In Nomine is essentially based on character classes. Each type of angel or demon is for all practical purposes a different race, and a character's Choir or Band is the most important and defining attribute.
This is not without precedent in literature and mythology, as occultists have always sought a taxonomy of demons, and Dionysius was probably not the first theologian to try to organize angels into heavenly ranks. People naturally like to categorize things, including supernatural beings.
But what if angels and demons aren't so easily categorizable? What if every celestial is an individual creation of God (for angels) or Self (for demons)? When picturing demons, I've always been fond of the scene in Neil Gaiman's Sandman, where Morpheus stands on the plains of Hell surrounded by the infernal horde, and we see legions of demons of every conceivable variety. Traditional scaly humanoids with horns and forked tails, Cthuluhoid horrors, serpentine lamias, "cute" little one-eyed fuzzballs, leather-clad pink-skinned hermaphrodites in chains, etc., etc., etc.
For In Nomine players and GMs who want more variety in celestial characters, beyond vague references to "minor" Choirs and Bands, I present an alternative to the rigid character class system in the main rulebook.
Note: These rules haven't been playtested, and while I tried to make them more or less balanced, I provide no assurances that they won't allow some munchkinish combination that will unbalance your game. Use at your own risk!
In Nomine speaks of demons being organized into "Bands" based on their affinities, implying that every demon develops differently but that they all tend to "mature" into one of several different archetypes. Likewise angels, though there's a stronger implication that angels tend to be more naturally hierarchical, with Archangels choosing how most angels will "fledge."
I take this concept a step further, and suggest that celestials can develop multiple affinities, or personality traits, characteristic of more than one "Choir/Band." Most will find certain affinities predominating, and as with canonical In Nomine, a Superior can always create a celestial whole in any configuration he desires. However, left to develop on their own, celestials -- especially diabolicals -- can manifest as angels or demons in a thousand different varieties. We may still refer to "Choirs" and "Bands" to describe those celestials who share certain traits in common, but now they are more like celestial societies of like-minded individuals, rather than races. Nationalities or religions as opposed to ethnic groups, to use an Earthly analogy.
To put it more simply in game terms, celestials can now be "multi-classed."
A "choral" is a musical piece designed to be sung by a choir, and so each celestial resonance can be considered a single Symphonic Choral. Thus, celestials who can resonate to the Symphony in a certain way may be said to be capable of singing a particular Choral. I will refer to "Choirs" and "Bands" collectively as Choral groups. Some celestials are more talented at a particular Choral than others, so being a member of a Choral group is a matter of degree, rather than an exclusive selection.
Each Choral will be broken down into three ranks, indicating different levels of proficiency. The names vary depending on whether we're talking about angels or demons, but the meaning (and game effects) will be the same:
Thus, we can say that a demon knows the Beat of the Balsereraph Choral, or that an angel can play a Chord of the Cherub Choral. On a character sheet, one could write under "Resonance:" Calabite Lick, Shedite Beat, or Seraph Chord, Elohite Melody, etc.
Note that knowing a Melody/Riff represents having full proficiency in that Choral, which is equivalent to being a member of that Choir or Band under standard In Nomine rules. So celestials who know a Melody or Riff may still be referred to as being members of the appropriate Choir/Band. The difference now is that it's possible to be a member of more than one Choir or Band.
Each level requires a certain number of Forces, noted in the table above. No character points are required, but the sum of required Forces for a celestial's Choral affinities cannot exceed his total Forces. Thus, a starting PC with 9 Forces can know one Melody/Riff, or a Chord and a Tone/Lick and a Beat, or three Tones/Beats.
A celestial may gain new Choral affinities as he gains Forces. Because Choral affinities are supposed to represent the celestial's natural development -- i.e., the way he individually relates to the Symphony -- a strict GM may require that every new Force be declared as it's acquired to represent the way the character is evolving. (I.e., "my 10th Force will be a Balseraph Force.") Players who want their character to develop a new resonance have to plan for it, rather than just waiting until they've "saved up" three unallocated Forces and then deciding which new power they'd like their character to have.
However, some players might want more freedom to change their minds as they go along, so the GM may choose to make players declare new Chorals only when they are committing unallocated Forces.
The GM should also decide whether or not starting PCs have to "declare" unallocated Forces at character creation or can leave them unspecified.
It is strongly recommended that characters not be allowed to "switch" Forces once committed. This would represent changing a celestial's fundamental nature, and just as with changing Choirs/Bands, can only be done by a Superior who takes that celestial apart and puts him back together again with different Forces...and no guarantee that he'll be at all the same being.
Naturally, angels cannot have diabolical Chorals, nor can demons acquire angelic Chorals!
Each rank of Choral ability grants increasing proficiency with that particular resonance, and a greater affinity for it and thus more severe dissonance restrictions.
A tone or note of Choral ability grants only a small bonus, as the celestial only resonates faintly to that Choral. It will have a noticeable effect on the celestial's behavior, and also manifest visibly in his celestial form. With such a small affinity, no dissonance conditions are imposed. However, the celestial will feel a natural aversion to acting in a manner contrary to the Choral (and the GM is entitled to enforce this by penalizing PCs in the form of reduced experience points if a character repeatedly acts contrary to one of his Chorals).
A Chord or Lick of Choral ability gives the celestial a much greater affinity, strong enough to actually feel it resonate within his being, and to cause pain when he acts dissonantly. His celestial form will be dominated by aspects of this Choral.
A Melody or Riff makes the Choral dominate the character's nature; it affects every aspect of his being, and gives him all the abilities (and dissonance conditions) associated with that resonance. This Choral will be the most obvious manifestation in the character's celestial form -- other Chorals will appear as secondary characteristics. (For characters with two Melodies or Riffs, see "Duets," below.)
The rules for acquiring Choir and Band Attunements should be changed in a game where celestials can be members of multiple Choral Groups. "Choral Group Attunements" refers, of course, to Choir Attunements for angels and Band Attunements for demons.
A Superior can attune someone only to a Choral Group in which he has at least a little affinity. No one can receive an attunement for a Choral Group for which they do not have at least a Tone or Beat of affinity. Choral Group Attunements that are "Restricted" (require that Choral Group's resonance to use) require at least a Chord or Lick of affinity.
