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In Nomine is a role-playing game designed by Derek Pearcy and published in 1997 by Steve Jackson Games, based on the French game In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas. Players typically assume the role of angels and demons in a setting that draws heavily on the traditional Christian mythos (however the French version was quickly expanded to include religions as diverse as Voodoo and the Norse Pantheon). In Nomine won the Origins Award for Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1997.

The American version of In Nomine is somewhat more serious than the French version but still a largely satirical look at the war between Heaven and Hell. While Demons tend to be genuinely evil at the upper ranks, individual rank and file are considerably more sympathetic. Likewise, Angels tend to be good but can become bitterly misguided in their causes.

In Nomine has always had modest success at best; recent supplements for the game are few and far between, and have been released solely through Steve Jackson Games's electronic store e23. Some fans have attributed the game's lack of broad appeal to its quirky D666 system and the over-the-top nature of the setting.

Not to be confused with the Europa Universalis III Expansion Pack. Or the German electronic music group.

This Tabletop RPG provides examples of:

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Angels and Demons with "Words" see everything through their Word's perspective, becoming living incarnations of their Word.
  • Army of the Dead: The Saints of War. Over a thousand blessed souls incarnated on Earth to watch and wait for the moment that Michael needs them to scramble.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Uriel and other souls that go to the "Upper Heavens."
  • Ascended Demon: Possible, but difficult- not the least because any demon attempting to redeem himself is likely to run afoul of Asmodeus and be destroyed as a traitor to Hell.
  • Battle Trophy: In the supplement Superiors 1: War and Honor. Angels who follow the Archangel Michael have been known to take the weapons, insignia or even body parts of defeated demons as trophies. A few of them have necklaces of demon ears.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Any demon meeting Lucifer for the first time gets to ask one favor. And that demon had better hope Lucifer is in a good frame of mind.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: For both Heaven and Hell. It's been said of the setting that both Heaven and Hell are Feudal Bureaucracies, but the Devil is (quite literally) in the details.
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels: Played with, in that the Archangels' idea of good can be very disturbing (see: Uriel).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Malphas, the Demon Prince of Factions, whose job is to reduce society to a horde of paranoid lunatics who are unable to trust anyone at all (after all, they can't betray you if you betray them first). Even his own followers are prone to this, and the core book states that Malphas is actually able to backstab himself. The only reason he hasn't tried to overthrow Lucifer is that he's too busy making his fellow Demon Princes fight among themselves (and that he's smart enough to know that he would be destroyed if he did try).
  • Council of Angels: Pretty much per the trope, but with behind-the-scenes political squabbles. For example, Michael (the Archangel of War) is extremely frustrated with Novalis (the Archangel of Flowers) for her pacifistic attitude towards the War, while supporting more militaristic Archangels such as Laurence (the Archangel of the Sword), but loathes Dominic (the Archangel of Judgment) as he is still bitter about being accused of sinful pride by him. Even so, they still acknowledge that they are in fact on the same side and work together if necessary, albeit begrudgingly. There's a similar organization of Demon Princes that vaguely acts like this as well, except that Lucifer's word is absolute and they are far more likely to sabotage each other's plans than to actually cooperate.
  • Crisis of Faith: Ironically, it's the Archangel of Faith himself who goes through this, in The Final Trumpet.
  • Deal with the Devil: Done interestingly. While selling your soul to a demon really jacks up the chances of you going to hell — and into the estate of that specific demon — there's nothing in there that says you cannot go to Heaven; If you somehow manage to redeem yourself, you've rendered the pact null and void — you're not the property of Hell at all, let alone one specific demon. The demons are not amused by this.
    • This is the way both Lilith and her children operate — which is ironic, since Lilith's Word is Freedom.
  • Defector From Decadence: The demons usually see themselves as this compared to the angels. It's possible but rare for a demon to redeem themselves this way.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils
  • Divine Ranks: Regular angels then Archangels in Heaven, demons, Demon Princes and Lucifer for Hell.
    • Word-Bound angels/demons rank higher than regular ones, but lower than Archangels/Demon Princes. Most all Archangels/Demon Princes also have their own ranks within their organization. The typical setup is Servitor/Vassal/Friend/Master for angels and Servitor/Knight/Captain/Baron for demons, with individual organizations defining their own higher ranks after that.
