For those of you who don’t follow early release video games, Darkest Dungeon is a brand new (still under development) eldrich horror game that pulls heavily from the old four-man party dungeon crawler genre. It still has some rough edges, but I’m sure those will all be filed down by the official release. In any case, playing it gave me some new ideas on how to incorporate location-based eldrich horror into In Nomine.
The first rule of creating a place of an inescapable horror is to make it inescapable.
Unfortunately, it presents something of a challenge when you’re dealing with characters who can ascend to heaven at will. So in order for this setting to work, you must first disable the Celestial “eject” button.
There are two possible ways to go about this.
- For reasons unknown, it is impossible to leave your vessel.
- It’s entirely possible to leave your vessel, but the whole of the Estate is gigantic tether to some otherworldly horror. So long as you remain on the grounds you cannot ascend to heaven.
Personally, I like the second. If the estate is a gigantic tether, it must be a tether to something. What that something is can be the cause of a great many nightmares.
In my Cthulhu Mythos post, I suggested inventing a new Sanity score, as is present in most other Cthulhu games. However, this is not strictly speaking necessary. In Nomine already has mechanisms in place that represent wrongness, corruption of the self, and madness.
They’re called dissonance and discord.
Once per game week and/or once per gaming session angels on the Darkest Estate will gain one point of dissonance. This is a natural consequence of the celestial terrain. Should an angel spend any length of time in a region where their Superior’s word has been particularly twisted, they may suffer an additional point of dissonance.
- Servitors of Novalis will gain extra dissonance in the Weild.
- Servitors of Jordi will gain extra dissonance in the Warrens.
- Servitors of David will gain extra dissonance in the Ruins.
- Servitors of Blandine will gain extra dissonance in The Darkest Dungeon.
Since the estate has no angelic tethers, there is no way for you to “work off” your dissonance. The only real options are to gain discord or to fall. While players should still have input into what kind of discord they suffer, physical discords should only relieve two points of dissonance instead of the usual three.
In addition, some of the creatures (or writings) within the Estate may have their own twisted resonance that can cause dissonance in an angel (or Madness in a mortal). I would suggest allowing a resistance roll against any such an ability: Celestial Forces for angels, and Will for mortals (mortals get the easier roll because the consequences are greater for them).
Note: Imposed dissonance does not require a dissonance roll, however it will increase the difficulty “normal” dissonance rolls.
If the above scenario seems too harsh, you could make the estate abbey into a minor tether to Lawrence. It is too weak to allow transportation back and forth to heaven, but it’s strong enough for minor communication and can allow one celestial per week to work off a point of dissonance.
Falling in the Darkest Dungeon
Anyone who falls in the Darkest Dungeon immediately becomes a servitor of The Worst Thing. Like most superiors, it grants a number of Band Attunements.
Balseraph – The truth is that everything is corruptible. When attempting to convince a Celestial to act against their dissonance condition, your successful Check Digit cannot be less than your highest discord.
Djinn – You truly cannot let go. Gain the Zombi Attunement (In Nomine pg 178)
Calabite – Salt corrosion leeks from your very pores. Add your highest discord to your Chemistry and Engineering skills when using them to cause damage.
Habbalite – (restricted) – Only a fool would challenge the Darkest Dungeon, your only solace is driving them to madness. You may use your resonance to inflict one of your Ethereal or Celestial discords on another. You do not suffer from the discord while this effect lasts.
Lilim – Someone must pick up after all these fool heroes and someone will pay well for their cherished belongings. Add your Ethereal Forces to your Tracking.
Shedite – (restricted) – You do not need to corrupt your host while possessing an animal. For every excess force you have beyond the host’s normal limit you gain a rank of Numinous Corpus.
Impudite – You know mortals like the back of your hand. You can tell just by looking at one what phobias they have.
Taste of Madness – You have the twisted resonance described in the Madness section.
- Drive a mortal to madness
- Cause a Celestial to fall to The Worst Thing
And What of Demons in the Darkest Dungeon
While demons are normally immune to falling (having fallen already), even they are still subject to corrupting pull of The Worst Thing. While on the Darkest Estate, demons must make dissonance rolls as if they were angels. If the demon fails it loses it’s current Superior and gains The Worst Thing as its new Superior.