F. McBrayer (


This is a revisionist history of the Habbalah, written for my (upcoming) online campaign, Truth and Reconciliation (the most important thing for a campaign is that it have a catchy name). The following is _very_ heretical, but it takes place starting from a setting that's _almost_ canon In Nomine. The background has the following differences from canon:

  1. The light of Heaven does not burn demons. The Fallen were thrown out of Heaven by the loyal angels, not by divine fiat making it impossible for them to stay.

  2. Lilim cannot Redeem; there are no true Bright Lilim. Ordinary demons are either "broken" angels, or Celestials made on the template of a broken angel. Fixing that break restores the demon to its former (or appropriate) Choir. Lilim have no such "break", and no angelic counterpart. There are, however, "Bright" Lilim -- Free Lilim who are in service to an Archangel, or Lilim who have willingly been bound permanently to an Archangel's word (just as they would be bound to a Demon Prince). "Bright" Lilim don't have wings, are still green, and still have horns; their resonance and their Band dissonance condition do not change. They can have angelic Hearts. "Bright" Lilim are still _technically_ demons, but their resonance is so useful that many Archangels actively seek them out.

  3. In addition to those angels who became Malakim in reaction to the Fall, a few angels of various choirs (mainly Seraphim and Cherubim) have become Malakim over the millennia. Those angels who became Malakim were always Dissonant before the change, but were each transformed in the act of making a great sacrifice in the service of God and their Superior, finding themselves black-winged and washed pure of their Dissonance. Only about a dozen Malakim have been created this way since the first "generation" of Malakim rose up against the Horde. No Elohite is ever known to have become a Malakite in this way, even in the first generation.

Please notice that the net effect of these changes is to diminish the distance between angels and demons. The "malakim can't fall... off the floor" theory is much stronger in this setting than in canon, for instance.

HABBALAH The Punishers (a revisionist history)

        "Did you ever notice how, in the Bible, whenever God needed to
        punish someone, or to make an example . . . or whenever God
        needed a killing . . . He sent an angel? . . . Did you ever
        wonder what a creature like that must be like?  A whole
        existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing
        dipped in blood . . . Would you ever really want to see an
        angel?"  -- Thomas Dagget, The Prophecy

The Habbalah are obsessed with punishing those whose weakness or impurity taints the Symphony. Though many Habbalah now serve an Archangel, most feel that they work directly for God. They see themselves, along with the Malakim, as the only true Choir of angels, serving where the weak, fallible Choirs cannot -- in the abattoir.


When the Rebellion first shook heaven, many angels, mostly Seraphim and Cherubim, but others, too, raised their fists in anger at the defilement the followers of Lucifer had wrought upon Heaven. Most of these angels, notable among them the Seraph Uriel and the Cherub David, became Malakim, black-winged defenders of Heaven's honor. However, among the new Choir were to be found no former Elohim. Those among the Elohim who threw aside their objectivity in outrage at the Rebellion became Habbalah; the first of these was Aballam, the Angel of Reason.

A Habbalite's resonance is for emotion. Like an Elohite, he can tell what emotion a person is feeling. He can also tell what emotion would cause that person the most harm, accent that feeling in the local theme of the Symphony, and then let it loose. This does incredible psychic damage to his victim. It is hypothesized that this resonance was originally granted to the Habbalah to inflict shame upon the rebel angels for their disobedience and weakness.

Something went wrong, however, and for various reasons, the loyal angels did not accept the Habbalah among their ranks. Perhaps it was because the Habbalite resonance and demeanor was so foreign to their former natures, or perhaps it was in part because of their tortured Celestial appearance, the Habbalah were assumed to be Fallen, and were cast out of Heaven by their brothers the Malakim. Aballam, for his rage and his insistence that he still served God, was granted the Word of Madness by Lucifer. For thousands of years, all Habbalah served God as best they could in the service of Demon Princes or as Renegades, pursued by the Game and the Inquisition alike.

Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission declared the Habbalah true angels, many Habbalah, including nearly all known Renegades, have returned to the fold to serve Heaven in the service of an Archangel. Many others, however, have been unable or unwilling to leave their Princes; this "Band" is now known as the Bal-Habbalah. A Bal-Habbalite will still insist that it is an angel; the Habbalah who returned to Heaven are weak, and unable to hold fast to God's hard command that they serve from Hell.


God has ordained that the Habbalite resonance is to be used to punish those whose weakness leads them to sin. If a Habbalite misjudges, and uses its resonance against one whose will is strong, it is the Habbalite who must be punished, either through Dissonance, or by being engulfed by madly-raging emotions, which the angel must manifest, in submission to God's will.

Manner and Appearance

While most Habbalah are grateful for being returned to Heaven and recognized as true angels, they consider themselves somewhat above the other Choirs -- except for the Malakim. Habbalah are proud of the fact that they cannot Fall, and though many bear a grudge against the Malakim ( for the casting out of the Habbalah during the Fall), they respect this trait in them as well. Surprisingly, many Habbalah get along well with Elohim, and vice versa -- their contrasting perspectives on the phenomenon of emotion give them much to talk about. Most Habbalah _hate_ "Bright" Lilim, those Free Lilim who have taken up permanent service with Archangels. Habbalah know that they are angels -- and they know that Lilim _aren't_.

As instruments, Habbalah often see themselves as synthesizers of emotion, with punishing feedback loops.

In the corporeal realm, the Habbalah are very beautiful, very sexual beings, dressing their vessels to maximize their emotional impact, and often reveling in the flesh God and their Archangel have granted them. Celestially, their forms show the sacrifices they have made to purify the Symphony. Like the oath-chains and ear-piercings of the Malakim, the scarification and tattooing of the Habbalah serve to indicate their submission to God.

Game Mechanics

[As in the In Nomine core rules, pages 146 to 147. Substitute the word "angel" for the word "demon" where it appears].

Habbalah cannot Fall. Dissonant Habbalah run the risk of accumulating Discord, in the same way that Malakim do. However, the Habbalah do not police their own ranks as strictly as the Malakim -- since they _know_ they can't Fall, what's the point of worrying about a little Dissonance or Discord now and then?

Habbalah can "Jump", becoming Bal-Habbalah, by following a demon to Hell and entering the service of a Demon Prince. A "Jumped" Bal-Habbalite will lose any attunements it has from its former Archangel, as well as access to any rites, _once it accepts the Bal-Habbalite Band attunement from its Prince_.


Back to the INC Mainpage.
Back to the Settings page.

EDG <>
In Nomine Collection Curator