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Gnost]A game of . . . uh, White Wolf revision?(tangled mess)

Started by Gaiaguerrilla, August 29, 2004, 10:28:09 AM

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Related to this post here.

As I've mentioned before, the biggest problem I find is finishing what I start. (Been that way for about 5 years). This frustrates me beyond belief. So as before, I'm sending you
a huge jumble
without any cleaning up. I just need to get the damn thing out there.

It's mostly creative writing, without mechanics. And it's nothing like my original concept (but carries over a lot of the ideas).

I have a few other comments I'm wondering anyone might have.

1) "You might do much better helping other designers. You would fill the gaps rather than start the frame."

2) "I dunno, dude. That stuff sounds really insane. Sorry."

3) "It's too White Wolf. Good luck changing it."

4) "It's nothing like White Wolf."

5) "Interesting, but a lot of the statements were inaccurate and could make you sound ill informed."

6) "Despite the disorganization, your design is improving."

Andrew Martin

Hi, Manuel.
I started reading your site here: and found it very disorganised. Instead of trying to edit it into shape, have you considered writing it out again from a blank wordprocessor page, while imagining telling it to your sister or mother in simple words, so that she can understand? It might help you to write it all in your native language first, then speak your writing out loud to make sure that it makes sense, then once you're happy that it makes sense, to then translate it into English one sentence at a time.

I also noticed a number of inaccurate statements about religions that may offend members of those religions. It might be better to leave out blanket statements of what you believe other religions are about, rather than write down your mistaken impressions?

PS: Can you make it so that it's black writing on a off-white or cream background please? That makes it so much easier to read. Also get rid of the typewriter formating like:
**** Forge *****
The Twisting Road--

Instead, use the HTML formating tags like H1, H2, H3, UL, LI and HR. If you don't know what these are, I suggest downloading Open Office (it's free!) either from the 'net or from the many computer magazines CDROM. Open Office has a HTML save and PDF export feature that makes this so much easier for novice users.

I hope that helps!
Andrew Martin


I've heard that many great creators never finish their own work.  I know lots of talented creative types for which this is the case.  Don't get fustrated, take a step back and do something else for a while, come back to it later.

If you could boil your all your ideas down to one theme or idea what would that be?  After I do a brain dump (like what you posted) I find it good to take a step back and find something smaller and easier to grasp to focus my ideas.

Lorenzo Rubbo-Ferraro


Welcome to CFWUSC. The Can't Finish What You Started Club. We currently have membership in the millions...

Seriously though, I started writing a role playing game about-oohh let me think-six years ago, and it is still unfinished. I am only drawing nearer to completion now (or so I think) and have given myself a deadline of January next year but July next year is probably more realistic.

Since beginning it I have published parts of it to the web, prematurely, but have since withdrawn them because: A) I wasn't getting any constructive feedback, the reason for which I think being B) The project was unpolished.

I have a family, a full time job, and a very active social life, so working on my game is in dribs and drabs. Despite this the game is currently verging on colossal proportions. I have about 200 pages! I'm talking somewhere around 2,000 words I think, and I don't see it getting any smaller.

How I tackle this is in bite sized chunks, chapter by chapter. Obviously you aren't dealing in chapters but in concepts, which is the same thing. So, just as darthblevis recommended, focus on a single part for now. I do this with chapters and because I am in the CFWUSC I get bored very fast and start another chapter- but it doesn't matter- when the mood suites me I will come back to the original chapter and pick up where I left off. Rotating between your different concepts will keep things interesting for you. Also I would offer the smaller parts and concepts to the forge. Make posts regarding smaller, specific concepts, not just the whole bloat and cross your fingers for helpful feedback. You may not be ready for this yet but I found setting myself a deadline very helpful. A deadline/goal is really motivating.

I have no idea about White Wolf, but this may good for you. In the eyes of someone who doesn't know a thing about White Wolf I'd say you have some of the 'fundamentals' to explain. But as you say, "the game of Gnost will appear like a sham copy of White Wolf in the beginning. But I'm confident that as I continue to change it, the design will be my own."

Persevere my friend and we might see something wonderful.


Thanks very much, Andrew. For the directness.

