This article originally appeared in Pyramid #27

A Song for the Dead: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

An In Nomine Resource

by Matthew D. Grau

What Has Gone Before

To sum up what has gone before: Two servants of Novalis, Kadal and Rumiel, have both petitioned for the Word of Consolation to the Bereaved. As is customary, the Seraphim Council has presented a Test to determine which angel, if either, is worthy of the Word. The Test is simple - each angel must perform the other's job over the course of six months.

Rumiel, also known as Dr. Remy St. Martin, operates a psycho-therapy clinic in Los Angeles catering to those who have lost their loved ones. Kadal, also known as Karl Dalton, operates the Dalton funeral home in New York City, providing comforting and splendid funeral services even to those with little or no money. In accordance with the Test, they have left their respective roles and have settled into each other's lives.

Of course, all is not as it seems. Malphas has sent a Djinn by the name of Jones and Saminga has sent the Impudite Shezaqal to interfere. Agreeing to disagree, Shezaqal has been charged with confounding Kadal and Jones is out to mess with Rumiel. Furthermore, Kobal has sent two of his minions, Oraquiel and Smily, just to mess up the works for everyone.

The Parts

Basic background information for this adventure was originally printed in "A Song for the Dead" in Pyramid #24, information about Kadal and his adventures in Los Angeles was originally printed in Pyramid #25, and information about Rumiel and his adventures in New York City was originally printed in Pyramid #26.

Time's Up

The six months given by the Seraphim Council have expired. Both Rumiel and Kadal have been summoned to Heaven, where they have recounted their exploits and await summary judgment. Which one will receive the Word to which they have dedicated their existences? Will either of them receive the Word?

Factors of Performance

Normally, the Seraphim Council utilizes their divine and unknowable wisdom in determining the assignment of a Word. Since we are neither divine nor unknowable, we're going to have to make do with a slightly subjective and rudimentary system of determination.

Kadal's Rating

Begin with a base of 10 points, and modify as follows:

This scale provides a rating from 0 or less to a maximum of 27. You can feel free to award or deduct points for circumstances unique to your game.

Rumiel's Rating

Begin with a base of 10 points, and modify as follows:

This scale provides a rating from 0 or less to a maximum of 37. You can feel free to award or deduct points for unforeseen circumstances specific to your game.

You may notice that Rumiel has a higher upper limit for his rating. This doesn't matter, since he has a whole lot of other areas in which he can easily lose points. It evens out in the end.

Determining a Winner

In order to even be considered, each of the angels must end with a minimum rating of 10. They are not allowed to have lost ground.

If both ratings are above 10, and one angel's rating is more than one point greater than the other's, then he is awarded the Word and no shame is brought to the losing party.

If both ratings are above 10, and the angels' ratings are within one point of each other, then it essentially is considered a tie. Either the Seraphim Council will have to adjourn and deliberate based on the full service histories of the angels or they will come up with another Test (Oh, great). It is now up to you and your ingenuity.

If both ratings are below 10, but greater than 0, then neither angel is awarded the Word. They may be reprimanded according to circumstances.

If either's rating was below 0, then they have been shamed and may be in some serious trouble. They will have a lot of explaining to do to both Novalis and the Seraphim Council, unless they want to be considered incompetent and possibly be recalled to Heaven.

Reactions to the Ruling

If Rumiel wins the Word, Kadal won't get worked up about it (it's not in his nature). He'll reason that at least he tried, and that the judgment of the Seraphim Council is sound and just. He will simply move on and continue his work. He's already thinking of other ways in which his current duties can better serve the Symphony. Y'know, the Angel of Proper Burial has a nice ring to it . . .

If Kadal wins the Word, Rumiel will be unhappy. In his mind, he's worked hard for this and has suffered in his own right. The funeral-trade experience has left him with a little mental anguish. Rumiel will accept the judgment of the Seraphim Council with a forced smile and begrudgingly congratulate Kadal. Once he gets back to Earth though, he's going to fume. He is seriously considering a change in vocation, perhaps to marital counseling. How about the Angel of Lowering the Divorce Rate or the Angel of Healthy Sex Lives?

If neither receives the Word, Kadal will still be unhappy, for much the same reasons. He'll think that perhaps he hasn't been pursuing the proper angle on his work.

