In Nomine - FATE 3.0 Conversion Notes

Introduction

Why the heck am I writing an IN/FATE 3.0 Conversion document? I'm a crazy big fan of FATE and for a decade, I've found the IN system to be a frustrating morass of compromises. After playing around with it, I'm convinced FATE the best game system out there — especially for online games and journal games. Its fast, loose, and descriptive system lends itself to more narrativistic/storytelling models of play that is natural when players are coming to a virtual table.

This document assumes access to the original In Nomine System and access to the Spirit of the Century System Resource Document. It's unlikely you will find print version of the IN core rules anywhere but eBay, but you can purchase them from Warehouse 23 in helpful PDF form. The flavor text of the world is quite good. This document replaces the core conflict system.

A Little Blurb about the IN System

Character Creation and Character Porting

Character creation and character porting is a pretty straight-forward process. Granted, large swaths of the In Nomine character sheet ends up in the circular file, but that is no great loss.

Originally, I was going to dump the Corporeal/Ethereal/Celestial split, but then I realized that those particular stats are what makes In Nomine "In Nomine." It also makes things conceptually much smoother in the transition. Core, important aspects of the character, such as Resonance, depends on statistic checks.

Start with porting Forces and port across the stat blocks, and then assign Aspects, pick skills, and then add Stunts.

Forces and Aspects

Where Forces are the core of an In Nomine character, Aspects are the core of a FATE character. Aspects are loose and free: there's a pretty decent explanation over on the FATE SRD. The core description from the SRD is:

Characters have a set of attributes called aspects. Aspects cover a wide range of elements and should collectively paint a decent picture of who the character is, what he’s connected to, and what’s important to him. (By contrast, skills could be said to paint a similar picture of what the character can do.) Aspects can be relationships, beliefs, catchphrases, descriptors, items or pretty much anything else that paints a picture of the character.

In Nomine FATE characters have a number of Aspects equaling the total number of Forces.

What Can Be an Aspect?

Any Celestial being must use one Aspect on their core function. For example, Seraph of War or Lilim of the Media. This automatically confers everything core about that statement to the character: a Superior, a Heart, a basic Attunement, and Rites.

Extra special Band/Choir Attunements or Servitor Attunements cost 1 Aspect.

Distinctions cost 1 Aspect.

Gaining a Word costs a single Aspect. A Word automatically comes with all the in-world baggage, and a Game Master can invoke a Word in a positive or negative Aspect at any time. The bigger and badder the Word, the more leverage the GM has to pull on it and make things hard for the players.

Artifacts cost 1 Aspect. They can be literally any artifact: a magic sword, a special talisman, a book full of spells, a super Lightning Car, even an entire planet. Of course, like all Aspects, the artifacts have inherent built-in negative Aspects the GM can use at whim. Sure, a Servitor of Technology may take an entire mechanized Death Star as an Aspect, but the Death Star will draw attacks from pretty much everyone — and there's never a good parking place.

Anything that defines the character's personality can be an Aspect: family ties, dark secrets, physical imperfections, emotional quirks, Corporeal palaces, riches, and true loves. The more creative the personal Aspect, the more leverage both the Game Master and the player has for using the Aspect for making play more awesome.

Main Character Stats

Characters maintain their core statistics although they are modified to work with the FATE system. The total sum of bonus to Corporeal/Ethereal/Celestial is the number of Forces.

Corporeal has Strength/Agility. Ethereal has Intelligence/Will. Celestial has Will/Perception. These two sub-stats must add up to the total of the core stat. Sub-stats can be negative!

For a stat check, a roll on one of the stats is FATE DICE + modifier.

Example

Hari, the Habbalite Inspector of Technology, has 14 Forces and is a fairly powerful demon. He has 3 Corporeal Forces, 6 Ethereal Forces and 5 Celestial Forces. As a Super Scientist, he is relatively weak physically but he commands hordes of minions with his force of Will.

Hari's stats are:

Corporeal (+3 Good)

Strength (+1 Average) / Agility (+2 Good)

Ethereal (+6 Legendary!)