  • Dream Land: The Marches, created by the dreams of every living thing on Earth.
  • Ensign Newbie: Laurence, Archangel of the Sword, is the youngest of the Archangels (this is relative; he was about 750 years old when he was elevated), and is the Commander of the Host. He's in way over his head, and Michael is getting tired of playing Sergeant Rock for him.
    • But remember that Good Is Not Dumb. Laurence is acknowledged to have a sharp strategic mind, he's just honorable enough that a trick or a cheat can fool him ... once. But he never forgets a trick, and after 1,300 years, there's only so many left that Hell can play.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Nobody likes the Shedim.
  • Evil Counterpart: The different types of demon are all Fallen versions of the different types of angel (except the Lilim). In addition, some of the Demon Princes are opposite numbers to the Archangels: for instance Dominic, Archangel of Judgement and Asmodeus, Demon Prince of The Game; Blandine, Archangel of Dreams and her former lover Beleth, Demon Princess of Nightmares; and the extra-ineffable Yves, Archangel of Destiny and Kronos, Demon Prince of Fate.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Kobal is the Prince of Dark Humor. Lucifer often laughs at Kobal, and Haagenti is in charge of gross-out humor and sight gags. (The other Demon Princes mostly fall under No Sense of Humor, especially Baal.)
  • Evil Is Easy: It's considerably harder for a demon to become an angel than vice versa.
  • Fallen Angel: Possible. Not difficult at all.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Many of the Demon Princes (most notably Lucifer himself) fall into this category; they wear business suits and chat pleasantly with their demons while they order their Forces stripped. Some prefer simple brutishness and terror instead and don't even pretend to be nice, while Lilith appears to be an Affably Evil Noble Demon. (The truth about her is ineffable.)
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: reinforced and subverted. Heaven has a lot of stuff — although they did build a Fluffy Cloud section for the benefit of people who enjoy that sort of thing.
  • Flying Weapon: Heavenly Judgement, one of Dominic's Servitor Attunement in Superiors I: War & Honor. It creates a luminous sword that attacks serious criminals.
  • Foe Yay: Lilim tend to find Malakim inexplicably beautiful. (Malakim want Lilim dead like any other demon.)
  • Friend to All Children: Christopher, Archangel of Children.
  • Good Feels Good: The most common way for a demon to be redeemed is when they start feeling this way.
  • Good Guy Bar: "Chez Régis", where angels and demons can drink without fighting each other.
  • Granola Girl: Novalis, the pacifist Archangel of Flowers, can come across like this.
  • Hammerspace: In Superiors I: War & Honor, the Archangel Laurence's Servitors have an Attunement called "Scabbard" that can hold an unlimited number of personal weapons.
  • Hand Signals: In Superiors I: War and Honor, Dominic's angels can communicate with each other using finger/hand codes.
  • Have You Seen My God?: God Himself hasn't directly communicated with anyone — at least, that anyone knows about (barring two messages breaking up the trials of different Archangels) — since the Rebellion.
    • However, it's 99% certain that Gabriel's occasional moments of prophecy are communications directly from God, and it's also hinted that Archangel Yves is the spokesangel for God, replacing the Metatron, who Lucifer killed as his first act of rebellion. Yves, however, annoyingly refuses to confirm or deny. That's ineffability for you.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Reinforced with Heaven's commander, Laurence, Archangel of The Sword, who not only is a true blademaster but can imbue any sword he uses with permanent supernatural power. Averted in Michael, Archangel of War, who openly prefers a simple mundane battle-axe to a sword and can trash anyone in creation with it including, according to legend, Laurence himself.
    • If they feel confident, a Servitor of Dominic can try to insta-trial an opponent for execution. If they succeed, they get to rent his (rather nice) sword for summary punishment.
  • Holier Than Thou: The Demons are genuinely evil in In Nomine, at least the leaders (except for Lilith, who's really more of a mercenary). The Angels aren't evil, but do strongly disagree with each other about what's best for humanity.
