Nobilis

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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zenten
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Nobilis

Postby zenten » Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:59 pm UTC

This seems like such a nifty game, and I so want to either play or run one. However, life is conspiring against me.

Has anyone here played it, or at least read the book?

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Postby evilbeanfiend » Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:37 pm UTC

never heard of it before. is it anything like diplomacy given there is no random element?
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zenten
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Postby zenten » Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:10 pm UTC

evilbeanfiend wrote:never heard of it before. is it anything like diplomacy given there is no random element?


I'm not really sure what diplomacy is. Isn't that board game?

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Postby Rodan » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:40 pm UTC

*searches wikipedia*. Ooh, looks interesting. Too bad I don't have corporeal friends, money, and there isn't like, a jnobilis or something...

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Postby zenten » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:49 pm UTC

Rodan wrote:*searches wikipedia*. Ooh, looks interesting. Too bad I don't have corporeal friends, money, and there isn't like, a jnobilis or something...


Jnobilis?

I believe there are play by email, and play by post games out there.

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Nyarlathotep
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Postby Nyarlathotep » Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:10 pm UTC

How does it work?
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

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Postby Iv » Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:31 pm UTC

Nobilis is a PnP role playing game. It is notable for the fact it doesn't use random resolution for actions. I have heard about it, never read it but found the concept interesting.

I game-mastered Amber, which uses a diceless game system as well and was really minimalistic. It went incredibly well. It was surprising to see how 4 characteristics (Combat, Psyche, Strength and Endurance) were enough to define an interesting character.

Another interesting bit was that having very simple character sheets and no dices to roll made it really easy to make an IRC game. I had players from three different towns and two timezones. Kept the logs, opened a channel for every new place the characters entered, really went well without specialized software.

I believe that the main resolution mechanism in Nobilis is some sort of karma point bidding in order to manage actions.

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Postby zenten » Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:37 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:How does it work?


This gives a good overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobilis

It's odd, because it's possibly the most high powered RPG published, yet has one of the least amounts of combat focus I've seen in a published RPG. Possibly it has something to do with the fact that it's not hard to make a starting character that can destroy the sun (as in most characters people will make can do it), but at the same time killing another character is hard, and not terribly useful. There's even a flaw you can take that means your character is dead; It's not *that* limiting in terms of gameplay.

But yeah, it's a nifty game, lots of cool mythos in it, very stylized too. And the corebook is a coffee table book, and as such looks impressive instead of geeky.


AAAAANnnnd the cheapest copy I can find online is like $180. The larp supplement is only $15 though.

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Postby legion » Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:53 pm UTC

Nobilis is a game about ordinary people who receive complete power over one aspect of the universe from an immortal being known as an Imperator.

It draws heavily on myth and legend, the conflict resolution system is resource-based (you succeed at any task in which your attribute level exceeds the task difficulty, and you can spend "Miracle Points" to effectively increase said attributes for one task), and it's amazingly well written.

In any given session, you can take down the sun (but seeing as how the Power of the Sun can just put it back up, it's kind of pointless. And against the law.), take down an entire army in hand-to-hand combat, or instantly remove every pair of pants in the known world, depending on what Power you play.

You can play any Power you want, there are a few setting imposed limits (you can't play the Power of Entropy/Change, it's already taken by a main in-game character that has a large impact on the flavor of the setting), but as always you can just modify what you don't like.

It's heavily scaled towards hardcore roleplayers, and combat in the game is frowned upon (because just about anybody can murder every single mortal on earth without breaking a sweat), so you have to come up with different ways to get your problems taken care of. Of course, it emphasizes troupe play, so you can manipulate a human government to do your bidding and then have the group switch over to play the agents of said government. In this manner, you can play in any genre of game you like!

It's a unique game world because most of your enemies are immortal, or otherwise exceedingly hard to kill. It's far better to be subtle in this case. Of course, that doesn't mean the Power of War and the Power of Strife don't go toe-to-toe every now and then (or every day), it just means that combat and violence isn't a very good problem solving tool.

I mean, what are you going to do when your rival is the embodiment of the Sun, knows no physical weakness, and you've no good reason to kill him under Noble Law?

***

Sorry. Rant. <3 Nobilis.

