Lust in the Afternoon

An In Nomine Scenario by Scott Haring

(Thanks to Derek Pearcy, who planted the seed for this with his writeups of Charlie and Philippe in Pyramid #23)

The Players

"Lust in the Afternoon" is an introductory scenario for up to six beginning angels. A GM could use this adventure to bring a group of angels together and get them accustomed to working with each other to kick off a campaign, or you could use the sample characters and run this is as a one-shot event or demonstration. "Lust in the Afternoon" works well at conventions - both Steve Jackson and I have run this several times in conventions from Los Angeles to Edinburgh. The sample characters are designed to bring a number of different skills and abilities to the scenario, but conflicts between choirs and various superiors have been avoided.

I have not given these sample characters names - let the players do that to give them a little more "personal" feel. And if you or the players want to modify these characters in any way, feel free.

Mercurian of Fire

Corporeal Forces - 2, Strength 5, Agility 3
Ethereal Forces - 3, Intelligence 7, Precision 5
Celestial Forces - 4, Will 7, Perception 9
Vessel: Human/2

Skills: Dodge/5, Fighting/5, Ranged Weapon/2 (pistol), Savoir-Faire/3, Seduction/2, Tracking/1

Songs: Claws/3, Fangs/2, Song of Thunder/5, Wings/2

Attunements: Mercurian of Fire

Cherub of Stone

Corporeal Forces - 2, Strength 5, Agility 3
Ethereal Forces - 4, Intelligence 10, Precision 6
Celestial Forces - 3, Will 6, Perception 6
Vessel: Human/2

Skills: Dodge/4, Fighting/5, Small Weapon/2 (knife)

Songs: Corporeal Song of Shield/3, Ethereal Song of Shield/3, Celestial Song of Shield/3

Attunements: Cherub of David, Cold Touch

Malakite of War

Corporeal Forces - 3, Strength 7, Agility 5
Ethereal Forces - 3, Intelligence 7, Precision 5
Celestial Forces - 3, Will 5, Perception 7
Vessel: Human/3

Skills: Dodge/5, Ranged Weapon/3 (pistol)

Songs: Corporeal Song of Healing/2, Celestial Song of Light/6

Artifacts: Corporeal Artifact/1 (.44 pistol)

Attunements: Malakite of War, Proficiency (pistol)

Ofanite of War

Corporeal Forces - 3, Strength 6, Agility 6
Ethereal Forces - 2, Intelligence 3, Precision 5
Celestial Forces - 4, Will 6, Perception 10
Vessel: Human/3

Skills: Dodge/3, Driving/5 (car), Lockpicking/3, Ranged Weapon/3 (pistol), Tracking/2

Songs: Corporeal Song of Healing/5, Corporeal Song of Motion/2, Ethereal Song of Motion/2, Celestial Song of Motion/2

Attunements: Ofanite of War

Cherub of the Sword

Corporeal Forces - 5, Strength 12, Agility 8
Ethereal Forces - 2, Intelligence 4, Precision 4
Celestial Forces - 2, Will 4, Perception 4
Vessel: Human/3

Skills: Dodge/4, Driving/2 (car), Escape/1, Fighting/1, Large Weapon/4 (sword), Ranged Weapon/1 (pistol)

Songs: Corporeal Song of Healing/3

Artifacts: Corporeal Artifact/1 (sword)

Attunements: Cherub of the Sword, Blade Blessing of Laurence

Elohite of the Sword

Corporeal Forces - 4, Strength 8, Agility 8
Ethereal Forces - 3, Intelligence 7, Precision 5
Celestial Forces - 2, Will 3, Perception 5
Vessel: Human/4

Skills: Acrobatics/2, Dodge/3, Fighting/3, Fighting (celestial)/3, Large Weapon/2 (sword), Ranged Weapon/5 (pistol), Small Weapon/3 (knife)

Songs: Ethereal Song of Light/3

Attunements: Elohite of the Sword

The NPCs

Two of the NPCs - Charlie, Calabite Captain of Death and Philippe, Ofanite Servitor of the Sword - appear in Pyramid #23. The other two are listed below:

Lucy, Lilim Knight of the Media

Corporeal Forces - 5, Strength 10, Agility 10
Ethereal Forces - 3, Intelligence 6, Precision 6
Celestial Forces - 4, Will 10, Perception 6
Vessel: Human/5, Role/5, Status/5

Skills: Dodge/2, Fighting/2 (Scratching, Clawing, Kicking, Biting), Driving/3 (car), Ranged Weapon/3 (pistol), Emote/4, Fast-Talk/2, Seduction/3, Fighting/2 (celestial)

Songs: Fangs/2

Servant: Rose Schwartz, Human/5 (see below)

Attunements: Lilim of Nybbas, Subliminal, Knight of Influence

Lucy is a great example of a demon who really enjoys her work. Her job is to be rich, famous and popular in the Role of Lucy Nevins, femme fatale star of the most popular soap opera on TV today, The Sun Also Sets. Lucy's assignment from Nybbas is a simple one - she's a walking advertisement for sin. Her "real" life is much like her soap opera life; she sleeps around, parties constantly, schemes to backstab her enemies and never gets caught, all while getting richer, more popular and (if possible) more beautiful all the time. Her lifestyle screams, "I do whatever I want whenever I want to whomever I want and never pay the price - you can, too!"

