Using In Nomine with GURPS
by S. John Ross
Copyright © 1997 by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
In Nomine has a system custom-tailored to its own environment and style. In our humble opinion, it's Good Stuff. On the other hand, we'll hardly take it as an insult if you like GURPS so much that you want to use it for In Nomine, as well!
We provide these conversion rules for those who wish to use In Nomine as a GURPS worldbook. Throughout, we've assumed that the reader is familiar with the language of both games; if you're a GURPS enthusiast looking through these rules for the first time, many of the concepts here won't make any sense until you've given In Nomine at least a cursory once-over.
Give it more than that, please. We're proud of it!
The goal of these rules is to adapt the world of In Nomine to GURPS, not its mechanics. Where In Nomine might request a roll against Will plus a particular Force, these rules may ask for an IQ roll. In Nomine has an interlocking set of mechanics that directly represent the forces at work in and around the Symphony; GURPS is, by nature, not tied to any form of cosmology. Each system is a different lens through which to view the same world. The result is that each system brings certain parts of the world into sharper focus than the other does.
Our advice: relax and enjoy. If a GURPS angel can cause a revolving door to spin on its own for 34 hours, while an In Nomine angel doing the same trick has a duration in days derived from the check digit of his roll, the Symphony will not shatter into eternal cacophony from the discrepancy. While it's certainly possible to juggle Enhancements and Limitations to make any GURPS power jump backwards through hoops, it's not worth it if the only reason is to match a particular mechanic to the last angstrom. If the overall dramatic effect of a Song is the same, then it's the same Song (or at least a respectable "cover" of it).
The careful reader will also notice that many of the factors that are vital in In Nomine are less so – or differently so – when using GURPS. The only mechanics we've really tried to preserve are the concepts of Essence and dissonance, and world-specific features such as Ascension to Heaven. And even those work differently. To bring too much of the In Nomine mechanics over to GURPS would mean asking you to play one system on top of another. We've made every effort to avoid that.
Books You'll Need
These rules makes reference most often to GURPS Basic Set, Third Edition Revised and to GURPS Compendium I: Character Creation. Full use of these rules requires both. Both GURPS Supers and GURPS Psionics will be very useful for creating Songs, but are not absolutely necessary.
Campaign Focus and Power Level
Using GURPS opens up a wide range of possibilities, in terms of power levels and gaming styles. Most campaigns will fall into the following broad categories:
Stuck in the Middle: The PCs are human beings, either heroic or mundane, who become aware of how real heaven and hell are . . . By being in the right place at the wrong time, they're drawn into the plots of the celestial battlefield, and get their shot at elevation to the status of a pawn in the struggle. Build characters on 100 points, to give them a fighting chance. Read A Bright Dream again – that's In Nomine from the perspective of a human servant. Not as glamorous as being a celestial, perhaps, but it's a fascinating angle from which to discover the world for the first time, and humans can go places and do things that are difficult for the denizens of Heaven and Hell. They're also more important than a lot of celestials want to give them credit for. If the players start wanting more power, their celestial friends might elevate them to the next stage . . .
Veterans of the Psychic Wars: With a budget of 200 to over 400 character points, a diverse band of Soldiers can develop, with whatever strange powers and motives the GM sees fit to approve. At a slightly higher point level (say, 500-750 points), a combination campaign is possible, with low-end celestials and high-end Soldiers working side-by-side.
Spinning in Infinity: The traditional In Nomine campaign, focusing on the adventures of the celestials themselves. Point values are dizzying: build beginning GURPS celestials on 1,000 points (or more, if the GM likes).
The character conception process is identical to the one in In Nomine proper: Discuss your character concept with the GM, select a Choir or Band (if you're playing a celestial) and select a Superior.
In GURPS, the Choirs and Bands are races, purchased as advantages. Superiors are Patrons, and tend to require a Duty from their favored servants, the player characters.
The celestials are a strange set of races even by GURPS standards; they are not of this Earth, they simply manifest here.
That said, creating an angelic or demonic character isn't very different from creating any other GURPS character. Angels and demons are defined by the same attributes as humanity, and have their own list of available advantages, disadvantages and skills.
In general, humans should have a limit of -40 points of disadvantages, while Soldiers and celestials should have a limit of -100 points. However, the GM may opt to waive this concept entirely, particularly for celestials (but note that angels rarely have many disadvantages beyond "noble" ones, or those specifically associated with their Choir or Superior).
Members of all Choirs have the Celestial advantage (260 points; see New Advantages), providing a basic price for all races before adding Choir-specific details. A theoretical "average" celestial has ST, DX and IQ of 14 each, with HT 14/20, but celestials' attributes are highly variable, and they receive no particular "attribute bonuses" as a result. In fact, we recommend a cap of 300 points for celestial attributes, but the GM may relax this in light of a good explanation from the player (bribes of junk food don't hurt, either).
