By David Edelstein (c) 1999
Permission given to redistribute at no charge, provided no alterations are made.
The In Nomine rulebook features seven major Bands of demons. These are the diabolical forms that dominate Hell, and are most likely to be found on Earth . . . but many other forms exist. Presented here are six new Bands for In Nomine. They are easily adaptable to any setting that features diverse types of demons (or otherworldly beings that resemble demons).
These demons aren't well-suited to be player characters, for various reasons explained in their descriptions. There's no reason why the GM couldn't allow a Brute or a Doppleganger as a PC, but it may be a challenge to fit them into a normal campaign. They make excellent NPC allies or enemies. They can be encountered in Hell, adding diabolical diversity to the infernal population, or they might occasionally be sent to Earth . . . where they pose a unique challenge to angels, who might not even know about these less famous Bands!
In In Nomine, most demonic Bands have angelic counterparts. No corresponding angelic Choirs are included for the Bands below -- given how rarely they leave their home planes, and how limited they are in their Earthly activities, few ever have the opportunity to repent to the point of seeking redemption. That doesn't mean that divine analogs can't exist, but they're probably rarer than Bright Lilim.
Physical strength doesn't mean much on the celestial plane -- but the illusion of strength is prevalent enough to mislead some of the less intelligent demonlings into pursuing it. The crudest of all demons are those infernal spirits who obsessively developed their Corporeal Forces, and survived to "fledge" as Brutes. Every new 7-Force Brute has 5 Corporeal Forces (usually with a Strength of 12), 1 Ethereal Force, and 1 Celestial Force. 8-Force Brutes almost all add their extra Force to the Corporeal realm. Few Brutes are permitted to grow to 9 Forces.
Brutes brawl with each other endlessly. Proving their might is all they live for. Of course, corporeal combat can do no real damage on the celestial plane, and is basically meaningless. Outside of Brute breeding grounds (mostly in Gehanna and Abaddon), where few other demons venture, a Brute's life expectancy is short -- he'll inevitably pick a fight with another demon, who will probably demolish the puny Grunt in celestial combat.
Grunts make fine cannon fodder . . . they aren't useful for much else. There are no Band Attunements for Brutes -- no Prince would bother attuning one to his Word. Baal lets his Servitors fight hordes of Grunts in Gehanna, to practice corporeal combat skills "safely." On the corporeal plane, a Brute with a vessel could be a very powerful warrior, and occasionally they are brought to Earth, for jobs requiring mindless brute force. Of course, they require a supervisor smart enough to keep them on task, and powerful enough to terrify them into obedience. Calabim most often receive this duty.
On the celestial plane, Brutes are greenish humanoid creatures with muscle-bound, gorilla-like frames and bone-ridged skulls . . . every bit as stupid as they look. Their vessels are usually similar in build; broad-shouldered, with bulging biceps and pectorals, tapering waists, and tiny heads. Musical comparisons are pointless . . . banging on a pot might amuse a Brute for a few minutes, before he bashes it over someone's head.
Brutes have an affinity for brute force. A Brute can make a resonance roll (Will-based) whenever he wants to apply his Strength (for any purpose -- including combat, or resisting certain Songs). If successful, he may add the check digit to the target number of his Strength roll. Of course, given their low Celestial Forces, Brutes rarely make their resonance rolls, and usually get by on Strength alone.
It's simply not in a Brute's nature to think . . . at least, not in lieu of flexing his muscles. When faced with an obstacle (inanimate or otherwise), a Brute has two choices: take the direct (brute force) approach, or surrender. Brutes can refrain from attacking an obviously superior opponent, or walk away from a barrier they know they can't breach, but they suffer dissonance if they stop to think about other alternatives (like negotiation or detours).
Dopplegangers are demons who might have become Balseraphs, but they lacked the verbal skills and devious mindset necessary to become a Liar. Their talent is imagery and physical deception, and they learned to deceive with appearances rather than words. Like Balseraphs, they adopt whatever guise suits them at the moment, and immerse themselves in their fabricated realities.
