This page explains the Chancel creation process for the RPG Nobilis, to help those who don’t own a copy of the book. If you’re looking for character creation instead, that’s here.
The characters in a Family of Nobles share a Chancel between them. This is a portion of space set aside by the Imperator, and is said to require a human death on each of 100 consecutive nights to create. Chancels can have any theme, from verdant gardens to high-technology laboratories, bright fairytale worlds to cities of Lovecraftian horror. It can be in a fixed location in the Prosaic Earth, or there can be doorways to it anywhere, or maybe the players can wish themselves there from anywhere in the world!
The players create their Chancel together once they have created their characters. Once they have decided on what their Chancel should be, they can then spend Chancel Points creating it. The Chancel has as many points available as the sum of all characters’ Realm points. As in other aspects of Nobilis, you can also buy your Chancel defects which cost negative points, freeing up more points to spend in other areas.
The Chancel properties in the rulebook are summarised below:
How easy it is to get in and out of the Chancel. Without this property, the Chancel probably has between 2 and 7 entrances within the same local area. By spending points:
- Convenient (2): The chancel connects to multiple major urban areas throughout the world.
- Mobile (6): Entrances and exits are mobile - they can be near characters when desired, and move themselves far away from enemies.
- Ubiquitous (7): Entrances and exits are everywhere. Convenient, but the characters should also be prepared for more frequent attack.
- Open (-2): Mortals and Chancelfolk can step across this large boundary freely, often without realising. The entrance is at least a mile in width.
Miraculous artifacts (‘Allia’) or troublesome objects (‘banes’) formed within the Chancel at its creation through the glory of the Imperator or through the deaths that created the Chancel. Banes are objects that actively seek to cause the Imperator, the Chancel and its Nobles to suffer. Allia, if found and invoked by name, grant wishes - though their wishes do not last forever, and in naming them, they are destroyed utterly.
- Two Banes within the Chancel (-1)
- Some Allia still exist (3)
The Chancel’s power to actively resist hostile intrusion. This grants it its own Realm miracles, which it can cast as necessary at the rate of one or two a minute. It has an infinite supply of Miracle Points for this. The Borderguard detects all hostile intruders except those with an Auctoritas stronger than the Borderguard’s Penetration Value. It then attacks with Miracles up to the Borderguard’s Strength. One buys the Borderguard’s Power and Penetration Value separately. Power is bought at 3 Chancel Points per level, Penetration at 1 Chancel Point per level. Note that Lesser Divinations are useless to a Borderguard - it automatically sees things it needs to see. Accordingly, Lesser Divination instead lets it notify authorities (militia, police, Nobles) of a threat.
Prevents hostile magic from harming the Chancel or its inhabitants. Each 2 Chancel Points gives the Chancel 1 point of Auctoritas (i.e. damaging miracles require 1 extra level of Penetration to have an effect). When within a Chancel, characters defend with whichever is the higher of their Auctoritas or the Chancel’s.
The Imperator has given Noble powers to a non-Noble who has been charged with overseeing the Chancel instead of the characters. On the plus side, their Realm score contributes points to the Chancel, but on the other hand, they may disagree with the characters and may have been given lots of power to enforce their will.
- Nice Radiant (Realm 1, 5 Realm Miracle Points) (-1)
- Assertive Realm's Heart (Realm 2, 7 RMPs) (-2)
- Aggressive Warden (Realm 3, 9 RMPs) (-3)
- Megalomaniacal True King/Queen (Realm 4, 12 RMPs, Auctoritas 1) (-4)
Individual Chancelfolk or part of the population as a whole possess Earthly magics. Faeries, Unicorns and even high-technology constructs fall under this category. Their magic is nothing compared to a Noble’s, but still potent enough in its own way. 1 Chancel Point allows these things to exist, extra points buy them extra attributes.
- Some beings with Earthly magics (1)
- Many such beings (+1)
- These beings can be used as Anchors (+2)
- Some of them have Anchor-like resistance to Miracles (+2)
- Some have Anchor-like resistance and Auctoritas (+3)
- Some have actual Miraculous powers (+5)
The Chancel is particularly real, more beautiful and strange and glorious than the Earth around it, and it oozes Mana from its less well-formed places. It is hard - though quite possible - for Nobles to harvest Miracle Points from it. On the other hand, the Chancel could be unreal and chimerical compared to the surrounding Earth. These Chancels must be constantly fed by Noble magics lest they drift away from Earth into the lands outside Creation.
- Realm requires 5 MP per session to maintain (-2)
- Realm requires 2 MP per session to maintain (-1)
- Chancel generates MPs for harvest each session (+1 per MP, max 5)
Miscellaneous Chancel Blessings
This nebulous category offers possibilities for the Chancel having some particular use amongst Nobles and Imperators, gaining their Family some amount of respect or protection - or notoriety. These cost between -4 and 8 Chancel Points, as agreed with the GM. Examples from the book are:
- Chancels that spread across the Earth and are used for transportation.
- The Chancel where Lord Entropy holds his court.
- Chancels that serve as a meeting place for the Light, Dark and other affiliations.
- Neutral Chancels that serve as arbiters in Noble disputes.
- Chancels that offer some form of service to Lord Entropy or the Council of Four.
- Chancels that are a particular target of Excrucians.
- Chancel is important, its Powers respected everywhere (+4)
- Chancel provides, or has provided, an important service to Lord Entropy (+4)
- Chancel is a primary Excrucian target (-4)
Generally, Chancelfolk are imbued with a slight loyalty to the Imperator and his chosen Powers. In some cases, however, the Imperator has chosen to make them particularly loyal - or much less so. This is represented in giving the Powers of the chancel automatic gifts as below:
- All Powers have "Devoted Populace" for free, unless they already have the Gift "Hated" (6)
- All powers have "Hated" but gain no Miracle Points for it (-3)
General properties of the Chancel that pervade it and influence the interplay between technology and magic within.
- Magic and modern technology nearly unknown in-Chancel (-1)
- Deviant technology - normal things operate by strange principles (-1)
- Technology barrier - the Chancel rejects technology created outside it (1)
- Extrapolative technology - high-tech without any major paradigm shifts from current Earth tech (2)
- Weird Science - one area of science that has undergone a major paradigm-shift advance over Earth tech, e.g. AI, time travel, biotech (+1 per area)
- Thought-record technology - an item can transfer your thoughts to e.g. computer (1)
- Normal (Earthly) magic - minor effects, very draining on the caster (3)
- Faery magic (Glamour) (2)
- Alchemy (requires Normal or Faery magic) - finding power in Prosaic things (1)
- High Summoning (requires Normal or Faery magic) - calling things from beyond Creation. Generally unwise! (1)
Gateways that connect Chancels to each other, bypassing Earth entirely.
- Two-way gateway to a Chancel with allied Imperator / indifferent Powers (1)
- Two-way gateway to a Chancel with allied Imperator / friendly Powers (2)
- Two-way gateway to another Realm or time, requiring 4 Realm Miracle Points to use (0)
- Reduced RMP cost to use gateway (1 per MP, can't make cost negative)
- Users noticeably weaker after using gateway (wounded, lost MPs, reduced Attributes while in the other Realm, etc.) (-1)
- Hostile forces have a two-way gateway to the players' Chancel (-4)