Designer's Notes: In Nomine Anime
by Genevieve Cogman
In In Nomine campaigns, there are some themes which keep on turning up again and again. Concepts such as the Archangel of Judgment going over the edge and Falling, the Archangel of Creation having a secret mission which will ultimately save Heaven, the Demon Princess of Freedom secretly wanting to be redeemed, the return of the Archangel of Purity, the triumph of Hell, and so on.
So, how exactly might these play out in In Nomine Anime, you ask me? An excellent question. Let's consider a few alternatives . . .
The Fall of the Archangel of Judgment
Some GMs like to follow a plotline where excessive strictness on Dominic's part, or collaboration with the Demon Prince of the Game (for the highest motives, at the time) have led him down a slippery path towards a Fall. This can unfold in different ways.
Decline And Bitter Fall
Dominic's long hunt for heresy and treason has led him down the slope of cynicism into the belief that anything is justifiable as long as it protects Heaven -- and, of course, his is the only judgment that counts. Other Archangels support him without realizing the truth, or are too weak to oppose him. The angels must face the stern, cold-blooded servitors of the Inquisition, who honestly believe that they act for the good of Heaven, and who are prepared to torture or kill them for their own good. Handsome but na´ve Laurencians, honest but mistaken Davidians, and others in Heaven stand shoulder to shoulder with the angels of Judgment. Can the angels find allies to shelter or support them while they endeavor to convince Dominic of his error, and to prove that Heaven cannot be saved by these methods? Will the innocence and compassion of the angels of Flowers heal the weary Archangel of Judgment, or must he perish by the wrath of Gabriel and Michael? Will it be war in Heaven?
Corruption In The City
The characters have jobs in a gritty down-and-dirty city, as police, private detectives, investigators, criminals, or similar dangerous occupations. If angels, they have to deal with demons on a regular basis, either as enemies or as occasional neutrals, and may even find some demons more congenial than their fellow angels. Slowly, their investigations and their demonic contacts reveal widespread collaboration between angels of Judgment and demons of the Game, with links on the highest levels, which can eventually be traced back to the Archangel and Prince. As their knowledge becomes evident, they will be pursued by agents of both sides, (falsely) accused of heresy by the Inquisition, and must gamble their lives and their hopes of salvation to get help from another Superior -- whether in Heaven or Hell. Gunfights, betrayals, trenchcoats, and at least one doomed relationship with an agent of the Other Side are mandatory.
The Redemption Of Lilith
Another popular theme is that Lilith is one of the more approachable Demon Princes, and may even have the potential for redemption. If so, who will she approach, and what will the result be?
Girls Just Wanna Be Green
Characters are pupils or teachers at a high school with an extraordinarily high Lilim population; this is where Lilith sends her innocent young Daughters for basic education before they take up full-time jobs as Tempters. The heroes may be angels infiltrating the place, Lilim being educated, or a mixture of both: other angels and demons are doubtless present. Life is a mixture of crushes, adolescent angst, schoolwork not being done in time, cheating in class, martial arts or sports competitions (probably between angels and demons), everyone pretending to be normal humans most of the time, and inspections by agents of the Game trying to find grounds to close the school down. Occasional visits by Lilith herself prove her to be disgustingly cute, perky, and cheerful, just like her Daughters. Can the heroes persuade her to join up with Heaven? Or would they rather stay at school for a few years longer?
(Weird Science Futuristic)
An unusual Lilim has been born from the parthenogenetic clone vats where Lilith creates her Daughters -- one with a conscience, who seems to be able to provoke moral behavior in her Sisters. She's on the run now, hiding in the mass of humanity, looking for angelic help. Will the heroes be able to gain her confidence, and navigate among uncertain Lilim and insane scientists to find out how she was created? How many twisted, misshapen, mutant Lilim are living in the slums and sewers? Is this innocent some sort of ultimate conscience for the whole race of Lilim, their free will given form and choosing to seek the path to Heaven? Is there anybody out there who doesn't want to vivisect her and examine her genetic structure? And if they bring her into contact with Lilith, can she redeem her Mother, or will the two of them both be doomed? Alternatively, players may be the unusual Lilim(s), trying to find out who or what they really are and to achieve their destiny, lost and alone in a world of mad science and untrustworthy strangers.
Many people -- including most of the Archangels -- would like to know why the Archangel of Creation has left Heaven and is wandering across the face of the Earth. He appears from time to time to his own Servitors, but gives no definite answers . . .
The characters believed that they're ordinary humans -- until they began to demonstrate strange powers. Now scientists are hunting them for their DNA, criminal conspiracies want to use their abilities, mysterious strangers are muttering about Heaven and Hell, and a street punk artist seems to be the only one who's willing to tell them what's going on . . . The heroes are descendants of the Grigori, angels outcast for the crime of breeding with humans (or maybe children of other celestials.) They must work together to discover their powers and their true nature -- and, maybe, to find their celestial parents. But what plan does the Archangel Eli have for them? Why is he encouraging them to develop their skills, and helping them to avoid pursuing angels and demons? Can they find out the truth before the Apocalypse?
Opening The Gates
(Fantastic Alternate Reality)
Strange gates are opening across the world, as Tethers to the Marches stabilize, and creatures from the Marches start to enter the world of humans. Elves, dragons, superheroes, giant mecha -- it's Eli's work, and most of the Seraphic Council wants his head on a silver platter. (So do most of Hell; this wasn't on their schedule for world domination at all.) Heroes have to try to sort out the fantastic creatures invading the modern world. Should they make exceptions for ethical or noble beings? Can they cope with the vampires and werewolves invading the sewers and forests? Why is Jordi collecting unicorns? How does one cope with a consortium of dragons allying with Marc to buy into the stock market? Virtuous Martial Artists, Angstful Experts, and Innocent Power-Wielders are needed to fight the forces of evil, whether from Hell or from the Marches, and to rescue those young innocents who are wandering through the Tethers and into the Marches. And why has Eli disappeared now, at the moment of his triumph?
Article publication date: January 25, 2002
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