Angelus: The Battle
A roleplaying game by Stewart Wilson
Demons roam the streets of Earth. They want Armageddon.
The blood of saints runs in your veins. An angel shares your soul.
You are God's instrument.
Inherit the Earth.
This is not a complete roleplaying game. A copy of The World of Darkness Rulebook is required for play.
God is missing, presumed gone. Nobody knows where he went or what has happened. The Archangel Council tried to rule Heaven in his absence while keeping Earth running as well. They almost succeeded.
The Lightbringer launched an attack on Heaven which shook the world to it's core, nearly destroying the planet in the process. Psychics and mystics dropped dead and the walls of Hell cracked under the strain. Michael, the First among Equals, is missing. Barachiel, head of the Four Hosts of guardian angels, lay dead in the ruins of Heaven. The attack on Heaven was a distraction — the Lightbringer nearly destroyed all that is so that six hundred and sixteen demons could escape from Hell and bring about Judgment Day on Earth. Denied their Final Battle for seven long years, the demons have taken matters into their own hands.
The six hundred and sixteen demons escaped into the bodies of humans who were already dead inside. Merging with humans gave them a taste of free will, and made them dangerous. They subjugate their human hosts, preferring to make things more comfortable for themselves rather than forging ahead with the Apocalypse. Their flirtation with the forbidden has given the Archangels a chance.
The archangel Selaphiel devised a way by which an angel of one of the lower five Choirs might meld with a human soul, using the human's free will to carry out the work of heaven on earth. One hundred and one holy men and women were chosen, their bloodline traced back to a handful of saints. One hundred and one angels of the five Choirs, pledged to one of five Archangels, matched themselves to human souls. Jegudiel refused to accept pledges from the angelic volunteers as he must focus on ruling Heaven in Michael's stead.
These beings — no longer quite people, and not entirely angel — are the Soul-Chained. Theirs is an impossible task. The Soul-Chained must face life in a cracked world, where under a thin veneer of respectability dark things lurk. Among this world they must hunt demons, for if the Final Battle starts early then Heaven will lose and the denizens of the world will face something much worse.
The Soul-Chained hunt demons, returning the escapees to Hell to prevent the end of the world as we know it — and some go further, seeking the truth behind the Presence's current state. For if the Lord were to return and the Final Battle commence, Heaven would be victorious.
The Archangel Council
Michael: The leader of the Heavenly Host and First among Equals. Currently missing believed killed during the Escape.
Jegudiel: Archangel of responsibility, has taken command of the Host in Michael's absence, but is unable to do so effectively.
Gabriel: The Messenger of the Lord. Carries the Word of God to all. Acts schizophrenic post-Escape due to looking after the Guardian Angels.
Raphael: The Healer of all ills. Rock on whom the others all rest. A pacifist who wins hearts and minds rather than battles.
Uriel: The Purest Light of God. Advocates literal interpretation of the Lord's word and and "burning out" of Sin.
Samael: The Shadow of Vengeance. Arbiter of divine justice and the original angel of death. What people mean by the "fear of God".
Selaphiel: Listener of Prayers. The embodiment of peace and holy mysticism, the agent of balance between light and darkness.
Barachiel: Guardian of Humanity. Lead the Four Hosts of guardian angels, saving the world from devastation. Killed during the escape.
The Council is split. Uriel and Samael want to find what happened to the Lord so that the Final Battle may happen and the forces of Heaven win for good. Raphael believes that the world should be left as is, with Hell and Earth existing alongside Heaven. Selaphiel backs Raphael, though whether as an agent of Balance or because he also believes in the futility of the Last Trump is unknown. Jegudiel listens to all and plots the course of Heaven, but cannot pick and choose — he doesn't have the vision for Heaven that Michael had. Gabriel has no side. She has taken on the work of Barachiel in addition to her extant tasks, and is far too busy — and possibly insane — to pick a side.
Five of the six remaining Archangels sponsor the Soul-Chained. These Hosts advance the cause of Heaven as seen through the lens of their patron among the Council.
Gabrielites: Messengers, bringing the message of Heaven to humanity and keeping the scattered Soul-Chained in contact.
Raphaelites: Healers of body and mind and Lords over the kingdom of beasts, though some use their talents to harm.
Urielites: The Faithful, who work with communities to keep groups together and who ignite holy fire in the hearts of those around them.
Samaelites: The Wrath of God, sending demons back to hell with every breath they have. They must prove the power of Heaven above.
Selaphim: Agents of balance, who manipulates the secrets of Enochian mysticism — Magia — to command forces beyond all imagining.
Those angels who choose to meld with humans do not come from all Choirs. The Seraphim cannot merge with a mortal — the pure power is too much for a human vessel to contain, and the person dies. Some do manifest on Earth as pillars of flame or caged lightning, but they cannot directly manipulate the world without sending the whole system of the world out of balance. The Cherubim are too removed from the world, as they are the light of the sun and the stars. They could bond with humans, but in such experiments the Cherub burned out the human's soul, leaving the vacant body a perfect target for demonic use. Cherubs remain inspirational forces, repairing the damage to Heaven.