  • Impossible Thief: Valefor, and how. The Demon Prince once stole the entire Russian Revolution. And his career began with a book lifted from Destiny's Library, which no one else had ever done before or since. Add in the fact that the book hadn't even been written yet.... And then he stole a Word, essentially a cosmic concept, from the demon who was mystically bound to said concept. Yes, he stole an abstract concept.
  • Internal Affairs: The angels of Dominic, the Archangel of Judgment, serve this role for the forces of Heaven. Like most fictional IA officers, this means they're also seen as overstarched pokerspines most of the time.
  • Ironic Hell: Hell is built on the sins you formed in life. Some Demon Princes divide up souls based on it, others couldn't care less.
    • Unless you signed over your soul to a specific Demon Prince (Asmodeus or Mammon, mostly). Then you go straight to his/her domain. (Unless you go to Heaven...)
  • Laughably Evil: Kobal, the Demon Prince of Dark Humor. There is also his "blood brother" Haagenti, the Demon Prince of Gluttony, who also holds purview over torture and sight gags (which many consider to be a form of torture).
  • The Library of Babel: Yves' Library in Heaven contains anything ever written or recorded, including some works that were only created in dreams.
  • Living a Double Life: Strongly hinted to be the case with the Janus, Archangel of the Wind and Valefor, Demon Prince of Theft. First there's Janus' name. Next, their servitors' powersets and various other details are identical — to the point of cut-and-pasted descriptions. And when you think about it, an Archangel who encourages petty theft as a way to keep the Forces of Heaven on their toes? More than a little odd. The question is, which side is he really on, and how does he get away with it?
    • In the original French games, Janus started as an ordinary angel working undercover in Hell as Valefor. He got promoted to Archangel (and recalled back to Heaven) when he made a big score against Kronos, but then he discovered that he missed the adrenaline rush of undercover work. So without telling anyone he resumed his identity as Valefor and worked his way up to Demon Prince in Hell just for the thrill and danger of it. Now since the American adaptation and the French originals are divergent in many ways, often radically so, there's no guarantee that this history applies at all to the SJGames version; if anything, the American version seems to lean in the opposite direction, with Valefor as a Demon Prince masquerading as an Archangel.
    • There's a theory that he/they are actually Odin, pulling a fast one on both sides, and in the process living a triple life.
  • Mad Scientist: Vapula, the Demon Prince of Technology. Lacking Archangel Jean's Heavenly access to the secrets of the physical universe, he works to catch up by experimenting on every soul in sight — literally.
  • Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: This is the general mindset of most Cherubim, epitomized by Zadkiel, Cherub Archangel of Protection.
  • Mayincatec: Quetzalcoatl, Mictalantechtli, Huitzilopochtli and several other Aztec gods are included.
  • No Name Given: The Archangel of Death has only been briefly mentioned twice, but never by name.
  • Noble Demon: Baal and Lilith both fit, in their own ways.
  • Obsessed with Food: Haagenti the Demon Prince of Gluttony.
  • One-Gender Race: Lilim are not quite this, but it still fits them to some extent. A majority of Lilim identify as female, they are collectively called the "Daughters of Lilith" and according to Beth McCoy (see Word of God below) they are created generically female. However a substantial minority identify as male ("Sons of Lilith") and a few like to appear as either sex depending on their whim.
    • Also, roughly 80 percent of Zadkiel's angels of Protection choose to manifest as female.
  • Our Angels Are Different and Our Demons Are Different: Boy howdy. Seven types of each:
    • On the Angelic side:
      • Seraphim: Living Lie Detectors who Can Not Tell a Lie (or at least, can't lie without dire consequences). Their celestial forms are serpents with six eyes and feathered wings.
      • Cherubim: Protective Mama Bears/bodyguards that attune themselves to things and protect them with their lives. Their celestial forms tend to be winged animals of any variety.
      • Ofanim: Heaven's speed freaks. They can detect the quickest way to get to a given point, and generally try to get there as fast as possible. The only thing that goes against their nature is to stop. Their celestial forms are wheels of flame that appear to spin constantly.
      • Elohim: Angels whose celestial forms resemble The Greys. They can detect other people's emotions and motivations. They are not allowed to act on their own emotions, however, so most of them adapt a Spock-like personality.
