The Seven Lovely Sins
by Elizabeth McCoy
Author's Note: Despite being couched in In Nomine terms, this organization is quite portable to other settings. All it requires is a powerful, frequently ruthless, and likely corrupt group that meets on a regular basis and rotates the people responsible for organizing the party. Players can be members of the group, their security, their enemies, or random bystanders (innocent or not) who get caught up in events. Adventure seeds and suggestions for some other genres follow the In Nomine ones.
Just as Malakim have their Eighth Virtue (see You Are Here), so do Lilim have a floating "party and family reunion," called, traditionally, "The Party," "The Family Reunion," and, most formally, "The Seven Lovely Sins."
The Seven Sins, unlike the Eighth Virtue, is decadal -- it's generally held about every 10 years (give or take a year for extenuating circumstances). Also unlike the Eighth Virtue, there are traditionally seven organizers. This is not a hard and fast requirement, of course, but it is traditional: with that many people on the "ConComm" -- as the Vapulan Daughters often call it -- private grudges are less likely to be settled by a sister with too much power. ("Oh, you haven't gotten that little Discord problem settled? I'd never have gotten the All-Oyster-Buffet arranged if I'd known you were still . . . sensitive. I'm sure you'll stop hiccuping pearls soon.")
Organizing the Seven Sins is both a status job and a pain in the neck, depending on a Lilim's personality and current jobs, tasks, and Geases. Some Lilim seek the job out, while others get stuck with it via a well-placed Geas or unofficial debt that they owe someone else.
The responsibilities of the organizers are assigned with formal wording. For example, saying "Tabitha will take Lust, while Lillian is Sister Gluttony" doesn't mean that Tabitha is a Lilim of Lust, and Lillian a Servitor of Haagenti -- it just means that Tabitha is in charge of providing the entertainment while Lillian has to get the refreshments set up. Naturally, if there are not seven Lilim on the committee, some will have to double up.
It should also be noted that the Seven Lovely Sins committee is supposed to arrange the event with the maximum amount of favor trading and the least amount of actually paying for things. It's considered gauche to write a check -- unless the money was acquired via favors, that is. There's no penalty, per se, for using mundane means to set things up; if you get caught doing that, your sisters will just laugh at you for a few decades and make snide remarks about "the sister who has to work for a living."
Other Bands, or humans, are permitted to attend if they are in the company of a Lilim. Princes and Princesses are naturally permitted to go where they will, Lilim date on their arm or not. Hell's lesser nobility might or might not get in -- it's said that when a Duke of the War attempted to crash the party, he was ejected by the Princess of Freedom herself. It's also rumored that Lilith once brought an incognito Archangel Marc to a Seven Lovely Sins gathering . . .
Non-Lilim are, however, definitely second-class guests (unless they're Princes). They're likely to be shooed off to the bar while sisters "do girl talk" -- i.e., deal-making -- or quietly auctioned off as gigolos or courtesans to Lilim siblings. In general, the Seven Lovely Sins is one of the few places outside the Guildhall in Hell where Lilim are in the majority. And Lilim like it that way. There is no stigma attached to coming unattended.
In deference to the longer duration of the hiatus between Family Reunions, most of them will last two to three days. (One was arranged at a hot-springs resort and lasted a full week, each day with entertainment devoted to one of the traditional seven sins!)
A typical Seven Sins will draw anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred Lilim, depending on location, duration (not everyone stays the full time), and who got invited. The more sisters there, the more status accrues to the organizers, provided it's not a total disaster with angelic raids.
The Organizers' Titles
The following three are the minimum that a Seven Lovely Sins event is deemed to require.
Gluttony: Responsible for catering and one of the simplest of the duties. Sometimes the location of the event gets designated to Sister Gluttony. (If there's no Sister Covetousness or Sister Envy, Sister Gluttony is expected to be the "neutral party" of the Seven Sins.)
Lust: Responsible for providing any live entertainment (male strippers are popular, no matter how much the Tempters claim they only attend to keep in touch with their sisters), and often the location of the event. (If there's no Sister Pride, Sister Lust usually handles check-in as well, unless Sister Wrath isn't feeling overworked.)
Wrath: Security. Sister Wrath organizes bouncers and any other security measures required. She may handle check-in, in the absence of a Sister Pride, if she thinks she can handle it and her other duties. Typically, it's passed off to Sister Lust.
The following are not as vital, but make things easier.
