Eclipse And Nobilis – Aspect and Destiny

In Nobilis, Aspect says that you are Physically and Mentally better than human.

Your will is inexhaustible, your mundane skills and traits are all effectively professional, your attributes inhuman! You complete tasks with incredible speed, at just the right time or in the nick of time! You can balance on a thread, fight fifty men at once, and survive terrible hazards and weapons that should kill any normal person in an instant. Even if you should be injured, your wounds heal swiftly and without scars or long term damage!

Well, yes. You are a midlevel or higher d20 character.

Even WITHOUT using Heroic Scaling (which I recommend for a Nobilis game)… you may want a few special bonuses, but a total of +3 in any skill makes you a professional. A +5 makes you an expert. Einstein did really tough original research in his field. That’s DC 30. So… +2 (Modern Library / Masterwork Tool) +3 (Skill Focus) +20 (Take 20)… means he needed another +5. +3 if we allow him a +2 Assistance Bonus for consulting with other scientists. You can have that at level one. Easily.

The world record long jump is 29 feet. That’s DC 29. Again, you can easily beat that at level one. Spend your bonus feat on Innate Enchantment (Personal Haste (2000 GP), Jump (1400 GP), and Light Foot (1400 GP) and that alone gives you at least +36. Throw in Masterwork Running Shoes (+2), a decent attribute bonus (+3), and your base level one skill (+4) and you can easily “Take 10″ and jump 55 feet – close to double the world record. YOUR record would be 65 feet, even if you don’t throw in any of the other readily-available bonuses.

So yeah. By d20 standards this isn’t going to be all that tricky. If Heroic Scaling is in play it’s actually pretty trivial.

Aspect (36 CP):

So to buy an “Aspect” Attribute in Eclipse?

  • That’s 4d6 Mana (you rolled a 17? Congratulations! You have an “Aspect Attribute” of 17), with Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, all Specialized and Corrupted/only for use Reality Editing, only to produce effects calling for raising the user’s normal abilities to superhuman levels, 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).

Or, if we already have Rite of Chi we can just generalize it and buy bonus uses / only to recharge this particular pool instead. That would save a few points in a build with several of Nobilis’s super-attributes.

If you want to pull off those level-9 Nobilis Miracles… you’re basically just saying “I can do this amazing thing” and giving it a long duration. Again, in d20 terms… it’s not that impressive.

To be just generally superior (even beyond the superhuman baseline of d20), buy

Nobilis Demigodling (12 CP): Innate Enchantment (11,100 GP value, 12 CP):

  • Inhuman Speed: Personal Haste (2000 GP): +30′ Move, +1 Attack when making a full attack sequence.
  • Immortal Vigor I (1400 GP): +12 + 2 x Con Mod HP.
  • Inspiring Word (1400 GP): +1 morale bonus on saving throws, attack rolls, checks,
    and weapon damage.
  • Wrath Of Heaven/The Infernal (1400 GP) +1 Sacred (Infernal) bonus to Attacks and Damage.
  • Skill Mastery (1400 GP): +2 Competence Bonus to all Skill and Attribute Checks.
  • Fortune’s Favor I (1400 GP): +2 “Luck” bonus to all Skill and Attribute Checks.
  • Resist: (700 GP): +1 Resistance Bonus on all Saving Throws.
  • Divine Health (1400 GP): Fast Healing I (for 18 Rounds) 2/Day, Relieve Illness 1/Day, Relieve Poison 1/Day, and Lesser Restoration 1/Day. From the Hedge Wizardry list on this site and The Practical Enchanter).

This package provides +2 to Saves, +2 to Attack Checks, +5 to Skill and Attribute checks, +2 to Damage, +30′ to all Movement Modes, +(12 _ 2 x Con Mod) hit points, +1 Attack when making a full attack, 36 points worth of Rapid Healing per day, and helps out with poisons, diseases, and attribute damage – quite enough to make you significantly superhuman even without Miracles or Heroic Scaling.

Oh, you want to be able to resist injuries over and above being inhumanly durable? Buy…

Heroic Durability (12 CP).