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Postby Robin S » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:06 am UTC

Incarnations of Immortality seems like an interesting and relevant fantasy book series.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby DrStalker » Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:09 am UTC

Nobilis is a very tricky game for a GM... it's not simple to figure out how to run it, and the PCs are immensely capable in ways that require huge flexibility. You can't just pad things out with combat, which is a normal part of most popular RPGs. You have to be prepared for players doing things that drastically change the mortal world, like the aforementioned destroying the sun.

I'd love to run it, but I can't quit think of the right framework for a storyline. I've run diceless games before, such as Puppetland, and they take a *lot* of planning work to make a tight session.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby zenten » Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:09 am UTC

DrStalker wrote:Nobilis is a very tricky game for a GM... it's not simple to figure out how to run it, and the PCs are immensely capable in ways that require huge flexibility. You can't just pad things out with combat, which is a normal part of most popular RPGs. You have to be prepared for players doing things that drastically change the mortal world, like the aforementioned destroying the sun.

I'd love to run it, but I can't quit think of the right framework for a storyline. I've run diceless games before, such as Puppetland, and they take a *lot* of planning work to make a tight session.


Wow, I would have thought a Puppetland game would have been increadably easy to plan, assuming you have a good idea.

Mind you, I tend to do seat of my pants gaming. Rules light games are easy in that, because when the players throw you a curve ball this minute, you can just pull something out really fast. I'd hate to have to say make a detailed GURPS character on the spot.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby DrStalker » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:00 am UTC

zenten wrote:Wow, I would have thought a Puppetland game would have been increadably easy to plan, assuming you have a good idea.


It's not the planning, it's the running. It's completely different to everything you've ever run, since all PC actions are declared through dialogue "I think I shall go to the window, and see what's outside!" and all declarations made by the GM are third person past tense.

Once you get the hang of it it's fun and not hard, but it is a bit tricky to start.


zenten wrote:Mind you, I tend to do seat of my pants gaming. Rules light games are easy in that, because when the players throw you a curve ball this minute, you can just pull something out really fast. I'd hate to have to say make a detailed GURPS character on the spot.


I don't like GURPs much myself, or any of the rules-heavy systems. When I run them I just improvise combat stats as needed based on what will be best for the story. Some players get real upset at GM's "cheating" like that. Meh.

Something like Over the Edge or Unknown Armies is great for on the spot PC creation, because all you have to do is think "what distinguishes this guy from the average person? He's a Doctor with a keen interest in ancient greek literature... that's enough to work out any needed stats"
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Yakk » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:43 am UTC

I played about 5 sessions of Noblis.

We never got into how the conflict resolution system worked. Too much roleplaying.

I did spend an evening dancing with Dance -- that was tiring.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Robin S » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:37 pm UTC

I have just joined a roleyplaying society at university. They have Nobilis. I will let you know how it goes.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:09 pm UTC

So I created a house rule to encourage people to play out their bonds.

http://nobilis.zenten.ca/mediawiki/index.php/Bonds

What do you think?

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Re: Nobilis

Postby Matthias » Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:25 pm UTC

I picked up the sourcebook on eBay a few weeks ago. Probably won't get around to playing it for a couple of years, if ever, but the book is absolutely beautiful and I like the idea behind the system.

One character concept I came up with was a teddy bear who serves as the Dominus of Anthropomorphism.

Edit: Of course, a Forum version of the game is something I could totally get into. At least for a few months, before I have to go tend to dragons in Mesopotamia (no, seriously).
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Re: Nobilis

Postby peaseblossom » Fri Nov 09, 2007 12:59 pm UTC

I've played a lot of Nobilis; it's probably my favorite game. The diceless/resource-based mechanics aren't for everyone, but I love them, and I'm sorry that it's so hard for people to get their hands on a copy of the book.

I've found that Nobilis games tend to focus a lot on the social relationships between the Nobilis, and on the choices that the characters make. Yes, you have phenomenal cosmic power, but so does everyone else, so what makes you unique is what you choose to do with that power.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:42 pm UTC

Yay, I've started character creation with a group. Hopefully the players will be done at the next creation session, which is in about two weeks.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby pieaholicx » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:51 pm UTC

I've never heard of this game before, but now you all have peaked my interest. I'll have to look into it now.

