Tell me of your Nobilis games

edited June 2007 in Actual Play
Once upon a time, I was on RPG.Net and there were a bunch of threads about Nobilis, and it sounded cool, but damn it was expensive, and I couldn't afford it. Then, the publishers had some deal where if you donated blood to the Red Cross, they would give you a 50% discount on any purchase. So, I literally bought my copy of Nobilis with my own blood. I am muy macho.

But! Nobody I know wants to play Nobilis. I've got this stupid book, written in Gaimanese, that still manages to look pretty cool in spite of not having a Core Story--and I'll never play it. Muy macho men also cry, sir... muy macho men also cry.

Tell me, O champions of Story Games, of your wonderful (and not so wonderful) experiences with Nobilis, like the time it held your hand during a sad movie, or the time you went on a roller coaster with Nobilis even though it wasn't tall enough to ride -- or the time you made these crazy characters and they did legendarily awesome things.

Comments

  • I ran a Nobilis game where the characters all had Amnesia, due to the brutal shock of their Imperator dying. (Which, parenthetically, they shouldn't have survived in the first place.) They had no idea who or what they were.

    To make matters worse, the Imperator in question had been killed on charges of Treason.

    To make matters worse, all his Nobles were assumed culpable in said Treason, and were being hunted by the nobles of the allegedly wronged Chancels.

    It ran six sessions, it had like seven players, and it was glorious.

    Not long after, I ran a sequel to the first game that went another 14 sessions or so, and involved two different play groups in 'sister' chancels. I lost my way just a bit in that game and it got a little comic bookish (four color, not sandman) for awhile, but in the end it was quite mythic (there's a good trick for accomplishing that) and, to save Earth, the nobles cut the stem that held Jotunheim to the World Tree and dropped it into Hell for Sammael to rule.
  • Well, most of my experience with Nobilis actual play has been on RPG.net PbP. The main problem with that is that PbP just sort of sucks the fun out of anything for me. I mean I've enjoyed most of the games I've been in, and I think I'm usually pretty much the last one to give up on a game that I've started, but quite honestly I came to the realization that I was more relieved than sad whenever one of the games died. This held true for pretty much any game I attempted in that medium.

    That aside, I think I played in at least three Nobilis games. Two were standard Nobilis, and one was an attempt at a sort of world-building venture where we build a mythology for a world and play the resulting gods we create. One thing about Nobilis is that I always enjoyed the pre-game creation stuff. Nobilis are just fun to design, I love the mechanics of the system, and I enjoy chancel building and choosing imperator traits. In one game we made a world where normal people and ant people lived in a sort of quasi-fifties small town. We had some ability to control minor NPCs, especially ones tied to us in some way, and I enjoyed typing up conversations with ants in their clickity-language. I played the Power of Territoriality, who was pretty invested in Realm and had the Virtue of Loyalty.

    Blah, blah...Anyway, I think I might start up a game with a group of friends on of these days. I think I can get a group of interested players together now. One of my friends keeps talking about Amber Diceless, and I think he might enjoy Nobilis as well.
  • edited June 2007
    Before someone asks, the 'trick' to making things feel mythic and weird is to take metaphors absolutely literally, then use them in the game.

    For example:

    There are lots of metaphors that cross food with knowledge. "I need to digest that," etc. I had a world where the people literally distributed and consumed (there it is again) knowledge as food. One of the Powers in my game was a little old lady who was a good ol' midwestern cook. She loved that place -- and they worshiped her.

    "Fighting an Illness." One of my player's Anchors was sick. We staged the Noble's fight to heal her Anchor as a battle within the body of the Anchor -- she was leading the timid, weakened villagers, and the encroaching illness were a bunch of rampaging Danes in longships (which ended up being a hint as to where the illness came from).

    There were lots more. Find a website with a good list of metaphors by category and play around. For example:

    * She had a special place in his heart. (Yeah, I used that one. It was weird. She had some people over to visit in that special place, one time.)
    * He had finally come to the point of conclusion.
    * Deep despair. (Used that one too.)

    * In the bowels of the ship. (That would be a FUN one to use.)

