Tag: games (Page 2 of 7)

New Women in Gaming Blog

Looks like a new women in gaming blog went live this morning over at Gaming as Women.  I only recognize the names of two of the writers on the blog so I cannot recommend either way — your mileage may vary.  Has a twitter feed, a Google+ circle and an RSS feed.  

I popped it into my RSS feed reader this morning.  

Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game

While I’m not a big fan of the Leverage TV show, I am a fan of the Leverage RPG and the unfathomable malleability of the Cortex Plus system.  In the hands of a mad post-it note-er, the game is a fast, wild ride through the rampaging dark caverns of a gamer’s id.   Yeah, it’s a damn fine game.

I come to the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game thinking hard about ways to make it do things it shouldn’t.  When I introduce my list of nerddoms, my affinity for comic books lists ahead of video games or RPGs; comics predates any of those pithy things.  I have comics in my bookcase I bought when I was 10 years old (Ambush Bug vs. Superman!) so ragged and torn they hardly look like books and identifiable only by their iconic Hostess advertisements.  

I’m not primarily supers fan.  The last book I read was “Joe the Barbarian” by Grant Morrison a whole two days ago.  Vertigo is my go-to imprint 80% of the time.  But I do confess… when I reach for supers, I reach for Marvel.  X-Men first, mostly, then Avengers, then Spider Man, then everything else.   

In this framework, knowing Cortex Plus is putty in the hands of the overly imaginative, I read Marvel Heroic RPG and found it… more a comics roleplaying game than a pure Supers game.  I’ve played, much to my eternal sadness and stains upon my soul, certain Supers games and they… were Super games trying valiantly to keep the comics unbalance in powers, relations and cosmic silliness.  Marvel Heroic RPG waggles its hands at this problem and says hey, look, you can play all kinds of Marvel and to hell with worrying about if Kitty Pryde is on an equal level as Captain America in the comics.  Everyone on a level playing field!  We’re going to roll some dice and punch things!

I start thinking… could I use it to play Fables? Could one fight off incursions into Fabletown? How about more abstract? Could one do one’s own version of a new current fav of mine, the Unwritten and stat up dice for characters from literature? Or even more abstract — The Walking Dead? Here’s the thing — Cortex Plus is malleable and adaptable.  These rules for comics.  I think so.

What about the game?

The Cortex Plus system, as a stand alone system, is fast and simple.  Roll some dice, pull out the 1s as HORRIBLE DIRE CONSEQUENCES, add up the top two dice and pick a die as the “size” of the result and compare on a contest.  That’s about it.  One can do fun tricks to add dice to one’s pool to juice the result (including tossing in d4s to encourage horrible dire consequences).  The system is stunt driven — the more a player tosses in wackiness, the more dice they roll, the crazier the result.  

As a pure Marvel game, while I haven’t played yet and only read the examples, my gut tells me Marvel Heroic RPG works.  The new Cortex Plus mechanics of the Doom Pool took a few passes to get the gist of how consequences compound, and I worked through the stress tracks a few times, but I cannot find any obvious gotchas or breakdowns.  I’m struck how the game solves the worst problem plaguing Supers games, the “Superman and Batman” problem, by simply saying Hey, They Have Their Strengths, Let’s Play Them Up and Move On.  Game feels simple, lightweight, and fast.  All good things in my book — I get frowny at games heavy with their own importance.  

The meat of my post — a good things/bad things comparison.

Good Things:

– Cortex Plus is fun! 

– Operations Manual’s layout is sane.  It progresses from basics to Doom Pool to consequences, stress, resources, et al and ends with a helpful “how to play” chapter with a lengthy example.  Only after the book explains the game does the book meander off into how to run the game, how to write scenarios, example scenario, and goodies.

– Game is light, fast and cinematic.  Everything for a character is on a single sheet; no need to paw through stacks of source books to figure out how one stat or power works.

– I found the Cyclops and Emma Frost examples running through the book helpful, despite having no love for Cyclops.  The examples are in blue call out blocks directly after the demonstrated rule.  I did end up reading some examples several times. 