Meanwhile, Rumiel will view this as a sign that he asked for a Word too soon. He will go back to his work, trying to redouble and expand his efforts in hopes of once again petitioning for the same Word sometime in the future.

Why Was This Such a Big Deal?

Every Divine Word awarded represents one more victory for the side of light. In a case like this, where the infernal has a very real opportunity to act, they do what they can to foil the divine plans . . . especially if the Divine Word is in direct opposition to a Demon Prince's own sphere of influence.

In this case, Consolation for the Bereaved infringes upon the territories of Saminga and Malphas. But, since it's a big War out there, they didn't have a whole lot to spare for this particular conflict.

Kobal's servants were just there to indulge his nasty sense of humor.

The Judges

If the Judges got too involved without very good reason, they will have to answer many questions from the Seraphim Council. Considering the fact that they weren't truly authorized by the Council, there's a good possibility that they won't call too much attention to themselves.

On the other hand, if they have a beef with either or both of the involved angels, they will speak out at the Council's hearing. This could be bad for the angel or angels in question, or bad for the Judges, depending upon the attitude of the Seraphim Council.

The Other Side

Regardless of what happens, there are going to be repercussions coming on the infernal side of things. The first to come under scrutiny are Shezaqal and Jones, personally charged by Saminga and Malphas, respectively.

If one of the angels succeeds while the other one has been shamed in some way, one demon can blame the other to save his bacon, providing he's got a good story. More likely than not, both demons will be in trouble if either angel succeeds, regardless of status, and are going to need a really good tale in order to keep enjoying existence. If both angels are shamed, and neither is picked, then the demons are likely to personally profit.

As for the tricksters on the West Coast, Rosier should be just fine unless something really bizarre happened. After all, this was just a lark for him. Cherise should likewise come out unscathed, unless someone was able to expose her in a major media forum, which is highly unlikely.

If Oraquiel and Smily report to Kobal without any success at all, they will be in trouble. Otherwise, they had fun, didn't they?

Player Impact and Consequence

If the PCs Were Angelic

Unless the PCs were a bunch of bumbling idiots, they will have made several new friends. If things worked out well, then they will have made friends with a new Word-bound angel. Omsia is easy to get along with, but Swarm is unlikely to be very friendly unless it is obvious the angel works with a Superior on good terms with Jordi. Asashiel, Haiden and Weazer are also likely to be friendly, especially if things went well. It is unlikely that they will make friends with the Judges, since they are notoriously humorless.

If the PCs Were Demonic

If the PCs played their cards right, they will have made some nifty new friends, or at least as close to friends as demons get. If the demons were attempting to stop the angels, then they can count Shezaqal, Camille and Kurt as contacts.

Unless the PCs appear as immediately useful, Jones will not warm up to them and Church is likely to follow his lead.

If the demons were on the side of mischief, they will have made friends with Rosier, unless they gravely insulted him. Cherise may or may not warm up to them, depending upon how glamorous they are. If the demons played it real cool, Oraquiel and Smily are probably to become friends.

Character Point Awards

On average, the introduction and setup for this scenario will take one play session, each of the two major parts of the adventure will take around four sessions each, and the wrap-up will take one more.

The first session (the introduction) is rarely eventful, and should only be worth 1 point. Each session thereafter will earn sharp player-characters 2 points each, with another 1 point earned in the wrap-up. That's a possible total of 18 character points over 10 play sessions, as long as the players were doing well. This could easily drop to 10 if they weren't doing well, or even lower.

There are two other possible award criteria to consider. First, if the players roleplayed extremely well, they may receive an additional 1 to 2 points per session. Second, remember that Superiors will provide awards if the players helped promote his Word during the game.

Also remember that if the characters botched this scenario or caused undue disturbance to the Symphony, the rewards that they receive will be substantially less.

For more specific information on Character Point awards, see p. 202 of In Nomine.

Campaign Hooks

"A Song for the Dead" could be worked into an existing campaign, as presented in Pyramid #24, and it might spawn some interesting possibilities as a continuing game of its own. Here are a few of the most obvious hooks.

If the PCs Are Angelic

If the PCs Are Demonic

Article publication date: September 1, 1997

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