    * She followed in her mothers' footsteps.
    * His head was spinning with excitement. (Ack!)

    * She had returned from the edge of death.

    * A blanket of snow.

    * Wrapping up the mystery.
    * Being true to the spirit of the agreement. (I actually had one guy interrogate the spirit of a contract to find out what it REALLY wanted.)

    ... and so on.

    It's occurred to me that these types of things would work pretty well in Heroquests as well.
  • edited June 2007
    I ran a Revenge Tragedy game of Nobilis. The game began with two members of the Familia (Blood and Tears) being cleared of bogus charges by the Locust Court while the rest of the Familia was slaughtered by an Excrucian. They, along with the three new members (Rebellion, Instability, and Serendipity), swore vengeance on whomever had set them up. (They all had the Granted Virtue: Unforgiving.) Along the way, they freed Tibet to get the attention of the Power of Storms, visited Sunnydale, had a member of their Familia severed from their Imperator through the use of an Abhorrant Weapon, caused Ananda to vote against Lord Entropy, got manipulated by Ananda into killing him in cold blood with the Abhorrant Weapon (called Vengeance) to prevent the beginning of the Fourth Age (the Age of Annihiliation, in which the Excrucians would destroy creation), and were killed by the Wild Hunt for murdering an Imperator.

    It was pretty cool.
  • Doyce: "I ran a Nobilis game where the characters all had Amnesia, due to the brutal shock of their Imperator dying. (Which, parenthetically, they shouldn't have survived in the first place.)"

    Actually, it is possible (even if unlikely) for Nobles to live on after the death of their Imperator: they wouldn't be allowed to remain free, though, and could expect to be adopted into other Familias...

    Well, I've mentioned this elsewhere already, but the most recent story arc that I've completed was a little scenario called "Moonless Nights", run for some absolute beginners as a way of introducing them to RPGs. Their characters started out as common mortals who (each for reasons of their own) happened to be near an abandoned junkyard at the outskirts of the city when the Moon fell down to the Earth there, dying from an assassin's attack but still lucid enough to entrust what was left of her heart to these people for safekeeping. Once three full nights had passed after her death, they would have the one and only chance to raise her again by casting those fragments over the edge of the world, in keeping with an ancient ritual bound to her waxing and waning; of course, the first slight problem with that was coming to terms with the fact that the world had an edge... So during actual play the Imperator was left undefined and remained out of touch (what with her being dead and all), her Chancel had faded into a ghostly ruin of a silver palace which could be entered at great risk through conjured moonlight, and the PCs (along with the players) only gradually learned bits and pieces about the setting while avoiding the killers and nightmares on their trail. And afterwards, once the Moon had been rescued and the villain behind it all banished, the players had the opportunity to further define what the Moon and her realm had become in this new reincarnation, and to decide whether their characters wished to remain in her service as true Nobles. All in all, that's a pretty good way to run an introductory piece, I think: all I needed to ask from the players at the very beginning were concepts that they associated with the moon, and those then became the Estates of their characters.

    (Also, I'd suggest that the Core Story of Nobilis is the Breakthrough and the attempts to thwart it.)
  • I've found Nobilis is very suited to mini-campaigns (2 to 4 sessions) and especially as a gateway game for people who have never roleplayed (I've introduced about a dozen people to RPGs through Nobilis).

    The typical path is to spend the first session explaining the world and rules, do character creation, and design the chancel/imperator. There's enough evocative coolness there that even though there's no official roleplaying, people will often start thinking "what kind of chancel would my character want?" and get into interesting discussions and compromises.

    From there, I have time until the next session to pull their collective awesome ideas into a coherent story. So I don't really have pre-meditated stories in Nobilis, usually.

    One mini-arc that I remember particularly well had the Franciscan monk power of Hospitality stuck defending a group of Banes that were corrupting the chancel into a twisted, calcified mockery of itself and wounding the imperator because of his allegiance to Hospitality, while the power of Disillusion (the ghost of a betrayed KGB spy) worked with the power of Delusion to track down the Cammoran who was responsible for giving the Banes the magics they needed to enact their changes. All against a landscape of crosses and double-crosses by the power of Innocence (who was anything but) who wanted Lord Entropy to destroy the current power of Fog. Reading what I just wrote, I don't think I'm conveying it well, but it was very fun to play.
  • Doyce brings the wisdom: In this game, symbols are real ... another country, not another type of thing. They have a language that you can puzzle out, but it will take you a while to shake your foreign accent.