Intelligence (+4 Great) / Precision (+2 Good)

Celestial (+5 Superb)

Will (+4 Great) / Perception (+1 Average)

Skill Pyramid

From the SRD, Skills are:

Characters have skills, like Drive and Guns, which are rated on the ladder. Considered on the most basic level, skills represent what your character can do. When a character rolls the dice, he usually is rolling based on his skill.

Nearly every action that the character might undertake is covered by his skills. If he doesn’t have a skill on his sheet, either because he didn’t take it or the skill itself doesn’t exist, it is assumed to default to Mediocre.

A starting character with 9 Forces has a Skill pyramid that looks like a balanced pyramid:

X 1 Superb Skill (+5 Bonus)
X X 2 Great Skills (+4 Bonus)
X X X 3 Good Skills (+3 Bonus)
X X X X 4 Fair Skills (+2 Bonus)
X X X X X 5 Average Skills (+1 Bonus)

Any unranked skill is considered Mediocre, and has a 0 bonus.

To perform a skill check, roll FUDGE dice (Fudge Dice Gen) and add the skill level to the dice roll to get a result.

When converting a character, for every extra Force, add a +1 Average Skill. Whenever the Pyramid becomes "unbalanced," or there are three more skill ranks on a level below than the one above, one skill is promoted to the next highest level. Because the skill pyramid can be confusing (it is the only thing truly confusing in FATE,) here's a handy-dandy chart.

# of Forces Skill Ranks
9 Forces 1/2/3/4/5
10 Forces 1/2/3/4/6
11 Forces 1/2/3/5/6
12 Forces 1/2/4/5/6
13 Forces 1/3/4/5/6
14 Forces 2/3/4/5/6
15 Forces 1/2/3/4/5/6
16 Forces 1/2/3/4/5/7
17 Forces 1/2/3/4/6/7
18 Forces 1/2/3/5/6/7

Skills do not always transfer 1-to-1. Knowledge skills are unwound to simply be the name of the skill: Know/Librarian simply becomes Librarian. Know/Stockbroker simply becomes Stockbroker. Large Weapons (Sword) is listed simply as "Sword."

Converting Skills

The quickest way to convert a list of skills is to put the skills in order from highest to lowest and assign ranks on the Skill Pyramid according to where the skills fall in the list. Some skills can be pruned and others transferred. The SOTC SRD has a great list of additional Skills to augment the In Nomine provided skill list.

Combat Skills

Because combat takes place on multiple planes of existence, combat skills cover a wide range of expertise. While skills that involves poking, shooting or stabbing inflict Corporeal damage, several skills inflict Ethereal damage in tests of wits and bamboozlement: Rapport, Deceit/Lying, Empathy/Emote, Seduction, Intimidation and Rapport/Seduction. Ethereal damage can take a character down for the count every bit as easily as a sword or a gun!

Special Rule: Songs

Songs are a special case. Because Songs already act as glorified Skills, Songs are converted wholesale to Skills. They slot in to the Skill Pyramid like any other skill. Additionally, largely in the spirit of making the game more epic and keeping Songs from overwhelming the Skill Pyramid, Songs come in packs of three for Celestials: the Corporeal, Ethereal and Celestial forms.

Human Sorcerers must take the Songs as Skills in their individual forms.

Stunts!

Stunts work precisely as indicated in the FATE 3.0 rules. All characters start with a minimum of 5 Stunts. Go read the rules. They're the same. Shoo.

Boxes and Resisting Damage

In FATE 3.0 conflict is tracked by boxes of stress. Stress can be mental, or physical, or emotional. As one scores successes on an opponent, the opponent marks off boxes of stress matching the success of the attack.

In Nomine has three systems that correspond to "mental," "physical" and "emotional" in Corporeal/Ethereal/Celestial.

On each realm, a Celestial has 5 Boxes + shift for Forces on that realm. For example, Hari has 8 Corporeal Boxes, 11 Ethereal Boxes and 10 Celestial Boxes. He can take that much damage before he is Down for the Count.

Rigziel, who is more Corporeally forced, has 5 Corporeal Forces, 3 Ethereal Forces and 4 Celestial Forces. He has 10 Corporeal Boxes, 8 Ethereal Boxes and 9 Celestial Boxes.

What is Left Behind on the Cutting Room Floor

Several mechanics get cut when moving from the d666 system to the FATE system. In test, we never missed any of them.