Likewise, under standard In Nomine rules, a celestial can only receive a Choir/Band Attunement from another Superior for his own Choir/Band. Thus, under the new rules, a celestial must have at least a Chord or Lick of affinity in any Choral Group for which he receives an attunement from a Superior other than his own.
New characters may choose one free Choral Group Attunement, which must be the one for which they have the greatest affinity. (If they have equal affinities for more than one Choral Group, they may choose the one for which they receive the free attunement.) Celestials who increase their Choral Group affinities later do not receive any free attunements; they must pay for them normally.
Justification: Yes, this makes Choir/Band Attunements somewhat harder to obtain than in the standard rules; no more celestials who have a whole swath of them, unless they have a large number of Forces and multiple Choral Group affinities to match. This is the tradeoff for allowing celestials to have multiple resonances for "free."
Conceptually, I've always considered celestials who had a Choir/Band Attunement from a "Choral Group" other than their own to have some affinity for that Choir/Band. I.e., a Kyriotate with his Archangel's Malakite Attunement should be somewhat more militant and honor-bound than most Kyriotates.
The GM may wish to ignore the above rule, and let any celestial buy Choral Group Attunements at will, per the old rules, but I recommend against it, first to encourage roleplaying the part rather than just choosing from a shopping list of attunements, and secondly to balance the game somewhat.
The default assumption is that most celestials will have a single dominant Choral (a Melody or Riff), and some number of lesser Chorals. Below I suggest some optional extensions to these optional rules, to make certain combinations more or less appealing.
Not all celestials have to be a mish-mash of multiple Chorals. Some might refine a single Choral until they are masters at it, to the exclusion of any others. A celestial who is a "pure Seraph" or "pure Lilim" -- i.e., is a member of one and only one Choral Group -- should have some advantages over those who are not. There are several ways to enforce this.
Eliminate the restriction that one must have at least a Beat/Tone of affinity for a Choral in order to buy that Choral Group's Attunement. This will make multiple Choral Groups less attractive (if combined with one of the other methods below). I tend to prefer keeping the restriction, to make each supernatural power representative of one's nature rather than a menu selection, but removing it will keep this variant closer to the standard rules (and require less rewriting of existing characters).
Alternatively, you can weaken the restriction without eliminating it by saying that one must have at least a Chord/Lick of affinity to acquire a Choral Group Attunement, and full proficiency (Melody/Riff) in order to acquire a "restricted" Choral Group Attunement.
Learning multiple Chorals dilutes your resonance too much to do subtler or fancier tricks. Disallow all the "advanced" resonance applications described in the Angelic or Infernal Players Guides, unless the character has only a single Choral affinity. (One could go a step further and disallow any uses of resonances through artificial media except for "pure" Choir/Band members.)
Focusing on only one Choral allows you to play it more perfectly. Allow celestials with only a single Choral to get a bonus equal to their Celestial Forces on all resonance rolls. This is a major bonus and will certainly change the balance of the game. (It also has the potential to be very munchkinish -- a beginning PC who is a pure Seraph of Judgment with 4 Celestial Forces will get an automatic +8 on all resonance rolls!) However, a less generous bonus won't give characters much incentive to focus on a single Choral. (Keep in mind also that a "pure" Choir/Band member cannot buy other Choral Group Attunements, so a large compensating bonus is appropriate.)
The more Chorals you know, the more of the Symphony you hear, and the harder it is to pick out one particular sound. Celestials with an affinity for more than one Choral get a base penalty of -1 to all resonance rolls for each Choral that they learn. Knowing a Chord/Lick of a Choral will reduce the penalty for that Choral by 1, and knowing a Melody/Riff will reduce the penalty for that Choral by 2.
Thus, a demon who knows a Riff of Balseraph, a Lick of Calabite, and a Tone of Shedite and Impudite would have a base penalty of -3 to all resonance rolls, which adjusts to -1 when using his Balseraph resonance, -2 when using his Calabite resonance, and the full -3 when using the Shedite resonance.
Note that there is no penalty if you only know one Choral.
This is less unbalancing, but doesn't provide much of a disincentive to "add on" a couple new Chorals after one has already achieved full proficiency with one. It does, however, make it less attractive for a 9-Force beginning PC to divide himself among three Chorals (with a -3 on all of them).
The following pairs of Choirs/Bands are described in the In Nomine rulebook as being "incompatible," in that their outlooks tend to conflict and they generally don't get along well:
Seraph/Mercurian, Cherub/Kyriotate, Ofanite/Malakite, Balseraph/Impudite, Djinn/Shedite, Lilim/Shedite.
The GM may rule that mixing Choral affinities from these pairs is either unlikely or impossible. It may be that Superiors simply don't allow it, or perhaps the friction of their resonances simply prevents such "opposite" Forces from coexisting. If it's a matter of Superior permission, then this would prevent starting PCs from combining these forbidden pairs, though it's possible they could add a contradictory Choral Group later (at the risk of their Superior's disapproval). Either way, it's reasonable to assume that such celestials will feel an even greater degree of inner conflict than most with multiple Choral affinities, and more conflict the stronger their rival affinities are.
Perhaps a celestial isn't a full angel or demon until he has a primary Choral affinity. This requires that beginning PCs choose one Melody/Riff; other Chorals can only be acquired later.
Alternatively, perhaps it's possible for relievers and demonlings to develop multiple Choral affinities, but they never "fledge" until they develop a primary one. This allows for the possibility (theoretically) of 18-Force celestial spirits . . .
Or perhaps while one can fledge without a primary Choral, angels without a Melody continue to be treated like relievers, and demons without a Riff are relegated to gremlin or imp status.
With celestials no longer confined to a single Choir or Band, and some not being "full" members of any, celestial society will be somewhat different than described in the main rulebook. An angel or demon can no longer be defined simply by his Choir or Band. The roles that Servitors play are no longer as easily delineated. Ofanim are the messengers of Heaven, but now a messenger might be an Ofanite who is also one of the "Most Holy," and a Cherub assigned to guarding his cargo as well. Djinn, the "hounds of Hell," don't necessarily have to be paired with a Calabite executioner when the same demon can serve in both capacities.
