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Old 08-03-2011, 06:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mainz, Germany
Default In Nomine - Mainz

Okay, I just realised I have an hour to kill, so I thought I might let off some steam (in a good way) and write a bit of stuff about our roleplaying group here in Mainz, Germany - I'm not sure what use it can be to anyone else, but it might be helpful to people new to In Nomine who are trying to customize the standard setting, and are looking for ideas. Heck, it might be useful to some old hands, you never know... At any rate, it's something different (I hope - probably somebody got there first ;) ), and it's my shot at a historical take on In Nomine. I have attempted to mix historical fact with the "Truth" of the War between Heaven and Hell. Also, I am trying to give In Nomine a wider range, seeing as by default it is very US-centred. So one could also see this as an attempt to retell both a part of German/European history from the Celestial perspective as well as vice versa.

June 1945, shortly after the end of World War II in Europe. The players (in our group a Cherub and Ofanite of Fire, an Elohite of Eli in service to Yves and a Mercurian of Yves) are assigned to Mainz, Germany.

Quick info on Mainz:
The city, which has been around since Roman times, lies on the confluence of Main and Rhine rivers and is (today) the capital of the State of Rhineland Palatinate (which, incidentally, is the most Catholic federal state in Germany).
It is also only a stone's throw away from Wiesbaden, the capital of Hessia, and only 30 minutes drive from Frankfurt, the banking capital of Europe, where Marc and similarly minded superiors (like the demon of Financial Crisis, I'm sure) are constantly active.

Mainz of 1945 harbours several powerful tethers - one being its Cathedral, the Mainzer Dom, a Tether of Laurence (no surprises there). The Archbishop of Mainz, historically, was one of the most powerful bishops in the Holy Roman Empire, so while the Cathedral now is mainly of symbolic importance, it still has a lot of historical weight behind it, which even on its own would be enough to create a tether, quite apart from the Dom's impressive qualities and it's large Catholic membership.
Another tether is literally across the road, the Museum of the Printing Press, commemorating Johannes Gutenberg's invention of said device in Mainz, arguably one of the most powerful tethers of Yves in the world (Gutenberg was not actually the first guy to come up with the idea of printing with movable letters, but he got the credit, so Tether they go...). However, the war has taken its toll. The cathedral miraculously escaped the city's firebombing, but the museum was not so lucky. However, the Seneshal, a very old (and somewhat grumbling) Kyriotate of Destiny, hid the principal printing letters away and thus maintained the tether's integrity. However, in 1945, he will need assistance in rebuilding the Tether's standing....

However, the area also houses some other, less positive tethers. The firebombing of Mainz by the allies in February 1945 not only devastated a large part of the historical inner city, but also burned a convent in the city to the ground. The nuns hiding from the raid were trapped in the cellar and asphyxiated/burned to death. Naturally, servitors of Belial moved in to secure the site, and have almost managed to get it consecrated...

Across the Rhine river, in Frankfurt, a Blandine tether is experiencing difficulties. The clinic in which Dr. Alzheimer first discovered (back in the early 20th century) that old people whose memory was deteriorating were indeed suffering from a disease rather than simply old age, and that this mental degradation could be cured, has been a tether since then - it gave hope to the dreams of the distressed, and made a step toward improving their mental health. Sadly, Alzheimer and his colleagues had no way of treating Alzheimer's Disease; in lieu of it, he and his followers attempted to treat the patients with care and respect, trying to give them comfort in their condition, trying to use coaxing and subtle psychoanalysis to help them. This approach was generally applied to the patients of the hospital.
However, the 1930s saw a rise in the use of psycho-pharmaceuticals. One of the reasons in Germany was, tragically, that the Nazis outlawed traditional psychoanalysis on the grounds that its founding fathers were Jewish. The servitors of Beleth (with a little help from Fleurity) gladly stepped in to fill the vacuum. In the course of Nazism and the war, they managed to take a part of the Blandine tether and pervert it to their cause. In essence, this gives rise to the split tether of Blandine/Beleth described in the Liber Castellorum.

