Celestial Glory Kung Fu

by Jason Tondro

Art by andi jones

Celestial Glory Kung Fu is the broad term for a number of martial arts styles designed specifically for angels by Yephiel, Angel of Kung Fu and Seraph of War. There are seven major styles of Celestial Glory, inspired by the celestial forms of the various Choirs. Although originally intended as a weapon for use in the celestial realm; some of its applications are nonetheless best suited to corporeal battle. The seven variations of Celestial Glory are: Plumed Serpent (Seraphim), Furious Guardian (Cherubim), Blazing Wheel (Ofanim), Divine Equilibrium (Elohim), Relentless Perfection (Malakim), Hundred Eyes (Kyriotates) and Eternal Friendship (Mercurians).

In Nomine Recap: Unarmed Combat

Before proceeding it may be beneficial to repeat the information provided in the In Nomine rules on page 65 under "Contact Weapons."

Power     Accuracy     Skill Required
Punch*    -3--Fighting

* A skill level with Fighting greater than 4 and some kind of protection (steel-tipped boots, heavy gloves) each add 1 point of Power to the kick or punch. A supernatural level of Strength (9 or better) also adds 1 point of Power to the attack.

Power is added to or subtracted from the check digit to determine the number of hits inflicted on the target.

Accuracy is the bonus or penalty which this type of attack gives to the initial skill roll to hit.


This system of martial arts does not replace skills such as Fighting, Dodge, Large/Small Weapon and Acrobatics. Instead, it grants minor advantages which are combined with those skills during the combat turn. All unarmed Celestial Glory attacks -- regardless of form (punch, kick, head-butt, etc.) or hand/foot protection -- are delivered at a base +0 Power and +0 Accuracy (instead of the usual punch and kick modifiers, see below). The attacker may describe his attack any way he likes, the more colorful the better. Additional Power/Accuracy modifiers for the various substyles of Celestial Glory are listed below. High skill level or Strength does not give any additional bonus; but note that if the final (skill + characteristic) roll is over 12 the excess is added to the check digit as per the usual rules.

The various styles are purchased as Choir Attunements and cost 5 points each (Yephiel is not an Archangel and does not give out these attunements herself; they are supported by Michael who considers the whole thing a bit of an experiment). At the moment Yephiel is the only teacher of Celestial Glory techniques; she runs a dojo in Las Vegas and her classes are well attended. Although willing to teach dedicated celestials more than one style, she always starts with the one most suited to the student's Choir. Mortals may also purchase and use Celestial Glory styles; Yephiel herself maintains a large band of Soldiers who are masters of Plumed Serpent. To date no demon has learned or demonstrated the techniques, but there is nothing inherent in the art that prevents their use by the Infernal, and it is probably only a matter of time before a diabolical variation appears, corrupted from the original.

A fighter who knows more than one style of Celestial Glory Kung Fu decides which style he is going to use at the beginning of each turn, and must use the same style for the rest of the turn. The fighter may not combine the advantages of two or more styles in a single turn. For example, if an angel knows both Plumed Serpent and Relentless Perfection style, he may either enjoy a +2 bonus to Power or use the Plumed Serpent combat maneuvers, but not both.

Celestial Glory Kung Fu

Plumed Serpent Style

The oldest and most well-known of the Celestial Glory styles, Plumed Serpent is inspired by the Seraph's celestial form. It can be used by either Seraphim or Balseraphs in that form, or by human figures in whatever realm. Certain Cherubim or Djinn with serpentine celestial forms may also be able to use it. Plumed Serpent uses a combination of legsweeps and kicks (delivered with the tail when available), grappling techniques, and a vicious clawed punch (or bite). Each maneuver is described separately below. Plumed Serpent can be effectively combined with Numinous Corpus; use Feet or Tail with The Feathered Lash, Sweeping the Earth and Wrapping the Coils, and Claws or Fangs for The Tearing Fangs and The Serpent's Bite.

The Feathered Lash is the standard strike of the Plumed Serpent fighter; it is a swift spinning kick simulating the whipping motion of the serpent's tail. The Feathered Lash is -1 Accuracy and +2 Power. The fighter has +1 to Dodge on the same round that the maneuver is used.