The traditional rivalries between certain groups will be diluted. Seraphim find Mercurians too "human," and Mercurians find Seraphim too stuffy. Djinn and Shedim despite one another. What happens when an angel is part Seraph, part Mercurian? How much of an affinity is necessary for these prejudices to manifest? A Djinn with a Shedite Tone might get along with Shedim better than most Djinn, or he might dislike Shedim and his "own" (primary) Band, not feeling truly comfortable with either.
Most importantly, hierarchies will be more difficult to establish. Seraphim are the holiest and most respected of all angelic Choirs. Will this respect extend only to those with the full Seraph Choral, or anyone with some affinity for it? Will an angel with a Seraph Chord "outrank" one with a Seraph Tone? What rules will be imposed by various divine and infernal Orders who accept only members of certain Choirs or Bands?
These are issues the GM will have to think about. Below are some campaign suggestions.
Perhaps there is discrimination against "hybrid" celestials, or simply bias in favor of "pure" ones. Such discrimination would be natural in Hell, where "pure" Balseraphs would take pride in being among the "elite" and looking down their serpentine noses at any "lesser" serpent polluted by some other Choral. Other Bands might feel similarly; of course, such distinctions may be artificial and only exist in individual demons' minds, but it's likely that various "pure" groups and combinations alike would set up infernal Orders solely for the purpose of feeling superior to everyone else.
In Heaven, there wouldn't be such blatant discrimination, but perhaps only "pure" angels are entitled to certain privileges or status. The Seraphim Council might only allow pure Seraphim as full members. Laurence might reserve his highest Distinctions only for pure Choir members (or make those with multiple affinities work harder for them), being concerned about the divided perceptions of an angel who follows multiple Chorals.
Such social consequences can be a way for the GM to encourage less "multi-classing" without implementing extra game mechanics.
An interesting way to further distinguish between angels and demons is to say that they have different attitudes (and manifestations) where Choral Groups are concerned.
Heaven is by nature more hierarchical, and Archangels take a more direct role in the shaping of their Servitors. Demonlings are often left to develop on their own in the Pit, in a chaotic Darwinian breeding ground that rewards whatever combination of Chorals facilities survival.
A consequence of this might be that all or most angels are "pure" Choir members, whereas demons are much more likely to be hybrids of multiple Choral Groups. Using any of the optional rules described above to give an advantage to those with singular Choral affinities would be consistent with Hell's emphasis on quantity and Heaven's on quality. Angels could thus be expected to have much more powerful resonances that work more often, and better, than demons' do on average. On the other hand, angels are more predictable, and once an angel's Choir is identified, his adversaries will have a good idea about his capabilities. Demons will tend to have weaker resonances, but a greater array of tricks up their sleeves, and with no two demons alike, an angel will no longer be able to recognize a diabolical using the Balseraph Choral and conclude that he knows what that demon is capable of.
This should be a GM's decision, and as above, might be a product of Superior attitudes, in which Archangels simply don't permit multiple Choral affinities, or it might be a natural phenomenon. (Different Superiors might also have different attitudes -- perhaps Dominic requires all his Servitors to be "pure," as does Baal, while Eli encourages diversity, and Saminga couldn't care less.)
A celestial with 14+ Forces could be a full member of two Choral Groups. These celestials are called "Duets." They play each Choral perfectly, and their celestial form will be equally balanced between both of them.
Duets should be rare, as they are quite powerful, but also quite limited in their behavior. They will have the mentality of both of their primary Choral Groups, feeling acutely every vibration in the Symphony through dual mindsets, and being compelled to respond as both. It is quite possible that this could produce contradictory impulses and even force dissonance in awkward situations. (Imagine an Elohite-Malakite Duet, torn between objectivity and honor, or a self-loathing Lilim-Shedite Duet who can never decide whether to corrupt someone and ruin his life, or fulfill his Needs and keep him around for later use.)
Duets might be more common among demons than angels -- Demon Princes wouldn't mind making use of such "flexible" Servitors, while Archangels would be less eager to see a Servitor who is subject to internal conflicts. (See "Angels and Demons," above.) Duets between "rival" Choral Groups should be extremely rare, or nonexistent.
Obviously, since it requires 21+ Forces to have three Melodies/Riffs, this is possible only for Superiors. Whether or not you actually quantify a Superior's Forces, it becomes easier to quantify a Superior's abilities with these rules. (In fact, you can use these rules even if you adhere to standard In Nomine rules for other characters -- declare that knowing multiple Chorals is something only Superiors can do.) Since it is already canonical that Superiors can use any of their own attunements, presumably every Superior knows at least a Tone/Beat of each Choral. We can also assume that every Superior knows the Melody/Riff of the Choir/Band listed for them in the main rulebook. Additional Choral Groups can be specified for each, at the GM's option.
Example: Baal knows the full Riff of the Balseraph, Djinn, and Calabite Chorals. He knows a Lick of all the others, making him one of the most powerful and versatile Demon Princes. Kronos alone (except perhaps Lucifer) knows all the diabolical Chorals at full proficiency, and is rumored to know at least a Tone of all angelic Chorals! Lilith, one of the weakest Demon Princes, knows only the Lilim Choral completely. She has a Lick of Balseraph ability and a Lick of Impudite, and only knows a Tone of the rest (if that).
Every Choir or Band has three titles listed for it in the In Nomine main rulebook. Using Choral Groups, the "standard" Choir/Band name can apply to any celestial who has any affinity for that Choral Group. Those who have the full resonance (with a Melody or Riff of the Choral) may be referred to as "full" members of that group.
Alternatively, you might wish to use the alternate names to "rank" a celestial's affinity with a particular Choral Group. The most common secondary Choir/Band title refers to those celestials with at least a Chord or Lick of affinity, while the less common one is reserved for those with the full resonance (a Melody or Riff), in effect making it an honorific.
Thus, an angel with the Elohite Melody, a Seraph Chord, and a Malakite Tone could be referred to as any of the three ("Elohite-Seraph-Malakite"), but would most often be identified by his dominant Choral Group (Elohite). Alternatively, he is entitled to be called "Most Holy," as he has a strong affinity for the Seraph Choral, or a "Dynami," as he is a full Elohite, but he would not be called a Virtue or a King, as he has only a Tone of Malakite affinity, nor a Trisagionist, as he is not a full Seraph and not entitled to that honorific.
