Aug
22
2019

In Nomine Revisited: Quinn, Mercurian Angel of Psychohistory.

Looking back at this one: dear goodness, but the headaches it’d cause for GMs.

Quinn

Mercurian Vassal of Lightning

Angel of Psychohistory

Corporeal Forces: 3 Strength: 6 Agility: 6

Ethereal Forces: 6 Intelligence: 12 Precision: 12

Celestial Forces: 5 Will: 9 Perception: 11

Suggested Word-Forces: 14

Vessel: human male/2

Skills: Computer Operation/3, Detect Lies/3, Dodge/3, Emote/1, Fighting/2, Knowledge (Psychohistory/6*, statistics/6, Research/1, Sociology/6), Move Silently/1, Ranged Weapons/2 (pistol), Savoir-Faire/1

*Psychohistory is defined, in this setting, as the prediction of future mass events and societal trends from existing data. It is not meant to predict the actions of specific individuals or events. Put another way, this skill will not tell you how many children you will have, or who will win the next Kentucky Derby, but it can tell you where the next war will be.

Songs: Empathy (Ethereal/1, Celestial/1), Fire (Ethereal/1), Friendship (Ethereal/1), Light (Celestial/3), Lightning (Ethereal/1), Machines (Ethereal/1), Memory (Celestial/1), Shadows (Corporeal/1), Shields (all/1), Submission (Corporeal/1, Celestial/1), Symphony (All/2), Tongues (Corporeal/3, Ethereal/5*), Truth (Ethereal/2)

*Free from Mercurian of Lightning Attunement

Role: “Isaac Flynn” (statistician/6, Status 5)

Attunements: Mercurian of Lightning, Seraphim of Lightning, Library Card, Vassal of Lightning, Angel of Psychohistory

Angel of Psychohistory: Quinn can’t see what will happen, but he’s got a very firm idea of what’s likely to happen (absent celestial interference). Generally, Quinn knows the broad outline of human history for the next twenty years or so at all times. This ability isn’t specific: predicting individual life histories is impossible, for example. Also, to use this ability effectively Quinn must spend at least three hours a day going over raw news and statistical data: failure to do so will very soon make the predictive model in his head useless. Quinn often gives this out as a Servitor Attunement: unlike many Word-bound, he’s been even known to gift this to humans.

Also, Quinn may attempt to focus his attention with a Perception-2 roll. While doing this, he may either attempt to: 

  • push his broad knowledge of future human history to about a century; 
  • attempt to determine the most obvious consequences of a particular action; or
  • concentrate on a smaller sample group for the next year. 

Doing the last gives him a fairly decent chance to determine small scale outcomes (for example, if he attempts to examine baseball, Quinn could tell you who’ll be in the playoffs, but not what the final score of the World Series will be — or even be certain which two teams will be playing in it). Needless to say, this ability will not take celestial interference into account.

Rites:

  • Spend 3 hours studying raw news and statistical data.
  • Repair the damage to future events caused by celestial interference.
  • Participate in an unbiased survey.

There’s a reason why Jean suppressed Babbage Engines, and that reason works in a cluttered office in the Halls of Progress.

Quinn is one of Lightning’s social scientists. He loves statistics, loves sociology, and most of all Quinn loves the humans that provide him with such fascinating data to play with. When the first prototypes for mechanical computers came along, he loved them too. Naturally, the first thing Quinn did was to try to use them for his own work. Despite not being particularly mechanical, he succeeded.

However, the more he massaged the data, the more he started to suspect that one could make a working mathematical model of human behavior and activities. After several years of research (immensely aided by Lightning’s excellent records), he succeeded in doing so. It wasn’t perfect, but it could generally explain why large groups of people acted the way they did. Naturally, he confirmed this by taking historical records, plugging in the numbers, and checking his results against the ones that actually happened. Even with celestial interference (a variable that could be accounted for), the equations held true. This pleased Quinn: it promised to make for a very respectable paper in Jean’s sociological journals.

Said paper (“An examination of selected, common Corporeal historical, sociological, and economic events, with a speculative series of descriptive functions”) never made it past the review board, an order came down to immediately suppress the development of Babbage Machines, and Jean himself pulled Quinn out of his nice, comfortable office to be presented before an emergency meeting of the Seraphim Council. The problem was not that the theory was flawed: it wasn’t. 

The problem was that Quinn had never considered that the theory could be used to predict, as well as confirm.  Jean had caught this right away, of course, and decided that the intelligent thing to do would be to keep humanity from working out the theory independently. Meanwhile, angels properly trained in ‘psychohistory’ should prove to be a definite asset to the Host, and as Quinn had originally worked out the techniques, naturally he would be the best choice for the Word.

Today, Quinn still spends much of his time in Heaven collating statistical data and overseeing a core of Servitors of Lightning who attempt to refine the theory further. However, he does go down to Earth periodically, in order to make sure that the information he receives is free of bias. His Role (the head of a small demographic firm) has several caretakers who keep it current for him when he isn’t using it. Quinn also has a few Servitors assigned to him for fieldwork.

Personally, the angel is pleasant enough, but virtually incomprehensible to anyone lacking a background in the social sciences. Quinn sees virtually everything in sociological or statistical terms, which can make him seem cold to those who hear him talk. However, just because a certain amount of cruelty is expected in a particular societal matrix doesn’t mean that he’ll tolerate it in his presence. Quinn likes humans more than ever, now: thanks to his Word he can get a grasp on why they do things, which is something that sometimes confuses the average Mercurian.

One final note: normally, Quinn doesn’t try to interfere too much with human development. Pinning down the results of celestial interference has always been the hardest part of his job, and he’s content to just try to minimize the aftereffects so that mortals can go on with their lives. However, there have been two or three times when Quinn and his mini-organization have gone into overdrive, spending weeks to months in feverish activity. Often, their actions at these times have been bizarre and incomprehensible to other celestials. 

Each time this has happened, Quinn’s eventually stopped, breathed a public sigh of relief, and gone about his business as if nothing has happened.  Nobody below the level of Archangel is ever sure about what just happened, but the Seraphim Council always seems to increase Quinn’s budget and spread rewards around him and his Servitors afterwards. Either he’s merely justifying his job, or Heaven just dodged a bullet most angels didn’t even see.

This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games. In Nomine is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

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