Steve Jackson Games Incorporated, 1997
What you get/need
In Nomine $24.95
Concept - 6
Heaven and hell. God and Satan. Angels and Demons. The forces of good and evil do battle here on earth! The nifty bit is: the game is designed so the players can be either the diabolical forces of the infernal abyss or the winged knights of God. If you're looking for an epic struggle of good versus evil you've got it on a cosmic scale in In Nomine! The game was translated from the French role-playing game In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas which were actually two separate books.
Character Creation - 5
Developing a character in the game is fairly straight-forward. A character is given a certain amount of forces based on their being (Celestial, Human, Mummy, etc.) in which all their stats and spending points are based off. Generation has a bit of a White Wolf feel to it, what with all the types of angels and demons and each of their special abilities based off of which intermediate (Archangel or Prince) they serve. This feeling is further enhanced by the popular coloring system for stats. Only this time the player doesn't fill in dots, they fill in one to six bars around a circle of each of the three main stats. Beyond the stats character creation is relatively limited. You pay for a few starting powers, celestial beings pay for a body to inhabit, and one or two skills are added in after that. Most of the game seems more focused on role-playing, plot development, and character interaction than constant skill checks. Which, while admirable, is rather odd, considering the game is about a war. Actually the largest problem I have with the character creation is covered in the Writing portion of this review.
Playability - 5
In Nomine uses a system very similar to the West End Games D6 System (reviewed elsewhere on this page and popularized in the Star Wars Roleplaying Game) with a bit of a twist, and punnish name. The most common die roll in the game is the d666 die roll. Three dice are used, with one die being a different color as a "check digit" for the measure of success or failure. Also added in this die roll is the "Intervention" rule. When a player rolls 111 or 666 one of the principal powers in the celestial war (God or Satan) puts their two cents in. Really, it's just another way of giving players critical successes or failures, but it's kind of cute. Rolls of any sort are fairly limited throughout the game, most of the rolls are contests of abilities or powers than anything else. But then there's always that chance that God or Satan will dip their hand into the pot and stir things up a bit (111 or 666 roll, remember?)!
Writing - 4
The writing is quite well done, and there's a really nifty story at the beginning of the book. However, the layout is a bit hap-hazard, and the index is sparse. Character creation becomes a game of "find the page" and can be a real turn off for the game. However, jumping back and forth between one book is always easier than jumping back and forth between two books in French! Also the "Primary Sources" portion of the book lists some great books and films to just take in if you're at all interested in the subject.
Highs - Centers around a classic theme. Very balanced gameplay. Really cool introductory story. Great artwork.
Lows - Sparse index. Lot of page turning in character creation. Can be a bit hard to follow in parts.
Final Call - The only decent angels vs. demons game out there!