In Nomine Sorcery For GURPS

By Beth McCoy


(Steven Marsh thought it was too specialized for Pyramid, so here it is on the INC! No, it's not canon.)

When writing GURPS In Nomine, it quickly became apparent that there was simply Too Much Material to cover everything in detail (the GURPS book is even longer than the original In Nomine core rules!), and one of the special cases which got simplified was Sorcery. Here, therefore, is an optional GURPSification of those rules from pp. 32-50 of the Corporeal Player's Guide. (It is also possible to incorporate this as the only form of magic in a campaign which is not otherwise In Nominized, though it would require obtaining the Corporeal Player's Guide for full descriptions of the rituals.)

(A quick note about page references: GURPS references, such as p. B52 for page 52 of the GURPS Basic Set are used for those books. Therefore, GURPS In Nomine's page abbreviation is IN. The In Nomine page reference convention is to give the page number (e.g., p. 52) and then the title of the book (e.g., In Nomine), and will be used for books in that line.)

Much like the GURPS spell of Enchantment, Sorcery depends on five "base skills" which are only of use when performing a second spell -- or, rather, a ritual. Each ritual is treated as a maneuver (pp. CI162-164), with an additional penalty if the prerequisite skill is not at the appropriate level (-1 to maneuver skill for every point the prerequisite skill is below the minimum required). Unlike most mental maneuvers, Sorcerous rituals are treated as Hard, not Average, maneuvers. Further, no ritual can exceed its prerequisite skill level -- and a few rumored rituals are even more limited than that!

Requirements to be a Sorcerer

Only humans can become sorcerers -- ethereal beings and celestial ones can learn the skills, but not perform sorcery. In a mixed-species campaign, it is up to the GM to determine if non-human, corporeal races can perform Sorcery. (Perhaps only races without Unaging are permitted to have Power Investiture (Sorcery); perhaps any corporeal race may be so gifted. If only humans are allowed to perform Sorcerous rituals, then humans may claim racial theological superiority -- while other beings may claim humans are uniquely cursed or damned!)

However, undead are permitted to have Sorcery, if they were of the appropriate species to start with!

In game mechanics, a GURPS In Nomine sorcerer must have: Power Investiture (Sorcery) [10], Essence Control 6 [21], and Awareness (Symphony) [15], as described on p. IN21. As described on p. IN174, it also requires a Will of 12 or greater -- enforcing one's desires upon the Symphony is not for the meek! (Or, in the case of the undead, not for the Will-less, non-sapient walking corpses or ghosts.) IQ may be lower, if Strong Will is used, or higher, but Weak Will must not reduce Will below 12.

Sorcerous Skills

The basic five prerequisite skills are Mental/Very Hard. Four of them (Banishment, Command, Exorcism, and Summon) are based on Will, not straight IQ -- add Strong Will, and subtract Weak Will. The fifth (Focus) is based, in In Nomine, on Precision -- in GURPS, this becomes IQ, but at the GM's discretion, may be modified in the usual ways for the disadvantages of Attentive (p. CI86), Distractible (p. CI89), and the advantage of Single-Minded (p. CI30), while Short Attention Span (p. CI94) would give a -2 penalty to Focus skill.

As noted in the Corporeal Player's Guide, the actual details of a ritual depend on the tradition of the sorcerer(s) performing it. Therefore, while the outcome is the same, the players should describe the basics of their sorcerous style, and the GM is encouraged to give bonuses and penalties for mood and setting; a druidic ritual in the middle of forest and standing stones will do much better than the same ritual in an office building, and even there, it's better than in the middle of a downtown intersection! (GURPS Cabal or Magic Ingredients Revisited may both provide inspiration for bonuses or penalties to sorcerous rituals.)

With the exception of the Risk rules, the Corporeal Player's Guide rules on p. 34-36 apply; the In Nomine check digit becomes the GURPS degree of success or failure. If using Fatigue instead of Essence, charge twice as much Fatigue for each ritual, since sorcerers will typically have more Fatigue than Essence to play with. (However, it is suggested that the amount of Fatigue which spectators can contribute not be raised.)

