[Nobilis] Third Edition is out!

edited March 2011 in Story Games
There may still be a few pre-order sets left at EOS

http://www.eos-sama.com/store.html

webstore, but DriveThroughRPG also has the PDF for 20 bucks.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=89003

There are five massive threads over at rpg.net, where last one has started since people other than playtesters actually have had a chance to read the book.

I really like it so far. I already liked -- and played -- the second edition, but I like this one better. More approachable, and the balance point between freeformy and strict rules is just about right for my tastes.

Extra special bonus points for clarity in saying "who gets to say what and when" -- both players and GM get narrative authority, which is pretty nicely delineated.

Anyone else here read this yet?
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Comments

  • edited March 2011
    I have it. Reading through slowly. I like the text much better. Some of the art is a little odd though. I hope I actually get to play/run this version.
  • I found the art a mixed bag as well -- some of it seems pretty pointless, some of it I actively hate, but some of it is drop-dead-fantastic (p. 15 and 297 come to mind.)
  • I can't purchase from their site, it doesn't work right when it takes me to PayPal :(

    Thanks for the heads up, sent them a message.
  • edited March 2011
    After reading the free quick start for Mystic Empyrean I'm more inclined to want to play that to get my Nobilis fix than to actually play Nobilis.
  • Art in games is bad, never look at gaming art.

    The game looks cool! As it did in the last edition too.
  • I bought second edition when it came out, at the time I'd never seen anything like it. I was pretty in awe of the play examples. Its funny though, I never got around to playing it, then it succumbed to the mold in the yurt I was living in. Sad story.
  • I'm kind of afraid to buy this. I feel my expectations are too high. Reassurance?
  • Man, I can't stand the art and layout. That's all I have to say for now. I just got the pdf.
  • Posted By: anansigirlI'm kind of afraid to buy this. I feel my expectations are too high. Reassurance?
    If you ever have any reason not to buy something, don't buy it. Commerce is not good for you, it's very addictive.
  • edited March 2011
    Posted By: anansigirlReassurance?
    99% of the "meh" or negative comments I've come across have to do with the art. The remaining 1% are along the lines of "I don't like this particular change so much, but it's not terrible, and I can sort of see why it was made." Reception of the rule changes has been essentially uniformly positive.

    The book is nowhere as majestic as the 2nd edition. It's more focused on whimsy -- but the majesty is there too, just not so much at the forefront.

    I know the word on the street is that the book contains all you need for True Happiness, but that's not actually the case. For True Happiness you need to actually play the game -- and other players are not included with your purchase, and a solo game is sadly lacking as well.

    Is there something specific you're worried or wondering about?
  • Yeah, I lied. I agree with Nikodemus--I don't like the art and I miss the majesty of the Big White Book. Other than that, it looks really solid! The mechanics make a lot more sense to me and while I'm somewhat confused by the lifepath system, it looks really interesting. I particularly like the mechanical expansion of mortal tasks. That's neat.
  • The actual game looks to be very nice. Like they took 2nd ed and tried to improve it and make it more user-friendly.

    My only complaints are about the art.
  • I'm about halfway through and the writing is fantastic. The sections on Heaven and Hell were really, really beautiful writing. So far the rulesy text has been unclear to me, though. I'm on Lifepaths now and they seem really neat, and I am also pretty sure that I don't understand how to use them at all.
  • Cool, thanks for the update.

    Naw, I wasn't looking for anything specific, just looking for general info. I perused the thread on RPG net and people have these character diagrams up that look pretty neat. That must be the lifepaths? Seems kinda burning wheel too when people are creating motivation type things for their characters, they've got a touch of the BIT's in there. Does look like there's more system than the last book though, which is good.

    So sad about the art. The white book is so beautifully inspiring. I wish I could jury rpg book art, and slap them in the face with their book when they publish crappy shit. It's so worth it to me to have stunning visuals, especially for something with such beautiful prose.
  • The weird diagrams of circles with concepts written on them are indeed the lifepath stuff. The system is actually much more flexible than I expected when I heard "lifepath".

