by Steven Marsh
In In Nomine, the Malakim are able to determine the most noble and ignoble deeds of people they come in contact with, as well as their greatest virtues and worst sins. Unfortunately, the existence of such an ability encourages its use, much to the dismay of the poor GM who has to come up with interesting virtues and sins on the spot. The Liber Servitorum has some sample virtues and vices, with the number of NPCs your average Malakim is liable to run across (and over), that list runs out quickly.
Here, then, is a table which allows for the quasi-creation of noble and ignoble deeds. Regrettably it uses the d6666 system; if you wanted to pare it down to d666, you can delete one of the columns ("Location" is a logical choice, but choose whichever one you're most comfortable with making up). Assign each die a column, and keep track of the results; then, using the results, weave those elements into a virtue or vice.
- Injustice (animosity)
- Want (greed, gluttony, lust)
The lower the roll, the closer the person affected is to the person.
- family (or self, if appropriate)
The lower the roll, the closer the location is to the person.
- home (or self, if appropriate)
- nation (or greater)
The lower the roll, the less intense the virtue/vice.
- 4, 3, 3, 2: Justice / Friend / Work / Minor. Standing up for a co-worker accused of doing an ineffective job, despite the jeopardy it may place your own job in.
- 5, 1, 5, 4: Sacrifice / Family (or Self) / State / Memorable. Confessing for vandalism you didn't do to protect your brother.
- 6, 6, 2, 5: Courage / Enemy / Home / Major. Giving first aid to the burglar you just shot as he broke into your home, despite the danger it places you in.
- 5, 2, 4, 3: Want / Family / Neighborhood / Significant. Taking a piece of jewelry belonging to your mother from your sister's apartment.
- 1, 5, 6, 1: Deceit / Stranger / Nation / Trivial. Cheating on your taxes by claiming your dog as a dependant.
- 2, 4, 1, 6: Cruelty / Acquaintance / Home (or Self) / Monumental. Beating your neighbor to death because his music bothers you.
Things to Remember
- Keep in mind that the entire purpose of this table is to give you ideas; you may wish to delete columns that don't make sense for a particular roll, or re-roll entirely if you don't get an idea from a particular roll.
- Although this table can be useful in determining the motivations of random NPCs, you may want to give some thought to what the vices and virtues of major characters are.
- Consider that the magnitude of the table probably changes depending on the Malakim's result; for example, the most noble or ignoble thing a person has done in the past week is likely to be less significant than the most noble or ignoble thing a person has done in the past year. A "memorable" cowardly moment of the past week is probably not as significant as a "memorable" cowardly moment in the past year.
- Likewise remember that a major sin to a priest may not be as significant as a major sin to a serial killer. Use your judgement.
- The virtues and vices roughly parallel; honesty opposes deceit, compassion opposes cruelty, etc.
- If the Malakim scores a 5 or 6 on the check die, you may wish to consider adding pride and humility to the possibilities in the first column. (Remember that 1-4 on the resonance check die are from the person's own standards; most people don't consider their humility to be their greatest virtue, nor do most prideful people recognize that to be their greatest vice.)
This chart should also be useful in any other systems that require the generation of instant motivation, like Vampire: The Dark Age's Daimoinon or Auspex, Fading Suns's Psi and Theurgy powers, or Mage or GURPS Psionics abilities.
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This chart was inspired and influenced by the Ultima series of computer games.
Article publication date: April 28, 2000
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