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On Nobilis

As those watching my journal closely may have noticed, I have Nobilis on the brain.

So for all of you who might end up playing in this game, here's a biref introduction to the game, so you can start thinking about characters.



In Nobilis, the PCs are "Nobles" or "Powers", who serve "Imperators".

An Imperator is a being who is, essentially, a living concept. Things exist in the world because Imperators exist. Imperators come in different flavours; Angels from Heaven, Fall Angels from Hell, Aaron's Serpents from the trunk of Yggsdrasil, the Magisters of the Light (protectors of humanity), Magisters of the Dark (foes of man), and the unpredictable Imperators of the Wild.

For reasons I won't go into now, Imperators have been, for the last 3000 years or so, placing thier physical bodies in magically strengthened realms (kind of like a private shadow in Amber terms) called Chancels.

Another thing that happens when an Imperator has enchancelled themselves is that they empower mortals with fragments of thier essence, so that the mortal can look after things that they haven't time for, or can't do with thier physical bodies in a chancel.

These mortals are the Nobilis. Half mortal, half divine. Each Imperator convers several concepts; each Power of the Imperator embodies a different concept.

So, one might be Eric Smythe, Baron of Winds, while your "brother caelestis" (powers of the same imperator are referred to as being part of a "familia caelestis". there's a lot of latin in nobilis), might be Gary Buce, Cheese's Regal.

Note the bit where a PC is "half mortal". This doesn't necessarily mean half-human. A Noble can be pretty much anything you want it to be; a 200' long dragon, a golem scultped from clay and given life by the Imperator's breath, whatever. Even Nobles that start human don't necessarily stay that way once they've been enNobled.




Some basic rules info:

There are four attributes:

Aspect: Aspect does everything that attributes in nromal RPGs do. It's how fast you are, how storng you are, how tough you are, and how well your brain can process things. You use Aspect miracles to shoot a gun with inhuman accuracy, to try to crack 2048-bit encryption in your head, or to lift a car. At the most extreme end of things, Aspect miracles can do things like smash a mountain, or drink the seas to low tide.

Domain: Domain covers things you do with your "Estate" (what you're the Power of). At low levels, you can do divinations or "ghost miracles". Higher up, you're limited only by your imagination; if you're the power of the moon, and you want a full moon tonight, go for it. You want to create a small moon over someone's head to smash them? Go for it. Imagination is crucial here.

Realm: What you can do within the range of your Estate with Domain, you can do with Realm, but for every Estate, but only within your Chancel.

Spirit: This is how strongly in tune with your spiritus dei you are. It covers things like how good you are at trivial magic (like making yourself immune to mortal harm), and how well protected against other's miracles you are. It also governs how many anchors you can have, and how well you can control them. (Anchors are to Powers like Powers are to Imperators; basically, they're agents you can act through and control without having to go there yourself.)

After that, you can buy gifts.

A gift is basically a miracle you buy to keep around, and can be based on any attribute, and from any estate (sort of). Want to be immortal? Breathe fire? Fly? Want to have a rain cloud follow you around everywhere? Gifts will do it for you.

Finally, you can take restrictions. These don't give you back character points, thus avoiding what I am going to call "The Gorilla Grodd Problem" of heavily min/maxed PCs. Instead, you get Miracle points, which you can use for temporary boosts of power. Depending on how severe the restriction is, you might only get MPs for it when the restriction becomes a problem. More severe ones, you get points every session. Restrictions can be things like "Cannot touch holy ground" or "can be summoned and bound into a magic circle", or tougher things like "Dead". Another key restriciton is "Focus"; basically,you take levels of an attribute and/or a gift, and invest it in an object (or critter). This is how Nobilis deals with Creatures/Items of power; you buy the power for yourself, and then stick it in something else. It still costs full proce, but you get MPs for the trouble.




Finally, note that you don't have to let your Estate dominate your PC; one of the examples in the book has Helen of Troy as the Power of Weaving; her incredible beauty ("glorious" gift, 2 points) has nothing to do with weaving, but a lot to do with her character. Another NPC presented in the book had her body destroyed when she was enNobled, and now has to make do with a rag doll for a body.

So, feel free to think up any wierd PC you want. I'm fairly sure we can make it work.

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