– Dude, one of the two example scenarios is Avengers vs. Dinosaurs.  While yeah, I know this comes from a Bendis run, it’s still Avengers vs. Dinosaurs.  With stat blocks for dinosaurs!  I admit: I didn’t read the Avengers punch mobs of Bad Guys scenario. I did read Avengers vs. Dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs are awesome.  

– Book is quite nice upon the eyes, for lo, it is a nice looking book.

– On finishing reading the book, I knew how to play (if not run).  Victory for the good guys!  A technical manual that conveys information to the reader!  A mark of a superior product!  How many RPGs have a I read and had no clue?  Answer: most of them.

Bad Things:

– The Doom Pool is a tad confusing.  Another example crammed into the book would have done me a world of good.  It’s my “oh god a new mechanic WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE” instincts kicking in a bit.

– This book will not please the diehard Supers gamers for so many reasons it will take another 1300 word post to fill.  (I’m not one, so all good.) 

– The mix of Marvel PCs is real off.  I understand the need to sell future supplements and give a broad taste of the Marvel ruleset but we’re left with a handful of Avengers, Cyclops and Wolverine with no Jean Grey, etc.  I chalk up the extensive Emma Frost to someone’s fanboyness of the Grant Morrison New X-Men run.  I felt like I bought a Magic starter set and now had an eclectic mix of half-made useful sets and combos.

– References to Characters Not Appearing In This Book in Rule Blocks and/or Art:  Mystique. Ghost Rider. Dazzler(!!). Professor X.  To name a few.   Game is clearly not a contained game but the core rules ala the nWoD core rules with expectations one will buy the add-on packs.  “If you like this you will LOVE the Civil War Expansion!”  This is unbelievably awkward but unavoidable with the architecture of the core book and planned expansions.  The core book has to have all the core “stuff” but needs to sell expansions.  It cannot be a compendium of the top 100 Marvel characters. So we end up with, say, half of Quicksilver’s stats in a random example.  Quicksilver isn’t that useful in the first place and half of him is pathetic.  This left me with the feeling of editorial sloppiness and some poor choices.

NO DOCTOR STRANGE.  -10 points.  As a huge Mighty God King fan, this is unforgivable.  My tiny fist, it shakes!  Seriously, the lack of a Dr. Strange is sad.  I would have dumped any of the example PCs for Dr. Strange.

– The MWP website for the game is tragic.  Yeah, okay, not a game thing, per se, but honestly: the website is tragic.

LOOK, A CONCLUSION!

May be a little skinny on meat and substance for some die hard Supers gamers to get going right off the bat and will become more interesting with later supplements but for $13 at Drive Thru RPG, I can think of no rational reason not to buy the game.  It’s ridiculously cheap so go buy it.  I like it and I feel it has some deep, untapped potential.  It’s a more accessible gateway into Cortex Plus than Leverage or Smallville.  

So yeah.  Excepting a few small quibble, it’s a great game. Good job, guys.

Nephilim – Secret Society: The Knights Templar

The Knights Templar are the guys with the Plan.  

They are the guys, to put a fine point on it, with the Grand Plan.  The Grand Plan has a large number of wiggly bits to it but in essence it looks like:

– Steal all the occult knowledge in the world;

– Kill all the Nephilim;

– ?????

– Profit!

In the Official Templar Publications and Documentation the Grand Plan is more formal on gold leaf with gold ink. When boiled down to its essence that’s what they’re about.  Come with us!  We kill Nephilim and we have a Grand Plan for the Magical Domination of the Earth!  Also, pie!  We have PIE.

