On this page, I will attempt to summarise character creation for those without a Nobilis book or without the time to pick through it in search of the actual rules.
Blue boxes contain information that is specific to my Nobilis game, “Where Only Lilies Grow”, rather than to the Nobilis setting in general.
Resources (none of which were created by me):
- There is an editable PDF character sheet here if you’d like to fill it in as you go. Note that it lists the cost for Comprehensive flexibility in a Gift as 1, it should be -1.
- “So you’ve been enNobled…” (PDF) answers many of the questions of first-time Nobilis players.
As always, your character concept is the most important thing, and ideally you should have a clear idea of who your character is before starting to stat him or her. A background, as bullet points, prose or even something stranger still, is strongly encouraged so that the GM can write better plot for your character.
In “Where Only Lilies Grow”, your characters are newly ennobled. The story begins at pretty much the moment your Imperator creates his or her Chancel on Earth and imbues the characters with soul-shards. When coming up with a character concept and background, please bear this in mind – you will start the story with no real idea what the Nobilis are or what they do, and until this point you will have had a reasonably normal life.
I say “reasonably” because your characters were picked to be given your Imperator’s soul-shards, so he or she probably saw some promise in you. Perhaps your character is someone with power, or some particular talent. Your character does not have to have originally been human – animals, mythical beings, fictional characters and, yes, super-intelligent shades of the colour blue, are all possible. But whatever you were, you have now become something more. Your background does not necessarily have to feature any fondness for what will become your Estate.
A Noble’s Estate is the concept over which they have power. It can be anything from jealousy to beaches, darkness to icing sugar. Your role as a Noble is, in part, to sustain the existence of this concept against those who would seek to remove it from the world.
A Noble’s Code represents their moral standpoint. They are summarised:
- Heaven: Beauty is the highest principle; Justice is a form of beauty; Lesser beings should respect their betters.
- Hell: Corruption is the highest principle; Suffering is a form of corruption; Power justifies itself.
- Light: Humanity must live, and live forever; What must be done ought to be done cleanly; Humans must be protected (particularly from themselves).
- Dark: Humans should destroy themselves (individually); Humanity should destroy itself (except for a few toys); Ugliness to human eyes shows that one is worthy.
- Wild: Freedom is the highest principle; Sanity and mundanity are prisons; Give in kind with a gift received.
You may also invent another code for your character to follow. Later, you will create your Imperator, who also has a Code. Your characters do not necessarily have to follow the same code as each other, or their Imperator.
You have 25 CP to spend on Attributes, extra Miracle Points, and Gifts. We’ll deal with Attributes first. All attributes start at 0, and can be raised at a rate of 3 CP for 1 dot. Higher ranks in each attribute mean that performing miracles associated with that attribute will become easier. The four attributes are:
Your physical and mental being.
- 0: Of Mortal Form: You suck. You’re pretty much human.
- 1: Metahuman: Formidable physical and mental abilities.
- 2: Legendary: Comparable with the great heroes and villains.
- 3: Inhuman: Not only physically perfected, but empowered by magic.
- 4: Celestial: Touched with the divine.
- 5: Exemplar: You fully integrate your divine essence and use it to its utmost extent.
Your power over your Estate. You can have multiple secondary estates if you choose, but they cannot exceed your Primary in level. For each estate after your first, points cost an extra CP per level. For example, to be the Marquessa of Dreams and the Viscountess of Cake would cost 3+3+3=9 CP for Dreams and 4+4=8 CP for Cake.
- 0: Pawn: You have no power over your estate.
- 1: Baronet: Power enough to work only small miracles.
- 2: Viscount(ess): Miracles of comfort and divination come easily. Estate starts to be reflected in your mortal appearance.
- 3: Marquis/Marchessa: Power to sustain and defend your estate.
- 4: Duke/Duchess: Your powers seem godlike, able to shape the energies of Creation.
- 5: Regal: You are as a god, your mastery of your Estate is complete.
Your mystic and mundane power over your Chancel, in which a good proportion of the game takes place. The more points you allocate to Realm, the more Chancel points you get to put towards your Chancel when you create it.
- 0: Citizen: You have no gift of rule over your Chancel.
- 1: Radiant: Your reign extends mostly to ghosts, traces of light and fleeting visions.
- 2: Realm’s Heart: You may know anything about your Chancel or its contents with a thought.