    The lifepath stuff is a bit confusing to read, but not too confusing to actually use. Last night we finished two of our three PCs, and the lifepaths meant that both PCs had something interesting and compelling going on as story fodder. This is different from Nobilis 2nd ed, where we accidentally wound up with one PC who wasn't very interesting and didn't do very much.
  • Posted By: anansigirlSo sad about the art. The white book is so beautifully inspiring. I wish I could jury rpg book art, and slap them in the face with their book when they publish crappy shit. It's so worth it to me to have stunning visuals, especially for something with such beautiful prose.
    Yeah... it makes me feel shallow, but art, graphic design, and presentation make such a big difference to whether a book/game/setting can capture my imagination. And it's an especially painful jump for Nobilis from the gorgeous 2e. I see so many indie games published on a shoestring budget that nonetheless have a distinctive and powerful aesthetic - I feel like Nobilis 3e is stuck with the dregs of deviantart.

    My friends and I have played a lot of nobilis, though I'm by far the least versed. Their thoughts after first reading seem to be that there are a lot of cool, new, and innovative things that have been added, but that important or helpful things have also fallen by the wayside, so it's kind of a lateral move from 2e. I suspect that we will have to play the game to know for sure, and may end up creating some kind of monstrous hybrid.
  • Oh, one of my favorite rulesy bits are that a Nobilis's personal projects now has mechanics. Are you trying to create the perfect human? Defeat every ogre and troll and giant in a wrestling match? Have 1,001 children? Now there's rules for it. Before that was just a fuzzy "here's a thing that Nobles typically do" bit of text.

    I'm not sure how those rules work yet. I think they're expanded on later in the book.
  • Posted By: IgnotusYeah... it makes me feel shallow, but art, graphic design, and presentation make such a big difference to whether a book/game/setting can capture my imagination
    That's not shallow. Design Matters!
    Posted By: Bret GillanOh, one of my favorite rulesy bits are that a Nobilis's personal projects now has mechanics.
    Awesome.
    Posted By: Mr. TeapotThe weird diagrams of circles with concepts written on them are indeed the lifepath stuff.
    Also awesome. So, you're going to run it for us at Origins, right?
  • I'm curious-- how many people with positive impressions of the new edition disliked or didn't read the previous ones? Tone shift aside, Nobilis 3 seems to have lost a lot of procedural clarity; I really don't know if I'd be able to tell what characters were "supposed" to be doing or pursuing in this setting without context from the Great White Book, so I'm really interested in hearing what people without any prior knowledge make of it.
  • Posted By: Ignotusit makes me feel shallow, but art, graphic design, and presentation make such a big difference to whether a book/game/setting can capture my imagination.
    That's because you are shallow. (Heyyoo!)

    I had a (very modest) hand in Nob2. This is pretty much the same game, I like it.
  • Posted By: anansigirl
    Also awesome. So, you're going to run it for us at Origins, right?
    I think that that can be arranged.
  • edited March 2011
    A useful fact from the publisher's front page, that isn't on the product page: "Nobilis: the Essentials (Volume 1: Field Guide to the Powers) should be available through other channels [i.e. not the limited edition] between the end of March and early May with a recommended retail price of $49.95 for the physical book and $19.95 for the PDF."
  • So I think the new character creation system is really cool. I get it now, and I get how it's a system that's purely conceptual and about creating interesting external and internal and philosophical conflicts for your character at the very outset of the game. It also has a lot of lonely fun potential. I haven't wanted to just sit down and play around making characters this much since I found Burning Wheel.

    Oh, and I will be a dissenting voice on the art. I don't like it as much as the second edition art, but I still like it very much.
  • There's some weirdness with 68 pieces of the art so they will be replaced.

    Per Jenna "If anyone has a fast, marginally affordable anime-style artist on tap substantially better than the guy who did our Light/Dark stuff, speak now or forever hold your peace."

    http://forum.rpg.net/showpost.php?p=13669612&postcount=133
  • Once again, art in games is bad, never use art.

    *waves cane*
  • edited March 2011
    Posted By: JDCorleyOnce again, art in games is bad. Use better art and pay your artists better so you don't have shit done for you in 48 hours that's been traced.
    Fixed that for you. :P

    I think my standards are too high for everything in general. I just want it all to be awesome. But, yea, that sucks about those 68 pieces, but explains a lot about the quality.
  • Well don't I feel silly!
  • 2nd edition Nobilis used some very nice and thematic bits of art from the public domain (I'm thinking of Arcimboldo here). So it's not just that their budget was crappy. I'm pretty sure you could have made a better looking book using only public domain or Creative Commons licensed art. It was a conscious choice to pay people actual money for terrible art.