In 1014BC, about the time when the great King of Kings were memories and the Pyramids slowly overtaken by the sands and Egypt herself was torn to shreds by another round of internal civil war and strife, twelve military commanders laid hands on the secrets of the Priests at Heliopolis and learned the truth of the Nephilim, Akhenaton and the 22 Major Arcana.  They conceived a plan to steal the Emerald Tablets which held the greatest of Nephilim secrets and learn them for themselves.  They were thwarted at the last moment and they, and their followers, disappeared into the sands to lurk and wait.  They become excellent lurkers. A thousand years later, the Templars felt they had an opening to unleash their Grand Plan with the Birth of the Fool but they were thwarted again by Nephilim in the guise of Romans in Judea.  Then again in the 12th Century they emerged, the Poor Knights of the Temple, to guard pilgrims to the Holy City and to search for the artifacts buried by the followers of the Fool at the Temple Mount. It stuck. 

Armed with the knowledge found in scrolls found under the remains of Solomon’s Temple, the Templars enacted their current version of their Grand Plan.  By the 13th century they spread through all of Europe as bankers and financiers for the Great and Mighty.  They owned the land.  They owned the world! And it would have worked too if it wasn’t for those meddling Nephilim who used their positions in the Church and the French Court to make the Templar Treasure Horde a tasty snack to desperate despots.  As being burned at the stake as a witch was the trend in the 13th century, the Templars partook.  They burned well.  Their forces dispersed with their occult knowledge and their money as far away from the French Court as they could go which, at the time, was Scotland.

The Templars reconvened underground and nursed their wounds and their hatred of the Nephilim.  This was well known territory: they had skulked underground for thousands of years, stalking Nephilim, and turning them into Elixers while slowly worming their way into power.  They could do it again.  So they did.  The Templars prepared to ride out another ten centuries until they could rise again. 

Never having given up banking, the modern Templars are the great brokers of occult services in the underground world.  Need someone capped?  They have assassins.  Need a spell cast using an Elixir?  They can get sorcerers and bottles of Ka-elements.  Have a Nephilim infestation and need an Orichulka sword?  They are the go-to guys to find that weapon.  The Templars long learned debts were worth more than hard cash (although cash is nothing to sniff at), and everyone owes the Templars with an extra 10% interest off the top.  They call in their debts when they need something done.  And one better do it, because someone else owes the Templars, too, and they’ll call in that favor to wipe you out for lack of payment, the bastards.  They sit like a giant, plump spider among all the other secret societies helping some and hindering others to work the levers of the Grand Plan.

The Head of the Templars is the Grand Master.  He rules the society with an iron fist.  Second to him are Eleven Bailiffs who rule eleven parts of the world.  Beneath the Bailiffs are the Commanderies, smaller units of geographical area ruled from secret Templar lairs.  Each Commandry is ruled by a White Coat and his Six Knight Companions.  Below the White Coat and his Six Companions are Knights, Squires and Pages.  A page is the lowest unit of Templar.

And one cannot have a paranoid secret society with Internal Affairs.  The IA wing of the Templars are called the Obediences.  The Obedience Heads are the Crosses.  What’s super fun is when the Obediences get into fights with their Commanderies and an entire Templar power node implodes.

The Templars keep two kinds of outside influences going: their Companions and their Farm.  Their Companions are groups and organizations who know of the Templar existence and work with them for monetary bribes or mild power gains.  They are not terribly well informed but they do give material help.  The Farm is a network if in the dark dupes who do the Templar’s dirty work without ever knowing the truth.  The Templars exercise the Farm liberally to keep from expending their own resources.

The modern Templar goals are simple: 1. Kill All Nephilim.  2. Enact Grand Plan.   Whenever Nephilim put their heads up and look around, Templars are there ready to lop their heads off with Orichulka swords.  All the plans, the plots, the conspiracies, they all ultimately come back… to the Templars.

CMS Updates and Adds

I added ~15 pages to the Nephilim FATE Conversion CMS on the site.  Most of these are cut and paste jobs although some are cut-and-paste-2-or-more-together jobs.  I’m pondering one of those fancy edit-right-in-the-page buttons for when I come through and clean things up.  All the links in the main index page and in the table of contents included on every page should be good.

What the system desperately needs is examples so duly noted I will need to add examples.  I also need to move major arcana and game seeds out of the blog stream and into the right place.  