Lucy's had practice at this sort of thing. You'd never believe some of the other show-business legends she's been in previous Roles. But her current Role is her most important assignment yet, because Nybbas has bigger plans for Lucy Nevins than mere soap-opera queen - prime time and the silver screen beckon, and Nybbas is working on a new toy (see below) that will make Lucy his biggest star yet.

Lucy's Status and Role are free, thanks to her Lilim of Nybbas attunement, and she also gets a servant, Rose, her #1 fan, president of her fan club and personal assistant (see below). The Knight of Influence attunement guarantees her at least one hour of TV exposure a week, but she does much better than that. The Sun Also Sets airs for an hour five days a week, plus Lucy is a constant presence on talk shows and entertainment and tabloid news shows.

Lucy also uses her Subliminal attunement in her show, but it's a special version of the attunement that she is using on loan from Nybbas on an experimental basis. Instead of affecting the first person(s) to understand the message (see In Nomine, p. 177), this attunement affects everybody watching the show. But the effect is extremely mild, a toned-down version of the Ethereal Song of Attraction that simply reinforces everyone's positive impression of her as a person. It works a lot like the way liberals treated Ronald Reagan. Even if you've devoted your entire life to fighting everything Lucy stands for, and you feel right down to your soul that she's part of the ruin of civilization as we know it, well, gosh darn it, you just can't help but like her anyway.

So far, this new attunement has been a big success - and a complete secret to the angels. (If you give your angel players a chance to discover this secret and they not only figure it out, but live to report it to their superiors, this would be worth major kudos from their angelic bosses).

Lucy is also busy conquering other media, too. In addition to being a regular radio talk show guest and magazine cover subject, she's currently on tour to support her first book, the autobiography, Tramping Through Hollywood. It's more of the Lucy message - story after story of outmaneuvering her foes through guile, cunning, and slightly dirty tactics, partying until dawn, romantic trysts with every Hollywood stud every frustrated American housewife has ever fantasized about, and much, much more - all without any sort of negative consequences at all. No abortions, no DUIs, no AIDS, no hangovers, no domestic violence, no car crashes, no overdoses - she's led a charmed life.

Lucy doesn't specifically know that Philippe is after her, but the disappearance of her two partners in crime (done in by Philippe - see Pyramid #23) has her extremely wary. Her old friend Charlie has been traveling with her on this current book tour, posing mostly as a chauffeur.

Rose Schwartz, Soldier of Hell

Corporeal Forces - 2, Strength 3, Agility 5
Ethereal Forces - 2, Intelligence 4, Precision 4
Celestial Forces - 2, Will 5, Perception 3
Vessel: Human/2, Status/3

Skills: Computer Operation/3, Dodge/3, Driving/2 (car), Fast-Talk/2, Ranged Weapon/4 (pistol), Small Weapon/2 (knife).

Songs: Corporeal Song of Charm/5

Artifacts: Unholy Pistol/3, 12 Unholy Bullets

Rose Schwartz was a Lucy Nevins fan from the first time she saw her in a cosmetics ad in Cosmo. She followed Lucy's career fanatically, and contacted her about starting a Lucy Nevins Fan Club as soon as she started on The Sun Also Sets. This fit with Lucy's plans just fine, and it came as no surprise to Lucy that a mortal who was so obsessively devoted to her would turn out to be natural Soldier material. When Rose found out who Lucy really was, she didn't even blink; the opportunity to work closely with the beautiful and talented Lucy Nevins, to run her fan club, travel in her high-class circles, pick up the leftover men (and women) and bask on the edges of her reflected glory, was well worth her soul.

Rose is a hard-working, organized assistant who accompanies Lucy everywhere while managing to remain almost completely anonymous. Rumors that their relationship is more than professional have been started by jealous industry gossips (and happen to be true), but Lucy is playing it coy (though she isn't above hinting - lesbian chic is very hot right now, so why not ride the wave?). Rose has no will of her own and follows Lucy's lead on this and all other subjects.