Banishment (Will)

The Ritual (maneuver) for Banishment is, simply, Banish. The prerequisites, however, are different depending on what the sorcerer wishes to banish. Note that you will need to learn a ritual to Summon whatever you are trying to Banish -- but do not need to have the underlying prerequisite skill of Summoning! (Treat learning just the ritual as learning a Mental/Hard skill.)

When banishing something, it becomes a Quick Contest between the sorcerer's ritual skill and the subject's Will + Power Investiture (Celestial). The banished being is immediately forced back to its native realm (without the usual Essence costs to get there) and cannot return to the corporeal plane for days equal to the ritual's degree of success. If the Quick Contest fails, that sorcerer may not attempt to banish that being again for days equal to the target's degree of success! (If the ritual itself fails, it may be attempted again immediately -- if the sorcerer has enough Essence!) Note that if the Quick Contest fails, a demon or ethereal may choose to treat it as a Will-war -- see p,. IN175.

Banish Ethereal Being (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Banishment-1; Prerequisite: Banishment

This is used to banish ghosts, dream-shades, and ethereal spirits. Ghosts and dream-shades cannot engage in Will-wars, but ethereals can. A ghost is permanently banished! It will travel to the afterlife destination it evaded. A dream-shade banished upon the corporeal plane will be returned to the ethereal realm; if banished from the Marches, it will move on to the afterlife, like a ghost.

Banish Demonling (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Banishment-2; Prerequisite: Banishment-13

A demonling is any infernal celestial spirit with fewer than 7 levels of Power Investiture (realm). Demonic familiars, typically being imps or gremlins with corporeal vessels, count.

Banish Demon (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Banishment-2; Prerequisite: Banishment-14

A demon is an infernal spirit who merits a Band, with 7+ levels of Power Investiture (realm). This ritual is highly unlikely to work on a Demon Prince, of course.

Banish Ethereal Spirit by Name (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Banishment-3; Prerequisite: Banishment-15

If the sorcerer knows the ethereal target's True Name, he may use this ritual to banish it and it does not add its Celestial Power to the Quick Contest to resist!

Banish Demon by Name (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Banishment-3; Prerequisite: Banishment-16

As above, this ritual prevents the named demon from using its Power Investiture (Celestial) in the Quick Contest.

Command (Will)

Despite the name, these rituals are primarily concerned with modifying reaction and/or influence rolls -- not actually taking over another's will.

Suggest (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Command-1

This is resisted with a Quick Contest of Will between the sorcerer and the subject; the subject adds his Celestial Power (if any) to his Will.

Command Minor Ethereal (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Command-2; Prerequisite: Command-13

The ethereal thus targeted must have fewer than 9 levels of Power Investiture (realm).

Command Demonling (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Command-2; Prerequisite: Command-14

Awe Demonling (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Command-3; Prerequisite: Command-15

Command Major Ethereal (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Command-3; Prerequisite: Command-16

A "major" ethereal spirit has 9 or more levels of Power Investiture (realm).

Awe Demon (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Command-4; Prerequisite: Command-17

This requires 5 seconds, possibly talking very fast if the demon in question is not starting out in a listening frame of mind . . .

Exorcism (Will)

In the case of everything save Exorcise Ghost and Exorcise Undead, the same ritual is used -- the sorcerer need not know what he's dealing with. However, the penalties of -1 to skill for ever level below the Prerequisites applies! (Best not to attempt to exorcise what you think is a minor ethereal, and discover it is actually a full-fledged demon . . .) The GM may wish to roll the Exorcism in private, or allow the player to see the dice -- for the proper sinking feeling when a nominal success actually fails.

Exorcise Minor Ethereal (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Exorcism-1; Prerequisite: Exorcism

As above, a minor ethereal is one with less than 9 levels of Power Investiture (realm). This is also the ritual to exorcise dream-shades with 8 or fewer levels of Power Investiture (realm). Dream-shades with more levels than that must be exorcised with Exorcise Major Ethereal, below.