    Posted By: Bret GillanIt also has a lot of lonely fun potential
    It sure does. I've been making NPCs for an upcoming campaign, and it's lots of fun. I can sit down with a fully fleshed out character idea, or I can sit down with the vaguest of ideas. Either way, it helps me make my ideas into a concrete character with interesting stuff going on, plot hooks and new things that surprise me even if I thought I knew what was going on.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyOnce again, art in games is bad, never use art.

    *waves cane*
    image
  • The way fallen angels and the philosophy of Hell have been written in this new edition breaks my heart. In a good way.

    I'm also finding that the writeups of imperators and excrucians makes using them as a GM a lot more understandable. This is what they are about, this is what they do, this is how they interact with the PCs. Very helpful.
  • And, it's out again! With 60 pics replacing work by the offending artist in the Abortive Edition, including two by Shreyas Sampat.

    Nobilis rerelease press release on RPG.Net.

    Commerce!.

    Hardopy printing is scheduled to start Easter Sunday.


    Jim
  • So... anyone know what happened?

    Nothing has happened in two months at Eos Press, at least not from their website (or the forums there). The hardcopy books were supposedly printed months ago, but no sign of them, or of any of Eos' other projects.

    Did the company suddenly die without notice? Or are they just bad with deadlines and communication?
  • Something with stolen art, the book had to be redone right after the pdfs were sent out to pre-orderers but before the books were printed. New art was managed after a few months, and the first printing has been sent out. I got my pre-ordered copy. I don't know how much of a stockpile they printed, or if it was just the pre-orders, but it really ought to be available for purchase now.
  • I received my preorder copy a week or so ago, with the replacement art. Overall, the art looks better (note: still not universally great) on the glossy printed paper than on the PDF. Also, the Kindle version looks very useable with some good use of linking, such as in the Lifepatth character creation system. This might be 3Es killer app, designed to answer the 'what do I do in Nobilis?' question, but involves lot of page flipping in the print version.
  • Yeah, I heard about the stolen art thing. I'm glad that the pre-orders are arriving, but sad that something that supposedly "will be shipped out distributors on June 26-28th" is still in limbo.
  • They took Nobilis from the majestic classically illustrated big book to an anime theme!? It doesn't matter how much better the rules could possibly be, this new edition has lost all of it's former enigma and mystique. The physical beauty of that magical tome of godly powers was part of the experience, now it's an anime magazine. I can see the more mature demographic taking one look at this new version and quickly looking elsewhere for their system of choice. What a poor move. At least make the publication with quality. The layout, typography and art fall far short of the prestige normally associated with a revolutionary game such as Nobilis.
  • Well, I have worked on the layout, with my friends at 2d Sans Faces, and I am really sorry to say that I agree with you. N3 has a really nice set of rules and an expanded universe, but I really don't like the art. If I end publishing it in French, one of the prerequisite will be to restore N3 to its former glory...
  • edited November 2011
    All gaming art is bad and irrelevant, don't look at it, ever. Staple blank pieces of paper over it, it will improve your gaming experience forever, in every book.

    Edit: Hey, didn't I say this a whole year ago and already solve this problem for everyone?! WHATS GOING ON HERE
  • Ok.

    Joseph ? Ignore the Art. The game kicks. With might.
  • Nope. All gaming art is NOT bad and irrelevant. That's rediculous. Rediculous. Much D&D art is fantastic but the rules are bloated and unwieldy. Earthdawn has incredible production value and illustrations. Nobilis 3e looks awful and does not inspire whatsoever.
  • Looking at gaming art can lead to you missing some really good games, then. Therefore it is a pernicious practice and should be eliminated. Logic.
  • edited November 2011
    The terrible art bothers me less and less as time goes on. It's horrendous and makes it harder to convince people to play the game, but it can be ignored once we're actually playing.

    It's the decision to eliminate nearly every example or explanation from the game that actively harms my gameplay. I could rant on that topic for quite a while, but it wouldn't accomplish anything.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyLooking at gaming art can lead to you missing some really good games, then. Therefore it is a pernicious practice and should be eliminated. Logic.
    All things should be logical and void of beauty.