    Really, the trick (to my mind) to running or playing it is to get a feel for when taking something absolutely literally makes things awesome.

    As a ferinstance: There's this law that Entropy passed about the Cammora. He says "Nothing that any Cammora agent does is a crime," and then he sends them out to do all these terrible, brutal things.

    So that's not literally true, right? He's just saying that they can't be tried or punished for these crimes. He can't possibly mean that killin' babies, and keeping vengeful spirits well stocked in the entrails of the innocents, and stuff like that isn't wrong.

    Can he?

    Oh yeah ... I've played it that way, and it is AWESOME. It makes the Cammora utterly terrifying. They have perfectly clear consciences, because they know that by definition they cannot do anything immoral. No matter how immoral it seems, it's always really the right thing to do, simply because they choose to do it.
  • edited June 2007
    Cam and I ran a 3-part campaign where I played the Power of Face (in the sense of maintaining Face). Other Powers involved were Truth, Lies, Honesty, Pleasure, and Strife. My character was this rich guy who owned a big hotel in Hong Kong (his Chancel) that was a neutral ground for other Powers to come and settle disputes. He was this kind of layabout who'd just recently been en-nobled and wasn't quite comfortable with the whole thing. Then Pleasure and Strife show up at the hotel to mediate a centuries long tiff and I had to make sure everyone's face was maintained.

    The story also involved the manager of agri-corp mixed up in a DNA modified food scandal that went to the U.N. (in NYC), and I ended up running around the UN building at the end, trying to stymy an excrucian that was messing things up, all the while managing this pow-wow at the hotel.

    It was awesome, brilliant, Neil Gaiman mixed with Ocean's 11, directed by Ang Lee, with some moments of horror, humor, the ridiculous, and the sublime.

    Going in, I never thought I could play it, but it worked, beautifully, amazingly. Underneath all the frosting, it's easy and light, I'd love to play or run it again.

    Mike
  • I ran a campaign of Nobilis a couple of years back and it is likely still my most cherished, proudest gaming experience. A little bit of serendipity had brought me together with a new gaming group that was interested in playing Nobilis but had no HG/GM for their game. I had gotten the book not that long before and was really liking is, so into the breach I went.

    We started, as most Nobilis campaigns do, by designing the characters. As we talked about the individual Powers that each of the Nobili would represent, we talked about what those words meant to these characters. What was vengeance? What was passion? What was a seed? If you decide to run a game of Nobilis, fucking DO THIS. It will set the stage and stakes immediately. It lets you know as the HG exactly how to punch the PCs buttons. I can still remember Neil defining his character's Power, Vengeance, as "wild justice". Oh, the imagery that came with just those two words.

    We then went straight from PC, Imperator, and Cahancel creation right into a half-session of gaming. I opened with Phil's character, an aged woman from the wouth, laying on the floor bleeding from the chest. You see, she had just been stabbed in her heart with the shard of Seeds. We then took that half-session to set the world stage, see the setting from the eyes of a newcomer, and establish the PC dynamics between each other and their Imperator.

    I opened the next session with an Excrucian stabbing the Power of Storms nearly to death right outside the PCs chancel. Then the PCs took it from there. They examined the Power of Storms and removed the unreal (literally) poison from him, which took the form of a black apple. This led them on a metaphysical quest that, after a great number of adventures, resulted in the players having Luciphur lead them up the tree of life to Heaven where they encountered another version of Luciphur, as time becomes an object when you step outside of a world. There they took a seed from the black apple and planted it in Heaven, as such writing the Excrucian into reality and creating what we affectionately call the "Reverse Nettle Rite". The result of this was the concepts that the Excrucian would embody were written into reality as a whole. This concept was, of course, destruction. So I rewind the game to the beginning of time and tell the players that a snake plucks a fat black apple off of a tree in the middle of a beautiful forest and offers it to two naked people. The seed from the apple becomes the Seed of Destruction becomes the seed in all of humanity for pain, hardship and annihilation.

