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Author Topic: Help with Nobilis prep  (Read 2855 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: November 16, 2001, 08:47:00 AM »

Hello,

I am interested in playing Nobilis with a very appropriate group. We've done a hell of a lot of Hero Wars, The Window, and Amber, for instance, and they've all read Sandman and Zelazny and The Dark is Rising, et al.

What gives me fits are the various elements of the setting/concepts that simply don't work for me, artistically.

1) How in the WORLD is it possible for an Imperator to create/oversee/endorse Nobili who do NOT share the Imperator's Affiliation? (The book makes it clear that this is possible, but does not explain it. I understand that such a thing is necessary in order to have a diverse "party," but it really makes no sense to me.)

2) How is Penetration determined? I'm pretty sure I read it in there somewhere, but I keep forgetting both (a) how and (b) where to find it.

3) It strikes me that if PCs get a new Character Point every session, they'll bulk up pretty fast (1 attribute point per three sessions). How does that work out in play? Do people tend to slow it down or speed it up?

Oh, and there's tons more, and I could rant for a while about how 1/2 the game concept is brilliant and 1/2 gets up my nose ... just like Amber and Everway ...

But that can wait. Nobilis veterans, help!

Best,
Ron
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Epoch
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2001, 09:22:00 AM »

1.  Imperators effectively control Nobles with other allegiances because, basically, Imperators don't give a damn what your allegiance is -- when they say "Frog," you say, "How high?  Sir."

Most Imperators are alien and autocratic.  Only if you buy one of the Imperator qualities (I forget the name of it) do they care anything at all about your feelings and desires.  It's the responsibility of the Noble to reconcile its duty for its Imperator with its personal convictions.

That said, keep in mind that Imperators create Nobles precisely so that they don't have to spend all of their time fussing about with things on Earth.  Most Imperators are not going to micro-manage their Nobles -- they'll give them broad commands and then leave them alone, unless the Nobles screw up.  That kind of command shouldn't directly conflict with an allegiance, most of the time.

2.  I believe that you just pay an extra MP for every level of Penetration you want, though I'm not sure.  Auctoris is whacked stuff.
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Mytholder
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2001, 10:45:00 AM »

The vulture-like screech you just heard was me scenting a Nobilis thread somewhere on the Internet.

Quote

1) How in the WORLD is it possible for an Imperator to create/oversee/endorse Nobili who do NOT share the Imperator's Affiliation? (The book makes it clear that this is possible, but does not explain it. I understand that such a thing is necessary in order to have a diverse "party," but it really makes no sense to me.)


That's a bit like asking "how can a Catholic employ a Buddhist" or something. Affiliation is what you believe, it's your moral standpoint of sorts.  The five codes given in the book aren't the only possibly affiliations.

Imperators don't always choose mortals who share their outlook.

Quote

2) How is Penetration determined? I'm pretty sure I read it in there somewhere, but I keep forgetting both (a) how and (b) where to find it.

Penetration starts at 0. You can increase it if you want. For example, I'm the Regal of Pants (domain 5). I want to remove a Noble's pants using a Lesser Destruction of Pants.

A Lesser Destruction is a level three miracle. I can do those for free. Adding Penetration adds to the level of the Miracle. So, being the allmighty Pants'Regal, I can do a Lesser Destruction (Level 3) with Pentration 2 (+2 levels) for free (because Miracle Level+Pentration is less than or equal to my Domain Level).

However, I've just met Lord Entropy, and I wish to destroy his Evil Pants of Uttermost Darkness. He's got Spirit 6, which gives him an Auctoritas of 6. I need to do a level 9 miracle to Lesser Destroy his Pants (Level 3 Miracle+6 Levels of Penetration). I'll need to spend 4 Domain Miracle Points to boost my domain up high enough to destroy the pants.

Quote

3) It strikes me that if PCs get a new Character Point every session, they'll bulk up pretty fast (1 attribute point per three sessions). How does that work out in play? Do people tend to slow it down or speed it up?


Yeah, it's absurdly fast. That's ok if you're just starting out with new PCs, but it's stupid for established characters. I've got an alterate CP spending system around somewhere...

