System Mastery 21 – Nobilis

 System Mastery Episode 21 - Nobilis

SystemMastery 21 – Nobilis

Have you ever dreamed of being the god of something?  Perhaps the god of socks, or the god of internet memes, or the god of cabbage?  This odd, dense game may be as close as you can get to realize your weird boring dreams, internet friends!  Take a tour through the mind of Rebecca Bergstrom, aka Jenna Moran, aka the Writer clad in Ranunculus, aka the Auctor Errabundus, as we look into the crazy (but interesting) Nobilis!

6 responses to “System Mastery 21 – Nobilis

  1. This is second edition, and the third edition of the game really heavily changes and streamlines the rules.

    Realm is replaced with Persona, the ability to make things more or less like your estate (i.e. The god of wine could turn water into wine, or give it just one of the properties of wine; he could make water that makes you drunk. It also works on intangible things, so he could enchant the words of a speech so that anybody hearing it became drunk.)

    Spirit is replaced with Treasure, which is still about Anchors, but those can be anything; Thor’s hammer would be an anchor.

    Virtues/Restrictions/Bonds are rolled are replaced with a single freeform system like Fate’s Aspects; you choose whatever you want, but you’re encouraged to choose good and bad things because you get MP every time they hinder you.

    The fluff is a bit better too; instead of the Fallen Angels and Magisters of the Dark being bad guys, it’s more that Angels value beauty and justice, but have no tolerance or mercy for weakness, ugliness, or failure, while fallen angels love everything, but their love is so universal that they’ve lost the ability to distinguish between good and evil.

    Light and Dark, meanwhile, are pretty much your classic fantasy Order and Chaos. They both have good points and bad points, and humans need a balance between the two.

    I find that approach a lot more satisfying than just saying “Here’s the good guys, here’s the bad guys”.

    Also, in 2nd edition it seems like there’s very much an assumption that you can’t directly effect other Powers or Excrucians, whereas in 3rd you can. (Almost) Nobody has a default Autoritas; If you want to turn the most powerful Excrucian on Earth into a Bunny Rabbit, or heck, just shoot them in the head with a sniper rifle the assumption is that you can, and it works, unless they specifically spend some kind of resource to stop you.

    I’d highly recommend 3rd over 2nd edition, with the caveat that the writing is even more offputting than it was in 2nd, and 3rd has no examples of play, which can leave you kind of lost.

    What I’ve found is that in practice, characters are basically omnipotent, but only within a fairly narrow realm. So conflict is about trying to make sure that your attack hits them where they aren’t omnipotent, and defending by creatively twisting things so that your narrow field of omnipotence applies to any situation. It’s pretty darn fun and creative.

    “When it comes to Cardboard Boxes, I have unlimited power. Now, how can I use that to stop this tank from running me over?”

    • Heh, we know there’s a new edition. This is the old rpg podcast after all. I find this claim that the new edition is even more flowery terrifying, but believable. I’ve tried comprehending the exalted fair folk rules a few times after all.

      • I found the writing in 3rd better, Its less serious then 2nd, and a bit less … “white wolfy” for lack of a better term. I will say that the writing is quite a bit more clear then before.

        The art was terrible in 3rd though. Like terrible enough that after I bought it I got the I found and downloaded a “Non-Weaboo” version with most of the art stripped out that somebody made.

  2. I’m sad you didn’t mention the Nobilis of Blankets who racked up an impressive kill count on enemy minions by choking them to death in their sleep. I thought that was a great example of how even a crummy domain can be made interesting.

  3. Glad you covered this.
    Nobilis and Continuum were two games I always wanted to get a better idea of, but could not manage to plow through enough to make sense of the nuts and bolts at the center.
    Kudos for handling this legwork!

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