As Lucy has climbed the ladder of Hollywood success, Rose has done her dirty work on more than one occasion. She keeps a .44 in her large purse, and is also handy with a straight razor. A common tactic is to use her Corporeal Song of Charm to immobilize a victim in a vulnerable position, then move in for the kill. She has also been known to use a silenced .22, fired through the bottom of her purse, to hit targets at very close range in the middle of crowds. While these violent incidents are not very common - most of Rose's work is administrative, not criminal - she can, has and will do anything Lucy asks of her.

Since Lucy's two demon friends have disappeared, Lucy has arranged for Rose to borrow an artifact from a demon of Vapula who owed Lucy a favor - a Level-3 Unholy Pistol and a dozen Unholy Bullets. (Liber Reliquarum, p. 63)

The Adventure

Getting Them Together

Two of the sample characters are servitors of Laurence; they will be contacted by Philippe, who will tell them to expect the other angels in whatever town you want to use as the setting for the adventure and to wait for further instructions. The other characters will be contacted by their respective superiors and told to meet the servitors of Laurence at the same place. This assignment could be roleplayed out as a meeting between servitor and Archangel, if you're so inclined, or it could handled by an intermediate in the hierarchy and glossed over. The only clue Philippe gives is in his mood and manner - he seems to be angry about something, maybe even angry at the angels he contacted, though the PCs will not be able to remember any occasion they had to give Philippe offense.

Once the other angels get to town, have one of the angels of Laurence serve as host. Give the players a chance to introduce themselves, and if they're getting into their roles, let them explore the differences between their various choirs and superiors. Some groups will have so much fun doing just this that you'll have to rein them in; with others, nothing interesting will happen here and you'll have to move on.

The Assignment

Philippe calls the angel he dealt with previously and, in a terse message, sets up a meeting. The time and location is not important - go with something with local color.

The angels get there, and Philippe arrives shortly thereafter. He's upset and

agitated, and he has a section of the local newspaper with him, folded to an open inside page. After a barely polite greeting, he hands the newspaper to his contact. It's folded to show a quarter-page ad announcing the arrival, two days hence, of Lucy Nevins at a local bookstore to sign copies of her autobiography.

"I have hunted this demon for a long time," Philippe says. (If any of the angels express surprise that a famous star like Lucy would turn out to be a demon, Philippe shoots them a look that would etch glass and ignores them.) "But it has been decided my methods are too . . . dramatic . . . given her Role in the Symphony. So it has been decided that the task should fall to . . . you." He can barely get the words out - it's clear that he would rather eat Drano than give up this hunt, much less to a bunch of inferior, untalented nobodies like the PCs.

Philippe has very little to offer in the way of advice, except that his methods - stalk them until you get them alone, then let your sword do the talking - are not to his superiors' liking for this situation. Part of what makes the scenario interesting is its ambiguity - are the characters being told to kill her? Or just find a way to reduce her power? What the players decide their mission is will determine where the adventure goes from here.

Information Gathering

The angels have a day or two before Lucy comes to town to gather information about her. Here's what they can find out:

By reading Tramping Through Hollywood, they will easily figure out (Perception +2) what Lucy is all about - a walking advertisement for consequence-free debauchery. Research into tabloid and entertainment news stories, both in print and on TV, are all pretty much reinforcements of this basic premise.

Watching The Sun Also Sets (it's on every afternoon at 1 p.m.) will be a depressing experience. It's a lurid little soap opera with people being mean and rotten to each other pretty much for the fun of it - that is, when they're not rolling around under strategically placed bedsheets in just about every combination possible. It's not exactly a testament to the nobility of the human spirit. If an angel watches the entire show without a break (including the commercials), he may get a small chance to detect Nybbas' special Subliminal attunement at work. With a successful Perception -6 roll, the character will feel the effects of the Song of Attraction, though he won't know exactly why he feels that way. Further study - watching many, many episodes of the show - will be required before any more insight as to what exactly is going on can be obtained. And the shows must be watched as they are broadcast - there is no trace of the attunement in videotapes of the shows (a bug in the program that Nybbas is working on . . .).

Lucy also has a web site (of course), and it has her basic bio information, plus pictures (there's one picture of Rose, too), plus the basic itinerary (dates and cities) only of her book tour.

If the PCs try to find out more about Lucy's plans while in town, they won't get much. The bookstore manager knows most of the details of her itinerary, but won't tell a stranger about it. A convincing cover story (or a bit of the ol' angelic charm) might pry it out of him, though - he's just a stupid mortal, after all.

If the angels want to track down where she'll be staying the night before the signing, let them try. Hotels do not let just anybody know who is staying with them, especially if that somebody is a celebrity. But Lucy will definitely stay at one of the nicest hotels in town, so it should be easy to narrow it down; finding her exact room number, on the other hand, should require some fancy footwork. Don't make it impossible, but make sure the PCs earn it.