  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Physical Damage for Double Effect (6/-) (6 CP). That will let you bounce small-caliber bullets, arrows, and similar annoyances unless they’re backed by more-than-human power.
  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Energy Damage for Double Effect (6/-) (6 CP). That will let you dip your hand in molten metal, stand around in a burning building to have a chat, handle considerable electrical shocks, and even helps with spells, force bolts, and “divine” or “infernal” damage. It’s all energy.

And that’s about it for Aspect in d20. Clocking in at a total of 36 CP for pretty much everything you get for Aspect-5 isn’t especially expensive, but that’s because you get most of what Aspect covers in Nobilis simply by being an adventurer in a d20 world to begin with.

A few Nobilis Aspect Miracle examples – such as “taking out your gun and shooting down a star” – may still be beyond you, but that’s mostly setting-dependent. If the stars are lamps hanging from the celestial dome, or chips of sparkling crystal in the roof of the world-cavern, sure; you can shoot one down. If they’re holes in the cosmic dome revealing the light of eternity beyond, you might be able to shoot a new one or plug an old one, but you can’t “shoot down” a hole. If they’re the welcoming lights of the cities of the dead, lit by the ancestors to lead the spirits of their descendants to their eternal homes once their time in the physical world is done… well, even if you shoot well enough to extinguish a light somehow, they’ll just fix it. And if they’re gargantuan masses of fusing hydrogen light years away… Well, the path of least resistance is to just divert the light that’s going to reach the earth for a few years, since you’ll probably be pretty heavily out-miracled by the locals who like their sun right where it is, thank you very much.

Destiny (30 CP):

Destiny grows in victory, in loss, and in discovery. Your adventures, your tales, and your lessons learned can change the world.

The trouble with the Change The World part is that, in d20, the world is a lot bigger than it is in Nobilis. Do you want to bring the World Ash into being, to shape a reality where the tenets of Nobilis hold sway?

Then you want Dominion – and then some items from the Path of the Pharaoh – Manipulation, Sphere of Influences, and Godfire. All Specialized / they only function within the reality you are creating. That’s (12 CP). Now take Creation (6 CP) – and create the World of Nobilis as your Divine Realm. It won’t do you a lot of good, but with the permission of the Game Master you could be the creator god of the Nobilis universe at level ZERO.

And as you collect Godfire within that world of your dreams, you may set rules and laws for it. In general, the creator of a realm gets to:

  • Determine whether or not people can be injured there and, if they can be, whether or not they can “die”. For example, in dream- and cartoon- realms it’s often impossible to be truly injured. In hell-dimensions you may not be able to “die”, or even lose consciousness, no matter how badly hurt you are. In many “afterlives” you can “die”, but will simply wake up again at an appropriate location – whether that’s beneath the great tree of life, in Odin’s great hall, or in bed. Secondary effects in this category include enhancing or negating healing, aging, and similar effects.
  • Determine the general nature of the realm – it’s layout and description, whether the local timerate is fast or slow in comparison to the Creators original plane, and the realm limitations on technology, magic, psychic powers, and other special abilities.
  • Grant ability packages worth up to 24 CP within the realm. These can be set up on a general basis (such as in the Dragonworlds, where everyone gets 24 CP off the cost of buying draconic powers if they choose to do so), be handed out to individuals, or a mixture of the two.
  • Define any stable dimensional access points, such as links to other realms. The creator can also define whether the realm is easy to reach, can be reached normally, or is difficult to reach otherwise, as well as how difficult it is to open gates or create overlays within it.
  • Buy Sanctum abilities, and have them apply to the entire realm.
  • Selectively suppress or enhance particular powers within the realm as long as he or she has access to at least one point of Godfire. Unfortunately, this is limited to (Cha Mod) modifications at any one time. In general, the realm-creator can suppress particular types of powers (reducing their effects by 3 levels) or enhance them (increasing their effect by one level, either making effects easier to use or adding metamagic), but is not him- or her-self subject to this suppression. The available modifications tend to default to suppressing the efforts of other deities: An intruding deity must expend one point of Godfire per point of suppression to invoke Godfire against the will of the dimension-creator, but that will suffice to overcome such resistance for hours or days.

