Katawa Nobilis

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Grand Haberdasher
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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Grand Haberdasher » Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:16 am

So, if I'm reading this right, Lily can make pretty much anyone she wants into an Anchor, as long as something happens to them that triggers her motherly shtick. It also occurs to me that Possession and Guidance sound like easy ways to try out that "sight" thing people are always going on about.
If learning about marine animal mating habits while browsing cripple porn is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Kenji's harem: Yuuko, Akira, Hideaki, Miki, and Takeshi

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Silentcook » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:25 am

DMGnome wrote:Out of respect for... the sanctity of these boards,
Oh, you. :|
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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Petermeter » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:17 am

I am not entirely sure if I get this right, but it the whole game concept sounds like it's gonna get boring after a while (though I am really in no position to talk as I haven't played it). Being a god and thus just plain better than most other entities somehow defeats the purpose of roleplaying for me. Which is why I never played into epic levels in Dungeons&Dragons, the game just becomes ridiculous there (I am not saying and will not say that Dungeons&Dragons is in any way more realistic than Nobilis ;) ). This is just my opinion on this, I never liked games as Black&White either, so please do not let me drag your opinion on any of this down.
However I see this does not change that you did some pretty good Character Building here, the Attributes do fit the Character an though I didn't quite get the bond/affliction thing, it seems pretty accurate. Looks like you're having fun doing it :)
Ranking after act 1:
Hanako > Rin >> Lilly > Shizune > Emi
I played the routes in that order, every ending and all.
Ranking after full playthrough:
Lilly > Emi >> Rin ~ Hanako > Shizune

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Minister of Gloom » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:10 pm

Petermeter wrote:I am not entirely sure if I get this right, but it the whole game concept sounds like it's gonna get boring after a while (though I am really in no position to talk as I haven't played it). Being a god and thus just plain better than most other entities somehow defeats the purpose of roleplaying for me. Which is why I never played into epic levels in Dungeons&Dragons, the game just becomes ridiculous there (I am not saying and will not say that Dungeons&Dragons is in any way more realistic than Nobilis ;) ). This is just my opinion on this, I never liked games as Black&White either, so please do not let me drag your opinion on any of this down.
However I see this does not change that you did some pretty good Character Building here, the Attributes do fit the Character an though I didn't quite get the bond/affliction thing, it seems pretty accurate. Looks like you're having fun doing it :)
Well, ever played Exalted or Scion or one of those other "Epic" games? Having incredibly powerful characters just means you need them to face incredibly dangerous challenges and it all balances out. You are a level one D&D character, a fight with a gang of bandits is interesting. You are a level 20 character, a fight with a dragon (or a veritable army of bandits) is just as interesting.
It's a matter of perspective.
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Petermeter » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:30 pm

Minister of Gloom wrote: Well, ever played Exalted or Scion or one of those other "Epic" games? Having incredibly powerful characters just means you need them to face incredibly dangerous challenges and it all balances out. You are a level one D&D character, a fight with a gang of bandits is interesting. You are a level 20 character, a fight with a dragon (or a veritable army of bandits) is just as interesting.
It's a matter of perspective.
I definitely see your point there, but thats exactly where my problem with that kind of roleplay lies. The characters in such games tend to be way (like WAY) off any "realistic" chart based on the average inhabitant of the worlds. Speaking of D&D, which is the only RPG I extensively play ( well, for pen&paper, at least), the change to a Character being in no way comparable to the world takes place when you get access to the epic items - for me that is. Imho the game gets ruined by that, the Characters usually turn into Munchkins, and the DM has a hell of a job trying to balance monsters that actually are a challenge.
I do not reject the idea that people with a good storyteller, however he is named in the game, can and do have fun at playing godlike creatures, I just know that I don't. (I must add that I only played one epic-character setting so far, which was in Dungeons&Dragons, and the DM just coulnd't give us any challenges as the characters got pretty overkill pretty fast, since characters over level 20 just don't really improve by level but rather by items. Which meant he coulnd't really strip us of the items, either, because then we would have been just 'regular' level 20 chars).
Ranking after act 1:
Hanako > Rin >> Lilly > Shizune > Emi
I played the routes in that order, every ending and all.
Ranking after full playthrough:
Lilly > Emi >> Rin ~ Hanako > Shizune

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by DMGnome » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:10 pm

There are a few things that make Nobilis different from most other RPGs.