WordPress isn’t really a great tool for this but it’s what I have.  Ultimately something like Drupal is better for a blog+CMS build out but I didn’t want to migrate all my crap into Drupal due to complete laziness.  I may be forced to over time.  

So!  If you ever want to publish a ton of gaming materials on your site for people to pick through and download AND you want to have a front page blog AND you’re cheap and wish to spend no money AND you are starting from scratch, Drupal is your best choice.

Bookhounds of Nephilim

This an example of a full Nephilim campaign.

Out on the edge of town a small band of strange people run an eclectic bookstore.  They show up to all the estate sales and pick over the booksellers searching for choice and rare books, the more occult-like the better.  One or two of them are auction hounds known for sniping sales.  And they are a bit creepy.

They’re Nephilim.  And they’re Bookhounds.  They have been Bookhounds for thousands of years.  Now they’re awake and they crave knowledge.

1930s London is soaked in the Occult

It is the time of the Emperor Arcanum.  Great powers grind together across Europe to slow inexorable destruction.  A country falls to the forces of the occult.  The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is on the wane and their secrets published for the world to see.  Aleister Crowley still lives — bloated, fat and drunk, but alive.  Would-be occultists lounge in coffee shops and exclusive clubs to swap politics and gossip.  Dark things stalk the alleyways of London and most of them inhabit human forms.

No one likes Occult books like Nephilim

Floating around among the detritus of the swiftly changing world of the 1930s is the hastily copied and poorly printed accumulated knowledge of the Occult Nephilim since the Dawn of Time, badly copied and handwritten and misprinted.  One man’s Kabbalah scratchings in the frontspiece of a book is another man’s Greater Summoning.  Occult tomes are like Pokemon to Nephilim — no matter how worthless one must catch them all.  The Nephilim collect books with purpose.  Those half-hearted confused rituals work for them, after all.   

And Sometimes the Books Come With Bonuses

That book full of Theosophy and Dream-Magick has, buried in it, the ritual summoning of a horror from beyond time and space, ripped from some plane unexplored by Nephilim-kind.  It’s a little unexpected but hey!  It’s a new Summoning!  We want to keep that one in case the Templars show up…

Everyone wants — and are dying for — occult books

In the meantime, something new and horrible grows.  The rise of the Thule Society in Germany in the 1930s is deep and fertile ground for Nephilim Adventures stationed in London.  The world’s first truly magickal human government is bent on world domination, and eliminating all Nephilim.  Not those who stand in their way — all Nephilim.

– The High Priestess Arcana will do anything to collect the now-scattered secret Occult knowledge before the now highly trained occult societies of humans do and they will kill to defend their libraries;

– The Emperor wishes to preserver his power from the rise of the Thule in Europe and expects those who dwell in his Domain to do his bidding and collect the Occult knowledge and shoot Nazis for him;

– The Tower scours the Auction halls and bookseller tables to pull forbidden knowledge from the hands of humans, knowledge leaked out by the rise of Occult Societies in Victorian London;

– The Magician wants to put magic into the hands of mankind to help them combat the rising tide of Occult Evil and sponsors more than a few post-Golden Dawn Occult Circles and is getting into all kinds of trouble;

– The Templars, via Secret Governmental Organizations, consider working — maybe, in an enemy of my enemy is my frenemy — with the Nephilim Arcanum JUST THIS ONCE to combat the rising horror of the Thule but they still will pull Occult books out of the grasping hands of Nephilim Bookhounds at estate sales;

– Meanwhile, the Thule Society may already have their hands on the Spear of Destiny and, worse, are establishing Occult bases from Berlin to Alexandria to Tibet and they are hunting Nephilim;

– The race is on for the Thule, the Nephilim, the Templars, and any opportunistic secret societies — ancient Nephilim-worshipping groups and Black Moon Selenim and horrible cults — to collect all the Occult tomes floating around on the streets of London and use the magic contained within to win the upcoming World War.  That 15th century grimoire is more than a book full of dark evils; it may be the key to winning the World.

