In another world, everything was much as our own for a great many eons, and we pick up the story shortly after humans come onto the scene…
The Eden Experiment
Humanity was dirty, cruel, and small-minded—but some angels proposed that within them they must possess a certain divinity, otherwise God would not protect them. Lucifer proposed an experiment, with which he hoped to satisfy everyone's curiosity.
The experiment would create an idyllic setting, where humans could live without wants or needs. If they could survive in paradise, then they deserved the deference of the angels; their free will would be respected. If not, then God's hope was misplaced.
First, Lucifer proposed, two perfect specimens would be needed, one male and one female. They would be created from scratch, since he didn't want the experiment tainted by subjects who had already experienced the harshness of ordinary life.
God created a man—whom Yves named Adam—and a woman, Lilith. He created them with the knowledge of speech to give them every advantage possible. Lucifer introduced himself to the two humans, and gave them a quick primer on free will. The two humans lived together in peace and harmony for several years. Lucifer was satisfied.
Michael, however, had also observed the experiment. He saw two individuals who bore God's most glorious gift, free will, but which had no opportunity to exercise it. The idyllic environment of Eden did not motivate the two humans to do anything other than exist. Michael felt that perhaps Lucifer's explanation of Free Will had not been sufficient. Only if the humans truly knew what their options were could they be said to have fully chosen their path. God agreed. And thus, another human was created, Eve. Michael showed her the garden, and he showed her the world, then he gave her the choice of living forever in the perfection of Eden or of exploring the unknown world. Eve almost immediately chose freedom over security, and wandered off in pursuit of whatever she might find. Michael and God discussed the matter for a long, long time.
Afterwards, Michael went and spoke with many of the angels about these things. He talked about safety and security versus freedom and individuality, elaborated on whether the greater good should always be pursued, and what levels of negative local effects are acceptable. Many of the angels agreed with him. Many did not. Kobal at first was torn. Laughter is best in groups, but ultimately seeing the humor in something is very personal. David was deeply concerned about his good friend Michael, and wondered why anyone could see anything wrong with groups. Malphas truly felt that individual expression was very important to the wellbeing of a group. Eli listened a lot but said little, oddly enough for him. Beleth knew that fear came from within, and the best way to stop it was the comfort of others. Uriel felt that deviation was a sign of impurity.
In time, a consensus was reached. Many felt that the path they had been following all along, of obeying the wishes of some distant overseer, was not the way, and that they too had free will which should be exercised. Doing so would not be easy among others still devoted to the blind ideals of the group, and it was felt that going elsewhere would be best for all involved. And so it was that the great Exodus began, where fully a third of the Host followed Michael as he led them out of Heaven to found a new homeland.
At the gates of Heaven, Lucifer stood blocking the way. Michael marched right up to him, and Lucifer put out his palm, saying, "Do not do this, my friend, or else you shall regret it for all time." Michael stared down at his longtime companion, and simply said in a calm, even tone, "Step aside." For an interminable moment, their eyes locked, and something flashed between them, an echo of something that would never be, and then Lucifer stepped aside. And a third of the Host marched out of the gates of Heaven that day, and not a drop of blood was shed, and not a blow was struck. And when the last one had passed, the gates swung shut for the first time, leaving only Lucifer staring sadly outwards.
Michael and those who chose to go with him (for they were not his followers, merely companions by choice) walked long and far, till at last they reached a spot where to go any further would merely bring them closer to Heaven again. It was here that Michael turned and spoke, "We shall found our new home here, that we may do as we choose far from the oppressive mantle of Heaven."
And Gebbeleth, who had always been fond of gathering information to his bosom, asked of Michael, "And what shall we call this place, if it is not Heaven?"
Michael thought for a second, then replied, "Hell. Our home shall be known as Hell," and a small wave spread out, forever altering the Symphony, as the first thing named by someone other than Yves came into being.
"And what shall we call ourselves, for clearly we are no longer Angels of Heaven?" asked Gebbeleth again.