EDIT: Wow, it really is hard to get a copy of the rule book. There's nothing on eBay and amazon has 1 copy for $200.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Matthias » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:30 pm UTC

I had to pay 170 for mine, but it came with the LARP book and shipping was included. It was a relatively good deal.

According to RPG.net, they only printed 600 copies of the 2nd edition book, so I guess I can understand why it's so expensive. What I don't understand is why I've never been able to find a pdf version for download, as marvelous as everybody seems to agree the game is.
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pieaholicx
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Re: Nobilis

Postby pieaholicx » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:04 am UTC

Matthias wrote:According to RPG.net, they only printed 600 copies of the 2nd edition book, so I guess I can understand why it's so expensive. What I don't understand is why I've never been able to find a pdf version for download, as marvelous as everybody seems to agree the game is.

Man, now I really want one knowing its rarity.

EDIT: Oh man, my fiancee said she'd get it for me for Christmas if it's still there when she gets paid next week. She has no idea how much I'd love her for that.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Nyarlathotep » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:38 am UTC

So... what you're saying is that I really should have gotten that $50 dollar copy while I still could have? :\

The issue was that I'd already bought three RPG books that I never used (and one of which - BESM d20 - turned out to be godawful ) so I was leery of taking a chance on a book becuase it "looked perty". :(
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby DrStalker » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:37 pm UTC

Matthias wrote:I had to pay 170 for mine, but it came with the LARP book and shipping was included. It was a relatively good deal.

According to RPG.net, they only printed 600 copies of the 2nd edition book, so I guess I can understand why it's so expensive. What I don't understand is why I've never been able to find a pdf version for download, as marvelous as everybody seems to agree the game is.



There is no way I'd ever consider breaking the spine of my Nobilis to make a pirate scanned copy, and I suspect everyone else with one feels the same way. It's probably also not the sort of RPG bought by the pirate-RPG-scan sharing crowd, if I'm allowed to make sweeping generalizations for a moment. :-)

Now, a purchasable PDF... that would be wonderful. I'd get one, even though I already have a physical book.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby DrStalker » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:45 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:So... what you're saying is that I really should have gotten that $50 dollar copy while I still could have? :\
The issue was that I'd already bought three RPG books that I never used (and one of which - BESM d20 - turned out to be godawful ) so I was leery of taking a chance on a book becuase it "looked perty". :(


Useful guideline: skim through th book. If it's mostly rules-looking stuff, ignore it. If it's mostly not-rules stuff get it, because there should be good ideas to steal in there.

Rules will typically only work for one game, and chances are good you already have other RPGs that can cover the rules stuff you need. Ideas are precious.


Other useful guideline: If there's a version with "d20" in the name and a version with, the one with "d20" in it is a piece of rubbish but the other one might be good.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:05 pm UTC

Matthias wrote:I had to pay 170 for mine, but it came with the LARP book and shipping was included. It was a relatively good deal.

According to RPG.net, they only printed 600 copies of the 2nd edition book, so I guess I can understand why it's so expensive. What I don't understand is why I've never been able to find a pdf version for download, as marvelous as everybody seems to agree the game is.


What are the forum rules discussing the actual existence of such a PDF?

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Re: Nobilis

Postby DrStalker » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:59 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
Matthias wrote:What are the forum rules discussing the actual existence of such a PDF?


Do it in PMs so no-one knows you are discussing it?
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Matthias » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:06 pm UTC

Um... Sharing is caring?

(I mean, today's comic epic-ized the creation of BitTorrent, so...)
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Re: Nobilis

Postby zenten » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:12 pm UTC

Matthias wrote:Um... Sharing is caring?

(I mean, today's comic epic-ized the creation of BitTorrent, so...)


I see.

Still, links posted on sites that tend to show up first on Google might be a bad idea.

Anyway, the answer is that there is a very good although not authorized copy of Nobilis out there on PDF. I believe Borgstrom said something along the lines of her preferring if you didn't using it, but not caring that much if you did. Don't quote me on that though.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby pieaholicx » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:00 am UTC

I'm getting a book. :mrgreen:

There was one used on Amazon for $200, and my fiancee got it for me. She's already received it in the mail. I am one happy person (computer problems aside...).
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Re: Nobilis

Postby anoshinri » Thu Nov 29, 2007 2:20 am UTC

pieaholicx wrote:I'm getting a book. :mrgreen:

There was one used on Amazon for $200, and my fiancee got it for me. She's already received it in the mail. I am one happy person (computer problems aside...).