Sloth: Since Lilim need a place to lay their heads (or at least a private room for private deals) for the two to three days the Family Reunion will last, Sister Sloth is in charge of finding a location. Superficially the easiest job, this is complicated by the "pay no money" ethic. Rarely, Sister Sloth will also handle check-in -- if she's bribed enough.
Covetousness: This Daughter is responsible for "holding the pot," either literally if there is actual gambling going on, or figuratively if there are any deals made which require a neutral third party. If she's arranged for a full gambling room (with cards, dice, roulette wheels, etc.), then she's expected to share duties with Sister Wrath for security and spotting cheaters.
Pride: Ironically, Sister Pride is the catch-all gopher for the group. This puts her either in the role of "Cinderella," running around doing the scut-work, or provides a wonderful opportunity to get her sisters owing her unofficial favors. Or both. She handles check-in at the Reunion proper, and is expected to provide little tokens which can be kept as souvenirs (a cross between event badges and party favors).
Envy: Sister Envy is primarily responsible for communications between the organizers, and being a central source of data for the Sisterhood as to the whereabouts and date of the Seven Lovely Sins this decade. (The latter is often delegated to Sister Pride.) Her duties also include making sure that the other Sisters are providing the basic requirements of entertainment, refreshments, and housing. At the event proper, she's the primary coordinator and Lilim to go to if something goes wrong. (If there is no Sister Covetousness, Envy is also deemed responsible for being the neutral party.)
In Nomine Adventure seeds
- The PCs are all on the "ConComm," and have a scant decade to get everything in order and send out the invitations, while still preserving their own Roles and accomplishing their own duties. Enough said. (Yes, this demands an all-Lilim cast, or at least enough Lilim that they can "hire" the rest of the PCs as gophers for their projects.) For more urgency, one of the ConComm has been called away suddenly to another full-time task, and has called in a Geas (or bargained extremely well!) to have the PC Lilim take over her job at the last minute!
- The Game has heard that Sister Wrath has a plan to frame a high-ranking Asmodean at the Seven Sins (perhaps Staciel, Demon of Intrigue; perhaps someone else; perhaps Staciel is the one rumored to be doing the planning!). They want a team to infiltrate the event and follow the target around. When whoever-it-is makes her (or his) move, the PCs are expected to A: thwart it, B: provide testimony to clear the target's name, and/or C: take the would-be framer captive.
- It was a bad idea to have three Vapulans, two Nybassians, and a Lustie with a furry fetish on the "ConComm." They've arranged to have the Seven Lovely Sins at the same hotel and same time as a science fiction convention. Is this a social disaster, or a grand opportunity for mayhem disguised as SFX and costumery? Well, the world is what you make of it . . .
Either, or Both
- A 10-Force Kyriotate has managed to jump into the party, and is bouncing around, causing minor havoc. So far, it hasn't grabbed anyone with a Force Catcher, and Sister Wrath isn't sitting still and waiting for that to happen. The PCs are, naturally, on the security team. (Or this can be a solo-session for the Kyriotate . . .)
- This year, the Eighth Virtue and the Seven Lovely Sins . . . are in the same city. In fact, they're both downtown, in hotels across the street from one another. (For even more tension, they're in the same hotel!) This was discovered far too late to actually change the location safely. Fortunately, Sister Pride has managed to make a deal with the coordinator of the Eighth Virtue: See no Evil, Seek no Evil, Smite no Evil. The Lilim don't go harass the blackwings, and the Malakim don't go hunting for greenies. PCs are either the committee, or recruited by Sister Wrath to keep the Daughters out of trouble.
- A newly-redeemed demon was a lackey of Sister Covetousness for this decade's Seven Sins -- a Lilim of Mammon. The ex-demon swears up and down that the Mammonite Daughter is going to auction off a real live angel to her sisters as a slave, one who was thought dead. (The truth is . . . that the Lilim certainly believed it when she told her minion about it.) The angelic team must infiltrate the event and spirit away the prisoner. Can they accomplish this without being captured themselves, in a rural resort, surrounded by several dozen Lilim, whose personal power ranges from newborn Daughters to ancient Duchesses?
- The Bright Lilim in the group (or an NPC, if necessary) receives an invitation to a forthcoming Seven Lovely Sins, by means that suggest the invitation was sent by someone who doesn't know she'd redeemed! Is it a trap? (If they do the sensible thing and hand this up to a Seraph of Judgment or Revelation, then it'd better be carefully worded, or not a trap . . . at least according to the sender.) This is, of course, a priceless opportunity to spy on Lilim gossip, identify demonic vessels, and scout for redeemable Lilim. Now, how many of the group can the Bright manage to smuggle into the party as escort(s), entourage, pets, or luggage? (Better make sure that Malakim are ordered not to blow the group's cover, and that no one leaves explosives in a public place.)