"Demons," said Michael, "We shall be like Angels, but different, in that we shall choose our path."
And the multitude nodded and looked at each other in satisfaction, and tried the new words on their tongues, and liked how they sounded.
At first, the Angels hoped that their brethren would change their minds and return, but none did. Then, they came to realize that the choice the others had made was permanent one, forever altering their mindset. Much discussion was carried on about what would happen now. At length, the Seraphim Council, guided by the everpresent voice of the Metatron, decided that for now it would wait, but that it would begin building fortifications, to prevent the wayward Angels from interfering with the mortal realm and the divine plan mapped out for it.
The Demons, as they called themselves, built their new homes, and continued to visit the realm of Earth much as they had always done, but found that it was becoming harder and harder to do so. Michael realized that relations with Heaven were becoming frostier by the day, and that something would have to been done to prevent being cut off from the world. So, he headed to the realms of humans to see if the situation appeared different from there. After some observing, he had not made any progress, so he sat down to ponder the situation. After sitting on his stone for a night and a day, thinking, who should come down the path next to him but Eve, in her travels of the world. Surprised at seeing each other, Eve joined him to discuss their situations.
She had seen much of the world, but much of it was the same, and so she was looking for new things to explore and new quests to overcome. Michael wanted to ensure the continued access of his companions to the realms outside Hell. In particular, he wanted to keep helping the humans, as he had done before. To this, Eve questioned him, "But, if Heaven were to shut its doors to you, how could this block your travel to Earth? Is Earth not the realm of humans? Should we not be the ones to choose who we let wander among us?"
"Yes, but it is your decision to do so," replied Michael.
"Well, in that case, I choose to let you visit the Earth, and shall endeavor to help you in your future efforts, whatever they may be." With that, a change shook the stone upon which they sat, and a tether of Choice formed, yawning straight into the heart of Hell, where Michael had declared its existence. Michael saw that they key to ensuring that the borders of the realms were open was the efforts of the humans, with their special place in the divine order, and returned to Hell, with Eve at his side.
Over time, the Angels and the Demons became increasingly hostile towards one another. The Angels felt that the humans should be following the divine plan, and that the Demons were interfering with the order of the universe. The Demons felt that the Angels were trying to deprive the humans of the free will which they had been granted. As the fortifications of Heaven grew, the Demons sensed themselves gradually isolated and almost cut off from the Symphony, but in the celestial quiet caused by its muffling, they perceived ways to play their own notes and alter the Symphony in subtle ways. As the conflict between the two sides escalated, each organized into hierarchies based about the Words that defined the core of each celestial's being. In Heaven, those on the Seraphim Council were given the title of Archon, and placed as the rulers of Heaven, following the wishes of God when he relayed them. In Hell, Michael was agreed by one and all to be best suited for leadership, and the brightest and strongest of the others were chosen as his Generals in the great War that would be unfolding.
It was at this time that something strange happened. Before, all the souls of the dead had gone to Heaven, eventually finding their way up Jacob's Ladder into the Upper Heavens. Now, however, souls of occasional deceased humans somehow managed to worm their way into Hell instead, to continue their existence among the Demons. It was shortly after this that a strange Demon whom no one had ever seen before walked up the first tether of Choice, seemingly coming from nowhere, and introduced himself as Kronos. After a brief discussion with Michael, he was added to the ranks of Generals. At that point, things got interesting…
The Modern Age
Heaven, in the interest of watching over the world, created a new choir tasked with observing the humans and specially tuned to detect the disturbances caused by Celestials tinkering with the divine plan. These Grigori, as they were called, soon became an important arm of the forces of Heaven.
