A Non-Canonical Character for In Nomine
by Kathryn Martens
Art by Dan Smith and colored by Keith Johnson
Book of Genesis
Many gamers are familiar with the basic creation story as presented in the Book of Genesis: God creates the Earth and all things in it in six days; He creates Woman as a mate for Man; the Serpent tempts the Woman into eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; and finally Man and Woman are evicted from the Garden of Eden for their transgression. But among the many interesting things to note about the creation story is the following passage, Genesis 3:22:
"Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever' -- therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden . . . "
In essence, it seems that God Himself feared humanity would reach beyond itself a second time, and aspire to more than they were given. To prevent their overreaching themselves again, He cast them from the garden and set a flaming sword at its entrance to drive them away.
Book of Enoch
Fewer people are familiar with the apocryphal book known as the Book of Enoch. Enoch was the sixth generation after Adam, and by all accounts (in the books of Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon) was a just and righteous man. He was so righteous, in fact, that he did not die, but rather was assumed bodily into Heaven by God. It is recorded in the Book of Enoch that he was taken to Heaven in a chariot borne on the backs of angels in the form of flaming wheels; it is from this image that the phrase "chariots of fire" was created. (Those who game In Nomine will recognize the Wheels by the name "Ophanim," given to them in the first millennium AD by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagete.) After he was assumed, scribes wrote down his visions and his assumption as an extensive work on spiritual physics and the history of the world since Adam.
What Genesis only hinted at, though, appears in full in the Book of Enoch: the history of the Grigori. The early fathers of the Christian Church culled the Book of Enoch, among others, from the Bible because of its "questionable" theology. (For reference, other questionable books include the Book of Adam and Eve, in which Adam's first wife, Lilith, is described; books in which it is revealed that Jesus had brothers and sisters; and other texts in which strict doctrine is thrown into question.) One of the reasons for Enoch's removal was the Grigori and their history with humanity.
Once God had thrown humanity out of the Garden of Eden, His anger softened a bit. He wished the pinnacle of His creation to succeed in the world, rather than be destroyed by it. Thus, God created a band of angels known as the Grigori. They were more commonly known by their assignment, as the Watchers.
The Watchers were assigned the duty of teaching the newly formed humanity how to live in the world. According to the Book of Enoch it was the Grigori who passed on all the secrets of civilization to humans. In the beginning, these inventions had the holiest of intentions: the art of building shelter, to protect humanity from the elements; the art of agriculture, to feed them; literacy, to pass on the Word of God. The Grigori adored humanity for their eager minds, and were proud of their quick progress. The Watchers soon became the closest of all the angels to the human race.
Unfortunately, this also meant they were the most fallible. At first the Grigori were revered as mentors. But as the Grigori lived longer and longer among humanity -- and produced greater and more varied inventions for their most adored human charges to indulge in -- the Grigori found themselves in turn adored as gods. Humanity was overreaching itself again, this time with the help of the angels. Both the most grim and the most frivolous Grigori inventors found themselves the object of human adoration: among them were the makers of war machines, and the makers of fineries. Humanity sought the power to take life at their own will, rather than God's; and they sought to create the illusion of youth and beauty long beyond their appointed old age.
The Grigori soon became as debauched as humanity could dream. The Grigori took lovers, husbands and wives from among humanity and produced terrible half-breed children: literal giants, they were known as the Nephilim. They were tremendous in size and terrible in their twisted natures. They terrorized the Earth, and defiled all they touched. Humanity, running rampant with the inventions the Grigori gave them, made war upon each other and indulged in abominations of every sort. Eventually the Almighty could suffer it no longer and cast the Grigori from Heaven. The Nephilim were hunted down by the heavenly host and destroyed. Three generations after Enoch was assumed into Heaven, it is recorded in Genesis that the family of Enoch's grandson, Noah, was chosen as the sole survivor of the Great Flood. God chose to wipe the Earth clean and start over again.
Most celestials agree that all the Grigori were destroyed in the Flood. Some celestials (the crackpots) believe that a few Grigori may somehow have escaped the wrath of God. However, what angels (and demons) agree on is that the Grigori's half-breed blood still exists in humanity. Their progeny that did not immediately become Nephilim remained largely human; and as it passed through Noah's family down through the generations, it spread thinner and thinner -- but farther and wider -- until the numbers of Grigori half-breeds may well be countless. It is a possibility that these half-breeds may become conscious of their "difference" from the rest of humanity, and may well learn to exert their control over the Symphony somewhat as a celestial might. It is unknown what the reactions of such a being might be to suddenly being exposed -- and manipulated -- as another pawn in the War between Heaven and Hell. But more than anything, it is certain that a Grigori's first priority will always be humanity.
For the purposes of "Supporting Cast," at least one Grigori may still exist. Her name is Adah.
One of the most prolific of the Grigori, both in invention and in debauchery, Adah was the angel gifted with the knowledge of human adornment. To begin with, adornment was intended as a holy ritual used to express authority. Adah invented a crown as an Earthly imitation of the corona of golden glory that surrounded the Godhead. She invented a priest's staff as a mimic of a shepherd's rod -- but a rod fine enough to shepherd humans. She felt that Man could benefit from such authority because of the order, peace, and prosperity it would bring: order brought about by the awe inspired by impressive adornments. With judicious use, this awe could bring order where none existed.