The other Choirs can join with human souls. Each has an angelic purpose, their duty as decreed by the Lord.
Thrones: The Humble Choir. As the Link to God they bring the word of the Lord from Heaven to the Soul-Chained on Earth.
Dominions: The Lords of Wisdom. Charged with leading the Soul-Chained while they are on Earth, they can command humans with consumate ease.
Virtues: The Warrior-Angels. Capable of winning any conflict, they see the everything as a struggle between Heaven and Hell.
Powers: Lords of Shape. Motion and energy embodied, they are the energy of creation distilled into angelic form.
Principalities: The Host of Christ. Their every fibre burns with hatred for humans and other angels who harbour Sin with their acts.
The Soul-Chained are strange creatures, a fusion of human and angel. The angelic essence mixes with the human soul, creating a creature of dualities. In her human form a Soul-Chained can use her free will to do whatever she will, though with suggestions and urges from her angel. She has the ultimate freedom, something no angel has. However, she can only manifest Subtle Songs and does not have access to the majesty of her true form.
A Soul-Chained can transform, letting her Virtue shine through. Her body changes — a burning halo erupting around her head and wings erupting from her shoulders. Her body changes as well, becoming stronger and faster. In this form she is constrained by her angelic nature, though if her human side remains virtuous she can access a portion of its free will even when empowered. Finally, she can manifest both Subtle and Harsh Songs.
Demons inhabit people as a form of Soul-Chaining as well, though they subjugate the human soul for access to free will. Demons have their own equivalents to Songs, and can manifest a wider range of features than angels — everything from horns to flaming breath and poisoned spines.
Create a character as specified on p. 34-35 of The World of Darkness Rulebook, in Step Five apply the following Supernatural Template:
Select one of the five Choirs of Angels. Choirs have access to the following Songs:
|Choir||Subtle Song||Harsh Song||Skills|
Determine one Impulse related to your Choir, this is what the character believes to be her sacred duty. The Impulse must not be an action that is automatically a sin against Morality. Pick one of your Choir's Skills as your Focus Skill.
Select one of the five Hosts of the Archangels. Hosts have access to the following Songs:
|Host||Subtle Song||Harsh Song|
Determine one Impulse related to your Host, this is what the character believes to be her sacred duty. The Impulse must not be an action that is automatically a sin against Morality.
Characters start with four dots in Songs, at least two of which must be in Choir or Host Songs. Choir and Host Songs can start at 2 dots, all others start at 1 dot.
All Songs have a cost, paid in Aether. Subtle Songs are pay-for-effect on an existing roll, while Harsh Songs are actual full on impossible weirdness
Subtle Songs can be used in human form. Use the following rough guidelines, with the title of the Song for a general idea of the kinds of rolls it can affect.
|o||1||Add +2 to a Skill|
|oo||1||Make a roll 9-again|
|ooo||2||Perform a feat without obvious action (laying on hands)|
|oooo||2||Make an Extended action Instant|
|ooooo||3||Success without rolling (WP for exceptional)|
Harsh Songs can only be used in angelic form. Use the following rough guidelines, with the title of the Song for a general idea of the kinds of effects. Roll Attribute + Lux Aeternum to generate effects.
Soul-Chained follow the laws of Morality as do humans. Demons, Demonic Soul-Chains, and the unliving (Prometheans/Vampires) do not count as humans for provisions against violence and murder — you can not kill what does not live. Werewolves may be kin to beasts and Mages wield powers none were meant to know, but they remain alive.
Lux Aeternum is the Light of Heaven within the angel, measuring her power. It acts as a general WoD supernatural power stat. It also controls access to Aether, the heavenly energy in an angel's form. The following table breaks it all down. Start with one dot and spend 3 Merit points per +1 Lux Aeternum at character generation.
Characters begin with points of Aether equal to their Morality. Characters can regain Aether in a number of ways:
- Spending an hour in prayer
- Performing an action in keeping with your Choir while in human form
- Performing a devotion to your Archangel when in human form
- Activating your Virtue in Angelic Form
- Lose 1 from any Attribute when in Angelic Form to gain 3 points. This damage heals like a point of Lethal damage.
Characters can spend Merits on all the normal stuff, plus Blessing (sacrifice one point to automatically succeed on a roll), Reliquary (a storehouse of Aether, 5pts/dot) and Sanctuary (an area protected from demons). All Soul-Chained know their human language and Enochian for free.
All the usual as per usual. Lux Aeternum is (New dots x 8), Songs of one's Choir or Host are (New dots x 5), all others are (New dots x 7).
Soul-Chained characters have access to an Angelic Form, a powerful form that nonetheless has restrictions.
- Add six points total to any Attributes. No Attribute can have more than four dots added thanks to Angelic Form. You can add extra dots (up to 10 total), but each dot after the fifth requires you subtract a dot from another Attribute. You cannot both add to and subtract from the same Attribute. Your bonus dots are fixed after character creation, and affect secondary characteristics as normal.