Their ability to alter their own appearance is very useful. Unfortunately, the Game has banned Dopplegangers from the corporeal plane -- a Trickster with a vessel is a Renegade as soon as he lands on Earth, as far as Asmodeus is concerned, and any Dopplegangers found in Hades are exterminated. Some Princes (notably Beleth, Nybbas, and Valefor) will deal with Dopplegangers behind Asmodeus' back, but no one has ever made reliable Servitors out of them.
The reason for this is that when a Doppleganger mimics another being, he truly believes he is that being. A Doppleganger who pretends to be a Djinn thinks he's a Djinn and will act like one. A Doppleganger who assumes a human guise on Earth believes he's a human . . . and thanks to their dissonance conditions, once a Doppleganger becomes "human," he will quickly blend into society and do his best to remain undiscovered.
A Doppleganger's true celestial form is humanoid and utterly featureless, revealing their most terrible secret -- they have no self-identity. Their vessels are as nondescript as possible . . . a Mimic never truly identifies with his natural appearance. They make no music of their own, but they are consummate lip-synchers.
A Doppleganger can distort another being's reality, much like a Balseraph, but Dopplegangers twist perceptions, and they do it automatically to any being with whom they come into contact. A Doppleganger can choose any guise; on the celestial plane, it can be another Band, while on the corporeal plane, it can be any corporeal being. (On the ethereal plane, of course, they can alter their appearance at will just as anyone else can.) Anyone who perceives the Doppleganger must win a Contest of Wills against the demon. If he fails, he sees the Doppleganger as the Doppleganger sees itself. If he wins, he is immune to the Doppleganger's resonance until the Doppleganger assumes another guise.
Seraphim add their Celestial Forces to their Will rolls when attempting to penetrate a Doppleganger's disguise.
Dopplegangers cannot bear to be seen as they truly are. Their resonance operates "passively," and thus can't be temporarily disabled by a failed roll, but anyone who beats a Doppleganger in the Contest of Wills (above) with a check digit of 6 afflicts the Mimic with a point of dissonance! (If a Doppleganger does suffer dissonance, he knows someone has seen through his disguise, but he doesn't automatically know who.) Being exposed to large numbers of demons can become a hideous torture, inflicting massive amounts of Discord -- in a crowd of several hundred diabolicals, many are bound to have high Wills and beat the Doppleganger's Will roll. In Hell, Dopplegangers skulk in the shadows and hide in areas of low population, and even on Earth, they try to stay away from crowds. The Celestial Song of Form is also immensely useful to Dopplegangers with vessels.
Salamanders are a minor Band exclusive to Sheol -- Belial loves them, but no other Princes will allow the destructive creatures into their Principalities. Salamanders develop naturally from gremlins who love making things burn. If not for their highly specialized focus on destruction, they might otherwise have become Calabim. Their talent for setting things on fire makes them powerful and dangerous, but their single-minded obsession makes them loose cannons, even by Belial's standards . . . no one can keep a Salamander's mind off of burning for long. They may occasionally be sent to the corporeal plane, when Belial wants something torched fast, but if he's not on hand personally to yank them back to Hell when they're finished, they'll run amok until their vessels are killed.
True to mythology, Salamanders are glowing, lizard-like creatures in celestial form. Belial rarely gives them human vessels; they're more likely to manifest corporeally as bright red reptiles that resemble their celestial form. As instruments, they are howling klaxons, cheering on the blazes they ignite.
Salamanders start fires, and can do so with a Will roll. There is no resistance roll. On the celestial plane, this will do Soul hits equal to the check digit. Celestial fires don't continue to burn unless the Salamander ignites something that's flammable . . . and what's flammable depends on the "rules" the local Prince has established. (In Sheol, humans are usually flammable . . .) On the ethereal plane, Salamanders can choose to inflict ethereal or celestial damage with their fires (usually they choose celestial). On Earth, the initial conflagration will inflict Body hits equal to the check digit (Protection applies normally, but a Salamander's resonance can't be Dodged), and will ignite flammable materials. If the GM deems that a person's clothes have been set on fire, he'll take another 1D6 damage per round until he's extinguished.