This only works if the GM agrees that it is a convention universally adopted by celestials, and it requires more memorization of titles, so consider it optional.
Below are examples of the standard In Nomine resonances, broken down according to these new rules.
Angels of the Seraph Choral learn the pure sound of Truth in the Symphony. As their affinity grows, they learn to hear Truth more clearly, and conversely find that lies become increasingly distasteful, even painful.
A Seraph Tone gives an angel a bonus to his Detect Lies skill (including defaults) equal to his Celestial Forces. The GM should give a similar bonus whenever the character is confronted by a deception requiring a Perception or other skill roll to detect which could normally be penetrated by the full Seraph resonance.
Seraph Tones make the sound of untruths distasteful. The angel will greatly dislike participating in a lie or anything that smacks of deception, and will feel guilty and "dirty" if he does.
Angels with a Tone of Seraph Choral will manifest either scales or a set of multiple eyes in their celestial form, or their celestial body might appear, while not entirely serpentine, somewhat sinuous.
A Seraph Chord brings the angel closer to the sound of pure Truth. He can perform the Seraph resonance as described in the main rulebook, but not through any remote devices or on artificial media, with no "advanced uses of Resonance" as described in the APG, and his check digit cannot exceed his Celestial Forces.
Telling a direct lie will cause dissonance to an angel with the Seraph Chord. "Skirting the edges" of the truth, lying by omission, or otherwise engaging in deceptions that would be dissonant for a full Seraph are not dissonant, but will be deeply distasteful.
A Seraph Chord will give an angel a basically "snake-like" celestial form, or else he will manifest scales and multiple eyes.
The angel has all the powers and dissonance conditions of a Seraph as described in the main rulebook. His celestial form will be basically as described for full Seraphim, but possibly with modifications according to whatever other Chorals he knows.
Angels with the Cherub Choral know the steadfast sound of devotion, and feel a natural impulse to guard and protect.
A Cherubic Tone gives an angel a general sense of direction where one person, place, or thing is concerned. The angel can attune himself to one such item with a Perception roll, and thereafter will know in what direction it lies with another successful Perception roll. This gives the angel a significant emotional attachment to that object; should he lose it, betray it, or learn that it has been destroyed, he will feel an acute sense of loss and guilt. They can detach themselves from the object of their "attunement" at will.
Cherub Tones manifest as minor animal characteristics in celestial form -- fuzziness, pointed ears, a pronounced snout, a tail, or perhaps just a generally bestial posture.
Those with the Cherub Chord are learning what devotion really is, and feel that responsibility acutely. They can attune themselves to one thing as per the standard Cherub resonance. They do not get any advanced uses of their resonance as described in the APG, and their check digit is limited to their Celestial Forces.
Should the object be destroyed, the angel will suffer dissonance. They can attempt to sever their attunement with a Will roll. Failure will not cause dissonance, as it does for full Cherubim, but it will cause the angel to feel very guilty.
The Cherub Chord will manifest as a celestial form that is definitely reminiscent of a particular animal, in body shape, facial characteristics (perhaps a humanoid -- or other -- body with the head of a boar or a wolf, etc.), or movement.
The angel has all the powers and dissonance conditions of a Cherub as described in the main rulebook. His celestial form will be basically as described for full Cherubim (pick one animal), modified according to whatever other Chorals make up his being.
The Ofanite Choral is the sound of motion, and those who know it will tap their feet whenever they stand still, and feel a sense of urgency forever after.
An Ofanite Tone allows an angel to make a Perception roll whenever attempting an Agility-based roll, or a roll against Area Knowledge. Success grants a +1 to the subsequent roll. In celestial form, the angel can move faster, multiplying his normal celestial speed by the check digit of a successful Perception roll.
Failure on a skill roll on which the angel used his Tone will cause the angel to wince and feel all the more determined to get it right next time; the Ofanite Tone does not allow for casual screw-ups or disrespect for the power of motion. Such angels will also feel a compulsion to act, and they'll be very uncomfortable and unhappy when they fail to do so.
A Tone of the Ofanite Choral will not transform an angel's celestial form into a wheel, but it will give the angel a bright warm glow and a tendency to move in a circular fashion.
An Ofanite Chord imbues the angel with great speed and urgency. He can now use the Ofanite resonance in full -- but limited to a maximum check digit equal to his Celestial Forces, and without any enhanced uses as described in the APG. Failing a skill roll on which he applied his resonance does not cause dissonance on a check digit of 6 (but always will on an Infernal Intervention, as well as whatever other effects the Intervention has). Failing to use that bonus before next invoking the Ofanite Chord will cause dissonance. So will willful inaction, but not inaction forced upon the angel (either by restraints or orders). It will make the angel very, very uncomfortable, however.
The Ofanite Chord gives the angel a fiery halo in celestial form, and there may be visible rings spinning about him.
The angel has all the powers and dissonance conditions of an Ofanite as described in the main rulebook. His celestial form will be essentially a burning wheel of fire, but it may have additional characteristics if the angel is made up of other Chorals.
The Elohite Choral is the sound of emotion. It is such a moving sound that those who allow themselves to be steered by it lose control and become Habbalah, so the angels who learn this Choral must force themselves to be calm and impassive as they sing it.
An Elohite Tone gives just a hint of the emotions throbbing in the Symphony. It allows an angel to make a Perception roll in the direct presence of a subject, and if successful, know that subject's current emotional state in general (as with a check digit of 1 on the Elohite Check Digit Results table).
The Elohite Tone forces calm and restraint, and angels who know it will begin to feel uncomfortable when they sense strong emotions within themselves, and acting upon those emotions will fill them with guilt and a sense of personal failure.
This tone will give an angel a "smooth" or somewhat androgynous appearance in celestial form, or it may merely manifest in the characteristic large, still eyes.
With the Elohite Chord, angels feel emotions more deeply, and must control their own all the more. This Chord allows an angel to use the full Elohite resonance, but limited to a maximum check digit equal to his Celestial Forces, and without any enhanced uses as described in the APG. Dissonance is much like that for full Elohim, but the GM should be more lenient in "borderline" cases; the Elohite Chord will cause dissonance if an angel acts with blatantly subjective motives, but rationalizations are easier than when they immerse themselves in the full Melody of this Choral.