- All Angelic Forms subtract 2 dice from Bashing attacks against them and 1 die from Lethal attacks made by humans. Other Soul-Chained do not apply these modifiers.
- Your character's Angelic Form has Features per your Lux Aeternum dots. A Feature adds three dice to situations in which it is useful. These include blazing halos (+3 to Presence), wings (+3 Speed and flight), flaming swords (+3 Lethal, Aggravated at Lux Aeternum 3 and above), animal features (bull: +3 Stamina, eagle: +3 Resolve etc.).
- You cannot channel your Virtue for Willpower (see Aether, above), and cannot channel your Vice at all.
- You must keep your Morality above your Morality Threshold (see below), or else you lose free will in your Angelic Form).
- Acting against the nature of your Choir is impossible. Acting against the nature of your Host is a Sin with Morality Threshold of 6.
- Losing Morality dumps you straight back to human form for the rest of the day unless you succeed at a roll of human Resolve + Composure.
- You can stay in Angelic Form for one scene before being forced to revert to human form for at least an hour. Roll Stamina + Lux Aeternum in addition to spending Aether if you need to change before the hour's up.
Each Soul-Chained has a Morality Threshold. If her Morality is equal to or above her Morality Threshold, then her angelic half can access her human soul's capacity for free will and she remains a free agent. If her Morality falls below her MT, she can still transform to her Angelic Form, but she is stripped of free will.
A character stripped of free will *cannot* commit sins against Morality, even those above her Morality. It's impossible. No justification, no weaseling out. No sins. At all. You've done the crime, now you must learn respect for the laws of the Lord your God.
The character must act according to her Choir and Host Impulses. They define her mission on Earth. She can not sin whilst doing so, for that would require going against the word of God, but within those constraints she must attempt to carry out her mission. She can focus on something else if it has an obvious, distinct resolution (fighting a demon, finding a lost child). This requires spending two Willpower points, and once the resolution has occurred the character goes back to acting out her Impulses.
The character may activate her Virtue in Angelic form to gain Aether, given the constraints above. Channeling her Virtue in human form is a good excuse for her player to spend Experience points on raising her Morality, but has no further effect. Activating her Vice in human form locks her out of transforming into Angelic form for the next sunrise and sunset.
The only way to regain access to free will is for the character to raise her Morality above her Morality Threshold. It's possible for a Soul-Chained to lose her access to free will simply by increasing her Lux Aeternum, when the fire of the Lord burns within her and eclipses her human soul while she is in Angelic form. She must hold her human self to higher standards of virtue in order to commune once more with her angelic half.
Don't expect much sense. I've written 1500 words of contract and then spew out all of this in one mammoth session. Hence the attitude in the following section. This is where I lay it all out: This is a free game. You don't have to give me anything if you think it's cool, but if you want to drop me a tip of some sort, feel free. My position as a freelancer for White Wolf doesn't make this any more official than the ten billion Angel/Demon conversions already polluting the Intertubes. This is not Holy Writ, I don't know if this is what any future WoD game will look like and frankly it's late enough that I don't give a shit. I just got the idea and had to scoop it out of my mushy brainmeats. Usual disclaimers: Don't think you're entitled to support, don't think you can pass this shit off as your own. If you do I will find you and cut you. This is a temporary version for bugfixing.
The assault on Heaven cracked the world, resulting in the World of Darkness. This is thus a new creation myth that has everything coming into being a lot later. Kinda like Monte Cook's World of Darkness without the post-apocalyptic bullshit. The alteration of the world changed history, allowing werewolves, vampires, et al. to have existed for thousands of years — even though they only came into existence on 01/01/2007. Bite me.
No, there's not a full list of powers. I wrote this in one evening. If you think I'm doing twenty Songs at five powers per Song, you can piss right off. I get paid for that kind of shit. Say a thousand words a song, that's 20,000 words right there. That translates (at freelance rates) into $600 US. I know that's not a lot, but it's still more than nothing. If you need inspiration, think of the kind of stuff characters can do in Mage: The Ascension or Nobilis. Or get nice and fucked up on shrooms. Whatever works for you. If you're utterly incapable of coming up with freeform-style powers and insist on bitching in the false hope that your whining has the same value as a cheque for at least $600 US, you're off your bloody rocker.
For reasons above I have no idea whatsoever if this thing's balanced. I just pulled most of it out of my arse, to be perfectly honest. Fortunately, this means I might be able to sleep. Feedback is appreciated, but I might not get to interpreting responses for a couple of days. I really have no idea if it's going to work or not.
In other news: I have pixel-bitched this post for far too long. Half an hour working out where LJ is going to put a line break and how the styles tend to format default headers. If the post looks like deep-fried arse, I no longer care. Point out things I can fix simply in a comment. All HTML was done in Notepad. Even the tables. I hate HTML tables. They denied me my rights in Oakland.
I've written 5,200 words today. 3,600 of those are in this post.
Screw you all, I'm off to bed.