Firstly, it's diceless. Conflict isn't about luck or chance, it's about resource management: "What do I want, and how far will I go to get it?"

Secondly, your character can warp reality. So can the other characters in your Familia--the other Nobles your Imperator's made. Your friends can warp reality. So can your enemies. So can your cat.

Okay, maybe not the cat, but most of your serious antagonists will have just as much power as you do. It's a very high-powered game. From the start, your character can conquer nations as long as they're not being opposed.

But breaking down into all-out brawls in the middle of a stately dinner isn't a smart thing to do. Noble society consists of people with godlike powers, but it's still a society. Think of it like old-timey aristocracy. The Duke might dislike the Baron, but he doesn't punch him in the face in the middle of dinner. The Baron might raise a militia, attack the Duke, burn down his keep, salt his fields, and kick his puppy on the way out, but that's not going to happen most of the time. A duel--formalized, restrained, socially acceptable--is about the most directly violent conflict you get.

Nobles are hard to kill. Even the weakest Noble can take a nuke to the face, and it'll hurt like a mother and she'll have to concentrate to make sure she doesn't dissolve into white-hot nuclear fire, but she'll get better eventually, and she'll be really pissed off besides. The best way to hurt a Noble is to hurt the things he or she cares about.

So Nobilis is a game of weird contradictions. On the one hand, your character can reshape the world by winking. On the other hand, it's often more efficient to reshape the world by convincing your next-door neighbor that yes, you do have a cat.

A great example of this is in the 2nd edition example of play. The characters end up fighting Excrucian agents in helicopters, thousands of feet above the open ocean. But their real problem is that someone's trying to undermine Treachery, so they end up in a dingy apartment building, trying to figure out the story behind some random woman's death.

Sometimes you'll be wielding miracles and unleashing wonders. Other times you'll be combing local pet stores for a certain type of exotic bird. Miraculous significance can be attached to even the smallest things, so even the smallest things can be important--and hopefully, interesting.
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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Petermeter » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:29 pm

Okay, I guess it's quite some more interesting than I would have guessed. ofc I thought that the other characters would have similar powers, but being literally immortal would defeat the purpose of Diablo (did I say Diablo, I meant D&D). As I see it, this is much rather a real "role" based view on the character play which surely makes the stories a whole lot more interesting, but at this just as well a bunch more complicated to manage. Kudos to people who are able to pull that off.
I do believe I know some outlines of RPGs that are by far more roleplay-based that D&D is; thus I came to think that Nobilis does have a big part in that area, too. Now I kinda get the reason why people would play it ( for my part, I love the extensive fighting, people even tend to call it hack'n'slay :P ).
DMGnome wrote: Firstly, it's diceless. Conflict isn't about luck or chance, it's about resource management.

So Nobilis is a game of weird contradictions. On the one hand, your character can reshape the world by winking. On the other hand, it's often more efficient to reshape the world by convincing your next-door neighbor that yes, you do have a cat.
I guess that saying that you do roleplays a lot more serious than I ever did isn't overstating the truth. And you might want to forgive me about having ignored the fact that you don't play around with dice to see if something works. Anyway, as stated earlier, nice character outlay you did there.
Ranking after act 1:
Hanako > Rin >> Lilly > Shizune > Emi
I played the routes in that order, every ending and all.
Ranking after full playthrough:
Lilly > Emi >> Rin ~ Hanako > Shizune

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by DMGnome » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:29 pm

Before I do Kenji, here's some explanation of Bonds and Afflictions. Also Estate Properties, since they're sort of related.