Sweeping the Earth is a maneuver that can only be used in the corporeal realm; it is a legsweep that throws the enemy to the ground. The maneuver is +2 Accuracy and does normal damage, assuming that the target is thrown onto a hard surface, but the martial artist is -1 to Dodge on the round that the attack is made.

Plumed Serpent fighters learn how to wrap their bodies around an opponent in an elaborate grappling technique called Wrapping the Coils. To execute this kind of hold, the fighter must hit and do damage. No hits are actually inflicted, however; the total is used solely to determine if the maneuver is completed. If it is successful (that is, if the check digit exceeds the opponent's Dodge roll) three of the target's limbs are immobilized (the attacker's choice; note that a head, tail, or wing counts as a "limb") and the attacker may choose to do damage normally on following rounds. The victim cannot Dodge these subsequent attacks but he can resist using his Strength (plus Corporeal Forces if a celestial) or Will (plus Celestial Forces) if in celestial form. The check digit of this resistance is subtracted from the damage; if the check digit of the resistance roll exceeds the damage inflicted that round the target has broken free and can act normally in subsequent rounds. Instead of breaking free, the target can attempt to attack his grappler with free limbs, but he suffers a penalty equal to the grappler's Corporeal (or Celestial) Forces. A fighter using Wrapping the Coils is -1 Accuracy and +2 Power throughout the initial attack and later rounds; he is -1 to Dodge but, if the grapple succeeds and the attacker is wrapped around his victim, the attacker cannot even try to Dodge anything except an attack from his own target.

The Tearing Fangs is a clawing hand strike that simulates the fangs of the serpent; it is performed quickly, ripping and tearing the flesh of the target at +1 Accuracy and -1 Power; the fighter is +1 on Dodge rolls that round. The Tearing Fangs are particularly nasty when used to claw the eyes, but such a strike is very difficult and is only effective in the corporeal realm. The attacker must hit with a -4 Accuracy (instead of the usual +1) but, if the strike hits, the target is blinded for a number of turns equal to the damage done. If the damage is enough to stun the target, he will probably require medical attention before he can see again.

The Serpent's Bite is the most feared and famous element of Plumed Serpent style; it is also the most difficult to master. Like The Tearing Fangs it is a hand strike that simulates the fangs of the serpent, but the Bite targets vital areas and does not let go, destroying nerve clusters and causing paralysis, unconsciousness or even death. A fighter attacking with The Serpent's Bite can choose to do normal damage or, if in corporeal combat, can attempt to paralyze. Paralysis attacks can be directed against the arms or legs at -2, or against the head or chest at -4. No hits are actually inflicted by paralysis attacks; if the amount of damage rolled is higher than the victim's Strength (plus Corporeal Forces for celestials) he cannot use the limb for a number of turns equal to the damage total. Paralysis of the head causes unconsciousness while paralysis of the chest leaves the victim awake but completely unable to move. If the damage number would be enough to stun the target, the duration of the paralysis is measured in minutes, not turns. The Serpent's Bite is -2 Accuracy and any fighter using it is -2 to Dodge. Once it hits, the fighter may choose to not let go and continue the effect. He must roll to hit again each round but no Dodge is allowed; if the attack "misses" the fighter loses his grip. Continued attempts at paralysis are not cumulative; the damage is rerolled each round in a new attempt to beat the target's Strength.

Sidebar: Celestial Glory and Numinous Corpus

In general, Celestial Glory may be combined with Numinous Corpus. Claws will add to the effectiveness of punches while Feet add to kicks and Horns make head-butts more powerful. Fangs and Tail are less easily applied; they may only be combined with certain Plumed Serpent maneuvers and relevant styles of Furious Guardian. Acid, Tongue and Wings gain no benefit when combined with Celestial Glory techniques.

When combining Numinous Corpus with Celestial Glory, simply add all the relevant Accuracy and Power modifiers together.

Furious Guardian Style

This is actually a method of adapting "animal styles" of mundane kung fu to the celestial forms of the Cherubim, and there are a host of minor variations depending on the animal being used. These are referred to as Guardian Lion, Guardian Bear, Guardian Ape, etc. Furious Guardian forms can be used by nearly anyone, including Seraphim and Balseraphs (the Guardian Serpent style), Cherubim and Djinn, as well as anything in human shape. Practitioners of Furious Guardian receive a +1 bonus to both Accuracy and Power, or +2 to each if combined with Numinous Corpus appropriate to the animal form being used.

