In Nomine (role-playing game)
In Nomine is a role-playing game
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

 designed by Derek Pearcy and published in 1997 by Steve Jackson Games
Steve Jackson Games
Steve Jackson Games is a game company, founded in 1980 by Steve Jackson, that creates and publishes role-playing, board, and card games, and the gaming magazine Pyramid.-History:...

, based on the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 game In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas
In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas
In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas is a French role-playing game, created by Croc.In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas was first designed by the French company Siroz, available in its fourth edition. The French edition of the game was stopped in 2006, with the publication of the sourcebook "On Ferme !"...

. Players typically assume the role of angels and demons in a setting that draws heavily on the traditional Christian
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 mythos. In Nomine won the Origins Award
Origins Award
The Origins Awards are American awards for outstanding work in the game industry. They are presented by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design at the Origins Game Fair on an annual basis for the previous year, so the 1979 awards were given at the 1980 Origins.The Origins Award is commonly...

 for Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1997.


The game combines the supernatural with mundane reality, with campaigns often set in the modern world. Supernatural characters take on a human (or other mundane) form to further their various agendas. Although individual campaigns can focus on combat or direct conflict, Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 and Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

 settled into a Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. Angels and demons typically struggle indirectly, by attempting to draw humans closer to their respective sides. Open hostilities are costly, and in the game setting, rarely prove to be the most efficient option. This allows In Nomine to have the qualities of a morality play
Morality play
The morality play is a genre of Medieval and early Tudor theatrical entertainment. In their own time, these plays were known as "interludes", a broader term given to dramas with or without a moral theme. Morality plays are a type of allegory in which the protagonist is met by personifications of...

 as well as those of a more standard role-playing game.

Angels and demons, collectively termed celestials, are sorted into different Choirs (angelic) or Bands (demonic). Musical themes permeate the literature. For example, all of creation is collectively termed "The Symphony," and "spells" do not exist; celestial powers are either resonances, attunements, or Songs. Every Choir or Band has a "resonance" associated with it, a unique way in which they interact with the Symphony that functions as a supernatural ability.

A celestial generally also has two sets of "dissonance conditions," that determine how they acquire notes of dissonance
Consonance and dissonance
In music, a consonance is a harmony, chord, or interval considered stable, as opposed to a dissonance , which is considered to be unstable...

. One set comes from the base Choir or Band, and the other set comes from the Word they serve. Violating these conditions involves fundamentally rejecting their identity (for demons) or their place in the Symphony (for angels), and this rejection manifests itself in dissonance. Dissonance impairs a celestial's abilities in certain ways, and is keyed to spiritual
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

Anguish is a term used in philosophy, often as a translation from the German Angst. It is a paramount feature of existentialist philosophy, in which anguish is often understood as the experience of an utterly free being in a world with zero absolutes...

. For example, Seraphim see lies plainly (via use of their resonance) and in turn cannot bring themselves to lie without betraying their natures (which earns them dissonance). Acquiring notes of dissonance, in turn, interferes with their ability to use their resonance. Thus, once an angel starts distancing itself from the Symphony, it runs the risk of getting caught in a vicious cycle that leads it further and further from its angelic nature - and down the path to Falling
Fallen angel
Fallen angel is a concept developed in Jewish mythology from interpretation of the Book of Enoch. The actual term fallen angel is not found in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Christians adopted the concept of fallen angels mainly based on their interpretations of the Book of...

. Bands do not tend to have a similar problem; redeeming a demon typically requires Superior intervention, whereas an angel can Fall spontaneously by itself.

Angels and demons usually work for one of the thirteen main Archangels or fourteen main Demon Princes. These are celestials who are each bound to a powerful "Word," or fundamental concept. Not every Word-bound celestial is a Superior; only the most important, most powerful, and most knowledgeable earn Superior status. For instance, Michael is the Archangel of War. Doxas, Angel of Glory, is his lieutenant and, while respected, does not bear the title and responsibilities of Archangel. Generally angels must ask their Superior to sponsor them for a Word before the Seraphim Counsel. Once they have asked their superior if they may be granted a word, they will have to explain their reasoning for being gifted this honour. If their answer is to their superior's satisfaction then they will be brought before the Seraphim council where they will be given a task to perform. (Usually in some way related to the word they seek to obtain). If there are any other angels who wish to also have this word, they would be tested simultaneously. The one who successfully completes the task to the best of his/her ability would then be granted the word.

Demons have a similar task, rallying support for becoming Word-bound. But because there is no demonic equivalent of the Seraphim council, they have to either request their Superior intercede for them, or go into Lower Hell and speak with Lucifer himself on the matter. Depending of his mood he might kill them on the spot, grant them a Word on the spot or give them a task to fulfill. But completing a task does not ensure the word is theirs, he may deny them the word, grant them a lesser word, or grant them a word they didn't want.