An Elohite Chord will usually bestow a slender, humanoid celestial form, or if dominated by a non-humanoid form from another Choral, the angel's celestial form will still be smooth and convey a sexless image, and possess large, sensitive eyes.
The angel has all the powers and dissonance conditions of an Elohite as described in the main rulebook. In celestial form, he will be a slender, androgynous humanoid with large eyes, but may have other characteristics manifesting as a result of other Chorals.
The Malakite Choral was first discovered by Uriel, but thousands of angels were swept up by it during the Fall. It is the sound of honor and divine retribution, and it is a pure sound that no one can distort.
The Malakite Tone reflects the honor or dishonor of a single subject. With a Perception roll, an angel can get a general sense of whether or not an individual has been acting in accordance with his own moral system recently (within the past week). No specific deeds are uncovered, but with a higher check digit, the GM might give a finer-grained answer ("He's been behaving pretty well, but there is some minor misbehavior staining his conscience.")
Merely knowing the Malakite Tone does not make an angel immune to Trauma, but they are getting used to it, and can roll to snap out of it every day. The Malakite Tone also does not make an angel immune to Falling -- but if they should Fall, they will automatically lose three Forces! The Malakite Choral will not play in Hell.
All who acquire the Malakite Tone must swear to the two oaths that are universal to all Malakim: do not suffer evil to live by choice, and do not surrender to the forces of evil. Breaking either oath will not cause dissonance, but it will cause extreme guilt -- and any other angel with the Malakite Choral will feel compelled to destroy such a weak example!
The Malakite Tone will darken an angel's wings, or give his celestial form a slightly shadowy appearance.
The Malakite Chord causes honor to resonate much more deeply in an angel. He can now use the full Malakite resonance, but with a maximum check digit equal to his Celestial Forces, and without any advanced uses of the resonance described in the APG.
At this stage, the angel must swear at least two additional oaths. The first two oaths (described above) will cause dissonance if broken. The other two (or more) will not, but all who possess the Malakite Choral will seek to destroy those who break them.
The Malakite Chord gives an angel much faster recovery from Trauma; they can roll every day to recover, and will automatically snap out of it after a maximum number of days equal to their Corporeal Forces. Angels who Fall with the Malakite Chord will be stripped of five Forces -- most arrive in Hell as pitiful spirits, and are likely to be destroyed.
The Malakite Chord will turn an angel's wings black, or cast his entire celestial form in shadow.
Only those who know the full Melody of the Malakim Choral are considered worthy of calling themselves "Kings." They gain all the powers and dissonance conditions of a full Malakite, and have become inured to Trauma and incapable of Falling. In celestial form, they are usually humanoid, and always have black wings and a shadowed appearance.
The discordian Kyriotate Choral is one of multiplicity. Angels who sing it learn to see the Symphony from multiple points of view, but find it increasingly difficult to confine themselves to just one, or to remain coherent enough to occupy a single vessel.
With the Kyriotate Tone, an angel in celestial form can split himself into two entities (dividing his Forces as he pleases, but a minimum of three in each manifestation). Each one can move and act independently, but they must remain on the same plane, and if the angel chooses to manifest in a vessel or a host (which he can do at the locus of either of his celestial forms), both manifestations disappear. The Kyriotate Tone doesn't give any automatic ability to possess a host. If the angel does possess someone (using the Song of Possession), he will feel responsible for that host and suffer guilt and emotional distress if he allows his host body to come to harm without undoing the damage. Angels who want to manifest on Earth must have a vessel if their Kyriotate affinity is this weak.
The celestial form of angels with the Kyriotate Tone start to become hazy, not quite amorphous, but a less distinct image of their other Choral parts.
The Kyriotate Chord allows angels to possess hosts -- but only one, and a vessel cannot be occupied at the same time. If at least 3 Forces are left over after possessing a host, those Forces may wander independently in celestial form, but multiple possessions are not yet possible. In celestial form, the angel can still only divide himself into two parts with a minimum of 3 Forces in each, and all of his manifestations still must be on the same plane. Possessing a host now obligates the angel to take care of it as Kyriotates must. A Kyriotate Chord makes vessels optional; such an angel may choose to do without them, though it will be more difficult to stay on Earth without one. On the other hand, if he later develops the Melody of a Kyriotate, he must give up all his vessels (and the points he spent on them).
In celestial form, the angel will now manifest with eyes, mouths, and other organs appearing and disappearing all about his person, and his "body" (if dominated by some other Choral) will become somewhat amorphous and distorted, changing more the longer you look at it. Mortals who witness this must make a Will roll or be stunned for 1 round.
In order to learn the Kyriotate Melody, angels must give up vessels altogether. (Any points invested in vessels are simply lost.) They now have all the powers and dissonance conditions of a Kyriotate. Their celestial form will be that of a Kyriotate, but there may be other elements present in the cloud of body parts and wings, representing the other Chorals that make up the angel.
When the first living beings began forming relationships, the sound of politics echoed through the Symphony, and the Mercurian Choral allows an angel to play that tune. It also make the performer more sensitive to its vibrations, and loathe to disrupt such delicate harmonies.
Everybody, no matter how passive, has a slight harmonic discernible to an angel who knows the Mercurian Tone. This tells the angel how an individual sees himself, in very general terms. It requires a Perception roll, and reveals the most important aspect of someone's self-image.
The Mercurian Tone makes violence sound discordant and painful, and prompts angels to avoid it. It will also make an angel more "human"; most angels with the Mercurian Tone will a human face, at least, in celestial form, and usually human hands and feet.
A Mercurian Chord makes an angel much more sensitive to politics, allowing him to use the Mercurian resonance, but without any "advanced" uses, not on artificial media, and with a maximum check digit equal to his Celestial Forces. Initiating violence is dissonant with the Mercurian Chord, although the angel's sensitivity is dull enough to allow him to defend himself, or rationalize accidental violence...though this will still make him feel awful. Violence against inanimate objects is also not dissonant, though it is distasteful.
These angels usually have a basically human celestial form, and if not, their faces, hands, and feet will be human.
The angel has the full Mercurian Resonance, and all Mercurian dissonance conditions. In celestial form, he will appear as human as an angel can be, though other Chorals may contribute decidedly non-human additions.