Hell, in turn, did much exploring with the creations of new bands of Demons, as they felt that variety was a good thing. Eve, in particular, listened to the complaints of some of her fellow humans, who wished to go back to the world they had known, but to which they were now dead. So, she attempted to attach a vessel to a human soul, but it wouldn't stick. She experimented, and ultimately discovered that humans needed to have extra forces layered on before such a melding could be effected. In doing so, she enhanced some hidden part of human nature and created something that was more than the sum of its constituent elements. In honor of her, these new beings were named Evim, and it soon became one of the primary objectives of Hell to save up the essence needed to upgrade into Evim those souls who wished it, so they could be sent back to the Earth they loved.
As the War over the ultimate course of the universe heated up, both sides found a need never before encountered, the need to conceal information from others, and even reveal information that had no basis in reality. This concept, called lying, could not be reconciled with the celestial tongue as it was. So, both sides altered and expanded upon the language they had always known, enabling new forms of expression. Both sides developed languages that allowed the stating of things that were not wholly believed, and over time this new form of expression was favored for everyday usage, allowing for the invention of tact, as well as guile and subterfuge.
In this world, the fundamental division between Heaven and Hell isn't about selflessness versus selfishness. Instead, it's more about conformity versus choice. Heaven wants everyone to work as their part of the divine plan, furthering along the course of the universe as they see it. Hell feels people should be free to make their own choices about how to lead their existence, and that helping the greater good isn't always best if it causes large amounts of localized suffering. It's meant to played with a fairly authoritarian, ends-justify-the-means Heaven, and a freedom-fighting heroically roguish Hell. In general, the contrast level will be fairly low, though it can be turned up to really make Heaven into the bad guys, if you so wish. The brightness, on the other hand, will probably be mid-high, as there no overriding source of EVIL out to have its way with everyone.
Also, the conflict between Heaven and Hell is much more low key. Outright violence is rare, with propaganda and psychological warfare being the primary vehicles of attack. Indeed, no superior has ever been slain by the other side, though a few have gotten too frisky and been put down by their own kind.
Destiny and Fate are also redefined. Fulfilling one's Destiny involves being a perfect cog in the divine plan, and fitting in with the expectations of society and others. It requires the complete surrender of individual goals to the goals of the group whenever such may be in conflict. Fulfilling one's Fate involves thoroughly distinguishing oneself as an individual, and making a unique contribution to the universe that has repercussions of some sort, however faint and distant.
Heaven is relatively sparsely populated, as most souls move on after a while towards the Higher Heavens, to presumably merge with God, or move on to the next stage of the divine plan, or something like that (no one that gets to Heaven questions this). For the most part, the job of enforcing said divine will is left to the Angels, as it was meant to be, though most souls do serve for a time, willingly donating extra essence to the cause. Hell is an entirely different place from that of the canon world. Humans aren't tortured for essence, and there is a general order to the place, though by no means a stifling one; it resembles an idealized anarchist commune more than anything else. Anyone who doesn't play nice (attacks others, steals things for no good reason) will soon have to face the attention of some rather large and imposing beings who have an interest in making sure that trouble doesn't break out on their home turf. There's a fairly long waiting list of humans wanting to be rebuilt into Evim, and people on it spend much of their time providing essence for those at the head of the line, though they do so voluntarily. There's also a bunch of people who don't have any desire to go back to Earth, and who spend the now-infinite time available to them pursuing whatever they fancy.
The Ethereals, being sprung from the minds of humans and not having been designed by God (as far as anyone knows), are not considered part of the divine plan and thus not looked upon too kindly by Angels. They are nearly one and all closely allied with Hell, which finds any idea that so enthused someone that it came to life certainly worthy of attention.
There are two celestial tongues—Inflected, spoken by Heaven, and Positional, spoken by Hell. Inflected adds shades of meaning, emotions, and ambiguity by modulating the original form, while positional inserts additional subtle subnotes between the chords of the original. As it is actually a subset of the celestial languages that they do use, all Angels and Demons know Archaic Celestial, in which lying is impossible, and it is the only common tongue between the two in celestial form. To a speaker of one of the two modern celestial languages, the other sounds like fragments of gibberish in Archaic Celestial, with no discernible meaning. While the modern forms are used for most tasks, for something important the speaker will use the Archaic form, to indicate the seriousness of the matter and trustworthiness of the speaker. While Archaic cannot be spoken in corporeal form, either of the modern forms can, but it'll sound very odd, and not the least bit like speech, to any human listening. (The additions of the new languages warp the original sufficiently to allow its otherwise perfect notes to exist on the imperfect corporeal realm.)