However, it wasn't long before Adah wished to express more than straight lines and heavy gold. Searching about for more varied forms to inspire her, she discovered that Man in general had a fascination for one thing that surpassed all others: Woman. Intrigued, she took on Woman's form to study her more closely. She discovered that human women were more delicate of frame, and somehow all the more interesting because of it. Women had more interesting eyes, more graceful curves. Yet some women weren't as beautiful as others; some had squinty eyes, some had bony shoulders. She watched these women fade into the background as more naturally beautiful women entered a social group of humans, and she felt pity for them.
From the humble beginning of a single plait of hair, Adah began the indelible weaving together of love and appearance. Adah created makeup, jewelry, and other forms of adornment in her zeal to make the bodies of human women even more beautiful. Adah wanted every woman to feel loved and loveable, and to leave none unwanted and unwedded. In theory, anyway, she rationalized causing the interdependence of love and appearance in this way: with the aid of these things, human women could increase that most holy of emotions, the love of wedded husbands. By increasing the love within matrimony, Adah could give human women their closest analogy to the love and devotion shown to them by both God and his angels.
Adah began experimenting with her own looks first. She invented hairpins to make her long hair more interesting. She invented kohl for a human friend whose eyes (she felt) were too small. She invented braiding for another lady whose long neck was beautiful, but her hair too plain. She created a crown of wildflowers on a whim -- and made it of gold the next day, and lowered it around her neck. Dresses and earrings, makeup and rings were all her inventions. The ring she took most pride in as humans began to use it to show a promise made to a loved one.
Unfortunately, what Adah created was not the art of self-esteem and happy marriage; what she made was a mirage. Women and men both began to twist themselves into false things with the adornments she created; to obtain the love of someone else, they made promises they couldn't keep, lied with their looks and lied with their lips. The art of self-worth became the art of seduction. As she practiced zealously with her own looks, she began to find herself adored, rather than her students. She had suitors by the houseful. And just as suddenly she found that adorning oneself was a ritual of empowerment and sensuality -- of reaching beyond oneself.
It wasn't long before Adah had earned herself a place among the truly fallen Grigori. She neglected her duties of solemn adorning ritual, suffering kings and priests to fall as she concentrated on prostitutes. She had children by numerous men, and each child was more monstrous than the last. She tended them jealously, attempting to make their hideous forms more pleasing to the eye so that they, too, could find love -- whether honestly or through false arts, she didn't care.
But none was more surprised than she when all Grigori were sundered from Heaven by the Almighty. She was condemned to live upon the Earth for the rest of her long life for having debased the newly created humanity. The shock of being stripped of her powers proved too much for her; she wandered for centuries in a daze, pulling her fading trappings of gold and finery about her like a tattered cloak. When the Flood came, she (like the rest of humanity) was caught unawares; she survived by merest chance, being trapped in a cavern carved by a natural freshwater springs.
When the waters receded, and eventually humanity walked abroad again, she sought out humanity's cities to make her living. She sold off her ornaments to get food, until none were left except her hairpins. Refusing to give them up, she sold herself. Mindless, she did anything she had to -- except giving away the last of her ornaments -- in order to survive. And humanity slowly debased itself again.
But one day, in a dusty desert town in a place called Judaea, Adah stumbled across not only her salvation, but her "fifteen minutes" of fame. She found a crowd gathered outside a house to hear a rabbi speak. Thinking perhaps she might find someone to love her for a price, she investigated. What she found was a young rabbi named Jesus sitting down to dinner with a Pharisee. She noted that no one -- not even the owner of the house -- had bathed the feet of the young rabbi, nor welcomed him with the customary kiss, nor even anointed his head. And she also knew that he had been neglected thus because he lacked the solemnity of the Pharisee's garments, and the costliness of his badges of office. To humanity, grown so accustomed to the fake finery she herself had invented, He looked like a ragged, radical teenager instead of -- gulp! -- who He really was. Stunned and ashamed, she turned from the house and went to the money-changers. She sold her last gold hairpins to buy a sweet ointment, and went back to the house. Knowing that He would never accept adornments such as the Pharisee carried, she offered him the only form of honest love she could: she anointed his feet as the owner of the house should have, and bathed his feet with her contrite tears, and dried them with her own long hair. Adah was forgiven her sins on the spot, but has never since adorned herself. (Readers familiar with the Book of Luke from the New Testament of the Bible will recognize this incident as the story of "the woman who was a sinner," Luke 7:36-50.)
Modern day games will find Adah as a sort of wandering Cupid. Having learned the hard way what really makes any human being beautiful -- devotion and honesty, rather than bells and whistles -- she knows at a glance not only what a person really desires, but also whether or not he should get it. In game terms, Adah can fit easily into three different campaign types: high-powered, standard, and low-powered.