I agree. The writing will eventually have to be translated in English, and not my native tongue. Maybe I use black background just because it helps me think the right mood. I am currently reading Demon: The Fallen (which is probably why the darker portion of my concept is so much more developed than the rest). Obviously, there's copying it all onto notepad for a white background. But it's me who should work at presentation, I realize. Just a thought.

Darthblevis, you've underlined the things I try to tell myself. But it's very different when heard by others. I'll remember. Oh, and also. Sorry, I was worried about "brain dumping." I'll make sure that at least all my posts will present the game through a link instead of rambling (what I think a summary turns into a novel).

Thanks, Lorenzo, for being the light at the end of the tunnel. Does the CFWUSC cover free dental care? I think I've gone beyond elligibility but never took the application form. I'd think I'll do better helping another project, but I'll probably just cling to stubbornness, and think: "No. I want it that way . . . I mean, that way."

Finally; thanks Jason, Troy, and Charles from the last thread. I'm slow at responding, especially when I'm starting. If I don't respond it's because I'm busy using the advice to change it. But I'll keep reviewing past posts.

Next one, I'll try to keep it from a barindump. See ya then.


Hey there,

First of all, it's perfectly legitimate to design a game by transitioning from one's own house rules and setting tweaks in an entirely different game. In fact, the foundation games of the hobby were based on that very principle and represent a dialogue with each other.

Here's some advice right from the mouth of the devil (I've freelanced for White Wolf for about 5 years):

1) You must complement your structure with descriptions of things. What do the four types of Gnosts look like when they use their powers? How does the Dark Trinity manifest?

2) Get the names right. Have a reason why things are called what they are called. This has been a problem with the World of Darkness from tiem to time The Dark Trinity is good, but why is one group called the Forge? Don't pick names *just* to be different and distinct. Why do we have Gnosts (incidentally you would actually be better off with a direct derivative of Noesis in this case, even though Noetic has SF implications these days).

3) Always, talk about what characters can do in the abstract before getting into power sets. Otherwise you'll have gaps and poor consistency.

3) We have the struggle with the Dark Trinity and the urges provided by supernatural knowledge, but what do these guys *do?* How do they impose order/wonder/etc? Talk abiyut this in terms of people and places. Even Nobilis, that most high falutin of games, talks about earthy things to show what the protagonists are up to.

4) If I was to map the suggested character motivations for a generic Wod character, they'd go like this (we'll use Vampire):
*knowledge (What is it like to be a vampire? The prelude.)
*survival (Survive in the face of new dangers. Childer.)
*catharsis (Comfort in the power to destroy, and fulfill desires with supernatural power. Ancillae.)
*temporal power (Power over a supernatural resource or population. Elders.)
*philosophical ends (Answers or acceptance of the great questions of existence. Golconda)

These things don't doom your game into being aa WoD clone. Change around the priority and difficulty. In your game, the characters seem to know their purpose, so maybe they have no philosophical drive, or it comes with the initial knowing of what one is. But how do the characters of Gnost relate to these motives?
Malcolm Sheppard


Thanks muchly, malcolm. So good to hear from the devil. I was thinking over that post for a while, and I'll apply that on my own, without the need for dialogue on it.

Doug Ruff

Hi Manuel,

I've read this thread, the original thread, and the most recent version of your game. I'm going to offer up a few thoughts, in the hope that these will be of use.

You've spent 5 years working on this, it is clearly a labour of love. However, there doesn't appear to be a great deal of material here. This isn't intended as a criticism; I'm pointing this out because it means that it is very difficult for us to tell what you want to achieve with this game. It's like attempting to follow a week-old trail.

Having said that, I'm going to make some guesses:

- At the most fundamental level, the game appears to be about a quest for Meaning. What is the most important force that drives the universe? If you strip all of the ephemera, what remains? This would appear to be your 'Riddle'.

(Note: I'm making a deliberate link here to the Riddle in TRoS. I believe there are some points of similarity.)

- The Gnosts appear to be embodiments of that search; this has somehow gifted them with supernatural abilities.

- Each 'type' of Gnost has a different answer to the Riddle. For the Forge, it is 'Justice', for the Shadow it is 'Power'. The Glimmer and Storm are trickier to identify, but it looks as though they may be 'Beauty' and 'Truth' respectively.