Bookhounds of Nephilim is a heady stew of Occultists who can actually practice the occult, London, Nephilim Major Arcana jocking for position in the morning hours of WWII, Templars making backroom deals, Nazis, trips through the snows of Tibet, chases through the desert for ancient artifacts of power, guns, car chases, book auctions, and more Nazis.  And maybe the Ark of the Covenant.  Or Cthulhu.  It all starts with a couple of Nephilim, friends throughout their Incarnations through time, putting up shop in a bookstore.  Who would ever suspect eccentric book collectors in a book store in London?

Start with the Nazis and Occultism resource and work from there.  It’s a fertile ground for great stuff.  Also some high quality crazy.  Simply read through the Internet and assume every rumor about the Nazis and the Occult are true.  Now, stir.

You can get Bookhounds of London from Pelgrane Press. But I assume you already own a copy. Setting is “Extreme pulp.”  It’s not the right system but it’s full of the right flavor.

The 1930s Nephilim Bookhounds vs the Thule vs the Templars game is high on my list of games to run.  

The Nephilim Job

There you are, all popped out of your stasis, in your spiffy new body, in some city newer than your last incarnation, living out some insane science fiction dream.  One minute you were being skewered by Templars in the late 15th century and next thing you know, you’re standing on the streets of New York (or Atlanta or LA or San Francisco or Seattle…) Things are weird but it’s better than being held in suspended animation in your Babylonian sword.  Speaking of your stasis…

… where is it, exactly?

You didn’t think you were waking up in a new Simulacrum with it in your hand, did you?

Right off the bat, you have yourself a problem.  Or, more to the point, a set of problems.

1. Your Stasis is not sitting around in a convenient, low security location.

Babylonian swords don’t hang around waiting for Babylonians to come along and sword with them.  That sword is a precious cultural relic that goes for millions at auction.  It’s either sitting in a museum, in a private collection, or in an archeological dig.  And if you didn’t just wake in a Simulacrum in Iraq — which would have it’s own fascinating set of problems — it’s in a museum or a collection.  And you’ve got to find out which one it is, in the middle of an unfamiliar city, in an unfamiliar century, full of unfamiliar stuff.

You’re going to need some serious help.

2. You’ve got to get the crew together.

You cannot possibly be the only Nephilim in this God forsaken century and in this stinking, loud, insane city.  There must be other Nephilim wandering through the dark, strange, and Starbucky places, those places where the occult and the hobo codes meet.  And interesting enough, other Nephilim do wander the same occulty gatherings hoping to bump into other Nephilim.  Wouldn’t it be fortuitous if you happened to meet Nephilim you knew?   

Along the way, picking up some of the gossip about the various Arcana is helpful.  Who is fighting with whom?  And who has the Tower stabbed lately?  How have things changed since you last walked the Earth?  

But now you have a few… not so much friends as Nephilim with some plans in common (for now) so now it’s time to locate your Stasis.

3. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s being held by the damned Templars.

With the help of a crazed Chariot Angel with his head wired and plugged into the Internet while he does some strange ‘net-based Alchemy you hardly comprehend, you locate your stasis.  You didn’t think it was far away: it’s in a swank expensive location owned, as you find out after some serious research and casing of the joint, a prominent Templar.  A Templar who believes a Good Nephilim is a Dead Nephilim.  The kind of Templar who has guards and security systems and friends.

Good thing you and your friends uncover an upcoming gala/an antiques auction/a huge benefit at a local museum where lots of people will be around the stasis. You and your friends can maybe sneak in with a few well-applied spells and summonings and waltz out with the Babylonian Sword in hand and a few other occult and highly mystical trinkets.

4. Getting it has some operational issues.

Not only is the Stasis well guarded, a Babylonian Sword doesn’t slip into a convenient pocket.  Getting it out of the gala/benefit/giant well guarded fortress without riling up the Templar who owns it — and knows what it is — isn’t going to be easy.  It will take planning, and prepping spells, and intelligence.  And even then, something always goes wrong.  Because that’s what happens.  It goes wrong.  