The Archangel or Demon Prince which a character works for shapes their nature, personality, abilities, and restrictions as much as their Choir or Band. Words can change subtly if a Demon Prince redeems or an Archangel Falls - for instance, Andrealphus, the Demon Prince of (selfish) Lust
Lust is an emotional force that is directly associated with the thinking or fantasizing about one's desire, usually in a sexual way.-Etymology:The word lust is phonetically similar to the ancient Roman lustrum, which literally meant "purification"...

, was once the Archangel of (selfless) Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

. Both Heaven and Hell (especially the latter) are divided on many important matters. For example, Michael's militant stance towards Hell clashes with that of Novalis, the peace-loving Archangel of Flowers, and that of Jean, Archangel of Lightning, who favors a moderate approach between the two extremes. Most Archangels are hesitant to support one particular religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, but Dominic (Judgment) and Laurence (the Sword) take extra pains to promote Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, while Khalid (Faith) is avowedly Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...


The game offers no definitive answer as to whether the fallen angels had justification to rebel, although in practice, most games tend to default to the assumption that Heaven is in fact seeking to further the overall cause of good, and Hell to undermine it. One can play a "backwards" game as freedom fighters based in Hell fighting against angelic oppression just as easily as a "straight" game where sympathetic to the angels. To accommodate both these perspectives, game literature often describes a morally gray universe, where angelic and demonic forces sometimes work together for mutual benefit. Both Heaven and Hell are home to a great many political schemers and powerful secret police
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....


Supplements to the line include books on humans (aware or un-aware of the conflict) and ethereal spirits (creatures born of dreams), which can be player character
Player character
A player character or playable character is a character in a video game or role playing game who is controlled or controllable by a player, and is typically a protagonist of the story told in the course of the game. A player character is a persona of the player who controls it. Player characters...

s or non-player characters.


The default mechanic of the system is the "d666." This consists of a roll of three six-sided dice; the first two are added together and compared to a target number to determine success or failure, the third determines the degree of success or failure. The third digit is often referred to as the "check digit," or "CD." Rolling all 1s or all 6s results in an "intervention" - divine or infernal, respectively - essentially filling the role of a spectacular success or failure. Note that, for example, rolling 1, 1, 1, always benefits Heaven, making it a critical success for an angelic player, but a critical failure for a demonic player. Because the roll of 6, 6, 6 always benefits a demonic player, it is sometimes referred to as a freight train from Hell
Boxcars (slang)
Boxcars is the outcome of rolling the dice in a game of craps and getting a 6 on both dice. The pair of 6 pips resembles a pair of boxcars on a freight train. In modern parlance, it refers to such a roll in any game involving 6 sided dice which are marked with pips. The probability of this roll...


Though there are numerous powers players can purchase with experience or earn through missions, the rules themselves are at a level of simplicity that stands in stark contrast to the complex politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 and baroque cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

. Most agree that this results in In Nomine achieving flexibility and simplicity, but not game balance
Game balance
Game balance is a concept in game design describing fairness or balance of power in a game between multiple players or strategic options. Each team or person would be equally matched in every aspect.- Overview :...



GURPS In Nomine is a third edition GURPS
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting...

adaptation of the In Nomine setting. It contains conversion material for the core rules as well as selected supplemental rules, and is actually longer than the original book by sixteen pages, or one signature
Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching covers to the resulting text-block.-Origins of the book:...

. It also includes information about the Grigori and their resonance, as well as the Fallen Grigori (also known as Skulkers), which has not yet appeared in the original line. The conversion guidelines in the back can convert both to and from GURPS
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting...

and the original system.

The character point
Character point
Character points are abstract units used in some role-playing games during character creation and development.Early role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons assigned random values to a player character's attributes, while allowing each character a fixed number of skills...

 values for Celestial characters in GURPS In Nomine are very high in relation to most other GURPS settings. Starting characters can easily exceed 800 points, and more experienced characters are likely to exceed 1500 points.

In Nomine — World Weavers

In Nomine was, with Steve Jackson himself giving permission, briefly an online interactive fiction role-playing game within the World Weavers role-playing game group. The "game" was much more story-oriented, with the dice rolling and GM role phased out in favor of players/writers coming up with their own twists and turns in the game. Though there was initial interest in the concept, there were too few players to sustain an active In Nomine component in World Weavers, and the game was shut down after several months.

External links

  • Official GURPS site
  • ORC List: MUSH
    In multiplayer online games, a MUSH is a text-based online social medium to which multiple users are connected at the same time...

    es and the like
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