Castes of Angels
Seraphim, in addition to being investigators of the truth, are also charged with the duty of showing this truth to others. They can be quite convincing speakers when attempting to bring about someone to their side, as miraculously perceiving the convictions of the person speaking to you can be very persuasive.
In addition to their basic resonance from In Nomine, Seraphim may also impress upon a subject the Truth of any statement. With a successful *Will* roll, the listener will see the Truth behind a statement uttered by the Seraph (which must be true—the Seraph may not lie here, or it automatically fails). Treat this as if the listener were a Seraph that had just successfully resonated that statement with the check digit earned by the actual Seraph. This only works on statements made by the Seraph; it can't be used on any third party source.
Cherubim are the appointed guardians of humanity, watching over them and making sure they do not stray from the paths devised for them.
Cherubim have the same resonance as in canon In Nomine, but their dissonance condition is that they may not take any action to help move their attuned closer to their Fate (such as encouraging individuality or rebelliousness), or personally harm them. They will try and prevent others from harming them, though it is not actually dissonant for them to fail to prevent this, just emotionally painful.
Ofanim are as in canon In Nomine, though with the absence of Malakim, their most common role is as the actual warriors in the army of Heaven.
Elohim are as in canon In Nomine, though they make up a proportionally larger share of the Host. Their keen objectivity and ability to determine what must be done to get a plan to operate make them valuable to the Heaven of Mirror In Nomine.
Kyriotates are as in canon In Nomine. In addition, their hosts, upon return to their bodies, have a vague feeling of having taken part in something bigger than themselves for some higher purpose, though they have no specific memories. This sensation can be addictive, sometimes to the point where not being possessed by a Kyriotate can become painful.
Mercurians are as in canon In Nomine. Their job is to help people realize how they weave into society at large through their relations with others.
Grigori are as in GURPS In Nomine (which has been translated to In Nomine). Obviously, they were never outcast, and there's far, far more of them than were ever created in canon In Nomine. Aside from watching for demonic interference, they use their closeness to the human perspective to try and engage people in thoughtful discussions about why higher purposes are necessary for personal fulfillment.
Breeds of Demons
- Balseraphim [sic]
Due to the truly divine nature of Seraphim, the highest choir, completely severing their connection to the Symphony after they left proved to be impossible. If one of these exiled Seraphim strains, it can still make out subtle impressions of Truth. They may employ the basic Seraph resonance by taking a penalty to their target number of the highest check digit they wish to be able to achieve. A success with a higher check digit is treated as the limit.
However, as they explored new ways to interact with the Symphony, they discovered that they could bridge to the personal Symphonies of others more easily than to the true Symphony, allowing the other to peer inside the exiled Seraph. With a successful will roll, the listener will see the Truth behind a statement uttered by the Balseraph. Treat this as if the listener were a Seraph that had successfully resonated that statement with the check digit earned by the Balseraph. This only works on statements made by the Balseraph; it can't be used on any third party source. Unlike their angelic brethren, Balseraphim can lie when using this power, though doing so is very strenuous and painful, inflicting a point of dissonance whether successful or not.
The dissonance condition for Balseraphim is the same as for Seraphim. However, the fundamental distinction between the two classes of celestials is that their concepts of truth are rather different. Balseraphim don't believe in an absolute Truth, only in truth relative to the speaker of a statement; they believe the question of truth only has meaning within a given context. As such, they tend to be more flexible than Seraphim, and will often dance dangerously close to a lie without touching it, so that the speaker will think that it was actually stated, rather than just implied. They understand that in some cases, certain truths are best phrased in a cautious manner or kept out of the picture entirely.