Somehow I knew any thread involving Nobilis would have you in it.

I saw it and said "This is a pie thread."

Then I noticed you had posted here already.

We need to get a game of this running one day :D

EDIT: After reading the whole thread, suddenly a forum version seems like a great idea, and I am all up for it.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby Matthias » Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:35 am UTC

Signups! Count me in.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Nyarlathotep » Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:02 am UTC

I'm so in, but I would need someone to esplain the rules and setting to me again, as my experience = brief perusal in a hobby store + wikipedia.
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby anoshinri » Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:13 pm UTC

I have a pdf courtesy of an awesome friend.

Anyone need it? :D

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Re: Nobilis

Postby Matthias » Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:17 am UTC

I found a text summary of the game mechanics a while back. It doesn't cover everything (and it isn't anywhere close to as pretty as the actual book), but it's a good quick-and-dirty if you want to put a character together. The main hindrance is it doesn't cover gift design mechanics. Anyway, here it is: Clicky!
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Re: Nobilis

Postby zenten » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:05 am UTC

Ok, so we finished character creation last night.

Player characters are the Power of Failure, of the Light, who is really about the failure that teaches an important lesson. We have the Power of Pups, which include puppies, seal pups, etc, as well as associations of cute, licking and fuzzy. Then we have the Power of Topical Cream, with associations of soothing, healing, and slimy.

First we created Locus Bloop, the Chancel. It is a realm with giant flowers, where flying and intelligent brine shrimp pollinate the flowers (they are the children of Bloop, but are not generally Miraculous in nature). They have a somewhat uneasy relationship with the intelligent puppies that actually run things. These puppies have steampunk type technology (which we call Steampup), function as boarder guards complete with a complex bureaucracy to act as customs officials, and are able to secrete a neurotoxin at will that will kill most healthy humans in a few hours. They communicate through puppy noises, not a human language.

In terms of stats, it is Convenient (2 points), and can be entered by moving aside and crawling in to the largest dog food in any pet store. It has Borderguard of 2, which is the force with which the puppies can attack with (I've changed the system somewhat, so the game no longer really has penetration). The resources are Deviant Technology (in the form of Steampup) for giving 1 point, and Technology barrier for 1 point, that makes any technology later than Victorian technology fail if brought in to the Chancel. There will also be 0 point two way gateways to other realms, these will be decided more in play.

The Imperator is named Bloop. He walks around looking like the King of the Seamonkeys, including the crown. He is demanding (specifically with very strange demands) for one point, Principled, is a Scholar of Sushi Making, and is completely untalented in closing things (doors, jars, lids, etc).

His "Noble Miracles" Character Sheet is as followed:

Miracle points: 13 total, one extra purchased (this is using Dynamic Nobilis miracle point rules).

Aspect: 2
Domain: 2
Realm: 5
Spirit: 7

Gifts: Immortal (6), Amphibian (1), Elemental (2), Glorious (2)

Limits/Restrictions: Affiliation: Code of the Wild. Focus: His Crown, contains Glorious, and 7 levels of Spirit (for 23 points). Cannot kill. Cannot use modern technology. Honest.

Total cost: 65 Character Points.

We should hopefully be actually playing the game in two weeks.

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Re: Nobilis

Postby Matthias » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:57 pm UTC

So, uh... does anybody still want to get a game going on the forum?
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Jessica » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:59 pm UTC

Sure.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Matthias » Fri Dec 14, 2007 3:56 am UTC

Um... Great! Anybody want to actually post characters, then? I'd post mine, but I'm not feeling very RP-ish at the moment. I'll probably post mine this weekend sometime, to like, give an example of a character or something.

If nobody's interested in being the HG (aka GM), I could do it; I've never run a Nobilis game, but I've DMed before, after a fashion. And I have some decent storytelling skills.

Plus, squee! That would give me an excuse to make up more than one character.
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Re: Nobilis

Postby Nyarlathotep » Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:22 am UTC

... ok, so if one were the incarnation of the colour Green, what powers might one get?
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.


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