Bonds and Afflictions are generally written as English language sentences describing something you must do, something you can't do, or something you are driven to do. Even if they're not written quite that way, they should be possible to conceptualize that way. For example, Shizune's Bonds could be written as "I can't hear," "I can't speak," and "I am driven by my relationship with Misha."
Whether something is a Bond or and Affliction depends on what that trait means to the character, and how the player wants to deal with it. There's a metaphysical distinction between the two. Both Bonds and Afflictions are ways to express a truth about your character and the world. Afflictions are the universe saying to you "This is true, and you cannot change it." Bonds are you saying to the universe "This is true, because I say it's true, and as long as there's life in my body I will make it true."
In metagame terms, Bonds are invoked by the player, while Afflictions are invoked by the HG.
Bonds have three benefits. Firstly, if one of your mundane actions is being opposed, you can invoke an appropriate Bond and add that Bond's rating to your action. Secondly, you may invoke a Bond to improve a miraculous action, which adds that Bond's rating in Strike to your action. When using Bonds to improve actions, only the highest-rated Bond applies. Thirdly, when a Bond makes your life harder, you get a number of MP up to the Bond's rating.
Bonds are controlled by the player, which is why most of the girls' disabilities are Bonds rather than disabilities. You get MP when a Bond makes your life harder, but you decide when the Bond does that. Shizune has Bond: Deaf, so she can't hear. Most of the time, though, her Bond doesn't make trouble for her. She has Misha there to translate for her, or she can write on a scrap of paper, or she can gesture at the sky in a way that still lets her communicate effectively. If you're particularly egregious with your violations, though, the HG can poke you and remind you that you can't do that, unless you come up with a really good explanation.
Afflictions also have three benefits. Firstly, Afflictions automatically invoke actions to protect themselves. If you have Affliction: I can't age or die, then it'll automatically use Preservations to stop you from aging or dying. The default miracle is 1+the Affliction's rating, but the HG can fiddle with this as appropriate. Secondly, Afflictions have an Auctoritas rated at the Affliction's level, which protects them from opposing miracles. In order to make an Affliction not work, you need Strike equal to or greater than the Auctoritas level. Thirdly, when an Affliction makes trouble for you, you get MP up to the Affliction's rating.
Afflictions are controlled by the HG, and they've got a similar ability to fudge things. For example, you have Affliction: If I see a clown, I must punch it in the face. Under normal circumstances, you'll punch every clown you see. If you end up fighting an Excrucian in the middle of a clown college, the HG might not punch every clown there. If you get annoyed by the paucity of punched clowns, you can point it out.
Estate Properties are sort of similar to Bonds and Afflictions, in that they're things your Estate must do, can't do, or is driven to do. You can use Persona miracles to apply your Estate's properties to other things; Emulations apply your Estate's properties to yourself as Afflictions (generally rated equal to the miracle level used). When you do something cool to honor or promote a part of your Estate, you can gain MPs up to that Property's rating.
Enemies, especially Excrucians, can use your Bonds, Afflictions, and Estate Properties against you. Bonds are easiest to pervert. By either breaking one of your Bonds or placing you in a situation where you have to break your Bond yourself, enemies can hurt you. This inflicts Wounds, the severity of which varies depending on how strong your Bond is. If an enemy hurts something you care about, that also counts as breaking a Bond.
Afflictions break much more rarely. If a situation arises in which your Affliction becomes paradoxical, contradictory, or completely impossible, you can either try to explain some way in which the Affliction doesn't apply, or you can take a wound, as with Bonds.
Estate Properties are most often abused by Excrucians, but occasionally a rival Noble or Imperator might abuse them. By taking advantage of Properties, making them paradoxical, making them impossible, or otherwise hurting your Estate through its Properties, your enemies can hurt your Estate and thus you.
In all three situations, you gain MPs, since your Bonds/Afflictions/Estate Properties are causing you trouble.
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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by DMGnome » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:00 pm