Exorcise Demonling (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Exorcism-2; Prerequisite: Exorcism-13

Exorcise Major Ethereal (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Exorcism-3; Prerequisite: Exorcism-14

Exorcise Demon (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Exorcism-4; Prerequisite: Exorcism-15

Exorcise Ghost (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Exorcism-1; Prerequisite: Exorcism

(The sorcerer must know what he is exorcising in this case.)

Exorcise Undead (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Exorcism-3 or Necromancy-3; Prerequisite: Exorcism-14 and Necromancy

This requires the Necromancy skill -- addressed later on in this article. The sorcerer must know that he is exorcising an undead creature.

Summon (Will)

The wise sorcerer takes care not to summon up that which he cannot Command, Banish, or Exorcise. Alas, sorcerers are more often willful than wise . . .

Summon Ethereal Spirit (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Summon-1; Prerequisite: Summon

The summoned ethereal's total levels of Power Investiture (realm) are equal to the degree of success, but cannot exceed 18 (even if otherwise possible) -- and are unlikely to exceed 9. GMs may want to restrict the levels to 6, which would be the normal In Nomine maximum Power Investiture (realm) for this ritual.

Note that while the Corporeal Player's Guide does not list a ritual for Summoning an ethereal spirit which is already on Earth, it is a logical extension of the Summon Demon variant on p. IN175, and would have the same default and Prerequisite.

Summon Demonling (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Summon-2; Prerequisite: Summon-13

Roll 1d6 to determine the levels of Power Investiture (realm) the summoned demonling possesses. Note that if it has only 1 level, it must be Celestial Investiture -- the demonling will also be very stupid, with a maximum IQ of 3, and will have no way to affect the Earthly plane. If it also has Ethereal Investiture, the IQ limit is lifted, though it's unlikely to have a score above 9.

Summon Human Soul (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Summon-2; Prerequisite: Summon-13

For a discussion of ghosts in In Nomine, see Lost Souls or the Corporeal Player's Guide. The summoned being must be on the same plane as the summoner (this means Lucid Dreaming skill is required to compel the presence of a dream-shade in the Marches). The soul summoned must have some identification in the sorcerer's mind -- "the haunt in the kitchen," "my great-aunt," or "James McAshley." Use a Quick Contest of Will -- the spirit adds its Celestial Power to its roll, if any.

Summon Random Demon (of a Specific Type) (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Summon-3; Prerequisite: Summon-13

Each Specific Type (Band, Job Description/Prince's Word, etc.) is a different ritual. Summon Succubus rituals are popular . . . So are Summon Incubus ones. Few sorcerers know enough about demons to summon by Band or Prince's Word -- and may be surprised if the minion of a Prince does not conform to their beliefs about the realm that Prince governs. The demon's total levels of Power Investiture (realm) are equal to 1d6+6. (Or 6+ the degree of success of the ritual, for a demon with a minimum of 6 levels and a maximum of 18; this is not necessarily a desirable option for the sorcerer!) This ritual and the one below are amalgamated in the spell on p. IN175.

Summon Named Demon (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Summon-3/-4; Prerequisite: Summon-14/16

Akin to Exorcise, above, this ritual summons a named demon -- but the default and prerequisite are different depending on if the demon is already on the corporeal plane (the first value) or the celestial one (the second value). The sorcerer will probably not know which value is being used . . .

Summon Named Ethereal Spirit (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Summon-4; Prerequisite: Summon-15

As above, but for ethereals. Note that summoning Athena or Odin is theoretically possible, but not recommended.

Focus (IQ)

Symphonic Awakening (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Focus-1; Special Prerequisite

If the Focus skill is not known at all, this maneuver can be bought as a Mental/Very Hard skill, but will be performed at a -5.

Protective Ward (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Focus-1; Prerequisite: Focus

Sacrifice for Essence (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Focus-1; Prerequisite: Focus-13

Use the rules on p. IN138 to determine how much Essence a living being has; animals have lower maximums -- a goat is liable to have only 4 Essence, at most, while a cat would have 2, and a rat, only 1.

Store Essence (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Focus -2; Prerequisite: Focus-14

Create Spirit Anchor (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Focus -2; Prerequisite: Focus-15

Siphon Essence (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Focus -3; Prerequisite: Focus-15

This is greatly akin to the Impudite resonance ability to steal Essence; see p. IN74.