For high-powered campaigns, in which archangels are as readily accessible as CEOs, Adah can be played as a sort of Jackie Onassis. It was said that Jackie's incredible power lay in the fact that she made every man feel as if he was the only man in the room. Adah has that same ability -- to adorn a man's arm and yet make him the center of attention. In such a spotlight, very few people will fail to shine. The thing to remember here, however, is that if you choose to play Adah as a true surviving Grigori, there is no source material on her choir to provide checks and balances on game play. Her powers might well be archangelic in stature, but without guidelines as to her proclivities, Adah could get out of hand quickly. It may be a suggestion to play her as the equivalent of a Role 1 Status 6 character (if such a thing were possible): the tremendous media splash that is suddenly gone after a month. Her chosen splash-mate, however, will be remembered long after she herself has moved on. She has learned to show love and adoration by helping others achieve their dreams -- no frills, no lies, just by encouraging their natural abilities (and helping them along with some truly miraculous "coincidences"). Her appearance will change as often as she changes mates; she takes on the form they would feel proudest to stand next to. For a guide to her powers in general, you might wish to consult the Song list provided below.
In a surprise election, a formerly unknown minor city commissioner has rocketed to the position of Governor of the state. Within months of beginning his term, his name is being bandied about as a nominee for Vice President. The PCs' Superior is profoundly worried by this dark horse. His politics seem okay, but his rise was simply too meteoric to be natural. The Superior suspects celestial influence. The PCs are assigned to figure out who is pulling this man's strings, and for whom. And where did he pick up that bombshell brunette . . . ?
For a more traditionally powered campaign, Adah's effective choir can be Mercurian. The history is unclear as to whether the Grigori were created on the Mercurian model or vice versa; regardless, they each have an indelible love of humanity, and their Resonances would act the same. For this sort of campaign, Adah would be the sort of socialite lady found in Town & Country Magazine whose picture was snapped while attending the Vanderbilt family reunion. She might make a living as a matchmaker for these upscale families. She would make marriages that last, but would also have a reputation for discreetly getting rid of libertines or opportunists of either gender.
The thing to remember about giving Adah the characteristics of an angel, however -- even a Mercurian -- is that she is a 5,000 year old angel. She has had no "down time" in Heaven; she has been adventuring with humans since before the Flood, and her abilities should reflect a power level that is quite nearly archangelic. There are two critical levelers here. Firstly, since they were cast out, the Grigori may not enter Heaven or Hell. The Marches are open to her, but Adah might well not wish to take the chance of going there; if her corporeal vessel is destroyed while visiting the Marches, her Forces will be Disbanded. Secondly, since the Grigori have no Words or Superiors, they have no Attunements or Rites.
Matchmaker, Professional Socialite and Promoter
Corporeal Forces - 5 Strength 8 Agility 12 Ethereal Forces - 5 Intelligence 9 Precision 11 Celestial Forces - 6 Will 12 Perception 12
Skills: Detect Lies/6, Dodge/4, Emote/6, Savoir-Faire/5, Seduction/4 (a holdover from her "younger" days)
Songs: Tongues (Corporeal/4), Empathy (Corporeal/3, Ethereal/5, Celestial/6), Friendship (Corporeal/4, Ethereal/4), Form (Celestial/6), Desire (Celestial/6), Charm (Corporeal/6, Ethereal/3, Celestial/4), Attraction (Ethereal/6, Celestial/4)
Vessel: Human/1 (adult female), Charisma +2
Role: Socialite/6, Status/5
(These are suggested abilities, and are meant as a guideline. Additional skills, knowledges, and other abilities can be added as necessary.)
The PCs are invited by name and reputation to a house in the Hamptons. The door is answered by a servant, who shows them to the library. There is Adah, acting as go-between for the distraught family she serves. Their daughter has gone missing, and are trusting Adah to find her before word leaks out to high society. Adah has told the family that their daughter rejected her marriage offer from a young man and has "run off" in protest. The real story: Adah was discovered by a powerful demon who wished to bend her to his service. When she refused, he retaliated by kidnapping the young lady to whom she had been acting as mentor and matchmaker. She needs the PCs' help to find and destroy the demon before he murders the girl (or worse).
For an everyday sort of campaign, it may work best to lower Adah to the level of half-breed. Most humans never attain that extra Force required to become a Soldier, but Adah -- like untold thousands of humans -- could have been born with it naturally. A half-breed Adah could well be that "crazy girl down the block" who keeps daring God to show her an angel.
The PCs are on a stakeout. A young girl walks straight up to them and demands to know what they are. (If they're invisible, so much the better!) If the PCs won't answer, or if they attempt to blow her off, she threatens to start screaming. She is homeless and slightly crazed, having run away from home at 13; and until she finds out why she can see what no one else can, she will pursue everyone who seems even slightly more than human (and the PCs fit that bill). The girl shows remarkable resistance to Songs that would normally leave a human flattened on the pavement. Regardless of what happens next -- even if it's a firefight with the people the PCs were staking out! -- the girl never flinches. She will dog the PCs wherever they go until they relent and invite her in, or she will gladly die trying.
Article publication date: February 9, 2001
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