Blazing Wheel Style

Inspired by the abstract celestial bodies of the Ofanim, Blazing Wheel practitioners are constantly in motion, often running or spinning. With this energy they deliver blows of terrific force and power. Attacks are dodged rather than blocked. Blazing Wheel can be performed by anyone in human shape, or by the Ofanim themselves in celestial form. Blazing Wheel grants hand to hand attacks a +1 Power and the celestial is also +1 to Dodge; these bonuses are raised to +2 if the martial artist is in a large space with plenty of room to maneuver (GM's discretion; the celestial realm almost always counts as a large space). Ofanim can use their resonances to complement rolls when using Blazing Wheel style.

The Way of Divine Equilibrium

This Celestial Glory style is a balance of active and passive techniques relying on the Elohite's subtle ability to predict the enemy's actions. It can be used by anyone in human form. If a practitioner of Divine Equilibrium is attacked in hand to hand combat he may attempt to "turn" the blow. The fighter must Dodge the attack normally. If the check digit of his Dodge exceeds the check digit of the incoming attack, the target of the Divine Equilibrium takes damage equal to the check digit of his original attack. No Dodge is allowed. A Divine Equilibrium fighter can "turn" any number of attacks in a single combat turn but cannot initiate any attacks of his own when using this style. Fighters using Divine Equilibrium gain a +1 bonus to Dodge rolls. If an Elohite uses his resonance on an enemy when turning a blow, and his check digit is 5 or 6, he can add +1 or +2 (respectively) to his Dodge roll!

Relentless Perfection Style

The most direct, aggressive and downright brutal of the Celestial Glory styles, Relentless Perfection is a natural art for Malakim but can be practiced by anyone with a human form. Attacks are usually blocked rather than dodged, and weapon use is emphasized. Relentless Perfection fighters get a +2 bonus to Power, doubled to +4 if the fighter is using a weapon of any kind.

Hundred Eyes Style

The most unusual of the Celestial Glory techniques, Hundred Eyes is intended for use by Kyriotates, but can be used by any other fighter regardless of shape or realm. It emphasizes awareness and multiplicity, combination punches and cooperation between multiple fighters against a single enemy.

A Hundred Eyes fighter is trained to be aware of his surroundings, and is said to have eyes in all directions (for Kyriotates and Shedim, of course, this is literally true). Once they enter combat they cannot be surprised by anything short of an attunement or resonance.

Hundred Eyes fighters also rely heavily on punch combinations, varying the blows in direction and style so that they cannot be predicted. This grants them a +1 to Accuracy for punching only (including the amorphous and omnipresent hands of celestial Kyriotates and Shedim); the bonus cannot be used for kicks, head-butts or any other kind of attack (meaning that certain Choirs -- Seraphim, Cherubim and Ofanim -- cannot gain the bonus when in celestial form).

Finally, practitioners of Hundred Eyes are trained in cooperating with other Hundred Eye fighters to gang up on a single opponent. Every additional Hundred Eye fighter attacking the same opponent causes that target to suffer a -1 penalty to his Dodge roll (so three Hundred Eye fighters would force a -2 penalty). Obviously, this is particularly useful to the multiple hosts of the Kyriotates. Note that these advantages can be combined with the combination punch bonuses mentioned above.

The Art of Eternal Friendship

Mercurians cannot commit violence without generating dissonance; this Celestial Glory style uses passive stances, blocks and dodges to avoid blows without violating the Mercurian's essential nature. It can, however, be practiced by any fighter regardless of form or realm. Any Dodge by a practitioner of The Art of Eternal Friendship gets the benefits of a Full Dodge (+2) and, if they are actually performing a Full Dodge the bonus is doubled (to +4). The Art of Eternal Friendship allows a Dodge roll against any attack; even those that would otherwise automatically hit or against grapples that have already succeeded. However, a fighter using Eternal Friendship may not initiate any hand-to-hand attacks during the combat turn.