- In a flip to the Game-seed above, Judgment has heard that there is a collaborating angel attending a Seven Sins. (How? That's Dominic's business. Probably by interrogating someone. Really.) This angel is high-placed and previously had a spotless record. Which angel is it, and is it due to free will or Geas? That's what the PCs have to find out. First, though, they have to discover when and where the convention will be held, and figure out how to wrangle invitations or crash the party. (This also works for any other Archangel, sending a team in to take care of "internal matters" before Judgment gets wind of it. It might be most discomfiting to Servitors of Creation to have to police one of their own who has somehow "turned traitor" without yet Falling!)
Other Adventure Seeds
These are In Nomine crossovers, pitching humans -- or other beings -- into the divine and infernal War. It can be played for horror quite easily by emphasizing the inhuman abilities and mindsets of the beings involved. Do they shoot someone who purrs, "You needed to do that; remember I let you kill me"? Do they fire and fire at a slender beauty queen who Just Keeps Coming And Doesn't Die? Does someone vanish from a locked room when their back is turned? Alternatively, it can be played as suspense, comedy (best in a one-shot), or a deliberate introduction for a crossover campaign as Soldiers. (Which doesn't really rule out the horror potential . . .)
- GURPS Cops officers have gotten a tip-off that a number of known criminals will be attending some kind of "family get-together." A sting operation is sent in to discover and bust the place if they catch people breaking laws against prostitution, illegal gambling, underage partners, and anything else they can discover. (Is that a demon of Lust in a 14-year-old vessel? Is that a Lilim betting its services, next to the roulette wheel? Did Sister Wrath's pet "look the other way" police contact call in sick at just the wrong day, so she's unaware that the cops aren't going to let the party go un-remarked?)
- GURPS WWII spies report that there will be some kind of strange party going on in the middle of Nazi territory. With a partial guest list, this looks like a great place to -- you guessed it -- spy, learn information, kidnap people, rescue people, assassinate people . . . Of course, at this party, the rumors of secret Nazi demon-summoning rituals are vastly underestimated. On the other hand, the player characters may have access to more weaponry.
- Considering the similar parallels between In Nomine characteristics and those of Big Eyes, Small Mouth, Pretty Warrior SpangleStar and her Shooting Stars might be at home sneaking into the mansion where the Seven Sins is being held! Can they rescue their animal mascot, Princess Pony, from the racetrack where she's been pitted against I'm Going To Hell, the Lilim Demon of Gambling Debts?
- In a Cyberpunk campaign, this affair takes place inside computers, of course. It's a party for elite netrunners; if you can't hack in, you don't belong. (The theme may still require everyone to have a superficially female image!) Naturally, aside from whatever forms of electronic debauchery the GM permits, there will be deal-making and trade in illegal goods. Rival factions may be just as dangerous as law enforcers, and Sibling Wrath will have its work cut out for it.
- For Transhuman Space, the party's sponsors must provide . . . suitable bioshells for the guests, to help preserve their anonymity. Consent is optional, of course, but some people want the equipment back in good condition. Security will have the additional task of making sure that no one's doing anything too destructive in their loaner body -- or too traceable back to the group!
- For fantasy or modern horror, vampires are the obvious choice -- but who says that the Unseelie Court doesn't have gatherings now and then? They'd be hidden away, sure, but you have to get your supply of "toys" brought in from somewhere, and that leaves clues to discover, or cover up.
- Another fantasy option, suitable for many d20 System worlds as well as GURPS' Yrth, suggests that perhaps dark elves and the usual breed aren't so different as they'd have you believe. Every decade, there is a Rite of Passage for those who've reached a suitable age. It might be quite a shock for a PC to be indoctrinated into the Elvish Illuminati, and learn the point-ears' true opinion of their short-lived companions. (But will the promises of a life-long loyalty spell upon the rest of the group sway the PC's mind?)
- Alternatively, take the above. Hint at elvish involvement. Use dwarfs instead, underground masters of their pointed-eared minions. (This option will probably work well for Hackmaster, as the final confrontation must be in the middle of a deep, boobytrapped dungeon. And yes, it is an all-female group of organizers . . .)
Article publication date: November 28, 2003
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