Quite a lot of these sorts of rules apply to the little pocket-realms created by high-order spells and psychic powers too. Extradimensonal Spaces can be very versatile, although a lot of the most common basic modifiers are found in The Practical Enchanter under the Spacewarp Spell Template on page 72.

But most people want to change the world they currently occupy, not dream one up to suit themselves. Just as importantly, Nobilis doesn’t usually allow true godhood as Eclipse defines it. You can do many of the same things, true – but they’re mighty projects of destiny, not “activate a power” and the scale is a lot smaller. Even affecting the “billions of worlds” of the entire tree is a drop in the bucket compared the the estimated hundred billion solar systems in the Milky Way Galaxy – and you can multiply that by the estimated two hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe. And even that gargantuan number doesn’t even register on eh scale of the theoretically infinite number of Hubble Volumes beyond the observable universe. True Godhood in Eclipse has a lot of perks.

Well, you can do that. The powers you want are:

  • Action Hero / Crafting if you want to create some mighty work, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / spending Action Points requires a great deal of inter-player discussion and planning. (6 CP).
  • Action Hero / Invention if you want to discover or develop new things for all to use. Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / spending Action Points requires a great deal of inter-player discussion and planning. (6 CP).
  • Action Hero / Influence if you wish to restructure the relationships between the great powers of the world – or to raise up new powers and cast down old ones (6 CP).
  • Returning with Rewrite (12 CP). Nobilis characters are very difficult to get rid of permanently. They also get to occasionally shuffle some of their abilities around. Ergo, they have Returning with Rewrite. You may kill them, but you have to break their connection with their Estate to make them stay dead – and they get to tweak their abilities occasionally between adventures.

Dominion works if you wish to use the power of your Domain (Estate) to influence large-scale events. It too is a bargain at only (6 CP) – but will inevitably involve you in the maintenance and defense of your Domain (Estate). In theory you could also use advanced Dominion abilities – such as Divine Attribute, Sanctify, Endowment, and Greater Endowment – to alter the world on a wide scale, but for that you need to be a True God, and Nobles generally are not. Ergo, I’m going to be leaving even basic Dominion to go under Persona and Domain, where it fits in better.

Of course, all of that is a lot more direct than Destiny in Nobilis, where destiny is required to be ambiguous, subtle, and slow. That’s because – in d20 – the world has large-scale rules. You don’t necessarily need the cooperation of the game master, or to go with the plot or theme. If you figure out a way to take out the campaigns ultimate enemy in the first session… then so be it! The Game Master will just have to come up with something else.

Now, as for Personal Destiny – improving your personal powers and traits – d20 has a basic mechanism for that built right in. It’s called “Gaining Levels”, and it is – once again – much more definite than in Nobilis, in part because a d20 game can readily function with a new game master, or (for quite some time) with no game master at all.

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5 Responses

  1. …This feels like what you would get if roughly converted them with the rule of ‘only d20 powers’, and I get why you did that, but doesn’t cover some of the absolute stuff (which is kind of why I asked, you tbh). Like the ‘as much force as you need to win’ caveat in level 6 aspect miracles, or ‘imperial miracles’ which don’t really seem to have a strict conversion (other than perhaps an impossibly high level maladiction effect with exacting conditions with pretty wide spellcasting powers).

    • I’d have to say that Nobilis doesn’t actually have any “Absolute Stuff”.

      Lets take Aspect 6 – “Unstoppable Power”. “Limitless Strength”.

      Like all Nobilis miracles, it beats any mundane difficulty,

      So… “I hit the Earth hard enough to completely destroy it”. A physical impact can quite realistically do that – and a near-lightspeed punch is quite enough.
      Will that work?

      Obviously not. After all, Excrucians get higher ratings than starting nobles, so some of them can do this whenever they please. So if this worked, the world would have been destroyed long ago. Why hasn’t it been? Well, there are plenty of Nobles who will object to this trick. Somebody with an applicable Estate – “Stone”, “Disasters”, “Vibration”, “Earthquake”, “Protection”, or whatever – will stop you. You might even run into somebody’s Affliction-5 and be automatically opposed by the equivalent of another Miracle-6. You can perform your “unstoppable” miracle over, and over, and over again – and get nowhere.