Meanwhile, something even more sinister is brewing across the river from Mainz, in Wiesbaden. The allies have moved in and taken control of the towns - certainly an improvement - however, in taking over the local tax offices, an American clerk makes a fateful mistake; he draws a demarcation line between what is to become the French zone of control (and thereby, later, the distinct federal state of Rhineland Palatinate) and the American zone of control along the Rhine, thereby severing the two cities of Mainz and Wiesbaden. Even worse, by doing so, an area directly across the Rhine from Mainz, Mainz-Kastel, becomes American-controlled (and thereby Hessian), despite the fact that it previously belonged to Mainz. An innocent enough mistake, but for the next 60 and more years, long after Americans and French have left, this will lead to a bitter rivalry between the cities, the inhabitants begrudging each other their situation and slander going back and forth at every possible opportunity, right down to vandalising cars with the other town's registration numbers (I kid ye not). If Malphas wasn't involved in the "mistake" to start off with, he certainly profited from it. The tax offices in Wiesbaden have become a Tether of Factions, and a powerful one at that: Not only has this small line changed a regional structure, and poisoned the inhabitants' minds for decades to come, it also draws the line between the French and US zones of occupation for the next four years, completely altering the way these two otherwise neighbouring regions start into a new era. And needless to say, Malphas will be generally having a lot of fun in Germany for the next few decades...

Okay, the hour's up... I see that there was more than I thought to this - next up will be what everybody who took the time to read this is probably asking themselves: "Okay, so it's 1945 - Where are the Nazis?" - Well, more of that later...

Last edited by Phoenix42; 08-04-2011 at 04:04 PM. Reason: typos...
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:54 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mainz, Germany
Default Re: In NomineMainz

Okay, next up - Activities in Mainz, and of course, what about the Nazis?

Generally, the resident angels of Mainz remain strong, but on the defensive, afraid of taking too strong an action that would thereby risk their already damaged tethers; there are strong demonic undercurrents to be found, and while most of the demons cannot boast tethers in the immediate surroundings, these guys are no picnic. Generally, it is probably easiest to run an angelic campaign in Mainz, though demonic "poking" and even ethereal running can be interesting.

Angelic Influences
Mainz has traditionally been a town dominated by angels, but the last few years have left their mark. The whole National Socialist business took the servitors of heaven rather by surprise, and by the time they realised what was going on, Hell had taken an interest, too. Mainz around 1945 is pretty desolate as far as open Angelic intervention is concerned (Laurence has a tether, but he has better things to do elsewhere), though some efforts are being made to restore the angelic power.
Schools in Mainz were closed for the last months of the war, and have not reopened yet. A servitor of Yves has been attempting to aid in rebuilding one of the schools in the town centre and getting school business up and running again, but he has gone missing after investigating some missing children... (in our campaign, this was the hook for the Mercurian of Destiny to be sent down to Earth).
In another area, the Holztorschule (lit translated "Woodgate School", named after its proximity to one of the old city gates) is one of the few school buildings generally still standing and unaffected in Mainz, and two angels of Christopher have secretly taken up residence there. A teacher has been looking after children here who have lost their parents, trying to provide stability for the young humans in the ruins of a destroyed city, and her selfless actions may yet bring about the formation of a tether. The two angels, a Seraph and a Cherub, are concerned with keeping a low profile, and even the Yves and Laurence tethers have not been notified of their activity. As they see it, the situation in town is not safe enough to be openly flaunting one's activities, with demons around. They are not sure that the servitors of Laurence are subtle enough to leave them out of the fray, though they may confide in servitors of Yves if discovered by them.

One character who is well fitted to this setting is the Discordant Ofanite of Eli described in the Liber Servitorum. She has recovered from her corporeal death and is now out to punish those who brought the awful killings about, or stood by and let it happen - and she will find many many targets in Mainz. More on her general state of mind can be found in the LS.