    My favourite part of the whole campaign was probably the time that I had the PCs go to the Nobilis ball. They got to meet tons of Nobilis, some silly and some serious, though all powerful. One of the PCs, Phil's Power of Seeds was talking with a young Power of Language. She told Phil's character all about her lot and role and such and the amazing things that are communicated in this world. Phil's PC was, of course, curious as to what the Power of Languages was talking about. To which I smiled, described the Power of Languages as putting her hands over Phil's PC's eyes and saying "Like the secret language of Love." She then pulled her hands away and revealed all the ways in which everyone at the ball loved, or didn't love, each other. This included having the players say exactly what their feelings were between each other and a goodly number of PCs. The phrase "I love you because you're not her" was definitely spoken.

    My suggestion for running a game of Nobilis is to sit back and relax. The PCs are incredible shakers of universes, their powers are nigh infinite, and the system does a whole ton of world-building up front. The approach that worked for me best on Nobilis was to take all of that in stride and roll with the waves. Let the players define what their powers mean, how their Imperator acts, all of that stuff. Once that's over, then you start throwing weird shit at them. Come up with a couple of really jaw-dropping images, stuff that just blows your mind with how cool it looks in your head, and start your first session with one of those images. Let the players react and create based on that image. When things start to get a little slow you go right back to that image well and pull out another one for the group.

    Don't be afraid of creating on-the-fly symbolism. Drop in something that you think sounds cool; for instance a statue of the Egyptian goddess Bast crying milk from its eyes. What does that mean? I have no clue! But the players will immediately start running off and talking to the powers of Milk and Cats and Egypt I betcha, and they'll start coming up with definitions for you.

    Also, like I described above, I really suggest having one of the PC powers be new to the world. It gives the players a reason to explore some of it and discuss the setting in-game. I would also suggest that one of the PCs be an ancient, or at least old Power. This will give the Familia a real family feel, as in generational. Occasionally have you Imperator drop hints as to who the previous holders of his Shards were. Nothing too revealing. Keep it cryptic. Let the players decide what's cool and have them chase after it.

    I guess that's the best lesson I took away from that game. The world is massive, and everything that a PC does can have such incredible import. Set up some nifty bangs, pay attention to the players flags and let them guide the game.
  • edited June 2007
    Something else just remembered, very distinctly.

    Nobilis was the first game book in which I read the phrase "Social Contract," and in which there is a section on how to approach the creation of one with your group.

    Good friggin' game. Man. Now I want to run it again.

    I'd like a little more 'tension' in the resolution mechanics (like Mortal Coil seems to do with the hidden action pool allocation) but there's enough anguish over the damage you're potentially doing to yourself to pull off the big miracles that it seemed a fair trade off.
  • Neel Krishnaswami ran a year long campaign of Nobilis that I played in, and it was one of the best campaigns I've ever played. It was jam packed with awesome stuff of all sorts, a lot of which the players made up on the fly.

    The players were the newly created powers of Melek Taus, a rebel angel stolen from Alan Moore and Kurdish myth. Our job was to create a new moral code for Melek Taus to live by, which works really, really well as a framing structure for Nobilis: it divided the campaign into some nice clear acts, and meant there was lots of ethical debate between players, PCs, etc. (In the end, our moral code began with "Love is the highest principle", which pissed off Lord Entropy.)

    By the end of the game, we had started multiple cults (including one worshipping artifical intelligences), rewritten history many times, travelled to Mars to check out the library there, flew a Apache helicopter full of angry ghosts beyond the walls of Creation, got into shady dealings with rogue Excrucians, used Iron Chef Norway as a plot to take control of Scandinavia (as a favor to a friend), created Fictional Heaven for fictional characters to go to when they die, fought a duel with math, put out a zeppelin with a Lesser Creation of Baking Soda, proved logically that an angel had sinned and needed kicked out of heaven, hid secret loves from Lord Entropy, saw The Powerpoint Of The Gods, won the war with the Excrucians using Weapons of Mass Creation, became rulers of the next Age, and a whole lot of other stuff.