The forces of Creation present a unified front to the Excrucians. Well, they try to.
The Imperators are a fractious bunch, usually. But for something as important as the defense of Creation, they try to remain unified. To this end, the forces of Creation obey the Council of Four.
The Council of Four consists of four Imperators: Ha-Qadosch Berakha, Surolam, Ananda, and Lord Entropy.
Ha-Qadosch Berakha views the world as his playground. He votes only to increase his personal power. It’s fairly easy to bribe him, if you really need his vote on the Council, but he’s only one voice of four.
Surolam is the dog-headed God of Ordinary Things. She is the Imperator of Willpower, Law, and the Broken-Hearted. She is kind, for the most part. If the truth is too much for you, you may go to one of her temples. Her Locust Court will take away the painful memories. With her help, you can pretend that the world is as dull and safe as everybody else says it is. Life’s easier that way. Surolam always keeps precedent in mind while she votes. She will not overturn precedent lightly; she always considers what today’s decision will mean for the next several millennia.
Ananda is beautiful. He’s not Beauty (that’d probably be one of the Angels), but he is impossibly beautiful. Those who see him die happy, knowing that while the world is sometimes a terrible place, it's all worth it in the end. They also die mad, screaming, and clawing at their bloody eye sockets. Ananda is the Imperator of Murder, the Infinite, and the Fourth Age—the Age to come, after the Excrucians are turned back. Ananda is a pretty nice guy, really, but he never votes against Lord Entropy. Occasionally, he will voice extreme disagreement by abstaining from a Council vote. Ananda claims that if he ever opposes Lord Entropy, it will cause some sort of terrible disaster. Lord Entropy doesn’t speak on the matter.
Lord Entropy is evil. He is the Imperator of Destruction, Desecration, and Scorn. His hands always drip with blood, no matter what disguise he wears. Whatever he touches eventually becomes corrupt. He is as close to an absolute evil as you can get, in a world where even Creation’s destroyers claim to love us. And he is prophesied to save Creation, in the end. If he doesn’t betray it, that is.
And now, Kenji!
Kenji Setou
A Rather Unusual Mortal

Attributes
Treasure 0 (0 MP)

Skills/Passions
Skill: Investigate conspiracies 3 (“Magic” Skill)
Skill: Protect myself from the dangers of the world 1
Skill: Resourceful 2
Skill: Manliness 2
Skill: Normal social interaction -1
Passion: I have to spread knowledge of the truth! -1

Bonds/Afflictions

Bond: Almost blind (1)
Bond: They’re out to get me. (2)
Bond: I can see the truth behind the world. (3)
Afflictions: Kind of a nutjob. (2)

Health Levels
1 Tough
1 Normal

Mortal actions!
Level 0: Do something, but it makes your life worse.
Level 1: Do something, and it makes you happy.
Level 2: Do something, and it accomplishes a task. It has a tangible impact on the world.
Level 3: Do something, and it’s correct. It impresses the people around you.
Level 4: Do something, and it’s effective. It moves you closer to your goals.
Level 5: Do something, and it’s productive. It makes your life better.
Level 6: Do something, and it’s really impressive.
Level 7: Do something, and it’s really effective.
Level 8: Do something, and it’s really productive.
Level 9: Do something, and it is the right thing to do.

