Strange Bedfellows Expanded
An Adventure in Two Parts
Part One: The Adventure Begins
By Elizabeth McCoy
(While full of In Nomine-specific details, this adventure could be stripped to the bare bones for other settings: someone is missing. The PCs need to find him, starting by searching his apartment for clues to where he might have gone. Once they find him, they need to rescue him -- and the child he's babysitting -- from enemies who are willing to kill to acquire the child. Many of the complications will still apply.)
This is an expansion of the adventure seed, "Strange Bedfellows," from Superiors 1: War & Honor, pp. 136-137. It supplies NPCs and pregenerated PCs with both GURPS and In Nomine stats, allowing a Game Master to run it as a quick one-shot. (Or, due to length, a two-shot.) This isn't the only way it could be fleshed out, of course!
Each stage of the adventure lists a Goal, some Possible Solutions, and Complications. If the GM desires, the urgency of the main goal can be toned down, and all the complications used to make a short campaign arc.
The premise -- for those without Superiors 1 -- is that a Cherub Vassel of War, Ziba, has hidden his Heart and gone to Earth. A Dominican triad discovered that he was AWOL before it could be dealt with "internally," and the agreement is that a mixed team of Judgment and War angels will be sent to get Ziba back. Since Judgment and War mix together about as well as nitro and glycerin, one of the Judges has sensibly called in some favors to get other angels assigned to the team as well -- Servitors of Stone and/or the Sword. (Of course, the GM can allow other kinds in as well or instead, but the pregenerated characters are Servitors of the Archangels from Superiors 1.)
Designed to be "newbie" friendly, the pregenerated PCs are relatively new-to-Earth angels, assigned to this hunt for some "seasoning." The GM can explain things as the plot goes along. A quick overview of the group's Archangels, the Bands and Princes is in order, with the most attention being paid to Lilim, Lilith, and Baal. The other Princes can be given one-sentence overviews; e.g., "Haagenti is the Calabite Prince of Gluttony, and is not known to be a heavy thinker. He's allied with Kobal, Impudite Prince of Dark Humor, whose job is to make suffering Funny." For GMs who wish to disguise the relevant information, a good excuse is that Lilith is a human ("and no one knows how Lucifer made her a Princess"), while Baal is Michael's opposite number. The expansion on Lilim can be excused as a digression because of Lilith's unique nature.
The players should know that some of the "meat" of this adventure is roleplaying the hostility of Michaelites toward Dominicans, and the determined, annoyed neutrality-if-it-kills-us-(mostly) of the Judgment triad toward the War angels -- while the Stone and/or Sword Servitors work on keeping the peace.
The senior member of the team is Parnach, Cherub of War (see NPC, below). Technically, he's in charge of the mission, since he's got the most Forces and is a friend of Ziba's. Michaelite characters should (technically) follow his lead.
The Judgment team is Seraph, Cherub, and Elohite. Naturally, the Seraph (Sophereth) is in charge, but can be overruled if both of her triad-partners vote against her. Any of them may be NPCs -- if Sophie is, the GM may have her and Parnach argue frequently, to force the PCs to work together. A player-character Sophie sets the tone while NPC partner(s) follow her lead. (They'd be a bit passive, to save the GM's sanity.)
There are two other angels, there to keep the peace. Vaniah is a Malakite of Stone while Minni (whose name means "prepared"), is a Mercurian of the Sword.
(GM Note: Dominic is unlikely to send two angels on Ziba's trail; either it's a full triad, or Parnach could be dropped and Sophie made the theoretical leader of this mission (probably with more than 9 Forces in this role). There should be at least one Michaelite along, and things will work more smoothly with at least one of Vaniah or Minni as a buffer.)
Part One: Starting Out
The team is assembled, equipped, and may exchange opening shots. They're then sent to the site of Ziba's last known location on Earth: his apartment. Unfortunately, no one has a key . . .
Goal: Get into Ziba's third-story apartment to search it for something personal so that Parnach can use his Song of Affinity to locate Ziba. Avoiding both excessive Symphonic disturbance and being arrested is a plus.
Possible Solutions: Convince the next-door neighbor to relinquish the spare key -- or at least accompany someone in. Sneak in the window (Corporeal Healing will work on windows, if they're not totally smashed). Pick the lock and get away before a nosy neighbor calls the police. Go celestial and zip inside the room, despite the disturbance.
