Eclipse And Nobilis – Treasures

And for today it’s part of a question sequence – a follow-up on Nobilis Afflictions in Eclipse.

I assume that Domain and Persona would probably just be dweomer based spellcasting, but Aspect, Destiny and Treasure (especially the stuff that doesn’t easily fit into normal item creation) would be of interest.

-Jirachi

If something doesn’t fit into normal item creation, couldn’t you use “Create Artifact” for it? Maybe specialized and corrupted, depending on how restrictive it is/you want it to be.

-krackothunder

Somewhat? But there’s a couple of specific things that don’t have obvious translations to the create artifact system for complicated reasons.

-Jirachi

Well, lets consider Treasure in Nobilis.

Treasure is stuff that is linked to you, infused with your divine power and a part of your personal mythos – your panoply, associations, or what-have-you. You can treasure objects, memories, symbols, collections of stuff, and almost anything you can describe. As far as I can tell, Treasures can’t be destroyed without destroying YOU and they’re usually just presumed to be around somewhere when you want to use them (although there is a Treasure-4 effect that can summon them to you if, for some reason, they aren’t handy).

The trick here is that – in Nobilis – basic Treasures are channels for their owners powers much more than they are items with their own functions. At Treasure 3 you can have the equivalent of d20’s mid-level magic items as Treasures – Wings of Flying or some such – and you can have the equivalent of fairly major items at Treasure 5 – but their effects are still based on their owners “Treasure” trait. They can provide some small bonuses, but really only become effective on the Nobilis scale when you start channeling Miracle Points through them.

At Treasure-0 ordinary items and people that you bond to yourself as Treasures become – at your option – one of the best of their kind mundanely available and/or free of maintenance – as well as being mystically linked to you. So yes, if you really love your kid, but she’s sulky today, a passing thought can annihilate her balky body, mind, and soul and replace her with a wonderfully obedient, ideal, incredibly talented, straight-A student kid who won’t need to eat, sleep, or have a place to live. She’ll just be around when you want to play with your perfect little doll. Won’t that be wonderful?

Well, maybe we should leave kids out of this.

Lets think about a car instead. It won’t need gas, oil, or maintenance and it will perform like the best and fastest car around!

Wait a minute though. Everything in reality (and, with access to even a few other worlds, a lot of stuff that isn’t) is “mundane”, and can be obtained through mundane means if you happen to be visiting a world where it’s available.

  • So, just to stick with current-day Earth… if you and the game master happen to know about the vehicle siphon and waterproofing systems that let a car be driven underwater, you can presumably drive underwater.
  • How about the supersonic rocket drives for land speed record cars?
  • Did you know about amphibious cars that function as boats too?
  • How about the flying Aerocars? First built in the 1940’s!
  • Perhaps you’d prefer a Rinspeed sports car submarine?
  • Military vehicles cars often have mounted weapons and other gadgets. So do ambulance cars, even if their gadgets are a lot more peaceful. Executive limos often have some impressive armor plating and safety features. And then there are stunt cars and all the things you COULD put in a car, but generally don’t.

So what is your “mundane” car-treasure capable of or equipped with?

How would I know? That’s between you and whoever is game mastering your Nobilis game.

And there we see, once again, the basic problem with converting Nobilis to d20. D20 says “Ok, it’s called the Chalice Of Spring, what can it do?, How was it made, how hard is it to break, and how expensive is it?” while Nobilis says “Ok, you have the Chalice Of Spring, you can channel your power through it to do “Chalice of Spring” miracles – each likely a unique event.

In Nobilis the sword Severance could be used to win battles, sever fond memories from regrets, cut Death away from Life in a wounded character (leaving scars, but no wounds). It might make people get divorced, or seal gates, or make annoying kids no longer be related to their families.

To paraphrase Nobilis…

A Miracle-6 can declare that a Treasure uses its powers or abilities to create a definite outcome. Perhaps your sword wins the fight for you or you or your rocket car brings a new era of peace and prosperity to Mexico. The more absurd your choice of outcome, the longer it’s likely to take – but it WILL happen unless someone invokes an opposing miracle.

So how does that opposition work? Well, Nobilis is a diceless bidding system; you pick an attribute or special ability to use, possibly spend one or more “Miracle Points” to boost it, and compare the result to the difficulty. Given that the characters are all gods, that even a attribute of “0” is superior to a normal human (See: Heroic Scaling), and that the player characters all get a +3 on any mundane task (when a total of 2 indicates success) you generally don’t need to worry about any unopposed mundane action.

So lets take two Nobilis characters with Treasure II.

  • The Lizard Wizard happens to have a treasure described as “A legion of time-traveling cyberallosaur samurai with laser cannons. They do shadowruns.” Depending on where The Lizard Wizard picked them up, they might even be a Mundane Treasure. Nobody says that your treasures have to come from Earth.
  • Madame Olga has a Treasure she describes as “Incense Of Superlative Aromatherapy. It settles things down”.

Finding himself offended by the Chicago Museum Of Natural Histories exhibit that says that the Archosaurs are extinct, The Lizard Wizard decides that Chicago MUST BE DESTROYED!

Now, what level of miracle is required for this? It might not be any; after all, Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow (or possibly a neighbor with a pipe or similar minor accident) pretty much managed it once before. Having your minions set things on fire isn’t particularly outside the norm.