- 3: Warden: You may make subtle and overt barriers, and raise the Chancel’s militia.
- 4: True King/Queen: You may hold off even an Imperator or unsharded Excrucian within your Chancel. Personally responsible for much of how the Chancel works.
- 5: Tempest: You can shape and reshape at the Chancel at will, and it responds instinctively to your needs.
The strength of your Imperator’s soul-shard within you, your effect over human Anchors, your protection against other Nobles’ Miracles, and your ability to disguise your own Miracles.
- 0: Candleflame: Your Noble essence has no great integrity; you are limited to one Anchor.
- 1: Hearthfire: Your presence can be felt, there is some synergy between your human and Noble selves. You understand something of divine souls. Two anchors.
- 2: Incandescent Flame: You understand the nature of divine essence, your soul burns with it. Three anchors.
- 3: Sunfire: Your Imperator’s soul-shard is integrated into you seamlessly, and you have a deep spiritual centre and personal balance. Four anchors.
- 4: Conflagration: Your base personality is augmented enormously by miraculous power. Your presence has a profound effect on mortals, and some effect on Nobles. Strongly protected against Nobles’ power. Five anchors.
- 5: Inferno: A terrible power is leashed inside your heart. You may wear (up to 6) anchors’ bodies as your own. Skill with ritual magic begins to match that of an Imperator, and only rarely can your use of miracles be traced back to you.
Miracles are supernatural “things you can (try to) do”. Each miracle your character attempts will be associated with a particular Attribute, and the more dots you have in that Attribute, the easier the miracle will be.
A character has a number of Miracle Points associated with each Attribute. These are expended when you perform the more difficult Miracles. You have Permanent and Temporary dots in each. (Much like the White Wolf games, Permanent dots are your maximum, Temporary dots your current level.)
You have five (permanent and temporary) Miracle Points in each Attribute to start with. You can buy more at a cost of 1 CP per dot.
Gifts are specific skills and abilities that you can buy at character creation. Rather than being adaptable like Miracles, their effect is completely fixed. However, you will always be able to do them for free. They are up to you to design: they can represent anything from traditional wizardly spells to integral parts of your character.
Their cost varies wildly according to how powerful a Gift you create. A gift will always cost at least 1 CP. Each Gift has a number of modifiers to it which will increase its cost. In general, the more powerful an action the gift represents, the more things it can effect, and so on, the more expensive it will be.
Each gift has the following attributes:
- Attribute: Each gift is associated with one of the four Attributes. Pick the most appropriate for whatever ability you have in mind.
- Miracle Type: Miracles come in various flavours and two strengths. The cost in CP to create a gift based is a factor of both. For guidance on whether the Gift you have in mind is based on a Lesser or Major Miracle, see the examples later. The types (and costs) are:
- Lesser Divination (2)
- Lesser Preservation (3)
- Lesser Creation (4)
- Lesser Destruction (5)
- Lesser Change (6)
- Major Divination (5)
- Major Preservation (6)
- Major Creation (7)
- Major Destruction (8)
- Major Change (9)
- Penetration: This represents how powerful the Miracle is against those that have the power to resist it, such as Nobles, Anchors and Imperators. Penetration is tested against the target’s Spirit. Possible values are between 0 and 7, and these add between 0 and 7 to the CP cost of the gift.
- Invocation: How the Gift is activated. One option is Automatic, at a cost of 1 CP. You can reduce the CP cost of the gift by requiring a Miracle check to activate the gift (i.e. it could fail). Miracle checks cost negative CP to add, i.e. they will give you CP back to spend on other parts of the Gift. Options are based on how hard a Miracle check you have to pass to activate the Gift: Simple (-1 CP), Normal (-2 CP) or Hard (-3 CP).
- Area: The gift’s area of effect. Possible values are: Anywhere / Global (1 CP), Local (-1 CP), One Person (-2 CP) or only yourself (-3 CP).
- Flexibility: Saying that gifts are completely inflexible miracles is somewhat untrue. In fact, you can choose how flexible they are: Full (all imaginable uses are possible) (1 CP), Comprehensive (a wide variety of situations) (-1 CP), Limited (-2 CP), or One Trick only (-3 CP).
- Common: Is the Gift common in the setting? (Ask the GM if you’re not sure.) Common gifts do not cost any extra, rare ones cost one extra CP.