- There is a great deal of conflict. Perhaps the Answer to the Riddle is undecided and will depend on which faction becomes dominant. Perhaps the answer is in perpetual flux. If there is a link to WoD, this reminds me of Mage more than Vampire.

- There are some basic questions that need to be addressed. How are Gnosts created? You have attempted to answer this for Forge and Shadow, but not for the others. If I've read the text correctly, you have opponents for Shadow Gnosts, but not for the other types. What other forces are at play?

Please forgive me if these comments appear critical. I think there is an excellent game concept buried in here and I would like to see it developed.

Would you be willing to write a short post to this thread (about the same length as this one?) which simply describes what this game is about? Forget about the different types of Gnost and their powers and abilities for a moment. Just tell me:

- Who the characters are
- How they came to be
- What makes them special
- What are they trying to achieve
- How they go about doing it
- Who is opposing them

If you can do that, I'll be more than happy to assist you, assuming of course that's what you want!


'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'


Thanks, Doug. The criticism's certainly not too harsh.

I'm hoping this is a more rigid explanation.

Sorry, short posts must be my handicap. I start writing, and long it is. So I left one post below the summary. Just read the summary if you like, and the rest is only for those willing.

- Who the characters are

Glimmer: People that lived a fairly happy life and wanted more. They did something glamorous or compassionate to receive the chance. They literally became Gnost through an adventure of sorts.

Shadow: Probably died, then came back finding their soul refuses to move on. Otherwise they were alive and died slowly by their obsession with something unnatural (think Sauron's ring).

Storm: Let's imagine that if you tried to become a master of something, you would have to try to be the master of everything. All subjects meld together at some point. The Storm are those that wanted to master something. Eventually, they simply melded with all sorts of things.

Forge: People that were taken on by others that found potential in them. The teacher that takes a liking to one particular student. The parent that finds a youth to be taken under her wing. A group of kids saying: "All you have to do if you want to get in is . . . "

- How they came to be

Glimmer: Dreams (passions, desires) of the creative melded with reality.

Shadow: Turmoil eats at the body and soul. Eventually it uses you to destroy everything else.

Storm: Many of these characters could probably answer all of your questions better than I can, but they're not telling me.

Forge: Sometimes ancient secrets become the domain of empires or dynasties or orders. They're the collectors and sometimes the makers. They've established a strict regiment to protect those secrets. They look for those that would consistently obey a code of honour.

- What makes them special

Glimmer: Seeing and interacting with things most cannot. Plucking power directly out of other's imaginations.

Shadow: If nothing else, they've grown an intimate understanding of suffering (or at least a particular kind). Both the villain and the villain's traitor.

Storm: Deeper in the cosmos than anyone else. Dabbling in things over our heads.

Forge: Ordered. Loyal. None of this esoteric nonsense. Just right and wrong.

- What are they trying to achieve

Glimmer: Imagination fades, angst destroys, and monsters do roam. They prevent the world from turning entirely like the Shadow.

Shadow: What they may never achieve. To become like someone else. They envy the others. They keep themselves from being monsters (and fend off those trying to make them into such), in the feeble hope that maybe they'll be helpful to the rest if they succeed.

Storm: Holding together the universe.

Forge: Aiding their allies in battle. Maintaining structure. Defeating enemies of the rational world. (The Characters more consistent with most roleplaying games).

- How they go about doing it

Glimmer: Moving in and out of fantasy worlds. Inspiring others. Rescue.

Shadow: Fighting internal and external demons. Or becoming evil and destroying everyone else.

Storm: (Definetely closest to Mage of the four). Designing and casting spells, shifting with circumstances of reality. (I don't know, their system could perhaps treat the cosmos as its own entity. Like how much Feng Shui the room has affects your abilities. Just an example, not to be literal).

Forge: Gaining power. Beating solid tangible enemies (Like Shadow gone -especially- sour, experiments gone wrong, even political enemies of nations).

- Who is opposing them

Glimmer: The monsters that manifest from fears. Pain and suffering in general. Shadow gone espeically bad.

Shadow: Shadow gone espeically bad.