Last edited by Phoenix42; 08-04-2011 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:57 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mainz, Germany
Default Re: In NomineMainz

Demonic Activity
One thing to remember is that in June 1945, the French military authorities have taken over control of this part of Germany. And they are not being subtle about it, either. Whereas the British and the Americans are generally attempting to rebuild western Germany as a republican system and set it up as a defense in their fight against Communism, the French, while definitely in favour of a Democratic Germany, have other plans with regard to its strength. Having suffered severe defeat in the war, and economic damage to boot, they are basically dismantling every single factory or industrial piece of equipment and taking it to France. POWs and many men returning home from the war are herded out to perform labour for the French authorities, some shipped to France for rebuilding, others put on building railroad tracks and the like in the French zone. At the same time, the average rations given out to the civilian population are at around 800 calories per day. In short, the French are going "eye for an eye" in this respect; and needless to say, German policy during the occupation of northern France was far less lenient. Nevertheless, this bringing about of deprivation, hunger and general squalour in the region benefits many demonic agendas, since it drives otherwise good people to do evil things. One of the demons who thinks this is bread and butter is Dutras, a servitor of Fate, who is using his role as a Jaques Mercier, a Lieutenant Colonel in the French military authorities (and in charge of restitutional policy) to its maximum potential- in my campaign, he was a Habbalah, but in retrospect he would have probably been more fitting as a Balseraph. But then, who's to say that he isn't a Djinn (it's all mine, but I don't really care about it...)?
In any case he is quite powerful (I made him a Baron, though Captain would probably be good too), and very devious, having recruited and posted several soldiers to aid him in his work, and cheerfully pressuring or ignoring the civilian authorities' complaints. At the same time, he has almost squashed the voices in the French military who are saying that maybe aid and friendship in rebuilding would be more useful than prolonged hatred between the peoples - Dutras is a smug demon, one with the knowledge of a job well done.

Where there is squalor, there is thieving. More to the point, there is Theft. A thriving black market exists throughout Germany in the 1940s, dealing in anything from medicine to food to salvaged weapons. One guy who has a big hand in this (though not as big as he would like) is Alrishar, a Calabite of Theft. Using two vessels, one of which with a role as a low-ranking US logistics officer stationed in Wiesbaden, he has quite a smuggling ring going on, shipping masses of goods in between the two zones, selling to the highest bidder in any case. In his vessel, he poses as the Racketeer Alexander Reißer, selling off goods in Mainz and the other cities, but for a high price, knowing that the desperate people have nowhere else to go. For a Calabite, he is quite subtle, but not subtle enough: One of his preferred methods of getting at merchandise is staging hold-ups on convoys and trains due from France. Indeed, such robberies have become regular occurrences, and though the human authorities are still baffled, angels may see a pattern. Alrishar has an MO: he builds up a smuggling ring in one place and when it is self-sufficient, he moves on, leaving his human cronies in charge. He specialises in border-hopping, and has been everywhere from the Congo in the 1870s to the US and Canada in the 1920s. Wherever there is a crisis, and a border, he knows there is an opportunity. He is hoping that if he can build up the organisation well enough, that one day he can apply for the powerful word of Smuggling. The sad fact is that as things stand, his approach is not nearly subtle enough, and relies more on brute force than on maneuvering and bribery. Alrishar can be a foe for angelic PCs who will need to destroy his operation since he is causing hurt and anguish to the populace due to his high prices, and his heists are constantly causing retributional operations by the French authorities. His backup henchmen and his base of operations (a warehouse on an island in the Rhine, near the Mainz industrial district) poses a nice enemy for a shoot-out, as well as a lot of loot that can be redistributed to the truly needy. However, he can also be an opening for demonic characters who wish to do the job properly... Or he can be an employer. Also, he has begun dealing in artefacts as well - humans will keep selling him their old family heirlooms and memorabilia in return for food and supplies, and sometimes, an old silver crucifix turns out to REALLY be a blessing.