Even if the crew gets out of the Heist with the Stasis in hand and only a minimum of complete mayhem and a smallish body count, it will leave a pissed off Templar in their wake.  A Templar who knows Nephilim are running around.  And he wants them dead… before they interfere with his plans.  Maybe for World Domination!  But maybe also just for pie.

Nephilim can be run as a full on Occult Heist game.  Stasis, Athanors, Focii, Secret Mystical Tomes, Freeing Homunculi, foiling ancient enemies… Nephilim, as an underground occult street species breaking reality for fun and profit, are natural thieves, hackers and grifters.  The world is full of stuff to steal, enemies to rob, and marks to screw.  Nephilim don’t turn to the temporal human authorities to follow through on their plans.  Instead they break into houses, run savage burns on marks, and sneak off into the night with the new magic book full of the secrets of the Higher Planes of Summoning in hand.  

A fantastic source for inspiration in running Heist games is the Leverage RPG.  Sure, this is a direct plug of a pretty good game.  Also, the chapter on running the game has a great flow for building Heists in general.  Nephilim are made for Heist games.  And for Nephilim, the Mark?  He’s probably some god damned Templar.

(I could add much more on this subject but this post is already getting long.)

Nephilim FATE – Now What?

After the lengthy buildup of system, the end chapters of the original Nephilim sourcebook doesn’t provide hints on what to do with the system.  It offers a hodge-podge of secret societies, a bunch of colorless Nephilim NPCs and an unconnected bestiary.  It’s a headscratcher.  A cool magic system and a neat incarnation system dripping with history and the book shows no way forward.  No wonder the game collapsed and the line was canceled; no one could play it because no one knew what to do with it.  The sourcebook glossed over little things like setting and examples.

I’m not a huge fan of the canned adventures at the end of sourcebooks but, somewhere along the way, and I’m not certain when or where, we figured out a game needs all the game bits to be a complete product.  It needs skill/combat resolution systems and character sheets and an example of what to do and where to go.  I don’t run canned adventures (although that may change soon) but I read them.  I like to know what the designers were thinking when they put the system together and use them as an example of how to apply the system. 

Now that I’m at the end of converting the core rules in the core Nephilim sourcebook + a big chunk of Chronicles of the Awakening + scraping some stuff out of Major Arcana, it’s time to do something cool.  So the next big chunk of posts will be everything I can think up, no matter how wacky or bizarre, of things to do with a pack of immortal, occult-obsessed, mystical beings who ride around in fleshy meatbags and chase some philosophical ideal they may never reach because they believe somewhere, out there, if they just are pretty enough, they will get delicious cake.  And such delicious cake it is!

Also, Templars.  

The ideas trotted out are just that — ideas.  And they may be exceptionally lame.  But I’ll try to show off what one can do with Nephilim if one thinks about it super duper hard.  If any of these are GOOD or USEFUL or should be EXPANDED, leave a comment and I’ll work them up past the original 500 words.

Meanwhile, I am slowly shoving webpages into my CMS.  It’s taking me forever, though, but I’m hoping that activity picks up soon.  

Nephilim FATE – Judgment and the World

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

Every Arcanum has a guiding Philosophy, a Core Aspect, a set of Enemies and Allies, Nephilim and Human, and a Stunt offered to members of the Arcana for membership hath its privileges.

Philosophy: “When the Gate finishes falling, all can go through it if they wish.”

Core Aspect:  The End is Nigh

Overview: The world of the KaIm ended with the fall of the Orichulka meteor.  That was the Beginning of the End.  Any day now, more meteorites will fall out of the sky.  The material world will choke the magic out of the universe.  The magical fields will deform and collapse.  If Agartha exists at all, we’ll reach it when our corpses twitch and we smell of decay.  Since the end is assured, why not fill the final days with a bit of fun?

Allies: The Star, the Hermit, the Wheel.

Enemies: The Emperor, Death.

Judgment’s Initiate Stunt (-1): Seru.  Prophecy.  Judgment sees glimpses of what is fated to come.  Judgment can use this Stunt to tag a single Aspect on to a Scene to reflect Judgment has seen something pessimistic and dire to come.  In play, the vision is considered involuntary.  