Since the default In Nomine angel must have at least one vessel to begin his service to his Superior, these rules assume the existence of a Corporeal body (either animal or human). Additional vessels may be purchased as advantages, of course, and vessels can die, leaving an angel temporarily corpus-free.
Most angels also have a Duty to their Superior, at a level determined by the GM. This Duty doesn't count against the angel's disadvantage limit, if the GM has decided to enforce one. See below for details on the point value of Superiors.
Specific details on each race follows. Note that only game mechanics are discussed here; for descriptions of behavior, attitudes and outlook, go back to the main In Nomine text.
Seraphim (275 points)
In addition to the standard package, the Seraphim's devotion to the truth gives them the "Odious Choir Habit" of "Tactlessly Blunt" (-10 points) which they must work hard to overcome if they wish to blend socially with other beings.
The Seraphim resonance includes a special 30-point version of the Empathy advantage, with all the advantage normally entails, plus an ability to literally see truth with an IQ roll. That intentional deception causes dissonance is a -5-point disadvantage, related to Truthfulness. They are more capable of lies than a Truthful human, but allowing themselves that luxury is far more dangerous for them, carrying with it the danger of becoming Outcast.
Cherubim (250 points)
The Cherubs' ability to attune themselves to people and things is, overall, only a slight (5-point) advantage. While it does grant them powerful abilities of long-range perception, it is never without an often-dangerous cost. Always knowing where to find your lucky rabbit's foot – and know what shape it's in – is all well and good; but when such knowledge comes with the need to literally go to Hell and back to insure its safety, the value of the advantage is greatly reduced.
A Cherub may attune himself to a number of subjects equal to the size of his Essence limit (see Essence, sidebar).
In addition to their resonance, Cherubs have a -15-point Code of Honor that amounts to a Sense of Duty to friends combined with a rigid devotion to their own ideals.
Ofanim (400 points)
If the Seraphim are the supernatural embodiment of Truthfulness, the Ofanim embody Impulsiveness. Unlike the Seraphim, however, they are mentally Impulsive and put at risk when they try to fight it. So, for them, it is a -15-point disadvantage.
Their resonance is multifaceted and powerful. The GURPS effects are as follows:
Whenever an Ofanite must make a Dodge roll, an Area Knowledge roll, or a skill roll against any physical skill focusing on movement (including Climbing, Running, Swimming or any vehicle operation skill), the Ofanite rolls his resonance activation first. This does not require a turn of concentration. If the roll fails, there is no ill effect. If the roll succeeds, the Dodge or skill roll receives a bonus equal to the IQ roll's margin of success (maximum +6 to skill; maximum +3 to Dodge).
If the skill roll still fails, this generates dissonance according to the normal In Nomine rules for the Ofanim (Area Knowledge rolls won't do this).
An Ofanite may also travel to any point within (resonance roll margin) miles in a single minute while in celestial form (see p. 53). This requires a normal resonance invocation (i.e., a concentrate maneuver).
The total price of the resonance abilities is 155 points.
Elohim (265 points)
The "Objective Ideal" striven for by the Elohim is treated as a -5-point Code of Honor and a -10-point Odious Choir Habit. That straying from it causes dissonance is a further -5-point disadvantage. Treat their resonance as a slightly enhanced version of the Awareness advantage (p. CI33). Since all celestials have already purchased the 15-point version of this advantage, the extra boost (and the enhancements) adds a total of only 25 points to the racial package.
Malakim (220 points)
The Malakim have a rigid collection of mental disadvantages. The first one people tend to notice is No Sense of Humor (p. CI92, -10 points). The others are Intolerance: Evil (-5 points) and Vow: Never Surrender (-15 points). Each Malakim also has a personal (and often complex) Code of Honor worth -15 points; the player should define one to the GM's satisfaction. That every Malakim expects those around him to follow his own rigid codes as strictly as he does is a further -10-point disadvantage (treat as a severe and often conflict-sparking Odious Choir Habit).
The Malakite ability to view the honor and dishonor of those they meet is a 15-point advantage.
Kyriotates (295 points)
The Kyriotates have the "No Vessel" disadvantage, with all its attendant complexities (and the 24-hour limit; see p. 102 of the main rules). To counterbalance this, they may possess any willing subject with a simple invocation of their resonance (modified by Strong and Weak Will, rather than Alertness). A successful possession lasts a number of days equal to the margin of success (maximum 6). Unwilling hosts may resist by making an unmodified Will roll of their own; success indicates the intruding Kyriotate must wait (margin of success) hours before trying again.