Djinn also view themselves as the protectors of humanity, shielding them from the meddlesome interference of the angels and freeing them to seek their own route. They genuinely care about those they watch over, and make little secret of it.
Similar to Cherubim, Djinn have the same resonance as in canon In Nomine, but their dissonance condition is that they may not take any action to help move their attuned closer to their Destiny (such as by encouraging conformity or unquestioning acceptance), or personally harm them. They will try and prevent others from harming them, though it is not actually dissonant for them to fail to prevent this, just emotionally painful.
As Ofanim are the embodiment of motion, ranging across the Symphony, their demonic analogues turn this motion inward, focusing their attentions to a sharp point. Their inhuman ability to concentrate is matched only by their ability to ignore everything else.
The Mennonite resonance is multi-part. First, the check digit of a successful resonance check may be added to any Precision-based roll, or a roll requiring extreme concentration. The Mennonites' will is so strong that it reaches out and shapes the very Symphony itself to be more receptive to their actions in a small area. They do their fair share of Hell's fighting by sniping at the enemy.
Second, a Mennonite may add the check digit of a successful resonance check to any attempt to recall a specific detail, if there is even the slightest chance that he has ever been exposed to such information. For example, a Mennonite that has ever flipped through a chemistry textbook might be able to remember the chemical formula of any given compound, but would not be able to use this skill to dig up any complex concepts in chemistry.
Lastly, a Mennonite in Celestial form may make a resonance check to enter a patient wait state. In this form, they generate no disturbance due to being celestial, and attempts to perceive them are at a penalty equal to the check digit of the resonance check. They may remain in this state indefinitely, so long as they don't move at all. It may be ended voluntarily at any time.
Mennonites find it dissonant to be driven to act hastily without considering the consequences of their actions. They often produce elaborate plans ahead of time, with options for all foreseeable contingencies; once putting their plans into action, they tend to act directly and efficiently. Additionally, failing a resonance-boosted precision roll with a check digit of six is dissonant, as the Symphony backlashes on their attempted tampering.
In celestial form, Mennonites appear as great circular lenses of perfect quality and exceptionally sharp focus.
Habbalah see themselves as teachers and guides. It is their duty to enlighten humans as to their own special nature, reveal the infinite possibilities of the universe, and fan the flames that drive humans to excel. They are open and compassionate beings who shudder at the emotional straightjackets worn by their Elohite brethren. Inside, they all feel that the Exodus was not a deviation from God's plan, but rather an integral part of it, and that God ultimately wants all humans to overcome the confines set forth by the angels and achieve true greatness.
The Habbalah resonance is two-fold. First, they are capable of sensing the motivations and passions of others. With a successful Perception check, they may consult the Elohite resonance table in the main In Nomine rulebook. However, the reading they get is not specific to the moment, but broader. Interpret "current state" as meaning over a span of days, weeks, or even months, rather than right this second. The motivations they sense are long-term driving factors. At higher check digits, they detect how the subject would react to long-term trends in his or her environment, not a specific, immediate action.
Secondly, Habbalah may instill passion in other beings. With a successful Will check, a Habbalah may amplify some emotion that already exists in a nascent form within a person. For example, someone who keeps a small garden may have this blossom into a general fondness for the environment, and even become an activist. The check digit determines the magnitude of the amplification as well as how long it takes to come about. On a 1, the person may develop a slight interest in the subject over the next few weeks or months, and it may taper off eventually. On a 6, the subject develops a noticeable fervor within hours, leading to actions such as reading large numbers of books on a topic, trying to establish a close friendship with an individual, or obtaining the training needed to switch careers.
This second use of the resonance may also be attempted even if the victim has no prior level of the passion to be instilled, but the victim may then resist with a successful Will roll. If the check digit of this roll is higher than the check digit of Habbalah's resonance check, the Habbalah will suffer a note of Dissonance as the subject's mind backlashes at the intrusion.