Less demonic, but no less infernal, a group of vampires has set up camp in the sewers of Mainz. They are leftovers from a joyride of a few Saminga servitors some years back, who thought it would be great fun to leave something more permanent to be remembered by. The choice of food for the vampires was unsubtle, typical of their word: the blood of Virgins. As the leader of the pack, Mainz after the war is a wonderful hunting ground for vampires who would otherwise face prompt discovery and extermination by angels. In the post-war aftermath, they can easily make someone disappear. Many registry offices and council offices have been destroyed, and the retreating Nazi troops (and often the officials themselves, wanting to purge the evidence of their activities over the last years) often destroyed all records, just to be on the safe side. So in the end, who will notice if a young man or woman goes missing? Or who will miss a child that went playing in the rubble? If it even reaches the authorities, the authorities will class them as "missing", along with all the others who cross the border to the American Zone of Occupation. In the rare events that it stirs up more of a fuss, the classic assumption is "Werewolves" (a common myth of underground Nazi rebels, typically SS, carrying on the war - nothing true to it, but it does serve to disguise some supernatural activity) or criminal violence, which of course leads the searchers in the completely wrong direction.
Much to the chagrin of the servitors of Christopher, the gang has begun preying more and more on children. The situation is perfect: There are no places for the children to go during the day, their fathers are either dead or not yet returned, and their mothers spend the day keeping food on the table, so the children gather in bunches and literally maraud around town. The resulting packs are seldom up to any good, and the older ones who still remember the days of the Hitlerjugend, raised to absolute obedience and discipline and now dropped into near-anarchy, quite often turn to violence to solve their problems. Similarly, the authorities don't complain when yet another one of these "insolent brats" vanishes off the streets.

Last edited by Phoenix42; 08-04-2011 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:58 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mainz, Germany
Default Re: In NomineMainz

Last but not least, the newly arrived French soldiers, and officers in particular, have needs that need to be addressed. One of those is the current Marshall De Lattre-Tassigny (who in 1947 will be silently removed from his post as commander of the French Zone due to his lack of moral behaviour, a lifestyle that one might euphemistically deem "gregarious", and decadence to the point that many angels may wonder whether he is simply a Balseraph of Gluttony who has lost any sort of self-restraint and simply let rip. He has set up shop in a palatial grounds in southern Germany, where he routinely holds large parties and triumphant monumental marches in his honour - in fact there are some Servitors of Gluttony in his mansion, but they just enjoy his company), but many of the other higher ranks in the French and US armies, as well those in what remains of the German upper classes, like to have a nice party away from it all. In this, Trelli and Makru, two low-ranking Impudite Servitors of Lust, are only too glad to oblige. They have opened up a secret establishment, the "Sheherazade", in an old large bunker building in downtown Mainz, and have garnered the attention of the sordid elite. Their club not only provides an outlet for the sexual frustration of men stationed away from home, but it also inducts them into the more "interesting" aspects: S&M abounds, and not usually in a good way - Trelli and Makru don't care too much about whether the men and women they employ have a good time, only whether their customers get what they want. Their employees are faced with the choice of near-starvation or selling themselves... And occasionally, the two actually garner the occasional masochist who enjoy the job. All in all, the club is a homage to what people do when they feel a lack of control, or have too much power over others - the results aren't pretty.

Ethereal Activity
Only one ethereal is currently active in Mainz: El'Lissann, previously a servitor of Isis. In the late 1990s, while digging the foundations for a new shopping mall in the inner city, builders came across the ruins of a Roman temple to the Goddess Isis. Isis, originally an Egyptian goddess, was revered throughout the Roman Empire in its later centuries, and she even replaced Demeter and Juno as household goddesses of fertility and matrimony. Naturally, even Isis could not hold out against the onslought of the Purification Crusade, and was destroyed. El'Lissann fled, taking some of her mistress's more prized possessions with her. Over the centuries, she has been living a life of seclusion, bartering in celestial and ethereal artefacts with both demons and angels, living off the essence it netted her. She remained useful to the demons in Mainz, but recently, especially with the arrival of Alrishar, she has begun wondering whether she should turn to one side or another for definite protection. She cannot distinguish well between Archangels or Demon Princes, though she understands that some are not necessarily hostile; nevertheless, the demonic activity in the last decade has led her to believe that more cooperation with Heaven would be prudent. She will seek out servitors of those who seem to be most likely to grant her protection while not requiring any concrete allegiance - servitors of Eli, Novalis or Yves who behave the part would seem worth a shot. With those whom she trusts, she is willing to barter artefacts favourably (which in itself should be an incentive for players to be on her good side). In 1945, she still lives underground, in the ruins of her old temple. She also keeps her artefacts here, glinting in the darkness like stars.