  • So The Lizard Wizard can send in the Saurian Legion (with its base rating of Miracle-2), to enforce his will and Chicago will be automatically destroyed (or at least set on fire) unless something else with miraculous powers intervenes. Mortals cannot oppose miracles!
  • But Madame Olga leans out her window and waves a fan, wafting the smoke from her Incense into the Saurian Legion to settle them down. They both are defaulting to Treasure II, and defender wins ties. So is Madame Olga defending? She is intervening on behalf of Chicago, but she’s doing it by trying to alter something else – but what she’s “altering” is negating an opposing miracle. Ergo, she’s defending, she wins, and the Saurian Legion mellows out and goes home. If the game master happens to feel otherwise though… well, Chicago is in trouble.
  • The Lizard Wizard, badly frustrated, blows his top and spends four Miracle Points to get to a level six Alter Destiny Treasure Miracle; Chicago shall be forever known as a place of monsters, reduced to a few ruined hovels that none save the beasts will ever dare inhabit again! The Saurian Legion goes back in time, to destroy Chicago before it ever gets beyond an Indian settlement! (Not that history is anything but a special effect in Nobilis).
  • If Madame Olga has four miracle points to spend, thinks that it is worth doing so, and fans harder… the smoke will go back in time, calm down the Saurian Legion once again, and Chicago will never have been in peril. If she does not, perhaps it is time to use her travel spell and move to New York City!

There are a few complications – mostly other traits that can come into play to provide free miracle points or to boost or diminish other miracles – and there might be other Nobilis involved, but that’s the essence of it.

Now, why mortals can’t oppose any of this when there are no laws of nature and thus their actions are also miracles (wouldn’t there being a distinction be a law of nature?) is a good question, but it’s the nature of Narrative games to ignore almost everyone except the major characters. Otherwise we’d be worried about the intervention of the hundreds or thousands of other major supernatural beings who might have an interest in Chicago, and the player characters wouldn’t be the primary focus any longer.

So Treasures are basically manifestations of the user, have a consistent Theme, and can produce all kinds of effects within that Theme when the user channels power through them. They aren’t necessarily individual objects, or creatures, or even physical.

Buying a “Treasure” attribute in Eclipse:

  • That’s 4d6 Mana, with Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, all Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with “Treasure” effects, no Natural Magic option, Rite of Chi only recharges this specific mana pool and only between sessions or when the game master opts to award a die (12 CP).

Buying Treasures in Eclipse:

  • Mundane Treasures are normal things that get souped up. For this you want some Rune Magic (Specified Treasure, such as Cars), Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / only for that particular treasure at (3 + Att Mod) x 3 (6 CP). This will let you summon, repair, and boost beyond all reason, mundane treasures of the appropriate type.
  • Followers and Allies and such get are bought as Leadership or Companion with various modifiers, all Specialized / you have to spend Mana to get them to do anything important for you (6 CP).
  • Symbolic Treasures – where a particular symbol or set of symbols acts as channels for your power and senses – can be purchased as Immunity/The Distinction Between the Symbol and You (Uncommon, Major, Great, Specialized / must expend 2 Mana to activate with respect to specific instances of the symbol) (6 CP).
  • A collection of minor devices (Charms and Talismans from The Practical Enchanter) can be purchased as: Shaping, Corrupted and Specialized for increased (level one and possibly weak level two) effects/can only produce the effects for which the user has the appropriate foci ready, can only support a limited number (seven and three) of minor charms and more notable talismans at one time, charms and talismans take some time to attune for use (6 CP). Another option that doesn’t cost Mana, since they’re pretty minor by d20 standards even in less-magical worlds.
  • Powerful Magical Devices are usually purchased as a Create Relic package: Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only for making a particular four-point Relic or four-point collection of lesser Relics (2 CP), plus Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect and corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for making those particular relics (4 CP) – for a grand total of (6 CP). They don’t usually require Mana, since they’re associated with a very high Treasure rating anyway.
  • Labs and such can be purchased as “Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys” from The Golden Ones sample powers list. These can allow you to have a collection of minor items to use on your adventures.
  • For a collection of more-or-less “normal” d20 magical devices, buy Natural Magic / Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for Reality Editing, only to summon, repair, or briefly boost up your normal wealth-by-level equipment (6 CP). Now you have a full-scale panoply of stuff – at least once you’re of a high enough level.
  • Mysterious Devices – like the sword Severance, or the Chalice Of Spring, or the Remote Control Of The Machine God or The Flying Dutchman’s Phantom Pirate Ship – are purchased as Natural Magic / Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for Reality Editing, only to produce effects within a specific theme (6 CP). This can produce some pretty impressive miracles at times – but not very often.
  • For a mess of Technological Tools and Gear, purchase Innate Enchantment (5000 GP = 100,000 Dollars or Credits worth of d20 Modern / Future equipment) for (6 CP) and supply yourself with gear that simply appears when you need it and disappears otherwise.
  • If you just want Money, buy a Stipend or Privilege/Landlord. In either case, this basically defines you as being rich, having a nice lifestyle, and so on (6 CP).

There are other abilities that could be fitted into this category, but that should cover most things.

Thus a Nobilis character with Treasure-5 would have perhaps a eight to ten Treasures and the basic Treasure Attribute – for a total of 60 to 72 CP. Expensive, but Treasure-5 represents 60% of their available points for attributes.

And I hope that helps!

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