    The wiki for the game is still up, and full of cool stuff we created.
  • I love Nobilis to pieces. I think it's my favourite book on my gaming shelf, if not my favourite game.

    I had the privilege of playing in a 3 year long campaign of it over mirc that ended last year, which ranks as one of the best roleplay campaigns I've ever played. The AP transcripts are here.

    I played Jacob Hart, the latest in a long line of Nobles of Obsession. We had a fine tradition, that each Lord of Obsession would find himself obsessed with a mortal, to the point where they literally offered up their heart on a plate (there's that symbol as real again!) to the mortal, who ate it and became the next in the line.

    It was messed up, and Jacob spent a good half of the campaign trying to wriggle out of his destiny and find a way to un-enoble himself. He failed, and became obsessed with Queen Puck of the fairies. But before he did the deed his Imperator, the Fallen Angel Balthiel, took the familia to Hell (ostensibly because we'd nearly let an excrucian destroy him) where Jacob had to choose between oblivion, passing his heart to Puck then and there or being punished by Balthiel through the Rite of Agony/the Whip. Jacob was allergic to pain and nearly took the plunge into oblivion, but chose agony instead. This remains one of the hardest IC choices I've had to make! It was seriously intense.

    The game climaxed with us nearly destroying our own Imperator (by releasing the Angel of Blades he kept as his sword) and exposing one of Entropy's nobles as an excrucian-lover, prompting an invasion of our Chancel and a full-on battle that lasted two or three sessions.

    Nobilis is great! It needs to be played more, although god knows how I'd actually run it. That thing is intense.
  • I had two sessions with the game.

    For the first, I introduced it to the guys I started gaming with. I GMed...ehh...HGed, they made a family, we played the story in the GWB. It was OK. They had fun finding the parts for the chancel. It just wasn't really Nobilis. No epic stuff, no changing the world, no symbols. Could have done that in any other setting.


    Then I tried at the Grofafo.org meet-up. That time I wanted the real shit. We made an R-Map, made the imperators and when the play started, everyone was like petrified. The players didn't understand how the mechanics were going to work and I was because everybody else was.

    Apparently the game requires that everyone reads the book to get the flavor. Furthermore the rules are not helpful at all. There are stats, but not resolution processes tied to them.


    I'd like to try Nobilis in the Vineyard (i.e. with the DitV rules). That might at least solve the latter problem.
  • 1of3: "Furthermore the rules are not helpful at all. There are stats, but not resolution processes tied to them."

    Eh, the game does have simple but solid mechanics for task resolution: see page 48 for a brief summary, or Chapter 9 for details on the various attribute ranks, or Chapter 13 for dealing with conflicts. However, the stats can be rather comprehensive in scope, so that for instance practically all human endeavours default to Aspect, in the absence of any applicable special abilities or weaknesses.
  • I think, assuming that Birdwell Island is a Chancel (which is clearly is, otherwise all the mortals would have gone insane by now), Emily Elizabeth must be the Imperator.

    I’ve tried to work it with her as a Noble and Clifford (the Big Red Dog) as her anchor, but it just doesn’t work, since he’s got like… three anchors himself.

    So she’s the Imperator. Obviously aligned with the Light — no one else could be that positive.

    ...

    Or maybe I watch a wholllle lot of PBS with my daughter.
  • Man, I wish I could play this game sometime.
  • Posted By: GrimGentEh, the game does have simple but solid mechanics for task resolution: see page 48 for a brief summary, or Chapter 9 for details on the various attribute ranks, or Chapter 13 for dealing with conflicts. However, the stats can be rather co
    Read the tactics on p. 163: The preferred way is said to be finding a clever, indirect strategy. It's just... nothing indirect can effect a Noble in any lasting way. Rite of Holy Fire, etc.

    Killing a Noble is almost impossible, but damage is the only way hostile actions can stack. (And "dead" is the only mechanic state, where a character is overcome any manner. Wait... it isn't. You still got anchors.)