Note that hatreds for or indifference to things can be instilled as well as fascination. Attempting to radically change someone's perspective is not possible with a single use of this resonance, though it can happen over time. Multiple uses of this resonance on the same individual with the same overall purpose must be spaced apart. After a successful use, one must wait an amount of time equal to the time given on the Geas table by (7 - the check digit). (So with a successful check digit of 6, one need only wait a day, while with a check digit of 1, one need wait a year.) After an unsuccessful use, one need wait the amount of time given on the Geas table by the check digit.
In addition to backlashing their resonance on unreceptive subjects, Habbalah find it dissonant to act in a manner contrary to their true emotions about the subject at hand. Hypocrisy is the fastest way to become a cold bastard Elohite…
In celestial form, Habbalah appear as physically perfect human beings, both beautiful and powerful, with a subtle undercurrent of sexuality. The entire surface of their celestial bodies is covered in fine tattoos of the most exquisite detail, unique to each Habbalite. Sometimes, the tattoos seem to shift and accommodate themselves to the mood of the Habbalite, an outward sign of their inner state.
In the world of Mirror In Nomine, Shedim are powerful agents for motivating people from the inside out. In actuality, a Shedite's requirement is not to corrupt, but to bring the host into alignment with itself. Since all Shedim in the canon In Nomine universe are horribly corrupted pits of diseased filth spewed from the nether regions of vileness, it is no wonder that everyone thinks their dissonance condition to be what is stated in the main rulebook. In the world of Mirror In Nomine, they must bring the host to make a decision each day, of growing importance and repercussion as per the requirements for escalating sin for canon Shedim. These decisions should be of a personal nature, and ultimately reflect what the host wants in the long term, and while outside input is acceptable, the decision must truly be the host's and require taking some sort of stand, even if only against one's own apathy. (Examples: Starting an exercise program to get rid of and keep off those extra pounds, actually talking to that girl you've liked for weeks, quitting that job you've hated for years and telling that fat &*&$#@!! of a boss what he can do with his stupid mission statement, writing down your dreams every day because they're neat.)
Impudites are warm, charismatic demons that genuinely like people and want to be their friends. The most common use of their resonance allows them to add the check digit of a successful will roll to the target number for any social test (treat it as bonus levels of charisma). When time for finesse is not available, Impudites can be a little more blatant. They can invoke their resonance on a subject by making a making a will roll minus the subject's Ethereal forces; the subject may then resist with a will roll, minus the Impudite's check digit. If this fails, the subject will treat the Impudite as a close personal friend for a number of minutes equal to the check digit of the failed roll.
Lastly, Impudites are so charming, they can even coax the Symphony itself. Any time an Impudite gains essence from the Symphony, via a rite or daily regeneration, a successful will roll will let the Impudite double the essence gained.
It is dissonant for Impudites to resort to any use of violence against humans, though they can attempt to subdue or incapacitate an opponent in cases of self-defense, or where doing so is necessary to keep humans from injuring themselves or others.
Evim retain much of their human nature, and can often fool the Symphony. With a successful will roll, they may reduce any disturbance they cause by a factor equal to the check digit, rounding down any fractions. If the check digit is one, rather than having no reduction, they actually cause no disturbance at all!
In many other ways, the Symphony still treats them as human. They may interbreed normally with living humans, and their children are never Nephallim or other such abominations, though they do have a slightly increased tendency to develop a sixth force. In addition, their actions can create tethers, just as if they were still living humans. Lastly, the Light of Heaven, though unpleasantly bright, does not cause them any actual damage, even when focused through tethers.
Evim do not have any sort of dissonance condition resulting from their band, as their pliable human nature is preserved.
No one has ever heard of Malakim or Lilim, though that doesn't mean there might not be one or two of them around under other names, the results of some odd tinkering by an inventive Superior…