Kyriotates have no ST and HT scores of their own; simply ignore these attributes entirely when creating Kyriotate PCs, since "who they are this week" will determine ST and HT. They may, however, purchase a HT Bonuses which will apply to any host body they occupy, modifying HT but not hit points. The price of a +1 HT bonus is the same as HT 11 (10 points), the price of a +2 HT bonus is the same as HT 12 (20 points) and so on, to a maximum of +6 (80 points). Kyriotates may not take HT penalties; that could put a host in danger and cause constant dissonance.
In GURPS, determine the number of vessels a Kyriotate may inhabit by the total hit points of the vessels. The basic limit is 15 total hit points. This may be modified upward or downward using the point scale for attributes (treat it as an attribute with a +5 bonus). Thus, a Kyriotate who spends 45 points on his "possession limit" will have a limit of 19 hit points' worth of possessed bodies.
Possession Mechanics: A Kyriotate's vessels have the Kyriotate's DX and IQ while possessed; they retain their natural ST and hit points. HT is equal to the host HT, plus any HT bonus the Kyriotate might bring with him. Beyond basic skills of locomotion (a Kyriotate inhabiting a pigeon can fly as well as the pigeon can fly), the only skills a Kyriotate has in his borrowed vessel are the skills he brought in with him (a Kyriotate inhabiting a carrier pigeon doesn't gain any particular ability to find the pigeon's home). Any skills based on ST or HT will vary with the ST and HT of his hosts.
All Kyriotates have a Sense of Duty to their host body, and leaving a body worse than they found it generates dissonance (-10 points). The possession ability itself, combined with the inconvenient lack of a personal vessel and the 24-hour limit, is worth a net 45 points.
Mercurians (240 points)
Mercurians have a -30-point version of Pacifism – Total Nonviolence with the additional sting of possible dissonance (but with no requirement that they encourage peace in others). Their obsession with aesthetics is a Compulsive Behavior worth -5 points. Their resonance for "smelling politics" on somebody is worth 15 points.
In terms of game rules, demons follow the same rules as angels (see above). Note, however, that the resonance of many Bands can be resisted – the victim may make an attribute roll, at a penalty equal to the demon's margin of success, to throw the resonance back in the demon's face. This frequently causes the demon to risk dissonance. See individual Bands, below.
Balseraphs (270 points)
The complex false reality constructed by a Balseraph gives him a -15-point Delusion, which should be treated as the Compulsive Lying disadvantage from the point of view of anyone but that individual Balseraph. In addition, all Balseraphs have the Paranoia disadvantage (-10 points), with emphasis on suspecting that everyone around them is lying.
The Balseraphs' resonance allows them to lie convincingly about almost anything and be believed by anyone (except Seraphim). Both the number of people affected and the duration of their belief (in minutes) are equal to the margin of success (maximum 6). The victim may resist by making an unmodified Will roll of his own; success indicates that the Belseraph may not lie to him for a number of hours equal to his margin of success. The Belseraph will suffer dissonance if this Will roll is made, and also if he contradicts any of his own lies through words or actions. All-in-all, this ability is worth 35 points.
Djinn (280 points)
The Djinn have the Odious Band Habit "Uncaring Jerks" (-10 points), and the paradoxical ability to sympathetically attune themselves as described in the main rules (simply substitute margin for check digit, and the mechanics are entirely unchanged, including the dissonance-generating ban on harming attuned things directly). A Djinn may attune himself to a number of subjects equal to his (IQ-5)/3 things, rounded down. This ability is worth 30 points.
Calabim (310 points)
All Calabim begin play with a kind of "pet disadvantage" worth from -10 to -20 points (player's choice). This disadvantage must come from the "discordant" list (see p. 89) – it must be either a physical disadvantage or a mental one that doesn't represent a conscious choice. It can never be bought off or removed (although it can get worse, if applicable). This disadvantage doesn't count against any disadvantage limit the GM has set.
The Calabite resonance (50 points) is pretty direct – they can cause damage. The Calabite simply picks a target (within 2 hexes), and makes his resonance roll (see Invoking Resonance). If successful, the resonance does 1d damage for every point by which the roll succeeded (6d maximum). DR applies normally, and the Calabite may not target the attack very precisely (apply the damage to hit points in general, not to a specific hit location). If the Calabite is in celestial form when he makes the attack, the damage is celestial – it reduces Will, rather than hit points.
Living things attacked in this manner resist with a ST roll – at a penalty equal to the margin of the successful resonance. If this resistance succeeds, the attacking demon must lash out at another target, or take a point of dissonance, as per the In Nomine Calabim rules.