Mortals have a pool of 8 Will, which they spend in chunks of 0, 1, 2, 4, or 8. Spending 4 or 8 at a time is hard; the HG may inflict a Surface Wound if a particular mortal does it too often. When you do a level X action, you may also include the effects of lower levels.
Nobles have Will and can use the Mortal Actions rules. Measuring Will is less important for Nobles than it is for mortals, though: an Aspect 0 miracle bypasses the Will system entirely.
Mortals occasionally have Bonds, which recover Will for them instead of MP. If a Noble’s Bond is only slightly troublesome, the HG may reward that Noble with points of Will rather than MP.
A rare few Mortals have a Treasure Attribute. This can be used to represent alchemists, mad scientists, or Batman. Since most mortals have little natural access to MPs, they can use Bonds to recover MP in the same way Nobles do. Mortals can also use Afflictions, which never grant Will, to gain MP to use Anchors.
Mortal Actions aren’t quite as simple as “Spend Will, improve life.” There’s a process to it:
Spending Will creates an Intention, which works sort of like a temporary Skill or Passion. If Kenji uses Skill: Resourceful and spends 4 Will, he can get Intention: Build a fortress of solitude 6. People will be impressed by his fort-building skill. They might find it disturbing, but it’ll stick with them. That fort is the quintessence of homemade fort-ness.
Characters can only sustain two mundane actions at a time. Kenji can have Intention: Build fort and Intention: Drink whiskey. If he wants to start ranting about the feminist agenda, he’s going to have to put down that whiskey for a bit.
When a character declares that an Intention has either succeeded or failed, they can drop the Intention and regain one point of Will. This isn’t really a measure of objective success or failure; it’s the character’s opinion of what they’ve accomplished.
There are a few things that can help or hinder you when using the mortal actions system.
Another character can use Shine allowing you to use their rating as a Skill. For example, Lilly can use her Shine to inspire her classmates. When Class 3-2 does what she tells them to, they default to being impressive.
If you have a useful tool, that can give you a bonus to the Skill or Passion you’re using. A stage with good acoustics gives you a +1 to +2 bonus to your Skill: Singing. The maximum Tool bonus is +5, but that’s for things like magic harps and superscience cyborg singing implants.
If you’re doing something crazy, you might face an Obstacle, which subtracts from your Skill rating. Singing in the middle of a thunderstorm might give you a -1 or -2 (“People can’t hear you.”), while trying to sing at the right frequency to destroy a bridge is probably a -4 o -5 (“People can’t actually do that.”)
If you’re in a competition, either you or your opponent might get an Edge. Having a better costume than your enemy is probably worth 1 or 2 points of Edge if you’re in a talent competition, and worth nothing if you’re doing competitive mountain climbing. Edge works as an Obstacle for your opponent.
Interfering with someone Cool gives them automatic Edge equal to their Cool rating. If you’re playing Risk against Shizune, she’s got an automatic 4 Edge.
Some characters have Skills that aren’t normal. It’s perfectly acceptable to have an otherwise normal mortal with Skill: Sorcery or the like. Skills like this allow the character to downgrade certain tasks from “outright impossible” to “difficult”, represented by an obstacle, usually about level 3. However, “magic” skills almost always face an obstacle. Your Skill: Hollywood-style hacking might let you hack into the Pentagon, but you’re going to have a hell of a time doing normal programmer stuff.
Last edited by DMGnome on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Minister of Gloom
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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Minister of Gloom » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:15 pm

Ha-Qadosch Berakha views the world as his playground. He votes only to increase his personal power. It’s fairly to bribe him, if you really need his vote on the Council, but he’s only one voice of four.
I know it's really off topic right now, but I couldn't help but comment that "Ha-Qadosch Berakha" is not grammatically correct, assuming they are trying to do what I think they are trying to. In Judaism, God is often referred to as "Ha-Qadosch Barukh Hu" (הקדוש ברוך-הוא), which means "The Holy One, Blessed is He".
"Ha-Qadosch Berakha" would mean "The Holy One is a Blessing", which I guess could be perfectly right if that's what I they meant.
Hmm.

I'd say more about Surolam, but unfortunately I don't know how the word is pronounced. There are just to many ways to pronounce the letters "S", "U" and "A" in this case. Depending on how you do it, you get a completely different Hebrew word. You could get שר עולם, which means "Lord of The World" and/or "Eternal Lord" (such is the complexity and such is the beauty of ancient Hebrew). But I guess it could also be סור עולם, which would be an order: "Begone, world". I doubt that this is the case.
Or it could be צור עולם, which would be "Flint/Rock of the World" or "Eternal Rock/Flint". God is often referred to as a rock in ancient songs, so there you have it.