Celestial Glory Techniques

Plumed Serpent Style
Power Accuracy Dodge Notes
The Feathered Lash    +2 -1 +1 kick
Sweeping the Earth +0 +2 -1 legsweep
Wrapping the Coils +2 -1 -1 grapple 3 limbs
The Tearing Fangs -1 +1 +1 can target eyes at -4
The Serpent's Bite +0 -2 -2 damage or paralysis
Furious Guardian Style
Any hand to hand +1 +1 +0 weapon or unarmed
Numinous Corpus +2 +2 +0 appropriate to animal
Blazing Wheel Style
Any hand to hand +0 +1 +1 weapon or unarmed
Room to maneuver +0 +2 +2 GM's discretion
The Way Of Divine Equilibrium
Turning the Blow n/a n/a +1 do attacker's check digit in damage
Any hand to hand +0 +0 +1 weapon or unarmed
Relentless Perfection Style
Unarmed attacks +2 +0 +0 without weapons
Armed attacks +4 +0 +0 usually swords
Hundred Eyes Style
Awareness +0 +0 +0 immune to surprise once combat is entered
Combination punch +0 +1 +0 punches only
Coordination +0 +0 +0 -1 to target's Dodge for every additional fighter
The Art Of Eternal Friendship
Dodge +0 +0 +2 Dodge any attack
Full Dodge n/a n/a +4 Dodge any attack


Angel of Kung Fu

Seraph Friend of War

Corporeal Forces -- 5 Strength 10 Agility 10 Body Hits 90
Ethereal Forces -- 4 Intelligence 8 Precision 8 Mind Hits 32
Celestial Forces -- 5 Will 10 Perception 10 Soul Hits 50
Vessel: Human female/4, Charisma +2
Skills: Acrobatics/6, Climbing/2, Dodge/6, Fighting/6, Knowledge (Philosophy/2, Teaching/4), Language/3 (Chinese), Large Weapon/4 (Axe), Medicine/2, Move Silently/4, Running/3, Tactics/3, Throwing/4
Songs: Dreams (Corporeal/4), Healing (Corporeal/3, Celestial/3), Numinous Corpus (Fangs/3, Wings/4), Projection (Celestial/4)
Attunements: Seraph of War, Ofanite of War, Howl, One to One (see The Final Trumpet), Proficiency (with kung fu), Friend of the Fighters and all seven styles of Celestial Glory Kung Fu.
Special Rites: Spend an hour teaching a martial arts class (+1); Win a round in a martial arts tournament (+1 per round, cumulative).

When first assigned to Earth, Yephiel was the only Servitor of War in a town dominated by Novalis, Yves, Dominic and lots and lots of demons; because of this, she has a habit of self-reliance and she works hard to be capable of fighting in all three realms. This led to an emphasis on unarmed fighting techniques instead of weapons (which couldn't go celestial or ethereal), and this in turn resulted in a mastery of mortal martial arts. Always an active angel working hard for her Superior, she was awarded with the Word of Kung Fu after developing the Celestial Glory techniques for which she is most famed.

Yephiel continues to perform occasional strike missions for Michael, often accompanied by the Brilliant Dragons, a gang of a few dozen martial artists led by a handful of Soldiers. Most of her time is spent teaching, but she competes in a tournament somewhere in the world at least once a month. She is currently trying to organize the first Heaven & Hell Kumite, to be held in Las Vegas.

Although she appears all business to her fellow celestials and students, Yephiel has a compassionate streak that can surface in the face of great distress. She has a habit of ignoring Michael's rivalries with other Archangels unless she herself is treated poorly. Her greatest emotional attachment is in fact to Blandine -- she makes excuses to visit her tower every few weeks, and Blandine's power, beauty and determination have taken the young Seraph by storm. Yephiel is honest with herself -- indeed she can't help it -- and she knows that she is in love with the Archangel of Dreams.

Her corporeal vessel is an attractive Chinese female going by the name of "Jesse." She dresses casually in loose, unrestrictive clothing of blues and black, her green eyes hidden by dark sunglasses. She drives a fast-moving Japanese motorcycle and carries two Chinese fighting axes in a long bag over one shoulder.

Yephiel is a powerful Word-Bound angel most likely to appear in the role of instructor. Alternately, her plans for a celestial kumite might finally come to fruition, with PC brawlers (and their rivals!) on the invite list.

Article publication date: May 14, 1999

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