Habbalah (290 points)
The Habbalah are most clearly defined by their Delusion, "We're On A Mission From God" (-15 points). Beyond that is their resonance:
By invoking their resonance (a 45-point advantage), the Habbalah may force a victim to experience a horrible emotional episode. For the duration of the episode, the victim will suffer an IQ penalty equal to the margin of the invocation's success.
The victim gets a resistance roll – a Will roll at a penalty equal to the margin of the attack. If this roll succeeds, the emotion backfires on the demon, as described in the main rules (possibly causing dissonance).
There are many types of emotional attacks, described in detail in the Habbalah's entry on p. 147. Substitute "margin of success" for "check digit" and "number of forces" references when using these with GURPS.
Lilim (300 points)
The resonance of the Lilim is a complex power, worth a net total of 40 points. The GURPS mechanics are as follows:
The initial roll to sense need is a standard angelic resonance roll – against IQ, modified by Alertness (see Invoking Resonance, sidebar). The margin of success determines the depth and complexity of need, parallel to the check digit results described on p. 149. The Lilim must then grant the subject's desire.
Once the Lilim has fulfilled the desire, she can at any point in the future "call in the favor" by attempting to give the subject the Geas disadvantage. The limit of the Geas is -10 character points per point of margin of the original roll. For instance, if the original "need probe" succeeded by 2 (a moderately inconvenient favor), the Lilim can later enforce a -20-point Geas on the subject. Beyond the point-value limit, it's up to the Lilim to decide what to ask for.
To impose the Geas, she must make a regular demonic resonance check, resisted by the victim's Will. Treat failure according to the In Nomine rules, substituting margin for check digit. Note that Lilim may "save up" favors to impose really large Geases.
Shedim (285 points)
The Shedim have the Compulsive Corruption disadvantage; -15 points, due to the added sting of possible dissonance.
Like the Kyriotates, Shedim have no flesh of their own, and must steal it (which is fine; it is what they enjoy). They may possess any willing subject with a simple invocation of their resonance. Unwilling hosts may resist by making a Will roll (at a penalty equal to the demon's success). A successful possession lasts until the demon elects to abandon the vessel. The host's growing awareness of his possession follows the normal rules for Shedim on p. 152. Other mechanics are likewise identical, with one exception: in GURPS, Shedim with no vessel lose two points of Will per hour for every hour over 3 hours that they remain bodiless. The Shedim "possession/fleshlessness package" is worth 40 character points.
Shedim have no ST and HT scores of their own; simply ignore these attributes entirely when creating Shedim PCs, since "who they are this week" will determine ST and HT.
Possession Mechanics: A Shedite's vessels have the Shedite's DX and IQ while possessed; they retain their natural ST, HT and hit points. In general, skills work as for the Kyriotates – the Shedim doesn't have access to the vessel's mental skills, for instance. However, when a Shedim engages the Contest of Wills to force his vessel to commit evil, his urgings may include the use of skills exclusively the "property" of the possessed vessel.
Impudites (315 points)
The Impudites have their own brand of Pacifism (Cannot Kill), worth -20 points. Not only can they not bear to see a human destroyed, actually killing one carries with it the risk of dissonance.
Impudites make all of their resonance rolls at a flat penalty of -4 when attempting to affect humans, or -8 when attempting to affect celestials. This has no particular point cost by itself, but figures into the point value of their two "modes" of resonance:
Their demonic charm (25 points) is represented as follows: The Impudite must make a standard resonance roll (see Invoking Resonance, sidebar), which the victim may resist with his Will. If the demon succeeds, the victim will trust him and think of him as having the victim's best interests at heart (unless shown blatant evidence otherwise). Furthermore, the victim reacts at +7 to any suggestion or proposal the demon makes! This applies to the victim only, and lasts a number of minutes equal to the margin of the demon's success.
An Impudite may rob Essence from a victim under the effects of his charm (50 points). This requires a resonance roll on the part of the demon. He may steal a number of Essence equal to the margin of his success, but can't bring himself past his own reservoir limits.
The choice of a Superior – an Archangel or Demon Prince – remains a vital one in any version of the In Nomine universe. In GURPS terms, they are both Patron and Duty. They also grant attunements – special supernatural advantages which must be purchased separately (see sidebar).
Patron and Duty Value
Archangels and Demon Princes are worth a base 25 character points as Patrons. They are exceedingly powerful individuals, capable of granting significant aid when they see fit. However, they are less than easy to call on. In GURPS, Archangels and Demon Princes always have a Frequency of Appearance of 6 or less (half cost), for a net Patron cost of 13 character points. Use the normal In Nomine modifiers when invoking their aid.
At his discretion, the GM may offer characters who give sterling service to their superiors, through long-established campaign play, the opportunity to purchase their superiors at a higher Frequency or Appearance, but they must still pay the character points – he should never give this away.