And finally, Nazis - well, some of them. The general state of the German populace in June 1945, and well after that, for that matter, is emptiness and denial. No-one talks about the war, nobody mentions what happened, what they did or whether or not they were a party member. A collective veil of shame and pain has covered the Germans, turning them from an arrogant and overly proud people into broken, humble and secretly bitter. Only very few have come to terms with what has happened - that they allowed, in many cases supported, some of the worst carnage in recent history to occur in their country. Servitors of Gabriel can work overtime in Mainz, and never run out of people. Similarly, Dominic's servants are supporting the "denazification" of Germany in Nuremberg. Ironically, no-one amongst the mortals really wants denazification. The Germans, for obvious reasons, do not want their pasts gone through and fingers pointed at them. Almost everyone has a dark secret: citizens who ratted out their neighbour; children who told on their parents' social democratic tendencies at school; Soldiers who were part of mass murders in Eastern Europe; Party members who signed documents for disenfranchisement and deportations of Jews, democrats, Sinti, Roma and all the others; those who knowingly profited from the Nazi's crimes; right down to those who perpetrated them themselves, down to the torture, the gas and the bullets.
The Americans don't want denazification. In fact, they want to get it over as soon as possible, truth be told. They want a strong German republic siding with them against the Soviets, not some disarmed nation that will have to be protected from itself as well as from Communism. The nuremberg trials are necessary, but no-one will ever seriously ask the individual citizen what he was doing in the war until the next generation grows up, and then, in the 60s and 70s, all hell will break loose, and the Germans will radically break with their past, embracing a new destiny (Yves for the win! :) ).
The French don't want to dig too deep, either. Half their army, those taken over from the Vichy French government, is effectively made up of collaborators who assisted in deporting Jews in the same way as their Nazi counterparts. In those terms, servants of Gabriel and Dominic can spend just as much happy time rooting through the French ranks as they do with the Germans.
In the end, if any sort of cleansing of the massive guilt, not to mention punishment of the wicked, is to occur, it won't be coming from humans any time soon. Mainz 1945 is a derelict, dark setting, from a human point of view.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:59 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mainz, Germany
Default Re: In NomineMainz

Incidentally, Heaven and Hell both have an agenda now that the war is over and things are slightly more settled. Gabriel, Dominic and Laurence, but also Saminga, Baal and Beleth are all wondering who exactly cooked this whole Nazi thing up. They know it wasn't them, so they assume the Other Side must have done it. Demons partook in the Nazi's crimes, of course (who wouldn't? joyride!!), but even the occasional angel was apparently involved (cf. below).

One of the main tasks set to celestial characters in 1945 is to find out who exactly perpetrated the crimes of the Third Reich. Heaven is reluctant to believe that humans could manage this all alone, and the Princes of Hell (especially Saminga, who is furious at the idea that somebody could have outdone him) want to know who of their colleagues hit the jackpot.
The answer is, of course, what everybody had feared - mankind cooked Nazism up all on its own; a strange string of events, a lost world war, a tradition of racial imperialism, a group of nationalists, anti-semitism, was all it took to create the most fearful destructive machine the world had seen to date, and make Hell look like a bad back-up copy.