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2001, 11:51:00 AM »

Thanks guys!

Here's another: is there a Nobilis character sheet available anywhere? I've been sniffing around http://www.chancel.org for all sorts of things, but either I missed it or it's not there. Any other site worth checking out? I don't care if the sheet is official or not.

Comment apropos of nothing - I think the Regnant Anatomica material about role-playing is amazing. Slap it in with Aldridge's in-play text in Maelstrom, Laws' art vs. game essay in Over the Edge, and the long-forgotten essays about scenario design and experience-spending in Champions II, as required reading.

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2001, 12:00:00 PM »

The Forge's very own Philippe Tromeur has a very nice Nobilis character sheet here: http://www.multimania.com/dagon/nobilis.htm">http://www.multimania.com/dagon/nobilis.htm

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Mytholder
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2001, 01:50:00 PM »

I've got a Nobilis character sheet in Publisher format somewhere.

As for other Nobilis sites...there's not a whole load out there. (One of my upcoming projects is a Nobilis site modelled loosely on Epoch's Amber page). The Hogshead site has some stuff, he said modestly.

And Nobilis v2 has about half a dozen gming chapters...:smile:
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2001, 08:51:00 PM »

Well, here goes ...

I have one crude & rude thing to say, and one sweetness & light thing to say.

ONE
I think that any Imperator who has to put up with Nobles of different affiliations is pretty lame. I mean, here I am, say, an Angel-type Imperator of Heaven, and these stupid Nobles of mine are one from the Dark, two from the Light, and one from the Wild? Uh-UH. I don't care what anyone says, it makes no sense.

[Don't even try. I don't buy it.]

So my problem is as GM, how to MAKE this cockamamie thing make sense. One is to suggest that Imperator affiliation is a very different thing from Noble affiliation, and that Imperators have some ineffable take on reality that we are only hinting at, in saying they are affiliated. That might do - the "Lovecraftian indescribable geometry" strategy.

TWO
I love the Anchors. I mean, I really, really like the Anchors. I really like the way that they are BOTH player-characters via possession AND non-player-characters as just plain themselves. So much that I can see structuring the Nobilis game such that the Anchors' stories are really "what is happening," in a narrative or story sense. What they do, with or without a Noble possessing or influencing them, might be the motor to everything else.

This ties in with my notion that our game will probably be fairly light on Aspect - not such much super-powered confrontations, and lots more on the daily "metaphysical ecology" of the Chancels and the Domains in general.

More bipolar Nobilis impressions to follow! Plus some game prep.

Best,
Ron
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Mytholder
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2001, 04:36:00 AM »

One -
Well, you could just rule that everyone has to have the same or at least similar Affiliations - i.e., if your Imperator's an Angel, you've got to take Code of Heaven, or Code of the Light, or some other happy bouncy Code of Fluffiness.
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2001, 07:02:00 AM »

If I was going to play Nobilis (which of course will never happen because, as everyone knows, I don't actually play RPGs) I'd ignore the "superhero" stuff and totally focus on the lives of the Anchors, like Ron says. Little, weird human stories unfolding in front of some crazy cosmic backdrop that is all-but-unknowable.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Philippe Tromeur
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2001, 12:13:00 PM »

I've been working on the translation of NOBILIS 2 in French for many months (the book in French is now at the printers), and I've played the game a few times since it came out, so I think I can answer your questions (without too much spoilers I hope).

==========================================================

"1) How in the WORLD is it possible for an Imperator to create/oversee/endorse Nobili who do NOT share the Imperator's Affiliation? (The book makes it clear that this is possible, but does not explain it. I understand that such a thing is necessary in order to have a diverse "party," but it really makes no sense to me.)"

NOB2 explains this : every Power is given a SHARD of the Imperator's soul, one aspect of it. The Imperator's spirit generally is a schizophrenic mind, especially when they have to take care of very different domains (e.g. Ananda, Imperator of Murder, Infinite and the Fourth age*). Even an Angel can have some Diabolic thoughts.
NOB2 gives 3 complete examples of Familiae (4 examples in the French version), with explanations about the fractured spirits of every 3 Imperators, and its impact on the characters.