      • Malakim: Proud Warrior Race Guys who can't Fall (though one popular theory suggests that they're already Fallen and just don't know it) and can also see how honorable or dishonorable someone has been; they act as Heaven's primary soldiers and demon fighters thanks to their ability to resist Trauma caused by a vessel's death. Their celestial forms look similar to the stereotypical image, but have black wings with "shadowy" bodies.
      • Bright Lilim: Rare, but with a well-known existence. See Lilim, but with their nature changed to reflect the positive aspects of freedom and contracts, with their appearance mutating to have glowing skin and translucent wings. Oddly, Lilith is said to be proud of those of her daughters on Heaven's side.
      • Kyriotates: Benevolent Body Snatchers, complete with Hive Mind as the result of being able to possess multiple people (or other animals) at once. They can't leave their hosts in a worse state than in which they found them. They look vaguely like a swarm of levitating body parts.
      • Mercurians: Friends of Man, and along with Malakim the only angels to actually resemble the stereotypical Winged Humanoid image. They can naturally detect the relationships of a person towards nearly everyone else that person knows and are natural diplomats. They are not allowed to ever hurt a human being. (Demons, on the other hand, are fair game.)
    • On the Demonic side:
      • Balseraphs: Master liars (their lies are so effective, they think their lies ARE the truth); fallen Seraphim. Their celestial forms are similar to Seraphim, but possess bat wings rather than feathered wings and tend to be blood-red.
      • Djinn: Stalkers, but never with a crush, at least none that they would ever admit. They do everything in their power to deny that they care about anything apart from themselves; fallen Cherubim. Their celestial forms appear like their counterparts, but look like a blend of various beasts rather than a recognizable animal.
      • Calabim: These Blood Knight demons use both their entropic powers and old-fashioned physical violence in their role as the blunt instruments of Hell; fallen Ofanim. Their celestial forms look like stereotypical demons (red skin, bat wings, and the like) and sometimes look visibly deformed as a result of the Discord they naturally possess.
      • Habbalah: Emotional manipulators and tormentors. Insane even by demon standards (they think they're angels doing God's work where it's needed the most — in Hell: for them, "doing God's work" means "punishing" anyone they deem to be weak); fallen Elohim. Their celestial forms are covered with scars, piercings, tattoos, and other painful-looking mutilations.
      • Lilim: Demons who can give you anything you need... but you'll have to pay for it eventually. All Lilim are created in Hell by Lilith, but some occasionally join Heaven as Bright Lilim, and others manage to clear their debts and go Free. Their celestial forms appear as green-skinned humanoids with small horns and bat wings.
      • Shedim: Really really creepy Puppet Masters who corrupt their victims, degrading their moral standards over time and convincing them that their demonically implanted suggestions were the victim's own ideas; fallen Kyriotates and masters of Demonic Possession. Their celestial forms are similar to Kyriotates' forms, but are more monstrous and unnatural-looking.
      • Impudites: Charmers who can steal your heart — and bits of your soul, too; fallen Mercurians. They are not allowed to kill a human, though. (It's such a waste of good food.) Their celestial forms resemble the stereotypical demon, with bat wings, horns, and so forth.
    • GURPS In Nomine gives rules for an eighth major type of angel, the outcast Grigori, who are called "Watchers" and are supernaturally perceptive... and able to interbreed with humans (which is what ended up getting the entire choir exiled from Heaven; see the Book of Enoch). Most of them have gone into hiding since then, and many angels are uncertain if they still exist. Fallen Grigori are known as Skulkers, and are adept at hiding themselves. So adept, in fact, that Hell hasn't been able to find any of them despite their best efforts to do so.
      • And there are other, minor, Choirs and Bands not listed due to the difficulty involved in playing them (either they work for only one Archangel/Demon Prince or are simply unsuited for working on Earth).
  • The Paladin: Malakim in general, who live by honor, fight evil relentlessly and cannot Fall (although remember that Good Is Not Nice). Also, Laurence and his angels of The Sword in particular, who tend to see themselves as knights in a fallen world.