      Similarly, you cannot push Yggdrasil so hard that it slides over a very long way (whatever that means), leaving behind everything that does not belong on it (Excrucians). Neither can you uproot it and use it for a club. You can’t hurl a rock at the sun hard enough to destroy it.

      In fact, you really can’t do anything that matters automatically. In Nobilis, “stuff that matters” is pretty much defined by having other miracle-workers sticking their noses in. YOu can only be ridiculously grandiose when it really doesn’t matter.

      And being ridiculously grandiose whenever it really doesn’t matter – when it’s basically description – is exactly what Heroic Scaling is all about. And Nobilis is very definitely a Heroic Scaling setting.

      Similarly, a level nine Treasure Miracle in Nobilis is classified as an Imperial Miracle. The greatest and most powerful miracle that there can be. To take some quotes from Nobilis…

      “The spirit of the thing is raised up for a moment to the level of first cause; it speaks its need into the world. This takes as long as an Imperial miracle takes, which is to say, minutes to months as the HG decides, and flows from the nature of the Anchor rather than the Power. That said, it is predictable; the Power may cancel the effect, and recover their spent MP, if in listening to the work of the miracle they discover that it is setting forth a burden they would not desire.”

      “It is always a narrative; it is never a thing with clear purpose-in itself, never a thing that is specific and obvious in its demands.”

      “The target(s) may use their action to name a consequence of this (loosely, something they do or something that happens to them). If the HG agrees that the consequence moves towards expiating the weight of the miracle, the thing simply happens.”

      “You want to work with the Imperial miracle—as a character, because doing anything else is an abhorrent blasphemy even the Excrucians are uneasy with, and as a player, because doing so earns you Destiny (pg. 348-349). However, it’s possible to just ignore the miracle, to face the wind of the Imperator’s will and not be moved. In such a case — where you decide to just wave off the miracle — you will lose strength as your dharma dissolves under the burden of the Imperial miracle. Typically it wounds both of your Divine Health levels (pg. 321) to totally reject an Imperial miracle, placing you under the burden of a temporary Affliction that begins unraveling you and your various precious accomplishments and connections in the world. It is possible for an Elusive or Immortal character to recover from this in a very short time frame; that may or may not be fast enough to keep their life from falling into ruin.”

      “You can only penetrate Auctorita if you provide the necessary Strike.”

      “Eventually the power of the Imperial miracle will fade.”

      In other words, even the greatest miracles in Nobilis are undependable, vague, subject to interpretation by both the game master and their targets, can simply be ignored by their targets, may not even affect targets with any protection, take a long time to work, and are temporary.

      That’s Destiny Magic – and not even very high level destiny magic at that.

      Worse, in d20, “Miraculous” powers are available to everyone. After all, Nobilis defines Miracles as “Supernatural Powers that do not have to overcome Obstacles – the worlds objection that “you can’t do that” – to work”.

      D20 powers do not have to overcome Obstacles to work. In Nobilis terms pretty much everyone in the d20 universe- is using Miraculous Powers.

      So yes, If you brought a Nobilis character straight over into a standard d20 setting… Normal people would get to save against their Miracles, they’d lose the benefits of Heroic Scaling, and – just like in Nobilis – their “Absolute” level stuff is going to have to contend with opposition.

      D20 characters simply are not “Mortals” as Nobilis defines them. Nobilis characters do not get to automatically walk over them or over their worlds.

      A d20 Mountain is never “just a mountain” in Nobilis terms; it’s more like the Crag Tenebrium, a “Treasure” of the Dark Powers, and a place of miraculous forces where legions of supernatural horrors hang out.

      EVERYTHING in d20 is a part of the mythic world.

      Next time around will be Estates, Persona, and Domain, which will get into this a bit more.

      And I hope that helps!