In the "default" GURPS In Nomine campaign, the service of the "favored" of the Archangels and Demon Princes is a full-time commitment, a constant reality-threatening struggle. Treat this as an Extremely Hazardous Duty (-20 points).
In general, GURPS In Nomine characters can have just about any advantage from any GURPS book, provided the GM approves of it (although the more esoteric and "super" advantages should only be used to build Songs; see below). The following additional advantages apply to the world of In Nomine:
Celestial (260 points)
This is a racial "core" advantage, not suitable for individual mortals. Creatures of a celestial nature have Symphony Awareness (see below), and this advantage includes that one, as well as Unaging (p. CI69). Furthermore, celestials are not bound to their vessels as humans are; they can discorporate, taking their celestial forms on Earth.
To assume celestial form, the character makes a roll against unmodified Will. If the roll fails, the character must wait 1d-3 minutes to try again. If successful, the character's corporeal form (and any carried, unliving matter up to Light Encumbrance) simply vanish, replaced by an insubstantial, free-floating being of energy. This state lasts for (margin x 2) minutes. At least one full turn must pass in corporeal state before the celestial can discorporate again.
While in this form, the celestial is barely visible to mortals. Anyone looking upon a celestial's true form must make a Vision roll to notice him at all, at +1 for every level of Will the celestial has above 14, or at -1 for every level of Will below 14. Thus, to see a celestial with Will 10, a mortal would have to roll versus (Vision-4). If the roll fails, the celestial is effectively invisible to that mortal. See p. 52-53 of the main rules for additional details.
Note: In game terms, these abilities amount to a combination of the Doesn't Breathe (p. CI53), Flight (p. CI56), Invisibility (p. CI59), Invisibility to Machines (p. CI59) and Insubstantiality (p. CI59) advantages, with special limitations and enhancements applied.
Celestials may move beyond the mortal sphere entirely, ascending to Heaven, descending to Hell or entering the Ethereal realm (see p. 00).
Finally, there is one significant drawback to being a celestial: direct meddling with reality (including the expenditure of Essence and the destruction of corporeal life, humans in particular) rings loudly through the Symphony, frequently betraying their location to their foes. This is a problem humans don't have to face.
Symphony Awareness (100 points)
Your senses are open to the Symphony. You may learn its Songs (i.e., purchase supernatural abilities), and you have a chance of perceiving celestial intervention when it occurs. Humans and Soldiers must purchase this advantage; celestials have it automatically.
This advantage includes the 15-point version of the Awareness advantage (p. CI33), among other things.
Note: Vessels do not use the Multiple Forms rules described on p. CI62 and in GURPS Bestiary and Supers. The following rules are inappropriate for anything other than representing otherworldly races that can manifest in different bodies on the mortal plane.
Having a single human vessel is the default; it doesn't cost any character points. If you're creating a human, a Soldier or a celestial with a single human vessel and no other, skip this section entirely; you've done this already.
A celestial has already purchased the attributes of any human vessels he chooses; they are the celestial's attributes! In addition, all vessels (being simply different manifestations of the same part of the symphony) will share the celestial's advantages, disadvantages and quirks.
Exception: Advantages and disadvantages that are used to define "roles" – including many earthly Enemies or Allies, Status, Wealth and so on – can be declared "vessel-specific."
Vessels aren't separate characters; they're advantages, with a point cost determined by their differences from the "generic template" provided by the angel or demon. However, no vessel costs less than 5 character points, regardless of the vessel's inherent disadvantages.
Switching between vessels requires a roll against (Will-4), a turn of concentration and the expenditure of 3 Essence.
Human Vessel (Variable)
This is the most common sort of vessel. An angel or demon wearing human flesh has his normal ST, DX, IQ, HT and hit points, as well as all of his advantages and disadvantages. Vessels may be either male or female (unless the celestial is Asexual, in which case all its vessels are neuter). Each vessel beyond the first is an advantage worth a base 20 character points.
The price of a vessel increases or decreases if it is especially attractive or unattractive. Add the cost of the appropriate Appearance advantage or disadvantage to the price of the vessel. Exception: if the angel took a specific level of Appearance himself, then all of his vessels have the same level of Appearance, with no Appearance-based modifier to the basic 20-point price tag for vessels.
Roles: Social advantages and disadvantages specifically tying a vessel to the mortal world can alter its cost. The cost of Allies, Contacts, Dependents and Enemies, Social Stigmas, and wealth or Social Status other than average (and so on) are all added to the vessel's cost. Most characters with Roles should also have some sort of job.