Permanent Ward (Hard) . . . . . Defaults to Focus -4; Prerequisite: Focus-16

Advanced Rituals

As described on p. 44 of the Corporeal Player's Guide, there are rumored rituals which require the GM's permission. Should these be allowed, here are some suggested defaults and prerequisites. All would be Hard maneuvers, as usual, and have a maximum skill level.

As with Summon Demon (by Type), this rumored ritual is likely to have distinctions drawn more from theology than In Nomine canon -- e.g., invoking "an avenging angel" might get a Malakite, a Servitor of War, or a Cherub of Fire. (Or a Habbalite . . .)

Non-Sorcerous Skills Most Sorcerers Learn

Or would like to learn, at least. Many sorcerers refer to these skills as subsets of Sorcery. The strict interpretation of Sorcery -- as something which cannot be performed by ethereal and celestial beings -- makes this a false categorization, as non-humans are perfectly able to use these skills. However, many traditions make use of these skills, and teach them alongside genuine sorcerous rituals.

Alchemy . . . . . Mental/Hard

While default GURPS Alchemy works well enough, a more faithful conversion requires the alchemist to have the Song, skill, or attunement which is being made into an alchemical preparation, and -- at the end of the preparation period -- to make any rolls required by the ability. (Technically, the Enchantment skill (below) is also required; this can be bought as the spell, and treated as a prerequisite, or the alchemist may need to roll against the lower of the two skills.)

Construct Creation

In GURPS terms, a construct is essentially a golem; see GURPS Magic or GURPS Magic Items 3 for those rules. However, In Nomine golems are restricted to no more than 4 levels of Power Investiture (realm), and of those, no more than 1 level each of Power Investiture (Celestial) or Power Investiture (Ethereal). Likewise, they are restricted to IQ 9. Those with Celestial Power also have Symphonic Awareness.

Enchantment . . . . . Mental/Hard

In GURPS In Nomine, the Enchantment skill is not converted, in favor of using the Songs of Artifacts.

Necromancy . . . . . Mental/Hard

Thanatology covers the mundane study of death and death rituals; Necromancy would cover the occult ones. GMs wishing to avoid "skill bloat" may use Thanatology and Occultism instead, rolling against the lower of those two, or declare that Thanatology has a required specialization between "Mundane" and "Necromantic." In any case, the Necromancy skill requires has a prerequisite of Enchantment at 12 or better. If the GM is using the Songs of Artifacts, then the Sorcerer must have an effective skill of 12+ in the Corporeal Song of Artifacts. There are two well known rituals (again, learned as maneuvers) . . .

Create Zombi . . . . . Defaults to Necromancy-1; Prerequisite: Necromancy-13

The maneuver's skill level is rolled against, rather than the skill levels from the Corporeal Player's Guide. A default mundane human (0-75 points) is considered to have 5 Forces; a human with Symphonic Awareness or 100-200 points (deducting points from advantages such as Wealth or Appearance) should be considered to have 6 Forces. Non-human vessels require Essence equal to the levels of Power Investiture (realm) the animating spirit had. Saminga's Zombi attunement (p. IN131) is effectively an instantaneous version of this ritual, and p. IN23 has the zombi template.

There is no "Create Vampire" ritual, but it's possible that one exists, with a default and prerequisite between Create Zombi and Create Mummy.

Create Mummy . . . . . Defaults to Necromancy-3; Prerequisite: Necromancy-15

While any dead body, vessel or mundane, can be turned into a zombi, only a living mortal may be turned into an undead mummy. (See the suggestions at the top of the article, regarding non-human corporeal races.) The degree of success must exceed the Forces of the human to be mummified -- effectively a penalty equal to the subject's Forces. (Anyone with levels of Power Investiture (realm) is considered to have more than 5 Forces.) If the ritual is successful, the mummy template (p. IN23) is applied to the subject.

If the degree of success does not exceed the subject's Forces, roll again, with an additional penalty of -5. If this succeeds, the subject gains the vampire template (p. IN23). If it fails, the victim gets the Zombi template instead.

If the ritual fails, the subject dies -- though he can be raised as a zombi.


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