Storm: Ruptures in the cosmos, anything any of the other three can't handle. Shadow gone especially bad.

Forge: Enemies against their codes of honour. Shadow gone especially bad.

If that wasn't enough of an answer (which I'd understand), I'll be working on actual system instead of the dabbling.

I have one question.

1) If the base concept really is ideal (that a concensus can be made that these four groups are good the way they are, just undeveloped), than maybe four different people can each try to develop one group individually. For example, I feel an easier time developing the Shadow than any others. But maybe it's irresponsable to try to pass it off. Do you think I should consider making such a proposal? Eg: "Pick one of the four. Then we'll reconvene."

******END SUMMARY*****

First off, just addressing the three threads you've read; I make a new thread when I feel the old one is obsolete, but I want to leave only one up and let the rest sink. Now I'm worried it's more like spam if I'm bumping them all so much. (Moderators can deal with the concern whatever way necessary).

Next, the writing. The amount you've seen is a small portion, though the other writings had different titles and worlds, with poor english from early years. Gnost is the first that tries to envelope them all. Nothing before was nearly completed, but it's apparent it trails off from WoD.

-On Design-

Glimmer are based on Celtic myths of luck, and the Otherworlds (recognize a Changeling trail?) You walk through a small doorway in a room bigger than what it seems outside; you go through an adventure that transforms you. A good friend comes with a fine drink that helps you see phantasms. You can't wake from a dream, finding the dream is reality. You create a masterpiece of art which seems to pop out and invite you to something greater.

Storm is a blending more than accidental, or opposed to someone initiating you, or opposed to something banishing you. Generally for Players that want a combination between the other three. An example, someone whom wandered the country in search for anything, and happened upon a village with a gifted Wic, a martial artist that seemed to get faster and faster beyond human ability (Akashik Brotherhood?), a farmer that altered reality with just his crop (Field of Dreams).

But now with your specifics. Bear in mind that the Storm (the one that doesn't seem to be explained) is the group of Characters that would more likely answer your questions. One might say they're responsable for the whole game system, but then they might say it's a natural paradigm they're just being a part of.

- Who the characters are

Ordinary people brought into extraordinary things. Each person becomes one type or another depending on how (s)he lived. Still, there had to be something they achieved on their own in life that made them "worthy" of this transition somehow (worthy in a non-literal sense. No one necessarily deemed them the right).

- How they came to be

Each of the four has a unique answer to this. "Initiation," "passage," "entry" might be the closest words. There is no specific way. Eating a forbidden fruit, entering a certain door, learning a strange secret.

- What makes them special

They're all more powerful than the average person. Unlike most games, they don't actually share this single precise secret. I guess I could say that the world (cosmos?) exists in two sides: the literal and ethereal. The Gnost are the ones that simply touch with the ethereal, but they don't enter it fully. Every other living thing is connected to it, but not as fully as the Gnost. (a finger compared to an arm?)

But I'm not sure if your question implies "what makes the game special?" Irregardless, I'll try to answer.

Here is my big reason for trailing off of WoD. I could nitpick but I guess the overall feeling is this: All of these creatures are so tied with one another in very inter-related histories. It seems absurd to make this huge elaborate tale of romance, and the whole tale is cut into individual cuplets. (Like 10 levels of power for each and every path). Much of the stories are made in order to cater to those cuplets, not really to make the story interesting in itself. This is, naturally, a compromise between story and game mechanic. But I felt it could be infused together better. Without trying to make an elaborate tale, but aiding Players to create an elaborate history and tale as they play. Player 1 says: "This is how my character got into this. This is the origin of the thing my Character got into."

-What are they trying to achieve

Obviously not all the same ends, because they can be the antagonists of one another. Protecting loved ones that don't recognize them (because their existence fades through history). Protecting reality itself from attack (like in Mage), fighting the cliche demons (especially Glimmer and Forge), antagonizing self as well as the rest (Shadow).

Doug Ruff

Hi again,

Thanks for your latest post - I have a much better idea of what you are trying to achieve now. And don't worry about the length of the post - there is far mor clarity here, which is far more important.

I think I also have a better idea of why you are worried about comparisons to WoD. The one thing I see in common here is that the four types of Gnost bear very little resemblance to one another, yet they are 'rubbing shoulders' in the same world (which I am assuming is a alternate-history Earth.)

