In Nomine is a mechanically uneven system, this is more or less understood by anyone who has ever read the manuals. It is also basically irrelevant. In Nomine is more about the story than the mechanics.
This is part of why I have always been bothered by the representation of David, Saminga, Haagenti, and Mammon. All four are Superiors; some of the most powerful, creative, intelligent beings in all of creation. And yet they are constantly treated like fools and dupes.
Lucifer might be able to easily manipulate Saminga – but that should be like saying that the sun is bright. Just because someone can be fooled by the greatest liar in all of creation does not make him a fool.
Treating these Superiors as simpletons is doing them and your players a disservice. None of them should be fools, they just have different priorities.
David knows that tough love and blind trust often don’t work. However, they are important symbols – he just happens to be willing to prioritize that symbolism over his servitors.
Saminga is not a simple minded fool – he just happens to know that his Word will take care of itself and would rather spend his time ensconced in his arcane research.
Haagenti might well be something of a beast, but he is a clever, hungry beast. Simple trickery is not going to work – you have to feed him. In other words, the only way to ‘beat’ Haagenti is to give him what he wants. Doesn’t sound like much of a defeat to me.
Mammon really shouldn’t be in disgrace. Just take a look around you: his Word practically rules the world already. If you really want to run with the ‘inept’ Mammon story, I would strongly suggest that it was a mask that he wore so that the other Superiors wouldn’t worry about him as much as they had been.
But if they are smart – that means we need to reconsider what was really going on during their biggest blunders.
The Fallen Malakite (Spoilers)
If you have played through the Revelation arc, you know that David’s ‘blunder’ in disciplining one of his Malakim was a crucial component of the manufactured Armageddon.
Now consider this: what if David intended for his tool to break – or at the very least anticipated it. Suddenly he has the whole of hell convinced that they have managed to make one of the Malakim fall!
There’s only one problem. They’re wrong. And now they’re looking in all the wrong places for ways to defeat the Malakim. Of course one might wonder why steadfast David chose such a stratagem.
Maybe he knows the real way to make a Malakite fall…
Zombies, Zombies Everywhere
Saminga’s preference for the undead is well documented. So, if he’s not a fool, why does he like working with zombies?
Well, honestly, he doesn’t. Zombies are the rejects. Saminga prefers mummies. It’s his Servitors who seem to be happy with the inferior product. But if giving one of his minions a zombie dog is the price of getting some time alone, he’s more than willing to pay it (or have his ‘secretarial pool’ pay it for him).
Legion Mark II
Another ‘black mark’ against Saminga is that he can’t replicate Legion’s ability to possess multiple hosts as a Shedite.
Or maybe he just doesn’t want to. Legion was an unmitigated disaster who almost managed to undermine Saminga’s word. Why would he want to put Death in jeopardy again?
And besides, the purpose was to give Hell its own Kyriotates, and Kronos has already solved that problem, so go pester him.
The generally accepted theory is that Mammon’s material assets were wiped out during Black Tuesday, and that he never much cared for his celestial ones. The first may well be true, but the second is obviously a lie. Someone can be just as greedy for essence as they are for money.
So where was all that essence when the stock market crashed? Have you ever considered bribes, off plane accounts, dummy princedoms? Even if Mammon were not all that bright himself, he has all the top legal and economic consultants from the past several thousand years working in his counting houses and think tanks.
Yeah, he had to throw several of his most senior servitors under the bus – but now he’s got newer, meaner, keener (and less institutionally secure) demons doing their jobs. He just cut the dead weight, and now his stocks are better than ever.