    Overpowering a Noble with one large Miracle seems to be the only way. But how to overpower a Noble? You can throw a mountain, but that only hinders his Aspect. Domain is still available. Besides, countering a Miracle is always easier, as your opponent has to overcome your Auctoritas.


    It all comes down to: "Alright. Enough of that. Let's say you bet him."
  • 1of3: "Read the tactics on p. 163: The preferred way is said to be finding a clever, indirect strategy. It's just... nothing indirect can effect a Noble in any lasting way. Rite of Holy Fire, etc."

    It's true that Holy Fire and the various defensive Gifts can overlap enough to render a character more or less invulnerable, and Immortals simply cannot be killed by anything in the universe. That's hardly surprising, since the system is designed to discourage direct confrontations between empowered beings and encourage scheming in order to gain an advantage. However, there are always limits to and ways around those protections. For instance, Holy Fire won't ignite against all mundane attacks, only those that are offensive enough to someone of the target's spiritual stature: an ordinary gunshot against an otherwise undefended Noble with Spirit less than 3 may well cause a serious wound, even if he has invoked the Fire recently. And of course, it's relatively easy to create distractions to keep a low-Spirit foe from performing the Rite at all, and then strike when he's vulnerable...

    1of3: "Killing a Noble is almost impossible, but damage is the only way hostile actions can stack. (And "dead" is the only mechanic state, where a character is overcome any manner. Wait... it isn't. You still got anchors.)"

    Even if a dead Noble does somehow manage to linger on as a ghost after his death, it just means that a would-be assassin will have to take care of those Anchors, as well, preferrably after gathering them together in some place where they can't be used for further Rites of the Servant.

    1of3: "Overpowering a Noble with one large Miracle seems to be the only way. But how to overpower a Noble? You can throw a mountain, but that only hinders his Aspect. Domain is still available."

    I'm not really sure what you mean by hindering someone's Aspect? You could dodge or block a thrown mountain with miracles of Aspect, certainly, or possibly avoid the assault with some suitable application of Domain. But those actions would always require spending at least a few MPs (barring any "perfect defence" Gifts, of course). And if you are outnumbered by the enemy or face something massively powerful (such as a full Warmain with Aspect 7), the chance of defeat becomes a very real possibility.
  • Posted By: ptevisI ran a Revenge Tragedy game of Nobilis. The game began with two members of the Familia (Blood and Tears) being cleared of bogus charges by the Locust Court while the rest of the Familia was slaughtered by an Excrucian. They, along with the three new members (Rebellion, Instability, and Serendipity), swore vengeance on whomever had set them up. (They all had the Granted Virtue: Unforgiving.) Along the way, they freed Tibet to get the attention of the Power of Storms, visited Sunnydale, had a member of their Familia severed from their Imperator through the use of an Abhorrant Weapon, caused Ananda to vote against Lord Entropy, got manipulated by Ananda into killing him in cold blood with the Abhorrant Weapon (called Vengeance) to prevent the beginning of the Fourth Age (the Age of Annihiliation, in which the Excrucians would destroy creation), and were killed by the Wild Hunt for murdering an Imperator.

    It was pretty cool.
    May I ask, did you select the Powers or did the players?
  • edited November 2007
    The one game I played had, let's see...

    The Power of Myth, who was the fictional character Beowolf.
    The Power of Masks, who was a mask spirit made a Noble.
    The Power of Suffering, who... I don't remember anything about him, but he was awesome.

    Their Imperator was one of those giant wyrms who had been poisoned by the... bad guys I can't remember what they're called. His thrashings caused the entire world tree to shake, and so the other imperators locked him onto a mask that pinned him into place so that he wouldn't destroy anything. He was nearly mad with pain, and quite insane.

    I remember their first villain was the Steward of their Chancel who was an incredibly powerful maniac who hated them, and since they took extremely low scores for power over their Chancel, she just owned them.

    And I remember Beowulf getting into a brawl with a giant he was trying to coerce into giving him information, and then remembering that he had a code that made him always fight to the death. Whoops.

    Oh, and he led a group of ten peasants to victory against a battalion of elite soldiers. That was pretty badass.