      • Somewhat? But one of the examples of aspect 6 is ‘outrunning light’, and there a some things that wouldn’t nesscarily be directly contested.
        I somewhat get what you mean by that, but if you are bothering with an effect like that, you can also do indirect stuff, add strike, and the ability to have a serious chance of unmaking even the most powerful of gods is not really ‘weak’.

      • Well, the first thing to do is to forget some physics.

        All that stuff about “186,000 Miles Per Second”, and “Relativity”, and “Fastest Thing Possible”? That’s SCIENCE. The Nobilis universe doesn’t run on science.

        Nobilis does tell us that Light has “Superior Speed 5”. Any mortal trying to compete with light will need to use a “Magical Skill” to convert the flat “Humans cannot run faster than light” prohibition to a skill penalty – and deal with the “Superior Speed 5” which imposes a whopping -5 skill penalty.

        Fortunately, skill penalties do not stack. -5 it is.

        So what skills are magical?

        Well, Nobilis tells us that non-magical skills are used for mundane actions. You know. Mundane – in accordance with the laws of nature and the natural order of the world. Which doesn’t exist in Nobilis. So all skills are magical.

        Er… never mind that.

        Maybe the “a Skill without an ordinary mode of use – a Skill where everything they might want to do is equally a stretch” definition? But if I know “Card Magic” can’t I do the old “pick a card” routine as well as summon the creatures of the Tarot? Magical skills can have mundane uses. My Alchemist passion can certainly be used to make potions, but I can quite reasonably blow glass vessels for my laboratory with it. That’s a part of being an Alchemist too.

        Never mind that either! Moving on!

        Maybe use an overtly magical skill? Even if you don’t buy one… Everyone has lots of skills at “0”. You want to catch your runaway shopping cart? You’re probably using Athletics 0 or some such. People tend to believe that they can feel other people’s eyes on them (Psychic Powers 0), that God will help them (Faith 0), that little rituals bring luck (Luck Magic 0), and so on. You can use a skill at zero. “Pulling” for your team to win? That’s Destiny Magic 0.

        Every human is a practicing mage. It’s built into how our brains work. Even if we can’t see a logical way to influence the outcome, we want to think we can – and any notion of magic works in Nobilis.

        Still, even if you spend 8 will with a base-0 magical skill, you’re not going to make it. You either need a magical skill or a game master who will admit that all Nobilis skills are magical.

        So what’s the minimum? How about Hyperspeed Magic I, a Bond (which can counter penalties – perhaps “My speed magic is astounding!” II), and spending eight will? Sure, you’ll hurt yourself – but that gives you a total of (9 – 3 for the remaining penalty) = 6 – which beats Light’s 5.

        You win. You’d also win with a Hyperspeed Magic II and a Bond 1 or just Hyperspeed Magic III. Or, if your game master goes with the “all skills are potentially magical” line of thought… you can win with with Athletics III.

        If you happen to have Hyperspeed Magic (or Athletics) Five, and a Bond 5 – both entirely possible for a mortal magician – you can invest 1 Will to outrun light and recover it when you succeed. You can outrun light ROUTINELY.

        You can win much more easily though. Time Travel faces a -5 Obstacle, but has no “Superior Quality” – so all you need for THAT is a “7”. Go ahead. Set out to arrive five minutes before Light started moving. Perhaps your daughter was killed last week? Decide that you want to make it in time to save her.

        Of course, d20 makes it much easier to race light; anyone can do it with no special powers whatsoever. Lets say you’re standing in a doorway. You prepare an action: “If someone makes a ranged attack on me, I shall close the door”.

        So when someone fires a laser at you… You perceive it before the light gets to you, and close the door before the beam hits you. Per the rules, I get to see light coming faster than light.

        In Eclipse, of course, you can spend a feat on Reflex Training. That will let you see that your friend is one inch away from being hit by a laser beam, walk over to them, and pull them out of the way, well before the laser gets to travel that last inch. That’s comic book time for you!

        Finally, of course, the “most powerful gods” of Nobilis are actually rather weak. I may get into why a bit later, but this is quite long enough already.

  2. […] Eclipse And Nobilis – Aspect and Destiny […]

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