Animal Vessel (Variable)
If a character's only vessel is an animal vessel, there is no special cost as an advantage. Rather, the PC must take appropriate advantages and disadvantages to represent the differences between the bodies of beasts and humans. Attributes have already been purchased; they are unchanged. See GURPS Bestiary, 2nd Edition, and GURPS Compendium I: Character Creation for common advantages and disadvantages of animal forms. Especially common are PD and DR from fur or scales, the Mute disadvantage, No Fine Manipulators, the Flight advantage (for birds), body weaponry (Strikers), form- and posture-related traits (such as Extra Legs and Horizontal) and enhanced senses such as Discriminatory Smell.
Purchase additional animal vessels exactly like human vessels; they cost a base 20 points, modified by any differences from the angel's or demon's basic character. Only traits that describe the working of the animal's body may be taken, including modified attributes; if an angel's ST is 15 (60 points), and his animal form has ST 8 (-15 points), then the price of the vessel is reduced by 60 – (-15) = 75 points.
In GURPS, each artifact is a separate advantage. Use the following rules to determine the point cost of any artifact.
Corporeal Artifacts (Varies)
This is a mundane item (e.g., a penlight, gun or helicopter) to which you are personally attuned. By taking a Concentrate maneuver and making a successful roll against (IQ-4), you can know the location of the attuned object. Use the Cherub resonance table (p. 96), comparing the margin of success rather than the check digit.
Purchase Corporeal Artifacts entirely with character points. The cost of the advantage is equal to (item weight in lbs.)/250, or (item price)/$500, whichever is higher. Round costs up. Thus, an ordinary Colt .45 (2.75 lbs., $600) would cost 2 character points. A run-of-the-mill automobile (3,000 lbs., $10,000) would cost 20 character points.
Ethereal Artifacts (Varies)
To create an Ethereal Artifact, start with a Corporeal Artifact and add a skill bonus. For instance, a character could have a paintbrush that grants the user +5 to the Artist skill. An artifact may contain only one skill bonus. Add the point cost of the skill bonus to the basic cost of the artifact.
Determine the point cost of the bonus as follows: the basic cost is 2 points/level for Mental/Easy, Average and Hard skills, 4 points/level for Mental/Very Hard skills, and 8 points/level for Physical skills of any kind. At the GM's discretion, maneuvers (see p. CI162ff and GURPS Martial Arts) may receive bonuses of this kind, at a basic cost of 2 points/level (Ethereal sandals that grant a +4 bonus to Back Kicks, perhaps). The maximum bonus is +10. Note that these rules differ from those given for skill bonuses in the Racial Generation rules on p. CI177! This is not a rule change; this price is for bonuses purchased by individual players for individual characters.
Limitations (see p. CI110) are now used to determine the final price of the skill bonus. One or more of the following special limitations may apply:
Breakable: If the item has DR 15 or less and 75 or fewer hit points, -15%. If DR exceeds 15 or hit points exceed 75, -5%. If the item is cannot be repaired, this is worth an additional -15%.
Targetable: A Breakable item may be attacked in combat. If there is no penalty to hit the item, this limitation is -25%. Every full +/-2 to hit modifies this by -/+5%. Thus, a large item that can be attacked at +3 to skill gets a reduction of -30%, while a small item targetable at -7 to skill receives only a -10% break. If the penalty to hit is -10 or worse, the item does not qualify for this limitation at all. Divide the value of this limitation by 4 if the object is only Breakable at the -5% level.
Snatchable: If the item can be grabbed with a simple DX roll (a hat, for instance), -40%. If grabbing the item would require a Contest of ST, DX or skill (a handgun or bracelet), -30%. If it could only be taken by stealth or trickery (a magic ring kept in the pocket, or something too large to just grab and run off with), -10%. Halve these values if the item doesn't look especially useful (appropriate for a dingy baseball cap, not appropriate for any kind of weapon).
Example: Bo Scooter the Ofanite has an Ethereal artifact – an ordinary car that grants him +10 to Driving (Automobile) skill. In that car, he can turn the streets inside out. Since Driving is a Physical skill, the base cost of the bonus is 80 character points. However, the car is "breakable" with nearly 200 hit points (-5%), is targeted at +3 for size (-7.5%), and can be stolen by trickery or if Bo Scooter is dumb enough to leave it sitting around with the keys in it (-10%). The total point reduction is -22.5%, so the bonus costs 62 character points. Add this to the 20 points for the car itself, for a net price of 82 points.
Celestial Artifacts (Varies)
Celestial artifacts, outwardly, appear no different from the Corporeal or Ethereal variety. However, all of them are indestructible by physical means; only celestial damage can harm them. (See mechanics for damage, below; treat the item as having its regular DR and hit points, but applied to attacks that normally target living Will.)