  • Physical God: subverted: Archangels and Demon Princes are celestial beings who must create physical vessels to manifest in the mortal realm.
  • Refusing Paradise: Saints are human souls who have died, gone to Heaven, and then asked to return to Earth so they can continue the fight against evil.
    • also, to a lesser extent all the blessed souls that hang around in Lower Heaven rather then climbing Jacob's Ladder. They often act as advisors to Archangels who want a human viewpoint on stuff, or help teach angels about to be put on Earth duty how to get along on Earth. Though some of them are just waiting around for a friend or family member so they can ascend together.
  • Restraining Bolt: All Celestials have certain behaviors (Seraphim can't lie because they're so closely attuned to the truth, Impudites can't kill humans because that's a waste of food) that cause them to gain dissonance. For Angels, dissonance potentially leads them to Fall. For both Angels and Demons, it causes physical, mental, or spiritual handicaps called Discord and unwanted attention from the internal security of Heaven or Hell (neither of which is known for going easy on dissonant Celestials).
    • Notable are Malakim, who choose their own restraining bolts, and Lilim, who impose restraining bolts on others.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The Gods of most non-Abrahamic religions (which the angels were mostly responsible for) are generated by the dreams of humanity. They insist that God is just a jumped-up member of their ranks who achieved enough power to Retcon reality. Some have aligned themselves with Heaven or Hell, but the majority of them simply want to be left alone. Unlike God, they need worship to survive and the lack of same has caused many of them to weaken and even disappear.
  • Secret Police: The forces of Asmodeus, Demon Prince of the Game, perform this role for Hell. Much of its effort goes into tracking down Renegade demons and bringing them home to "face justice."
  • Shades of Conflict: Canonically, Black and Gray Morality; Hell is thoroughly corrupt and wicked (but with sympathetic individuals in the rank and file), Heaven's leadership is full of Knights Templar who are mostly trying to be good guys. However, notable in that the GM's section provides options for High Contrast, which is Black and White Morality, Dark Low Contrast, which is Evil Versus Evil, and Bright Low Contrast, which is Grey and Gray Morality Played for Laughs. (It also provides mention of playing it backwards, which is Black and Gray Morality with demons as the "gray.")
  • Shout-Out: Several nods to Good Omens, and at least one to Sluggy Freelance (Kizke, Demon of Webcomics).
  • Shrug of God: "Canon Doubt and Uncertainty" is a phrase that players of the game know very, very well. As per the Line Editor's policy, some big questions will always be left for individual GMs to make up their own answers to.
  • Special Snowflake Syndrome: There are probably more Bright Lilim in an average group of PC angels than there are in all of (canonical) Heaven.
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: This is the modus operandi of Kyriotates, angels who manifest by possessing human bodies. (And animals, and in some cases plants and machines.) They suffer dissonance if they leave the host in a worse condition than when they "borrowed" it, so they'd rather be safe than sorry and put in some extra effort. Their demonic counterparts, the Shedim, couldn't care less about their host and take pleasure in corrupting it.
    • Even if the Shedim didn't take pleasure in corrupting their hosts, they'd do it anyway, because not doing it makes them suffer dissonance.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The reason Uriel was recalled into the Higher Heavens, never to be seen again, and was replaced as chief big shot in the War? He led a genocidal crusade against the creatures and pantheons of mythology (including many which weren't even aligned with Hell) sometime in the 8th century. The Ethereals have never entirely trusted Heaven since then.
  • Truce Zone: The city of Austin, Texas, and Chez Régis" in he original French game In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas.
  • Walking the Earth: Eli, the Archangel of Creation, left Heaven in 1957 to walk the Earth. No one knows why — and no one's quite sure if Eli remembers any more, for that matter...
  • Wild Card: Lilith and the Free Lilim claim to be this. In practice, they're firmly on the Hell side of things because Heaven is not interested in letting Wild Cards live freely. (Neither is Hell, for that matter, but they let Lilith and her Daughters pretend otherwise so long as "Freedom" remains a sick joke rather than a fact.)
  • Word of God: Beth McCoy, aka "The Archangel of Archives/The Demon Princess of Nitpicking", Line Editor for the game, is a constant presence on the In Nomine mailing list.