- The next-door neighbor, Chris McClough, is a mundane, an atheist, and a UFO nut. (He's perfectly functional and normal, save on that one topic.) He might be fooled by someone impersonating Ziba (e.g., Corporeal Song of Form), or successfully convincing him that they need to get something Ziba borrowed. However, he's sensitive to "lights from the sky," and would respond to supernatural phenomena by grabbing his camcorder and filming it all with as much stealth as possible (so the aliens won't turn their anti-tech rays against him!). Of course, he'd respond to a mere burglary by calling the cops.
- The apartment immediately below Ziba's is owned by a couple with marital problems. While Mr. George Smithsen is on a business trip, Mrs. Linda Smithsen is at home and frequently tipsy from drinking George's prized wine collection. If contacted by the PCs, she makes a reaction roll to each one. If she gets a Good reaction/check digit 4+ to one of the male-vesseled ones, she'll make a pass. If she gets an Excellent reaction/check digit 6 to one, she'll make a pass no matter the gender! (This is to get back at her husband for having an affair (she's right, he is). She would, afterward, be guilty that she broke her marriage vows.) If Linda sees someone breaking into the apartment above, make the reaction roll -- on a Very Good/check digit 5+, the GM should assume that she's tipsy-to-drunk and will invite the burglar in! (She might threaten to call the police if refused, or offer sanctuary if the police are already on the way.) Otherwise, she just calls the cops.
On the Trail
Once the PCs have acquired some hair from Ziba's hairbrush, Parnach can use his Song of Affinity (with extra time or extra Essence) to start tracking Ziba. Clever use of triangulation -- if the PCs think of it, because Parnach won't -- will have Ziba stationary. He's still a city or two over, though. Now they just have to get there. (This should take at least a full 24 hours, which will restore 1 Essence to everyone at dawn.)
If the GM wants to be kind, the group has two cars, and can separate the Dominicans and Michaelites. For more opportunities to snipe, they have a minivan.
Goal: Getting from point A to point B, staying together (if with two cars), and negotiating the hazards of pump-your-own gas stations and late night biker gangs. As usual, Symphonic disturbance is frowned upon.
Possible Solutions: Carefully read the car manual regarding gas tanks, and the instructions on the gas pumps. Combat or evade any hostile mundanes.
- Running out of gas in the middle of the night, or other car trouble. At the least, an annoyance as the group must decide whether push the van to a gas station, or divide the group to send someone (or two) for gas while the rest wait. If there are no all-night gas stations nearby, or the complication below shows up, it can be a major delay.
- A nastier breed of biker gang, looking for trouble. If the PCs are in their cars or van, ignoring the gang will work -- after a few attacks with crowbars or chains, which will dent cars or crack windshields. (Convincing Michaelites not to retaliate may be difficult; appealing to Parnach's sense of urgency about the mission will work.) If the group is pushing the van, or waiting at the side of the road for someone to get back (such as Parnach), the gang stops to offer "rides" to female PCs and/or be generally insulting. Careful diplomacy or fast-talk can clear them off without violence (if the PCs are determined to avoid fighting), and supernatural displays may convince the bikers that something was in their beer, but it's far more likely that there'll be a rumble.
Gang Members: Figure one biker thug per PC present. GURPS - ST 11, DX 11, IQ 10, HT 10. Motorcycle-14, Brawling-12 and one of Broadsword-12 (used with crowbars, not swords), Flail-10 (with chains), or Knife-12. Advantages: Toughness +1 or High Pain Threshold. Disadvantages: Bad Temper, Bully. In Nomine - Corporeal Forces 2 (Strength 5, Agility 3), Ethereal Forces 2 (Intelligence 3, Precision 5), Celestial Forces 1 (Will 3, Perception 1). Advantages: Toughness/1. Body Hits: 15. Disadvantage: Angry/1. Skills: Driving/5 , Fighting/3 , and one of (Large Weapon/3 (Crowbar) , Small Weapon/2 (Chain) , or Small Weapon/3 (Knife) ).
- If the fight goes against the PCs too severely, a second biker group will show up -- and aid the PCs. At least one has a cell phone to call police. (Not all bikers are violent bullies -- just the NPCs when a combat is desired.)
The GURPS character sheet presumes the Basic Celestial Template, p. IN9, and is built according to the guidelines on p. IN16: it gets Choir, and Choir Attunement for free, and buys the Duty and Superior Invocation package (usually as a disadvantage). The In Nomine sheet has target numbers in square-brackets, for ease of reference.