    Oooooh, that was bitter. I am pretty bitter about the new art in Nobilis though. Forsure. I'll resist going on the rant where I think art enriches most everything.
  • Saying that "looking at gaming art can lead to you missing..." is assuming that we all prejudge games based on visual appearance. What I have a problem with is your extremist view on art. Making a generalization that "all gaming art is bad" and that people should "never" look at game art is frankly narrow-minded. As an artist I can't help myself from taking offense, but maybe I'm just giving into your trolling methods. I don't believe such extreme answers are really answers at all.

    I'll take a more gray-area approach and encourage everyone that you SHOULD let game art influence your review and ratings of a game. Maybe the rules are good, but how much can an author really care about his game to let it suffer horrible layout and illustrations?

    I won't assume all you folks are going to snub a game just by looking at the cover and then, on top of that insult, imply that you're being illogical.

    As far as Nobilis specifically is concerned, edomaur I think you're very objective to admit that you dislike something you've worked on and have been close to. That's a sign of someone willing to change and grow. I encourage you to push for that restoration "to its former glory" as I think that Nobilis deserves it. Great post, and if you do more layout in the future, consider "The Elements of Typographic Style". It's a classic and has been a strong influence to me personally in graphic design.

    And Mr. Teapot, calling Nobilis' art horrendous is ... exact. :) I'm glad you can look past it and enjoy the game. If I had that book sitting before me as I tried to convince my friends that what we're about to play is going to be awesome, maybe they would trust me and go thru with a session, but they certainly wouldn't be encouraged by what they saw; of that I'm certain.

    I'd like to thank you guys for being so open-minded (well almost all of you) and allowing me to reopen a year-old post to constructively discuss the impact of art in rpg game design.
  • Posted By: anansigirlAll things should be logical and void of beauty.
    Logic is highly beautiful, like sculpture. Anyway, plenty of good art out there, if I want to look at it, I would go and look at it. Normally when I look into a game I'd rather prepare for play.
    Posted By: JosephKnightSaying that "looking at gaming art can lead to you missing..." is assuming that we all prejudge games based on visual appearance.
    Isn't this what you just posted that you did? "Nobilis may be a wonderful game, it may provide 1,000,000 hours of pleasure to me and my friends, but the picture on page 18 is not to my taste, it doesn't excite me the exact way I want to be excited, I renounce it THUS." and you snap your fingers, I assume?

    In games like Nobilis, with a GM and highly individuated play groups, the visual style/language of the game should be set 100 percent by the group and 0 percent by the game designer or publisher. Actually, it will, no matter what you do, so.

    I can envision a game where the art style does matter - say, a game where creation of art in a certain style is part of the system and "draw a picture of your character in this style" or "color this picture" is part of play. In such a game, the art would be highly relevant and part of play and bad art would be relevant to deciding something about the game.

    But Nobilis is not that game.
    Posted By: JosephKnightMaybe the rules are good, but how much can an author really care about his game to let it suffer horrible layout and illustrations?
    Agreed, they should eliminate all the art and have good layout, like a decent reference book or book about writing or the theater. Diagrams are good, flowcharts are good.
  • Posted By: anansigirlI'll resist going on the rant where I think art enriches most everything.
    *raises hand*

    While not the telos of a role-playing manual, if there's a game that has a setting quite removed from our own, art does in fact enrich the game, makes it understandable and even playable to (like myself) visually-oriented learners (over audial learners, who can get everything from reading). More than just "here's the faces of a few NPCs", I'm thinking games like Blue Planet, Planescape or L5R where the art really helped shape the feel of the game in some places moreso than the text. Nobilis 2e definitely had that going for it...

    -Andy
  • If the 3rd edition of Nobilis looked like the 2nd, or at least along those lines, I'd buy it in a second. As it is now, I'm completely interested. NOW, this comes from someone who will get most of his enjoyment of Nobilis out of reading it and not actually playing it.

    Playing it is a different thing, but I still have very little desire to do so. And I gotta say that's because I don't want to play an anime-style game right now.
  • Posted By: jessecoombssomeone who will get most of his enjoyment of Nobilis out of reading it and not actually playing it.
    So...I would suggest an improving book, rather than a game.
  • Can we please take the discussion of being pro/anti RPG art to another thread before we start arguing about whether layout is or is not art? Came here expecting something about Nobilis; not finding it.
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