Philosophy: Those who reached Agartha.

Core Aspect:  The Agarthans.

Overview: No one knows.  Who knows what state a Nephilim transforms to when a Nephilim reaches Enlightenment?  Some claim those of the World walk among the unenlightened to help guide them to the Gate.  Others say they manifest as the Fool’s Messiahs.  Regardless, all agree Agarthan Nephilim have transcended the human flesh and now operate on a different layer of existence.

Allies: All Nephilim. No Humans.

Enemies: No Nephlim. All Humans.

The World has no Initiate Stunt.

Nephilim FATE – The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

Every Arcanum has a guiding Philosophy, a Core Aspect, a set of Enemies and Allies, Nephilim and Human, and a Stunt offered to members of the Arcana for membership hath its privileges.

Philosophy: “Humans are within the Gate; only when they are Destroyed will the gate be secure enough to open.”

Core Aspect: Vengence

Overview: The Arcanum of War, both Offensive and Defensive.  All humans with knowledge of magic must be destroyed so Nephilim can once again rule in a Nephilim Golden Age.  The Tower must destroy all Orichulka so Nephilim are immune to human weapons.  We must build high walls to hide magic away from humans, hide our natures from humans, and build a fortress of Nephilim for Nephilim.  Tainted humans must be destroyed.

Allies:  The High Priestess, the Emperor, the Chariot. 

Enemies: The Magician, the Devil, Death, the Fool. The Black Star, the Templars, the Rosicrucians, the Assassins, the Teutonics.

The Tower’s Initiate Stunt (-1): Tcheb.  Retribution.  The Nephilim detects any spell cast by a human using an Elixer, Sacrifice or a stolen Athanor and causes it to rebound back on that human.  

Philosophy: “The Gate is the top of the Great Well, and the Key is on the rim.  Let us rise to get it so that it must not be lowered down to us.”

Core Aspect: The Astronomers

Overview: The watchers of the skies.  Once, long ago, the Stellar Ones* came from the skies and created the Nephilim.  When the Stellar Ones return, all Nephilim will rise up to join them in Agartha.  Thus, we must locate the Stellar Ones on distant star systems and summon them back to show off our progress.  If we are judged worthy, they will bring us through the Gate.  And there will be cookies.

Allies: The Wheel, the High Priestess. Sarmoung Brotherhood, Rosicrucians.

Enemies: The Magician, the Sun, the Chariot, Hierophant. The Black Star, the Templars.

The Star’s Initiate Stunt (-1): Adamic Language.  The Star knows a primal version of Enochian.  As a simplified version of the ancestor of all human languages, it registers in the human mind.  When speaking Adamic, the Star can be understood in any human language.

Philosophy: “Humanity walks down the wrong Path; the Gate is in another direction.” 

Core Aspect: Animism

Overview: Why be a human when one can incarnate into an animal?  Everyone has tried to get to Agartha in a human form, and everyone fails, so the Moon tries a different tactic by incarnating into an animal Simulacrum.  Only by experiencing the Five Fields in a pure, unfiltered form through animal senses can one master the Sun and reach Agartha.

Allies: The High Priestess, the Hermit, the Devil. Neo-Pagan groups.

Enemies: The Emperor, the Empress, the Chariot, the Sun.

The Moon’s Initiate Stunt (-1): Animal Communication.  The Moon Nephilim can communicate with any animal in its “native tongue.”

Philosophy: “We built the Key once, could we but find it, the Gate would be in our sight.”

Core Aspect: The True Believer

Overview: Nephilim must capture and use Solar-Ka to progress.  The Golden Path is unquestioned and humans are mobile Solar-Ka collectors.  If Nephilim can figure out the relationship between the Four True Fields and Solar-Ka, Solar-Ka and humanity, humanity and Nephilim, and Nephilim and the Four True Fields, Nephilim would master the Elements and ascend to Agartha.  After two thousand years, this is going “slowly.”

Allies: All Nephilim the Sun does not hate.  Mithradites, Rosicrucians, Gypsies.