The base price, before considering any supernatural abilities, is equal to double the cost of an equivalent Corporeal Artifact. Beyond that, the special nature of a celestial artifact depends on whether it is a relic or reliquary.
Relics: These are Celestial Artifacts that are imbued with Songs, effectively granting their holder supernatural powers. Create the Song normally (see Songs, below), but also apply a Snatchable limitation, if applicable (see above; Breakable and Targetable do not apply). Relics may also contain "dedicated Essence," purchased at 15 points per level, that can only power whatever abilities it grants. A relic can contain only enough Essence to power the artifact once. Characters may "recharge" relics using their own internal Essence, but may not draw Essence out of a relic for other purposes. The Snatchable limitation is also applied to the price of this Essence. Add the modified price of the Song and any Essence to the basic price of the object to determine the total price.
Reliquaries: These are simply Essence batteries, and may contain any amount of Essence the GM allows. (This is limited in a very general sense by the object's size and durability; the GM should use the examples provided in the main rules to determine limits for new types of objects.) The price of the Essence is 15 points per level, modified by the Snatchable limitation. Reliquaries can be carried for emergency Essence recharge, or (if attuned to a specific relic) be used to power that relic when both relic and reliquary are in hand. Attunement is a +5% enhancement to the price of the Essence (it doesn't affect the price of the associated relic at all). Add the modified price of the Essence to the basic price of the object to determine the total cost.
Characters created for the In Nomine universe have access to the full range of disadvantages in GURPS, but angels and demons treat certain classes of disadvantages with special rules (see Dissonance and Discord). Do not create angels with "dissonant" disadvantages without the express approval of the GM. The following disadvantages are new:
Asexual (-5 points)
Akin to Eunuch, but applying to vessels of either sex. Any normal human discovering (through whatever means) that your vessel is sexless is likely to find it unsettling. Your androgynous nature will almost always elicit some sort of reaction modifier, but there are many circles where the reaction will be positive.
Celestial Blindness (-3 points/level)
Apply the level of this disadvantage as a penalty to any roll made to notice a celestial in his true form, notice a disturbance in the Symphony or otherwise detect things celestial. No character may have more than six levels of Celestial Blindness.
Note: For characters without the Symphony Awareness advantage, this disadvantage is worth only -1 point/level.
This is a Vow with a dangerous side effect! Any Vow disadvantage that encompasses a specific end can be a Geas. Thus, a character can have a Geas to burn the Mona Lisa, but not a Geas to avoid eating pork. The value of the disadvantage depends on the difficulty of the Vow and the time allowed to fulfil it. Determine the basic value of the Vow according to the rules on p. B37. Then multiply the value according the following:
When the Vow is finally fulfilled, the Geas vanishes, and the disadvantage must be bought off.
You do not regenerate Essence naturally at sunset (or sunrise, if you're an angel). You must perform some sort of ritual or have a particular experience. If you fail to do this, your Essence doesn't regenerate.
The point value of this disadvantage is highly variable; but should not normally exceed -30 points. If you have to kick a dog, that's a minor inconvenience (-5 points) – and really only a big problem if you're some place with no dogs. If you have to murder the highest-ranking political figure in whatever nation you're in, that would be worth -30 points. The GM should set the value according to the general inconvenience and danger required by the "regenerative ritual."
Obvious Aura (-15 points)
Only celestials may take this disadvantage; it is the GURPS equivalent of the Aura discord. Your celestial nature is visibly apparent. Any character with Symphony Awareness who can make a Vision roll will recognize you as a celestial, regardless of what vessel you currently wear.
Songs are miracles; strong ripples in reality from fresh chords singing into the Symphony. In GURPS terms, a "song" is any supernatural ability powered by the expenditure of Essence.
As indicated on p. 78, the list of Songs provided with In Nomine is really only a "starter kit" – those Songs found often enough to be considered commonplace. Your GURPS celestial can have Songs that approximate these, or entirely different Songs! Any ability you can describe is probably feasible to the hosts of heaven and the denizens of hell. The GM can veto any proposed "Song" that he doesn't like the sound of, but beyond that, anything goes. A copy of GURPS Supers and Psionics will be useful when designing your character's Songs, but they aren't essential – the abilities in the Basic Set and Compendium I can provide a staggering variety all by themselves.
The GM should decide whether any proposed Song is Corporeal, Ethereal or Celestial. He should use the Songs in In Nomine as a guide, and keep in mind that the Corporeal is the realm of the body and physical world, the Ethereal the realm of emotion and the Celestial the otherworldly realm of intents, desires, urges and the deeper mysteries of the mind. This is a particularly important distinction if your GURPS campaign focuses on Soldiers, who can only learn Corporeal Songs!