Roles, Vessels and Status

Status is easily implied in a large number of Aspects, Skills and even Stunts. An "average" status is implied, and raising or lowering this "average" status is through taking an Aspect that simply says, "Extremely rich!"

The nominal hit points are covered by boxes and stress. Vessels are implied if a character is running around on Earth, and PCs and named NPCs, as a rule, have vessels. If the character has multiple vessels, the player may take them as individual Aspects and pay a FATE point to flow from one to the other.

That leaves Roles. If a Role is important, the character should take an Aspect that indicates that Role. No more needs to be done. The Role is modified by other Aspects (money, status, etc.)

Example

Sky, Bright Lilim of the Sword has two vessels: a human vessel and a hawk vessel. She takes the Aspect Transforms into a Hawk. Now, whenever Sky wishes to transform into her hawk vessel, she pays a FATE point and invokes the Aspect.

Interventions

Initially, the Divine/Infernal Intervention mechanic was dropped from play (and never, honestly, missed.) However, some people might miss it, so an optional mechanic is offered to those who want that kind of play apart from the invocation of Aspects. See Actual Play -> Optional Rules for more information.

Creating a Starting Celestial Character

As stated in the In Nomine rules, normal Angels fledge at 9 Forces and Demons fledge at 7 Forces. All player characters start with 9 Forces.

Forces affect the stats, Aspects, and skills. All characters start with 5 stunts.

Stats

Characters start with 9 points they can assign to Corporeal, Ethereal, and Celestial stats. These all act as bonuses to rolls — there is no instant penalty for starting a stat at 0 and stats can, technically, start below water (although this is ill advised). Be aware: a Remnant is a character who has 0 or less in the Celestial stat.

Once the player assigns points to the main three stats, the player then subdivides that number further into sub-stats, like so:

Corporeal: X Strength: Y Agility: Z
Ethereal: X Intelligence: Y Precision: Z
Celestial: X Perception: Y Will: Z

The two sub-stats must add up to the value of the main stat. If Corporeal = a +5 bonus, the player subdivides this between Strength and Agility for specific Strength and Agility bonuses.

Aspects

A starting character has 9 Aspects. These Aspects can be anything, as mentioned above. However, a non-mundane human character will /always/ take at least a single Aspect describing their core function: Kyriotate of Lightning, Shedite of Death, Sorcerer, Ethereal God, etc.

Skills

A 9 Force starting character starts with a 1 +5/2 +4/3 +3/4 +2/5 +1 skill ladder by default.

Creating a Starting Human Character

Example: a Completed Character Sheet

Rigziel, 12-Force Seraph of War, Vassal of War

Corporeal (+5)

Strength (+3) / Agility (+2)


Ethereal (+3)

Intelligence (+2) / Precision (+1)


Celestial (+4)

Will (+1) / Perception (+3)

Aspects

Seraph of War
Angel of Small Unit Tactics
Clan of Beth'el Chereb (Instant Contacts)
Super Swordsman
Flaming Sword, Muriel
Evil (well, not so much anymore) Twin Brother
Knight of Heaven/Vassal of War
Bullheaded
Live on the Edge
Nothing Left to Lose!
Daughter of War (Margeaux)
Sworn Vengeance for Dead Wife (Seraph of War, Aoshi of Fire)

Skills

Swordplay [+5 Superb]

Dodge [+4 Great]
Small Unit Tactics [+4 Great]

Tracking [+3 Good]
Song of Healing [+3 Good]
Athletics [+3 Good]
Leadership [+3 Good]

Song of Shields [+2 Fair]
Song of Tongues [+2 Fair]
Falling [+2 Fair]
Hitting People with Fists [+2 Fair]

Camouflage [+1 Average]
Resolve [+1 Average]
Scavenging [+1 Average]
Endurance [+1 Average]
Heavenly History [+1 Average]
Move Silently [+1 Average]

Stunts

Blessed Weapon (Muriel)
Lieutenant of Heaven (Summon Help/Minions)
Big Man in Heaven (Reputation)
Flawless Parry (Sword)
Riposte (Sword)
Turnabout (Sword)

Artifacts!

My notes about artifacts here.