Enemies: The Magician.  The Moon, the Devil, Death, the Fool, the Star, Lovers. Templars, Carbonari, Prieure de Sion, the HIOTES, Fraturnitas Saturnarii.

The Sun’s Initiate Stunt (-1):  Khetchut.  Radiance.  The Sun Nephilim goes into a state similar to Shouit to allow Solar-Ka to pour through their bodies.  While in this state, a single spell receives one extra shift of success per Scene.  Meanwhile, the Simulacrum is in control of the body during the spell although the body retains all Nephilim Metamorphosis, Inscribed Spells and Stunts.

* Outer Gods?

Nephilim FATE — The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

Every Arcanum has a guiding Philosophy, a Core Aspect, a set of Enemies and Allies, Nephilim and Human, and a Stunt offered to members of the Arcana for membership hath its privileges.

Philosophy:“We Built the Road to Agartha. It Lies Within.”

Core Aspect: Shouit

Overview: The Hanged Man is the Arcanum of Suspension. These Nephilim cease their search for Agartha and retreat into humanity. Humanity was designed as the Nephilim’s vehicle, and only through the entire human experience can these Nephilim find Enlightenment. They sacrifice all their knowledge and power to voluntarily exist in suspension in Shouit in their human hosts.

Allies: The Magician, the Lovers, Temperance.

Enemies: The Emperor, the Hierophant, the Empress, the Sun. The Roshaniya, the Assassins and the Rosicrucians.

The Hanged Man’s Stunt (-1):  The Hanged Man is impossible to recognize in Ka-Vision, or by any other magickal detection, while in Shouit in their human hosts.

Philosophy: Unknown.

Core Aspect: Black Moon Serpent

Overview: Death is the Arcanum of the Black Moon Serpents, the Selenium, the forbidden Nephilim who have forsaken their very existence to avoid Orichulka and Incarnations. Little is known about the structure of their organization.

Allies: None

Enemies: All

Death’s Stunt (-1):  Unknown

Philosophy:“The Macrocosm is Agartha, were we all healed enough to see it.”

Core Aspect: The Doctors – Come Lay Hands

Overview: The Arcanum of Harmony believes all beings are part of the mystical living fields and, taken together, they make a complete Macrocosm. All paths are true, as everything must be part of everything else. No Philosophy is false. All are part of the Whole, and must be brought into the harmonious Whole to be realized. Once the sick are healed and all realize their true nature, the whole chain of Being will be drawn to Agartha.

Allies: Strength, Justice, Wheel, Sun, the Magician, the Lovers, the Moon.

Enemies: The Hanged Man, Death, the Devil.

Temperance’s Stunt (-1):  S’ger. Temperance Nephilim may enter a meditative state and, while concentrating on the five fields, may remove a box of Khaiba from a patient, although only one box of Khaiba may be lost per healing scene. This includes removal of Khaiba from themselves.

Philosophy: “The only real Gate is the one cowards fear to step through, and Khaiba is the key.”

Core Aspect: The Madmen

Overview: Freedom is Khaiba. The Golden Path is a Delusion and a Lie. The only way home is to embrace the power of KaIm, revel in the freedom of Khaiba, and go nuts. The material world is to be rejected and transform that rejection into a swirling mass of Chaos. Why seek out the Sun when there’s Chaotic fun to be had.

Allies: The Moon. Cultes des Goules, Thule

Enemies: Strength, the Emperor, the Chariot, the Tower, the Sun. Holy Vehm, Teutonic Knights, the Knights of Rhodes.

The Devil’s Stunt #1 (-1): Nesheni. The Devil receives one free shift during Intimidation rolls.

The Devil’s Stunt #2 (-1): ‘Ari-Kheperu. The Devil gains one free physical Aspect related to a physical part of Metamorphosis while in Khaiba. Ie: Snakes grow fangs, Angels grow wings, they erupt Elementally, they grow or shrink, or another related Aspect. It can be used as a normal Aspect. Only works while the Devil is in Khaiba.

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