Deceit is a fundamental part of infernal society, and many demons learn its seductive sound early. The Balseraph Choral is one of most oft-heard sounds in Hell, and those who master it fancy themselves masters of the Pit. Of course, the Choral twists their own perceptions just as it twists everyone else's.
A Beat of the Balseraph Choral can invest a simple lie with the sound of Truth. While it's not enough to twist someone's perceptions of reality, the demon can make a Will roll when uttering a single statement, and if successful, that statement will sound completely honest. A Detect Lies roll will always indicate that the speaker is truthful, because the demon has convinced himself that it's true. Of course this has no effect on a Seraph's resonance, and someone who knows for a fact that what the demon is saying is false will merely realize that the speaker is deluded and/or a very good liar.
If the demon contradicts himself after telling a lie, or if his audience completely fails to be convinced, it will frustrate, embarrass, and infuriate him, striking a nasty blow to his self-esteem. So diabolicals with this Choral learn early to be careful about being caught in a lie.
A Balseraph Beat will manifest as multiple eyes or a forked tongue in celestial form, or possibly as a scaly hide.
A Balseraph Lick can convince a single person as per the Balseraph resonance, without any advanced uses of the resonance as described in the IPG, and with a maximum check digit equal to the demon's Celestial Forces.
Someone who resists the demon's lie with check digit of 6 will inflict dissonance on the demon. With a Balseraph Lick, a demon can contradict himself and reveal himself to be a liar without causing dissonance, but it will greatly irk him, driving him into a barely-controlled fury, or unbearable shame.
Such demons acquire a serpentine appearance in celestial form, or at least a set of scales, multiple eyes, and a scaly, forked tongue.
With the Balseraph Riff, a demon has all the powers and dissonance conditions of a full Balseraph. His celestial form will be that of a Serpent, with other characteristics according to his other Chorals.
A twisted version of the Cherub Choral, the sound of a Djinn is lingering persistence and obsession, binding the demon as thoroughly as it binds the objects of his attention.
A Djinn Beat will allow a demon to fixate on a single object, and thereafter know its direction for a number of days equal to the check digit. The demon can sever this connection at will. While fixated, if the demon harms the object, he will be filled with guilt and self-loathing.
In celestial form, the Djinn Beat will manifest as some minor bestial attributes -- mangy fur, the eyes of a wild animal, yellow fangs and long, clawlike nails, or just a hunched, animalistic posture.
A Lick of the Djinn Choral allows a demon to attune himself to a single object per the Djinn resonance, with a maximum check digit equal to his Celestial Forces, and no "advanced" uses or applications on artificial media. Harming the object of his attunement (unless it's a person who asked him to) will cause dissonance. Severing the attunement requires a Will roll; failure won't cause dissonance, but it will make the demon feel guilty and miserable, reminding him of his essential lack of faith. A failed attempt to sever the connection will only "backfire" and attune the demon as if he were a Cherub on a check digit of 6.
Demons with the Djinn Lick look decidedly bestial in celestial form, though other Chorals may dominate.
The Djinn Riff gives a demon all the powers and dissonance conditions of a full Djinn. His celestial form will be Djinn-like, a nightmarish beast, though other Chorals may make it even more bizarre and scary.
The sound of destruction is a popular Choral, but it warps those who play it.
A Beat of Destruction isn't devastating, but it can be painful, and will wear away any amount of stone, metal, or flesh, given enough time. A Calabite Beat does a single point of damage (in whatever realm is appropriate under the circumstances) with a successful Will roll. Living beings may avoid damage with a successful Strength roll (or Will for celestial attacks). If resisted, the demon will gnash his teeth and feel an impulse to lash out in a rage.
The Calabite beat twists a demon's celestial form it may more closely resemble that of some other Choral, but it will be hunched, scrunched, or just plain uglier than normal. A red face or batwings are common.
A Calabite Lick does more damage: 1 + the check digit of a successful resonance roll (regardless of realm or the demon's Forces). If resisted, the Calabite must eat dissonance or lash out, like full Calabim.
A Lick of the Calabite Choral will cause a demon to have a grubby, reddish appearance, or at least manifest tattered batwings and a red face. The demon will also manifest 1 level of Discord. This Discord will be increased to a level equal to the demon's Forces in the realm of the Discord if he later acquires the Calabite Riff.
The demon has all the powers and dissonance conditions (and Discord) of a full Calabite. His celestial form will be like that of most Calabim, with possible additional characteristics reflecting other Chorals.
The Habbalite Choral is the sound of twisted emotion, but it has a curious effect on the performer. Those with an affinity for it fall under a delusion that some consider to be a mass psychosis induced by the Choral itself, that they are instruments of God called to punish the weak. Their convictions grow as their affinity does.
A Habbalite Beat allows a demon to perceive emotions, and generate a short-lived impulse of emotion in others. A Perception roll tells the demon what the dominant emotion of his subject is. A Will roll will generate any emotion the demon chooses, unless the victim makes a successful Will roll to resist. This emotion is no more than a temporary impulse, lasting for a number of minutes equal to the check digit, and has no specific game effects. If the victim successfully resists, the demon will feel the emotion instead.
While not all demons with the Habbalite Beat suffer from the "Habbalite delusion," all of them feel a calling, some sense of a higher purpose yet to be defined. All such demons tend to have somewhat unorthodox views on God. As their spirit starts to become bent, so does their celestial form, and demons with a Habbalite Beat always manifest a few tattoos, scars, or piercings in celestial form.
A Lick of the Habbalite Choral gives a demon the ability to use the full Habbalite resonance, but limited to a maximum check digit equal to his Celestial Forces, and without the ability to use any "advanced" powers from the IPG, or to use it on remote media. Also, victims of a Habbalite Lick only lose 1 point from their Intelligence or Precision. If a victim should resist, the demon will only suffer "backlash" if the victim's check digit was 6.
A Lick of affinity for the Habbalite Choral scars a demon more deeply, placing numerous noticeable markings and/or mutilations upon his celestial form. It also deepens the demon's conviction, now bordering on a delusion, that he has a "special mission." All such demons manifest a desire to punish people, and most are actively speculating about God's purpose.