* : oops ! spoiler !

==========================================================

"2) How is Penetration determined? I'm pretty sure I read it in there somewhere, but I keep forgetting both (a) how and (b) where to find it."

Mytholder gave a good explanation, except that LESSER DESTRUCTION is level 5, so if his Auctoritas is 6, destroying Entropy's Evil Pants of Uttermost Darkness is a level-5 Miracle with a level-11 difficulty.
Also, Entropy does not have a level-6 Auctoritas, but hey, I won't give away his stats.

I shall add some sentences for you to meditate on :
- Penetration adds to the Miracle difficulty, but not to the Miracle effect : Entropy could LESSER PRESERVE his pants with a level-5 preservation (the minimal difficulty for a lesser preservation is 3, but the defense level must at least equal the attack) and the Miracle would fail*
- The Penetration has to equal or surpass the Auctoritas (= Spirit) for the Miracle to be effective
- "No Auctoritas" is different from "Auctoritas 0" (Auctoritas 0 stops a Miracle without Penetration)
- "No Penetration" is different from "0 Penetration" (a Level-0 Penetration affects an Auctoritas of 0)
- The Auctoritas only stops Miracles (think of the differences between non-miraculous actions, level-0 Miracles, Penetration-0 Miracles, No-Penetration Miracles)

And some advice
- Auctoritas, Immortal Gifts, etc. should be SURPRISES to the players ; the random element which makes them sweat and carefully bid their MPs.

In NOB1, the rules are to be found pages 59-60 (2.4.8 "Chancel of the body"), 167 (5.1), 183 (7.2.4) but it's true they need some brain strain.

* Of course, Entropy does not have a secondary Domain into Pants, we'll assume he's in his Domain and uses Realm Miracles. Do not mess with Entropy's Pants when he's at home.
Also, maybe he can DESTROY the DESTRUCTION. I still have to think about it ...

==========================================================

"3) It strikes me that if PCs get a new Character Point every session, they'll bulk up pretty fast (1 attribute point per three sessions). How does that work out in play? Do people tend to slow it down or speed it up?

That pace is not excessive.
To climb to the level of an lesser Imperator (some 60 points), you need at least 35 sessions of play, and there's still some room to evolve after that.
You should also remember that Attributes are not everything : gifts are also very important (such as Immortal for 6 points, etc.), secondary Domains are also really important.
The General Domain disappears in NOB2, and the rules for secondary Domains also change slightly (more simple).

Try to build a 80-point character and you'll see you can still make it evolve.

Example (built with Nob1, costs in brackets) :
Marcellus, Power of Kitchens
Aspect 3 [9] AMP 7 [2]
Domain 4 [12] DMP 8 [3]
secondary Domains 3 [9]
- blades
- water
- electricity
Realm 3 [9] SMP 7 [2]
Spirit 3 [9] SMP 7 [2]
Immortal [6]
Glorious [2]
Gatemaker [3]
Constant Domain (Major Divinations) [9]
Devoted Population [3]

==========================================================

4/ Character sheet :

The one at my web page is ugly but can be used ; I've made many character sheets projects and I think I'll put a good (but unpublished) one on my site.
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Epoch
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2001, 01:59:00 PM »

Ron,

It sounds to me like you have some emotional issue with the Imperator allegiance/Noble allegiance thing, and I don't understand that issue, so I'm not sure that I can solve the problem, but how 'bout this:

An Imperator does not have fine-grained control over whom it ennobles.  It enchancels a chunk of land, and some inhabitants of that land (human usually, otherwise occaisionally) who are, in some totally ineffable way, most suitable to become the resident Nobles, become those Nobles.  As such, if the Imperator wants Nobles (useful tools and suchlike), it sucks it up and deals with the fact that they may have different ethics from the Imperator.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2001, 02:50:00 PM »

Mike and Philippe,

Many thanks! Surprisingly enough, you have both resolved much of the Imperator affiliation for me ... it pretty much becomes "Imperators are affiliated in a Much More Interesting way than Nobles are." I can accept that - maybe with therapy, but I can accept that.

As promised, more inquiries will follow.

Best,
Ron

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