Magic and Psi
Songs aren't "magic" in the traditional GURPS sense, nor are they psionics. However, the rules for either of these can be applied to create Songs. If an angel wants to learn the Explosive Fireball spell, there's no real reason why he shouldn't be able to, calling it a Corporeal version of a Song of Burning (and note that Songs can be very distinctive – the Pyrokinesis psi power might represent some other angel's "Song of Burning").
The GM, as usual, should reject any abuse of this rule, either forbidding the offending spell/psi power entirely to save his own sanity, or requiring an additional Unusual Background advantage to bring it into line.
GMs and players should keep in mind that Magic Resistance and magic spells like Spell Shield (p. M61) or Ward (p. M62) won't help resist a Song, nor will they hinder a helpful song; mana level has no effect on Songs, either. This is true even if the Song in question is being represented by a spell. The same goes for powers, skills and conditions that would normally hinder psionic abilities or help characters resist psi. This is a powerful ability, included in the 100-point cost of Symphony Awareness.
Whether actual psi or magic do exist in In Nomine depends on the GM. The Children of the Grigori are sometimes sorcerers; maybe they use something like the GURPS magic system – or maybe they don't; the system presented in GURPS Voodoo presents another interesting possibility . . .
There are only a few basic ground rules for creating Songs for GURPS In Nomine. The most important ones are these: all Songs require the expenditure of at least 1 point of Essence, all Songs require either a skill roll or attribute roll to activate, and all Songs have a finite duration. Almost every song requires at least one turn of concentration to activate.
The following enhancements and limitations (see p. CI107ff) can be applied almost universally when creating Songs:
Accessibility (Variable; see p. CI110)
Some common accessibility limitations in the In Nomine universe include "Only While In A Corporeal Vessel" (-5%), "Only While In Celestial Form" (-10%), "Usable Only On Celestials" (-30%), "Usable Only on Non-Celestials" (-15%) and "Only Usable In Direct Defense of a Word" (-30%). Many others are possible; use the rules in Compendium I.
Botch Delay (-20% or -5%)
At the -20% level, if the roll to activate the ability fails or is resisted (your choice when designing the Song), the character cannot use it again at all for 1d hours.
At the -5% level, the above restriction applies only to the intended subject – the user can try again right away, but only on somebody else. This version only applies to abilities which can affect someone other than the character using the Song.
Celestial Damage Only (+75%)
This can be applied to any ability which causes damage. Normal rules apply, but the ability causes no physical damage at all. Instead, damage is Celestial – it reduces Will rather than hit points. This makes the ability less useful in some ways, but is overall a significant boon, since the target does not get the benefit of PD or DR, and since being reduced to 0 Will is far more harmful than going to 0 hit points. Note that if the ability creates some sort of manifested energy, such as a Will-destroying fireball, it may still be Dodged (but without PD)!
If an ability does either Celestial or Corporeal damage, at the option of the wielder, the increase is +155%. If it does both, simultaneously, the increase is +195%. If an ability does physical damage normally, but Celestial damage when the character is in Celestial form, the increase is +135%.
Many abilities in GURPS, particularly advantages and super advantages, are "always on." Songs, on the other hand, always have a finite duration before they must be reactivated (always requiring at least one second of concentration). Use this limitation to give finite duration to otherwise infinite-duration abilities.
The duration can be expressed in any terms the player likes and the GM approves – 1d minutes, 5.23 hours, a number of minutes equal to the ST of the victim, a number of days equal to the population of the town the angel is in, divided by 10,000 – whatever. Work out the average duration based on the supplied formula, and apply the following:
Fueled By Essence (-10%)
Each time this limitation is taken, the Essence cost of an ability increases by one. All Songs must have at least one level of this limitation applied to them, unless they already have a fatigue cost associated with them. Any fatigue-powered ability can be defined as "Fueled By Essence" instead, with no modifier to cost, as a -0% limitation. The Essence cost is equal to half the fatigue cost, rounded up.
Such abilities can also have Fueled By Essence applied separately, in which case the ability fatigues the user's vessel and costs Essence.
Roll (Attribute) to Activate (-10% or -5%)
Either this limitation or the "Unreliable" limitation (p. CI112) must be applied to any ability that doesn't already require a die roll to make things happen (thus, super powers, psi abilities and spells don't need it). You must roll against an attribute (ST, DX, IQ or HT) – determined when the Song is written – to activate it. Any penalties currently applying to the attribute apply to the roll – as does shock from injury. If Strong Will or Alertness increase the attribute for the purposes of this roll, this is only a -5% limitation.
Many other enhancements and limitations are possible. See GURPS Supers, Psionics and Compendium I. Nearly everything in those books can fit somewhere in the world of In Nomine, provided the GM approves its inclusion.