Salamanders of Fire
All Salamanders are demons of Fire. Belial grants them a Band Attunement of their own, which enhances their natural resonance: on a successful resonance roll, Salamanders of Fire may add their Forces in the realm of damage they inflict (Corporeal on Earth, Celestial in Hell, etc.) to the check digit.
Salamanders suffer dissonance every hour they don't set something on fire! In Sheol, this isn't a problem, but their pyromania makes them dysfunctional anywhere else.
Discordians evolve from imps who fall in love with the sound of their own voices, and push narcissism to diabolical heights. Unable to look beyond their internal symphony, they have minds too fractured to be comprehensible to anyone but another Discordian, and they love to impose their state of confusion on others.
Discordians can be found wandering the streets of most Principalities, babbling to themselves. Other demons give them a wide berth . . . it's rumored that prolonged exposure to one can permanently scramble your mind, though this is probably just diabolical superstition.
Their celestial form is an amorphous blob that sometimes seems almost humanoid, other times appears truly shapeless . . . as if they couldn't decide whether to become Impudites or Shedim. They are covered with endlessly gibbering mouths, but no other facial features. When given vessels (rarely), they quickly become covered with filth, grow tangled beards and wild hair, and mumble and drool on Earth, much as they do in Hell. They are not so much diabolical instruments as random noise, such as that produced by an autistic child banging on piano keys or plucking ferociously at a hapless banjo.
Discordians resonate for confusion. They can apply their resonance on a number of beings at once equal to their Celestial Forces, by making a Will roll. (In a combat situation, they suffer the same restrictions as Balseraphs -- see In Nomine, p. 142.) Their victims may negate the effects with a Will roll (this is not a Contest -- the victim only has to make his roll). Anyone who successfully resists with a check digit of 6 will inflict a point of dissonance on the Discordian. Anyone who fails to resist will hear the Babbler clearly, but for a number of minutes equal to check digit of the Babbler's resonance roll, nothing that anyone else says will make sense to the victim, and what he says will sound like incoherent nonsense to everyone but Discordians. This applies to all forms of communication, including written or sign language!
Two Princes occasionally make use of Discordians. Kobal and Malphas have both been known to recruit a Babbler, grant it a Band Attunement, and turn it loose on Earth for perverse reasons.
Discordians of Dark Humor
Kobal's Discordians are often called Mockers. Whatever their victims attempt to communicate will sound not only incomprehensible, but stupid -- attempts at speech sound like moronic babbling, written messages will appear to be the illiterate scribblings of a child, and body language will appear buffoonish and slapstick. All of this tends to provoke laughter, which is all the victims will hear anyway . . . vicious, mocking laughter, no matter what their audience is really trying to express.
Discordians of Factions
Malphas' Babblers generate ill-will with their confusion . . . victims who are affected by a Discordian of Factions don't perceive nonsense when others communicate with them. Instead, their minds fill in meaning, taking the most negative possible interpretation; the degree to which the victim failed his resistance roll determines whether he hears a slight edge in another person's tone (failed check digit of 1) or vicious slander insulting his character, intelligence, and ancestry (check digit of 6). What they say remains mere babble to everyone else.
Discordians can't make sense when communicating with others. They speak nonsense words, doggerel verse, or random stream-of-consciousness recitations of whatever's going through their disorganized minds. It would take a deliberate (and dissonant) effort of will to actually communicate something that makes sense.
Some demonlings acquire a taste for cannibalism. A few are so successful at devouring their own kind that they grow in Forces until they become full demons. Their hunger doesn't end then, of course -- they continue to feast on any creature they can close their toothy maws around, which makes them unappreciated in most Principalities, since their easiest prey is the damned human souls who supply Princes with Essence. Saminga tolerates them, so many Devourers wander the wastelands of Abaddon, looking for food. The only Prince who will actually use them as Servitors, however, is Haagenti, who keeps a small horde of Hungry Ones on hand to eat his leftovers. Occasionally he turns them loose on Earth for a little while.
