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Eric: The obligatory and long overdue snark where I talk about In Nomine

This is the three hundred and thirty-third post to Websnark. Which is frightening and wrong, on so many levels. However, I'm awfully glad there's actually someone reading these words, so for the record, thank you for coming.

However, the number 333 means something to me. Something all important. 333... means that we have just invoked Ralph, the Demon Prince of Apathy.

I probably need to explain this.

In Nomine, from Steve Jackson Games, is one of my favorite role playing games of all time. It's a game about the cold war between Heaven and Hell, told from the point of view of the angels and demons fighting it. All too often, they're caught as pawns between the great, celestial powers who provide mandate, but little understanding of the world of humans. There are some wonderfully dysfunctional archangels, some oddly sympathetic demon princes... and the game fully supports either a "bright" game where Good is ahead of the game, or a "dark" setting where Evil is... as well as adjusting the "contrast" on just how much difference there is between the Angels and Demons. (Because I'm comfortable and own my incipient damnation, I like running bright, low contrast games, where it's hard to tell which Archangels are good and which are evil, and the same with the demon princes, but over time the characters can figure out what the right thing to do is.)

One of the core concepts of In Nomine are Words. The entire cosmos, be we talking the Earth, the Celestial realms or the realms of dreams and imagination, are all bound up into one Symphony, with the angels and demons mere instruments. A half-step from the musical imagery we get the idea that angels and demons can be bound to a single concept -- expressed as a Word in a celestial tongue -- and gain strength or grow weak based on that Word's relative strength in the hearts and minds of humanity. So, you have Michael, the Archangel of War. You have Andrealphus, the Demon Prince of Lust, and so forth, up on the high end. On the low end, you have guys like Imbap, the Demon of Stale Bong Water.

Yeah, stopping Imbap is not considered a priority for the Hosts of Heaven.

Anyway, In Nomine is just plain fun. And, for those of you who need some webcomics content in all my snarks (yeah, I get letters like that), there's even an official mention of Kizke, the Demon of Internet Comics, Servitor of Kobal, the Demon Prince of Dark Humor. (Kizke is named for K'z'k from Sluggy Freelance). On the official mailing list, you get a semi-regular dose of webcomics inspired fun as well (I've seen writeups, if I remember correctly, for the cast of Something Positive, Sluggy Freelance, Queen of Wands (I think -- I could swear I've seen an Angela writeup, at least), and others. It works out nicely.

And then there's Ralph, the Demon Prince of Apathy. Who just doesn't give a fuck.

Ralph is a fan-creation of Nana Yaw Ofori, and his writeup, which doesn't need... well, any understanding of In Nomine to read, can be found here. For a while, he became a running joke on the In Nomine mailing list. And then someone brought up... Interventions of Apathy.

You see, the basic die mechanic in In Nomine is the "d666." Essentially, you roll three six sided dice -- one a different color than the other two. The two similarly colored dice are what you roll to do something, trying to roll high. The third die is the "check digit," and reflects how successful you are. However, if you roll three ones on the dice -- a 111, or a 2 with a check digit of 1 -- this is a Divine intervention (think of the Trinity, despite the... er... lack of any information on the Trinity in the game). Something happens that God would like. So, if you're playing angels, it tends to be good for you. If you're playing demons, it tends to be bad for you. On the other side of things, if you roll three sixes... yeah. 666. Infernal Intervention. Lucifer takes a notice and does something he finds appropriate or funny. Which is generally good for the demons, but not always. Lucifer's on the fickle side, at least when he thinks something is funny.

Finally, someone on the list suggested that any time you rolled three 3's... that caused an Apathetic Intervention, attracting the notice of Ralph, Demon Prince of Apathy.

What happens then?

Nothing, of course. Ralph doesn't give a fuck.

So. I missed my Divine Intervention post. (Post 111 was Random Reader Question, Randomly Answered, which actually was one of my favorite posts of all time. As well as one of the shortest. Have a look, if you want). My Infernal Intervention is still a few months away. But right here, right now, this is Post 333 to appear on Websnark.

This is Ralph's post.

And somewhere, in the Depths of Hell... Ralph doesn't give a fuck.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at November 17, 2004 5:16 PM

Comments

Comment from: Sir Talen posted at November 18, 2004 2:26 AM

I'd post a comment about this, but I really don't care. :P

Thanks for the shout-out to the INL, Eric. Now if only some Bright soul would come up with an In Nomine webcomic...

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 18, 2004 8:24 AM

Come up with one? Done! I actually have 27 strips scripted for a project I and an artist came up with back in January. Then said artist developed life. So the scripts sit, unused, on my hard drive.

It was a moderate Story strip of Funny. Not a lot of epic in it. But plenty of hijinks. Well, maybe someday. That is, if my writing a webcomic of some sort wouldn't somehow be "selling out" for me now. ;)

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at November 18, 2004 8:57 AM

And here was me dismissing In Nonine as little more than Steve Jackson's attempt to cash in on the Skewed Conteporary genre (a la World of Darkness). It sounds like an intriguing game, to hear you tell it. I should like to try a session of it someday.

Comment from: erich a. posted at November 18, 2004 9:49 AM

Ah, In Nomine... Someday I shall return to it. Perhaps if they made In Nomine action figures... :)

Thanks for bringing back fond memories, Eric. Looking forward to the Infernal Intervention post!

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at November 18, 2004 10:17 AM

One last amusing note... There are some peculiar auto-bans on my internet usage here at work (e.g. the vast majority of gaming sites). So it wasn't surprising that I couldn't access the SJGames site to read the Ralph writeup, but when I looked to see what had tripped the auto-ban, the indicator said that it had determined that the Ralph writeup was a "Hate Speech" site. I don't know why I find this so funny.

(Oh, and sorry for typoing "In Nomine" above. My keyboarding skills have been for shit the past couple days.)

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