The Habbalite Riff converts a demon completely to the Habbalite way of thinking, and gives him all the powers and dissonance conditions of a Punisher. In celestial form he will be mutilated, marked, pierced, and scarred, like all Habbalah, though these markings may show up on various body types, depending on other Chorals.
The Lilim Choral is a special case; it is a secret Choral known only to Lilith, and only those celestials imbued with some of Lilith's own nature can perform it. (If any other demon were able to acquire it, Lilith's monopoly on Lilim would be broken, so there are frequent rumors in Hell that some demons do occasionally learn parts of the Lilim Choral on their own, only to be swiftly destroyed by the Princess of Freedom or someone in her employ...)
As a general rule, Lilith creates only Lilim, and she prefers that her daughters remain "pure." Thus, for the most part one will only find Lilim knowing the entire Lilim Riff. She will occasionally grant Servitors enough Forces to acquire a Beat or Lick of Lilim ability, as a favor to their Prince. An individual demon can request this, but Lilith's price would be very high, and few diabolicals have enough to offer her.
A Lilim Beat gives a knack for spotting desires and making deals, but no power to enforce them. The demon can detect whatever someone desires, as per the usual Lilim resonance, by making eye contact and a Perception roll. However, cutting the deal and then extracting the pay-off is up to the demon, because a mere Beat of the Lilim Choral doesn't give the ability to create Geases. Like any Lilim, the demon will become extremely upset and feel a deep sense of failure and violation should she do something for someone and then fail to receive payment in full.
The Lilim Beat tints a diabolical's celestial form green, or sometimes manifests merely as a little pair of green horns.
A Lick of the Lilim Choral allows the demon to create Geases, but never at a level greater than his Celestial Forces. They can also impose Geases on themselves, but again, limited to their Celestial Forces. If someone resists a Geas, the demon will suffer dissonance as usual.
In celestial form, a Lilim Lick will make most demons appear Lilim-like; green-skinned humanoids, but green-skinned at the very least.
The Lilim Riff makes a demon a true Daughter of Lilith, with all the powers and restrictions associated with Tempters. In celestial form they will be Lilim, but with whatever other markings or characteristics go with their other Chorals.
Shedim learn the sound of foul corruption, and it's a Choral that gladdens their dark hearts and fills them with a desire to spread it to as many hosts as possible.
Vessels are optional for a demon with any affinity for the Shedite Choral. However, most Demon Princes won't send a demon to Earth without a vessel if the demon only has a Shedite Tone, since the demon would be relatively impotent, and even a Shedite Lick makes the demon vulnerable if he has no vessel to fall back on. However, as with Kyriotates, a demon who acquires the full Shedite Riff must give up all his vessels (and any points spent on them).
A Shedite Beat allows a demon to "hitchhike" in a mortal host, for a little while. He must be in celestial form, and may attempt to possess a host as Shedim normally do. If successful, however, he doesn't actually take control of the host body; he's just "riding along," and may only make mental suggestions to his host. These suggestions are received subconsciously. They have no power to compel action, and a suggestion inimical to the host's morals or well-being will be rejected.
Every time the demon makes a suggestion, he must win a Contest of Wills. If the host wins, he has shut out the demon's urgings for that day, and the demon can do nothing but ride along as a passive observer. Once per day, a host may make a Perception roll (with a +1 bonus per day he's been possessed) to realize that he's hearing "voices in his head." If successful, the check digit of his Perception roll is added to his Will rolls to shut the "voices" up.
A Beat of the Shedite Choral gives a demon a compulsion to corrupt his host, and riding passively in a host who does nothing to advance the infernal cause will become increasingly frustrating...few demons could stand it for more than a day or two before seeking freedom to act on their own, or a more pliable host willing to listen to them. Occupying a host when it's killed will not cause dissonance, but it will mentally traumatize the demon.
A Shedite Beat gives a demon's celestial form a hazy look, or may manifest as an occasional extra eye or mouth or some other body part opening randomly somewhere on his body, before disappearing.
A Lick of the Shedite Choral allows the ability to possess and control a host. This control is weaker than for a full Shedite, however. The demon does not get to add his initial check digit when possessing someone to subsequent Will rolls, and if the victim makes his daily Perception roll to realize he's being possessed, the check digit of that roll will add to his Will rolls to resist the demon for the remainder of that possession, not just until he gets a good night's sleep. (He still gets to roll again every day, and take the highest check digit.) The demon also cannot use any advanced Shedite abilities (such as "oozing" between hosts) described in the IPG, as his proficiency with the Choral isn't yet great enough.
A Lick of Shedite ability will cause a demon to suffer dissonance if his host is killed. He does not suffer dissonance if he doesn't push his host into a corrupting act each day, but he will become extremely frustrated and suffer from feelings of impotence and futility, so few demons can stand it for more than a couple of days.
A Shedite Lick will surround the demon's celestial form with a cloud of eyes, mouths, and other organs. If another Choral dominates, then the core of his celestial form may have some other appearance, but the nauseating image of a Shedite will always be laid over it. Some integrate their Shedite aspect completely with their other Chorals, so that they have (for example) a humanoid form, but with eyes, mouths, ears, organs, etc., all over their surface. This is shocking enough to momentarily stun a mortal who perceives it, but only for 1 round if they fail a Will roll.
A Shedite Riff gives a demon all the powers and dissonance conditions of a Shedite. Their celestial form will be gaseous and Shedite-like, though in that dark cloud may be other things representing other Chorals. As with Kyriotates, a full Shedite must give up any vessels (his resonance is now too deeply attuned to possession and corruption of others) and loses any points previously spent on them.
The Impudite Choral resonates with the sound of Essence flowing between Forces, and vibrates along with any interaction between Forces. This gives those demons who can play it the ability to manipulate these interactions.
An Impudite Beat allows a demon to charm someone, but with a much weaker effect. If successful, the effect is as if the target had made a positive reaction roll (i.e., he will tend to be favorably disposed towards the demon, unless given reason not to be), but he's not completely under the demon's sway. Someone favorably disposed towards him can be drained of Essence, but only a single point. (If the victim resists, however, the demon still loses Essence equal to the check digit of his would-be victim's Will roll!)
With this Beat comes a . . . fondness for humans, and an intense dislike of seeing them harmed.