Actual Play

Straight Combat

Taking Damage

Apply stress to the Corporeal Boxes. Once the character runs out of Corporeal boxes, they are /Down for the Count/ — but not necessarily dead. Death should be dramatic or in the face of overwhelming damage.

A Battle of SCIENCE!/Netrunning

Netrunning

Taking Damage

Apply stress to Ethereal Boxes. Once a character runs out of Ethereal boxes, that character is either dazed (if human or a soldier) or forced in to the Marches.

A Battle of Wits

Apply stress to Celestial Boxes. Once a character runs out of Celestial boxes, that character is now socially out of favor in whatever situation they are in! They face humiliation or worse!

Resonance Checks

Should Hari wish to use his Aspect "Habbalite" against a resisting target, Hari rolls FATE dice and adds his Will. The target may roll their Will to resist.

An example:

Inspector Hari is facing off against Rigziel ben Michael, Seraph of War. Hari rolls his FATE dice and gets + o + + : +3 (Superb). He adds his Will to this roll for a nearly undefendable +7 (EPIC!) success. Rigziel ben Michael has 4 Celestial Forces with Will (+1 Average) / Perception (+3 Great). He rolls to counter and rolls - - - + : (-2 Terrible). He adds his Will (+1) to shift the result to (-1 Poor). Hari manages to do (+7 - (-1)) or 8 Boxes worth of emotional damage to the Seraph and can dictate which emotion racks the Seraph. If the Seraph took 1 more box of emotional damage, he would be Down for the Count.

Hari picks Fear, and now the Seraph is forced to spend a FATE point to invoke his Aspect "Nothing left to lose!" and stay in the fight.

Songs

OPTIONAL RULE: Interventions

One of the casualties of this conversion are Angelic and Infernal Interventions. Since this system no longer uses the d666 dice, it is not possible to roll 666 or 111 on the four FUDGE dice provided. Typically, Interventions are not necessary since they are supplanted by invoking Aspects during play.

However, if the GM chooses, the GM may have an Intervention occur when a player rolls a - - - - or a + + + + on all four dice. The GM may, at that time, decide what extra special or extra terrible fate awaits the character in the form of the Hand of God or the Actions of Evill

"Always On" Attunements

A few Servitor Attunements in In Nomine are "always on." Seraph of Flowers is a good example. Once a being has the Seraph of Flowers attunement, it is always active.

Always on attunements do not require FATE points to activate. Like their original meanings, they are always active.

Like normal Aspects, these Servitor Attunement Aspects can be invoked by the GM or the Player. The Player may spend a FATE point to modify or boost the outcome of the Servitor Attunement at any time. For example, a Seraph of Flowers can pay a FATE point to temporarily double the radius of the Servitor of Flowers attunement.

New Rules

Words and Word Forces

GM Advice

One of the great — and perhaps its greatest — advantage of FATE is the ability to, on a whim, be awesome. A player can, at any time, in or out of combat, pay a FATE point to invoke an Aspect and make themselves temporarily awesome.

Awesome is where the good bits are at. If a player wanted to go on with day to day dreariness, they would be dreary. But they don't want to be dreary. They want to be awesome because they are playing in a game world full of awesome people doing awesome things. The hero should be a /hero/. They should be able to do things that are cool and interesting and over the top.

A player is playing because they want to /be awesome/ for some definition of awesomeness. Both the GM and the system should pave that way with gold. A player should never whist for being that good. They should be that good because awesome is what makes good stories great and great stories fantastic. When a player uses a FATE point explicitly to invoke an Aspect, they should not only do it, but they should be able to pull it off /with style/. Kick up the wind. Have a cloud pass over the sun. Give them a glowing halo. Make things explode. Make it work and make it rule.

Never be afraid to pulp it up. Never hold back from being bigger, better, and cooler. Stories are big and celestials are bigger. If there's a way to make things more swashbuckly, go that direction. Demons are crazy! They have heads full of crazy wiring. They honestly believe that launching an attack of giant badly built mecha covered in giant guns is a good idea. Jump off buildings! Sprout wings! Have motorcycle chases through skinny lanes full of apple carts! Make cars explode! It should be exciting, not an exercise to roll dice. Think big! Think cinematographic!

And for god's sake, always always always always have a sword fight.

Example Characters

Orphaned Pages (for now)

Character Creation

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