Maybe you’ve heard of them. Maybe you haven’t. It doesn’t matter, because either way this book will give you everything you need to know.

If you’ve found this site then you’ve probably heard the stories of the Nobilis. You probably know that they’re supposed to be living among us, or, at least, beside us, in the corners of your vision or down some short cut’s twisty path — a little bit real and a little bit legend, anyhow, walking the secret ways between the mundane and mythic worlds. They’re a god-haunted folk, supposedly, heroes and villains unto us, creatures standing between us and the great forces of being and unbeing, humans raised up and given power beyond the dreams of vanity and forbidden only love.

“When I feel myself tempted to love,” Idri-mi said, “I scrape a tiny piece off of
my heart—the part that loves—and leave it here.”

There was a pile of red scraps at the end of the catwalk. I eyed it with new respect.

“No,” she said, and gestured with her head. I looked over the catwalk’s edge.

The pit was as deep as the world, and it was full of wind; and the wind was full of red.

—from the Thought-Record of Ellen McIntosh

Nobilis: the Essentials (Volume 1: Field Guide to the Powers) will serve as your guide to the Nobilis and other magical creatures that live among and beside us, as well as including a complete and full-featured role-playing game” that allows you and your friends to take on the role of Nobilis. Each of your characters — a “Noble” or “Power,” one of the Nobilis — will command and embody a sacred Estate, a fundamental principle of the world such as Fire, Storms, Hope, Dreams, Cars, Cities, Pain, or Love.

HIDDEN TRUTHS

Dharma Worms

These transparent green inchworm-spirits assign people their dharma — the way they should be in life, the path that is harmonious with them, the “destiny” that is given them.

They crawl over you sometime in your youth to provide the initial dharmic determination and return occasionally throughout your childhood to touch the matter up.

Inchworms don’t really care whether they’re assigning people power, potentialities, attractions, or inevitable outcomes, so it’s not always clear what exactly a person’s dharma is; what is clear is that it somehow defines what works for a person and works a kind of goingness of direction into the fabric of their self. When an Imperator makes you a Power, your old dharma becomes obsolete. You can attract dharma-worms with a mixture of honey and crushed flowers left out on a porcelain plate, but unless you’ve lost your dharma and failed to replace it with anything else all they can really do is crawl on you, polish any bits of your dharma that may have faded, and measure roughly how many dharma-inches you have remaining.

 

MYTHIC REALITY

This is the reality behind the dream that is our world. In an endless emptiness there is a single cup of fire. The flames of it are blue.

There is no scale to it.

There can be no scale to it. There are no referents. The texture of the void is impermeable to the idea of measurement. The stars are unreachable and incomparable above.

It is larger than the universe and it is smaller than a pebble in your shoe.

And in that cup, a tree. And from its branches — dangling like fruit — are worlds.

A GAME OF POWERS

The Nobilis RPG uses a diceless system built around resource allocation and semantics.

You’ll have access to a collection of loosely-specified abilities that range in power from the mundane to the world-shattering. Most of these abilities are defined in reference to your Estate — e.g., Fire, Storms, Transformation, Consensus, Cats, Fleece, or whatever else it is of which you are a god; the better you are at forming and expressing ideas about that Estate, the more potent your abilities become.

You’ll also use a limited supply of “Miracle Points” to push past your ordinary limits and perform atypically incredible feats.

The new Nobilis includes a lifepath rules for developing new concepts and characters, as well as a brand-new Destiny system for advancing your character, changing the world, and winning even an Excrucian or Imperator’s heart.

The Diceless systems of Nobilis handles:

  • lifepath rules for developing new concepts and characters;
  • Diceless systems for —
    • mastering the power of body and mind;
    • wielding and controlling the substance of your Estate;
    • becoming one with that principle; and
    • seizing the treasures, principalities, and armies that the Nobilis have at their command;
  • an updated version of the Nobilis “Gifts” system for creating customized and unique abilities;
  • a new system for defining the rules and laws governing your nature and your Estate; and
  • a brand-new Destiny system for advancing your character, changing the world, and winning even an Excrucian or Imperator’s heart.

 

This is the reality behind the dream that is our world. In an endless emptiness there is a single cup of fire. The flames of it are blue.

There is no scale to it.

There can be no scale to it. There are no referents. The texture of the void is impermeable to the idea of measurement. The stars are unreachable and incomparable above.

It is larger than the universe and it is smaller than a pebble in your shoe.

And in that cup, a tree. And from its branches — dangling like fruit — are worlds.

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