In WoD this leads to supernatural 'overkill' - there are vampires, werewolves, ghosts, mages, fae etc. all inhabiting the same meta-plot and IMHO it's a bit messy.

(Note: I liked the individual WoD games, and have even helped to run a Vampire LARP. But I feel that the whole is less than the sum of its parts.)

You could react to this by developing each 'type' of Gnost a a separate game, and keeping them to their own separate game worlds. But I feel that you would gain far more by integrating the ideas you have into a more coherent whole.

How to do this? I think you have already started to do this. To summarise part of your last post, Gnosts have the following traits in common:

1) Used to be normal people, just like us.

2) Their 'transition' to Gnost status is a direct consequence of their actions in their previous life.

3) They have a better 'connection' to the ethereal than the rest of us, which gives them supernatural powers.

4) These powers are linked to the reason they became Gnosts in the first place (this is a general inference from what I've read so far.)

That's quite a lot to be getting on with, and it also has a direct impact on the general theme of your campaign. The existence of a Gnost is defined by his or her actions, therefore his or her future actions should have consequences - quite a 'karmic' theme.

Here's an example of how you could integrate the four types using this theme:

Storm - individuals who achieved transcendence through discipline and mastery. Classic archetypes include Zen masters, wandering swordsmen or mystics. For a more unusual example, how about a mathematician (or an accountant!) whose mastery of numbers led to a transcendant experience?

Glimmer - Some people manage to achieve their wildest dreams. Is this luck, or skill, or did the Dream itself contain the seeds of it's own fulfillment? Glimmer have the power to make dreams come true. Examples of Glimmer could be shamans or withches, or 'Positive Mental Attitude' devotees.

Shadow - In many ways, the opposite of the Glimmer. A Shadow is someone who died with their heart's desires unfulfilled, but had sufficient drive to remain attached to this existence. Much more like traditional WoD, this one, but doesn't have to be a carbon copy.

Forge - Unlike the Storm (each of whom finds their own Way) the Forge have learnt a method for teaching others to achieve Gnost status. This still requires discipline, and adherence to a strict moral code (note: this doesn't have to be a good code... there could also be more than one society.)

If you buy the general theory about how each type of Gnost cam to be, I have another option for you.This is just for illustration, I want to show how the general concept can lead to different ways of becoming a Gnost.

Gifted - In their former life, these individuals performed great deeds of kindness (or villainy...) Something noticed these acts, and when the person died, they were granted a second chance to remain in this world, an opportunity to continue their works. They have no idea who gave them this Gift, or how.

Is any of this useful, or am I steering you away form your core concepts of what this game is meant to be about? Either way, I look forward to being able to discuss this further with you.


'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'


You hit the bullseye.

In fact I'll save what you wrote for personal reference. I'll have to work hard to get this in order while interest is still raw. But now it's ringing perfectly.

I just had a vague idea of how systems would work in between the Gnost Quadrants (I'll leave the term as Quadrants for now).

Storm: Every spell you cast bleeds over into the next thing. Every next thing you cast relies on the last thing. So you have a constant string of spells that curve in all sorts of directions, unending.

Forge: Like D&D clerics. Abilities cannot betray their directives, and your ability to cast them requires you obey certain codes. The more you betray, the more certain abilities are affected. (Perhaps they should just be treated as a whole. Betray one rule, all abilities are affected).

Glimmer: A combination of Storm and Forge, but you have to obey the rules of no direct harm.

Shadow: A combination of Storm and Forge, but your power seems to live as its own entity, leaving your grasp and committing worse acts.


The Character has 3 traits describing mortal life: Genesis, Revolution, and Initiation. The kind of life they were born into (Genesis), the kind of things they did that were abnormal and would make them "worthy," or damned, to Gnosthood (Revolution), the process they went through to change (Initiation). Each Quadrant has a different list of means to answer these questions (which the Player then expands on afterwards).

NOTE: Now that we have a better defined structure, I'd like to re-introduce it in another thread, but I'd prefer this one go out of the way first. If someone would like to start a new one, or asks me to start another, I'll make it so.