Cherub of War
Parnach is an older Cherub, and a bit hidebound -- he's unlikely to investigate unusual happenings unless ordered to do so, figuring that it's "just life." (This is why Ziba is a Vassel of War, and Parnach isn't.) Still, he's steady, reliable, has decent leadership skills, and is a surprisingly gentle soul for a minion of War -- he goes out of his way to make sure that innocent bystanders aren't damaged, and becomes morose if they are. He's also a sucker for soulful canine eyes, despite being a winged bull in celestial form, and keeps dog biscuits in his coat pockets in case he runs across a stray. Parnach has been in Heaven for a while, but isn't totally out of date.
Parnach's role in this adventure is to provide focus -- his goal is to find Ziba, without spending a long time on the various distractions provided. (If using this as a short campaign arc, he'll be less impatient.) If he's not used, the GM should either give the Ethereal Song of Affinity to someone else, or provide a loaner-relic.
Malakite: Within the last week: most noble -- agreed to this joint mission, despite considering Judgmenters somewhere on the level of pond scum. Most ignoble -- let some students off easy in training, because he didn't want them to look bad in front of a roving triad. Within the last year, his most noble actions were: this mission; patiently training a group of Mercurians of other Archangels in the most non-damaging self-defense methods possible (instead of pushing them "just in case they encounter a demon," as many Michaelites would); and sneaking into a hospital to heal some victims of a car-chase between him and a couple of Calabim of Belial. Ignoble are: letting students off easy; not thinking of investigating some suspicious (in retrospect) fires that turned out to be caused by the Fire Calabim; allowing bystanders to be damaged during the Calabim's attack. Most noble: entered Trauma in a kamikaze strike against a hostage-holding demon (successfully eliminating the danger to the innocent bystanders). Most ignoble: not noticing when a mortal lover followed her (female vessel) and got himself killed attempting to protect her from the Baalite Parnach was chasing.
Mercurian: Parnach considers himself immensely superior to the Judgment Servitors, more experienced than the other Michaelites, equal to Vaniah, and slightly superior to the Mercurian of the Sword -- this is enhanced by being the nominal leader of the expedition. The name most people call him is "Parn"; his geographic origins are North American; his cultural origins read as somewhat dated British (a contradictory combination that hints at his celestial nature, though a suitably quirky home life could also result in such readings); his job is "Teacher and Lead Troubleshooter of a Troubleshooting Team," and his hobbies are watching motorcycle races and attending dog shows. His relationships are teacher-to-student (none currently present), leader of the current team, and subordinate to his Boss (whom he basically worships without question). The importance of these relationships is in inverse order: his Boss is most important, his role as leader is next, and his role as teacher is (currently) least important.
Lilim: Show up the Dominicans so that they understand who's the better angel (Geas/2); Find Ziba (Geas/3); Save Ziba's fuzzy butt from the Dominicans (for Michaelite justice) (Geas/4); Get a Role that permits him to have a dog (Geas/5).
GURPS Character Sheet
ST 15; DX 15; IQ 13; HT 14.
Advantages: Alertness +1, Essence Control 11, Power Investiture (Corporeal 4, Ethereal 3, Celestial 4), Servitor Attunement (Howl), Vessel (human male).
Disadvantages: Incurious, Pacifism: Cannot Harm Innocents, Servitor of War [-8; p. IN40].
Skills: Animal Handling-10, Axe-16, Brawling-16, Climbing-13, Diplomacy-10, Fast Draw (Pistol)-14, First Aid/TL7-12, Guns (Pistol)/TL7-16, Leadership-12, Motorcycle (Medium/Heavy)-14, Orienteering-12, Savoir-Faire (Military)-12, Scrounging-12, Sex Appeal-11, Stealth-15, Survival (Urban)-12, Tactics-12, Teaching-12, Tracking-14, Traps/TL7-11, Two-handed Axe-15.
Songs: Affinity (Ethereal)-10, Form (Corporeal)-11, Healing (Corporeal)-9, Light (Celestial)-11.
In Nomine Character Sheet
Corporeal Forces - 4
Ethereal Forces - 3
Celestial Forces - 4
Vessel: Human/2 (Body Hits: 48)
Skills: Climbing/1 , Driving/1 , Fighting/3 [15 Corporeal], Knowledge/1 (Animal Handling) , Large Weapon/5 (Axe), Medicine/1 , Move Silently/3 , Ranged Weapon/1 (Pistol) , Survival/2 (Urban) , Tactics/3 , Tracking/4 
Songs: Affinity* (Ethereal/3 ), Form (Corporeal/3 ), Healing (Corporeal/1 ), Light (Celestial/3 )
Attunements: Cherub of War, Howl
* The Songs of Affinity are akin to the Corporeal Song of Attraction; Ethereal Affinity requires some hair or blood.
Article publication date: September 12, 2003
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