Devourers are rightly feared, as their single-minded obsession with eating their own kind makes them celestial monsters; almost all new 7-Force Devourers have 1 Corporeal Force, 1 Ethereal Force, and 5 Celestial Forces (usually with a Will of 12). Their 8th Force usually tops them out at 6 Celestial Forces. Given their resonance, and the fact that most Devourers are configured to be celestial eating machines, no demon wants to engage a Hungry One in celestial combat.
Devourers are also known as Worms for their celestial form -- a fat, wormlike thing with a gaping mouth ringed with teeth. Unlike true worms (and Balseraphs), the Hungry ones have tiny, stunted limbs attached . . . their little hands can sometimes be seen frantically shoveling scraps into their mouths. When Haagenti sends them to Earth, he usually gives them bloated human vessels with fat, bald heads and wide mouths. Worms are not instruments of any sort . . . their resonance is a bottomless pit of hunger that allows no music to escape.
Devourers are relentless feeders, and can consume anything made of Forces. Once they make a successful attack in celestial combat (either in Hell, or when in celestial form on Earth), they lock their jaws onto their prey. Each turn thereafter, they may make a normal celestial attack, but their victim cannot Dodge. Failure simply means no damage that round. Their victim can counterattack; the Worm also cannot Dodge while chewing on someone. However, Devourers regenerate 1D6 Soul hits for every Force they strip from a victim.
Fleeing does no good -- the victim can move normally, but the Devourer will come with him, even between planes. (If the meal is an angel, ascending to Heaven is one of the few things that will persuade a Devourer to let go . . .) The only other way to make a Devourer let go (other than by soul-killing it) is to materialize in corporeal form.
Devourers of Gluttony
Being bound to Haagenti's Word is almost redundant for the Hungry Ones. Unlike most Servitors of Gluttony, Haagenti's Hungry Ones (whom he calls his Gourmands) must receive his Devour attunement, instead of Consume. They are excused from Haagenti's normal dissonance conditions -- their Band dissonance conditions satisfy him well enough. He also gives all of his Devourers the Fangs Numinous Corpus at level 6 . . . just to make them even more frightening.
Eternally hungry, Devourers suffer a point of dissonance if they do not consume a number of Forces equal to their total Forces every week . . . but most prefer to consume that much every day.
The most pathetic of all demonic Bands, the Wailers are former imps who developed crippling insecurities, becoming so disgusted with themselves they fled diabolical society, seeking out the loneliest places in Hell. Thus isolated, they slowly acquired more Forces until they became full-fledged incarnations of narcissistic self-pity.
Few demons ever meet Wailers . . . the Lonely Ones wander far beyond the borders of any Principality, settling down where they can feel sorry for themselves for eternity. Some are rumored to have wandered as far as the Lower Hells. Lucifer does not disturb them -- they inflict so much misery on themselves, there's nothing even the Prince of Darkness could do to add to it.
Their celestial forms are anemic, bat-winged homunculi, looking broken and pale, with large eyes constantly filled with tears of self-pity. No one has ever seen a Lonely One on Earth. The only music they emit is a miserable, keening wail that crushes the spirit.
Resonating to self-absorbed pity, the Wailers are determined to feel sorry for themselves, and will make anyone who listens to them do the same. A Wailer can inflict his resonance on anyone by making a Will roll. Those who fail to resist will be overcome with pity for the Wailer, and unable to take any actions against him for a number of hours equal to the Wailer's check digit. Anyone so affected will also find the sound of the Wailer's keening to be so irritatingly pathetic, he must either leave or find himself being dragged down into self-pity as well. Make a Will roll every 10 minutes; failure means losing a point of Will until the victim leaves the Wailer's presence. If someone's Will falls to 1, he will become unable to do anything but sit down and feel sorry for himself.
Wailers are utterly useless as Servitors, because it's dissonant for them do anything but feel sorry for themselves. Talking to someone would require them to pay attention to something besides their own pitiful self. The only thing a Wailer can do without suffering dissonance is move away from other beings, seeking more solitude.