Also, a little more on topic now: I really, really love what they did there with the rules for mortals. There is something very tragic, but also very awesome and beautiful about the Will system.
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Grand Haberdasher » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:38 pm

Minister of Gloom wrote:But I guess it could also be סור עולם, which would be an order: "Begone, world".
And this is the one who can take away the knowledge of the true beauty and horror of the world. It's probably a coincidence, but it's a cool one.
If learning about marine animal mating habits while browsing cripple porn is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Kenji's harem: Yuuko, Akira, Hideaki, Miki, and Takeshi

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by DMGnome » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:56 am

I suspect it's a retroactively applicable back-translation. Surolam wasn't really defined until this edition; each new edition has explained an additional character on the Council of Four. (5th edition will be interesting.)
Fans destroy things by loving them too much. This is one of the fundamental laws of the universe.

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by Minister of Gloom » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:21 pm

Sounds like an interesting tactic. Can you explain a bit more clearly?
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by DMGnome » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:49 pm

It's somewhere in between a design decision and a running gag. 1st edition only described Lord Entropy in detail, 2nd edition described both Ananda and Lord Entropy but didn't give any info on Ha-Qadosch Berakha and Surolam besides "Ha-Qadosch Berakha is self-interested" and "Surolam cares mostly about precedent."
One of the biggest ripple-effect changes in 3rd edition is that the Locust Court is now part of Surolam's domain. It's a place of peace and forgetting, inhabited mostly by insects, since those are the only living creatures who can go there without forgetting about it. In past editions it was ruled by a Darklord named Medan and filled with carnivorous locusts. There's a footnote from the author explaining that an evocative name led her on an entirely spurious description, and apologizing for the mistake. Lord Entropy still uses the Locust Court for trials, but it's now mostly legitimate courtroom drama rather than furious bribe-hunts.
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Re: Katawa Nobilis

Post by DMGnome » Tue May 03, 2011 11:52 pm

The Wound System
Nobles have: 
2 Normal Health levels
1 Tough Health level
2 Divine Health levels
Mortals generally have one Normal Health level. Professional fighters and such might have two. Grizzled veterans might even have one Normal level and one Tough level. Kenji's just that hardcore.

The name "Wound" is something of a misnomer; the Nobilis Wounds system doesn't just cover things like "Oh no! I've been shot!" The Wounds system comes into play whenever you would be subject to an undesirable effect. Being shot is a Wound; so is growing cat ears or being filled with a desperate longing for pie.
Surface Wounds occupy Normal Health levels. If you've already got two Surface Wounds, you're temporarily immune to more of them. Surface Wounds manifest as temporary Bonds, like Bond: Stab wound or Bond: Green hair. Undefended Powers receive Surface wounds from mundane attacks that would hurt a human, like a stab wound or an animal attack, or from miracles up to Level 1. Durant Powers take Surface wounds in situations that would maim normal humans: things like gunshots and monster claws, or level 2 or 3 miracles.
Serious Wounds cost you your Tough Health level. When you lose you Tough level, you automatically heal all your Normal levels. Serious Wounds act as one-point Afflictions for as long as you have them. Normal Powers take Serious Wounds in situations that would seriously injure humans, while Durant Powers take Serious Wounds when normal humans would probably be killed, things like semiautomatic weapons or level 4 or 5 miracles.
Deadly Wounds cost you one of you Divine Health levels, and act as 2 to 4 point Afflictions. When you lose all you Divine Health levels, you recover your Tough level. Normal Powers take Deadly wounds in probably-lethal situations, while Durant characters take Deadly Wounds in situations that would kill and mangle humans: heavy artillery, avalanches, or miracles upwards of level 6.
Elusive Powers are resistant to effects that change who they are, mentally or physically. They've got Durant-like resistance against such effects, so you need a level 6 or higher miracle to give Rin a Deadly Wound of "catgirl" or suchlike. 
If you lose all of your Health levels, you are stripped of PC status, at least temporarily. Your character may end up dead, or they might be turned into stone, or whatever. What precisely happens to them is up to the HG. You may have to create a new character, or you may be able to regain control of your old character after they've recovered from defeat.
Fans destroy things by loving them too much. This is one of the fundamental laws of the universe.

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