In celestial form, the demon will tend to look like his last vessel, or else his more dominant Chorals will manifest, but with an Impudite's leathery wings or horns or halo.
A Lick of Impudite affinity allows a demon to use the Impudite resonance normally, but limited to a maximum check digit equal to his Celestial Forces, and as usual, with no "advanced" uses of the resonance or uses through the media.
Killing a human will cause dissonance for a demon with an Impudite Lick. Allowing a human to be killed isn't dissonant, but it will be deeply painful and distressing.
An Impudite Lick will give a demon a humanoid celestial form, or at least a human face with an Impudite's wings and horns.
With an Impudite Riff, a demon gains all the powers and dissonance conditions of an Impudite, and an Impudite's celestial form, modified by any other Chorals.
|Corporeal Forces -- 3||Strength 6||Agility 6|
|Ethereal Forces -- 2||Intelligence 4||Precision 4|
|Celestial Forces -- 4||Will 10||Perception 6|
Vessels: Human/1 (male)
Role: "Cam Rubens," technical support/2, Status/2
Skills: Computer Operation/4, Detect Lies/3, Electronics/1, Engineering/1, Fighting/3, Knowledge (Internet Porn/2)
Songs: Acid/3, Attraction (Celestial/3), Entropy (all/2)
Attunements: Malakite of Lightning, Kyriotate of Lightning
Rathiel is a Kyriotate with a militant, almost judgmental streak. He wants to protect humans, but also feels that they are woefully unable to make correct moral decisions for themselves, and certainly can't be trusted with the anarchic exchange of information and technology fostered by the Internet. Jean sent him to Earth to learn how to detect and shut down demonic websites, and that is now his primary job, with a Role as a lowly tech support worker at a small ISP. The ISP is owned by Servitors of Trade and run by Servitors of Lightning, so Rathiel actually has very few calls and can spend most of his time, day and night, pursuing his real mission.
Besides looking for signs of diabolical activity, Rathiel has also been studying the enormous ocean of filth that humans have put online. Initially he thought this must be a massive project by Lust, but soon realized that humans needed little encouragement to post and look at dirty pictures. Realizing that he can't arbitrarily hack and destroy every porn site he comes across (he'd never get anything else done!), Rathiel looks for the worst of the worst, things he considers beyond the pale and clearly degrading to the human spirit. Kiddie porn, bestiality, solicitations for third-world sex tours, etc. Then he seeks out and destroys those sites, and tries to track down the human operators and afflict them with nightmares and even maimings.
This is essentially a "hobby," and Jean has not objected so long as Rathiel doesn't get carried away, and continues getting his real work done. Other angels might not necessarily agree with Rathiel's judgment as to who needs smiting, though. He's still fairly young and naive, for an angel, and has a typical Lightning Servitor's disdain for human free will and disregard for making disturbances. He is strongly divided between his Kyriotate and Malakite natures (he will probably learn the Malakite Chord before he learns the full Kyriotate Melody), and his fellow Lightning Servitors would prefer to see him become a full Malakite, so as to be sure he will never get carried away by his passions and risk Falling.
Rathiel's celestial form is Kyriotate-like, but with a single pair of black wings behind the mass of eyes and organs.
Rathiel is a balanced starting PC.
|Corporeal Forces -- 4||Strength 6||Agility 10|
|Ethereal Forces -- 4||Intelligence 8||Precision 8|
|Celestial Forces -- 6||Will 12||Perception 12|
|Word Forces: 11|
Skills: Artistry (Photography/1), Dodge/4, Driving/1, Emote/4, Fast-Talk/5, Languages (English/3, Chinese/3*, Thai/3), Lying/3, Savoir-Faire/1, Seduction/6, Singing/1
Songs: Attraction (Ethereal/6, Celestial/6), Charm (Celestial/6), Form (Ethereal/2, Celestial/3), Healing (Corporeal/1), Shields (all/5)
Servants: Soldier of Lust/2, Gremlin/4
Attunements: Shedite of Lust, Impudite of Lust, Dark Desire, Captain of Diabolical Delight
Special Attunement: As the Demon of Pedophilia, Shen-Shazzia can remove a person's normal inhibitions against sexual relations with children. Anyone she possesses will not receive any bonuses the GM might otherwise give to their Will roll when she urges them into such acts, and anyone she successfully charms with her Impudite resonance will also feel quite comfortable having sex with her, regardless of age differences.
Special Rites: Have sex with a child, get someone else to have sex with a child for the first time
Shen-Shazzia loves children.
She loves them the way a wine-lover savors a fine wine. She loves them the way a meat-lover loves a thick, juicy steak. She would never hurt a child -- not the way she defines "hurt," anyway. The children she brings into her network of pedophiles and sexual slavery are always well-treated. Some child-traffickers pack their victims into small containers to smuggle them across borders, keep them penned up in filthy cages with barely enough to eat or drink, and beat them, but Shen-Shazzia despises such brutality. She wants her children to be happy and eager to please
She is not the first demon to hold this Word. Understandably, the Demon of Pedophilia tends to be high on Heaven's "Wanted" list, and several of her predecessors have been destroyed. There are even some fellow Servitors of Lust who look upon her with disgust, but Shen-Shazzia calls them hypocrites.
Actually, she considers anyone who disapproves of sex with children to be a hypocrite. Age is just a number, after all. And if a child can be made to feel pleasure, how can anyone say it's wrong?
She loves her work, and she is as slimy and malevolent as a Shedite can be, yet with an Impudite's sociability and love of people. Shen-Shazzia is a Duet, perfectly balanced between two Chorals. She doesn't consider herself "evil" at all, though she'll freely admit to being selfish. (Isn't sex always a selfish act, borrowing someone else's body for one's own pleasure?) She simply can't imagine another way of being. Her methods are not subtle -- with all of her attunements and bonuses, she can pretty much make anyone do anything with anyone else, and she delights in introducing new "virgins" into her Word. But she's not brutal or bloodthirsty and rarely does anything that makes a disturbance, so it's hard to track her down, and very hard to undo the damage she causes.
In celestial form, Shen-Shazzia looks like a cloud of body parts (typically Shedite) in a shapely human outline, with a dark halo and bat-wings.