    This makes me want to play it again.
  • I ran a multi-session arc of Nobilis back in college. There was a monstrous baby of an Angel and a Demon (who had been in love before the fall) chained up in the basement of the Chancel.

    I ran a one-shot League of Extraordinary Americans game using Nobilis. The main characters were undead Blackbeard, John Henry, Casey Jones, etc. We fought wendigo and stuff.

    We played Nobilis on IRC a while back. It was very steampunk and ridiculous. It also included a whole bunch more stuff with Anchors that I'd ever had in a game before. We rarely played the actual powers themselves, so it was more like the Sandman issues where Dream is in the background and his various minions are up to things.

    Now I'm getting ready to run new Changeling, which has a lot of Nobilis-y things about it, especially in the dark powers that the characters once served. It's like "what if you ran away from your Chancel to hide in the real world and your Imperator really wanted to drag you back, kicking and screaming."
  • Also, the mechanics for Nobilis are awesome. You just have to realize that, mechanically speaking, 1) everything is a Miracle or else it's just color, and 2) it's not made for killing stuff.
  • Yeah, a game where the characters can pretty literally do anything is great.

    When the player of Beowulf was like, "How many miracle points do I have to spend to lead a handful of peasants to victory against an army without a single casualty on my side," I was like, "AWESOME."
  • Jonathan,

    I think Nobilis is one of those games (along, possibly, with Ars Magica) that runs brilliantly as soon as you stop assuming you know how to play it because you've played other RPGs before, settle down, play for a bit, and let the logic of the game tell you how to play.

    Cause man, as long as I approached Nobilis as a thing with which to do similar things in similar ways to other RPGs it was always kinda frustrating. Getting over that, however, lets you find out that there actually is method to the madness.

    As for my Nobilis stories, my favorite moment was when one PC smuggled Mount Everest into a party, in his shoe, so that he could smite his nemesis with it over tea.
  • Brand, I agree. I also think the game varies a TON depending on what aspects of it you focus on. Like my Anchor-oriented game using Anchors in ways I hadn't encountered before. And I still haven't played in a game where Rites were front and center. And some people apparently don't encounter Excrucians that much, but I LOVE Excrucians, so they're always in my games. Etc.
  • edited November 2007
    Yeah, I enjoyed Nobilis because it's entirely unpredictable. You *have* to run it Bangs style because the PCs power is limitless. I'd be astonished to read about a game where railroading happened.

    And I love the Excrucians but tried to make encounters with them quite rare and terrifying.
  • I ran a game of Pulp-ish Nobilis on RPG.Net that was very cool while it lasted. I wish I'd been a better GM back then and loosened up on the reins a bit more, it would have lasted longer.

    The Chancel was a giant floating city, a relic of the lost 500 years, and every Noble had a pie-wedge of the city that was strongly influenced by them. There was a Power of Dogs who was an enNobled dog, and had something of a love-triangle between a Fox Spirit who was working for the Cammora and an uplifted Poodle who was the chief of the Dog Police. There was a Power of Despair who was desperately cheerful, because every previous Power of Despair had died at his own hand. There were a lot of NPC's and events that were inspired directly by They Might Be Giants songs.

    The game had kind of a cool superheroes--meet--Jane--Austen vibe that I haven't seen before or since. I miss it.
  • Bret Gillan said: "Yeah, a game where the characters can pretty literally do anything is great.

    When the player of Beowulf was like, 'How many miracle points do I have to spend to lead a handful of peasants to victory against an army without a single casualty on my side,' I was like, 'AWESOME.'"


    Still, despite all their powers, the characters in Nobilis are far from omnipotent. Assigning a difficulty to a task such as leading a ragged band of peasants against a well-armed battalion is basically handled no differently from a more traditional RPG: it's just that with enough miraculous power to back them up, they actually do have that chance of victory. It's not something that a Noble of low Aspect could expect to pull off effortlessly, though, at least not without speaking Words of Command.
  • You know the thread Matt Snyder started? About on-line play via Skype or IRC? And you know how this semester is crazy for everyone (at least, everyone named "James Nostack") but next semester will be better? Oh, the possibilities of playing Nobilis over Skype in a few months...
Sign In or Register to comment.