- Domains: Most Gifts affect only one Estate. To affect an entire family of Estates, the cost of the entire Gift is doubled. To affect everything, i.e. not tied to an Estate, the cost of the entire Gift is instead tripled. (To affect everything in a specific Chancel is a gift of the Estate attribute, and need only be purchased at 1x cost.)
Here are some example Gifts, and how they’re calculated. There are many more starting on page 115 of the Great White Book, and of course you can invent your own.
Durant (Difficult to injure)
Aspect, Lesser Preservation of Self (3), Automatic Invocation (1), Self Only (-3), Limited Utility (-2), Common.
Cost: 1 CP.
Aspect, Major Preservation of Self (6), Automatic Invocation (1), Self Only (-3), Full Flexibility (1), Rare (1).
Cost: 6 CP.
Elemental (You may transform your body into a construct of your Estate)
Domain, Lesser Change of Form (6), Simple Invocation (-1), Self Only (-3), Limited Utility (-2), Rare (1).
Cost: 1 CP.
Devoted Populace (The denizens of your Chancel love you)
Realm, Major Creation of Love (7), Hard Invocation (-3), Global Range (1), One Trick (-3), Rare (1).
Cost: 3 CP.
Good Luck (Spend only 1 Spirit Miracle Point to guarantee something significant will go right)
Spirit, Major Creation of Fortune (7), Normal Invocation (-2), Global Range (1), Limited Utility (-2), Common.
Cost: 4 CP.
(You could add Penetration to this to ensure your good luck even against other Nobles.)
Do not feel pushed into creating expensive Gifts at the expense of your base Attributes – remember that Attributes are required for successful use of Miracles, and a Gift is only a very specific kind of Miracle. Character Points are awarded as EXP, so you’ll have chance to buy more Gifts later.
Handicaps are character flaws that will give your character extra Miracle Points at various points. The amount of MPs for any Handicap should be agreed with the GM during character generation. They come in four flavours:
- Limits: Handicaps that remove some of the utility of the powers your character has. You will receive extra miracle points at the start of a session. Examples include ‘Disabled’ (Aspect limit) or ‘Hated’ (Realm limit).
- One special, and complex, Limit is called Focus. This represents a physical item that holds some of your character’s power. You may put some of your 25 Character Points into attributes and gifts that belong to your Focus rather than to yourself. While you posess the focus, those attributes add to yours and those gifts become yours to use. But if separated from your Focus, you lose them. In recompense for this risk, at the start of each session, you gain 1 extra Miracle Point for each 3 CP you have invested into your item (rounded down).
- Restrictions: Miscellaneous smaller limitations, such as inability to cross running water or step into a pentagram. Temporary Miracle Points are gained whenever this causes a problem for your character.
- Virtues: Aspects of your being that both empower and limit you. Temporary Miracle Points are gained whenever a virtue ‘forces’ the character into doing something that the player knows is not objectively a good idea. This is generally a lesser number of MPs than with Restrictions. Examples include ‘Cruel’ and ‘Reckless’.
- Affiliation: This is the Code you selected at the beginning. Every time you go to great lengths to serve it, you will regain temporary Miracle Points.
In all cases, the player may distribute the gained Miracle Points amongst their four pools.
You have 20 Bond Points to allocate to any number of things that your character holds dear, be they other Nobles of the group, their Imperator, Estates, Chancel, human friends and family, items, or even hobbies. This helps to flesh out your character, and though they have no mechanical effect, they allow the GM to tailor plot to your character.
Anchors are particular humans whom you have bonded with using the Servant’s Rite. You may see through their eyes and even control them, and you may transfer your Gifts to them and work miracles through them. They are a great responsibility which is not to be entered into lightly.
At the start of “Where Only Lilies Grow”, you are recently Ennobled and have not yet made any mortals into Anchors.
Take your character’s Aspect, and add 4. Divide these evenly among the Deadly, Serious and Surface wound categories. If you have one left over, add it to Surface. If you have two left over, add one to Surface and one to Serious.
…And that’s it for your characters! Tune in next time for Imperator and Chancel creation!
Here’s a fairly balanced example character. She doesn’t have any gifts – this is fine, you can always buy them later. The numbers in brackets show how many Character Points were spent on each area.
Elsa Langridge, the Power of Machinery
Affiliation: Code of the Light
|4||Fascination with heavy machinery|
2 Surface, 2 Serious, 2 Deadly