If the angels find where Lucy is staying, they will learn that Lucy and Rose are not model guests. They are constantly making noisy demands of the staff, and their frustration level might be something that can be exploited for information. For example, at one point, Rose will storm into the lobby, raising hell about a mixed up room service order; angels could take this opportunity to follow her, or sneak a peek at the hotel registration, or just zip around looking for the wrecked room service cart.

Lucy and Rose share a room with a king-size bed, and they keep it rock-star messy. Among the travel accouterments is a medium-sized case with an impressive collection of sex toys, but there's nothing else unusual in the room. Charlie's room next door is neat as a razor; the only indication that anybody out of the ordinary is staying there is his huge pair of boots (see Pyramid #23) sitting in a closet. Lucy and Rose have considered inviting Charlie to join in their "fun," but Charlie is taking his bodyguard job seriously, and deep down Lucy knows not to turn on the charm too high, because it's her body he's guarding.

Lucy's itinerary has her landing at the local airport via private jet around 4 pm the day before the signing and heading straight to the hotel (via limo) to shake off some jet lag. She has a local radio talk show appearance scheduled for the next morning from 10 am to 12 noon, followed by the book signing from 1 pm to 4 pm. After the signing, she'll go right back to the airport. She has a morning TV appearance tomorrow in the next town, so she won't be staying a second night.

The Book Signing
When the limo arrives at the bookstore, it pulls right up to the front door. Inside, there are large stacks of Tramping Through Hollywood (to get an autograph from Lucy, fans have to buy their copy of the book here at the store), a simple table with a single chair behind it, a large cardboard cutout of Lucy promoting the book to one side, and a big-screen TV showing The Sun Also Sets off to the other side. The TV provides another clue to Nybbas' plan; while the live 1 pm showing of The Sun Also Sets is on, the crowd (already Lucy fans) is mesmerized by the broadcast, almost to the point of catatonia. Before and after the show, the bookstore is running videotapes of other episodes, and the crowd shows much less interest in them.

About 500 people are lined up to get Lucy's autograph. The local press is here; a couple of photographers snap off a roll or two and take off, while reporters ask the people in line stupid questions like why they like Lucy so much. One local TV station is also here, the one that runs The Sun Also Sets. There are two security guards well in the background, just hanging around, and one police cruiser in the parking lot, mostly trying to unsnarl traffic but also on the lookout for trouble.

Lucy is tremendously charming, incredibly gorgeous and always "on." She has a smile and a kind word for every single person in line, and makes each one feel like the very center of her world, for a moment. She's good. If anybody hangs on too long, well, Rose, Charlie, the bookstore manager, his staff and the security guards are well-trained and can handle just about any small situation that might develop.

At the end of the allotted time, Lucy will get up and announce that she has a schedule to keep, but will walk down the line (a small one still remains), apologizing to each person individually. Then she's off in the limo and back to the airport.

Unless, of course, the PCs do something.

If the players decide to try to kill Lucy, well, good luck. She's got a tough Corporeal Vessel, a nasty Calabite bodyguard in Charlie, plus a Soldier with an Unholy Pistol who isn't afraid to use it. What's more, in her Role, Lucy will have no trouble getting cooperation from the store manager, the security guards, the police - even what could quickly become an angry mob of Lucy Nevins fans - to facilitate her escape, block the pursuit of any attackers or even take the attackers on while she gets away. Not to mention that attacking a popular public figure in a public place in front of a mob of her devoted fans isn't exactly a very angelic thing to do and is likely to produce some nasty shockwaves in the Symphony. Players who go for this sort of public attack should attract several nasty demons coming as reinforcements, plus get some serious negative reinforcement from their Superiors in the form of Dissonance (assuming they live). A full frontal assault could be rollicking fun, but it's not really In Nomine, and it's not how to win this scenario.

A more discreet murder attempt - hit the limo while Lucy is in transit, or get her at her hotel, or try to crash the plane on landing or takeoff, or something subtle like poison - is still the brute force approach, but has the advantage of not endangering a throng of innocent bystanders. This should have a better chance of success, and a lower chance of demonic reinforcement or Dissonance, than the first plan.

On the other hand, the characters may decide that what they need to do is to reduce her popularity, and with it, her power. There are lots of ways to do this:

If there are fewer than six players, or they're not playing very well, you can replace Charlie with a less-challenging bodyguard, maybe even a local mortal who really is just a chauffeur. You could also take away Rose's gun (or reduce its level) to further even the playing field. Also, Philippe could make a well-timed appearance to save the PCs' bacon. To beef things up against the players, you can always add a "guardian demon" or two in the crowd, ready if things get rough.
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