The way the characters find this out varies widely, but in general it is certainly worth being the adventure climax. In our group, the Cherub of Gabriel had been attuned to a boy with a birth defect; the Cherub had saved the boy and his family during one of the last air raids on Mainz, sacrificing his body to get them to safety, but went into Trauma. Upon awaking, he found that his charge had been killed, and set out to find out why.

The boy, like many other impaired children, had been taken away to a clinic where he was euthanised. The trail, naturally, was littered with people (nurses, doctors, etc.) who had betrayed him, and had handed him over knowing what would happen. Finally, they came across the Hadamar Clinic in Hessia, one of the places used by the Nazis for that purpose; nurses and doctors administered poison injections to the disabled and the elderly on a routine basis. The angels then came across the doctor who had been the highest-ranking doctor not to have been arrested by the allies, a certain Dr Victor Gorgass. When faced with angelic retribution, he broke down and said that he was at fault, and begged for mercy, saying he could not explain his actions - he felt as though he had been possessed by some indescribable evil. The angels investigated, and found that he had been indeed possessed by a Shedite for some time. They spared Gorgass, and followed the Shedite's trail to a nurse it was currently inhabiting. The Shedite was half-mad, ranting and raving, but still powerful enough to put up a fight. In the course of the fight, it revealed to the players that it had possessed the doctor in 1944 to use him to sow death. But once in the mind of this man, it had been confronted with an evil so pure and deadly that it could not with all its willpower further corrupt it - a human who killed simply to watch people die, and took a passing pleasure from the idea. Sometimes he enjoyed the look on their faces as they slipped away. Gorgass soon realised that something was inside him, and investigated. The Shedite found itself trapped by a superior will, and told the doctor everything he wanted to know. On occasion, Gorgass would yield to the Shedite's pleas and kill a subject the way it wanted him to, granting the entity a moment of respite before further questioning, but in general, the Shedite collected Discord after Discord, going increasingly insane in the process. After a few months, the doctor had gained knowledge of the War and of the true arts of the Occult to a point where few mortals could hope to tread. He released the Shedite into one of his nurses, and began studying. He knew that the day would come when angels would come for him, so he prepared some artefacts and spells to help him. Using a talisman of Lying, he bull****ed the angels into believing his sobstory, but after they had left he realised that he would have to barter with the powers of hell. He summoned Beleth, and offered her a deal: the Hadamar Clinic as a Tether in exchange for his protection and loyalty. Beleth graciously accepted - she knows talent when she sees it. The angels arrived in time for him to bind them with an ancient occult Song and make his escape. All they could do then was flee the formation of the Tether, as Beleth returned for her end of the deal.

One more character I would like to mention, whom the angels ran into, is Oriwin, a very old and very powerful (ex) Cherub of Purity who, after Uriel's summoning, had petitioned to be word-bound to a people with heathenish but well-meaning traditions, so that he could purify their beliefs: the Sinti. Indeed, he was largely effective, with the Sinti adopting a variant of Catholicism and becoming deeply devout people. However, Oriwin was always puzzled at why they were still constantly at odds with the people around them, despite the fact that their religion was effectively the same. When, many centuries later, the Nazis began talking about segregating, and Racial Purity, he thought that it might be a good idea - so much strife had been heaped on the Sinti over time that maybe it would be best if they had a good clean start of their own, maybe their own country, away from all the hatred... The same could be effected for other persecuted peoples, the Jews and the Roma, he was sure. So he helped the process along, giving his knowledge in aid of the drafting of the Nuremberg laws. When he realised what he had done, it was too late. He had to look on as his charges were exterminated in the thousands. Only a lone demon of Kobal learned about it and is still laughing now. Oriwin in 1945 is currently wandering around Germany (maybe Mainz, maybe Nuremberg, who knows?), reduced to tears, too ashamed to go to Heaven, waiting for demons to find him that he may go to his Final Death.

Okay, enough for today - there are a few tidbits one could add, but that will be later... again, I'm not sure this is useful to anybody, if it is, I'd be glad to get feedback (including on bits I could have done better).
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